Wednesday, June 29, 2022

3958 : Strip tease

In any Indian hospital, the idea is to never treat you as an individual. You are a part of a lumpen, who are all considered inconsequential by association.

What should we expect from a world and a society that is rent seeking and bereft of mutual respect?

Every patient is dehumanized, treated like a factory object on a conveyor belt.

Everytime I am in a hospital, I am reminded of factory farming.

3957 : Loneliness

It just occurred to me how lonely it might be to be alone and locked into an ICU for a few days. Especially in an Indian scenario, where we are very dehumanized to a point of being shamed.

As I look at her, I wonder - if you are old, shriveled and fighting a war in your body, is solitary confinement the best we can do as a society?

Sunday, June 26, 2022

3956 : Encounter with him

I met him at the lobby. His name was Amitabh too. 

We both smiled, almost as if we had met our doppelgangers.

He spoke in a tongue that seemed to ask questions, without a question mark.

For apparent reasons it immediately reminded me of Murakami's 1Q84.

Today, I have already forgotten how he looked.

3955 : Sleepless in the city

Am I struggling with my sleep?

Or am I dreaming of sleeping well?

Or am I aching for a sleep that does not have a dream?

Or am I not able to not dream?

3954 : The art of saying nothing

I am sometimes accused of saying nothing, because I do go silent at times. 

And yet... I feel better than speaking a lot without meaning anything. Truly, thats not a judgement.

So many of our conversations are just meaningless trite, an almost automatic way to fill up time.

3953 : Yaar

Yaar nu milegi aaj laash yaar di.....

....and then poems were written.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

3952 : The song that wheezes

The poetry from my song dances on my tongue. My heart twirls with the note. 

The singer continues to lull you with progressive notes, till at one point - he smiles (he actually smiles while singing) and then slips in a low note....when least expecting it.

The low cadence hits - as if he is sharing an intimate secret - in a most disarming way.

At one point he says, "This blessing is also from the same seer"....and I know what he is singing about.


Monday, June 20, 2022

3951 : Gitanjali

I was in 8th grade. Terrible at studies. I was always terrible at school - its only in college that I possibly shone through. Call me a late bloomer, if you will, though, that is being immensely kind.

This post is not about that.

So my brother and mom convince me to somehow start to attend a large "tuition" class. So picture this. I am least interested in this nonsense.

So in the first few days, I am switched off and distracted too. And then, Gitanjali arrives to teach me physics. And I was always a physics champ. Even today, I know some chops there.

She is a first year B Sc Student, but she also teaches on the side. And by the Lord, she teaches fab. One of the finest teachers I have known in my life.

So I answer some questions, and very soon I am answering all questions. I soon figure our families know each other. (that's an aside). One day in the class - she asks me how I know so much physics....and I tell her I read Soviet published books. Yes, that's true :-)

She asks me some advanced questions around thermodynamics and so on....and I happy chomp away at it. I can see she is floored.

Over months, she encourages me to be better and better. I love her class. Eventually she stops coming to teach (unsure of the reason), and I lose interest in tuitions and drop off.

Something reminded me of her yday. After almost 3 decades. I have almost never thought of her in all these times. 

She might be the closest I got, to having my first crush. On a serious note, I have immense heartfelt gratitude for her contribution in my life.

That's the post.

3950 : Us vs I

As I grow older, I realize that I am not able to discern the boundaries of what's others and what's me. That causes immense heartburn....I mean, eventually. 

I have to remind myself 10 times a day - put "my" head down and focus on look inwards. At least that's a real way to understand my own inner boundaries.

The duality is real, Advaita be damned in that sense.

Thursday, June 09, 2022

3949 : Whats in me?

I feel I have Bombay in me. I sometimes see my mother in me. I hear the Beatles speak in my tongue. I feel I contain multitudes. I sing in three languages.

My dad says I contain the universe. My son says I contain stories. My heart contains hope.

And yet, I feel immensely lonely? Whats missing?

You, maybe.

3948 : Guru in wilderness

I see mid aged and young women (and yes, it seems to be women)....on flights, in my apartment complex, in transport systems....and they are all watching Sadhguru or some pravachan, or equivalent on youtube.....and something in me laments. 

We lose this beautiful world and life one inch at a time. One soul at a time we take 3 steps back...and then forget to take any steps forward.

There is very little a Guru can teach you, if you cannot open your eyes and see the world around me.

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

3947 : Leaving the door open

Sometimes if you leave a door open, then someone will open it. They might enter the dark space called you. Its hard to let people in, but the first step is to leave the door open.

Better still, if this is the outcome you want, break down the door. Let empty spaces replace the erstwhile door.

This process is hard. Its almost impossible. With or without the awareness, both ways its equally hard.

And yet it behooves I must do it. Today and not later.

3946 : Eric Clapton

I have been so tempted to cancel Clapton in recent years....and yet he is a genius. Listening to him playing "Layla" live with JJ Cale (available on Spotify) is such a raucous joy.

3945 : Diction

Listening to Lata Didi, Nandini a joy, but it also teaches you that diction is everything in songs. Diction paired with perfect notes is so rare, its almost an ear sore. As in, your head notices it, just because perfection is so rare.

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

3944 : 12 inch version

 I come from a generation where 12 inch version meant something groovy, and not necessarily tool size :-).

And Shep Pettibone meant someone to look fwd to.

Stevie Wonder singing "Part Time Lover" in a 12 inch version (in case you are too lazy to google, it means a 12inch the song is a longer single...than regular single) pure gold.

If I am ever wooing someone, this will be the song, I will sing in my gruff desi messy voice.

"We are undercover, passion on the run, chasing love, up against the sun....knowing its so wrong, and yet feeling so right."

3943 : Men will be boys

I am on a flight. Surrounding me is about 6 men, who are all in their 60s possibly. And they are boisterous. Seem like a bunch of childhood friends on a trip together.

They are eyeing the female staff, cracking teenage jokes. And just laughing their asses off.

And moral puking judgements aside, this is what life might actually mean. Be with friends, laugh and fart.....and for a few moments, forget the killjoys that you just left behind.

Monday, June 06, 2022

3942 : Mixtape

I find immense solace in my books and music. Give me spotify and kindle, and I might pull an entire quarter without needed to see another human.

And my spotify mixtape would include Norah Jones, Nandini Srikar and Amy Winehouse.....three women who I unabashedly love. 

And then I can find sentences like "New York City, such a beautiful disease", "My destructive side...has grown a mile wide", "baavan tarah se.....jee ko rhijaun...."

"and I question myself again...."

The creator created a mess, completely losing the plot. And yet she had distinct flourishes. And that friends, should be our mixtape.

3941 : Acid Run

I am starting to write after a long time. Sometimes our minds stop. Mine did.

Minds don't stop in isolation. Minds stop when our hearts stop. Our hearts stop, when our breath stops.

Hibernate. Closet off. One wall at a time, our worlds collapse.

A long hiatus is where I have been in. It feels winter.

And the thaw does not seem to be close at hand at all.

One day, I too shall pray for the Black Hole Sun.

Sunday, June 05, 2022

3940 : The book

I have over 300 pages of material written down, all spewed around. Some of it anachronistic, some of it feeble, some of it sublime....and yet, most importantly, an idea that is incomplete.

Like us, it's trying to go somewhere, but going nowhere. 

An ostrich. A bird trying to find its wings. Burdened by its own weight and proclivities. 

Saturday, June 04, 2022

3939 : Secrets

I wanted to meet her and tell her my truth. I drove home. She led me to the kitchen and said "Sit kanna, tea coming up soon."

Staring at the boiling water, she continued talking in her usual chirpy and yet reassuring voice.

"All good at work?"

"Yes, as always good."

She laughed and said, "How can there be nothing that worries you? Are you really that Zen?"

I mimicked her tone and smiled with a small sound too. She continued "So all good ha?"

I say with a deep pause, "Should I worry about cigarette stub smoke, or the fire in the barn?"

With wisdom, she smiled, still focussed on the tea and said - "Neither. Or both. Depends on what bothers you. Does anything bother you?"

"Hmmm....I notice them both, but with a dispassionate eye - as if I am in a movie hall."

She turned off the flame, turned around and looked at me and said with infinite compassion, "Kanna, this too shall pass."

I looked at her eyes, directly. Long pregnant pause from both of us. She is and always has been excellent at reading conflict in others.

A good minute later, this eye-match-eye going on, and then she finally says "And? Still want the tea?"

I smile sheepishly. She walks to the side the kitchen counter and picks up the "fire extinguisher" and hands it over. "Has never been user in years. Might never work. Maybe this is what you need from me."

Guffaws and turns on the tea making again. Her back to me.

After what seems like minutes - I blurt - "Both the cigarette and the barn fire - I am the one who lit them." 

3938 : One day

Do I have an alibi?


Guilty by induction?


Will we ever know the truth?


Did you buy my story?

Water runs dry.

3937 : Malang from Coke Studio 11 by Sahir Ali Bagga and Aima Baig

There is a new love in town. 

I have been listening to this so often.

The guitar riff is exactly the same as Hawa Hawa - Hassan Jehangir.

But, what a song. The singers and the studio is so much fun.

The energy is so infectious.

And note....

One of those rare songs, where the male goes just as high as the female (in terms of notes). Infact in the middle parts he is higher. So refreshing.

And while you are at it, listen to the master himself.....

3936 : Writing

Writing is a strange preoccupation. 

I dont write on paper, I write in electronic shards ("in" not "on").

There is this deep sense that none of the writing would ever matter. None of me would ever matter. One day I will be gone, and with me goes everything about me. That sword of ephermereality makes this world a very bizarre experience.

Its like walking into the male toilet of a hotel. Use the urinal, pee, wash your hands, and you are out. Neither do you remember the urinal, not the toilet has any memory of you. You crept in, and faded out.

There is no more - no afterlives, no meaning, no purpose, and absolutely no larger ecosystem.

How is this connected to writing? Well, I do wonder, then why do I write at all.

3935 : I knew you were waiting for me - George Michael + Aretha Franklin

I heard an old classic after some years and I am hooked just like my old days. This one is Aretha Franklin and George Michael singing "I knew you were waiting for me".

What a rocker of a number. 

Miss Franklin's vocal range - phew!!

Friday, June 03, 2022

3934 : Why do you drink?

As we continued sipping our wine, I noticed, that she was having very large gulps. I observed for a good few minutes. She was focussed and dunked on the maroon drink (I am bad with color).

Drinking with a purpose, which is not usual for someone who sips for the joy of it. Contrasting it with myself, I like my coffee and wine to be savored - thats probably the only food I consume mindfully.

After a silence that seemed both long and awkward, I built a laugh and asked "Like the Eagles song, drinking to remember or to forget? Before you correct me, I know that's about dancing."

"So to remember, or to forget?"

Eyes seething with anger, as if I had slapped her or equivalent, she gave me a glare. Had another large gulp, and then rudely muttered, "To drown."

3933 : Dead parrot

I remember reading in Arundhati's book, "Where do the birds goto die?" and being intrigued by it. Its a Zen Koan kind of question. I am in my 40s, and I had never wondered about this question earlier.

Years later, I saw dead, now gingerly laid on the floor. Shrouded in white with a green saree symbolically placed over her. It was her favorite saree. Somehow, comically, her slightly long nose (alongwith the green saree) reminded so much of a parrot. Yes, you are right, the human mind does conjure strange phantoms in the most unlikely of places.

I also remember thinking in that moment - "Now I know where one parrot went when she died."

Thursday, June 02, 2022

3932 : Tomorrow

We often tell ourselves that tomorrow we shall be a better version of ourselves. I so often do this. 

I will also tell someone I will call you tomorrow. Yet I know...Tomorrow, you might not be around. Neither might I.

The raging fires of today will be embers tomorrow. In that faint shimmer you might find the ashes of my desire. My remains.

Tomorrow. Is not today. Tomorrow. Is not yet here. Tomorrow. Might sometimes be away. Forever.

3931 : Do our stories matter?

For almost ever, I have debated if our stories matter after us. After our death I mean. I tend to be strongly in the camp - they never do, they never will.

And then today, this happens........For today, every single story matters. Always. For today at least...this is settled.

3930 : The hollow inside

This bird of a human. Always completely sure of every game in town. Ready to dispel advice on the malice of "our ego". Like the cheap bootleg of a Godman.

Eyes ever so slightly shifting from left to the right. A possible sign of the total vacuum inside.

Glazed eyes. Chumped lips as the mouth mutters the lousy nothings.

Did I stare at the abyss today? No, I met him.

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

3929 : Cartographer lost

She was walking. Towards what she felt was a destination. 
Here we are, and she realizes that this road has dead ended into a cul-de-sac, and she is here, but nowhere. 

There are some flowers growing near her. Feels like home, but without an address.

3928 : The straw

We rode the camel. Across the desert. To where? From this dry to the promised oasis, of course. 

Along the way, we loaded ourselves with bags. Not to mention the baggage we perenially carry. We accumulated sins, drowned in the river of the spirit, danced with the light. You carried the cross, "The Lord will watch over us."

Today, you added "her" into the mix. 

The camel's knee broke. The devil had found the straw.

3927 : Flight path

When we talk, I often look at us with distant wonder - our talks should be of the earth, but they often appear completely hollowed out.

I see our souls akin to a tin cage. "Us" is a trapped bird. One which has been tied down for years. Freedom, eventually, on a day like today, might mean nothing. The wings no longer have any muscle.

There is an emaciated poem in the air. The meter is off, the lyrical check is loaf. 

Why would we succumb to this drivel? 

In the book I am reading, I read a sublime passage. Like always, as I read it, it occurred to me, that each of us carries a falcon within our hearts. The falcon, we dry off one flight at a the point that eventually what remains, is the coarse arid sand. 

Sand. Not the earth I would have wanted.

This is our world. We make it by inches. We break it by light years.