Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Rendezvous At Ramchandi

Satish was an avid lover of college picnics and excursions. He had therefore spent the last night tossing and turning on his bed, crumpling the bed sheet to one corner and sleeping mostly in direct contact with the cushion. He was expecting insomnia from the previous night and the night before that, since losing sleep over college picnic was nothing new for him. Hued flashes of an exciting jaunt, singing, dancing, all the fooling around and of course hopes of taking romantic intimacies to the next level, crowded his head.  Like long shots of black coffee, these thoughts had made him lay awake gazing at his ceiling. This was the last college picnic he would ever be a part of. How on earth could he sleep ?

The dawn came too slowly for Satish. He quickly got ready and started for the college. He reached there even before the gates had been opened. He had to shout  "Bahadur" at the top of his voice, who responded not before he had called him at least six times. The neighbourhood dogs came wagging their tails and clustered near him, expecting charity of a bread loaf or a few bites of biscuits. Bahadur came and opened the gates giving a wonder struck glance at him. "What ? ..Don't you know about the picnic ?" Satish shot back at him ignoring the fact that he was two hours early. He got rid of his backpack full of all kind of stuffs handpicked by him for this excursion and sat down on the steps under the lone Bakul tree in their campus. He went over several things in his mind. But most importantly he thought over and over again about how he would convey to Lata, his long repressed feelings for her. He dreaded that this could be a do or die chance for accomplishing that task. The final semester was soon to follow and he feared that he would not get another shot at expressing himself. He hoped that amidst all the fun and frolic he would be able to carve out an appropriate moment for telling her how strongly he was drawn to her and that how all these days he had guarded his sentiments from finding their way to his tongue.

Halfway through his thoughts, Satish saw the first of his co - excursionists enter through the college gate, all tucked in flashy jeans and jackets. Soon others followed and in no time the campus was bustling with cries of "Hip Hip Hurray" .  The bus hired for the trip also arrived and all the essentials were hurriedly stacked inside it. Names were called and the boys and girls were marshaled onto their respective seats. The bus driver put the keys into the ignition slot and the engine belched to life with a thunderous noise. Satish and his friends broke into an ecstatic howling that could have easily caused the deaf to plug their ears. The girls seated in the civilized front rows along with the professors looked at each other and nodded in disapproval of such immature display of excitement by their male peers. The bus rolled through the sparse Sunday traffic and each time it crossed any gathering of fellow humans, the boys were caught by an inexplicable reflex and hooted in chorus. They euphorically conveyed their pride on being a part of a college trip, as if it were some  rare achievement not accorded to anyone else ever, except the chosen few in that vehicle. The professors seemed to have given up on the hopes of any gentleman like behaviour from their overjoyed students. They kept looking at their city's streets and places, out of the bus windows like tourists, as if they held no memory of those places. Satish and his friends danced, screamed, howled and mocked Bollywood songs straining their croaky vocal chords. The bus sounded like one headed straight for the psychiatric ward of the city hospital.

Sanity and normalcy fortunately returned to the bus after about an hour. The tenor of Hulla had receded and  everyone seemed confined to their seats apparently engulfed in thoughtful conversations with their partners. Satish was exasperated, struggling with ideas to approach Lata. But she sat cordoned within the inviolable circle of her  friends and it seemed impossible for Satish to interact with her without causing raised eyebrows. Satish was too shy for this. "I'll definitely steal her at Ramchandi", he thought to himself as he watched Julie, Sneha and others giggling around Lata. He walked up to the driver's seat and enquired  "How far are we ?". " "It would take us about forty five minutes" came the driver's reply. Satish started back for his set. As he turned, he saw Lata, and their eyes met unexpectedly. She was the first to turn away. Failing to notice any sign of interest for him in her eyes, he was discouragingly reminded of numerous similar encounters with her in the last four years.  He strolled back to the last rows and sunk into his berth. He felt a pang of hopelessness wound his heart. Perhaps he and Lata were never meant to be together, he thought. He entertained second thoughts about his elaborate plans regarding her. He plugged his ears with the headphones connected to his mobile phone and with his eyes shut, drowned himself in one of his favourite sad songs of the yester-years.

Satish woke up to the magnificent view of the Ramchandi beach. Sarthak came and shook him out of his nap. Satish looked at him continuously for a few seconds wondering what had happened. He regained composure in a few seconds. But he also recalled the sequence of events that had eroded the excitement from his heart. He thanked Sarthak and threw his hand towards him lazily gesturing for a pull. After stretching his hands and legs and rubbing the residual sleep off his eyes, he walked out of the bus and went straight for the beach. He marveled at the splendour of nature and soaked it in. After a week long of brainstorming over the venue, it had been decided that there was not a better place to create lasting memories than Ramchandi beach. Its unique location at the merging point of the Kusabhadra river and the Bay of Bengal made it one of the most exotic tourist locations. 

He saw the distant ferry being guided in the serene waters by an anxious ferryman. The water was calm and it infused much required tranquility inside him. He could not take his eyes off the scenery. The more he kept watching it, the more he slipped under its spell. He felt a small puddle of joy grow within his heart. He saw his friends making merry at some distance but could not bring himself to go there. He was not even startled at his sudden detachment from a passion so long nurtured by him. All those sleepless nights and fantasies of adolescent delight had now lost their purpose before such magnificent display of nature's loveliness. 

While he was relishing nature, he heard a faint voice calling his name. He turned around and saw a girl. She wore an affable smile and her beauty had a vocal elegance about it. She was about his height and his best guess was that she belonged to his age group. She wore a purple skirt and a matching jacket which seemed to love her body. As she began walking towards him, he noticed her bare feet. They were petite and appeared to melt into the sands with each step she took. She kept putting in order the unruly strands of her hair, servile to the persistent breeze. She stressed her eye lids in an effort to minimize the sun on them and said "Hi". Satish returned her greeting with "Hello". Before he could begin to ask the most obvious question of that moment, she answered it in advance, as if she had read each word in his head. "I know your name from your friends" she exclaimed. A flurry of questions began circling in Satish's mind. Which friend ? How? Where?. She went ahead and added "I am in your class" . It began drizzling. Satish tried to swallow his shock and uttered "How come I have never seen you before ?" The girl smiled and said "Well..that's a question you should ask yourself. Its not like I have conspired to hide myself from anyone." Satish quickly accepted his defeat and apologized. She introduced herself as Meera and befriended him in a matter of minutes. They moved on to talks about life in college, their respective future plans and ultimately ended up admiring nature's beauty which seemed to be at its zenith, at the place where they stood. Satish was immensely fascinated by her. She had begun to penetrate the walls of his heart and threatened its exclusivity hitherto accorded to Lata. 

Satish found himself engrossed in her charm, pulled out of the pits of dejection. They started walking near the waves enjoying kisses of water on their feet. They walked for about a mile till they lost sense of time and space. To Satish's utter embarrassment, Meera raised the subject of his feelings for Lata. "Ok.!! So she knows this too !!" Satish mumbled to himself. Meera encouraged him to be honest and asked him not to hold back anything from her. Satish bared his soul before her. But he could not claim to have been completely honest as in that moment he felt no attraction for Lata. Silence took over their conversation for a few seconds. Meera broke the hush by declaring in no uncertain terms that she was in love with him. She immediately assured Satish that she did not expect her feelings to be returned by him. She also assured Satish of the fact that she had reconciled to the unchangeable reality where Satish wanted Lata and not her as his beloved. Satish felt frustrated over the revelation that all these years, Meera had concealed from him her feelings while he wasted his heart over Lata. He wished if only Meera had been vocal about her love for him earlier then he would have surely chosen to stay with her. She seemed to so perfectly complement him. Meera further explained to him that since she was sure that he would never return her love, she waited till the final days of college to express herself. In that way she would not have to face him everyday after he had turned her down.

Satish felt melancholy finding its way between them. He felt guilty for having let Meera lament over something that was not true. He took a couple of quick steps and stood infront of her. He told her about the futility of his hopes regarding Lata. He also confessed that he was completely touched by Meera and that to his astonishment, being with her had suddenly made him oblivious to the lure of Lata. Silence returned again and stayed a little longer this time. Doubtful whether he had gone overboard, Satish pleaded her to say something. She did not speak. Seconds turned into minutes but Meera did not shift her stare from the sea. But to his relief, Satish noticed a glittering smile revisit Meera's face and adorn it once again. Satish hugged her. He slowly tightened his arms around her, conscious not to spoil the delicate coziness of that moment. Meera responded inside his fold and everything became surreal. Satish discovered purpose to his life again. He could not wait to walk back to the bus with Meera. Meera suddenly ran playfully and teased him to chase her. Satish set off in her chase, pacing to catch up with her. Something buzzed inside the right pocket of his trousers reminding him of the cell phone which he was carrying. He fumbled inside his pocket as he ran and pulled it out. But he had to stop to glance at the name of the caller. It read "Lata Calling".

Fidgeting under indecisiveness, whether to take the call or not he looked up at Meera who was now at least a good fifteen to twenty yards ahead. She said something and the contours of her face underwent a stark change. When he glanced back at his phone he had missed Lata's call. He heard frantic shouts of "Stop Stop" emanating from his far right. He raised his head and saw two men dressed like fishermen waving their hands at him and simultaneously running straight in his direction. Something urged him to turn back and when he did, he saw no one. His picnic party, his friends taking dips in shorts and even strangers on the beach had all vanished. His heart skipped a beat. The tanned fishermen found their breath and blurted "Are you crazy ? Where do you think you are going ?" Satish could not make out any sense in the man's words. The other one added "Brother, this part of the beach is full of quicksands. Do not be a fool of an adventurer and risk your life. It isn't worth it." The word adventure somehow brought back the thought of Meera and he looked straight where he had last seen her running. He found only sand and the waves. Alarmed to his guts, he tried to move forward fearing something might have happened to her, but was pulled back with full force by the two strangers. "Are you deaf ?" screamed one of them. Satish nervously explained to them the events that had occurred in the last half hour of his life. The two men after listening to him, exchanged familiar glances with each other. Deciding to not let go of Satish, each held one of his hands and walked with him to his camp as Satish kept looking back intermittently.

On reaching their camp, the two fishermen did not waste a second in narrating the horrifying legend of Meera who died some years ago in a quicksand around the same area from where they rescued Satish. They also told everyone that there have been incidents when for no reason people have walked to their death, into those quicksands. "Now we know from your friend, Why!!" they exclaimed in chorus. An eeriness swept across the gathering. Jayant tucked two hundred rupee notes into the hands of the fishermen and they took their leave. Nobody spoke. Satish held his secret. He felt his heartbeat return to a familiar note, as if it had just broken free from a spell. Everyone had their lunch. Dusk was punctual, as it normally is in winters. Satish was the first to get inside the bus. He was in his seat and pleaded  with his mates to be left alone. The bus roared to life and the wheels came into motion. It was dark before anyone could notice. Inattentive to all the discussion around him, Satish went over the incidents at the beach. It didn't take him long to arrive at the most riveting thought of all. 

He wondered as to how out of all his friends, well wishers and peers, it had to be Lata who called him at the exact moment when he stood at the threshold of the path of no return. The same Lata whom he easily traded in the chase of a mirage. He did not know what to believe any more. The bus rode over a speed breaker and it jostled him out of his thoughts. He looked up and saw Lata standing and staring at him. Satish downplayed her presence in his mind, even though he was fringing on contrary hopes, by telling himself that she had probably come to collect details of his horrific experience and carry those to her friends for a steamy gossip. She sat down close to him without asking for his permission. The lights inside the bus had been dimmed. Nobody was looking at them. In just the right moment Lata spoke, never taking for a moment, her eyes away from those of Satish 

"I've waited the whole day to tell you something...something, which has to be conveyed before opportunities fail me.

"Go on. " whispered a clueless Satish.

Pausing for a second to delve deep into Satish's eyes, Lata confessed  ' I love you !! '


Sunday, 25 March 2012

The View from My Window

(For no apparent reason I am reminded of a dear friend's by gone misery. It was an accident which caused him to remain bed ridden for about a a week. I paid him a visit every day till he was up on his feet again. He would convey to me his deepest urges during my visits. I write this poem trying to narrate how he must have felt and what thoughts must have crowded his head during those seven days of confinement to his bed. )

The View From My Window

I see a sun rise beyond the far leaves
To watch it come down I have to turn around
The ceiling fadin' and dripping like a ragged hound
To stand a barrier its forever bound

Then I see a sparrow alight near me
Hopping on the window free
Yet its far away
Reminds me of how helpless I lay

Then comes the breeze along
Its a traveller with a song
Never rests for a moment
But lives forever in its earthen scent

Followed by the deluge of the neighbourhood brats,
As they race crashing in to the nearby park
The west is now beginning to glow red
Trying to catch the view I raise my head

But neither I succeed nor fail,
I see only heads on their playful trail,
Bobbing and vanishing in the near,
Its impossible to even look that far

Then comes the rain
The view is enough for my pain
But I long to catch the drops
And watch 'em find their spots

I remember not always to mark
When the red becomes dark,
All I hear now is the owl's call,
And the loud mouthed Johnny tryin' to describe "A Fall"

The moon is different,
Its not always there
But when it comes in its moods
Its a beauty beneath every layer

My supper is laid
And I am summoned
By urges so primal
Gratification is minimal

I am sucked into a land where
I am not confined to a lair
I run and run
Every desire I burn

Everything I had missed
I held and kissed
I don't want to be in 'Tomorrow'
And feel nothing else than sorrow

I know not how my mind held
But I feel the sun's rays warm my head
I wake up into a life so slow
Where I have only the view from my window


Saturday, 24 March 2012


The sun had retreated to its western abode and silver lined nimbus were allying up to unleash a quick summer torrent  Harish started the talk. He sighed ‘I had a narrow escape today, ..didn't let it cross my path." His hand was on his chest as he spoke.  Rajiv, Pintu and I exchanged glances away from his notice to agree  that this was going to be another one of Harish’s deliberations on urban legends.  He usually claimed that nature warns and foretells us about events of future through its chosen messengers and that there existed a long, non exhaustive list of such agents. He however confessed that so far the most common of his encounters had been with the neighbourhood cats (occasionally black), mynahs, crows and of course the common household gecko. He had a story to tell about each. One day a lizard fell on his right shoulder and he retrospectively declared it as the cause of his top performance in the surprise class test. Another day when he stood second in the class examination, he asserted that the decline in his rank was caused by the pathetic black cat which crossed his way with that of his when he was about to enter the college premises earlier that day. Never mind the fact that he had written the test long before any cat or other creature ventured to do anything around him. Again there was this pair of mynas which he saw perched, first thing, on his balcony one morning and concluded about the pleasant surprise the day ahead held for him. His belief was endorsed when later that day his father gave in to his long persistent demands to buy a new motorcycle. More often than not, as Harish once informed us, if the household lizard makes a cry or calls... "Wait, " Pintu interrupted "I don't even know how a lizard calls or cries" he exclaimed with utmost pity in his eyes. Harish was aghast. He shot back "Which world do you live in my friend ?" and continued "Mark me I'll show you." He shut his eyes for a moment to recall precisely the sound and went "Tchh Tchh"  with his eyes stretched open, tongue jammed hard into his incisors and teeth flashed fully. It was beyond hilarious, though nobody dared to laugh. He supported his theory by narrating that  how once in the middle of a sultry summer day when Harish guessed to everyone's disagreement that it would rain in a matter of hours, the gecko had gone "Tchh Tchh Tchh Tchh" and it had poured before dusk. Thus Harish had become incorrigible, when it came to being superstitious. His beliefs were unshakable. 

So while we were wondering what story he had to tell us today, he began "The poor cat had no idea that I knew its plan. So even before it began lifting its paw to start moving from one side of the road to the other, I  raced my motorcycle towards the farther opposite direction and gave it no chance to even come close to crossing my way." He spoke in between giggles "So how was the escape narrow ?" I sincerely inquired. He gave me a glance and then to each of us in turn and mumbled "Arre ... nothing bhai..when I was trying to outrun the cat, I almost ran over a pedestrian!" trying to downplay the latter part of the incident. "Of course. that makes sense. You see  - a full accident -if a cat crossed,  but - an 'almost accident' if the cat almost crossed, Right ?" Pintu teased. "True" replied Harish deliberately ignoring Pintu's attempt at sarcarsm. Pintu was the only one among us who was unabashedly cynical about Harish's superstitions. However it had taken several disturbing arguments between the two, for Harish to reconcile to the fact that Pintu was too ignorant for having his eyes opened to the secret communications of nature with humans, the ones which he so clearly fathomed. Pintu continued "Its a good thing that you didn't run over the poor pedestrian. Your lawyer then would have had one tough case to defend and bring the real culprit to book"  Without allowing Harish to respond to such a remark, I interjected "My uncle also believes in these things. He can swear by his belief in the accuracy of these...what you call."signs". I tried to sound as neutral as possible as Pintu was too smart to not detect my disguised attempt at diplomacy. He caught that anyway and immediately snarled "Do You believe in these "signals"?  I had to be truthful. I had given, on earlier occasions, much information about my views on these superstitious rubbish. My friends remembered those for sure. I was about to speak but there was a sudden ruckus at our far left and our heads turned together towards the source of it. It was already dark and we could not properly see what was happening. But from the appalling level of sanctity in their communication, we made out that friends were arguing. It could be discerned from their words that they were squabbling over the question as to who is the most important player in the Indian cricket team. What seemed likely to have started as a stimulating debate had now turned into a heated argument with the gang divided into two prominent groups with opposing views. A few among them appeared to care the least about the riveting deliberations and continued to dwell on more life altering thoughts as they passed on cigarette in turns. I borrowed the issue and introduced it into our gathering and Harish exclaimed that for him it was Sachin, always. A lizard went "Tchh Tchh Tchh Tchh" nearby and Harish shot up his right hand and blurted "See its true !" Pintu yelled "Damn the lizard". No one spoke thereafter about any cats or lizards or shooting stars.

The velvet evening began melting into a somber night. I glanced at my digital watch which read "19.30". I announced the time. Without having been commanded or instructed, we rose up to leave. We had subjected ourselves to that discipline since the first day we had made merry there. We walked up to our motorcycles parked a short walk away and started on our way back. We lived in the same colony roughly six to seven kilometres away from the spot where we hung out every day. We rode through the evening traffic. It was summer and small shop owners were having buckets of water thrown at their entrance to create the much absent cooling effect. More affluent shops were all shut behind transparent glass panes where the air conditioner had been long turned on. "Kabadiwalas' had all kinds of metal junk clustered around them and continued fanning their pot bellies fuming over the unbearable humidity. We too were soaked in sweat but when our ride embarked on the Ring Road alongside the Mahanadi, the cool easterly breeze blew through every pore of our bodies and soon the heat was behind us. There were three of us. Pintu and I rode on my bike and Harish was on his. Pintu murmured something attempting to begin a conversation but even before he could utter a syllable, Harish almost stood on his bike's accelerator and sped away as if for his life. Before Pintu or me could gather the cause of his behaviour we saw his silhouette getting smaller by the second. We noticed that for no visible reason he was steering his vehicle to his right when there was not a soul occupying the left side of the road and finally when he ran out of space we watched him bump his motorbike hard into the road divider.

Soon there was a crowd around him. Not bothering to park my vehicle at an appropriate spot or to even put it on its stand Pintu and I broke through the gathering. Fortunately Harish looked all right. I went down on my knees and started scanning for any fatal wound. Except a bleeding tear on his right ankle I found none. I sought the help of   people around us for lifting him up. As I was slowly letting his body weight onto my hands and lifted his left hand over my head to let it rest on my left shoulder, I caught Harish straining his eyes on something. I looked at his eyes and estimated the point of his vision. It appeared to be at quite some distance from us. After a few tries I finally noticed. A black cat, coated by its maker with glossy fur, with its eyes partially shining from the reflection of the numerous headlamps, stood on the left footpath adjoining the road. He had his right paw lifted, which seemed to have been in that position for a while by now. Its eyes seemed to be eternally locked with those of Harish in a most mystical exchange of thoughts. When the flow of thoughts ended, it used the lifted paw to rub its nose, looked to its right and with the laidbackness of a Nawab crossed the road and passed near Harish's injured leg and blended into the dark behind us in seconds. In a moment, it struck me like an ant bite and the flashback of events ran in my head, only this time I saw what I had missed in realtime. Harish must have seen the cat trying to cross the road as Pintu began to speak to him. This must have led to a characteristic adrenaline rush within Harish, which by the way was normal for him under such circumstances and then ofcourse Harish did what he always did, that is, overtake the unsuspecting cat before it crossed his way.

We left Harish's bike in the care of a friendly tea stall owner. It was decided without any discussion that I would drive and Harish would be sandwiched between me and Pintu behind him.  Not a whisper was made by any of us on the way to the local dispensary. Pintu began humming some idyllic folk song of his native tribal village up in the mountains. No cat or lizard dared to cross path with ours.

Inside the dispensary as the nurse was stitching Harish up, I decided to break my silence. I pleaded making an effort to depict an urgency "Buddy,we have been dealing with your irrational balderdash since we were in the seventh standard. What good is a belief if it causes you such utterly unnecessary pain."  and I went on and on against his theories of interaction between cats, mynahs, lizards and him, trying desperately to convince him into forsaking his superstitions. Pintu walked upto Harish and squeezed his right shoulder in muted support of my plea. After a unusual length of silence, Harish exclaimed "If you honestly ask me, considering the shocking unfolding of today's events; I cannot deny that my beliefs have perhaps been belied." He raised his hands to test the extent of injury suffered by his shoulders. He put them back on his lap at the first taste of pain, and continued, looking blankly at the discolored wall opposite to him "I think I understand the secret message which nature has tried to convey today." He paused. I looked into his eyes and probed, raising my eyebrows, "Which is.....?"  inviting Harish to complete my statement. Waiting for a couple of seconds, he exclaimed, "..well...ummm.. .. that I should ignore cats & lizards."  A lizard went "Tchh Tchh Tchh Tchh" and we instantly raised our heads to the humming tubelight above our heads. There it was, pasted to the lime paint, its eyes seemed perplexed at the unprecedented human attention it had drawn by its cry. We broke into a fit of laughter, including Harish who laughed too, holding his aching shoulder.The nurse came running inside the cabin, wondering what had happened, as we roared together in laughter, again. The lizard slithered away behind the tube clamoring for a more inconspicuous retreat.

("The Superstitious" is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any person (alive or dead), place or incident etc. if any, is only coincidental.)

Thursday, 22 March 2012


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Wednesday, 21 March 2012


(This is the story of the family of four sparrows that lived outside my room's window, when i was a kid. I saw them everyday. They were a part of my life. I had seen them in joy and sadness alike.  One day I found that one of them fell down and died. I was a little shocked thinking why it didn't try to fly when it fell. But it took me years to understand that there was something else, something man made that killed it. It was supported by the fact that the rest had flown away too. It was unbearable for me to see their deserted nest. But no one else seemed to notice.)

Just couldn't get that thought out of my head, hence here's a song I wrote for the Sparrow:-

Before I could go to sleep again, it chirped and chirped,
Now I sat wide awake on my bed so disturbed;
Threw the pillow, pushed the quilt with a frown
Rushed to the window and looked up and down

When I looked to my left
I saw a cozy nest
Was I fuming seconds ago ?
My face was now a beaming logo

There it stood , it jumped & hopped,
All around the place 
It was so difficult to catch its face
Then came another and a twig it dropped;

I watched them talk
I watched them dance
To the tunes of their folk
Oblivious I was there, they moved in trance

They blinked so fast
They chirped so quick
So sure so pristine 
They went on adding

And then they flew
Far from it
Knowing they'll return
To my chores I moved on

In days ahead there came two more
This time they were too small
To even climb out of the wall
Their mother guarded them from a fall

In the best of days and worse too
I'll come to them
I ll exchange my joy and 
Speak to them of my pain

I grew up and so did the Sparrows
Till one day I found one on the narrows
Fearing it'll fall 
I sped through the hall

But fall it did
And chirped its last
It was gone too soon
Where it could breathe at last

The rest too had vanished
There lay but the nest so famished - 
For joys and warmth
That the Sparrows gave it

Years have gone
Many moons and suns too
I hold on to the memory 
And I feel so sorry

I know not what happened
But the birds' elation was easily sacrificed 
Was it so great a burden
On a choice so mundane
                                                                                                  Anupam P.


Did you know that "World Sparrows Day" was observed on March 20th. To watch a sparrow's chirpy and quick movement is a source of tremendous joy. I just read an article which says that sparrows are rapidly declining in number due to loss of their habitat owing to swift urnbanization. In China they even consider the bird as a pest. Unbelievable !!









The Conversation - I

Avinash asked me

 "Define Love"

 We were at the Puri sea beach and I was marveling at the frothy waves that adorned it.

I replied

" Love is a feeling akin to what the waves have for the shore. They know the "twain shall never meet and stay together, but they keep coming for it nevertheless. Tirelessly, unconditionally, eternally.
Destiny commands them to never hold the shore, yet they come again and again and again for nothing but to hold on to it."

(An excerpt from a long stirring conversation between me and my friend Avinash (name changed) while we were at the Puri sea beach on a Saturday evening.)


When I started reading the Indian Express this morning which ran an enormous front page headline regarding the developments of the Italian tourists' abduction episode in our state, I became aware of the active indulgence of the Italian representative in the situation. Its no news, in fact, that the Consul General of Italy based in Kolkata,  rushed to Bhubaneswar in minimal time after the abduction incident. Take for another example the recent case of shooting of innocent Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast by two Italian armed guards on the Italian ship Enrica Lexie. Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura arrived in India within days of the incident and personally met the two accused armed gurads. The Italians even went a step ahead and declared that they would hold a parallel probe into the incident. However there are certain events in this episode which require special mention. Firstly the arrogance of the Italian ship's crew which refused to even allow Indian policemen to board their ship for holding any investigation. Secondly, the accused Italian guards are seen happily smoking cigarettes in custody and they are being delivered pizza to satisfy their taste buds. In this backdrop, I cannot help myself comparing their condition with that of the helpless NRI couple in Norway. These two Indian parents there got a solid demonstration of the western style welfare state vigilance, when the Norwegian authorities literally "snatched away" their children under a claim that they were not being properly looked after. The merits of this claim though subject to an investigation, what cannot be overlooked is that the media and the Indian Govt. started to take this matter seriously only after the grandparents of the estranged children staged a protest in front of the Embassy of Norway. The Norwegian Govt. however does not seem to budge a bit from its strict stand while the hapless parents fight a losing battle for custody of their children. The latest development is that even the uncle of the children who was supposed to be given their custody has refused to accept their guardianship. It is needless to delve into the merits of the Norwegian example, to understand that every State in this world is well within its right to pursue legal action against citizens, foreign or local, in consonance with established  principles of their respective laws of the land. The captain of the Italian ship and the accused soldiers insist that their act of shooting the poor fishermen was not murder but an act of self defence. Of course that leaves many questions to be answered on their behalf. The  palpable arrogance and non chalance of the Italian soldiers calls for strict action on our part in proceeding with their case. They must be shown that neither India nor its sacred laws can be taken for granted. India would do well in taking a leaf from the book of the Norwegian Govt. and pursuing in similar tenor the case of the Italian armed guards accused of murdering Indian fishermen.  

Let us also not forget the regular assaults and attacks on Indians in Australia which refuse to recede from everyone's minds coupled with the lingering issue of Kashmir dispute and the haughtiness of China in claiming Arunanchal Pradesh as a part of its own and its overbearing intervention in the affairs of Tibet and its recent stand on Indian waters. We should be very careful in handling these matters lest a message may go to the rest of the world that India is one soft State which lacks the political will to vehemently pursue the interest of its people and which can be bullied and manipulated at will. Once this perception becomes strong, then God help our vision of becoming a 21st century superpower. 

Monday, 19 March 2012


I see the distant end of this road,
Where everyone has told me to unload
They say there 'Stand answers to all my doubts'
And where the sunshine doesn't set nor no one shouts aloud

This long road and my fellow voyagers,
Each I remember and will cherish 'em forever
All started with me and promised to run along,
So lost in the mystic, I sang a song

Of my childhood friends and my first love,
How we held dear and stood so close
Under the first monsoon and through kiss of breeze
Through the parching summer and winter's freeze;

In a while I opened my eyes and reached for,
The one I loved the most, but she stood no more
Other friends, nor the kindest of 'em not also the bravest
I had lost them all to time's test

I can walk no more I don't want nothing,
I curse and swear and I am no more believing 
The words of the wise and their wishes
A mirage is all that I feel this is

I am left to stand alone,
When everyone else got sucked into the throng
That's when I feel footsteps arrive,
Of someone who brings along a freshness sublime;

Radiant and Sure, looks no less than a King
He says without a word "I know everything "
A few words though, he speaks into my ear,
But they sound not so clear

He smiled all the time we spoke,
Though mostly he'd have me with his joke,
I felt he'd come from a different time,
Where the measure of life was not done in dime,

A friend he looked for sure,
But he behaved a father and kissed my head over,
Something stirred in my heart,
He smiled again as if he knew what was that.

And then he too..was gone

But I know only this,
That thence I have walked alone,
Without a hint of fear or tire 
For He's told me that I'll reach the place where I desire. 


Sunday, 18 March 2012

My Friend & His Daughter


Long have I waited to see you smile & cuddle up and sigh,
That look on your face tells it all;
That I'm lucky I can make you feel safe
When I see you 'morrow goin' away from home
Schools, friends, here and there
I'll sweat like a kid like I never 've anywhere;
Just le'mme know anything you need - 
Anything... I swear I'll be with you in mind and deed


Le'me now tell you something which I feel father,
Feels so warm and unseparable so secure
That I know You'll be there to cheer me up 
When I have failed even the best of your wishes
That only you'll be there like a shadow to me
When I'm lonely and alone and I've none to guide me.


(Dedicated to my bro & friend Anand Raja Das and his daughter (see pic.)