Wednesday, May 31, 2006


as imagined by s.h.raza.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

fall from grace

i was recently gifted a spanking new bicycle...a gorgeous white and orange (and no sushma, the orange isn't autumn sunrise like my hair :)). the last time i rode was in the 8th Std, when i'd ride my precious electric blue cycle to school everyday. that was moons ago. and that was VERY different from riding now.

riding a bike in bombay then, one was faced with unique challenges. most of them were to do with manoeuvering. manoeuver carefully around garbage, potholes, autos and 2-wheelers. and of course, people and dogs. once you got the knack, you could actually cruise along the main roads despite all the obstacles (no, in those days, 8:30 am in juhu was NOT traffic-jam time). in fact, soon enough, you could even ride without your hands. of course, riding in the monsoon was a different ball-game altogether. you never got to cruise, but you felt the thrill of the raindrops stinging your face and you entering school looking like a something-bedraggled-that-the-cat-dragged-in. no, the raincoat was never effective enough against the strong winds. and anyway, soaking in rainwater was way better than soaking in perspiration, which was inevitable every non-monsoon afternoon on the ride back home. other than that, it seemed rather simple.

riding in brussles is expectedly different. first, your new bike actually has gears. and 24 of them. for a machine-phobe, this unnecessary complication is terrible news. anyway, you struggle with trying to get the right gear combination for yourself, and finally you do. then, you ride on the 'wrong' side of the road. why can't the whole world drive like india and the UK? worse, at every signal, you have to alight, and walk your bike across the road. so no scope for you say, bah, too boring. let's go ride in the woods nearby. you've seen enough people biking and running there, of course you can do it. except you forget that the woods are characterised by criss-crossing 'kachcha rastas' around the lake, that many tyres have rolled along. and the deep furrowed ridges they leave behind are tricky because if you bike right through them, u may not come out easily, especially if it's slushy because of recent rain. and if you go around them, you're likely to skid anyway. good times.

of course i skid, despite what i thought were a number of brilliant swerves and saves. so much for my 8th Std days of cocky, handsfree riding!! at the ripe age of 30, it's quite something to fall off your bike. and while my knee is scraped and blue, it's my ego that's bruised. as if the terrible hair colour wasn't bad enough...the universe is conspiring against my efforts of turning into an elegant woman! i may as well give up and laugh!

Monday, May 29, 2006

A man was walking along one day, and came upon a sadhu. He went towards him and bowed low to touch his feet. The sadhu asked him gently, "Why do you seek my blessings?". The man replied without hesitation, "O Sage, you are great because you have renounced the world, it's riches and joys. Your sacrifice is supreme. Such a sacrifice is beyond me. Hence I bow down to you." On hearing this, the sadhu rose, bent down and touched the man's feet. The man, utterly shocked, stepped back and gasped "What are you doing, O wise one?".

The sadhu replied, "I am touching your feet, because you have renounced The Lord for your wordly pleasures...hence, your sacrifice is far greater than mine."

Friday, May 26, 2006

someplace else

with my very being
i carry you
everyplace i go
you are
my silent shroud
my only wish
my lacuna

you are all
i have ever known
it is in you
that i found home
you know that i try
to live and love
but i sometimes feel
too far gone

i define, i label
but it doesn't set me free
and though you are here
i still cannot see.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

my white bird

thank you for flying into my life.

artist - g.a.dandekar

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

as you and i go about our lives

artist: shefali bhatnagar

as you and i go about our lives
our joy lies sleeping sweetly

Monday, May 22, 2006

10 days later

my hair is no longer 'junkie-from-amsterdam red'. now, it's a 'bombay-urchin's-sun-bleached orange'.

the hublet can't believe anyone in their right minds would do this to themselves. he looks at me quizzically, every now and then, probably thinking, "if you hate yourself, there are other ways of showing it."

i will survive. my self esteem may not, but never mind that!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

artist: sanjeev saikia

jaane na nazar
pehchaane jigar
yeh kaun jo dil par chaaya
mora ang ang muskaaya

Monday, May 15, 2006

remind me

artist: shuvaprasanna

remind me
that this is not the truth
that now is the time
for me to learn

that i must not resist
that i must let go
so i allow my self
to overcome me.

remind me now.
and remind me how.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

ladkiyon ke naatak

the difference between auburn and red is GLARING when it's the colour on your hair. pata nahin mujhe kya bhoot chadhaa, i thought i'll get my hair coloured. after all these years of having the same colour, i thought, maybe a change will be nice.

so i excitedly walk into the salon, and tell them what i want. they show me a range of coloured hair strips, and i pick one which is really just dark brown, and shines a lovely auburn in the sun. i imagine myself with hair highlighted with a beautiful colour, shining gloriously in the sun, and i let them bring it on. they do their job, while i happily dream away, little knowing what the end result is going to be like.

not only has she highlighted too many strands, she has screwed up the shade as well. now, i look like a junkie from amsterdam, with bright red streaks on my hair. where's the elegant, graceful woman who was supposed to walk out of that door in my shoes?

i have been told that after a few washes, the brightness of the colour will subside, and then it'll look closer to the colour i chose. and pigs fly.

and no, the hublet hasn't seen it yet. he will see it today, and will probably want to hide behind a mask, to not be seen walking around with me.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

radio ga ga

this is for kundalini, vb, gift, and now joy, who together constitute my on-blog radio.

your passion for music
and mine for rhyme
has given me many
enjoyable times

i listen to yr links
when i come on-line
and sway in my room
to the melodies fine

it gladdens my heart
as i prance around
so thank u for the music
and the beauty of sound

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


aaj kal paaon zameen par nahin padte, mere.

jai gurudev

i had the privilege of meeting sri sri ravishankar yesterday. i had attended the rajat jayanti celebrations a few months ago in banglaore, but i did not get to see/meet him up close then.

i have not been his devotee or even a follower. i greatly appreciate the sudarshan kriya that he has devleoped, having experienced its benefits first-hand. but i was not mesmerised by his pictures or his voice, or the idea of him. the first thing actually that bothered me about him was his rather pompous sounding title "sri sri". i recall asking a friend of mine (who had begun working with the AOL foundation) why he referred to himself thus. and she mentioned that he didn't. his devotees called him sri sri, as an expression of their loving respect for him. it didn't convince me.

then, when i did the AOL course, i heard everyone around me say "jai gurudev". there was a large picture of his, adorned with fresh flowers and burning incense. it all made it seem like a cult, and yes, it made me uncomfortable. i was interested in the breathing exercise and the yoga, and all the "guruji this" and "guruji that" disturbed me. and even while i practiced the kriya, i haboured doubts about him. i could never look upon him as a personal god, the way his followers did. in fact, i have always been resistant to reposing all my faith in a single person. to my mind, he was certainly a highly accomplished spiritual soul, but not THE person in whom i should believe, exclusive of all others.

and then i met him. the doubts about him that i had harboured vanished when his first glance fell upon me. the ocean of peace and love that was him simply embraced me, negativities and all, and that was it. i had no doubts, no questions left in my heart. when i touched his feet, he blessed me and said "jai gurudev". it was THEN that i understood what 'jai gurudev' meant.

yet, when i sat around him with about 10 other people, for whom he was undoubtedly THE one, i felt a bit odd. i am still not mesmerised to the extent that i can call myself a 'proper' bhakt, that i can devote my heart and soul to him and only him. perhaps i am myself not ready to receive his love fully. but now, i feel a profound respect and awe for him that i did not feel before. i feel humbled and peaceful. and yes, i feel truly grateful to have received the blessings of such a spiritual being.

Monday, May 08, 2006

good times, dude

sam, a close friend from univ, visited me last week. we were meeting after almost a year, and it was lovely to have her here for 5 days. she's been to brussels before and has had her fill of sightseeing, so we just hung out...watched a few movies, caught up with each other, laughed and did nothing of consequence. and we talked of the times we shared in univ, and how we got there in the first place. we talked of all that we did while we there, and those that we didn't.

so sam - this one's called "good times, dude".

to tell you frankly, no lies,
our acceptance was a surprise.
we were recruiting mistakes.

each time we came up with 'buts',
just couldn't gather our guts
to enter the library alone.

we googled our way through life,
our multiple moments of strife
we spent hours at the vending machine.

we climbed the chess ladder,
and really couldn't be gladder
that we could just laugh at our state.

the namaz and the meditation,
praying for our salvation
together at the crack of dawn.

buttered scones and brocolli pasta,
dreams of the sun and mid-day siesta
kept us going through it all.

the pre-submission madness
the abject helplessness,
we tore our work apart.

and am glad we did so,
for without all that slicing
it wouldn't have been as much fun.

we were 'cabbaged' most of the time
and we concocted silly rhymes
just like this one.

Monday, May 01, 2006


i visited banaras many years ago, for conducting research. i was there for three days, i think. i was really looking forward to seeing it, given all that i'd heard about the place...the centre of hindu spirituality, the ghats, the ganga, sarnath, banaras hindu univ. the city itself was like any other small-town or semi-urban indian city - crowded streets, gaily decorated shops, blaring horns...the usual. what bothered me was the ganga.

i'd been to the ganga (dip et al) as a child, but i have only a vague recollection of it. this time around, i was curious and excited...i got there an hour before the 6 pm aarti, so i could walk around and explore the place, and soak it all in. i saw more plastic bags floating on the river than those washed up on juhu beach, and all sorts of rubbish...bits of saffron-coloured cloth, tiny packets of haldi and kumkum, threads, the odd glass bangle, etc. parts of the river looked abused, not just filthy. and i was saddenend. my naive self had visualised a beautiful blue flowing river that laughed along it's way, and here it was, a grey water-body burdened and slowed by waste. i recoiled.

after a while, i got over it. and the aarti was immensely enjoyable, though i knew none of the bhajans or chants. it was a lovely atmosphere, the men with their peaceful faces, the women with their bright saris and flowers, the kids standing around, half praying, half distracted. my mind kept rushing back to the plastic bags, and i tried hard to erase the memory. after the aarti was over, people set afloat their offerings to the ganga...little baskets of lit diyas and flowers, and sometimes, coconuts. and yes, they all took a dip. i stood there feeling stupid: part-cringing, part amazed, part irritated. cringing, at how one could dip in such dirty water, which would surely breed illness. amazed, at how it didn't seem to disturb the devotees at all, at how they calmly went about it, assisting their children. and irritated, at my inability to feel that devotion.

before i knew it, the sun had set, and the ganga took on an entirely different avataar. the river was now a beautiful black body, breathing softly, sparkling where it caught the moonlight, sequined with the diyas flickering in the breeze. the voices around were somehow softer than before the aarti had begun, with kids laughing and parents directing them towards the main pandit to touch his feet. others splashed water from the river on their face, and swept the remaining dampness of their hands on their head.

i stood there, considering doing the same. a part of me screamed out in protest and revulsion, and my eyes could see nothing but floating plastic bags. with a lot of effort, the other part of me pushed aside the ugly memory, and i re-focused on the beauty around me. and suddenly, with lightning speed, i bent down towards the river, cupped water in my hands and did what the others had been doing.

PS: post inspired by the movie 'banaras' which i watched last night.