Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wolves and Broken Glass

They weave in and out
Nameless faces
Chattering and joking in the courtyard
While he lies within
Some distant relatives who never met him,
And some strangers with them,
Like this is a free-for-all,
Coming without even being called.
Do they even know who he was?
That he liked trees,
Smiled with his eyes half-closed when the breeze
Danced across him, and he was happy
Just to have been there while he was.
That our hearts broke to see him that way,
The faded smiled, the jaded eyes,
The falling hair, slipping slowly into the lair.
He lay there smiling, even as he lay cold.
He didn’t see the circus his last gathering had become.
We couldn’t do anything, standing in a corner
Of our own house, like uninvited guests
Watching it all in disbelief,
Numbed by grief.
He was gone, forever this time.
They did not know,
They did not care.
Sipping on cola and munching cookies,
They tsked around for a while.
Then stopped pretending when they got tired
And forgot all about him.
When the wolves had ravaged and left at last,
We sat in a corner
It had not sunk in.
And he for whom they had come,
He lay in a wooden box in the mud smiling.
And his photograph lay in another corner of our house,
Where he had been just a while back,
Someone had elbowed the photograph and it had fallen
On the floor and cracked,
The crack ran from his temples, across his lips
And down his throat,
Onto his chest.
They had broken his smile at last.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Devil's Advocate

I know it's been a while! But when the creative juices go dry, one fishes out some old ones from the cellar and puts it on the table. :P

So here goes again … another bad boy on the anvil. And this time it’s the baap himself --- the BIG DADDY of everything evil, the man who is the very epitome of wickedness --- *drums rolling, cymbals clashing* it’s SATAN! 

So the 'threaten’r' got his ultimate revenge, defacing this poor guy in front of the whole world. God made poor Satan the scapegoat for all the loopholes he left in his ‘creation’! The story of the Creation is an apt example. God made a garden and a man and a woman, and left them loose in the Garden making them work like slaves all day. The Church might say, 'Arre, but they were happy na! Never did they complain!'; but hullo! I beg to differ! Did they know any other kind of life to complain? And then there was the Golden Rule --- 'You may eat of all the fruits in the garden except THAT ONE!' Of course, they would have wondered, 'Aisa kya hai bhai ki we can’t eat that!'

Enter our hero. Satan lures them to eat THE Fruit, God gets pissed, throws the couple out because they were doing 'adult vali cheezein' in his 'pwetty' garden. But let’s look at it this way --- had our dear friend the Devil not lured those two brick-heads to that apple, today we would (had we even existed since the lust that enables conception was created after the Fall!) have all been slaving away in God’s 'pwetty' Garden of Eden! No technology, no progress, just farmers without a salary! So well, the original Saviour was Satan then!

But there is a side of Mr Satan which many may not be aware of (or may be, I don’t know!). Let me tell you the story of how Satan came to be the Prince of Hell, since I love to show-off my knowledge of all that is evil (buhahaha!). So once upon a time, in Heaven so far, far away lived God, His Son and His gang of angels. Satan was the angel of music and light and was God’s favorite. Everything went great until one day like Ram Gopal Varma, God had an urge to create. So He set to work (by the way, I have always wondered … why did it take God six days to make the world? Isn’t He God?! And how come He got tired and took a day’s sick leave? Isn’t He God?) and created the Earth, the sky, light and darkness, land and water, animals and birds. That didn’t seem enough and He wanted to create Man in His own image (bloody narcissist!).

That’s when the trouble started. The only person God consulted was his Son and Satan went red with fury. (There’s an alternate myth that claims that God declared Jesus the second in command and Satan went mad with anger!) Jesus became the second in command automatically by virtue of his Father being the first in command! Satan had done all the work God asked for and had expected to be amongst the leaders of the creative team for Mission Creation of Human. But Satan was ignored. Satan got pissed, got a bunch of other rebels together and protested against the unfair nature of the proceedings. God could not stand someone voicing any opinions contradictory to his and threw him out along with the gang of rebels. It did not leave Satan depressed and dejected. Instead he made the best of what he had, fashioned a new kingdom of his own called Hell and had his own awesome party to which God and His bunch of losers were not invited! (Okay, I made up that part about the party! :P)

Satan in that sense is not the embodiment of evil, but on the contrary, a symbol of Rebellion and Perseverance! No wonder the Church hates him (they never could stand rebellion ever anyway!) Satan was in a way the first revolutionary hero to raise a voice against tyranny. God was the one who started dynasty politics; way before the Nehru family and Thackeray family ever were even in the stages of being born! Satan’s rebellion was the first revolution in the history of the world (if the Bible may be taken as authentic) and all repressed folks around the world should hail Satan as their inspiration and follow his lead!
The Church condemns Satan as being ambitious; but when did ambition ever become a sin? Throttling the neck of aspirations instead should be what sin is and in that case, the Church would be deemed the biggest sinner! Satan refused to follow the path set down by God and wanted to follow his own will instead and that caused him to be maligned as evil. He did what he felt was right and was punished for it. But he had a Dream. How is he any different from any of us then? Don’t we all have dreams? Does that make us evil? I nominate Satan as the ambassador of freedom and free will. Any takers?

P.S: Someday I shall put up a new post! Someday!

P.P.S.: Originally published in

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Unsung Hero- Ravana

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Ravana is one of the most wronged figures in mythology or literature. He is treated as a demon and Rama celebrated as the maryada purushottam who slew the monster. But Ravana was anything but a monster. In fact, he was much more humane than Ram ever was in his lifetime. At the risk of censure, I own up to my deep admiration for this great man who was an epitome of virtue.
Ravana, contrary to popular perception, was not a demon. The word “rakshasa” which has now come to mean “demon” actually has its roots in the word “raksha” or “to protect”. It has no connection whatsoever to any demonic undertones. But it is later mythology that crafted the tale in a way that portrayed the rakshasas in a bad light. Ravana is also referred to as an asura. The “asuras” in the Rig-Veda (earliest text) presided over moral and social phenomena with the “devas” ruling over natural phenomena.
There are alternate layers to The Ramayana, especially in the folklore of south India, where Ravana was considered Sita’s actual father. Ravana was a great king, his kingdom was prosperous and the people were greatly happy with their king. He was a very wise and learned man and was a very fervent Shiva devotee.
The word “Daśagrīva” or “ten-headed” does not literally mean that he actually had ten heads which is a common sight at all Dussehra “Ravana jalao” events. The allusion to “ten heads” is actually a reference to his extensive wisdom and knowledge. He was well-versed in the Vedas and the Shastras and so referred to as Daśagrīva. Basically, he wasn’t a freak of nature or one of the X-Men mutants but a super- intelligent, super smart dude!
I have always seen Ravana as more endearing and likeable as a person than Rama due to the charming fact that he’s as human as the rest of us mortals! His wisdom and greatness though was acknowledged by Mr. Rama himself as well (maybe reluctantly!) as Ravana lay dying when Rama asked him to bless Lakshmana. The cheek by the way! : P
Ravana was a far more honorable man than Rama. He never resorted to underhand tricks to get the upper hand like Rama did by getting Ravana’s brother on-board. Sita was in Ravana’s power completely and if he wanted to he could have violated her as he pleased but he didn’t. In fact he didn’t lay a finger on her and only tried to woo her in honorable Mr. Bingley fashion which is quite interesting when talking about a so-called Demon. Rama on the other hand was a violent fellow who had Surpanakha’s nose chopped off when she hit on him; I mean who in his right mind does that?
Ravana kept his prisoner well and loved her in a way that should have Rama scampering for cover to hide his face in shame. What Rama did in contrast reflects poorly on his character. Rama listened to some gossip doing the rounds in his kingdom about Sita and put his faithful wife though agnipariksha to prove her virtue at a time when he should have stood by her. She had left everything, renounced all pleasures to follow him into the forest and this is what she got in return for her steadfast devotion to her husband. Ravana on the other hand received nothing but scorn from her but continued to treat her with complete respect and love.
Rama got together an army to destroy Ravana’s kingdom instead of just trying to rescue Sita. (Do I smell jealousy here? Was Rama not able to digest his rival’s strength and power?) Now, looking deeper into myths and texts, there is a clear Vaishnava bias overpowering this story. In ancient times, there was a strong rivalry between Saivite and Vaishnavite groups, both trying to outdo each other in every way possible. Now the Ramayana (and Mahabharata too for that matter!) glorifies Vishnu and was clearly composed by Vaishnavas. Is it surprising then that a true and ardent Siva devotee is portrayed as a demon? I mean, try and ask a coffee addict what tea tastes like!
Another deep allusion that I feel lies somewhere in the recesses of this story is a territorial rivalry. The kingdoms to the South of the Indian subcontinent enjoyed longer periods of freedom than their northern counterparts. Lanka was clearly in the South and Ayodhya clearly a northern kingdom. The age was all about territorial expansion and capture. Sita probably became a mere excuse for conquest just like Helen did in the Trojan War as captured in Greek mythology.
I know I might get slammed for my opinion but well, what the heck! What’s writing without a few critics who try to strangle you! : P I think as a character, Ravana was pure awesomeness (as Barney would say). His only flaw (the “tragic flaw” in Literature students’ terms) being his love for a woman who captured his fancy and whirred him out of control.
Many slam Ravana condemning him as lustful and arrogant but I beg to disagree. If he had indeed been lustful then Sita would not have left his palace untouched by him. However, even if it had become lust, he has the sage Vishwamitra for competition in horniness! If arrogance is a crime, hang Durvasa first who was much more arrogant than Ravana and is still considered a maharishi! In conclusion, I would say Ravana is the unsung hero that I would love to sing my praises to. Dude, you rock!
(P.S. - thanks to Arushi for inspiration for this article. Although I have done papers on Ravana’s character in class, it was quite a refreshing change to write whatever I wanted without minding the language! : P)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Last Word

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If I die
If I must
And there is no option
Heed my suggestion
Let it be thus.
Let me not die of frost or cold
Or go to Hades withered and old.
Who would care?
No disease please
Or famine or poverty
Who bothers about these anymore?
Let it not be
Injuries at work
No please, not for me.

If I must, let it be
An arrow to my heel
Or poison in my drink or meal
Served in a treacherous fashion
Quite the thing now are crimes of passion.
At least at the end of my game
Let me walk the walk of fame.

Stabbed by someone famous
Headline in the papers
Execution sounds interesting too
A bullet in the chest or two
Let it not be starvation
Or excessive depression
That just does not sound right on the obituary page.
If I must die
Drug overdose to go
People will at least know
Someone was there a while ago
An accident, a martyrdom, be what it may
Let it not be in an obscure way.
If I must go
Let everyone know
How would it matter if they weep or not?
I do not care to see whether they care
But at least they will know
I was there.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Exam Checklist (Minstrel Style!)

image source: exams are slowly approaching and finally you have the jitters wondering what to do..or soon will! No fear! The Minstrel is here to help you with the top 10 things to keep in mind before going in to write that exam! Nah, nah don't thank me, it's my pleasure! ;) Yes, you can courier me those chocolates! no worries!

1. Two cups of espresso in the morning is essential. You don't want to doze off on your paper and drool all over the answer sheet! Seriously! That would smudge the ink and make the answers impossible to read! Wait...come to think of it, ain't such a bad idea eh? ;)
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2. Check the pens, pencils and blah blah blah. You don't want to crawl on your knees and beg those around you to pass you that stuff!
3. ADMIT CARD! Dude, without that you're freakin' screwed! Even if you forget to take your pen, don't forget this! Freakin' hell would break loose! How else would you remember the 52 digit exam roll no assigned to you???? :P:P:P
4. If you have a window seat or one near the door, carry horse blinders! Even if you look ridiculous, at least you won't be distracted! Coz the best and most hilarious things cross your vision exactly when you have no time to see them!
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5. If you did not sleep well last night, instruct the person sitting behind you to give you a nice kick in your bum or throw an eraser at you (whatever works!) in case you fall asleep over the paper!
6. Carry your watch no matter what! Don't have a watch, take an alarm clock! At least you'll know when to begin scribbling frantically madly! That is when your memory is at its peak and you remember all that you didn't before that. At least you'll be prepared! ( usually 5 minutes before time's up!)
7. Carry water with you. When you don't remember the answers or get confused take a swig. No, it won't help you remember, but at least it'll keep you looking busy unlike that idiot staring at the ceiling looking like he is trying real hard to hold in his pee! :P
8. That hot classmate will not vanish into thin air after the exam is over! Stop staring! Horse blinders will help you here as well! :P
9. Do not listen to crappy songs on the radio in the morning before the exam if you don't want to haunted by Munni badnaam hui as you try to remember what Ophelia's brother's damn name was! :P
10. Last but no the least, STUDY! It really works! ;)
All the best! :D :)

P.S: To those who forget the rule no.10 like me, creativity always works! Make up what you don't know! :P:P:P:P 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The other one..

So as I had mentioned earlier (go to the previous post and see duh! :P) I had written two entries for this contest called "And then.." on Ruchi's blog. Here's the link to the first half of the story:
Now this is the other ending that i wrote! This one did not win but I love it all the same! :)

Hate to love you

That face that had haunted her all these years…an image from an old worn-out photograph that she had carried around in her heart. All these years, she had been waiting for yet dreading this day. She still didn’t know if she’d ever muster up the courage to say those words to him. Her eyes welled up with tears without any explanation. Dabbing her eyes with a tissue she quickly regained her composure and risked a glance again on pretext of looking for the air-hostess.

Those dark eyes, that square jaw and the kind smile were still the same. Yes, a few wrinkles here and there but there was no mistake-it was him. She had imagined this scene in her teenage years, rehearsed what she would say and what would happen. She had spent hours in front of the mirror in nervous excitement practicing and rephrasing what she would say when she met him. She’d hated every part of her that wanted to love him but couldn’t help it. The Kathak recitals, the piano lessons, the basketball matches-all came back to her.
Her monologue froze midway when he suddenly looked up at her. She felt like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar and smiled at him blushing furiously and he gave her a confused smile back.  Was it her imagination or was there a fleeting hint of recognition on his face? But he went back to his Autocar and she leaned back and took a large swig of water and took a deep breath. It was now or never.
She turned again. “Pardon me if I’m wrong but are you Mr. Bryan D’Souza?”
He looked up blinking and removed his headphones and said, “I’m sorry I did not hear you. Could you repeat the question?”
“Mr. Bryan D’Souza?”
“I think you mistook me for someone else. I’m Shrey.”
Sorry! I’m Liz. You looked a lot like an uncle of mine! I’m really sorry!”
“That’s okay. So I look that old eh?” he grinned, “It’s always nice to meet a fellow Indian here. You live in Sydney too?”
“No, I’m on vacation. I moved to Hong Kong two years back, before that I was in Delhi."
“Hmmmmm…How I miss that city! The clean air and the fresh food stifle me in Sydney! I last went to Delhi five years back. A week there was like oxygen! I missed the chaat, the yum kababs and the DTC buses!” he remarked smiling.
And they talked – about the weather, Sydney, India, Indian food, cars, traffic in Delhi, her job, her crummy boss (he used to have one too!), music, movies…it went on and on! They got on like a house on fire! He loved Audi too and shared her opinion that Federer was a pain in the ass for winning all the time! It was like they had been destined to meet. As the flight prepared to land there was a knot in her stomach. The words remained unsaid. She had said everything but what she had actually wanted to. 
Sydney arrived and as he waved and walked out of the airport, she stood there looking at him. The words came out in a whisper, “Hi dad.”

They came too late. Genetic maybe.

I won a prize!!!!! ;):):):)

I got the second runners up prize for a contest!!Yaiyee!!! Yes! Thank you thank you! So I wrote two alternate endings to this particular story. This was the "And Then..." contest was on Ruchi's blog. Here's the link to the first half of the story:

So this is my prize-winning masterpiece entry:

 A Second Shot

The memories were like snapshot bullets that she had been dodging for years and had finally hit her, square in the face- that face of the man who had once meant everything to her. It was overwhelming! She sat there motionless for what seemed like eternity.  The flight was in the air. She went to the washroom and barfed.
Looking into the mirror she saw how far she had come from those days. Then she had been a smiling girl in her early twenties with the glow on her face typical of those in love. The glow was gone and so was the love. The hair was shorter, sassier. The clothes were no longer t-shirts, jeans and sneakers but smart suits and stilettos. The woman was no longer the girl he had known. The only thing that connected the woman and the girl was the pain that he had left behind- the hurt that had become a part of her life and had never left.
This was probably her only chance. She walked back with a calm face; she wasn’t going to let him go this time. A deliberate trip on the Jimmy Choo and she was on him. He stared at her like he was seeing a ghost and then his expression changed. Straightening up her ruffled clothes, she looked at him and acted like she was surprised. “Matt,” was the only word she said. He looked quite taken aback himself. “Lizzie… Wow! It’s been so long. You look…look so different,” he said.
“Yes Matt. It’s been a while. You look almost the same. Nice meeting you after so long.” He did look the same. The neatly ironed shirt and trousers, the cropped spiked hair and the goofy grin were all at odds with each other but blended so perfectly on him. She wasn’t surprised that she had fallen for him. He ran his eyes appreciatively over her and she blushed. She returned to her seat but they kept talking. He was a senior editor now. They talked about old times, their college friends, work… The more they talked the closer they came; she could see that old look in his eyes. He wanted her back.
The flight landed. He invited her over. It was a cozy apartment. As she was about to go to the guest room to crash he pulled her towards him and looked into her eyes. She was uncertain; did she really want to do this? All her courage almost melted. “I missed you so much. I’m glad you’re back,” he said and leaned in for a kiss. She kissed back and soon they were in a passionate embrace. She broke the kiss and said they’d better sleep. He looked at her dazed with desire and confused. She kissed him on the cheek and went to the guest room and locked the door.
He woke up in the morning and found her gone. There was a note on her bed that read:
“I’m sorry. Goodbye.”
It was his handwriting, the note he had left for her on their bed when he went away.
In a coffee house, Liz sipped on her cup of Cappuccino and smiled. The last laugh was finally hers. And the hurt was gone. She was free.

 (P.s.-I'll post my other entry in a separate post so that my post does not stretch endlessly and make your yawn stretch as endlessly!:P :P)

Here's the link to my victory bhaashan if you're interested! ;)

(Pss...guys!Thanks for all the congrats and pats on my back... appreciated! :) But please do leave your comments on the story as well..what you like, what you don't whatever! My story is complaining of being shoved out of the limelight by my victory laugh! Waiting for your feedback!!)