Flutter dear mind
Flutter and fly
Like effervescence
From the rapidly narrowing streamMutter
Mutter all you want
Mutter insanity
In my ears, on my face
From a slow fading dream

Walk about
Walk near as much u can
Find the highest u can fall
From what depths your fears scream

Exhale louder
Exhale the poison fruit
Sticky roads stick ur wings
From here to gather steam

Burn out
Burn them demons out
Let those ashes become your coat
From one to the other extreme.



Three amigos take a trip.

Journeys are always symbolic. Sometimes we travel physically to cover emotional distances, and sometimes we walk away in our minds to set our hearts free. Whatever the reasons be, we are all travelling, all of the time. Either towards or away from something, but we are all passengers in this journey to find ourselves, and our pieces. This is such a story. Of three tiny specks of sand, who took on a journey not knowing where they will end up, or who they will end up being.

I have always stressed on the romance and adventure of an unplanned road trip. About how it brings out the best and worst in us, and how it is so very different from a holiday. Most of these impromptu trips are born out of desperation. The desperation to breathe, or to get away, or to get together, sometimes all of these and more combined. This was no different. We three, lets call us ‘The Three Amigos’, were desperate to get out of the town during the new years. And we did, in a car, towards the sea, without a confirmed roof for us to stay under when we got there. So yes, this had the making of an epic road trip.
Just like every lovelorn couple, who want to run away from the world, into their own idea of paradise, we also left in the dark of the night, much before the world could wake up and get in our way. This was the first time we were doing this, the three of us – me, her and our five-month-old furry boy. Life hasn’t had been at the best of terms with us lately, and we wanted it to be. Maybe a change of scene will help, maybe we can connect back to where we started from. Maybe a midnight ride on a rented bike help us realize where all the softer parts of our relationship went. Something’s anything’s gotta give, isn’t it?
So we left, armed with nothing but hopes and optimism. Let me make it clear right here, I, as a man, am not a very subtle one. I am crude, I am rough and I am anxious about things that I shouldn’t be. Yes, I am an incredibly hard person to be with. Which is one of the reasons I care that much about the ones who decide to stay. My co-passenger however is the exact opposite. In short, she is a woman like a woman is supposed to be, subtle, worldly, silent and critical. But she runs on a short fuse. Our son however, inherits all of the above, specially the art of being stubborn. Yes, it runs in the family.
You know, we all have a picture of how things should be in life. We all mentally project our version of what the perfect case scenario should be, no matter how mundane or imp the situations be. We think and re-think it from all perspectives that we can imagine, we live and relive those perspectives and prepare ourselves for it. But somehow, life finds that one permutation that you did not try, that one situation you dint think of, and throws that at you. Yes, life has a way of leaving your stumped, even when you have had all your bases covered. And that is why a road trip is so much to look forward to. It’s like a challenge you throw to life, and surrender to it at the same time. For once, you are not challenging life to be the way you want it to be, you are accepting things to come, and asking life to figure out a solution to its own problems. It’s like being on the same team; it’s like giving yourself up to the universe and believing that it’s on your side.  
It took us fourteen hours to get to our destination. It was dark, we were tired, hungry, cranky; a detour had broken our ride and our backs simultaneously, and to top it all, we dint have a place to sleep for the night. See, we were supposed to have had reached our destination with daylight still on, but one wrong turn had set us back five hours, and now we were panicking. Fortunately, we got a place to rest our weary head for the night. Unfortunately, it wasn’t up to our expectations or standards. But we were out of options, so we gave in to our tiredness, for a night. Tomorrow will be a new day, we thought to ourselves as we slid deep into slumber. The gods wont continue punishing three tired souls who are looking for nothing more than a speck of joy, can they?
No they weren’t. The very next morning, we got a better place. Though it wasn’t the luxury we have had come to expect out of a hotel stay, but it was still mercy on the universe’s path to have gotten us that. And we sure as hell were thankful. Speaking of mercy, it’s a very odd emotion. Actually, it’s not really an emotion. It’s an action, one that is the outcome of several mixed emotions. Mercy is not forgiveness. Forgiveness stems from letting go. Mercy is an act of letting be. So yes, when I say that the gods were merciful, that’s exactly what I meant – they let us be. That day we rested like we had never rested before. It was late in the evening when we decided that we should step out now. Our rented bike was ready, and so were we. The three of us plonked ourselves on the seat and left. And that’s when our vacation really began. It was that moment when the cold sea air brushed across our skin, when we realized that we were no longer in the city, we were hundreds of miles away from it. We were at the sea, were free to be. We were at the place where it all began. It was a beautiful evening, as the three of us were a family for the first time. Sitting there in one of the open shacks that played live retro music, I realized, that through all those turns and through all those hardships that we have had to face to get here, and not just during this journey, we had come closer, all of us. I realize that we have been planning this moment for the last two years, and somehow, this was the exact time it was supposed to happen.
It’s very important to have firsts in a relationship. First kiss, the first touch, the first flower or the first time you let the other person touch you, is really very important. Those are the things we remember, we commemorate and celebrate, and they become the highlights of our lives. But sometimes, for couples, who carry the burden of individual past, firsts are very hard to come by. Most things are a repeat, a constant comparison, or a painful memory. It’s never really a surety of whether your gesture will make the other person smile or hurt a throbbing vein. That is why these couples stumble ever so often. Because we are always walking a very delicate balance, never truly care free. We always have our mittens on, our brakes in check, and our brains on alert. The lack of a clean canvas muddies the experiences. Especially during occasions and holidays. And funnily, these are the kind of people who need firsts more desperately than the others. Firsts help us bond, firsts help is fill that void we are trying hard to fill, firsts makes us believe that all hasn’t been done as yet, that there is still room for plenty more. And yes, we got our fair share of it this time around.
There are many such details during this trip that will make no sense to the outside world, but those details, a week of living as man, wife and child made us realize a lot many things about each other than we would had if we have had been in the city. We saw our five-month-old boy turn into a complete beach bum, we saw him in his courageous best and his yappiest worst. We realized that he really is a brave little pup with the soul of a much older man. We understood how being close physically helps solve things in a much simpler and cleaner way. We realized that this is how we eventually want to live the rest of our lives, and I saw it in her eyes that it was a possibility. But most importantly, we realized that five hundred miles was enough distance to put between us and awkward realities that haunt us in the concrete jungle. We realized that there is a fighting chance of us being a family, if only the world would let us be. So while the world was never quite completely forgotten, and I was never quite the gentleman I usually am, and she wasn’t quite the friend she usually is, we, for a moment there, on that rented scooter, on that beach bed, between the cold waves of a surging sea, we were really one. And that is the distance we covered, that is the journey we took. And I think it turned out to be a muchbetter start to a new year than we ever imagined for the three amigos 

Shut up & drive.

Life is like a road trip. It happens. As opposed to a holiday. And there is a very thin line. Something that is planned, and well executed, at least to have had reached the destination is a holiday. Impromptu impulses that make you leave the house and on to the tarmac is a road trip. And that’s what life is, a series of impulses acted upon. Of knowing the reason you want to go, but never quite sure what you will face on the way, or how many people you will come across or what awaits you after the next turn. We just keep going, that is the reason we left in the first place.
Starting off, you may find yourself stuck behind thousands who seem to be going in the same direction as you. You might want to turn back and give up. But if you hold on, if you keep driving, you will realize, that no one else is walking your road, they are merely crowding the gate. And the more you keep going, the more you would want to, that is how life is, at least for the ones who are not happy settling for the next exit. Never mind the dangers, people slip off their bathroom floors and die, and if it’s your time, you will too, so why worry, you are not in control of it anywhichways. Just make sure you respect the journey, make sure you don’t lose control of yourself on the way. Speed, but not at the cost of your overshooting a bend, be cautious, life throws hairpin bends without much of a warning. If you are not careful enough, you will oversteer into the railing, or end up upside down in a ditch. Stay on it, and you will find yourself smiling ear to ear at the sheer thrill of it.
Life is a road trip, and there are many ways to derive that analogy, but I wont go into all of them. I wont even explain further, I will just end this by saying, that if your life didn’t turn out quite the way you wanted it to be, then it’s because you never took a road trip, you always planned a holiday that never happened. Stop planning, take a road trip, you don’t know where you will eventually end up, and that’s the whole point. Serendipity is real, only for the ones who seek it.

Some strokes from life

Okay, before you people judge me, please note that your’s truly is a person of words, a writer by profession, and has never gone through any art training in his life. So apologies to the hurting eyes of the ones with evolved tastes and likings.
But just like singing, and tapping of feet, drawing come naturally to all of us. The good, bad or ugliness is of course individual.
So here are few of my afternoons and evening of nothingness, but an art pad and HB lead graphite pencil 🙂

Awkward. And uneasy…

Uneasy thoughts crawl through my spine
Let it go, let it be
I say, I scream
Unscathed it moves back and forth

Dark as death
Blue as the unhealed wound
The uninvited makes way into the mind
Liberated, uninhibited it walks naked

Marking territory, it’s marking its territory
All over my dead face
As a single song plays deadpan in the head
Laughs pointing its dirty fingers at me

Reminders of the past days
Baggage of the future
Suffocate the present
As it all passes by slowly

Hovering around the corner is a known face
Leering behind it are the known mistakes
The moment when life gets busy giving others a fuck
Silence fills in the room with the stench of awkward truths

Make it your scent
Wear it wherever you go
Let people know
Where you have been and where you will go

Seeking solace in meaningless words
Fighting uneasy urges
Making way through the crowded alleys
My face in awkward strangers

Of keeping quiet, and talking aloud!

How many times do you keep quiet and bear it? How many times do you curse yourself while walking out of a lost battle of wits, between you and someone you didn’t want to win against? How many times have you dreamt of going back to that same moment and shouting abuse, hurling insults that you think would help you show that person his or her right spot? You have haven’t you? And you just lived through that shame again, like you do sometimes when embarrassing moments come flushing into your mind unaware. You shrug it off, flinch in the pain of it all. That moment that you worked so hard to justify, to forget, to bury. It never works, does it?

I have been through a lot of those, and still do on an alternate basis. I flinch, scream in my head, grit my teeth and tighten my fists. But why do I not say what I want to say? Why do we not say what we think we should? Why do we live through humiliation and insults? What do we hold on to? Our dignity? But isn’t that’s what lying naked, raped brutally? You can see it through the corner of your eyes, cant you? You can hear its silent whimper late in the night, right when the silence tries to bore holes into your eardrums, isn’t it? Harder you try, the louder it howls. Faster you close your eyes, the sooner it appears in your nightmares.

If there was a screen that showed all that goes on in our heads, I believe it won’t be sex. It would be graphic scenes of souls being molested, egos being impaled and minds being sedated. It would be the white noise of helplessness. It would hardly ever be sex.

Have you ever realized that the more we tend to keep quiet on the outside, the more louder we get inside our heads. Bow down, bend over, take your pants off. Scream, scream louder, scream till the last ligament in your throat is hanging by that nerve end. Newton’s law, I presume, fits in here.

There is a huge deception here. We deceive ourselves that is. This comes into play when our coward mind is done playing all its cards. When our fear for what we have starts to wither. When we start questioning the very things that we take all the shit for. This is when our mind shows us a mirage. The picture of a cliff, and you heading towards it, at top speed. It gives you references from all the fiction you have ever seen or read, of all the fairy tales you have not believed in. It tells you that you are fast approaching the end, and that you will topple over. It plays in your head a huge bang, a brilliant white flash that you will be. And how everyone else will be at awe of it. Your mind tells yourself to endure it because there is nothing else for you to lose, and whatever that is pushing you towards that cliff will soon get it from you big time. You will have you revenge, you will have your say, you will have your moment of glory under the sun that is bright than the brightest star in the realm of brightness. Your mind will tell you to hold on just a moment more. It tells you that you will soon have that life-altering, chains-shattering moment. And after that, all this pain will end, all this suffering will stop, all this screaming will be silent. You will be free again. You will have life your way. By the reins, moving fast, breathing easy.

But that cliff never approaches. It always stays at touching distance. You move fast, you move slow, but that tip of the mountain, that end of the line remains as elusive and tempting as it was the first day you thought you had this realization. Slowly, the screams come back, it starts hurting again, and you keep silent. Like you always have, and always will be. There is no escape.

The Pursuit of Happiness. Step 5 – Sitcoms

It’s somewhat coming out of the closet when i say that i am a complete sucker for sitcoms, or situational comedies. I have always been a big fan. In fact, i have grown up imitating them. Back in Kanpur where we all took offense to anyone talking too fluently in English, i secretly watched all the western comedies. It made me feel better, forget my exam worries. But today, sitting here, i know that it was much more than that. That i am no better than a junkie, shooting stuff up his nerves. He wants to have some fun while by escaping from the reality, so was i. And something recently happened that brought into light a very weird side of me.

It started when we were warming up to the phenomena called ‘Cable TV’. There were to the most five channels, three of them were English. My parents thought that it will help their convent-going English-medium-studying son. It did, but not the way they would have imagined. I grew up to become a copywriter; there is no bigger testament to a shipwrecked career 🙂

So I was saying, that it began really early, a time when my other friends still thought Archie’s was a real racy comic, specially the swim suit editions. Anyways, my first sitcom was ‘Wonder Years’, and what a perfect timing it had. I was 10-12 so was Arnold. His geeky friend had his avatar in my best friend of that time whose name I dare not disclose. His trials and tribulations were mine too. His crushes inspired me to go up to an undisclosable girl in my school and pour my heart out. There were so many stark similarities that I started living as Arnold. And boy, was I in love with Gwendolyn “Winnie” Cooper or what, so much so that I never told my friends about her. I knew they will not respect what me and her shared 🙂

It was followed by many more like, ‘Who’s the boss’, ‘Different Strokes’, ‘I dream of Genie’, ‘Silver Spoons’, ‘Full House’, ‘3 Stooges’, ‘Doogie Houser MD’ et al. You all know what I am talking about don’t you? You have seen one or all of them yourself. I grew up seeing myself somewhere in those characters, living a life I wanted to live, in a city that didn’t give you any opportunity to be anything else.

By this time I was already in the age of cynicism. Sarcasm had taken its high seat in my head, and puberty was a bad patch I didn’t want to remember. I was already past schooling and into the world. TV took a back seat for a while, as I tried to make my way through dating, working and dating some more. Music was the priority then. You know those dark ages when boy bands were cool, Spice Girls were hot. Ya, that millennia.

Undoubtedly, TV made its comeback into my life with ‘Frasier’, ‘Seinfeld’ and most importantly ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S’. Those six inspired millions including me. I thought I was ‘Chandler Muriel Bing’, you know that nicer one of the lot who cracked cheesy jokes. I lived a life of wishfullness through re-runs after re-runs. Wishing for a social circle like that. You know, cool nice people who had a great life. FRIENDS stuck to me for more than 15 years. And somehow it never boring.

When I met my wife, I imagined a life like Monica and Chandler. Fun, with friends, cheesy lines and cosmopolitan lifestyle. She was no better either. And we lived, drew references, and forced inspirations from the scripted characters, trying to justify this illusion that we do have a life like them if not cooler.

Then came along ‘How I Met Your Mother’, a story about five friends who live in NYC and how. My wife was supposed to be exactly like ‘Lilly’, and I, by default became ‘Marshall’, Lilly’s husband. And we have a name of our own set for every other. But the point is not that. The point is that sitcoms make me feel nice about life when my boss is throwing faeces at me like an ape. It makes me believe that I have something more than what I can see. It makes me believe that there possibly is a teeny-tiny bit chance that my life can one day be as colourful and fun as theirs is. Because it makes me believe that I still have a shot at a better life. I know it might be escapism for others, but I like to come back to this cocoon of private emotions and feel good.

The Pursuit of Happiness. Step 4 – The Deception

When I look back at life, it seems that everything has a way of sorting itself out, that everything happened for the best. But that’s the beauty of nostalgia, isn’t it? To make everything seems alright, colourful and nice. For example, our childhood.

When we were kids, most of us wanted to grow up, and fast. Not because of anything else, but because being a kid just plain sucked. We wanted to dress better, have a career, walk-in walk-out any time any hour, take calls on life, smoke without fear, and drink with social acceptance. We forever wanted to get out of childhood as soon as possible.

There was no money, no power, no freedom to do the stuff we actually wanted to do and definitely no sex. On top of that, there was a constant running routine of school, homework, peer pressure, puberty and expectations from the parents. We hated waking up in the morning, hated doing homework, hated having a ban on TV during exams, and to the least detested the idea of getting the bag ready according to the time-table of the next day. Ah! It all comes screaming back, isn’t it? 

The only saving grace was the fact that you had your friends, who would agree to the fact that life sucked big time. Nothing has changed still. You still wake up grudgingly, get dressed, leave for your job, and forever crib about it to your present friends. Only, now you have the examples of how great it was when you were a kid. Sun coloured days and shit. But the fact is, twenty years from now, when you will have no challenge left in your job, no youth, and no sex drive left in your mind. You will look back to today and say the same things. You will suddenly be talking to your equally menopausal friends about how exciting it was to do whatever shit you did at work. And how so much money can never count for the crowded bus-rides to your office. You will also criticize the way the people of the future are not remotely professional as you were. But the fact is, you will forget that you actually were looking forward, and working your ass off towards earning lots of money, so that you can leave your shitty job and ass of a boss for a better life. And also, that you spent most of the time in the office Facebook-ing, and reading stupid blogs like these. Trust me, you will forget. And conveniently so.

This very deception is what all these words are about. Nostalgia is a switch that makes every remotely nice incident in the past turn golden and beautiful. You know why? It’s because we ask it to. We want to believe that we had a good childhood, that our teachers and parents loved us dearly. We want to believe that we were great as professionals. We want to believe that we made a difference. That we had a good life. So that when we die, we don’t die in regret of a wasted life. We die thinking that we actually were happy.

And you know why I am writing this? I am writing this, so that I can come back here twenty years from now and know that all that is not true. But I have a lurking feeling that by then, I will forget why I wrote this in the first place 🙂

In my mind

What sense does it make
This rhythmic chaos
Clouds of shadows
In my mind

What sense does it make
When the poetry of joy
Rhymes with pathos
In my mind

What sense does it make
This overwhelming love
Incomplete without you
In my mind

What sense does it make
This continuous chatter
Of complaints untold
In my mind

What sense does it make
To wear a mask
When you live in me
In my mind

What sense does it make
Of this lonely heart
When I can touch you now
In my mind

What sense does it make
To make sense of it all
When sense eludes me
In my mind

What sense does it make
To question love
When love’s all I have
In my mind

Oh! What sense it makes
To see it in your eyes
Seldom and often
In my mind