Nov 21, 2011


"Most of my pictures are grounded in people. I look for the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking out, experience etched on a person's face. I try to convey what it is like to be that person, a person caught in a broader landscape that I guess you'd call the human condition."

Steve McCurry

Picture: Afghan Girl (Sharbat Gula) by Steve McCurry

हर एक कश में

हर एक कश में
एक ज़िम्मा रखा था
ज़िन्दगी बहाने का
फ़िक्र आज़माने का
लम्हे बिखरे
एक फ़कीर की फरियाद की तरह
शाम की विरासत
रात ने लूटा दी
वोह पानी की तरह बही
आँखों में
मेरी, तुम्हारी
अब कश लम्बा हो चला
कुछ पल मेरे होठों पे रुका
तुम्हारी नज़र की तरह
अब वोह भी उड़ गया
खुले आकाश में
जो बादल से बंधा था
अब रात नहीं
कश भी नहीं
तुम भी नहीं
तुम्हारी याद?
हर एक कश में
एक ज़िम्मा रखा था

‘Why Goa’s Happy Couple Had to Die’ is a rhetorical question

This Sunday, I picked up the newspaper after many days. I wouldn’t get into why and how I stopped reading newspapers. I just did. Sunday newspapers are usually different from weekdays newspapers so I decided to give this Sunday’s Times of India and Hindustan Times a chance to keep me company while I sipped on my morning tea. And thus I chanced upon the gut wrenching tale in Mumbai Mirror: Why Goa’s Happy Couple Had to Die

One of the strangest tales ever. It is even more astounding than the story of the couple who killed and butchered someone and then had sex in front of the dead body. That actually was strange from gruesome violence perspective and we have seen and heard more than enough examples of that by now. This is strange in the pure sense of strange, if you know what I mean. And not just the end part where the husband and wife killed themselves but their whole story has a somber Hitchcockian vibe to it. The things that they have been doing like shredding books they have read into pieces and then eventually throwing them away. They started shredding when they realised that their books were being circulated in a public library after they had disposed them off. Slowly getting rid of all the furniture, all the "material" possessions, spending their last few Days at Taj and then methodically taking their lives with a brief suicide note. The newspaper report tells us about the estrangement of boy’s family with the couple who even refused to come for the last rites.

Ofcourse, it defines bizarre but the funny part of it is that at the heart of it, it seems like just another existentialism tale. From whatever the report says, it just sort of seems clear that this is what they always wanted- an escape. I am obviously not here to do any psychoanalysis of the story but just that it has been with me so far. Haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I can almost feel peace and also smugness on the faces of both the husband and wife. Just imagine what they must have spoken about before hanging themselves. Or they may have not spoken at all before their final moments. It is just so mysterious, bizarre and don't get me wrong, but a damn interesting story. I am flummoxed and impressed.

If this was a movie, I would want Stanley Kubrick to direct it. Slowly building the labyrinth and then never revealing if there was ever any purpose to the tale at all. Taking me closer and closer to the protagonists' minds and then throwing me off just when I thought I was close enough to figure something out. I would want the movie to put a sense of calm in me and at the same time make me want to pull my hair out.

PS: Must read the whole report in Mumbai Mirror. Its an excellent news report, from a journalistic point of view too.

Nov 8, 2011

Staying quiet

I am surrounded with this strange feeling today. Have I been putting out a bit too much of my heart out there. Screaming and shouting so that someone can hear me. Someone in particular. Or may be even someone random who would empathize or may be sympathize a bit. Empathy is better actually. I almost hate sympathy.

I love the term "deep recesses of my mind". I don't even remember where I read it first but I just loved it instinctively. However, most times, these "deep recesses of my mind" is my normal state of being. Always feeling things a bit too intensely. For me, it is much better to be cocooned in a tiny hole, absorbed in my own world rather than reaching out, trying to make myself heard.

I sometimes feel scared of leaving the city because what if love changes its mind and wants to see me one fine day when I am not there. But then again, this wait is stifling beyond imagination.

I would rather admire love from the distance and write poems about it. It is too intimidating if it is any closer. Just writing innumerable diary entries about its beauty and its ugliness is better, may be. And probably what I have been calling heartaches and heartbreaks all this while, are, again, just a state of being. Probably one that is beautiful in its own way. It makes me fall deeper in love ironically.

I am, however, ready to take the plunge, to the bottom and see what all the fuss is about. If I meet love there, we will probably start a new world but if I don't, atleast I would not be devoid of all that I could have possibly or impossibly known and felt. So, may be, I will stay quiet for a while. Atleast will stop shouting. Will go with the mundane flow while staying true to the "deep recesses of my mind".

PS: And I refuse to believe that life can be so predictable. Come on. It cannot be :)

Nov 6, 2011

Three days. Three creative talents

This week has been especially great in terms of introducing me to three talented creative people. I saw two of them perform at The Mumbai Literary Festival at NCPA and the third one at The Art Loft today. Let me introduce you to them one by one.

Vidya Shah

Vidya Shah is a classical and a sufi singer who gave a riveting performance on the first day of the recently concluded Literature Festival. While William Dalrymple read out some spicy and some sombre proses from his book 'The Last Mughal',Shah sang four lovely and amazing classical compositions in between to bring alive the Mughal era. I fell in love with her voice instantly. She almost stole Dalrymple’s thunder that night. She was mesmerising and had a dash of confidence in her music and a dash of shyness in accepting accolodes. It was just wonderful to have spent that one hour listening to the music and her voice. To know more about her and to listen to her voice, check out her blog here.

Mathew Sharp

A professional cellist, this British charmer presented a spectacular one man show for ‘The Finkelstein’s Castle’ on the second day of the Lit fest. For this performance, he played the cello, he sang, he played every character of the play and he charmed, ofcourse. Genius is all I can call it. I was impressed right at the beginning but then he managed to elicit more and more appreciation by each and every scene. Must check out his performance if he comes back to town again. Check out his website here:

Iratxe Pazos

The beautiful Spanish flamenco dancer, Iratxe Pazos, that I met today at Art Loft during a beginner's workshop on Flamenco dance sweetly confessed that she moved to India because of her lover, a tall dark and handsome Indian boy (who sweetly accompanied her to this workshop and even tried a few Flamenco steps). Now Pazos wants to introduce Mumbaikars to the Spanish dance art form-Flamenco, which is a broad term for a variety of Spanish dances. She took us through various videos of different types of flamenco, origins of flamenco, its importance in the everyday lives of Spanish people and contemporary versions of the dance. She taught us a few basic steps and then went on to give an amazing and sprightly performance herself.
Incase anyone is interested in knowing more about this art form from her or want to learn, she can be contacted on:
Be Flamenco: Phone number: 9920636690
(Picture courtesy for Flamenco Dancer:

Nov 4, 2011

Jacob's Creek

'All Souls' Day' by Frances Bellerby

Let's go our old way
by the stream, and kick the leaves
as we always did, to make
the rhythm of breaking waves.

This day draws no breath –
shows no colour anywhere
except for the leaves - in their death
brilliant as never before.

Yellow of Brimstone Butterfly,
brown of Oak Eggar Moth –
you'd say. And I'd be wondering why
a summer never seems lost

if two have been together
witnessing the variousness of light,
and the same two in lustreless November
enter the year's night…

The slow-worm stream - how still!
Above that spider's unguarded door,
look – dull pearls…Time's full,
brimming, can hold no more.

Next moment (we well know,
my darling, you and I)
what the small day cannot hold
must spill into eternity.

So perhaps we should move cat-soft
meanwhile, and leave everything unsaid,
until no shadow of risk can be left
of disturbing the scatheless dead.

Ah, but you were always leaf-light.
And you so seldom talk
as we go. But there at my side
through the bright leaves you walk.

And yet – touch my hand
that I may be quite without fear,
for it seems as if a mist descends,
and the leaves where you walk do not stir