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Sunday 28 December 2008

And he flew

The stars were slightly more in number tonight. He remembered fighting The Dark Wreaker on the one right above him. Being a superhero can be so exhausting at times!

"Back to the stars!" he reminded himself.

Lying atop the airplanes passing by, he loved to watch the night sky. But this was too slow for him. Until just 300 years ago he would glide facing the sky to enjoy the stream of flowing light on a dark blanket. However, one fateful night he bumped into an aircraft which had just begun flying! He could never forgive himself for the lives lost in that accident. The people certainly did not, for almost a century!

A loud explosion in the distant woke him up from his trance. He turned to look in the direction of the sound and saw a bright red sphere of flame burning down what appeared to be a space shuttle.

And he flew.

Monday 22 December 2008

Just for laughs

He stood there, at the kitchen counter, holding the leftovers from the party packed up in those plastic containers. His sleepy eyes were too heavy for him. Nonetheless, he could not stop smiling as he watched the ladies laugh their hearts out. They were surprisingly louder than the group of teenagers playing video games till some time ago!

"You must be wondering what has gotten into all us aunties to be laughing so hard", said one of them as she wiped a tear off her eye while struggling to calm down.

"No! It's wonderful to see you guys enjoy so much...," he said gleefully, as she turned around to get a cup of water, "...even at this age!" he quipped.

"What do you mean?" she snapped, turning back with a straight face.

"Gotcha!"

They bursted out.

Saturday 6 December 2008

"A Stream of Consciousness" by Nandita Das

I received this heart-warming email from a friend. The following are the words of Nandita Das. I am merely posting her views here.

27th November 2008- A Stream of Consciousness

Nandita Das

It hadn't hit me hard enough till Thursday morning. At a friend's place the previous night, I did see some images of injured people being taken on stretches, police looking around clueless, panic among people, TV anchor persons speaking in the same screaming, over enthusiastic, "exclusive" voice that they use when Rakhi Sawant hits her boyfriend.

I have to say, it had very little effect on me. My predictable response was, not again...more people will die, more fear, more prejudice and more hatred. But at some level the response was instant and cerebral. But this morning when I got up things felt different. Got a message from an unknown no. "See what your friends have done." Strangely a close friend of mine got a similar message last night, but from an acquaintance. Just because Firaaq, my film, deals with how Muslims 'also' get affected by violence, the terrorists are supposed to be my friends! Today a common young Muslim man around town is probably the most vulnerable. I got many messages from my Muslim friends who feel the need to condemn it more than anyone else, who feel the need to prove their national allegiance in every possible way. They are begging to be not clubbed with the terrorists, a fear not unfounded. Then of course there were tons of messages from well wishers across the world who asked about me and my loved ones' safety. I too did the same. And strangely that was when tears started rolling down my cheek, almost involuntarily. Guess the thought that if our loved ones were fine, it's all ok, seemed like a bizarre way to feel. When will our souls ache when anyone is hurt, even those that we have never seen and will never see? The more I wrote back in sms's and emails that I was ok, the more miserable I was feeling.

Catharsis or letting out of emotions is an amazing thing. It brings out things from all hidden corners. I always saw myself as being strong and so has everyone else perceived me as. And here I was bawling for reasons I myself didn't understand. It was like a stream of consciousness flowing from somewhere else. At one level, felt like everything was futile. So much anger, hatred, aggression...what has the world come to. While talking about Firaaq I have often said, the one thing we can change in the world is our response to things that happen around us- violence, prejudice, hatred. The line rung in my ear and I felt ashamed of all the times I had been angry. Of course it often seems justifiable, from ones point of view, and insignificant as compared to the acts of aggression that we have been seeing all of last night. But isn't there a seed of aggression in many of us and in varying degrees? Doesn't it shock us sometimes what we are capable of doing or saying? We are horrified at a young man cold bloodedly killing people with a gun, at a man raping a small girl child, at a woman being burnt alive for dowry, but are they all just aberrations and evil people, or could they be someone we might have seen, or worked with or passed by? Individual anger also gives rise to collective anger and thereby to the politics of hate. Anyway, it is not about understanding the power of hate theoretically. I never want to water this seed of anger in me anymore. It may take a long time for the rippling effect to happen where each of our positive energies change the world. But the resolution itself is drying my tears and giving me a task to do, a reason to carry on.

But the question still remains, what now? Should I carry on with business as usual, not out of apathy, but to defeat the desired impact of the terrorists? Their agenda is to get us into a panic and create an atmosphere of fear. What if I refuse to give them what they want? But on the flip side, what if I am unable to go on with business as usual? What if it is anguishing me in a way that I cannot ignore it and want to engage with it. As there is always a danger of becoming self absorbed in our own narrow world. In fact that is what is increasingly happening to many of us, the privileged Urban class. Often that is the reason given to me for not watching "serious films". Conveniently it is said, "I have enough tension, why would I want to see more of the reality instead of some escapist fun." But then when other existing realities intrude the calm of our realities, we are unable to deal with it. So what do we do?

While struggling with this dilemma, I was at least spared the horrific images and news in the morning, as where I stay in Bombay, at a friend's house which unusually neither has a TV nor does she get the newspaper. So I was blissfully ignorant of all the developing news. And then on the flight that I took to come back home to Delhi, I saw those horrifying images that most people must have seen all night. I could feel my stomach churn, but what churned it further were the other pages that surpassed all definitions of 'business as usual'. One had a page about fringe hairstyle coming back into fashion. The other about some speculation about Monica Bedi wanting to marry Rahul Mahajan and other such earth shattering news. My head spun as I tried to process my emotions. Every day the paper is filled with all this and when the memory of this horrifying day will fade away, it will not seem grotesque any more to have all of that again. So then why leave it out just today? But isn't there a day in a year that we can actually mourn and register our protest against such violence in a less matter of fact way? Isn't there a way that we don't celebrate for a week and somehow put all our resources to get our police better equipped with their bullet proof jackets and ammunitions? Isn't there a way of feeling national pride by protecting innocent people from being killed with better security measures than using up crores to send our national flag to the moon? Can somebody think of a master plan by which we can all be engaged in making the world a better place? Isn't there a way that aggression doesn't ever take such strong roots to cause such violence?

When I see these 20-22year old boys, I am also filled with deep sadness and simple curiosity about what could have got them to where they are. Is it that we all want a purpose in life and so when a young boy caught at that crossroad is given a mission that suddenly increases his self worth, he grabs it? Is the world making them feel so small that when a particular identity is thrown at them, they want to cling on to it with all their might? No doubt that these are extreme cases and huge amount of strategic brain washing has gone into it. But as we know, no one is born evil and let's say till 10 years a child is still a child. What is it that happens in this tender mind in the growing up years that gives him the will to even lay his life? Is there a way these misguided boys can be saved? It is not an act of charity, but if we have to save ourselves, we have to save everyone else. I got a strange message from a TV journalist that said "Forgiving a terrorist should be left to God. But fixing their appointment with God, is entirely our responsibility. - Indian Army". Change the word terrorist to Americans/Hindus/Muslims and sign it off by the Terrorist and the meaning is not too different. Such anger, such hatred in a 'common man' to me is no less scary. There has to a way out of this vicious cycle, beyond an eye for eye.

I have no idea what I am feeling anymore. It is all muddled and contradictory thoughts are finding its little corners in the mind. All I know is that we can't afford to be cynical, even in the face of so much hatred and violence, or else it will get only worse. In the morning making Firaaq seemed meaningless, but as I type away furiously, hoping to catch up with the speed of my emotions, I feel I want to share the film with everyone, more than ever before. Because I know this day will end but the residue it will leave, will linger long after, in the form of fear, anger, prejudice, revenge, and will slowly become part of our psyche. We have to save ourselves from all this and have to find a way to understand, empathise and love. All these beautiful words I know have lost their meaning and sound either clichéd or pretentious. We have to reclaim these and make it part of our life, with all our might.

Nandita Das

Sunday 2 November 2008

Choose to Be

When someone lets you be, the least you can do is let yourself be and discover yourself through such being, which may very well be the truest form of affection.

It is just as essential to let go of each other, if the need be, for that is how you truly let each other be.


Shamanth,
2nd november, 2008

Friday 10 October 2008

Main Samay hoon.

Long back, I had read an interesting list printed on the last page of a notebook. I loved it so much, that I wanted to write it down before it slipped out of my hands.
I told myself, "One day, I will!" But that day never came.

Today, after so long, I remembered the list faintly and reconstructed it to the best of my memory. Hopefully I got the entire list right.

So here it goes:


Who knows the importance of

a lifetime: a prisoner sentenced for life.

an year: a student who failed the annual exam.

a month: the mother of a premature baby.

a week: the manager of a weekly editorial/a project manager.

a day: a daily-wage worker.

an hour: lovers on their way to meet each other.

a minute: someone who missed the train.

a second: the bomb diffusion squad.

a fraction of a second: an athlete.



Kill time and it shall avenge in kind.

shamie,
9th october, 2008.

Monday 15 September 2008

Busy or not too busy?

"The problem with the rat race is that even if you win, you are still a rat." - Lily Tomlin.

This status message, stamped with the red "busy" mark, somewhere in my friends' list in Gtalk, made me smile the moment I read it.
I saw a blur the next moment. I wiped my eyes, shaking my head, while trying to get high off the chill going down my spine. I have been getting those a lot these days and I am loving it!

I was still smiling though. That's what I have been doing lately, when I read something philosophical. You want to choose your words carefully in and around philosophy. Every word means what it means. You cannot blurt out words casually. Not that anyone would decapitate you for doing that, but why disregard the power of language?

The endless circulation of "touching" emails constantly remind us not to forget the meaning of different words representing different virtues. But what if we have forgotten the meaning of meaning?

"Bye" and "See You" do not mean the same.
"What's up" and "How was your day?" do not mean the same.
"Working hard" and "Working smart" do not mean the same.
"Want" and "Need" do not mean the same.
"Sleep" and "Rest" do not mean the same.
"Quiet" and "Peaceful" do not mean the same.

One cannot reach the skies by climbing the ladder! We are grounded for life, in life - the ladder is not. We reach the sky when we feel its presence above us, in front of us, around us. All we need to do is lie down and look straight ahead and there awaits the sky. But who has the time to lie down, you would ask.
"We do!", I would say.
I, for one, surely do!

the gaze,
the blue,
the answers?

Be engaged, not busy.

shamie,
15th september, 2008

Monday 11 August 2008

Rock On \m/



Attending a Linkin Park concert was more than appropriate to mark the reunion of I and my good friend Chetan-The Kale, after one complete year. An astounding performance of our favourite band left us speechless, as we walked away from the venue after the maestros wrapped up the concert with a smashing drums-solo and a couple of excellent songs.

~

stage sets
smoke rises
guitars electrify

~

drums blast
ears deafen
heads bang

~

lights
encore
mass hysteria

~


shamie,
10th august,2008

Wednesday 6 August 2008

Lake Placid

the gaze,
the blue,
the answers?


Shamanth,
5th august, 2008

Saturday 19 July 2008

Hey, Shreya

I set my mp3-player up as I walk towards the bus stop. The song is "Asmaan ke paar".
Aaah!
I look up at the bright blue sky. Shankar's soulful voice blends with the brilliant music. The words melt in my eyes. I pluck a tree off the green, dip it in the sun and stroke a few golden on the blue. I take off towards the clouds. I can't continue floating though. I have a bus to catch, a job to be at. Alas! The flight is cancelled. I dash towards the stop. That's my daily glide.

The bus gobbles me up. I pay the fare and buy the day pass.
I see her sitting by the window. She waves to me like a four-year old. I smile as I sit beside her.

"Don't you feel like shooting loadsa caffeine up your arm daily morning?" she asks as she offers me a sip.
I decline. She knows I have already had my shot. Another awaits at work.

"You know, I was lying in the grass last night, watching the stars explode in beautiful patterns. One of them burst right above my head and showered me with the bright!" she brims with joy. I love that look of hers when she exaggerates her visualisations.
"Why didn't you turn up?" she pokes me. I shrug.

I share my earphones with her. We have a strikingly common taste in music. Her face lights up. It's "Starry eyed surprise". Her favourite track. She snatches the one plugged in my ear as well and enjoys the song in full stereo. She gracefully grooves to the beats. I hold the coffee for her till the track is over.

All of a sudden, she jumps out of her seat as a black Hayabusa shoots past her window. "Did you see that?" her voice all shrill. "You can race light if you are on one of those monsters. It leaves your shadow behind, looking for you!"
She wants me to buy one of those. Ambitious, I must say.

She returns my player and relishes the rest of her coffee as I keep the player in my bag.
"Aaahhhh....!" she slurps the last sip, loud enough to make me uncomfortable. We are in a bus, for God's sake! I look around shy. No one seems to have heard it. I look back at her. She hardly cares. She wants to lick the rest of the coffee off the entire cup. I can see it in her eyes. I look away. I don't know if she did.

One of my colleagues boards the bus on the next stop and we exchange the mundane pleasantries as he takes a seat right behind me.

"Hey, a quick question...," he asks, "what's the login for the guest account on the systems in the Lab?"

"The username and password are both 'lab'."

"Man! You IT guys have no imagination at all," he mocks.

"My friend, Shreya, here does all the imagining for me."

"What friend?" he asks puzzled, looking around me.

"Never mind," I reply, as I keep my bag on the window seat.

Tuesday 24 June 2008

AAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHHH...!!!

OH GOD!!!!
I badly need some sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!!!!!!!!!!!!
:((

shamie,
24th june, 2008.

P.S. : There are two 'e's in 'sleep' for a reason.

Saturday 24 May 2008

Random Nostalgia

That was pretty much my survival kit in India during the later half of my engineering life.

"that's so random", "why the bagpack?", "is that sprite?" and "i dont get it", each punctuated with a confused look, have been the reactions to this snap which rests snugly on my desktop. I set it as my wallpaper about a week ago: the human mind wanders towards the end of a frantic semester. I can get insanely melodramatic, and of late nostalgic too, about random stuff, more so when time is a luxury for me: courtesy impossible academic deadlines.

A job during this semester to pay for my regular calls to family and friends in India, terribly mismatched online timings with friends in India, an uncertainty about when I can visit India and two of my close friends who are visiting India for the summer all add up to some random nostalgia. Fair enough, ain't it? That explains the wallpaper displayed above. The details of the same are as follows:

  1. The Bottle
    I sweat a lot. Hence, I drink a lot of water. In addition, it used to take me a mere 2-3 hours of commute in the soothingly hot and humid weather of Mumbai, from my home to my college - ONE WAY! The bottle, always visibly tucked in the side pocket, has quenched the thirst of millions of my partners-in-commute more than it did mine. But I was the one who always filled it up from the college's water cooler before heading home at the end of the day.

  2. The Player
    It is NOT an i-pod. It is a humble, compact and extremely user-friendly MP3 Player called Yepp manufactured by Samsung. And the earphones in the picture are by Sony which I had to buy after I accidentally ripped off my Samsung earphones. It was a sad day. Life moves on. The Player was the best birthday gift ever from my parents(the only time my persuasion ever worked on my parents). I treated it with the respect and the care that it deserved, and it smiled back at me. It still does. We have had our differences, but we eventually learned to outgrow them. My passion for music grew exponentially every time I listened to my favourite songs on it. It has helped me get through exams, vivas, results, TATA(Final year project days), stressful days, stress-less days and of course the eternal commute.

  3. The Bag
    A humble abode to the above two and of course books, journals, CDs, DVDs, index sheets, files, print-outs, wind-cheater, hard-disks, cd-writer, clothes, cameras and much more. I practically lived out of this bag for two years. It was one of the most spacious and sturdiest bags I ever owned. It survived the Mumbai floods of 26th July, 2005. Period.

shamie,
24th may, 2008

Sunday 13 April 2008

The Slacker

"Study as if it were the last hour of your life!", snarled the teacher.

The class froze.

"Why would I..", he replied bluntly,"..if I knew it were the last hour of my life?"

The class giggled.

Sunday 30 March 2008

Wanna Play?

bloody screen
*GAME OVER*
teen tumult

-An ode to all the puzzled faces who can never understand why I can never understand the video game craze.


shamie,
(probably the only guy who has been forced into playing video game by gaming enthusiasts, while holding up a bunch of other gaming enthusiasts desperately waiting their turns.)
30th march, 2008.

Wednesday 19 March 2008

I Swear...

A few feasible promises to self:

  1. Will buy a motorbike from the moolah I earn.
  2. Will ride it to RAIT, from the katta, on a Monday morning at 8, with my loaded bagpack, to attend the morning lecture.
  3. Will get professional training in tabla and guitar.
  4. Will try to improve my handwriting.
  5. Will grow up; well, at least will act all grown up.
  6. Will never stop being a lukkha.

shamie,
18th march, 2008.

Tuesday 4 March 2008

to lukkhagiri...

mere kuch dost, mar jaate hain...
par jo jeete hain...
wohi cheetein hain!!!

-Siddarth Chaturvedi(Gabbar), B.E., C-div, RAIT.

Compiled by Thakur.


shamie,
3rd march, 2008.

Monday 21 January 2008

Life

A river:
in search of
its Lake Placid.


Shamanth,
21st January, 2008.

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