Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What Up!

It feels good to be back here after 3 months. But it feels terrible not to have a specific topic to write. So, I will not force myself to come up with something artificial. And these days, the weather in Mumbai is so beautifully natural that I am trying not to do anything artificial throughout the day ;) It's cold, there are drizzles and there are cold windy evenings. What else one can ask for in a city known for its humidity levels. Last few weeks have been the best when it comes to my sleep, such weather provides quality sleeping and I am just not complaining.

I have been doing so many things in last couple of months, both personally and professionally, that I am not able to keep a track of my priorities. But then, who all can I keep happy. So I am just moving from one day to the other keeping myself afloat. Spendings have shot up in recent months without any changes in the salary, that leaves me on the brink of being declared a bankrupt. But I like the idea, I want to be declared as one, it makes life all the more interesting.

I have not been able to update my blog, which is painful, and I have not been watching any movies, which is equally dreadful for a movie-maniac like me. I do not know, but this whole drama of work is just not going anywhere. These days, I sometimes feel like drowning myself in the cup of coffee in the office but then refrain for the sake of those nonsensical conversations that follows along with it which is the most interesting part during day.

Am I tired of my work or profile? No and yes. Both. I love my work, but feel saddened when I feel I am kind of married to it (when I count the number of hours I spend with it). And so many 'thankless' tasks I do. The other night I googled potassium cyanide and researched as if a thesis is due to be submitted. Before that I was reading Poonam Pandey & Mallika Sherawat's new histrionics. Yes, my curiosity has no boundaries. I just go on a voyage when I surf, I read from one pole to the other and I find almost everything interesting & amusing. I really get amazed at the confidence with which Sonakshi Sinha talks about her movies and the importance of her roles or Sajid Khan judges reality shows. I like the expressions of Kirron Kher in India's Got Talent. I mean really! If she can not see half of the acts because they are scary and she hides herself behind her 'pallu', then why the hell she is judging it in the first place.

Well, let's cut the crap here. You all just stay happy. Avoid watching India play Cricket, watch some Hockey & know its rules. And do not even dare to watch or read politics, it has gone from worse to God-knows-where. Spend some money on yourself. Happiness is a very subjective thing. I will not trying defining it. So just be happy and do whatever you want to do (yes, that's what Salman says) because I am no one to advise.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Of Hate, Complacency & Detachments!

11 years is not a small time and when it comes to politics, it is really a long long time. Rivals change, so are the friends. But then all the national and regional parties in India are united in one thing: bashing Narendra Modi for what happened in 2002. Yes, mistakes were made, some grave ones. But is Congress the right watchdog to raise the voice after the 1980/Moradabad, 1984/Bhiwandi, 1985/Gujarat etc. during their rule. Here is a complete list of our disgusting achievements of past and how many riots have happened under their rule to make things clear. 

But at the same time, the same Gujarat people have voted Mr. Modi back to power thrice (twice post riots). At the same time, Gujarat has developed the most under his leadership (I am not endorsing the over-hyped "Gujarat-Model"). At the same time, he has been garnering interest from a large portion of the country. Now all these amounts to a phobia that had caught on to the opposition party. And BJP knows it pretty clearly that 2014 would be their last shot at the centre with the diminishing hold they have in last few years. In a nutshell, if Modi won't be able to pull it off, no one will for BJP ever post 2014.


I have forecasted about the way Nokia was taking its customers for granted and the surge of Samsung during 2007/08 when people around me were sarcastic of my loyalties towards Samsung. They were pretty proud of their half-a-kilo Nokias with awful display but a great battery in the back. Samsung reworked its R&D team, the network and reincarnated itself during 2009/10. Also, during that phase the Indian upper class (read Businessmen/Politicians) were into something called Blackberry. It became the staple phone for those who wanted secured email communications and no one snooping them. Well, there obviously was no one who they could have suspected until Julian Assange ;) I was laughing out loud looking at their helplessness when it was revealed that just how much US knows about them.  

Cut to 2013. I know that number 13 is not a great number according to many, but today, we have both Nokia & Blackberry sold out! Reason : Complacency! Nokia always thought that there is only category of consumers whereas Blackberry assumed email functionality in a phone is all that people want. Now, without sounding as a Samsung loyal, I need to tell this - Constant Innovation & Multiple Options, are the reasons which made Samsung rise to the top. And there is Apple who have always been a pioneer of innovation in cutting edge technology. Because technology is a field where you just can not afford to sit back and presume what consumers can use, you need to understand their expectations and go beyond that. Then only you will be trusted and anticipated as a brand to own.


You have been instrumental in telling those dead parts in my body that life is not over yet. I won't say I had reached a dead-end but I was slightly clueless. You helped me contain my sanity. I jumped into a journey with you without a hint of tomorrow. But then bonding with a 'kite' was never a practical way forward as the two can never get along all the way. But why I'm blabbering all these! I never repent. I move on, atleast people around me think so. Let that perception continue. One last thing but a fact: "You were there for me, when no one was there." 

I'm becoming vulnerable to breaking down these days than ever. Parents being so far and fear of leaving such an awesome city. The maximum city as they say. And one insane brother. I'm confused being at the crossroads. Last few weeks have been tough. Only my pillow soaked all those moments silently. Leaving closed ones ain't easy. And I've to learn all these lessons of restructuring the life time and again. Don't do that. But then all those old lanes, old friends and old stories are waiting. Need to re-live them. After all, the real pain originated from there. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Hundred Irrelevant Musings

I speak my mind. I hate pseudo-intellects. Oh God, they are everywhere. All around. They strangulate me. I am counting my share of oxygen. I had one-fourth promise of staying with you. But who belonged to whom? Nothing is permanent. Expectations reduces joy. They are temporary. We have put a price tag for everything in life. The price of life has become nothing. The sweet nothings describes you. You all define me. The definition is subjective. Every subject is hapless at the hands of administrators today. Helplessness, many times, ignited movements. Movements are what we get inspired from. Inspiration is what we long for, inspiration is what we want to be. Longing has been a key element of my survival. Elements of hope, nostalgia is what makes me stay grounded. I seek contentment. I find it costly which I can not afford. Expectations are permanent, disappointments are temporary. I write my life. I describe events. Words are healing. All scars are mine. I am proud of them. I cry for peace. I seek quality. I believe in giving. Change is constant. I disapprove change.

I love words. They console me.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

People Make It Work!

You have great roads, well designed fly-overs, metro rail and now a super terminal in the airport. All the basic infrastructure is in place, there are still few things to improve, but it is still far better than other metro-cities. Delhi, or Delhi – NCR, has ‘almost’ got everything that will merit this city to be as India’s capital. When I visited this city, after a gap of a decade, I went with a lot of apprehension. And the apprehension was built over the same last decade where the crime rate in our capital city has gone up several notches up. Today, it is a known fact that a girl cannot step outside her house after 7 in the evening alone. What has happened to a city like this that the situation has reached
IGI Airport
such a point! During my last visit before this, around 2003 – 2004, it was only the taxi & auto drivers along with the shopkeepers were unruly and rude. The number of species has now grown manifold to an extent wherein you will start suspecting every person you are dealing with outside your comfort zone. During my current visit, by looking at the Delhi roads, I realized why Mumbai has lesser number of Lamborghinis. When I stepped into Gurgaon, I was elated to see how beautifully a city can be designed and infrastructure can be managed. So where is Delhi, the home to our parliament, babus & media houses, going wrong?

My next stop of the journey was a neighboring state of Delhi, full of scenic places, Uttarakhand. Recently devastated by the horrific flood, the state is recuperating from the effects. I went to a place 8500-feet above sea level and the road was good until a point. After that, we had many moments where we had the opportunity to witness some breathtaking picturesque surroundings and some such rough mountain terrains where we had to drive our vehicle through 2-inches gap from the other. Throughout the journey and during our stay, we interacted with many people, and each of them exuded one thing: warmth. They were helpful, they were soft-spoken and never misguided us (which they could easily have done). The stay was pleasant not ‘only’ because the temperature was 11 -12 degrees or the place was simply beautiful, but critically because we were taken proper care of. They ensured we get everything we required during the 24 hour stay.

Then I headed for my next destination, my hometown, Bhubaneswar. The state of Odisha has grown quite well (if not quite fast) in last few years. Bhubaneswar being the capital has seen tremendous amount of development with a lot of projects still underway. The city is not as big as Delhi nor as small as Dehradun, the capital of Uttarakhand. But it is a city where you can settle down post retirement knowing there will be lesser noise, pollution &
interference. What I have observed over the years when the city has seen many changes that there are two different sections which are growing separately. One that is growing with the right outlook of what future holds for them and they are preparing themselves for it and the other who are inclined to stay in their shell and does not like to be disturbed. Now, the second species are a bane to any society and a city at large. You can change everything in a man, but not the attitude. The attitude can be towards work, towards civic sense, towards their approach to the people or simply be the attitude towards life. Personally, I believe that attitude is your ‘upbringing’ plus your ‘education’. Both these factors overlap and inclusive. Now every society needs more of the first breed of people than the second to create stories people can feel proud of.

Whether I want or not, I had to leave home after a 6-day stay for my karmabhoomi, Mumbai, a city which is defined in many ways. Now when I stepped in, I found the airport terminal smaller, the parking slot outside slightly cramped, the road to my home with far more potholes that I found in all the 3 above cities added together. The traffic in Mumbai on a Sunday afternoon was more than the traffic of Gurgaon on a Monday morning. It has this never-ending monsoon spree which sometime continues without a break for 3 months (seriously without a single break of a day). During monsoon, the commuting in the city goes from bad to worse. The city has a metro project running for a half a decade now and is yet to start the operations. Now, what is there in Mumbai that millions come every month here, even though they are not even sure whether they can sustain in this city where the cost of living is higher than any other city in the country! I just gave a brief on the infrastructure, the haywire projects and the pain. Well then, let’s talk about those 8 million (yes, that’s 80-lacs) commuters in Local Trains (close to 2500 services/day) that runs for 22 hours in a day. This figure is barring the bus services and the taxi/auto services. The
Mumbai Local
last local train which runs around 2 in the morning will have ladies travelling in them, same goes for bus services. The busiest public places often turn into an uncomfortable place to female travelers, but not in Mumbai. You get into a local train or some other public transport system, you will feel welcomed. This city has embraced all, but how? The answer to all these questions is: People. It is the people, from wherever they are, they have one thing in common – tolerance. Tolerance to the person in front, irrespective of the religion, caste, sex or education is the proof of a healthy society and an enriching one as well. Mumbai, with its lack of space, has been the most accommodating city for me in my life. And it is the people who make you feel a part of this place, this city. Under no circumstances, I can take away the role of each Mumbaikar (yes, we call ourselves that, whether we are born in this soil or not) who shaped me into a better person. The accountability and the onus lies ONLY with us.

To summarize (not to ‘conclude’, as ‘comparisons’ has conclusions, and this piece is not one), let me put this straight - I am no Delhi-basher or Mumbai-supporter, I do not even have my ancestors linked to any of these 2 cities. I feel I can connect to a city like Mumbai like no other, after having spent my life in multiple districts of smaller and an under-developed  state because of only one thing: The People. They make it a place to live, they make it a place to respect, they make it a safer place. They make it move on. No city can work with just infrastructure, skyscrapers, flyovers, terminals, shopping malls. Every city need people who define it. A city is as good as its people.

People make a city work.

A small video, you may call it a travelogue, which I made during my last long-trip spread over 5120 KMs here.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Yeh Baarish. Woh Ummeed.

Main shukra-guzaar hoon unn lamhon kaa, jinmein maine kuch aisa paaya, jo likh sakaa. Zehen mein aksar bahut kuch likhte rehta hoon, din-raat, subeh-shaam, aate-jatey, uthate-baithtey, har pal har dum, bas  jab bhi mauka mil jaaye. Par record kar nahin paaya, lekin jab bhi samay mila hai, iss blog ke madhyam se kuch kaha hai.  Likhne mein ek alag hi mazaa hai, jo shayad main kabhi bayaan na kar paoon, lekin itna kehna lazmi zaroor hoga ki yeh bada sukoon deta hai. Mujhko, meri rooh ko! Lambe-lambe din kaate hain, raatein bhi bahut si aur bahut tarah ki dekhi hain, jinmein kal ki koi assurance nahi thi. Bhagwan ko toh dekha nahin kabhi, haan par Maa-Baap hain, jinko uski darza deta hoon, aur likhta hoon. Khushi mein likhta hoon, akelepan mein kuch zyade hi khayaal panap-tey hain, lekin gham ki shyahi ka toh koi jawaab hi nahin, bahut kaam aayi yeh mere likhney mein.

Likhna mazboori hai... Aur fitrat bhi!


Mumbai mein monsoon ko sehna ek achievement hi hai, aap maane ya na maane… Har gad.dhe ka hisaab rakhte-rakhte umra beet jaayegi, lekin yeh shehar kabhi nahi ruktaa, ruk hi nahi paata… Chand panktiyan, ussi shehar ke naam:

Is baar ki baarish kuch alag hai,
Boondein toh pehchaan loon,

Aisa hi ashkon se bhiga kuch khat, thodi yaadein,
Kahin tumne kahin dekha hai!

Baarish aate hi iss shehar ko kuch ho jaata hai,
Subah ghar se nikle hi nahin, toh shaam ki chinta ho jaati hai,
Baarish shuru hone se pehle hi, ussey bachne ki  taiyaari ho jaati hai,
Lekin kahan suntee hai kisiki, yeh baarish.

‘Asha’ ek badaa hi zaalim shabd hai, logon ne bahut kuch khoya iske naam par... Lekin chhod pana bada mushkil hai, Bhagwan ki tarah hai, dikhta nahi, par har jagah hai. Log toh yehi kehte hain, accept karne mein bhalaa harz kya hai…

Jaane se pehle koi vaada ya kasam nahi khaai  thi humne,
Khush hoon us baat par, ki 'regressive' nahi the hum,
Lekin jab jab tumhe dhoondhtaa hoon un andheron mein,
Khaali haath hi naseeb hota hai,
Andhera pasand hai mujhe, chhod do mujhe mere makhmali andheron mein,

Meri khamoshi ka sur lagati phirti hogi,
Ummeed tha dono saath kuch gun-gunaenge,
Saath kuch kadam aage lenge, kuch nazmon par guftagoo karenge,
Lekin kaun iss zindagi ke aapa-dhapi mein yeh sab karega,
Kahin 'regressive' ka thappa na laga do tum.

Kehte hain, ummeed par duniya kayam hai…

(Sincere thanks to Guru for helping me out with the editing thanks to my great command over the language)