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Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Adieu...

My dearest, most loving, inspiring and unconditionally supportive readers / fellow bloggers. 



As you contemplate your next blog post, or better still, write one, I embark upon a path of bereavement from all you kind friends. I say bereavement because my blog is the only means to our attachment. I wish I could have enjoyed your loving company beyond my blog. And I write this blog letter to you humbly pleading my inability to write.

But this isn't about hitting a block as much as it is about feeling detached and demotivated. Those words, those voices and those many variegated sentiments that command me to lift my pen or punch the keys of my notebook, have deserted me. I stand derelict, abandoned. I remember a dear friend  asking me once as to what compels me to write. I had swiftly replied 'For peace'. To allay his resultant perplexity I'd explained to him that I do not find solace until I have obediently conveyed the joys, the pathos, the relevant tragedies, and conflicts of souls and challenge to human spirit of the characters who swirl inside my mind. That's my motivation and presently I stand robbed of that motivation. 

That's part of the story. The other half incurably completes my difficulty. This is because when I do  intermittently hear those ideas, themes, stories churning inside my head. They just don't seem to be able to negotiate well enough with my expressive side. As the writer is trapped between this alienation of affection, a story, an article, a poem dies before being born. 

This tires me. And I don't believe in conjuring up a will to express and coercing myself to adhere to some sort of discipline of verbalization of that which I do not feel. After all this is not a business I'm running, where I have to play by the murky and manipulative norms in order to stay afloat. Art, if my writings are any close to it, cannot be dictated. It has to be born out of my love of things,my romance with life, and my sensing of the pain in tragedy of strangers, and most importantly, my expressions comforting that sensitivity by being their faithful guide to articulation. The want of such harmony stalls me. It vexes me and I stare annoyingly longer at the wall opposite to me than pursuing my art. 

I'll be away from blogging for some time. I wish I could tell you for how long. I may well write something in the next hour, or may suffer my present predicament for a week, a couple of months or till my last breathe. Since I cannot be sure of our reunion I must say now that all of you will ever remain my cherished friends. There have been a few special ones who have shown the patience of a true companion by telling me about my compositions each and every time without fail. Others, have been equally significant in sharing their thoughts and according to me the status of a writer through their encouraging reviews & constructive censure. But what you've really given me is something that you have no idea about. In a small yet unforgettable way you've made my existence worthwhile. And that's not an exaggeration. If I ever make it back I'll zealously expect it again from all of you.

God Bless You 

Love,

Anupam

Monday, 29 October 2012

Something I Made

I shot this video few months back.

Theme     A short musical which focuses on a day in the life of a young man who's unsure of his
                aspirations and keeps moving between various places. His lack of aim is manifest in his 
               vagabond ways. Ultimately, he ends up before the abode of God seeking answers.






Featuring Sourav S. (Guddu) as the Vagabond






Friday, 26 October 2012

Truce






I'm striving infinite

To call a truce

With my master - Life

"I'll not wish, dream or yearn"

And from despair, 

He shall save me, in return

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

"Heroes..there's no such thing"....Iron Man 3

Hope this deals with the kind of character exploration as did the first 'Iron Man'.


Ben Kingsley plays the villain



Enjoy the trailer



To Be Released On 3.5.2013

Sunday, 21 October 2012

White & Grey





Stop halt hold wait                                                 

Pause those thoughts, I said

Clear command disobeyed 

What's with the head ?

A ruckus and bliss it holds

Per its whims these are sold

Me being its master

Rendered slave to its fold





Sunday Slipping....

Many people I know, like to treat their Sundays, with a certain ostensible laidbackness and detachment, savouring the day's inability to offer challenge and goals, basking in languid abandon of hectic or mundane pursuits. Not me.  I like to make the most of my Sunday. It's so precious for me that I invariably wake up at 5 on Sunday mornings, regardless of the cool respite (in summers) or the chilling breeze (in winters) that it brings along. This is the day when I consciously live minutely yet leisurely every moment that awaits me.

Let me confess that I'm paranoid about wasting a Sunday. I can't waste Sundays, I don't. So in furtherance of my ambition I start my the day very early. I saunter out of my house, wander in the garden as if I'm lost in wonderland. A bystander could easily mistake my cherished rapport with nature for some philosophical melodrama, perceiving me as a harebrained being who pretends interacting with the flora around him. I wish I could bare my heart and convey to him my heartfelt pleasure within nature's embrace. Something revives between me and the plants, grass, birds and even the air around me on a Sunday. I somehow stand stripped of that sensibility on other days. Perhaps nature has its own ego to handle. May be, like me it is equally capable of retorting with 'If I don't matter to you then you don't matter to me.' Perhaps that's the the reason why I'm never privy to the magnificence of nature's splendor on days when I'm busy giving my mind far greater priority than I give to my heart.

All of this equation goes for a toss on Sundays and old friends meet like lovers, unable to get enough of each other. Even butterflies hover around me and birds seem to fathom my language and leaves and petals feel the affection in my touch for sure. After I have somewhat quenched my week long thirst, I return for a detached and formal indulgence in commonplace activities only to be able to fully offer myself to my private pursuits. I don't even throw a glance at my engine powered vehicles. I either reconnect with my bicycle or even better, I walk. Hearing the zillion sounds that otherwise dodge my ears and seeing those countless tiny events that unfold regardless of being revered and marveled the way they ought to be, I admire this world and the omnipresent beauty that fills it.

I do not even watch Television as I consider it a criminal waste of a Sunday. Sunday is my rendezvous with everyone and everything that I desire and yet never attain despite being a free person. How therefore, can I ever let anything else, small or big, claim me.  Let me just say in one line what I wish to so urgently convey. While on other days I wish time flew, on a Sunday I wish it froze. 

Now, there is bad side to every good thing and the worst part of a Sunday is evening and the time thereafter where one miserly spends the remnants of his favourite day of the week, dreading over the inevitable prospect that in a matter of hours it would stand six days away.

Having confessed about my intimacy with Sunday let me tell you why I'm blogging about in the first place, except the obvious relevance of doing it on a Sunday. As I got up to a aggravating wrong call on my mobile phone at 3 AM today, I could not sleep for quite sometime dwelling on the fear that if I slept then, I might not be able to conform to my ritual of waking up early as I normally do. So I set the alarm to a 5 AM ring and reluctantly shut my eyes.

I woke up at about 11 A.M.

I didn't even know how to move when I saw the 'seconds' hand of my wall clock mockingly going about its job as the other two lay plastered over each other at about an inch away from the '12' sign. I found myself crushed between rage and exhaustion. I turned to my alarm clock for an investigation and was devastated to learn that its speakers had been inadvertently buried into the dense cushion which must have absorbed all its frantic cries obediently emitted by it on time. Swallowing my despair I politely asked my family the cause for not waking me up till so late in the day. I was told that they had to choose between letting me go about my Sunday routine or make an exception considering that I had returned late from my tour last night and after a fair deliberation they had resorted to the latter.


Can I now -  please - at the top of my voice - without holding back -     yell     -     " D A R N"    ?




Saturday, 20 October 2012

The Wait




Ages & eons, trivial

'fore the endlessness of 

What I'd to out - wait.

My pining perseverance

Despised & extolled

Eventually it earned 'Yes I do'





















Thursday, 18 October 2012

To A Conjurer..





'Pretend not, your affections               

So much,

That in just a day,

Bushed you lay'

Pledge






Pledge not heavens and moons 

Pledge not the hills and stars

Just hold me when I seek

And kiss my scars




















Picture Courtesy - dipity.com

Monday, 15 October 2012

A Reminder For States Where 'Khaps' Are Thriving

There is no disputing the deplorable truth, that the lawful Government of States, where something utterly unlawful as 'Khap' panchayats are thriving unabashedly,  are in denial of the related perils. From the various things that we have been hearing, watching and reading about the recent illegalities committed by the Khaps, nothing further remains to be said. It is not at all complex to ascertain, that the Khaps are perpetrating crimes. Therefore the only thing that now needs to be done is to remind these State Governments about the legal duty incumbent upon it in this whole episode, hoping that in order to save their own skin they won't be as dismissive about the issue as they are being now.

The following reminder purports to be succinct yet highly relevant

  • When 'Khaps' issue threats and / or warnings to the villagers with dire consequences in case they didn’t follow their illegal commands, such acts of the 'Khap' can atleast be squarely brought under the offence of criminal intimidation as defined under Section 503 read with Section 506 of the IPC.
        503. Criminal intimidation.—Whoever threatens another with any injury to his 
       person, reputation or property, or to the person or reputation of any one in whom that 
       person is interested, with intent to cause alarm to that person, or to cause that person 
       to do any act which he is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do any act which that 
       person is legally entitled to do, as the means of avoiding the execution of such threat, 
       commits criminal intimidation.

         506. Punishment for criminal intimidation.—Whoever commits the offence of 
         criminal intimidation shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a 
         term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both. If threat be to cause 
         death or grievous hurt, etc.—and if the threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, or 
         to cause the destruction of any property by fire, or to cause an offence punishable with 
         death or imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 
         seven years, or to impute unchastity to a woman, shall be punished with 
         imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or 
         with fine, or with both.
  • It is equally relevant to remind the concerned authorities about Section 40 of our Code of Criminal Procedure which casts the following duties :-

Section  40. Duty of officers employed in connection with the affairs of a village (see below for meaning) to make certain report 

(1) Every officer employed in connection with the affairs of a village and every person residing in a village shall forthwith communicate to the nearest Magistrate or to the officer in charge of the nearest police station, whichever is nearer, any information which he may possess respecting—

(a) *********

(b) *********

(c) the commission of, or intention to commit, in or near such village any non-bailable offence or any offence punishable under Section 143 (Making an unlawful assembly), Section 144 (Making an unlawful assembly armed with deadly weapons), Section 145 (Joining or continuing in an unl;awful assembly knowing that it has been commanded to disperse), Section 147 (Rioting), or Section 148 (Rioting armed with deadly weapons) of the Indian Penal Code  ;

(d) the occurrence in or near such village of any sudden or unnatural death or of any death under suspicious circumstances or the discovery in or near such village of any corpse or part of a corpse, in circumstances which lead to a reasonable suspicion that such a death has occurred or the disappearance from such village of any person in circumstances which lead to a reasonable suspicion that a non-bailable offence has been committed in respect of such person ;

(e) *****

(f) ******

(2) In this section—

(i) “village” includes village-lands ;

(ii) *******

(iii) the words “officer employed in connection with the affairs of the villagemeans a member of the Panchayat of the village and includes the headman and every officer or other person appointed to perform any function connected with the administration of the village.


  • Apart from the clear legal provisions which the Khaps violate, the said Pnachayats are also in direct violation of the Supreme Court's directives which had declared them to be outright illegal. In its wisdom, the Hon'ble Supreme Court,  on a relevant occasion directed the administrative and police officials to take strong measures to prevent any atrocious acts perpetrated by the Khaps. 
  • Court's Warning - The Hon’ble Court had categorically stated that "if any such incidents happen, apart from instituting criminal proceedings against those responsible for such atrocities, the State government concerned is directed to immediately suspend the District Magistrate/Collector and the SSP/SPs of the district as well as other officials concerned and chargesheet them and proceed against them departmentally if they do not prevent the incident if it has not already occurred but they have knowledge of it in advance,or if it has occurred, they do not promptly apprehend the culprits and others involved and institute criminal proceedings against them, as, in our opinion, they will be deemed directly or indirectly accountable in this connection" 
(The Court had directed that a copy of it’s judgment be sent to all Chief Secretaries, Home Secretaries and Directors-General of Police in all States and Union Territories, and circulated to all officers up to the level of District Magistrates and SSP/SP for strict compliance. )

Therefore it's high time that someone moved the Hon'ble Supreme Court or the Hon'ble State High Court of the concerned state against the accountable Government officials, on the strength of the aforementioned legal provisions and / or the aforestated directive of the Apex Court in the wake of recent atrocities perpetrated by the Khaps.


Saturday, 13 October 2012

Dreams & After..





Insomniac, I wondered.            

I confronted my fear

For sleeping and dreaming

But found, 

What terrified me most

Was afterwards waking.











Thursday, 11 October 2012

Committed...







Entwined by fate
together by choice
they seek bliss
in million miseries

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Am I ...



Am I he, who smiles at humour
Or the cynic who spots the lie
The ambitious who strives for ends
Or the purist who prizes means

Am I he, whose heart fell in love
Or whose body longed for another
The one who pined for that company
Or was it, for solitude, he feared

Am I he who competes
Or the coward who surrenders
The one who runs to win
Or one of the gullible dreamers

Am I the one who deceives
Or the saint who suffers truth
The one who believes in the light
Or who's simply afraid of the dark

Am I split or singular
In places one or plural
He who flourishes 
Or the doomed who perishes
Breathing here and drowned there

The sands I stand on,
With me, are they ridden ?
The faces, at me, that smile
Does nothing lie beneath the sheen ?

Is there something - anything
Of me, when I'm gone, worth recalling





Picture Courtesy - http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshslash/6240211080/







Monday, 8 October 2012

Soni Sori (Justice Forgotten)

By reason of the work I do, I've nurtured the instinct of not jumping to conclusions without ample facts reasonably establishing the truth of a particular allegation. Having said that when the indications and suggestions are palpably horrifying and inhuman, the least that is expected to be done is a prompt, fair and unbiased investigation into those indications and suggestions to swiftly unravel the truth. For that to be achieved, the more serious the allegations, the higher is the requirement of impartiality in investigation.

I read something on The Standing Coin which kept me awake last night. Every time I wanted to sleep, something punched my insides, reminding me of the gut wrenching allegations of injustice and suffering I had read and seen.

I've quoted hereinbelow the article Soni Sori Justice Forgotten written by the prolific author Siddharth Gupta. (He blogs at The Standing Coin). It's impossible to feel what I felt without watching the full video that Siddharth has shared in his article. Please watch it patiently.




A woman’s fight against violence, abuse and in all its essence, society has always been a war against patriarchy. We would be foolish in saying that the structure of our society is equally balanced. Although women are the heads to the tails of our coin, they have never been given the respect, the value and truly the love they deserve.

The question here is not about the statistics. All of us know that they are shocking enough. The point here arises is WHY? Why doesn't this stop? Although the past few years have seen a remarkable rise in awareness about female rights and this entire topic at hand, disturbing occurrences still destroy our beliefs as the fantastical world shatters.  Some of the incidents are simply disgusting, horrifying and in the crudest of terms, makes one want to puke. Despite the guaranteeing of women rights by International laws, women still continue to be treated as third class citizens in a second class world.

One of the most disturbing cases I have come across is that of Soni Sori. Soni Sori is a simple adivasi schoolteacher from Chattisgarh, India. A small rehash, Chattisgarh is notorious for its Naxal activities. Sori along with her nephew was arrested and sent to Raipur jail in October 2011. Ignoring the frivolous and ridiculous charges framed against her, Soni Sori was sexually abused and tortured by the police force. To elaborate on the brutal, inhumane violation of her human rights, let me inform you of the QUESTIONING methods used by the police. She was electrocuted on multiple occasions with wires being connected to her bare toes. She was stripped naked and was made to answer questions while police officers, including the Superintendent of Police, Ankit Garg leered at her. He forced her to stand naked while he sat on a chair and abused her in filthy terms. After this, he sent in three police men to sexually assault her which went on for hours. No one knows what happens and many dismiss this as allegations, a known fact is that after finding Sori in a near comatose state, she was taken to Kolkata Medical College where doctors removed STONES from her vagina and rectum. It appalls me and disgusts me that the Indian Police Force is run by such sick and disgusting bastards!

Reading Soni Sori's Letter From Prison


This is not the entire story. Despite such horrendous acts, Ankit Garg received the Police Medal for Gallantry from the President of India in 2012. To answer strong protests, all the police had to offer was “The Sori case is a different matter”. Yeah, it’s like saying let a person nab a goon and murder or rape a few women but wait! We DO need to reward him for grabbing the goon right? Also, Sori is a mother. She has three children. Imagine their plight. Imagine her husband’s plight. Thanks to a spirited letter by about 250 famed activists to the Prime Minister on 30 April 2012, Soni was taken to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi for treating her horrendous injuries.

Sadly, Sori is still in prison. In a battle of getting FDI, the government has failed to make Internal Direct Investment. Women grovel, as our minstrels cry. Tehelka, a hardcore journalism magazine, started an online campaign to guarantee justice for Soni. The links are attached below. Please do your bit and help. I hope we change. Soon, Fast and Now.


I obviously have no means of knowing the truth behind these allegations found in the article quoted above. But as a citizen of a nation, which is committed to democratic and welfare ideals, especially emancipation of women, I strongly demand and expect an effective and unbiased investigation into such accusations of brutal atrocities, as the least that can be done for Soni Sori at the moment, besides of course giving a sincere and serious consideration to removing her from the jail in the state of Chattisgarh and putting her (only if her custody is really necessary) under humane conditions in some jail of any other state.




Breaking Away







Let me tread alone,                         

I must meet myself

Before he's buried, 

Breathless in the storm

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Adele At Her Scintillating Best.....Again

Skyfall - 007 James Bond 

Lose Yourself ....









This is the end
Hold your breath and count to ten
Feel the earth move and then
Hear my heart burst again

For this is the end
I've drowned and dreamed this moment
So overdue, I owe them
Swept away, I'm stolen

Let the sky fall, when it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together

Let the sky fall, when it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together
At skyfall

Skyfall is where we start
A thousand miles and poles apart
When worlds collide, and days are dark
You may have my number, you can take my name
But you'll never have my heart

Let the sky fall, when it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together

Let the sky fall, when it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together
At skyfall

Where you go I go,
What you see I see
I know I'll never be me, without the security
Are your loving arms
Keeping me from harm
Put your hand in my hand
And we'll stand

Let the sky fall, when it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together

Let the sky fall, when it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together
At skyfall

Let the sky fall
We will stand tall
At skyfall

Saturday, 6 October 2012

You Know My Name....

When Chris Cornell's chart topper 'You Know My Name' (the theme song for Daniel Craig starrer 007 James Bond - Casino Royale ) released, I instantly lost myself to it's swagger.

'Skyfall' (sung by Adele from 007's latest installment 'Skyfall' may be the current chant, but "You Know My Name" will always be something else...magically relevant to 007 fiction...ever.




My favourite lines



"......................
I've seen angels fall from blinding heights
But you yourself are nothing so divine
Just next in line

Arm yourself because no-one else here will save you
The odds will betray you
And I will replace you
You can't deny the prize it may never fulfill you
It longs to kill you
Are you willing to die? .....


And of course 

"..The coldest blood runs through my veins
You know my name.."


Here's the official video of the song for those who haven't heard it and for all Chris Donnell fans






Friday, 5 October 2012

Plea







Across seas, hills, and woods   

I've winged ahead

They offered me all that there was

Tempting me to halt



I've flown to you still

'Cuz that's how it has been

Since my childhood rein 

Shed your drops in our honour, please !!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Kite




Lone stringed flier

Amid a flock of feathers;

The impostor evades and ducks

The guardians of clouds


Soaring in pretense

Of spanning the heavens;

Alas ! It could only rise

To the tallest roof


Lured to deem itself worthy

Of the infinite citadel

And mimicking the wings;

It's but slave to a mere string



Quintessential Sonu Nigam... After A Long Time


Song Title: Apna Mujhe Tu Laga
Music Director: Chirantan Bhatt
Lyrics: Shakeel Azmi
Singer(s): Sonu Nigam
Movie: 1920 – Evil Returns (2012) (Release Date 2nd November, 2012)



Haven't heard Sonu sing like this, since long. Reminds me of my college days when the whole country had gone nuts over his singing in 'Deewana', 'Jaan' and 'Yaad'.

Eagerly waiting for the release of the soundtrack


"Jaanu na main
Tujh mein mera
Hissa hai kya..
Par ajnabi
Apna mujhe tu laga

Jaanu na main
Tujh se mera
Rishta hai kya..
Par ajnabi
Apna mujhe tu laga"


Watch this


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Time













Phase by phase

Bit by bit

Per its will and whims,

Time is living me
























Picture - navidh.deviantart.com

Monday, 1 October 2012

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Timeless

‘What the heck do you think you are doing ?’ a furious Anand raged. ‘Flee or stay till I thrash you into pulp’ he warned.  The neighbourhood bullies scurried away. The scoundrels had resorted to their reprehensible antic of pulling down the dangling trouser of the harebrained Jaga. The target of their mockery stood shell shocked, stuttering hard to mouth the right words. Unlike the brain inside his head, his perfectly normal legs were trembling out of weakness. To his childlike wits, pulling up his pants at that moment seemed as complex as building a spaceship. So his fallen pants remained vanquished at his feet and he began to weep like a toddler. It provided for a perfect dose of laughter for the gathering around him. The customers of the nearby betel shop and grocery store were visibly amused by the sadistic hilarity in Jaga's humiliation. All  laughd in chorus.

Anand rushed to Jaga's aid. He placed his briefcase by his side and bent down to lift the latter’s pants, which sat crumpled on his feet screaming to be restored to its proper position.  Anand never tolerated anyone tormenting or ridiculing Jaga. Nor did he ever reply to the hackneyed question as to why he was so protective of Jaga, causing a pervasive suspicion that he was privy to some covert cause. But the truth simply was that Anand felt so outraged over the disgraceful repetition of such insensitive query that he invariably chose to stay quiet, instead of spitting on their faces the simple answer that as a man it was his rudimentary purpose to prevent undue harassment to another, more so when that poor soul was one who could not tell the difference between sun and moon.

A year ago when Anand had arrived at Sunrise Colony, with a truck load of furniture, surveying the area for the correct address of his soon to be home and to join his first employment, he was quite affable to the people of the locality. At thirty Anand had no intention of getting married and starting a family. He had made up his mind that, unlike his friends, he was going to devote his life to the upliftment of the needy and impoverished, instead of reconciling with the unexciting and commonplace way of life. As a first step he had offered to serve an organisation which had similar goals. They pay was minimal but he didn't care. Money wasn't a problem. He had been bequeathed dizzying amount of wealth from his industrialist grandfather.

In the beginning, Anand was not so acerbic on the tormentors of the social pariah that Jaga was. But soon Anand repeatedly noticed that almost every passerby  somehow considered it his inviolable entitlement to deride Jaga in one manner or another. It wasn't as if he didn't suppress his natural revulsion against the whole affair. However, when he confronted his conscience he held himself equally guilty for not raising his voice in protest.  That moment onwards, Anand dutifully stood between Jaga and anyone who purported to trouble him. He even tried to reason with the incorrigible frolic mongers that it's unkind to treat anyone in their manner, hypothetically putting them and their family members in Jaga’s position. He realized that he was wasting his time.  The only difficulty was that Anand could not remain around Jaga at all times.

Anand was most disturbed upon knowing that, though the plight of Jaga was a household tale of the whole community, none treated him with the love he deserved. Forget love, on the contrary they made him their amusement toy. The priest of their temple, Madhav Babu, had found him as fragile as a sapling, fully wrapped in a thin white linen sheet of cloth, leaving his pink face adorned by his gem like eyes and his pursed lips, hanging to its life by a thin thread. Madhav babu was strolling down the flight of temple stairs to make his customary walk around the deity chanting hymns of dawn puja, when for no apparent reason he felt like peeping inside the small dark chamber just around the corner. The murky cavity which was used as a dump yard for unused material had sheltered a newborn life. The priest forthwith took Jaga in his arms and strolled out under light and checked for signs of life in its tiny form. He was assured of it when he noticed his furtive breathing. He wasted no time in taking him to their community health centre where the Lord Almighty not only restored to him his life but also ensured that the child would have the love of a father. Thence the priest and Jaga lived under the same roof provided by the temple committee where the former became inextricably entwined to his fate of being a devoted father to Jaga, who was given up for dead by his own. As time passed Jaga's frame grew stronger and he looked healthy and fit with no hint of his endangered infancy presenting itself about his appearance. But it didn't take long for his kin to discover that he wasn't mentally able as other children. His mind hadn't kept pace with his age. At fifteen he had the brains of a five year old.

Many blamed it on providence, many on past life sins and many figured that it could be the result of the lack of mother's milk. Madhav babu was unable to cope with this misery. He had invested his dreams of being succeeded by his adopted son but that hope was reduced into a mirage with his son's newfound disability. It was too much for the ageing man and he took ill. A man's old age is perhaps livened by his family and his children's prosperity. That was not to be in the priest's case. Dark imaginings and sorrow took their toll on him. He reduced into a living straw and finally one stormy night he breathed his last. The whole night Jaga sat besides his father rambling to him unsure of what to make of his still lying frame. The next day his body was cremated on the banks of the Mahanadi. Everyone returned except Jaga who sat their for two days clueless as to where his father had vanished from the pyre. When he strolled back, life was not the same for him. The pitiless society blamed him for the priest's demise. They ostracized him. The doors of the temple room were forever closed for him. He was banished, back to nature's lap. He found shelter under the large Peepul tree in the center of the colony where he remained resigned to his dreadful fate, surviving on scraps thrown in by a kind few. Till the powers that rule providence sent Anand as his saviour.

On a bright autumn morning as Jaga lay gaily immersed in his senile delusions , Chintu and his partners in crime hurled a bagful of cow dung at Jaga. The poor chap was startled from his sleep as if earthquake had jolted him. He woke up to find the smelly waste smeared all over his shrunken belly. Anand saw this. Outraged, he threw his handbag where he stood and rolled up his sleeves readying himself to catch hold of the rogues and give them the beating of their lives. But being alien to the geography of the area, he looked helplessly as the scoundrels melted into the myriad lanes and by lanes of the neighbourhood. The next day he ensured that Chintu’s pristinely shining white school uniform was given the same treatment that its wearer had meted out to the innocent Jaga. He waited till Chintu got down his father’s scooter, waved him good bye and sauntered along the pathway towards the school gate. Just when the rogue was about to step inside, Anand took a perfect aim at him and forcefully flinged a polyethene bag brimming with fresh manure at him. It landed exactly where it was supposed to. The dung lay plastered on his spotless shirt, partially dripping down to his feet. The whole gathering around him broke into laughter. Anand emerged from his hiding and strolled towards a stunned Chintu.

The gang was never going to take this insult of their leader, lying down. So they beat Jaga black and blue, a night later. Leaving his arms and face swollen beyond recognition. When Anand saw this he swore then and there that he wasn't going to leave Jaga at the mercy of his tormentors. He took him in, & let him live with him. He held his hands and guided him inside his house. He fed him warm soup and boiled rice. He took a close look at his wounds and applied ointment on them. They stayed together from that day onwards. Anand purchased a set of toys for Jaga to keep him from straying out of his house in his absence. He didn't feel embarrassed at all when he bought those in a large transparent polythene bag for his seventeen year old friend.  Jaga fell in love with the toys. He would play with them for hours when Anand was away. When he came back from work, he would take him out for a stroll under his watch.

Soon the neighbours stopped troubling Jaga. Word of Anand and Jaga's friendship spread far and wide. People in the locality began to revere Anand. Persons who dismissed Jaga as a madman began inquiring from Anand about his well being. Such was his unadulterated and unpretentious sincerity in caring back for Anand, that the latter claimed he'd found a true friend in Jaga. People started paying visits to Anand's house and many even wanted to say 'Hello' to Jaga. When summoned by Anand, he would come out and offer a perfected namaskar to their doting guests, and quickly amble back into his room. Women prepared special dishes and sent them over for the friends. At times when Jaga remained adamant not to open his mouth for a morsel, Anand would announce that he too wouldn't touch his food and conjure up an act of pain in his stomach. Within moments, Jaga would surrender, assume his favourite lotus position ready to be fed. During idle Sunday noons a relieved Anand would loudly sing songs of friendship and Jaga would incoherently join him.

At times when Jaga would be engrossed arranging and rearranging the plastic puzzles Anand would confide in him about his inner feelings. He would tell him that he understood his destitution as he himself was an orphan. He would often caress Jaga's head when he'd be fidgety and scared for no reason. Jaga would wake him up in the middle of night pulling his hands demanding him to take him for a walk outside. It would take a great deal of explaining and cajoling for Anand to convince him against his wish. Despite many inconveniences and annoying antics of Jaga, Anand never regretted having brought him along. When it would rain with gurgling thunder and blinding flashes of lightning, Jaga would hug Anand tightly and sit close to him. Anand would always quickly return his embrace. With passing time, Anand discovered certain remarkable traits in his friend. He came to know that Jaga was an avid observer and a quick learner. Whenever he had to hurry for his office without performing cleaning chores, he often returned to notice that his bed and other places were pristine, his dishes and sheets put exactly the way he normally kept them. Jaga remembered the names of birds and animals that he'd told him. The two friends would secretly make fun of a few chosen men of their colony and their peculiar funny habits and mannerisms. In the best of his days, Jaga would even mimic the most funny ones, whatever he remembered of it. He often pleasantly surprised Anand with his ability to remember about the latter's most annoying habits. Anand was elated. He couldn't have asked for more.

A year had passed since the day Jaga was ushered into Anand's house And the latter was always curious to know about Jaga's actual date of birth. But he never asked anyone. He'd been toying with the idea of celebrating his pal's birthday and once when the two friends were lost in banter, Anand declared  ' I don't know when exactly you were born, but let's just celebrate the day we began to share this roof over our heads, as your birthday. It'd be a celebration of our friendship too. What do you say ?' Anand wasn't quite sure if his friend understood his message. The latter simply looked out of the window and said "Sky.. Big Sky". 'Yes, that's a big sky my friend just about as big as your heart.'  replied a smirking Anand. He got ready in a jiffy and announced to him that he'd be back in an hour with his favourite cartoon toys from T.V. and ofcourse unputdownably delicious snacks. Jaga was unduly adamant that Sunday evening to accompany Anand. Anand had to speak a few harsh words to quiet him down. Something he regretted all the way he walked to their town's most busy Chinese restaurant. He would make it upto him when he got back, he assured himself.

But the delightful soul that Jaga was, soon forgot his savior's chides and became busy in conducting a fierce talon fight between a rubber dinosaur and a plastic dragon. A few hours later when Jaga was in the loving arms of sleep which had rescued him from boredom, a relentless rapping on the door jostled him out of it's embalming hold. When he opened the door he saw two uniformed policemen posted outside like twin poles. He quickly dropped his toys and raised his left hand to salute them. Realizing his mistake he immediately put down his left hand and raised his right. He'd learnt  about it during the Republic Day parade at the town gallery, where he had accompanied Anand. He remembered how uniformed men like the ones standing before him gave and took salutes. He was a bit perplexed when no salute was returned by them. Even more puzzled were the two gentlemen who received the honour. One of them strolled inside after important queries by him weren't replied with any rational answer by Jaga. His eyes fell on a framed photograph of Anand, which he surveyed it with rapt attention. Then he turned around to show it to his colleague, who took a deep breathe after taking a good look at it.

A police van in an untimely hour in front of the most unlikely house of their peaceful colony had naturally attracted a small crowd. The elderly men of the locality curiously gawked at the Policemen and the women stood far behind them trying to figure what was going on. Why had the Police come to Anand's house ? they wondered and exchanged hisses among themselves. The Officer came outside with Anand's photograph and quickly swapped his glances between it and what looked like a small card sized document and asked the crowd aloud

'Is this man Anand Majhitia ? And does he live in this house ?' 

'Yes..yes' came the half hearted chorus reply.

'Where is his family ?' he continued probing

'He has none Sir' replied the grey bearded man standing just near him.

'And who is this man ?' the officer asked pointing his finger at Jaga.

'That's Jaga Sir. But he's not Anand's relative. They are just fiends, living in one house.' the same man answered gleefully.

'I need to take him to the Police Station' said the officer.

 'He's of no use Sir. He's a lunatic.' someone objected.

The officer took a good look at Jaga and nodded his head as if he now understood where the salute came from.

'' Someone has to come to the Station' he announced with pretentious regret

'But why Sir ? What's he done ?' the same old man asked

'Just come.' the officer blurted dismissively.

The van roared to life as two of Anand's neighbours hopped inside it following the officers. It sped away with the rest of the onlookers trailing it's dwindling form swallowed by smoke and dust. Jaga strolled back inside the house and shut its doors.

At the entrance of the Police Station a white mini van was parked. The men got down from the vehicle and were led to the back of the mini van. A constable rushed and flung it's doors open. The two men who had accompanied the officers hissed and damned and turned their heads away aghast. Anand lay still inside it, on a decrepit stretcher covered with starched white cloth upto his neck. Had it not been for his still chest, one could not have said whether the man was in slumber or asleep for good.

What happened Sir ? asked one of the men in between stutters.

'He was hit by a speeding car. Probably died on spot.'

This time Jaga was inconsolable when he saw his friend being torched. When his adoptive father had left him, death was not an idea that his mind had known then. But today, even for a feeble minded fellow like him, flaring up the body of his friend was beyond his tolerance. How could he stand and watch while they burnt his friend. It took three sturdy men to subdue his relentless attempts at salvaging his friend's blazing body. Only when it had been fully devoured by the insanely dancing flames and the bits of his flesh and bone had been reduced to smoking ash, Jaga was let off. He howled for an hour, sure of his loss. Like an infant deserted by his mother, thrown into the dark confines of nothingness, with no light to guide him, with no hand to caress him during hopelessness, no gentle voice to reassure him and no one to shelter him from his fears, forsaken and forlorn he cried and cried till the source of his tears dried up. Someone saw him lying unconscious and brought him to his residence. People feared that miseries would return swiftly to Jaga's life, when he would open his eyes, now that his friend, his liberator had abandoned him, once again leaving his survival to the mercy of the cruel. But Anand didn't abandon his friend. To even think of such a thing was to disgrace the great soul that he was.

Anand had made his friend the nominee for receiving twenty five lakh rupees of his insurance policy. But confident of the fact the he'd be swindled, he had put all of it in a trust constituted in Jaga's favour and made its trustee his mentor cum boss Mr. Bimal Mishra, the man who also ran "Sharan', a philanthropic organization for the care and upliftment of abandoned and forsaken children. The fifteen paged 'Trust Deed' stipulated that the money could only be spent on his treatment, education and if need be other of his necessary expenses. So that he could attain the best flight to his destination with  dignity. Anand had never disclosed that he'd purchased the house where they lived and that he had made a will whereby it now stood tranfserred in Jaga's name, also protected by the trust, in case Anand's allies turned against him. At no cost he could have gone without ensuring a roof over his beloved friend's head.

A week later Mr. Bimal won over Jaga and convinced him to come with him to 'Sharan'. Jaga now resides there in a cozy quarter allotted to him. How soon time flies. Jaga has managed to find his laughter. He is adored by all his mates at 'Sharan', as much for his affability as for the fact that he was the great Anand's friend. After all Anand had been Bimal babu's most hardworking deputee in building 'Sharan' from scratch to what it is today. He deeply connected with all the teenagers living under 'Sharan's roof.  Though many times Bimal babu asked him to bring Jaga there, Anand had respectfully denied saying that he needed his personal care, concealing within himself the truth that he too needed Jaga's company.

When Anand is reminisced at 'Sharan', Jaga keenly listens to the tales of his dear departed friend and smiles over whatever he understands of it.  They also ask him about their friendship. He is unable to answer, yet. Many have spotted him staring infinitely at the garlanded portrait of his friend, put up on the wall of the auditorium. As if the two are engrossed in a clandestine communication.  Memories of his friend are not hard for him to recall. They are the only good memories he has in his life. They are immortally etched in his mind just as the eternal sun and stars painted on the heavenly canvass.

He has recently begun his lessons on English alphabets and he enjoys it to the core. It's fast sharpening his mind. Someday he'll find smartness. He has abundant good wishes pushing him ahead to that goal. He loves being at 'Sharan' but misses his home where countless memories lie bundled. They await for him to return to them. He plans the same.




**   ' Timeless ' is a work of fiction.and any resemblance in it with any person, place or incident is purely coincidental. 





Thursday, 27 September 2012

Old


I love you Sir’ she sighed.

What ? You do ? he queried with unconcealed sense of victory.

She nodded shyly.

Come’on Zoya. You know I’m married. ‘ he tested her

I don’t care. I just..I just love you’ she reiterated, unfazed.

‘You’re so beautiful and smart. What can a middle aged loser give you. You can get any dashing man any day’ he replied, intending to corner her.

‘I want you’ she fumed

Ok tell me why?’ he queried with apparent sincerity.

She fell on his feet and raised her head like his devotee, demurely receiving his glare and said ‘What do you want to know Sir. That I have been fancying your admiration since the day you walked into our branch office as our new Manager?. That I’ve been, ever since, dreaming to be cosseted by you. That your eloquent introduction to your own self still reverberates in my ears ? That you’ve unparalleled intelligence, besides an incredible personality and looks that tell of a boyish allure about you? A combination which is dwindling faster than the ozone layer. That you’ve managed to make me want you by staying away from me when every other man under this roof has made elaborate attempts of winning my heart. If that was your grand plan to keep me interested, then my love, it has worked wonders. For my heart pines for your love. It has abandoned all indulgences that ensured its gaiety and embarked on a quest to forever become yours ’ she explained.

He was elated. All his senses reveled in a peculiar contentment of having won desirability.
He suppressed his expressions and wearing a grim smirk retorted ‘What about Arnav? The whole office knows that you guys are seeing each other. You can’t fool me there. He makes for a very suitable option anyway. He's handsome and has a promising career’ 

‘Arnav ? !! He’s an infant before you. A thousand Arnavs cannot equal the masculinity of your little finger's tip. I doubt whether even after taking seven births he’ll be able to stand face to face with your shadow’ she teased him with tantalizing grace.

He gulped down his pride and blurted out nervously ‘You..really want me to believe that. From what I hear, a dozen of our ladies are devoting crucial working hours into devising sure shot schemes of becoming his wife..err..girlfriend..whatever. And you, being the most pretty and sensible woman that I’ve ever known, wants to tread in the exact opposite direc….”

Oh Sir, did you just call me pretty? Oh, my!!!Thanks Sir. Lucky me.. Everyone calls me 'beautiful’, but the way you remark of me as 'pretty'... it's much more.." she interrupted him and blinked like an anxious bride.

‘Ok ok. Tell me truthfully. You and Arnav never had an affair ?’ he probed again

Sir what should I do to evoke trust in your suspicious heart. It harbors fears of a teenager. Tell me Sir, had I had anything to do with Arnav, wouldn't I have been in his arms instead.' she emphasized.

The picture of her in Arnav's arms brought a stark bitterness to the velvety ambience and he shut his eyes to prevent further imagining.

 'Arnav may claim that he’s mad for me, but I’ve always told him that I belong to Sir and that only he holds claim to my body and soul’  she continued with a hint of impatience.

It was enough for him. He wished to confess about his hurting beneath his rugged veneer

'You know my wife always loathes me. She leaves no stones unturned in convincing me that I'm a man who has since long, lost all his charm and attractiveness, to be precise, within a couple of years of our marriage. That even a promiscuous lady who is offered with my company as her only option, will prefer to die single. That I'm pot bellied, more suited to do chores than flirt around. She has absolutely no fear that someone may find me attractive or may make indecent propositions to me. She's more confident of never losing me to any woman, than she is about the taste of her delicacies which she's been cooking for a decade. Even my friends think the same. And you want me to believe you ?' he sighed and sank on his thickly cushioned made to order revolving chair.

'Believe it Sir. You're everything that I've always wanted ..in fact you are the ideal man for every sensible woman out there. Witty, good looking, kind. Your eyes speak the agony of your heart, ages before your lips do. They draw me like a charmer draws his victim. I'm the victim Sir. I've chosen to be their victim.'I've been waiting for you since millenia. If it be your wish then let's walk out to the world and show them how wrong they are about your persona and popularity. Even to your wife so that the dumb woman talks to my Sir with some respect the next time around.' she suggested earnestly.

He delved in her sparkling blue eyes, mysterious as the deep blue seas themselves. They inspired faith in one moment and in the next they challenged it. For him, the biggest truth now remained that she had fallen down on her feet and begged him to take her as his beloved.  It’s time he called his old mates who, unlike him, would have lost their gloss and charm to time. He pictured them hiding their ageing forms behind the fa├žade of expensive dressing and relentless makeovers. Coy to accompany their wives in public gaze.  And here he was, rendered the ultimate object of desire by the most desired woman herself, despite his marriage and all his listed inadequacies. It was time he reminded his detractors, that he may be old but magnetic nevertheless. It’s time he told them about his charisma.

‘Karishma ?! Who’s Karishma ? I demand to know.

He opened his eyes to the intimidating stare of his round faced, nagging wife, infuriated at the hint of another woman’s name on her husband’s lips. The pressure cooker’s loud whistle went off  in the nearby kitchen, announcing the prepared brunch. The radio in the living room had been long singing devotional songs. Countless chirps of busy birds broke the peace of morning. He lay still on his bed, evading his wife’s persistence to know about the lady whose name, she thought her husband was chanting in his dream. Aahh !!, the dream. He reminisced his dream. Its glimpses reminding him of his inescapable reality. The lady from his office was gone and he lay with his sagging belly and impending oldness on his cot as the 'Inverter' powered table fan hummed monotonously near his ears. He looked at the air conditioner. It hung dead stripped of electricity. Someone yelled 'Damn these early morning power cuts. They never let you finish your dreams.'



**   'Old' is a work of fiction.and any resemblance in it with any person, place or incident is purely coincidental.