A Suitable Girl

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For when you think I’m too old
To love and to have and to hold
Your Dorian laughs in his frame
As cracks appear across his face

For when you tell me I should cook
And not be reading so many books
Your kitchen sink mocks you
When everyday your dinner gets brutally bruised

For when you chide me for being too loud
And ask me to hold my tongue in a crowd
You know not how your friends oblige
By laughing when you really make them cry

For when you wonder if I’d be a good trophy
Me, with my innate lack of propriety
Your workplace thanks heavens
When you step away from matters of importance

For when you check if I’m “suitable”
If I’m a good enough “marriage material”
Alas! You are not able to see
You are not good enough for me!

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An ode to winters in Delhi

It comes in flirtatiously
In a chilly October breeze
It blinds, in love’s mist,
My city of djinns and fairies

It tests the warmth
Of the many hearts
Who dwell in a place
So close yet far apart

It knocks on my doors in November
As I light up my sorrows and joy
Blows out my glory candles
In an innocent ploy

At length it finally comes home
With the loving warmth of the winter sun
And celebrates a new year
In a cold mist of the blissful one

Come the month of january
It claws through humanity
It barely lets the sun in
And shuns its meek vanity

I’ve missed you, my winter flowers
The dry rustling of your slow death
The warm quilts in the wintery nights
And the haze of my early morning breath…

To Delhi

I dwell in silences
each step away from home
is a sword through these rusty bones
Each road less traveled
turns this sorry heart to stone
The skies are the only constant
in this ruthless existence
my breath, a painful reminder
of life and of distance
I love the city
like it were me
I hate it for its my own
It has stood the test of time
and has always given me whats mine

The Sunset Club

“I don’t want to grow old.” Parul said today morning. I, now sit wondering is there any truth to that. Do any of us want to be old and in the twilight of our lives and those who already are there, are they any different from us?
The Sunset Club is a story of three such men, waiting for the end and living in vain glories from yesterday. Khushwant Singh has turned this often autobiographical account into a life lesson for those waiting to live their lives out.
Boota Singh, of course, is the parallel to the author himself. An aging widower drinking to formal carnal glories often dreaming of his own daily excrement. Baig, the medicine man, living a lazy existence in a quaint corner of Old Delhi. Sharma, the virgin pandit, living with his sister and servants.

What really mixes the plot up is that Delhi, my beautiful city, actually is one of the characters of the book. Its seasons are celebrated like festivals and its political climate an oft discussed topic for the three veterans. Clearly, beyond the story lies the layers of characters and how they melt into the city’s artistic landscape. The story in itself tells of one year in the lives of these octogenarians and goes back to how their relationships came to in the first place. A light read that I romantically picked up during a journey from Delhi to Mumbai, it perhaps had greater sentimental significance to me than most readers for it tells of a Delhi I have known nothing about.

Would I ever have my own sunset club, I wonder? One where I find random strangers who turn into friends and eventually live out each other’s twilights. Or would I be at least a reminisce living in the memories of men who talk of the best and worst loves of their lives?

The Sunset Club makes you want to grow old and live out a life that is worthy of a remembrance.  It scores in its sarcasm and wit and in parts even makes you sentimental. A must read for the Delhi fans, it will either give you a future to dream of in the city or make you sit down with a glass of your favorite scotch and remember the good times!

Maximum City

There are people writing books, some who choose to spam inboxes. I, for one, am speechless. Mostly because of the confidentiality agreement we signed at the start of the internship. But what is not confidential is my view of the city. It’s been a year in Mumbai and I am almost attached to it by now. I say almost because attachment with anything is always fleeting for me.  India has a sense of poetry so deeply imbibed in its core that every city seems like a verse but Mumbai, Mumbai is a poem in itself.
Yes, the infrastructure is awful and yes, rains add about 45 minutes to your travel time. But face it, no other city would treat you like its guest every single day. You don’t really belong here, but the city makes you feel at home. It’s a weird middle path between the two emotions. One of excitement over visiting the city for the first time, and other of standing up for the city in front of the critics as if it were your own.
In no other city would being a writer fetch you this many brownie points, and no other city treats its artists with such love and respect. Public transport in Mumbai provides me with that which Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai couldn’t provide – safety! And those who are now going to go up in arms about how Chennai/Bangalore is safe for women, just know that I have indeed lived in these cities and know what safety means and they do not provide it.
Mumbai was once rated the rudest city, clearly, the majority of people who took the survey were rude Delhiites who for some reason just cannot digest the fact that despite of the amazing infrastructure, people still rate their city tad lower than Mumbai. Here is the reason to that, there is no scare of leering men in Mumbai, no scare of the policemen ending up harassing you more if you complain to them, there is no running home at 10 PM scared of venturing out post 11, and most importantly, there is no rudeness likes of which are found on the streets of CP. I have had more number of strangers help me out in Mumbai than in Delhi, Bangalore or Chennai.
Now don’t get me wrong in my heart of hearts I am still that rude Delhiite who tries to (in vain) to find faults with the maximum city. But as my beloved city of Djinns is slowly turning into a true face of capitalistic selfishness, I find peace in the independence Mumbai has given me, an independence that evaded me at the capital. This is the only city where I don’t care whether I have company to watch a play or not, I just go anyway. A city that embraces you the most when you are alone is in its true nature the best gift to civilization.
Be it the walk down Marine drive, or a quiet evening at the Worli sea face, the million malls across the city or the classiness of NCPA or Prithvi, the city lets you live in constant entertainment. Even a daily ride back from the office to the hostel is full of eventful surprises. The city brings out the best and the worst in people both at the same time. It is close to the dark underbellies of slums and yet lives ruthlessly for the rich. Mumbai in its heart of hearts is what a capitalistic society should be about. A society that automatically in spirit, heals itself and grows everyday in its worth, in its value and in its life.