Getting the ending right

I have been tight,
On getting the ending right.

Always; it starts with a bang,
Or a boom, or a blast,
But it does not last.
Comes down crashing,
Like the popped-corn,
That takes off like a missile,
An ambitious space ship may be, that won’t rest
Siphoning through space
On an indefatigable mission, to orbit moon,
But falls right back,
To truffled butter flavor,
Or sometimes just a plain salty doom.

Every time, it’s like a dawn.
The brilliant spark of a bright idea,
Apparently, whose time has but come
Enthusiasm spilling through the sleeves
Of my creative genius,
That remains to be proven
Not unlike
Overzealous expectant’s sweater,
That never gets past
Thirtieth row and the forty-sixth loop

Bolder the beginning,
Harder the pull, Over and over
Over and Over
Oh, my! Wonderful lines
Started like a starry night on canvas
And then left to dry in the rain

Stream of effervescent thoughts
Gushing through my prefrontal
Perhaps through my vestigial
Into the void of Universe
Where Singularities confluence
Time and Space
And the simple laws debase
Some such
Abstract debauchery thus takes over
Generating non-recyclable waste
Of words that could have been saved

Starts like The Prufrock Song,
And feels like the Essay on Man
But always ends in a faltering plot
A miserable attempt at rescue
And an insidious everlasting pain


She Is Pregnant


The fear of impregnation
Anticipation of hue and cry
The feeblness of her existence
The fear of outcry

Absent her will to confront
The unpreparedness
Of her demeanour
Oh! So unprecedented

Shovel loads of raven infatuation
Blazing ambers
All but defenseless
Equipped with a daring ploy
To seed her with ecstasy
Bundled up
With guilty heathen pleasures


She is pregnant
Pregnant with joy


I originally wrote this poem in 2005 and reworded, rearranged and restructured to publish it in a new form here. I love the poem, the original as well as this reworded one.

Politically Correct

I sometimes derive great pleasure from political incidents/news even though I don’t like to think of myself as being politically minded. But I guess hardly anyone can survive today without being political. Whether you’re in school, private job, sports, non-profit or public service; you are where you are because you know how to be politically correct, else you would probably be a street dweller by now and wouldn’t be reading this post.

Anyhow, what triggered this post was the recent news that a senior Indian politician, namely Sharad Pawar was slapped by a citizen. The entire parliament session was devoted on politicians expressing their anger and condemning the act as undemocratic. I feel they are scared that the public anger might be on a rise and that they may vanquish under the siege. Well, all these years of repression has to go somewhere, and I won’t be surprised, if starts with a toll on a few of these corrupt politicians.

Why else would these politicians sound so scared, screaming and yelling about democracy, were they not scared for their deteriorating position in the society and the inevitable threat to their lives?

So, why now? I don’t remember seeing them scared when the parliament was attacked by terrorists, they weren’t scared when Hotel Taj was set ablaze by foreign elements, neither did any of them react,  when 500,000 Kashmiri Pandits were uprooted from their homeland.  Now it is different, because all that I mentioned above was all under the control of the Government, but this, the public anger and revolt, no government or even tyranny can contain or survive it, look at Egypt, Libya, Iran etc. from the recent history. India is at the brink of civil revolt. It may hit us when we least expect it. And like weasels, these politicians can see it coming already.

I am very happy and applaud the gentleman who has instilled some fear in the minds of these corrupt and uncouth politicians. At least there is something that has scared the proverbial shit out of them.

Column: Turning 30, Disappearance of YSR and Inglourius Basterds

Some days are just plain old days, nothing much happens in them, no memories, no funny incidents, no association. And then some days are just too much to handle. As if, they were designed to compensate for all those inglourious days, that have gone by, or are waiting to happen next.

This september I turned thirty, officially! It was uneventful yet full of memorable moments. For instance:

  • This year my wife arranged my birthday, though it was just for two of us, but it was first birthday with my wife.
  • Watched yet another great performance by Brad Pitt and a superb direction by Quentin Tarantino called Inglourius Basterds. What a movie!
  • A sad event that happened on my birthday was disappearance and death of YSR Reddy, erstwhile Chief Minister of Hyderabad. I have had the opportunity to meet him last year and even though I didn’t subscribe to his ways and ideas, it is a shame indeed that he died such a violent death.

I guess these events have sort of marked a milestone for the years past. Turning thirty has been a long journey, with so many transformations, from a kid to a boy to a man to a married man. It appears as if it was yesterday, when I fell down from the bicycle I was trying to learn, even thought it is more than 20 years since that happened. In other words, it is 3 decades of long journey so far and has been worth every minute. I am glad to say that I regret nothing and that I am excited to see what comes next.

It only feels apt to quote this, ” If it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger.” And it goes for everything that happens  in my life.

Column: LUV PUNE

Living in America, the US and especially in San Francisco Bay Area now a days is quite an experience. You are always torn between the feeling of being at home, literally every 7th person you come across is from India as the census goes, and feeling like an alien in a world of highly developed infrastructure and high speed cars, public parks groomed like private lawns and high-rise buildings illustrating the affluence and technological advancement. Yet, living in US is far different from what one imagines as an outsider.

The real American life, or the real life for a person living in the US is no different than the life elsewhere, and here I refer to life as ones ability to extract out of life, whatever one can. There are homeless people in the US too. And in my observation, their level of disorientation is no different (or better) than that of an Indian beggar. In India, being homeless is not that big an issue, some people live without a home by choice. People here drive the ugly, scrap metal cars too. People here also skip eating-out to save money like our parents always tell us back home. People do ask for help from neighbors and friends, and family when they are in need. People are unhappy about certain decisions made by the government and do express their displeasure in all the usual ways that we do back in India. So, what is the difference of living in the US. I believe the difference is freedom of personal expression. “I am who I am and no one has the right to make me feel ashamed for who I am.”

I was driving to work the other day when I saw a license plate on a car ahead of me, it said “LUV PUNE” and what a pleasure it was to see PUNE embossed on the license plate of that sedan.Why the heck didn’t I see that ever back in India? Why?

For starters Regional Traffic Office, the Indian counterpart of DMV, doesn’t even allow one to have a personalized license plates. And even if they did, I don’t think anybody would ever put up a license plate saying “LUV PUNE” or “LUV DELI” or “LUV JAPR” because  we are too proud to associate with anything that is local. It is considered as a sense of low self esteem.

Secondly, it certainly looks more cool to have a the firebrand Metallica poster on your car rather than printing “I listen to Laxmikant-Pyarelal.” Now come on, who listens to them anymore. If you asked the kids, they would faintly associate it to some musicians that their grandfather might once have possessed a broken record of, without realizing that their parents were singing the songs composed by the duo to woo each other back in the 80’s. As a matter of fact, that is the time when Metallica was just beginning to form a band. I guess, as long as you keep banging your head and no one can see your lips, to check the lipsync (or the lack of it), you might as well pretend that you are the greatest fan of Metallica and advertise it on the back of your car.

Dear readers excuse my ancient views, but I feel strongly about the old times, for the quality of life and artful existence, which is being replaced by strong economic focus and mechanical way of life!

Anyway, moving on, I tried to think what made that person put such a license plate on his car. Was it nostalgia? Did it emerge from the need of associating with one’s roots? Or was it because it was exotic to use a name that most of the people (here in the US) wouldn’t figure out easily?

Whatever it was, I just felt good to see that someone had dared to express themselves. This post doesn’t have any point as such, just a random rambling. I just wanted to praise the person for having expressed their love for their roots.

Keep up the Luv!

Column: Benedict who is basically Charu Lochan!

Those of you have been regular readers or have at least read the last few posts would know that a few weeks back my wife and I had an animal encounter. A stray cat that opted for a career switch and took up the offer of becoming our pet for a day. And as much as it was a disappointment that the cat went away the next day, it was a relief too that I would not have to be responsible for any mess it created in the neighborhood. However, that was not to be, as our masquerading Puss-In-Boots had returned after exploring other options in the neighborhood for a couple of days.

It was quite a surprise when I opened the door in the morning two days later to find the cat waiting outside. I could see it was hungry and hesitant to ask for food, probably because it was feeling embarrassed for having rudely rejected our offer the day before. For me, it was a time to display my graciousness by offering food and shelter to this cat who apparently needed food more than shelter as we realized later. Rashmi was filled with joy and excitement; she was already planning to set up a litter-box in the balcony, despite the “No-Pets” policy at our apartment complex. However, as we have spent time with this grey-blue feline, we have understood the independent nature of their species a little better. And also we have seen how they like to keep their ablutions a private affair, especially if they haven’t been trained by humans. Don’t tell on us, but we haven’t been cleaning up after our cat. If we can call it our cat.

Yes! This right here is Benedict, who is basically Charu Lochan, our adopted but not legally so cat. As you can see, he likes to sleep with his eyes open and fist drawn, giving out a Bond like aura. As if you could hear him muttering in his sleep,“…the name is Bond, James Bond!”

It is hard to imagine that a cat could have the intelligence of a 2 year old. You sometimes get to see that happening in some remote corner of this world on a YouTube video with 434,345 views and 12,234 comments. And you are not sure if the video is doctored or real. But to have such an experience first hand is quite a unique experience. I don’t think I could be as excited about my own kid learning to walk and talk, that is when I have one, as I am to see a non-human display such vital signs of intelligence that we humans have so arrogantly assumed to be our species’ patent. What I am referring to his this cat’s ability to acknowledge basic commands like, “Stop clawing the carpet, now!” Of course that is not how I say it, in fact it just comes out like a big “Noooooooooooooo!”, which automatically conveys the message. And you can see the cat retreat from whatever it is doing at that time. I know, it is not as marvelous as it sounds, but still to have someone listen to your command and obey, especially when it doesn’t even have to comply to the intra-species obligation of understanding the commands. That is intelligence!!!

I have picked up a few things in last three weeks like how to tease the cat into having a fit of excitement in which all it wants to do is claw and bite. Of course playfully! And before PETA comes after me, let me make it clear, I am not causing any psychological or physical harm to the cat. By the way, I had a narrow escape the other day; I almost had my hand bitten, of course because of my own fault. The cat was excited and clawing the claw-mat I was teasing it with. And I tried to pet it, in an attempt to calm it down when it expressed its displeasure. Thanks to Caesar Milan, from whose videos I have learned how excitement can be eased into “calm-submission”.

However, Benedict aka Charu Lochan is a gentleman and very chauvinistic in its approach. He is a cool cat and the only thing that makes his hair stand up straight is traveling in the car. We have tried twice to take it for a ride, without success. We have already given up on that for now, until we can build more trust with him and it has realized that a red Eagle Vision is not a monster waiting to gobble it up.

As I am writing this post, he is curled up next to me on a small red foot mat at the entrance of our kitchen. That is its favorite spot, because that is where he can see my wife and I for most part of the day. And I am begining to feel that this post is turning into a boring ramble so I am going to call it quits for now. I have lost track of what I originally had in mind as I have written this post over a span of 10 hours, with three breaks in between.

So, until next time, adios! And stay tuned to learn more about the adventures of Benedict.

Rememberance: Mr. Nagarjuna Ganju – An Exemplary Life!

In profound grief I drank my cup of tea last evening. Rashmi told me that Mr. Nagarjuna Ganju had passed away. It was an instant shock. A sense of bereavement encompassed me and my wife as we sat there in silence, interrupted by her occasional muttering and intermittent sorrowful sobs.

In that moment of numbness, my mind posed a question. Who is Mr. Nagarjuna Ganju? or Who was Mr. Nagarjuna Ganju? I couldn’t retrieve the memory of a face related to that name. Yet, I knew I had known this person for a long time. I had heard his name directly or in an indirect reference somewhere or the other; quite often. How was it possible that I was feeling a sense of loss for a person whom I had apparently never met in person? And while I was trying not to pose an insensitive question to her, my wife relieved me of my dilemma and guilt. All she had to say was “KPJobs”.

Mr. Ganjoo’s was the name that I had always read of in the emails that were exchanged over the Yahoo groups. Kashmiri Interchange, KPJobs, AIKS and what not? Slowly, my head was flooded with all the memories of mails that I had read either from or about Mr. Ganju. I could recall the initiatives and activities towards which he had contributed. And then came the realization. That that chapter had come to an end.

Those regular emails that originated from the Inbox of Mr.Ganju and went out to so many needy young and old Kashmiri Pandit community members on a regular basis, informing them about a job here or an admission there, would no longer be there. A fellow community member, whom we had learned to trust, love and respect (despite our egregious social behavior) was no longer going to be available with his valuable advice and counsel. That an unsung hero, who showed us new ways of salvaging ourselves, had departed. Oh God! What a loss? It takes a lot of good luck to have people like Nag Ji live and share their lives with us. And our luck had run out.

Let me ask this again. Who was Mr. Nagarjuna Ganju? And what my mind tells me is that he was an example of noble life. A binding force for a perpetually multi-polar community. He was the hope that our identity as a society couldn’t disappear, until there were people like him. He was a constant that people like me, who have not experienced Kashmir but have observed the volatility of being Kashmiri Pandit, can hang on to.

It has been such a painful experience learning about that fateful accident that took Mr. Ganju away from his family and from all of us. A wrongful death is very hard to condole in itself and there is no compensation for the loss that we have incurred as a community. I personally feel very much in debt of Mr. Ganju for his kindness and unconditional love. My wife and I could do nothing much except sulk about our helplessness.

Alas! In death, there is nothing one can do except for offering a prayer. And we pray that “May your journey hereafter be that of bliss and harmony.” Our hearts go out to Mrs. Ganju and kids, who will now have to learn to live with the void that you have left behind, dear Nag ji.

In the end, the only thing I hope for is that may Nag Ji’s life inspire us to be like him and follow the path of kindness.

Rashmi and I are going to miss you badly, Nag ji!