Saturday, October 27, 2007

I want to know, have you ever seen the rain?
I want to know, have you ever seen the rain
Comin’ down on a sunny day?

- Have you ever seen the rain? by Creedence Clearwater Revival

I love the rains but for some mysterious reason, it rains almost everyday around 6 in the evening. And that is the exact time when I’m walking out of the office, on my way back home. I would enjoy it if I were walking in the rain for 10-15 minutes, or if it’s just a drizzle.

But when you get drenched to your undies while walking in the rain for an hour or so, it’s not funny. And once I get wet, I don’t stop or look for shelter for the entire 4 kms. I just take off my glasses, roll up my jeans a bit, and walk. The rains can go to hell.

I remember my schooldays. There’s this stage in every boy’s life when his mother sees him as the cutest kid in the whole wide world, and dresses him up accordingly. I had just started going to school on a bicycle and it was the rainy season. Mom had bought this bright red raincoat for me, one-piece and with a hood. When I saw it for the first time, I flatly refused to wear it. Mom and dad used all the tricks, and one day I found myself wearing that stupid sissy looking thing.

I thought I was being good, I thought I was being brave. But once I was outside the gate, away from my house and all that was familiar, all the embarrassment came back. I took off the raincoat, put it in my schoolbag, and rode in the rain, all the way to school. And I followed that same routine until I outgrew that bloody red raincoat, and dad bought me a new decent looking brown one.

Just the other day, we had this cubicle day in the office. As usual, everyone was over excited with the HR people leading the pack. I finished my work, had an early lunch and came back home. Whenever this cake-cutting, we-are-a-happy-family, birthday-ethnic day thing comes up, I disappear.

There was this company in south Delhi where I used to work around 2003-2004. It’s the only company where socials and fun events mean just one thing – a trip to the pub. The girls and/or the teetotalers were asked to go take a fucking hike if they made any noise. Miss that good ol’ spirit and honesty these days.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

Cooking tuna with cauliflower, listening to Dream Theater, and thinking of the mountains and freedom…

I’m hitting the highways tomorrow with S, and a very good friend of mine SS, along with her husband. The last time I saw SS was at the New Year’s party in 2003. I was working at a BPO in Gurgaon then.

There were two friends with me that night – SS, and the only sardar I’ve ever known who’s thin, mad about Metallica and plays the electric guitar. And we three were pissed off because no booze was served, and to make matters worse the whole crowd was shaking to some shitty indi-pop or remixed numbers.

I had come prepared anyway and had brought a Pepsi bottle filled with rum. There were no spare/empty glasses, and nothing good to mix the rum with. So I filled whatever tiny space was there in the bottle with water. We three then went to the parking lot and shared that bottle of rum on that cold windy December night. Sipping the strong warm rum, and with a million stars above us we talked about our dreams and lovers – old and new.

After that, the night passed in a blur. We three refused to do overtime the next day (January 1) because a holiday had been promised by the management. When the Operations Manager came early morning and asked again who all were not willing to do overtime, we three were the only ones who stood up in our team. We learned later that we were the only three out of the total 800 in that SBU/process. The OM wanted to fire us but when she learned that all three of us were the best performers in our respective teams, she quietly arranged a cab for us and sent us home for the day.

It’s almost 5 years now; I’m going to meet her tomorrow, and we’ll all be going to Munnar (Kerela) in their car. I have burned a few CDs, the thermo flask is cleaned for hot tea/coffee all along the way, and one mineral water bottle has been filled with vodka (I’d have preferred rum but to hide it at the numerous check posts, I need an empty Pepsi or Coke bottle).

I just can’t wait for tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sometimes a “Where are you from?” or “Which place do you belong to?” leaves me speechless. I can however deal with questions that ask me where I was born, where I studied this and that, and the city where I worked and lived at a particular time.

I’m right now in Bangalore but I would prefer Pune any day as far as my working years are concerned. I just need a good job offer to relocate and settle down in that city. But after retirement, Himachal is definitely where I want to be. A small house made mostly of wood and stones, my woman, a big German shepherd, books, music and guitars are all I need for my post-retirement days. Having tea/coffee in the warm sun, breathing the mountain air, reading a good book, long leisurely walks, and guitars and rum in the evening – yeah, that’s what I want and that’s what I’m gonna do when the time comes.

And this means that I’m never going back to that place where I was born, to that place which used to be “my home” once upon a time. It has always been a cause of great concern for my family and relatives as to why I rarely go home during vacations or any holiday break. In 14-15 years, I have gone home 7 times – the longest gap was 7 years.

I have got a million answers for not going home, but it would be a sheer waste of time to say anything about these co-called reasons of mine. The biggest losers have the biggest egos, that’s what I have seen and learnt.

Went inside a church about a month back, for the first time in my life. After all the fascination I had with the whole idea and concept of Christianity during my teenage years, the experience that Sunday was a bit of a disappointment. I love some of the hymns, and the silences in between. I hate it when the people knelt, with hands joined, heads bowed, and knees on the floor.

Why do all religions adopt this unctuous, servile attitude in front of their respective Gods and Goddesses? All the so-called holy books say that God is our father/mother and people don’t kneel or bow down when they talk to their parents. Do they?

Or maybe, people kneel or bow down because they fear God. But why? God listens to you or turns a deaf ear whenever he wants. God protects or kills your loved ones whenever he wants. God rewards or punishes whoever he wants, no matter what we did, do or decide to do. And God will take your life whenever he wishes, and it really doesn’t matter whether you are on your knees or you are walking tall and straight.

God doesn’t just play a six-sided dice; he plays a million-faced dice with you and me, and everyone else. And God makes all the fucking rules.

I'm becoming an atheist, and my belief in the non-existence of God increases with each passing day. The universe is random; you and me, and everything else are just probabilities.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

They say blood is thicker than water. Amongst all the blood relations, the relation between a mother and her son has to be the strongest one. And most often, a relation of blind faith and loyalty, and absolute denial of the cold facts and the hard truths of the world.

The mother of the Glasgow bomber; her son burned himself in trying to kill innocents and what was her first reaction - that her son is totally innocent. Some other people who worked with him, or had links to him were also caught. All the mothers said the same thing - that their sons are innocent harmless human beings.

Now, the mother of the bomber is saying that she knew sometime back that something was not right with her son. She also knew then, that he was going on the wrong path.

Why didn’t she say that before? Did she ever talk to her son and try to change his sick and stupid beliefs and opinions? Did she ever talk about her son to the police? Something tells me that the parents knew all about him. Maybe not the bombing itself, but everything else.

Whenever I read about some shooting or extortion in my state, I always ask mom why the mothers of all those terrorists are not reporting their sons to the army or police. These mothers know very well about their sons’ whereabouts and what they all do. These mothers know very well that their sons are extorting money from everyone in the state, and killing and terrorizing innocent people. The family can disown a terrorist, a whole neighborhood/locality can denounce him but a mother will never do that. Behind everyone’s back, she will always have a link with her son.

Mom never has an answer for me. But I know she has the answers deep inside her heart. How can the mothers do that? They are their own sons, their own flesh and blood.

There is my 2nd brother, the black sheep of the family. Though he hasn't joined any terrorist outfit, I and everyone in the family hold him responsible for our transition from an upper middle-class family to a poor family. The fact that advice and threats, money for business and money for further education, love and hate, empathy and pity, trust and distrust haven’t changed him at all doesn’t concern mother. The fact that he’s almost 35 and all those years haven’t touched him and made him a better person, has always escaped mother.

So for her, like every other mother in the world, her son is actually innocent and harmless. It’s his lazy evil friends, it’s the neighborhood he grew up, it’s the schools he studied, and sometimes, it’s her husband – our father.

How people turn blind, deaf and mute when the accused is their mother, father, son, daughter, brother or sister? When I was 12-13, there was this friend in our group. I remember the day his mother was caught with an auto driver. There was all this commotion in his house, relatives and neighbors were coming and giving advice to his father. Some were telling him to divorce his wife; some were asking him to think about his kids.

That’s when we turned to this friend in our group. We wanted him to say the word; we wanted him to shout that his mother was a prostitute and that he will never talk to her or call her ‘mother’ anymore. We wanted him to say the words so very badly. As kids, we were cruel and stupid. If I remember correctly, he screamed angrily that his mother could never be a prostitute. And he never ever said a word about his mother after that day.

A decade and some years later, I know he still loves her but I also know that the love has been mixed with buckets of hate and hurt. And that concoction has been hidden and locked away in his heart, perhaps forever.

I went home last year for one day, after staying away for 7 continuous years. I met him and he arranged for a driver’s license for me. His family is still so poor, he was never able to finish his education, and he’s unemployed but he survives by running around and arranging driving licenses, passports, domicile, birth and date certificates for other people. I heard later from elder sister back home, that sometimes he works as a laborer when there’s no other work.

His mother died a long time ago, within a year after the incident. Fainted one fine day and she was gone forever. His father remarried and they got back a family. I also had a long talk with him, he was happy though the hint of some forgotten sadness flashed occasionally in his eyes. Still, I could have saluted him right then and there, saluted and bowed to his fighting spirit. My 2nd brother wouldn’t have survived a day if he were put in that friend’s place. And with mother to hold him in her lap instead of letting him walk, my 2nd brother wouldn’t have lasted a fucking minute.

A mother’s love can be the strongest and most nurturing love we’ll ever know in our lives. But it also can turn into a very dangerous thing when it becomes an over-protective, encompassing roof over our heads. And if it ever happens, take a walk outside and let a little rain and sun wash over you.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

It’s fun to know languages other than your own. There is no language in this world that I don’t want to learn. But sadly, I know just a few.

Today, in the cafeteria, three other guys were sitting at my table. And all of them were speaking in Tami. And the best part was that they absolutely have no idea that I can understand a little bit of Tamil. One was cribbing about the food in general, and another one was pissed off with some dish comparing it with their original beloved Tamil dish. That’s when the third guy pitched in, calling the other 2 guys assholes and asking them to shut up. I almost choked on the food, trying to stifle a laugh.

I just know some words and phrases but my Tamilian friends used to tell me that I know more bad/swear words in Tamil than they do.

Speaking of languages, why do some people force down their language down other people’s throats? One of the first things I learned after leaving home, is that when you are in a group, switch to a common language that everyone in the group is familiar with. It doesn’t matter how many persons from your own state/community are there in the group. If there is one single person who doesn’t know or speak your language, switch. That’s it.

But no matter what you do or where you are, you’ll always come across people who break this simple rule. If you ask or remind them, they will look at you as if you have abused their mothers. And their most common answer is, “Why?? Ours is such a beautiful and sweet sounding language.“ The second most common answer is that they are speaking with a brother/sister from their own community/state.

Anyone will tell you that if you don’t know a particular language, it all sounds the same – just noise. So even if your language can invoke the rain gods and make flowers bloom, kindly switch.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The men in our country spit an awful lot, with or without reason. If a guy is walking in front of me, I deliberately keep a safe distance by walking slower or faster than him. You never know when he’ll spit, or which side he will spit. It’s the same with autos, taxis or any vehicle parked on the road. There’s always someone inside who will spit out of the window, or who will spit very nicely sitting on his bike or moped. If I have to walk in the middle of the road to avoid these people and their missiles, I gladly will.

At a cybercaf√© near my house, someone had put up a sign on a corner at the staircase, “Please Do Not Spit Here,” and below that sign is a framed picture of goddess Lakshmi. On my subsequent visits, I saw the ubiquitous red stains from pan/betel spits. And on my last visit, the sign had changed to “Only Bastards Spit Here”

There was a time when Christianity used to fascinate me so very much. But growing up, I began to see that Christians, especially people working directly in/for churches, tend to go overboard most of the times. How else do you explain their over-enthusiasm for converting people, the “Jesus Loves You” signs everywhere, and the pamphlets they hand out at malls, airports, railway stations and traffic junctions?

Near my office, at a road crossing signboard, someone had painted “Jesus Loves You”. After a few days now, the word “Jesus” is only visible because someone else had pasted a big sticker with “Bastard” on “Loves You”.

Jesus Bastard; not very far from the truth if you don’t believe in that shit about the Immaculate Conception.

The sheer stupidity and gullibility of men when it comes to God and Religion. Amongst our Hindu Gods, there is that junkie on Mount Kailash, always high on grass/charas even though he has someone as hot as Parvati by his side. And then his stupid dance of destruction.

The one with the flute and with legs crossed, because there were no undies at that time to hide his perpetual erection. The God who fucked everything and everyone in a skirt.

The mama’s boy of all time, the God who never loved, respected or trusted his wife. Ram actually started this whole Indian attitude of discrimination and harassment against women, especially the wives.

Forgot the one on the lotus. Or was that an over-sized sofa-cum-bed?

And who can ignore the one and only Prophet? The most political of all Gods/Prophets. 11 or 13 wives, and one of his wives was a 6 year old girl and the marriage was believed to be consummated when the girl turned 9. For each single voice that says he preached tolerance or God is one, there are a zillion other voices that say he preached the exact opposites. No other Prophet’s teachings have been debated or understood differently by different people all over the world. If it’s love everyone in one page of the Quran, it’s kill everyone who’s a non-believer. If it’s respect woman in one page, it’s beat your wives or divorce them whenever you please, in another.

And there must be something horribly wrong with a Prophet whose beliefs and teachings spawned generations and generations of people who can’t take a joke, who can’t tolerate other faiths/religions, and who fight and die in every corner of the world for 7 virgins in some bloody heaven. He even beats Ram black and blue when it comes to discrimination against women, and all those stupid cruel laws and traditions for Muslim women.

Monday, June 11, 2007

You have a woman who gets into a live-in relation with a married man because he told her that he will divorce his wife and marry her. And when the man doesn’t, the woman takes him to court and she won the case.

You have a woman who has been divorced by her husband for adultery. She had begun to live in the same house with the other man. The woman takes him to court and demands alimony. She won, with the judge saying that living in the same house with the other man doesn’t amount to adultery.

These are the basics of the two cases. If we go into the details, the debate will never end. And I’m sure these cases must have made many feminists ecstatic. Don’t.

Take the first case. The woman had been going out with the married man for some years before he suggested a live-in relationship. Anyone with some common sense would have never gone out with a still married person. Whether they live in or not, almost all couples nowadays have physical relations. If she’s the type of person who equates a live-in relationship with marriage, how about telling the man a very simple “NO” when he asked her to move in with him?

The promise to marry, or the simple belief/statement that we will get married and live together forever, is something that’s implicitly understood when we get into a relationship. But all of us know too, that it may never happen, that couples break up.

The man promised to marry the woman, but didn’t. Ask yourselves this, how many men and women do this same thing everyday? Next time, someone’s going to get sued because he/she promised to buy a watch/car/house as a gift for a lover, but didn’t.

Take the second case. It’s one of those news/stories that always pushes the whole concept of women’s equality and liberation a few centuries backwards. I will never ever understand why educated women with all the privileges and freedom can’t earn for themselves instead of begging/demanding alimony from their ex-husbands?

How many of these wives have spent money and time on their husbands’ education and career? And when you consider the fact that most of the marriages in India are arranged, when the men already have stable and well established jobs, this idea seems even more ridiculous. So, on what grounds are they asking for a share of their husbands’ salaries? If they fuck around with other men, why do they ask money from their husbands when they are served with divorce papers? If that’s not bad and insulting enough, they usually won these cases in the name of women’s equality and liberation. At least, when we men fuck around we don’t ask money from our wives to buy condoms or whatever!!

And in most of these cases, the reason for asking alimony is – to maintain the lifestyle that she has been used to. Doesn’t that remind you of a dog?

As for that judge, please send your wife to live in the same house with some other man. No sir, this is not adultery at all, this is just harmless fucking.

I agree that women have been exploited for ages. But let’s not get carried away. Times have changed, and the trends and lifestyles we see everyday speaks volumes about women’s equality. So many of my friends are married, and they have kids. And all of them, I repeat, all of them, pamper and love their wives so much. They cook most of the times, they buy the groceries, they take care of the kids most of the times, and most importantly, they respect their wives a hell of a lot. I’m talking about friends from Delhi to friends in Tamil Nadu; friends from all over India. So when one of these women from a similar background gets successful in her career, why do the media always come up with that phrase – a perfect balance between career and home? It may have been true decades back but now, most of the household work, sometimes the entire household work is taken care of by the husbands, or the men.

I also agree that life in rural India is a totally different story. And for that, we don’t need all that bullshit debates about alimony and live-ins. We need to make sure the education and awareness campaigns reach and benefit these women.

If urban, educated middle class women are so serious about women’s equality, I hope they do a little bit of these instead. Whenever someone in your family mentions dowry, make him/her drop that sick idea/so-called tradition. Whenever someone in your family or friends circle makes a derogatory remark about women, make him/her feel ashamed. Whenever your housemaid talks of an alcoholic abusive husband, support her and fight for her. If she sends her son to school but makes her daughter work with her, make your maid change her mind about women’s education. Or better still; sponsor her daughter’s education by cutting down your trips to those ridiculously priced coffee shops and pubs/restaurants/hotels.

Don’t try to change the world, don’t even think about it. Just try a bit to change the people you know, the people you meet everyday.

Monday, June 04, 2007

dust clouds swirled
outside the glass doors
there's chaos all around
there's blood on the streets

the ragpickers marched
with their bottomless body bags
there's room for one and all
they whispered

the clowns stood
the applauses came
too late and died
too quickly
the smiles slowly turned
upside down

as egos grew
hearts and homes
became smaller
as greed and jealousy
consumed us all
we became all alike
just like brothers

the funeral song played
the drums beat
while we walked together
to early nameless graves
under a bloody divided sky

and as the sun went down
the eerie glow
from an oversized plasma TV
hypnotized a whole world
of zombies

Monday, May 28, 2007

Guess, it becomes harder and harder for new rock bands to stand out amongst the multitude of new bands that comes out every year. Some years back, it was Godsmack & Nickelback that got my attention. Currently, it's Wolfmother. The name sounds Gothic but their music & style is quite similar to that of the Black Crowes and Maroon 5. Very raw, with minimal effects and other sound engineering/recording techniques.

The idea of classifying a band as metal, thrash, blues-rock, acid...seems absurd to me. At the most, you can say an album has a bluesy feel or a song has a progressive sound.

There was a time when the tune and the words were all that mattered. But as you get exposed to more and more bands and their different styles, you begin to notice all the not-so-obvious stuffs. Backing vocals, usually in the chorus part is something a lot of people don't hear. The one in Bon Jovi's 'Bed of Roses' is one of the easy but beautiful ones, while the one in Soul Asylum's 'Runaway Train' falls in the more difficult ones. The backing vocals for that chorus part is not sung at the usual same tune but higher notes, but at a totally different tune. Beautiful and different.

Bass is another thing. It normally accompanies the drum beats, but for some famous bass players the bass part is nothing less than that of the lead guitar. And to check this out, listen to Flea (RHCP) or Billy Sheehan (Mr.Big). Their bass guitars never fail to create another song/melody in the main song itself.

And when it comes to lead guitars, technique is not everything. Take for example, Slash (G n R) & Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme). Slash is just an average guitar player but he has made a name for himself because of all those amazing-memorable-hummable melodies he composed for the GnR songs. He hardly uses his little finger which is a definite disadvantage when you're doing a solo, and he can't improvise too. Saw him in a video once, playing with Zakk Wylde, and I felt so bad for him.

Very few people know of Nuno. They all say he's one of the most talented and fastest guitarists but there's no melody at all. Agree to a certain extent but that also means these people haven't heard "Midnight Express," "A Song for Love" and "Who Cares." Listen to the last one if you ever get the chance and you'll know what I'm talking about. It's not just a song; it's a whole fucking orchestra composed solely by Nuno. There's this part where you can hear a piano, the violins and cellos follow, suddenly everything stops and there's this complete silence which is broken by the high wailing notes of Nuno's guitar. The whole orchestra then followed, with heavy drums, and as the guitar fades on a long slow note, Gary Cherone picks up the song again. Sheer absolute fucking genius.

You can't ever ignore melody. I have never liked Obituary, Cannibal Corpse and countless other metal & death bands just because they sound all similar. Lightning speed guitar works, heavy bass and drums, and very hoarse irritating vocals. You need something more than these to stand out. On the other side, there's Pantera, Disturbed and Cradle of Filth. Heavy to the core but surprisingly the melody's there too. And for those interested in Gothic literature, grab hold of all of Cradle of Filth's lyrics. I promise you; you won't be disappointed.

Talking of rock music & guitars, I will be giving away my Givson semi-acoustic to my kid bro. Thinking of buying a Gibson/Ibanez/Takamine semi-acoustic jumbo but I don't see these brands in Bangalore. Any ideas/suggestions, anyone?

Monday, May 21, 2007

a to z

This is what I do when I don’t get work/projects!!!

Aeromsith & Analytics: Will finally see the Toxic Twins live, with kid bro and a friend. One of my favorite bands, and the band with the most energetic lead vocalist in the world.

The domain I would love to be in, for as long as I can. Analytics is where I want to shine.

Boots & Boot Cuts: Crazy about them. Have a Gasoline, Caterpillar, Woodland, and an original army-issued officers' boots from the NDA.

And low-waist tight/comfort fit boot cuts, usually Levis, to go along with.

Cricket & Chauvinism & Cooking: One of the slowest, most boring games in the world.

Haven't seen or heard much about the good side of chauvinism. It only

nurtures divisive, narrow minded feelings and attitudes. The whole concept
of boundaries and nations will eventually destroy us in the end.

Been cooking for about 14 years and that says it all.

Drugs & Determination: Once upon a time....but it taught me so many things.

I wouldn't be where I'm now, without my kinda determination. I'm determined to the point of being called a pig-headed person. I make simple "yes" or "no" decisions and then GO for it.

Earn Everything: Nothing comes free, nothing comes to you on its own. And that includes people and relationships too. Earn them and learn.

Fuck: Not the act but the word. I use it a lot when I'm angry, or when I want to emphasize something.

Gods and Guitars: Something tells me the story of the world, our creation, the definitions of what is good and bad, the idea of heaven and hell...can't be explained by God at all. God to me, was born out of our fear of the unknown, while everything associated with religion and morals was made by powerful & influential men.

There will always be guitars and books in my room, and in my life.

Hills, Himachal and Hypocrisy: I love the hills, wanna live near them, wanna grow old with them. And the hills, roads, rivers, trees, and everything about Himachal still beckons me.

How can somebody say that everyone's a hypocrite? I mean, how can everyone fall into that same category of people who pretend to have qualities or beliefs that they do not really have. I say what I feel, I do what pleases me, or what I think is right. I have shocked, amazed, pleased, embarrassed, and angered a lot of people with my words and actions.

I: Not the selfish, egoistic “I” but the proud, respect yourself & others “I” with an identity of its own.

Jennifer Connelly: One of the most talented, beautiful, understated and underrated actress of our time. See at least 5 of her movies and you'll know.

KLPD: As in the movie that translated it as the betrayal of the erect dick. It actually applies to a lot of other things too but you still have got to be man enough to go through that kinda experience (no pun intended)!!!

Love & Les Paul: Never try to be cool about it, never listen to anyone and never follow rules when it comes to love; just soak in the whole experience and follow your own heart, and your head too, sometimes.

Will somebody, anybody please buy me a Les Paul? :-)

Madness & Monica Belluci: Nah, I'm not going to say or write about Mother. Everyone says that his/her mother is the best, what else is new? I would rather write about madness and say that each one of us need a little bit of it to uncover, experience and learn the mysteries of our own lives.

And as for Ms.Belluci, just look at her and dream on.

Nirvana: We all need to find our own heaven, our own definitions or conditions for a blissful life instead of comparing with someone else's idea of happiness.

Old Monk: The one who started it all. Many a friendship has been forged and tested, while the old monk kept a watch over each one of us.

Poems & Pink Floyd: Not the spring-is-coming, or life-is-beautiful types, I love poems about life itself, the realities and naked truths about it.

Music that soothes and transports you, anytime, every time. The music of the Gods.

Questions: Ask. Be curious. May your thirst for knowledge never be quenched coz every adventure in life begins with questions.

Rock Music & Rain: It flows in my veins and it pumps in my heart; I need it all the time, for my sanity, for peace and for ecstasy.

I can watch the rain, listen to it and smell it. It's difficult to describe but like a lot of people, rain does something to me.

Sex & SRK: Everyone loves sex. No further comments!

The dimpled khan. The actor (?) with the same stupid expression for all emotions and roles. Sex sells and SRK sucks.

Tea: Can be tea & coffee both, but I love tea better. I can drink it anytime, any number of times. My favorite is tea without milk, with a dash of lemon or ginger. And for those who don’t know, try a cup of strong tea (without milk) after a joint, for that out-of-this-world experience.

Under-aged: For a long, long time I have to carry and show some ID with my DOB/age whenever I go to pubs or whenever I go to watch an "A" certified movie. And this went on till my PG, after I had already finished 4 years of engineering. Sometimes funny, sometimes embarrassing, and sometimes very very irritating. Now, after working for about 4-5 years, the world thinks I’m in college.

Vodka: My 2nd favorite after Rum. Absolutely love it with fresh lemon juice and ice cubes, and nothing else.

Walking & Women: I LOVE walking. In Delhi I have walked from CP to South Ext twice, and I have walked from Chanakya Theater to Lajpat Nagar once (that was a bet). And right now in Bangalore, I walk home from the office everyday, takes me about 50-60 minutes.

I love women too. But my lips are sealed :-)

X: X as in ex boyfriends or ex girlfriends. What does it actually stand for? Expired? Extinct?

Yaar & YOs: The friends and the pseudos. You gotta know how to spot and differentiate between the two.

Zest: Enthusiasm, passion, the zest for life.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Multi-tasking is something I've never been good at. When I'm reading a book, I prefer silence all around me. Unlike a lot of people, I don’t like to read with some music in the background. When I'm watching a movie, I want to hear every word, notice the details, and more importantly know and understand what the movie's all about.

When I'm into something I'm so totally into it, relationships, for instance. When I’m in love, I see and care for my woman only. The one thing that I swear upon is that, I'll never ever two-time her or what some people call "multi-tasking" these days. To me, that makes someone a liar and a coward, and someone so weak that he/she can't take a simple decision. I have been with a fair number of women, but each one of them has been with me at different points of time. Or to put it more directly, after the end of a relationship, there has always been some new woman, a perfect stranger, waiting for love, waiting for a new journey, waiting for me.

I have never proclaimed to any of my loves that she's the last woman I'll love, if we ever broke up or if anything ever happened to her. I have always believed and I still do, that I'll find another woman that will fascinate, excite and challenge me if the present relationship ever ends.

A lot of things have kept me away from the whole concept of two-timing but only one person has shown and taught me the finer details of it, and he's my own father.

I didn't know about it for almost 6 years. It was only when I turned 7 that I came to know about the 'other woman'. At that age, I was just surprised and not at all shocked. Mom would tell us much later that if it had not been for the kids (us), she would have left my father a long time back.

There were quarrels, almost everyday. And every time dad came home late from the office, it was worse. All of us - my brothers and sisters, learned to ignore it after sometime but as we grew up, we began to discover a lot of unanswered questions. How and why did dad have two sons with that 'other woman' if mom had found out about her at the start of their affair? Why did dad send those two kids to the best school in the state when he sent me and my elder brother to a small, unknown, one wooden building school? Why didn't he ever make up his mind, and love and live with only one woman?

The two sons from the 'other woman' were in the same age group as my elder brother and me. And every time my elder brother and I topped our classes, mom would be so happy and so proud. She would also become vengeful and remind my father how his other 'two sons' despite studying in the best school would never ever be better than her own sons. A shamed, confused and angry father who used to drink everyday, and a hurt mother who couldn’t walk away because of the kids and because she could never stop loving him – those were the darkest days my family has ever seen and known.

It's been so many years now, decades in fact, and I have never ever seen this 'other woman' and her two sons - my step-brothers. I don't know their names either. My own 2 eldest brothers and big sister, something tells me that they still have the biggest & deepest scars from that phase of our family history. One elder bro, me, kid sis and bro, we were lucky to come out of the whole thing with some scratches only.

Mom has been the strongest person, and Dad has always been so good to each one of us despite getting drunk and quarrelling with mom almost every night. I never thought of him as bad or heartless, but just someone who made a very big stupid mistake. And yes, he was a fucking liar and a fucking coward too, at one point of time. Sometimes, I want to ask him a thousand questions but that look in his eyes tells me that he had asked himself those questions. And that look in his eyes tells me that he will never forgive himself.

As for the 'other woman', I no longer hate her. Dad was to be equally blamed for whatever happened, but I want to meet her someday, and just look in her eyes. And hopefully I will find the answers there.

is she there,
somewhere in the dark dungeons
of your memory?
is she still there,
walking behind you
whenever you look back?
do you sometimes see her,
in all the empty places
of your heart?
do you see her in a crowd?
or do you see her,
only when you switch on
the headlights?
and do you sometimes see her,
when you are holding mother,
in your arms?

do you see him
as you used to
just like the day
you first saw him
on your way back home
from school?
do you still get charmed
by his looks and words?
do you see
guilt in his eyes?
or do you feel it yourself?
do you feel
humiliated? betrayed?
has everything been forgiven?
or do you still wanna kill father?

what do you see
when you look at yourself?
a seductress? a fool?
or a woman wronged?
did his looks and words
sweep you off your feet?
or has it swept you
down the drain and into the gutters?
do you miss him
or do you want him to
miss you instead?
do you still talk with him
relive the romance and passion
or do you relive your follies?
have you forgiven him
have you forgiven yourself
or do you still cry
under the silver shadow
of a mocking full moon?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Guitar World mentions they will be performing at Mumbai, Bandra Kumla Ground (June 2)

The Aerosmith official site says the concert will be at Bangalore, Palace Grounds (June 2). STATUS: Please Note VENUE and CITY CHANGE

I’m praying for Bangalore though:-)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I went to Chennai about 3 weeks back, by the Shatabdi Express. Berths in the sleeper class, the AC 3-tiers and 2-tiers in all the other Bangalore-Chennai trains were unavailable because of heavy bookings on that extended weekend. AC Chair Cars of the Shatabdi was the only option left.

And that journey brought back memories of my school days, the Rajdhani Express and Calcutta. I usually flew from my home town to Calcutta, stayed there for a day or two, and then went to Delhi by the Rajdhani. And when our school vacations coincided, I travelled with my brother too. Same route but he had to go further, to his school in Sanawar, Himachal Pradesh. Lucky bum, he won a scholarship and studied in one of the best schools in India.

My first memory of Calcutta was the blast of hot air when the plane doors opened. The big crazy traffic jams, and seeing the Bengali script on the street signs, shops, hoardings & billboards, and everywhere else. It's a language every literate Manipuri can read and write, and most of the times, better than our own mother tongue. It helped a lot in locating an address too, anywhere in Calcutta. I remember one time in a restaurant; my brother was reading a letter from mom and this waiter looked at us, then the letter and then shouted to everyone, "Hey, these guys are one of us!!!" He was so happy and all of us were laughing together though I don't remember if we told him our stories or not.

And how can I ever forget Fancy bazaar and New market? I wanted to buy everything whenever I went there. The electronic items at Fancy bazaar and the rock-themed imported T-shirts at New market - they were always at the top of my list.

Talking of Calcutta, there was this Bengali woman in one of my previous companies in Delhi. One day, we were all having lunch and the conversation strayed to Indian cities. Suddenly this woman almost exclaimed, "Calcutta's the best and most beautiful Indian city!!" That's when I looked up, and asked her which other Indian cities/towns she has visited or lived in. Her answer was something I expected. It was her first time outside home, outside her Calcutta. There was no point in saying anything else because I knew she wouldn't understand a thing.

Or this guy I met just once in my life who told me that Delhi's such a dirty place. Found out after a few questions that he had seen Delhi for the first time in his life, from a train. He had seen the Old Delhi railway station, and had concluded that Delhi's a dirty city. Forget about hometowns, alma maters and everything people consider to be the best just because they have lived or studied there, I don't usually like it even when people say that their fathers/mothers are the best. I have never ever thought on those lines - to me this particular relation's more about blood bonds, attachment, familiarity, and a huge sense of responsibility.

To me the best relationship in this whole wide world is the relation you share with yourself, especially in your quiet lonely moments. The second best relationship is the one you share with your best friends and if you can have and extend this same relationship with your lover too, you got yourself a treasure.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Some of the things I see these days give me hope; hope for a better, more tolerant world. Almost every problem in this world originates from the very simple fact that people don't agree with each other. At one level, it's the differences in ideas and opinions. At another level, something deeper, it's the differences between countries, states, religions, and races.

But I guess the equation's changing everywhere, the lines are getting thinner. My friends are from all over the country - different states, different religions, and different looks. And so many of them have married outside their communities/states. Their friends, and their friends' friends have done the same thing too. So many, that it has become a very normal thing amongst my entire friends circle and theirs.

Nothing significant or great you would say, but look deeper and you will see. These couples aren't strict about religion, they don't care about superstitions and rituals, they hate the racial narrow minded attitudes harbored by their old parents/relatives towards other communities/races/religions, they speak mostly English, and their kids don't look like they belong to any particular race/state/community.

Maybe, hopefully, in another 20-30 years, at least in the big/metropolitan cities of India, the lines are going to get very, very blurred. The boundaries between languages will crumble first, and this will be followed by the 'different look' boundaries. The differences between religions will go away too, someday.

And we’ll be left with differences in ideas and opinions only, which is in fact something very healthy if we could respect and tolerate each other a little more. “Flags of our Fathers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima,” the story of a single battle seen from two different sides. Both the movies were great but I found “Letters from Iwo Jima” much better.

Sipping brandy with Savatage in the background....I just realized I have now got 3 nieces and 3 nephews. My elder sister just had her first child - a daughter, and the whole family asked me to name her. I waited for one whole month thinking that somebody else would come up with a name, but no such luck. So I named my niece Delphina, and my sister loves it.

Moms and their kids; they’ll never stop praising their children. The other day I was on the phone and sis was going on about how nice her daughter is and how quiet she is. “Sis, wait for sometime. She’s going to be just like you – moody and very, very stubborn. And she’s going to be this over smart and disobedient girl, just like you once were.” Sis broke out laughing and it was so good to hear her laugh. It was so good to know that we have all so mellowed, and we have all gone through a hell of a lot and learned so much. All my bros and sis, we were and we still are, a bunch of eccentrics to a lot of people around us. We are quite different from one another, but we are all hot-tempered and we all speak whatever’s on our mind – the legacy of our father. And from mom? We fall sick once in a decade or so. If I leave out the accidents and similar stuff, the last time I was bedridden with fever was in 1993.

Going to Chennai tomorrow, and from there I will be going with a friend to Pondicherry in his car. If he doesn’t have a stereo in his car, you are all going to see me in the headlines – for murder.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

For years, it didn't have a name. Nobody could give it a name.

For years, I have been fighting the demons that came with 'it', all alone.

It must have started around the time I was about 7-8 years old. It starts with this numbness and the kind of drowsiness that you experience only when you are completely exhausted, or when you haven't slept for a long long time. You know it is coming but you can't stop it.

Your whole body then freezes, you can't even move a finger or a toe, and your breathing becomes more and more difficult. There's this awesome heaviness and some kind of pitch-black darkness all around. And it's at this exact moment/phase when the hallucinations start and you begin to see Things.

I have seen quite a lot of out-of-this-world scary things and shapeless frightening forms. Experiences that make me moan, scream and sometimes cry, in that world halfway between the real and the unreal. But I will never forget this little girl, about 5-6 years old in a white frock and with long curly black hair - the only one I have seen twice from that other world. The first time, she was hovering above me, above my bed, standing but hovering and then she screamed at me. The second time, she was sitting on my chest crying silently and beating my chest with her two small fists. I will never know who she is. Someone from my past life, if there is ever one? Someone out there in this real world, waiting for me? But to be very honest, I don't wanna know, I don't wanna know at all.

I had the worst and most frequent of these experiences when I was in my early teens. I once stopped breathing; I could sense my sister in the same room but couldn't make a sound. After struggling to breathe for sometime I gave up, and that's when the lightness came. I remember a floating sensation for some seconds or milli-seconds, and the next moment I wake up gasping like someone who came up to the surface after a long time under the water.

It doesn’t happen that frequently nowadays but it still comes back. And I have learned a lot. I have learned that its name is Sleep Paralysis and that there is no cure for it. I have learned to stop its visits as much as I can. I have learned to control my breathing to save each precious breath when the heaviness & suffocation sets in. I have learned to shut out my 'mental eye' when that darkness arrives. Coz' if I do that, I don't see the Things and scream, or panic. I have also learned that it will never leave me and it will always be a part of my life.

4 near-death experiences of unconsciousness & floating before my 30th year, and just one from 'It' or Sleep Paralysis - I guess I'm gonna be all right. And I will keep on fighting 'coz I have no other choice. And I will keep on fighting 'coz I'll never let that darkness eclipse all the beautiful moments in my life.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I would rather go to office feeling excited and happy instead of comparing my salary with anyone else. I would rather walk or use public transport instead of buying a bike or a car 'coz I don't wanna contribute to the air & noise pollution, and the traffic congestion. And I JUST love walking.

I would rather do all the household work myself instead of making anyone else do them 'coz I choose to.
I would rather read a book, play the guitar or do something better, instead of watching TV everyday 'coz I believe you switch off your life when you switch on the TV.
I would rather go for a court marriage instead of spending a huge ridiculous amount on meaningless rituals & traditions, and unknown never-seen relatives & guests.
I would rather adopt a kid instead of having my own.
I would rather buy a plot of land in the hills instead of buying an apartment in the no-breathing-standing-living-space cities.
I would rather play an acoustic guitar instead of playing an electric one.
I would rather spend on/sponsor one of my cousin's education instead of sending any money for my 2 eldest brothers who had all the privileges & opportunities but threw them away coz of over-sized egos, total stupidity & plain fucking laziness. And I'm going to do it within the next 6 months, whether anyone in my immediate family likes it or not.

Friday, March 02, 2007

7:45 am - woke up

8:00 am - opened the newspaper

8:30 am - reserved a ticket for "a matter of life and death" iamfuckingexcited!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

about 6 years old
the inseparable deadly pair
my semi-acoustic
and that fat adorable old monk

Thursday, February 01, 2007


a soul in the shadows
a heart that bled so easily
and so silently
a mind of its own
always at the crossroads
waiting for a sign
waiting for no one

looking for a revelation
in all the wrong places
you were…
“a rebel without a clue”

wherever you are...
heaven or hell
i hope you have a guitar
in your arms
and a song
on your lips

**dedicated in the memory of Alberto who passed away recently. a friend, and a bro' in my tiny circle of friends. and one of the best guitar players i have ever known.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Never realized how much my life has changed, until this weekend.

Woke up at 4am on Saturday morning to see off S at the airport. The taxi finally came after a 1000 repeated instructions. These guys never fail to amaze me. 99 times out of 100, they won’t know a street or a landmark, and to think they are taxi drivers who are supposed to know a city inside-out.

The charm of Airports/Railway/Bus Stations; they always remind me of call centers, hospitals and police stations. They never sleep, they never stop, they are never boring, and you can think of a 1000 stories at these places 'coz everybody who comes here, has a story to tell.

The security has been tightened because of Republic Day and visitors are no longer allowed inside the airport. S went inside, all alone with the entire luggage. Wanted to be with her so much but as it wasn’t possible, I waited till the departure of her flight. So I walked all around the airport, watching the crowd and their little stories, and the faint glow of the early dawn sky.

Once she was on the plane, I made my way back home. Ever since I came to Bangalore, we have always been together on the weekends. So when I reached home, there was this silence so thick that I could hardly breathe. Left to myself, I hardly make a noise. Once, during a particular phase of my life, I went on for 3 days without uttering a single word.

In the evening a very good friend in Chennai called me up. He was living alone as he had relocated from Delhi because of his new job. His wife and little daughter are still in Delhi. And he said, “R, tell me one thing. How the hell do you manage to stay alone for so many years?”

I have been living alone for about 4 years and people have always asked me that question. This time, I didn’t say, “I don’t know” like I always used to. This time I told him that I understand.

S and I, we fell in love on Christmas Eve, about a year back. We began meeting regularly on weekends only after I came to Bangalore in May, 2006. Before that, it was a very difficult and expensive thing as we were thousands of miles apart.

There’s still two more weeks to go before she comes back; I have spent just one weekend without her and it feels like a whole year. I can say a million things about her but there’s just one thing I would like to say tonight.

She has painted my world and I never ever wanna change it.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Independence. Living on your own. Survival. Easy to say but for a lot of people, it’ll remain next to impossible; the hardest thing in this world.

It’s not related to your place of birth, your parents’ income, your circle of friends, or the story of your life. You, you only can take a decision on how you want to live your life. Being financially independent is not the only thing; there are a lot of other important things too.

I started washing my own clothes back home when I was in the 11-12 age range. Never knew why, but it sometimes offended my mom and elder sister. I could understand a bit about mom though; when a woman’s just known as a housewife because she doesn’t work or bring in the money, she is usually judged by the amount of housework she does.

I left home for my studies before I turned 16. And since then, I’ve lived with friends in hostels and rented 2-room /3-room flats. The first time, I didn’t know a thing about cooking; I was even scared of it. All I did in the first few months was helped the more experienced guys, by cutting the vegetables or cleaning the utensils.

I’ve been cooking since then, for 10 years or so now, and I know almost everything now, except for the fancy stuff like cakes and the other things you get at restaurants. And my approach to cooking has nothing to do with recipes or measurements. To me, cooking is all about sight, smell and taste.

People don’t have to become a chef just because they live away from their homes but they don’t have to be totally ignorant either. Or totally dependent on someone for that matter. So many people I know don’t even know how to make tea. They hire these cooks to buy the vegetables, cook and serve them, and wash the dirty utensils afterwards.

Then there’s another set of people to sweep and clean their rooms, and another to wash and iron their clothes. I get a lot of answers and excuses but it basically boils down to “I don’t know and I don’t have the time to learn” or a very simple and defensive, “Who’s got time?” And I wonder, and I wonder…I sweep and clean my room, wash and iron my clothes, buy vegetables, clean, cut and cook them, and wash the utensils after breakfast/lunch/dinner everyday. Sometimes, I have even sewn a tear or two in my clothes.

And I have been doing all this while I was a student, a customer care executive, a team leader, a project manager, an assistant manager…I have been doing all this work while I was working in the UK shift, US shift and the regular 9-6 shifts. And in between, I have also managed to find time to do the things I love.

Living with parents also doesn’t mean that people should get lost whenever they step outside the gate. In the bigger cities, I always find the migrants know a million things more about the city than the people who had lived there all their lives.

And it makes my blood boil whenever I see people treat their domestic help like dirt. And I wanna kill when they are just students who hire all these people with their parents’ money.

Last week, I met a friend’s friends – a couple in their early 30’s. They have a kid who has just learned to walk. The house was not big but it was not clean at all, the man and wife are both fat, the husband works, the wife doesn’t, and she was saying, “We have just hired a maid; she’ll be coming from next week.”

Oh dear Lord!!! One year down the line, I’m sure they will be spending money on a gym or some “Fuck The Rich and Lazy” diet.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Thought it was going to be a very quiet New Year’s Eve but it turned out to be a surprise. Was damn sure that it was just gonna be me and my girl, S. Had been cribbing a lot to her that she doesn’t know anyone worth meeting on the weekends, for a couple of drinks and interesting conversation.

But then an old friend of hers came from Hyd, and we all went to another friend’s place for the night. Someone mentioned the guitar and we took it from my place. It was a very nice group, and I had a great time though I learned the next day from S that I talked a lot of shit during the night. She and 3 others girls were the only sober ones in the group, and she remembered everything I talked about!!!

I realized too, afterwards, that I finished a whole lot of Vodka all alone – double the amount I used to normally drink on the weekends when I was in Delhi. The Vodka must have really got into my head as I had cut down heavily on drinks ever since I came to Bangalore. NEED to be VERY CAREFUL in the future.

When it rains, it pours. Not so quite, the fucking floods came along too in my case. Had been doing some freelancing work for the past 3 months or so, and then within a span of 2 weeks a total of 5 offers came - one each from Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore, and the last one from Malaysia. The Delhi offer was a huge temptation, the highest pay package and the promise of onsite trainings but the JD was a list of all the stuff that I am very familiar with, and I wanted to do and learn something new. Finally, after a lot of thought and headache, I accepted the offer from the company in Bangalore.

Watched Babel at PVR, one hell of a good movie. At home, on my PC, I’ve been watching movies almost every night. Some memorable ones include American History X, Don Juan de Marco, Fargo, Gia, Goodfellas, Henry – Portrait of a Serial Killer, House of Sand and Fog, It Happened One Night, Kalifornia, Leon, Love Song for Bobby Long, Midnight Cowboy, Of Love and Shadows, Once Upon a Time in America, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Miami Blues, Revenge, Seven Years in Tibet, The Machinist, The Deer Hunter, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape…

Been listening to Killswitch Engage’s “The End of Heartache.” The whole album is just BEAUTIFUL!!!