No New Year Greeting This!

I need no occasion to wish you luck, no special date on which I remind you of how precious you are to me. As you tread into 2012, I continue to wish you peaceful mornings, busy afternoons and love filled nights. I wish that you will always have a place you would call your own, a shoulder you can lean on and always, always, someone to drive you home.

Dream on, for your dreams are my fodder, live life like it would last forever...

Cling On Baby

How long has it been? 
Close to 20 I guess. No no, it is 18, 18 years. I remember I was 16 and you were 18. We could not even run away together, I was still a minor :)

You are right, it is 18... not that I would have run away with you... I had no money no friends and did not know where away was :)

Dog, you were always a Dog Raj!!!

Bhou Bhou but you still tag along, don't you?
I do, I always will... I will lead you by your leash until one of us is gone.

And then, then what would the other do?
I know what I will do with you if you are gone, I will steal some cinders from your ash and make myself an amulet. I will always carry you along, until I am a old hag and I cant walk any more. And then, when when I go to sleep, they will leave that amulet on.

Straight out of FLS princess. How would you explain that to your husband?
I'll tell him something.Not that I plan to marry anytime now!

How is it Princess... with me around?
Hmmm! I can walk into the night and not be worried about Ghosts behind the mountains, I can sleep tight and not be worried about strangers under the bed, I go to the loo and I am not worried about cameras at the vent. I am not afraid of falling sick, not afraid of late night parties and can get drunk. As long as you are there, there is light.

So I am your friendly bodyguard eh!?
No Raj, you are my dog.

Wisdom from Living

The years that have passed leave grey shades of darkened lines on my face. My mother would not have recognized me, had she not seen me so often and for so long. The years in the sun have etched lines of laughter and thoughts on to me. With me they live and grow. What began a lifetime ago is now old tale well spun. Memories of you and of first love and of growing up in a small town full of known faces, memories of one hundred and thirty love letters written to you in brown ink, on fancy stationary. Memories of the day you burnt them and exorcised me from your life, so that I can walk back again, when I chose, now that I am a ghost of love once known.

The old Rado watches still strike a present note. Seasons come and seasons go, but they now talk of global warming a lot more. The designs of cars have changed, actors and actresses have come on gone. ET happened and then the Titanic and all have become folklore. The black and white photos of dads and moms gave way to morphed images on the I phone. Amidst all that is constant all that has changed, the wisdom from living is just the stupid lines on my face.

When You Smile



When you smile, it is like a brilliantly candlelit chapel by a dark and lonely road side. For when you smile, you sustain hopes of peace and happiness, you sustain hope for Life. You would never know, how many strangers take delight, in those little lights you spread, just because you smile.

Someday, if I were to find a frown fret your brows, I would call in the Spring warriors, storm the ocean doors. I would talk to the fairies and the gnomes, I will call in the summer winds for support. And around you I would weave, your favorite dream. I would go that extra mile for I so badly need you to smile :)

Why I Give Way

My Grandma has had a profound influence on the family. Each one of us remember her in our own very special way. Each one of us have had life changing experiences with her over time. She was a very strong and mostly stubborn woman. Her likes are dislikes were known atleast a couple of miles around the town :) She rarely ventured out of our house, except to collect her pension and do the prescribed rounds of the temples. When she came back once from her trip to the pension office, she told me how she would wait for someone tall and wide to cross the street before her, and the moment she found someone fitting this description, she would quickly cling on to the stranger and ask for help in crossing the street. Sometimes she would have to wait for as much as 30 minutes before she could find someone who would help her cross the streets.

Indian streets are a desolate story. I am happy that lord Hanuman always protected here from traffic accidents.

For as long as I remember, I have stopped whatever I drive for the old and the very young. My grandma lives in all.

My Story To Tell

Long winding never ending, centered around me
It may be
Desolate with intermittent laughter
Spread around valleys of blue silences
They may be
Of longing of love and of wating
I agree

In this story book of life
It is my story to tell.

Running on Empty

This life survives on Grace. All those little good things we have done evens out all the misdeeds we keep rolling out. Strong words that burnt, promises not kept, dates not honored, calls not made, birthday's forgotten, relationships lying in deep freeze and lousy Facebook updates, all these have used up all my grace. 

Smiles that are remembered, laughter that is shared, money that uplifts, and time well spent...I am running on empty, I need to get good things going on again.

Phantom Memories


Always in the shadows, 
Never showing up. 
Fragments of unclear thoughts, 
Heard but never understood. 
Not remembered, 
but never forgotten. 

A shade that reminds me of your hair
Some lines that reminds me of your lines
Some days that reminds me of days with you
Some pain that reminds me of your anguish
Some jingle that sounds like your laughter
Some scene that reminds me of your tears.

In the phantom memories from my yesterdays, 
You live on.

The Howling of the Winds

I recently bought a flat in an apartment close by. It is nearing completion. I bought it because there were miles of greens around the place and loads of wind. Today, standing in what would be the master bed-room, five floors high, I could hear the winds howl. I looked around at the carpenters and ceiling guys, busy at work. Soon, it will be complete and everybody will clear out. I will have a beautiful apartment, all by myself.

It will soon be I and the howling winds again. On my way back home, I bought myself a bowl full of fishes. When I move into the new place, I will have more than myself moving in. Let the winds howl, I have heard them a lifetime. I know what the speak of. They try to shout down silences with their noise. I have got my fishes.

A Little Bit of You In Me

I am sure you know, I see it in your eyes when you look at me, that look of surprise and awe, of seeing something you gave birth to, now grown so big. I am sure you know, there is a little bit of you in me. Its not your looks, for you are the most beautiful of God's creations I will live to see, Its not your granite patience, for I have that streak of impatience that came from dad, It is not your resilience, for someday I find myself giving up and giving in and its not your foresight, for most days, I can't see beyond myself. 

It is your love. 

Just like you will never have enough of me, I, will never have enough of you in my life. As a toddler when you cuddled me to sleep, and remained awake all night long, as a kid when you dressed me to school and then hurried to work, as a grown up, when you counseled me through all the turmoils that rock my insignificant life, you made it all seem a very big deal for you. You make me feel like a V.I.P. 

Every time I think of you, I can feel the universe converge to a silent dot, and the dots are full of you. In this life and forever, may I have the joy of being born to you.

That Thing They Call Leggings

Not sure who started the trend. It might be some gal who got tired of the churidars and all the trouble they had to go through to get out of it! But whoever wore leggings first, did a mighty big favor to loads of us guys. You know what, when I was a kid, there was Asha Parekh and Vijayanti Mala and Saira Banu with their thunder thighs all over the silver screen, but then when I grew up, there was nothing quite like it. Girls had switched over to strangely Arab looking loose fitting clothes and all of them ended looking like Aladdin’s maids! (I think they called it Patiala's). And then came the leggings, ah!, the leggings!!

They are girl’s best friends, easy to get into and easier to get out of, and they remain looking neat all day long! And who would mind the stares that they get on the roads! Girls, I am sure, find it a lot more comfortable finding guys stare at their legs than those more strategically positioned interesting places :)

I love the black ones and the maroon ones, the blacks because ambient light glows through fair skin and the reds because, well, girls look great in red, don’t they?

Long love the Leggings! May all girls wear them all the time, and let the Kurta’s have more slits down the sides…:)  LOL!

Time Flows

Yellow lights blink red. Life comes to a standstill at familiar cross roads. The soft hum of the engine and some song playing on the stereo unhinge thoughts from where they were at rest. A soldier martyred, a nation in trauma and a world waiting for the Republicans to sneeze. You have a new profile pic, its beautiful. There is much work ahead, it will be a long day.

Nothing makes sense. I am a seeker. The lights turn green. I drive my thoughts.

Blind Since 18

In my minds eye
You are beautiful to see.
You skin clear and translucent,
Your eyes an amazing shade of grey.
You smell like fresh flowers 
And smile like spring.

I have been blind ever since I first set my eyes on you,
You are all that I need to BE. 
There is nothing more out there that I need to see :)


Formless

There was once a time when what I was was not contained in time. When I knew you and my knowledge of you was not bound by a frame of reference. You were not outside of me and I did not have an existence outside of you.

Coiled into each other like serpents intertwined, we lay for ages motionless in each other arms. In losing you I have lost that wonderful silence in my life.

The beginning

When I knew you and my knowledge of you was not bound by a frame of reference. You were not outside me nor did I have an existence outside of you.
Coiled into each other like serpents intertwined, we lay for ages motionless in each other arms.
In losing you I have lost that wonderful silence in my life. Come back, lets be one again.

More@ Life in a Multiverse

More Time Please

When I was younger, the wheels of time used to spin slower. The whirring was not as clear and as urgent as when I crossed my 30s. Now nearing the 40s, the spin seems crazy and loud. I am worried that I might gobble up time at a faster rate than I can digest. I liked it slower. There is so much that remains undone!

Like a Kite tightly held captive to the ground I have been flying but have always had a constrained flight. I am yet to break free. Yet to be blown by winds of destiny. I need time for that strong draft of wind to blow my way, blow me away.

Grandma Never Lied

I know how you feel,
When you close your eyes and pretend sleep.
I know its not dreams that you see
And I know how scary it is
When night surround and you are on your own.

I have heard noises you hear
I have been down these desolate lanes before.
Do not worry I say
Help is around the corner
And most times
You don't even have to holler

Close your eyes and remember 
All the loved ones who walked into the night!
They are always with us
My Grandma never lied.
 

Tunneling Through Time

It seems like life is a stretch of golden sand and I crawl beneath the dunes of time. I know that someday winds of change will blow, some day the dust in my eyes will be cleansed by snow. Until such day I walk my life with a pocket-full of dreams.
When it is time, I would hear you speak, and I would know. From this slumber, new life begins.

Filling In the Blanks

The lines that you edited in hindsight
The dream that you choose to forget every time you wake up
The memory that you wantonly erase,
The color of the blush
Behind your mascara.

I live in your dark places
When you close your eyes, you see me there
I live in those corners where you go
When you are alone and there is nowhere else to go
 

You Are My Favorite Tweet

When you wrap yourself around me like a shawl,
I can walk into the snow
Suffer all of life's falls.

When you kiss me in the eyes
I can stare down the Sun
Follow you all my life.

Journeyman

The road ahead is one straight line eternity. 
Nobody waits for me where it ends. 
All I have is this journey 
And It is here that I want you with me.
 


Remembering Karl Marx

The Paradise Hotel crossroads is a busy traffic junction. On my way home, I wait for the lights to turn green thrice before I can cross the signals. It is not as bad as Bangalore, all it takes is around 15 minutes. Friday evening was one such evening and I was busy staring at bums of other cars. There was a little space between my car and another small car and a cyclist was busy trying to wedge through. His cycle scraped the mud flaps of the small car. An old man of around 74 came out of the car, shaking out of anger, clearly out of control. He held the poor cyclist by the collar, shook him a couple times and let out a string of choicest abuses!

The cyclist clearly was a white card holder (below poverty line) and the old gentleman was from the urban elite. Once the tirade was over, the cyclist shrugged off with a stoic face. The old man, happy to have got an opportunity to abuse in public, also went into the air-conditioned comfort of his car.


When two worlds collide, wonder what impressions are retained of each other. 

Always Connected


Sometimes I wonder what I can do? 
To someday, get another hello from you. 
And while I figure this out, I want you to know, 
You dont have ever think twice,... 
I am always, connected to you

RnDm Lines

When It Rains and it is Night 

The street light catches falling rain 
in a yellow sulphur glow, 
I see a kid holding on to the window sill 
and looking out into the rain. 
A car drives down the quiet night, 
Its wipers sounding like loud heartbeats. 
It is a silent night... 
And I am reminded of you. 

Should sleep overcome me


Should sleep overcome me 
And there remain something unsaid, 
Wake me from my slumber
For I shall have no peace when dead. 

Should the roads diverge 
And the path I chose not be the one you tread, 
Call me back in time 
For what use is this journey, 
If your hands are not in mine?

Where do you want to go? What do you want to be?

What do you want to be? Where do you want to go? I have been at the wrong end of these two questions too many times in life. My response confuses people, their question confuse me!

What do you want to be? Well, the last time I checked, I was already busy being! I just want to grow old, in possibly less interesting circumstances than the present, and die, at around 100 or so.  I appreciate that my milestones are not the milestones most people would set for themselves. The next obvious question is what would you do for that long? That long, I mean I just polished off 36 years of living and it seems that I was born only today morning! I want more time, I love living and I have been incredibly busy doing just that. 100 seem just fine.

Where do you want to go? Now this is a tricky one. I always thought that we all go to the either of the two places. You go up, or you go down. Wherever I go, finally, I am sure I will be much trouble there.

Interesting questions have interesting answers; this one does not fit the bill! What are your answers?

Mom, Colleague, Friend, Wife… and so much more

Mom dropped home by Colleagues-Last Working Day
My mom retired from government service after some 38 years of service across Bihar and Kerala. Her colleagues threw a superannuation party for which the family was invited. Keeping our own family traditions alive, we were there in full quorum! The superannuation speech by her colleagues, the tears in the eyes of some of her colleagues and the general sincerity in the speeches gave me insights into a dimension of her personality. It took me 36 years (my age) to understand this completely. It was my mother they were referring to but for them, she was a colleague they will miss, for some a friend and others a supervisor they will remember of fondly.

Only a woman can play so many roles with such élan. There is some embedded chip running in them that help them be so many different people rolled into one, and play out each one of these roles fully! As she starts a new inning in her life, I wish her luck and years of health and happiness :)

The Comm ah! Before The Period.

To those who moved on; The choice was yours, not mine. 
To those distanced in time; someday we shall meet again. 
To those alienated by memories; You continue to appear in my thoughts. 
To those separated by wealth; I wish we all had a little less! 
To those who have passed away; hold on, I too am on my way. 

And for those who trudge along; Thank you. Thank you. 
I hope our love; this life sustains.

Passing This Way!

I cannot stop my thoughts from thinking about you still. I cannot will away memories of time I spent with you, until there was no time left. Mercilessness and unforgiving though the time is, I believe someday it will bring us together again; someday it will be like our yesterdays again.

Someday when we walk into the evening sun, hand in hand, silent and swaying in the winds... I would take that leap of faith and kiss you. This time, I shall not wait for it to be dark again. Darkness lasts longer in this part of the world.

Thank You

If it were left to me

I would have meandered my way
Through these desolate shores
and wiled my life away.

Thank you for stopping by
Stepping in and sharing a smile
All the colors in my life
Are colors that you left behind
All the songs that I sing
Are from thoughts that you left behind

Not that the journey is shorter now
Not that the roads are better
Nor the destiny less unforgiving
But the difference is
I almost like this living!

From Life in a Multiverse

Living with Reasons

What is life if it does not sustain, some memories from the time spent together? Why dream if they do not wake up with me and fill my each day, with thoughts of you? What is time if it would not bend and make way for someday some more time with you?

Why have lived at all if it were in a life without you?

Every One Has A Story To Tell

Everyone has a story to tell, it depends on who is listening. I close my eyes and think of the time I have spent with the people in my life. I have seen sorrow where smiles were first expressed, I have discovered joy behind pools of tears. In the long walks of life, every stranger that we meet, leave memories, write stories. I am yet to hear something original, something compulsively different from the rest of them; the masters have written it all in great books and brought to life in great movies; but that seldom matters.

What matters is that everybody has a story to tell. Stories of conflicting desires, missed opportunities, gained love and lost lovers. My stories are precious to me, they define me. So are yours, hold on to them, tend to them, care for them. 

I am my stories, without them, there is very little left of the idea called me.

My Pot of Gold

Raj, please come out baby, there is a rainbow in the sky.
Ya I see that, Its been a while
Long while Raj, so long since we saw a rainbow!
18 years, its been 18 years since we saw a rainbow.

Do you believe what they say?
Yes I do
Please! Don’t be so naive, its just grandma’s tale
No I believe, I believe that there is a pot of Gold
Offo! Then run behind it, tum bhi na!

I did once, I chased a rainbow across the river, I found my Gold 18 years ago…. And you know what?
What?
She still shines as new.

The Birthday Present

Mom calling us to have Payasam
Today was my mom's 60th birthday. The last birthday she would celebrate at office, for she retires this month end. Like all original Mallus, I am not with her, I am in a far away land doing god forsaken things to lend credence to what we call a "Job," and so is dad and Sis, all at different places. 
I wished her in the morning and then I waited till noon to hear from her. She called at 3.00, quite emotional and said: "Thank you for the cake and the flowers, my colleagues had forgotten my birthday, your cake reminded them and they sang me a birthday song!" 

Thank you Rajani (my sis) for prodding me to send the gift. That special woman in my life felt special today, away from family, but connected and cared for. The power of gifts is in what they do. Allindiaflorist.com delivered again. Thanks to them as well. 

I wish I could be there with her today, thank God for the cake... and the flowers. Happy Birthday Mom.

Sunsilk Girl

And when it was time to say goodnight, I would hold you close to my aching heart... and just before it was time to let go, I would breathe in the fragrance of your shampooed hair. 
And as you walked into the night, I could see them catching the light: streaks of lightning shining in the night.

Tadpoles In A Swimming Pool

I had two ways to deal with my frozen shoulders, work less or workout more. I chose the second option and got myself a membership in an Olympic size swimming pool run by the Town. I have at best been an unwilling swimmer. There was a pool at school aeons ago, and I remember drinking most of its water the first time I tried my hands at swimming. I knew it was time to drink some municipal water as well and I was game. It has been over a month since I have been swimming. I drink less of water these days and keep observing the people splashing around. There are the kids, most less that 7 or 8 years of age and they streak through the pool like tadpoles, they are all around, and had our mouths been a little more accommodative, us adults would have actually swallowed a couple of them accidentally and no one would have known, they are so small and all over!

Then there are the frogs, the experienced swimmers who keep their head down in the water most of the time and float around like large toads. Every once in a while I would see strange eyes behind diving gogs staring at me, before they vanished under water again.

Finally, there are the hippos, the healthy (seriously healthy I would say) swimmers who wade around the water in slow motion. Every time one dived into the water, the tadpoles, the frogs and Rajesh Kumar would make way for them. It was surreal, majestic, until the tadpoles re-infested lost space.

I love the time I spend at the pool, the camaraderie, the bonhomie and of course loads of water to drink is all part of the little dose of community that I get in my life. The hot looking moms add to the general chaos as well!

Weeds In My Garden

It feels like yesterday when you were with me. The clear skin glowing through your sleeveless green churidar was a sight for sore eyes. The silken spread of your hair would let through glitters of sunshine from the window sills, you smelled of fresh jasmines on a warm winter night. It was only yesterday that I breathed you in, only yesterday, it seems, that I could bathe in your nearness, your presence. I wish I had told you, when there was still time, how much you brightened up my dreary life, how you used to slow down time for me, how you used to fill more of life, in every second you were with me.

Its has been a long time since I went out on a walk, long time since I have looked out of window sills and longer still since I have seen a sunrise. Everything, reminds me of you.

Pushing Out The Poor

When I came to live in the suburbs of Secunderabad 6 years ago, the place used to have all the old world charms of a very small town. Traffic was scanty and people had loads of time. "My Family Cafe" was round the corner and there used to be an old waiter who I fondly called Kaka who used to work during the day and live in a small room nearby. Kaka vanished some two years ago. There used to be a cobbler who used to run his business out of a one room shop quite close to my apartment. The shop is now a Air conditioned beauty parlor. The cobbler too disappeared a year ago. So did the cycle repair shop, the tiffin outlet and the ladies tailor. 

The small suburb is now a congested city with bike showrooms and super markets. The rentals have gone up and so has the cost of just about everything. The cities do not sustain the poor anymore. The poor fight for survival and then they disappear. Its almost Kafkaesque!. I have survived, but the poorer in my community have disappeared. If this is growth, I am not sure who is growing. If this is development, I sure don't want to know the cost. 

Some days, I remember Kaka, other days, I miss the cobbler.

Dried Tamarind


Today I used the last of dried Tamarind my grandma packed for me two years ago. Two years ago, I did not foresee that she will no longer be there to pack me another consignment. Having lived alone almost all my life, going back home once a quarter was an absolute delight. Grandma would be waiting on the portico, sometime, she would not not sleep late into nights, waiting for her favorite grandson's footsteps to  alight. She would hug me and when she did, everything was all right.

Tonight's fish curry tastes wonderful. Wonderful because the last sprinkle of tamarind adds to the spice. There will be this spice no more. Ah! fickle life!

Mathura Wali

When the hymns are sung and Krishna comes to life, when the chants reach the skies and the incense smells divine, I ask HIM if HE knows how this story ends. Pat comes the reply with a smile, and then, silences fill-in where noises until now ruled.

Where one story ends, the other begins. Its a book that I could read for ever and forever will the pages run. I have seen the edge of the world, it is round. If I start tonight, I would simply come around. Caught among the strings of chapters intertwined, is one meandering life.

Broad Canvass

Can I share a story with you?
Have I heard it before?
I am not sure.
Ok, go ahead.
Twenty years ago, when I was in school, I fell in love with one of the most beautiful girls in the world..
Do I know this woman?
I am not sure.
OK

She was like a summer breeze, she was like spring time, she was all those things you hear in fairy tales and see in Hollywood Movies. One day, we met outside school and went on a long drive. In one of those lost lanes of life's highways, I kissed her... and that was my first kiss.
 
Why are you telling me all this?
I am not sure
Ok

When I held her face up close to mine, I smelt her perfume and it was divine. I have never smelt something as memorable as that again. I saw that her lips were pink and not red almost like a Cherry that had lost its blush! and her face was as fair as a Russian Princess. We kissed and the evening sky lit up with stars, the Moon quickly brightened up and lighted her face. I remember that we kissed for eternity. I still remember how my heart beat 120 a minute. I remember that her skin was translucent red, I remember the perfume... it was divine.

I know. It was my mother's. I never wore that again.

Lets light one.
Yeah! Lets light one.

It Takes A Long Time Living

And then someday, when I walk into a room full of strangers, I shall feel your presence and look around. When I find you, I hope you will remember, once we were friends. I hope you would look into my eyes and remember to smile. I always loved your smile.

Someday at a traffic junction with no name, I shall hear a honk and look behind, right into your eyes. And when I see you, I hope you will remember, together, we had traveled once. I hope you will look into my eyes and smile. I always loved your eyes.

Its such a long life!

Rajesh Uncle...Thoda Sa Color

The day before was Holi, the festival of colors. For a civilization ever waiting for a reason to celebrate, Holi is the perfect excuse. It’s a riot, it’s a holler, its insane.

As the day broke, I could hear children from my apartments slowly geting into the Holi mood. There were a lot of climbing up and down the stairs, and then came the shreiks of delight and loads of splashes! I went down to the apartment gates and was immediately welcomed by the Rajesh Uncle thoda color, Rajesh Uncle thoda color (Rajesh uncle, let us put some color on you). I bent my face down to the little ones so that they could reach my face... they applied some red color on my face and as I turned to go back to my flat; they bombed me with little balloons filled with colored water!

Little rascals all, you made my Holi memorable. Thank You.

Will Never Have Enough Of You!

Each day that ends brings fears anew. 36 years of you is just ain't enough. I was too young, the first 10 years, too confused for the next twenty. 6 years of you is just ain't enough, 60 would be somewhat right... and then I would want some more.

To the world's greatest dad, for your love and never letting go. I want more. I want 60 more.


Ps. Inspired by ACD's blog on similar lines

Two Tequila Shots and You




Have two shots of Tequila
Down some wine too
And once you are high
Call me from that loose end of my life,

And blame me
For this alternate Life!

From Life in a Multiverse

Two Tequila Shots and You

Have two shots of Tequila
Down some wine too
And once you are high
Call me from that loose end
of my life,
And blame me
For this alternate Life!

I hate open doors

All my life I have had loved ones walking into the night. Some said they might not come back; some said “we shall meet again when it is time”, and then I had some who said they will be back. 

All my life I have lit candles in dark dreary nights and slept with hurricane lamps when there was storm. In the darkest hours of winter, I have burnt sleep to fuel memories of those who are gone.

I now dread open doors. They confuse me all the more. Of the handful few who squeezed in and stayed behind; I am very worried who might walk out and be gone!

The Dark of the Night

You would not have walked with me Had the nights been not so scary And your nightmares All so real for you. I would not have held your hands...