Friday, March 25, 2016

2306 : What is a note?

Krishna often came visiting Draupadi at the forest. Today morning, he had come in to check how they were hanging in there.

With the politeness and deference usually reserved for senior family members, she asked him if he would like to have some fruits. He nodded in assent and she offered him the berries she had plucked yesterday evening.

She sat down on a lower perch, not necessarily out of respect, but because the stone ledges meant seats were at differential heights, and Krishna had already taken over the taller pedestal.

Once they had settled in, and after the initial niceties, a pale silence hung over the proceedings. Kunti mother was ill, and was still asleep into the early hours of the morning. The brothers had all gone out hunting at day break.

Just the two of them sitting under the reddish hues of the morning Sun. The blue silence was awkward, but not totally unusual.

After a point, Draupadi started humming a few notes. As she warmed up, she soon seemed to firm up on Raga Charukesi, which in the days begone was often referred to Tarangini.

Krishna, closed his eyes to soak in her tune. At one point she missed the 3rd octave Ga, and Krishna opened his eyes and said “Dear Panchali, you missed a note. I don’t know this Raga well, but I know dissonance when I hear it.”, he smiled as he ended the sentence.

She looked up at him. Her gaze razor sharp, and she said with a slightly icy tone. “Lord, do you need to listen to me singing, to figure out that there is a lot of dissonance in my life?”

Krishna smiled and said, “No….Dearest Panchali, just because your life is in dissonance, you cannot mess with the music of the Gods. You did miss a note.”

She continued to stare at him for a few seconds, before lowering her gaze, staring down at the mud gravel and said “Lord, its only a note.”

“Is it only a note dear?”, he asked in a manner which was both loaded and challenging her.

“Yes its only a note.”, she answered almost wanting to rubbish the conversation down.

Krishna was in no mood to relent, “And what is a note, my dear?”

“A note is a sound from our innards wanting to break free.”

He responded, “….and out of such a single sound, this whole creation was born. You miss a note, and you kill the universe. You will make the world a little more unbalanced.”

“Maybe I did not want to let this particular note run amok. I wanted that single note trapped in the confines of my heart.”

“Why only that note dear?”

“Sometimes a note, can also be a deep rouge desire.”


“I want to suppress that carnal being which thrives in me.”

“In that case dear….it has the opposite effect….If you suppress that one note, you will create a universe of desires that course through your veins. Be careful of how you play this game.”

She continued staring at the gravel, then lifted her eyes and peered deep into his.

In anticipation he said “…and?….”

“This one raga signifies melancholy.”

“I know that very well dear.”

“I skipped a note, because I also have a deep blue sense of missing.”


“Yes the skipped note is representative of the state of my mind.”

She paused, looked up at the morning Sun and with a deep baritone said “Sometimes a note is nothing but an expression of my yearning and the languish of a longing.”

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

2305 : Perspective

Many moons ago, I remember this day clearly.
It was raining, the way it can only rain in Bombay. Roads were flooded, trains were shut down. Folks were locked in their houses - a large part of the city had no electricity.

I had taken the bike out to cross the flooded roads and reach you. I had reached half way and had been stuck. Water flooded into the silencer, and the bike had sputtered shut.

I had been at least 10kms away from where I needed to be. At 5pm in the evening, folks told me its very dangerous to proceed. I had still tried for another 500m, before even I had had to give up.

I remember walking back with the bike pushing it silently on an empty but flooded road.

I had reached home at around 7pm that evening. Soaking wet, shivering with a fever and completely tired and spent.

And yet, the over-arching feeling in my head then was of an immense loss. An gargantuan sense of loss, almost, as if you had died. As if I had never managed to wave you the one last goodbye.

I had this feeling of a reverse endorphin spiking through me. I felt I had really lost.

Years later, I still remember that day vividly, as it happened yesterday, with unbridled nostalgia that only a poet could harbor in this ocean of a world.

And the bloody white as ice looks like, I was afterall, right, I indeed missed telling you a good-bye. Now its possibly so very late.

2304 : Its the question of you...

Exactly 20 years ago, she had told him more than a score times, "I trust you with my life.". That was then, her constant refrain.

In the last 20 days, she has told him more than a double score, "I don't trust you with your own life.". That is the new sound of the bogey train.

Wonder, what changed?

The yellow faded jute curtains, have been witness to this decay. Unfortunately they sway where the wind blows. The rest of the time, they are murmuring songs in mute.

2303 : The moot question

Dharmaraja and Draupadi were walking in the forest. Into the silence of the golden rays, in the shimmer of the green grace, hand in hand, yet not every step in sync.

He was introspective. He was thinking about her. Often on the nights Draupadi was with Arjun he would hear loud guffaws and the sounds of unrestrained love. There were sighs, laughter and moans.

Without seeing he had a vision of what it could mean. He come to believe in a truth he had never been witness to. And though he was the Nestor when it came to Dharma, he was not immune of human emotions of envy, jealousy and the green eyed monster.

As they walked today, they were silent as they usually would be. No loud shrieks, no giggles, just an occasional conversation here and there to break the poison of silence.

In the hour long walk, Draupadi had spoken about Kunti mother's failing health. She mentioned that taking care of her was turning out to be a burden.

He politely listened, hummed and hawed through this babble.

At one point they had been silent for over ten minutes. Looked like the previous topic had been completed.

As they approached the shed which covered the cave they called home, as in they could see it in their sight, he asked her - almost making it sound as if it were inadvertent - "Panchali, amongst your men, am I your most favorite one?".

She continued holding his hand, the grip tightening almost like a stiffen, and she continued staring down at the road ahead. Her pace had altered and she almost appeared to hesitate before her next step. After what appeared to be seconds, she was aware he was intently looking at her face. She raised her eyes and looked into his eyes. Her eyes were unblinking, and appeared cornered.

He looked away immediately. He did not need the answer, in her hesitation and the pregnant pause - he had found the answer to the difficult question, an answer he would have definitely been much happier not knowing.

2302 : And the archer finally spoke

Thakshak woke up with a start. He very urgently summoned his bed attendant and asked for a quick and immediate gathering of  the court priests. He specifically mentioned that the old king Vasuki (the very Vasuki whom he has usurped to take over Naga land)come over too.  Thakshak had always respected Vasuki for being wise, though at one level he also felt that the old General was now senile.

Something was definitely out of place. Thakshak was usually seen as someone who was cocksure, and who rarely if ever consulted his priests in any matter - save ritual - which he let them manage. He definitely, rarely if ever wanted to be in audience with the "senile" older king.

And....then there was today.....

And the time, it was still a few hours before the Sun even showed his first strains....The world was still sleeping. Time was still ticking tock and the insects of the night still ruled and were still busily buzzing.

In a matter of minutes, Thakshak had quickly pulled up his crown, and the royal robe. As he was adjusting his crown, the priests walked in. Vasuki was still nowhere to be seen.

As they began taking their respective seats in the makeshift court cum royal bedroom, they could all see their King being tense, pensive and nervous.

He trudged towards his seat and finally installed himself. He looked at the attendant and asked with feigned respect "General Vasuki?".

The attendant bowed and answered, "He is coming along your highness, should be here in a few minutes."

Thakshak shrugged with mock irritation and said to the others, "Ok, then we shall have to wait for the elders."

As promised, in a few minutes Vasuki walked in. Everyone including Thakshak stood up with respect for the now aged once-upon-a-time-their-king.

As they all seated and shifted within the silence of their night, slowly all of them in the room looked at Thakshak with askance. What could be so important that they were all summoned into the middle of this night? Were they being attack? Parikshith's ghost Janmayjey again?

With a solemn voice, Thakshak said "Remember the archer.......Eklavya?"

Vasuki immediately nodded, and the other slowly did too.

Thakshak continued, "Remember a few years ago we tried to enslave him to help our forces, and he escaped because some of us could not keep their bloody traps shut.". As he said that his mouth was vile with anger and he was staring icily at Vasuki. It had never been publicly spoken, but everyone knew that Vauski had in some form or shape helped Eklavya escape. 

Vasuki continued to looking at Thakshak and then into the emptiness of the room. The others looked at their feet, unable to choose between their new king and the old warrior.

Thakshak composed himself and then resumed, "I saw him again."

Others looked at him agape. They were unsure what their King meant. It was over a decade ago that they had last encountered Eklavya. 

Vasuki slowly asked "Where?"

Thakshak said, "In a dream. Tonight. But I know it was not a dream. It seemed real. It felt alive. I knew it was him trying to tell me something. Something seemed amiss."

They all waited for him to continue.

"Remember the last time we kidnapped him and got him here. He hardly spoke through those days. I have never heard more than a few sentences from him. I later heard from my friend Kuber, that Eklavya had become very silent in the years following his act of giving up his thumb (to Drona). He never spoke too much, infact no one seems to remember him speaking at all. Do you all agree?"

They all nodded. Vasuki bravely said "He did speak a few words to me."

Thakshak ignored him and continued, "Legend has it, that Eklavya became a silent coach. He helped other warriors fight, and learn the trade, but he never lifted a sword, or arrow ever."

"....and yet, today, in my dream....I met Eklavya and he was dying. When I met him though, he was still alive. Eventually in the course of minutes, he died, and thats when I woke up with a jolt."

Vasuki asked "Did he say something, young King?"

For a minute Thakshak was glad, Vasuki was around. "No, he did not. He had a arrow stuck into his heart. The bottom part of the arrow was bent. I knew at once, looking at the scene, that he had thrust the arrow into his own heart. A la suicide. And it struck me as very odd. Why would such a dignified person, take his own life? Why would such a legend want to meet me during the time of his death? I assumed he wanted to tell me something. I remember fetching him some water...and he refused."

Vasuki again asked, "...and you say, he did not tell you anything."

Thakshak with a contrite look said "No. Not a word. I asked him about my hunch. Had he tried to kill himself? He looked blankly at me, I thought I detected a sardonic smile, but that is about it."

Thakshak paused for a few moments. Eventually Vasuki spoke, "Its very odd for a warrior like Eklavya to take his life. A true warrior would rather die on the battleground. Its further even more odd that someone like Eklavya would try and kill himself with his own arrow. Usually we have never seen the arrow being a weapon of choice when it comes to taking ones own life. And finally warriors aim for the stomach, and not for the heart....  Though...... it does not surprise me that he did not speak to you at all, young King."

Hearing his name being referenced, Thakshak snapped out from his listening reverie, and asked in an infuriated exasperated tone, "Whats the point you are making? Pray how does all this fit in General?".

Vasuki looked at Thakshak, a sharp but tired gaze - the kind of stare one gives when you are struggling to convince a 3 year old of what is apparently patent to the rest of the onlookers - he said in a slow measured tone, "Dear King, Eklavya never really spoke to you or to most of us. Infact he rarely ever spoke at all. The Eklavya of your dream killed himself with an arrow from his own quiver, which he thrust into his heart. He needed the water, but did not drink it when you offered him some. He gave a faint smile. As I said before, some of this is odd....very odd....but thats beside the point."

Post a pregnant pause he added, "Don't you see, King, Eklavya has finally spoken. He has shot a very important message through his arrow."

2301 : Dont leave me

Life is a game of losing and winning, is what they told us. The more I have lived, I have come to realise that they bloody foxed us into believing shit. Life is not a game of losing and winning, but a game of losing and finding..... so losing in the sense of quite literally missing a map.

Makes sense? Remember when you were 7 years old, you lost your favorite ink pen. You hounded, scourged and foraged into the night…no avail. Eventually a sob and a whimper later…you slept off.

When you were 15, one fine day you bumped into that pen, stuck behind your wardrobe. It meant nothing anymore to you today. So you excavated it, looked at it with the same eyes an alien would use to examine a burger, and then swiftly discarded it into the bin.

There goes a lost first love.

And then when you were 20, one day you lost the car keys. Again you searched throughout the house. At 25, when you were junking your lazyboy, you found the keys embedded within the crevice of the backrest.

You no longer had that old car, and the key meant nothing. You discarded it with a flourish.

And then at 30, one day you inadvertently lost me. You desperately searched for a few years, but never locked onto the GPS again. When you are 42, you might find me all over again. But by then though, I will not be me, you will most definitely not be you, and you know what, you will most definitely have to discard me along the way.

I am bracing myself for the smells of the bin. You should know this, I really don’t fancy the trash can.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

2300 : Salaam Bombay by Mira Nair, music by L Subramanium

Salaam Bombay was a classic Mira Nair film.
This post is not about the movie.
Instead its about the music of this movie - which was composed and orchestrated by L Subramanium.

I used to possses two legal copies of this music. Unfortunately I have now lost it.

If any of you posses it, and are willing to share. contact me.
It will mean a lot to me....

On a side note, the violin in this movie weeps. The background score is just fabber than fab :-)

2299 : The oldie's motorcycle poem

I drive a motorcycle and it has to be one of the most exciting happy things I do in my week. I look to the days I go out and drive. Here is my poem about how an oldie percieves motorcycling :-)

At 20s, you are just starting up,
At 30s, still stuck in 2nd gear,
At 40s, the game is just beginning to liven up,
At 50s, the wind is blowing against your hair,
At 60s, the torque just begins to hit you,
At 70s, you wish you could do it all day long,
At 80s, there is a beaming smile on your face,
At 90s, you are ready to give up and give in.
At 100s, you know if you see this, you are lucky.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

2298 : Sometimes the fire just burns

That morning, as she sauntered into the clinic, the air was darker and there was a potent warning in its ring. She remembered she had shrugged it off, "she did not want to be reminded of the inevitable."

She had met the junior doctor on his way out, and he had given her the tired look, and said "Dear, make the most of him. He wont last."

"What do you mean, he wont last? You mean days, months or years?"

"My dear lady, hours is more like it."

She had never been stabbed before, but she had just discovered what it felt for a butcher's knife to be thrust into one's heart.

She had gasped and gulped, and then eventually clasped the doc's hands. After a pause she had asked "Does he know?"

"Lady, they always know. I have seen a thousand ends in this hospital. And every single of the patient has known their coming reckoning, even if they were brain dead unconscious. Our souls know it. Even today - its really him knowing it, that signals to me, that the event is in order soon."

She steadied herself and then walked into the room. There he sat languidly on the bet, his arms tired and sloppy. His head supported by two pillows.

As he sensed her, he perked up a bit, and then smiled and said "Ah my lover is here."

"Really, old fucker, at this age, you still want to romp, is it?", she asked with a hint of smile.

"I could try. Maybe I need to tell myself that I wont go..... till I actually come." saying which he guffawed like pig who had not been in its best health.

She laughed and said "Chauvinist pig. The girl never matters right? She can be coming or going, who cares right?"

At this point in the chat, she held his hand and asked, "How are you doing, loverboy?"

"Dealing with a raging issue.", he smiled as he said it.

"Be serious. Tell me whats up."

"You are funny, I just told you whats up, and you ignored it."

"Ok....", she said and slapped him lovingly..."how do you feel?".

He regained his seriousness and said "A man has to do what a man has to do. He has to go when he has to go."


"Yes. Good riddance. I can't deal with his painful liver anymore. Better to rot in heaven, than have a riot in this cesspit of a hospital....", he said with a smile.

She looked downcast for a few moments, then asked him "Anything that you really want? Now?"

"You know I have hardly felt an attachment to anything, other than my camera and possibly some books."

"Yes I know that."

"I want you to try and use my camera. Not because it is mine. I mean not because of the sentiment. But I hope it will give you new eyes to see the world I am leaving behind. I hope that when you finish your experiments with it, what you will document, will conclusively tell - that I left the world in a little better place, than when I joined it. That has always been the singular goal of my life."

He added almost like a plea, "Will you use my tired old camera?".

"Yes", she said with a silent muffle.

After another long pause she asked, "and what else bud?"

"Nothing else. Really nothing."

He paused and strained to think and then added "Actually..... you remember the chart paper outside the kitchen. Yes the giant one covering the wall, where I would scribble thoughts and ideas. Almost like notes to myself."

He waited as he saw her nod, and then added "You fought with me so many bloody times because  you said you never ever understood the notes. They were cryptic and they riled you. And when on somedays I would replace the chart with a new one, you would be delighted and buy me dinner, but then again, soon enough the new one with its new scribbles would rile you....."

"Yes, I know. I saw it today morning. It has not seen you for over a month....and it has some 100 odd random scribbles. I really don't know what they mean. I do know you eventually used them in your poems."

He laughed and mildly guffawed. He said, "The only thing I will regret that I did not complete what I wanted to write and expand on those little unfinished notes. I so desperately want just one more week, and I promise I shall have another 200 pages written down. My final swan song.....but I now know thats a pipe dream."

He looked down almost broken by his own thoughts. After what appeared minutes he said, "Can you courier that over to me, wherever I go?"

She smiled and said "You can be serious?".

"I am. I want that going down with me."

Saying that he had held out his held. She had softly clasped his palm and held him tight for the next 3 hours, as they spoken about the world coming to an end.

By the end of the day, he was gone. They had him cremated the same night. She had been too numb to either cry or to grieve.

In the early hours of the morning as the embers still flickered, she had trudged back home.

She had prepared a hot cup of coffee and was stirred by its intense aroma. She inadvertently noticed the chart outside the kitchen wall. She tried reading. Could make no sense.

Carefully, she removed what appeared to be almost 36 sq feet worth of chart paper. Rolling it up was quite an effort.

She then dragged it to the terrace of the house. Walking back into the kitchen she returned with a box of matches. She lit the two ends and center of the whole paper.

The paper flickered, twice the flame died, but eventually all that remained were the black char and ashes. She collected it all, and then lovingly poured it over his favorite collection of cacti in the garden.

As she poured water on the plants, she said aloud and smiled "Loverboy, your courier is shipped as promsied. Track it using these plants."

She looked around. Nothing else in the world had paused. It was another boring day. The sun was rising in the east.

2297 : One big lie

I have realised all the biggest lies that have rocked me up, are from none other than myself. I am my biggest liar.

I have lied to myself, more than I have ever lied to others. What penance and recourse exists in this world for someone who has defiled himself?

Its a bit like discovering you scored a self goal in the world cup final :-)

2296 : You win again - Bee Gees classic

When I was growing up, "You Win Again" was a monster hit in my much so that 29 years later...I can still sing this song verbatim.

Something about the simple bass beat and what sounds like a cello...its awesome. The vocals take some getting used to, but once you are hooked...this is an addiction for life.

2295 : Yes I have lamented

I grew up learning and listening to music from two sources - Rhythm House and Radio Ceylon.
I have long stopped lamenting for Radio Ceylon, and then I was there 2 days before Rhythm House shut down. I picked up a pile of CDs.

And I almost cried.

What kind of madness makes us pay such a societal price. Its not just the emotional value, but the fact the folks at Rhythm house knew their music better than most of us. Their classical specialist was truly magical.

Watch this and feel the pain.... 

2294 : The long road

You know you are absolutely in love, when you decide to take the long road paved with traffic back home on a day like today :-)