Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Some moments to remember

I always had in mind that it will happen one day but was not expecting it to happen so soon. It is my last week in Bhopal and if I say that I am feeling nostalgic then it will be an understatement. Back in November 2008 when I gave my first paper for the PO exam, I was praying to god to make my efforts of joining SBI in Bhopal successful and it happened. Thank you god.

And these 8 months since I have been in Bhopal have been fabulous. The past was here and so is the present. Now the future is about Indian Navy as I leave for Kerala and then Mumbai.

The first thing that comes into my mind when I wander back into the recent past is friends. Old and new. They made an impression in my life as they never had before. Maybe I am being maudlin but then you can’t blame me. I guess it is something about this part of earth that has made me and left me even more emotional with every passing day.

I have already started missing Bhopal and moments spent here. The long nights behind Ansals. The not so sense-ful talks at the lake under the shining moon. The lone car standing at the great Lake, withstanding the fury of a wet monsoon. A car in which four guys are busy in building Magic moments with great songs playing on local radio station. The hot parathtas at 3 am from one of the stalls from Habibganj station. The hours of going into the past, dissecting the present and dreaming about the beautiful future. The after office evening chai at my home, sometimes alone and many times with Dino.

Songs like Yeh chand sa roshan chehra, raat ke dhai baje, wake up sid, khudaya khair, tu jaane na will be added in my long list of 'associative nostalgia' songs.

The plays at Bharat Bhawan, the night winds at Winds and Waves, the early morning coffee at Cafe Cabana and the exotic time spent at Tottenham corner. (Ignore the spelling of Tottenham if wrong, coz it was always too misty and blurry when we used to come out of this wonderful place making it difficult to read how and what was written.) A special thanks to Khan Sahab, especially from my friend Boddi for those shots and pints.

In between the not so hectic work came the eagerly awaited Abhivyakti and left me elated, like it always does. Whatever happens I will be here next year to be a part of it again.

My sister Lory blessed our family with boundless happiness as she became a mom of twin boys. When the long awaited news came to me through an sms sent by my dad from Patna,( twin boys...shortest possible way to convey), I was so overwhelmed that I just lay still on my bed as everything became so light and happy. 

I can well imagine that why my dad didn’t call me. Like son like father.

During this short period I went to one place after the another. Patna, Delhi, Indore, Bangalore,Mussorie and met many new people and many a new things happened.

Also I brought my first gas connection. Having tea prepared on my own gas stove was so satisfying, and so was trying to have eggs that tried hard not to become black but they did. I guess because of slightly over boiling. And I also brought my Dell.

Many people have made my Bhopal days a time to remember. The names that are coming to my mind are Dinesh, Palash, Dharmveer,Sumit,Akhil, Alka, Ankita, Meenakshi, Aparna, Ankit, Saurabh, Vivek, Roshan, Shruti, Romilla. ( I am sure I have missed out on someL)

And not to forget Browny, a limp dog that lives at the gates of Ansals, and who like me just gorges on Parle-G.One can identify him by looking in his eyes. They are emerald green. After me maybe it will be Dinesh and Palash who provide him with his supply of Parle-G. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t but whatever happens he will be a Parle-G dog.

Not that I won’t be coming to Bhopal again but maybe then woh shaam na hogi , aur shayad woh barsaat bhee na hogi. Saying goodbye is always so sad.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bangalore diary- II

Back in the comforts of my home in Bhopal I sit back on my broken bed and go through the pages of books that is called life.

A trip which I thought would be over in 5 days took more than 15 days and when I finally left Bangalore I was a happy soul. My medicals were over and I was duly certified as medically fit for the defense services.

Earlier I had planned to take a train to Bhopal but just at the last moment I decided to surprise my mom and sister and I boarded a flight to Delhi. The two hours and 30 minutes flight was over in a jiffy as I slept for most period of the high flying journey.

It was 1.30 AM when I landed at Delhi airport.

A chilly breeze swept me as my muffler desperately tried to keep up the fight against the cold wind. Nothing much had changed at the Indira Gandhi airport except the old terminal which was not there. The terminal where many a so called lovely moments were spent was being dismantled to make way for a new one.

Have heard and seen many a love tales that were construed under the comfort of the small building. The rows of red metallic seats with a cold touch, if they could, would tell you that how innocent love-smitten couples would build castles and huts of a love filled future.

And the same red cold will also tell you about how many of those dreams were never fulfilled.

As I sat cuddled in the warm cafe in the midst of a not so dull crowd waiting for my cab to arrive, I went back into the past and thought of the times I came here before. And I realized that deceit kills even those moments of love which might have been innocent and which might have come from heart.

Sitting there, I saw a guy who was struggling to face a truth which he should have accepted a long time back. A guy was pondering over the turn of events that had transpired over a period of time. And I also saw a man who inspite of knowing that he is unlikely to succeed kept on trying until his every belief was broken. A man whose trust was broken and his every commitment laid to rest.

The temporary state of reliving the past was broken when I saw a long last friend who had dreamt of becoming an air stewardess. And there she was all charming and smiling in a red attire. Some dreams are destined to be fulfilled, maybe all of them but for lack of commitment.

Old times and ancient moments were brought into the present as we talked about a magical past.

The taxi ride that I took from the airport to Dwarka to surprise my mom was far more exciting than I could expect. First the taxi broke down in between and then my cellphone left me. Ultimately it was the turn of Delhi police to act as saviour and it was they who gave me a lift. The jat accent coupled with the cheap jokes made for a good ride as the jeep moved at a slow yet smooth speed.

It was 5 in the morning when I knocked on my brother in laws' door.

Were they surprised ...?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Bangalore diary-I

First think that will strike you once you have acclimatized your self to Bangalore is the pleasant weather. As one journalist told me while munching cookies on the famous MG Road " Bangalore is a Lat.(Habit) Once you get used to it, it is hard to leave it". She herself hails from New Delhi and it has been two years since she has been working here and has already made her plans of settling down in Bangalore.

Brigade road with many a shops that attracts the youth in hordes and its sister MG road are the first thing that comes to mind of any person with a lively heart. Life here, like in Bhopal moves at its own pace, peacefully.

Go to the countless pubs or hangout in any of the night clubs and you will feel that same peaceful serenity.

It is my 10th day in Bangalore and I have been successful in the purpose for which I first came here. When I had joined SBI, I had said that it's more likely to happen that I will move again to a different endeavour. And that is happening now.

A Lawyer, a Journalist, a Banker and now a Navy officer.

Have learnt many a things in this short span of time.

Pushed both my mind and my body to a different realm of achievablity. Went through some intense surge of emotions both good and bad and the first thing that came into my mind was how difficult it becomes to stop yourself from reconnecting to a past that you wouldn't normally want to connect to specially on occasions of intense happiness and deep sadness.

And in this times I sought help from God to keep me going. And I asked for forgiveness for hurting people whom I never wanted to hurt. I asked God to make me capable of forgetting and forgiving and I asked him to wash away hate and never let it creep into my heart again. And my belief that no one can be a better emotional support than mom and dad in times of crisis gained more strength.

As life moves on I look back and think of how time changed for the bad and then for the better. Like a flowing river the life should flow and I pray to god for his kind benevolence.

For all countless reasons love and for every conceivable reasons never cheat.

Happy December... :-)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

During a lifeless class...

Don't be scared to fall in love. The starting may be painful and the end may be full of sorrow, but all that happens in between makes it worthwhile.

There is nothing like last love. Just like there is nothing like the last moment in life till it finally arrives. Love can be born any moment, even at the last mili-second of life.

Excepting every love to culminate into it a logical ending is like expecting every flower to have a fragrance . Some flowers are born to add beauty to the garden.

Some are more nostalgic than other. They just are the way they are and nothing can explain the reason for that.

A soul gets enriched and a life blossoms when we love. We sing, we hum, dance, do everything just like the way we used to be when we were five years old. When we are in love we derive happiness from mundane things.

If we could foresee the happiness that lies in the future then we would have never gone into the past for solace.

Betrayal comes after love, never before. Same as death comes after life.

If I could bring back anything from the past I would have had the days of love. Love from family, friends, foes and Betrayers.

Not same we feel today, maybe the the soul found something to live on.

Comparing happiness is the next most foolish thing to do , next only to falling in love.And these two acts of insanity cannot go hand in hand. Either you love or you compare.

The only way to experience blissful happiness and the real you is to love someone truly.

Life is all about experiences and the past. Keep them near in the present and you will see the future clearly.

Never show your love to a person who has broken someones trust before. All said and done, yours will be broken too.

The most valuable treasure one has at this moment is memories. Happy, Joyous memories.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mumbaikars loose - MNS wins

Maharashtra poll results along with the poll results in the other two states of Arunachal Pradesh and Haryana has come as a bad news for the BJP. And the saffron colour continues to lose its shine.

It must have been a happy day at work for people at 10 Janpath as the hard work finally paid off in Maharashtra. With the party gaining an absolute majority, it will hope that it will be able to live up to the expectations of a common Indian living in Maharashtra.

But the disheartening news was about a goon party gaining more strength.

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena won in 13 seats in the state including 7 seats in Mumbai.

And there can be two ways of looking into the performance.

The first one has more to do with Not reading much into the party’s win. As the seat where it won was not on the basis of the party tag but because of a careful thinking that went into while selecting the candidates. The candidates who won were not imported from outside. Most of them were active in their constituency for years and were earlier a part of Shiv Sena.

So to say that the brand MNS worked would be wrong.

The second way of looking at this is that whether Mumbai has accepted and given its nod to the hooliganism way of politics that was carried out by MNS? And this question needs to carefully understood in the backdrop of the violence that MNS cadre carried out recently.

Infact none of the media post election talk show focussed on this aspect of MNS. Not much time back, this was the same party who held the whole state to ransom and ransacked the city and attacked anyone whom they thought was from north India.

Mumbai sure has a short memory.

Perhaps the Mumbaikars forgot that when 26/11 happened none of the MNS goons or Mr.Thackrey came forward to help. And those who died while tackling the situation where from all parts of the country, it was not a 'Me Mumbaikar' campaign at that time. And it was not just Mumbai who was glued into to the TV for news but the whole India

And it was not just Mumbai who felt frustrated for being so helpless and it was not just Mumbai who cried whenever a still body of an innocent “Indian” came out.

Try to remember; it was hardly 11 months back.

Anyone who saw Raj speaking before the media will agree that he has reached a new realm. The same old arrogance and lust for power was back in his eyes and in his voice as he dared people to perform Chaath Puja.

I thought that the MNS will be routed from the state but now realize that I was wrong. Might has again proved right.

Why do we point fingers at the illiterate class when they elect criminals to power? Don’t we say that the poor class doesn’t have the “intellectual” capability to decide between right and wrong?

What happened to the not so "intellectually backward strata" of Mumbai? Those who voted MNS to power how are they going to justify it?

Is violence the answer to the problem of people coming to a state in India in search for work? MNS had posed this question and many of you nodded in assent.

There were people who were lambasting Karan Johar for succumbing to MNS decree. Now we see why didn’t he resist.

We are moving backward in time. Democracy graduates from a violent natured system to a system that runs on a careful exercising of the power to vote.

This time it was MNS. Who knows by the next election time we might have NINS ( North Indian Navnirman sena). All justifying their violence on one reason or the other.

We pose some questions that can be answered only by ourselves.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Whom will you feed today

Here you have many choices. Let us start from the beginning.

You can start by feeding a couple of pair of ducks with your hand and after they are full they will ask you to take them out for walk. And if you don't comply they will peck at your feet until you are forced to run away.

They go by the name of Mowgli,Sheena, Masakali, Jack and Mili.

Then comes the Tortoise. Three local Ganges Turtle and one imported Singaporean Turtle who too will seek your attention. And for that matter they too need some early morning exercise. Watching them run on the floor with a slight 'katkat' sound of their claws on the surface gives an impression that a tiny armored infantry is getting ready for the final assault.

If you are still not done then you can perch a hairless 3 year old parrot on your arm and watch him shouting on his top of his voice as if singing "sara zamana hasino ka deewana' and seeking a look or two from the many a sensuous female parrots that have made the huge mango tree standing in our house their home.

Then you have 10-12 odd fishes. Of every kind. Though they don't express their feelings through any sound yet the sheer joy of watching them comeup to you expecting bits of food makes you think that how intelligent these petite aquatic creatures are.

And finally you have Bela, who always likes to remain in the background. Guarding the little tiny vulnerable fellow pet-beings from the peril of this capitalist society, where every one is a meal of someone.

Here at my home in Patna.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A day and a night on Bhopal-Patna broad gauge

Lying on bed at home in Patna I am still lost in the last 35-40 hrs that started from the moment I took a train from Bhopal to Itarsi at 10.30 morning on the 14th morning.

Just half an hour before I had to board the connecting train from Bhopal to Itarsi I found out that I had not taken out the printout of the copy of the e-ticket for the journey from Itarsi to Patna which was scheduled for the same day at 3 in the noon.

I called up my friend and forwarded the e-ticket at his email address and requested him to meet me at Habibganj railway station and hand me over the e-ticket after getting it printed. Then I boarded the train at Bhopal after getting assurance from the counter guy that the train would stop at Habibganj.

And I found my self sharing place in the general compartment with a group of labourers belonging to Balrampur in UP who were going to Mumbai, perhaps to take on the might of the goons of that rubbish called Raj Thackrey.

As the train reached Habibganj, I to my horror, discovered that instead of slowing down it was was gaining speed and soon it dawned on me that the train would be bypassing Habibganj without stopping.

I frantically called up my friend and decided on the best course of action available at that time.

As the train approached the station I perched myself on the gate and saw a guy running with me, and then after me. It was my friend Dinesh, and he was running after the train with the ticket firmly clutched in his hand.

And soon enough the ticket was in my hand.

Thank you dost. And thank you even more for giving me the printout of my return ticket. You did great. ( Dinesh by some great presence of mind (pun intended) took out the printout of my return ticket instead of my forward journey).

I can still remember the look on his face when he said "Happy journey dudeeeee......".

I had a very happy journey, seriously.

Later I messaged him apprising about the path breaking development adding hahahahahha in my sms. He too replied in the same way, albeit with more "ha" in the hahhahaha.

After two hours of having a highly fruitful discussion on the various socio-political-economic problems plaguing the country I got down at the Itarsi paltform no 3, feeling highly enlightened and for that I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Prof. Sukhi Singh, Prof. Mahto Rana and the child prodigy who went by the name "Chottua".

The day was good with the sun shining brightly over the head as I headed for platform no 1 so to find out an Internet cafe where I intended to take out the print out of the eticket.

But my jovial walk was cut short as I was accosted by a TTE in the customary black coat and two RPF personnel in Khakis as they accused me of stopping the train illegally as if I was not Abhinandan the mortal one but Sabu the Lambu one . No preliminary talks worked and i was taken to their office.

There they told me that the train I was travelling in was not scheduled to stop in Itarsi and I had pulled the chain to alight at Itarsi. To prove my point they said that I had a ticket that I myself had taken from Bhopal for Itarsi. Talk of benefits of having a valid travelling ticket.

I told them everything in detail and said that I was told by the booking clerk at Bhopal that this particular train had a stoppage in Itaris, but to no avail. They were presumably trying to arrive at a point, a point where they would force me to cough up some money to make their Diwali more happier but which i was not ready to do.

This round table conference went on for thirty minutes and I was on the verge of blasting out with full force as I had reached the tipping point of my patience. At that very moment my cellphone rang and I answered it. It was ringing for quite a while but I was disconnecting it so as to focus on the other issue at hand.

The guy on the line was a person who was about to come to pick me up at Itarsi and I vented out my anger at him and referring to him by his surname I told him not to bother as he was already late by half an hour.

As I disconnected the call, I saw the picture changing. The RPF guys left the room and the TTE became sober to the extent of being polite.

To cut a long story short, with the help of the same TTE I was fortunate enough to get a confirmed ticket in a holiday special train which would take me directly from Itarsi to Patna, my destination.

It was already 5 in the evening and I was feeling sleepy as i had spent the last night roaming till Three in the morning and having tea in the old city with an even older school friend. And as soon as I climbed into the upper berth, I covered myself in the blanket, switched off my cell and went to sleep.

It was 8 in the night when I was woken up as someone was trying to shake me up. Still asleep I extended my arms out and found a food packet in my arms given to me by a guy who later i found was sent by dad. This was at Jabalpur station.

It was Ten in the night when I finally woke up and gobbled up the Indian thali that landed in my hands in Jabalpur.

I had Sleep, had food and now had nothing to do with sleep miles out of reach. It was time for night out or more aptly train out.

Soon my pyara humsafar Dell came out. After some minutes of chit-chap i found out the battery dying. And as I bent down to plugin the charger a hand came out of the middle berth and switched on the electric switch. My hushed thank-you was responded by an even more subdued most welcome.

Zoya had made her presence felt...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Obama, Osama and Lal Salama

Barack Obama getting the Oscars must be considered as the biggest goof up that the Film fare jury have done till yet.

It is simple: How can someone who played the role of an angry Rambo in the movie “Revenge of America-post 9/11” be recognized as the Best apostle of Peace.

He could have been nominated in various other categories. Maybe The Best Podium dancer, The Best Podium Lyricist or the Best comedian for his superb acting butt Peace.

Obama supporters say that he got the award because his sterling performance in various movies like Afghanistan -a rosy tale and Iraq- all about Tel , in which he was successfully able to justify the legacy of another comedian of yesteryears; Bush Baby. Also the encouragement he got from Tel Aviv did the trick.

While conversing with another strong contender of the Most peaceful actor, Laden Cage (he uses this pseudonym since he has been caged in the Tora Tora mountains of the Afghanistan Studio), I got the feeling that all was not well within the league. The League of Ordinary turned superhero man.

Laden was quite critical of the fact that he was not allowed the travel to Norway. He quite candidly admitted that his mere presence on the screen would have lighted up the stage or as a matter of the fact the whole Norway.

He admitted that he too like Obama follows Gandhiji, who he says always used to keep a stick with him as he very innocently shows me his AK-56 that he has tied on a lathi.

He quotes a couplet to make his point, which he says his grandfather used to recite him every time he asked him for a candy. Jiski laathi uski bhens... and encouraged with this inspiring words he would take a lathi and beat the crap out of anyone with a candy and gobble it up.

Just like the way Gandhiji used his lathi as a threat to the mighty Britishers daring them to stop him from going to Sabarmati.

Kaun kehta hai kalyug abhee nahee aaya hai
Jahan nazar dodao wohee to Gandhi ki libaas odhey koi na koi nazar aaya hai
Ache se dekho mere yaaro
Kabhie Osama aur Kabhie Obama danda karta hua nazar aaya hai


A major and hopefully decisive counter offensive has been launched by the security forces against the naxalites who have grown leaps and bounds. The recent killing of 17 security personnel in Gidhchiraolii and the beheading of police officer in Jharkhand have forced the Government to wake up and take stock of what I see as an epidemic threat that has been eating away into the very basic structure of this country.

Those who have been into the naxalites infested areas will agree that they in true terms run a parallel government. And they have eroded more into the integrity of this country with every passing day.

And those intellectuals and visionaries who come out with reason to support this red-bloodied cause should hang their hand in shame every time a mother wails or a child cries after watching dead body of a son or a father nearby.

Time has come to remove this menace once and for all. Lets for some time forget about the issues of development and rights of the oppressed and the exploited which the supporters of naxalism says forces innocent villagers to join the naxal movement.

In Kashmir every separatists has his problems that he uses to justify the killings. Back in the late 80s and early 90s when militancy was at its peak in Punjab the militants would give N number of reason to justify the bombings. And same in the North East.

But in the end it comes to a point that unless and until the state machinery is not allowed to do its work, no development can take place.

The naxalites still wants their followers to live in the dream world that they would be able to carve out a separate nation. How laughable.

Only one question comes to mind- what they want and who can give a reasonable believable answer.

Lal Salam deviated out of its path a long back ago.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I bid adieu

a silent stare,a silent nod,
your hair slips even more silently.
black eyes sparkle like a silent star,
with the charm in your voice to do the rest.

a soul moves like a silent leaf,
like a caressing wave,
a weightless cloud,
on a rainy night.

moon lights makes it even more beautiful,
your eyes, your deep black eyes.

at their captivating best,
my soul surrenders itself
with a heavenly pleasure deep in heart.

in the light of the darkness that spreads between you and me
I smile at my innocent action and my feelings,
that are for you and because of you

sitting by some place and no one near,
my heart and me will have a talk,
sharing some thoughts and laugh out loud,
as we head back home with the smiling stars and
and a happy moon to show us through

I bid adieu to one and all,
to all those unnamed places,
and to all the pleasent time that i was with you...

P.S- Some people are born to cheat and some are born to deceit.
But there will always be people who will still smile and forgive them, and I am not one of them :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dholu bhai- a tribute

DholuBhai was a small kitten. He had nothing special about him, apart from the chip on his small shoulders that he carried.

It was my mom who first noticed the brown and black kitten roaming in our backyard. And then I got the news, and then it was Bela who made it known to everyone around the vicinity that a kitten had made inroads into her territory. The kitten was first noticed when he was trying to eat discarded tealeaves which made my stomach churn with pity for the small cat.

Apparently he was so hungry that he was eating anything to survive. As was bound to happen, the poor petite still unnamed kitten became one of the many regular animals that were a part of our extended family. And soon, with passage of time he moved into the inner clos er circles, causing much heartburn to Bela. And I named him DholuBhai.

And the two never went alone again, his name.

DholuBhai had an aura about him that justified the use of Bhai. RaiBahadur Dholu too would have looked good, but that would have created a false impression that he was from a royal lineage, which he wasn't.

A closer scrutiny of his past history presented a very disturbing, albeit a very common picture. His mother and two siblings were killed by a male Cat, and his mother died while saving her kittens.

DholuBhai was arrogant to the extent of being disrespectful to our family members. Once me, dad and mom were having morning tea and enjoying the morning sun rays that were being scattered by the huge Mango tree leaves that stand in our garden. Our attention was diverted towards a small, baby squirrel that was still learning the tricks of running down from the tree and stealing nuts from the Duck and Tortoise enclosure. The baby squirrel would climb down, steal a nut, dodging the ducks and climb back into the safety of the huge tree. This happened for 3 times, and then came in Dholu. As the poor squirrel came down for the fourth time, Dholu pounced on him and in less than a second the squirrel was in the hands of god. A sense of anguish was visible on our faces as I ran down to free the poor squirrel from the mouth of death.

But that wasn't to be. DholuBhai had killed the rodent the moment he caught it and he climbed onto a tree, with the prized possession in his mouth. I and two other people working at my home tried for 30 minutes to bring that feline down but no amount of cajoling or threatening worked. When he finally came down, DholuBhai got a sound beating from mom and was admonished from entering into our house again.

As he walked towards our neighbour’s house, which was also his birthplace, he gave me a glance which said that he was heartbroken and would never come again. But he came back soon. My mother couldn’t bear the pain of her beloved Dholu roaming outside in the cold nights and called him back.

Dholu then got into the habit of drugs and he would regularly kill wall lizards and after taking a bite or two he would go unconscious. Leaving me to search for the dead unfinished body of the lizard. Many a times we felt that he would not be able to come out from the poisoning but every time he would defy the inevitable and spring back into life.

He would sleep on my chest, near my pillow, on TV, near the aquarium, with the duck. He loved my sister and would climb on her legs as she would come from Delhi. He would sit on my dad’s lap when he would be having tea, with Bela watching him with envy. He would claw at my mom’s feet asking her for bits of chicken.

Life was good, i was preparing for my IRMA and Bank exams and it was the month of November and it was raining like it had never rained before. It was well past 11 in the night and Dholu bhai had still not arrived. And we searched for him, but he didn't come. 2 days passed, and we were all but heartbroken. We resigned to the fact that Dholu bhai would never come home again.

Then something extraordinary happened. And in the midst of night while having evening walk, I heard his meek calls. And I instantly knew where he was. I ran to my fiat, threw the cover and saw him lying behind the windshield. He was on brink of dying, his eyes were wet, and he was severely dehydrated and was not able to stand on his feet. Apparently he went inside the car along with Bela when our driver took her for a drive, and was forgotten inside. He was stuck in the car for more than 65 hours. But he survived.

After this incident he became more darling of our family. DholuBhai the survivor.

Soon Dholu celebrated his 4th (months) birthday. He got a fish, a chicken and a red ribbon around his neck as his birthday present. But as is with great personalities, his life was not meant to see normal, mundane days for long. One night we heard cat fighting and saw two male cats moving around excited in our neighbour’s house. I could figure out that Dholu was stuck in between them. And that night he didn’t return.

The next morning I saw him sneaking inside our main gate. All bloodied. His tail was broken, had blood rashes all around the body, his front paws were bent at an angle that disregarded biological realities. And his left eye was closed for good. We took him to the Vetenarian and he was admitted there for 2 days. All was over for him, as the doctor thought so. But defying all logic he again survived.

When he came back from the hospital , he was confined to our home, and was made to sleep in our veranda in the night so as to stop him from venturing out. And it was only in the morning that he was permitted to go out. This went for a couple of weeks. And DholuBhai didn’t complain.

After all this not so pleasant happening, I started having this intuition that Dholu bhai was running out of his luck. And that proved right.

One fine afternoon, just before the New Years Eve, a big male cat attacked Dholu and injured him and he was only saved because Bela came and threw the Tabby cat into the air, causing a deep wound. But that was not the end. The same night Dholu went to his birthplace, where his mother used to play with him and where she along with his siblings died. And he was pounced on by the waiting male cat. The fight didn’t last long and by the time I could cross over the other side, there was nothing but silence.

Why did he go there, in spite of knowing the fact that he would get killed is something I would never know.

For the next few days we frantically searched for him, calling out his name, keeping the doors of our home open so that he could easily walk in. We knew what had happened, but we didn’t want to believe it.

We had hopes that one day he would return, defying every plausible logic as he had done before. But that didn't happen, Dholu Bhai didn’t come. Some days later, we found his dead body, just besides the wall separating our and neighbours house. He was lying there in midst of wooden boxes. Eyes closed. He tried to come home safe, but this time he couldn't make it.

DholuBhai was only 6 months old when he left us.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Abhivyakti- a rich past

It is this phase of season in Bhopal which i have liked the most all throughout the 15 years that I have spent here.

The season of Garba.

The onset of winter is just on the cards, the breeze starts shivering you in night. And there is a light visible mist in places. With Navratri starting you can hear hymns all around. The colors and the excitement that the Garba brings is more than enough to lift even a lifeless soul.

It was in 2000 when i was in class 11th. Had just graduated to the big league of toddlers turning into boys. And at that time everything was in a short supply. Had to be home by 11 PM and had a limited purse.

Best days as they were, they were always too exciting too be forgotten. Still remember how my friend and i used to shiver like a drenched puppy on a green scooter while returning from the Garba at 12 in the night.

The "Shimla road" leading Barkheda through Shakti Nagar was the ultimate test of strength. And as the name suggest that particular stretch of BHEL used to be particularly more chilly. And if rumours were to be believed, unknown ghosts and known goons used to patrol that lonely area in the night. But by gods grace we would reach home, eyes wet and swollen.

And as I entered into my home, i Would get a mild words of anger lecture from mom and dad but who would care as mind was still captivated by the "Dholi raa's and Pankhida".

Saw adolescent love blooming and then withering away. The blue and red ghagras would blend beautifully with the brown and gray kurtas. The abundance of deep black eyes and the long dark hair were too captivating to even stare at.

The whole atmosphere was so electrifying. Anticipations of every nature and hope of every depth that are associated with the Garba made sure that we never missed them.

As one would walk across the Garba ground familiar faces and age-old voices would greet us. I bet that you would meet all those at Abhivyakti whom you have not been able to meet for the last one year.

"It was love in the times of Garba" as Gabriel Garcia would have put it.

Eyes would meet and then fall away, and we would call it "haya" (shyness). And if they rose again we would term it "ada". The stares in between the smoke of fag, the constitution of a search party of able bodied man to look for lost mojdis and stolen shoes, and the final meeting before the temporary parting at Press Complex over poha,jalebis and tea...ahhh.

Have many a tales to tell, from where should i begin and where should I end.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bhopal diary III

Bhopal is at its best. After a long season of no rain and more pain things have assumed new proportion.

The city of lakes, love and night out, is greener and cleaner. The best of the visual delight comes out in the night, when the moon is at its full bloom. With virtually no or less cars plying on the street, one can start from the High hills of Ansals, going to the sparkling VIP road and after having a steaming tea at the Bus stand head for the all time favourite Kerwa. And you present yourself with endless opportunity of various nature.

After a hard days work [ :) , i know many of you won't agree], it is long hours of endless talks with friends at the road overlooking the magnificent lake behind Lake View Ashoka, which is just at a stone throw away distance from my home.

The best thing one needs at that time is a slight drizzle and a serene breeze. Just the way it happened yesterday night. And your "gappey" session starts extending. From 9 it goes to 11 and to 1 and beyond.

Two-three days back I watched a play " Mahanirvan" at Bharat Bhawan. And I was moved by an act where the wife cries for her dead partner. I could experience a veil of grief falling over the entire amphitheater as the heart rending cries of the artist echoed loud.

And the next moment she was perfectly normal as I still tried to compose myself. Capability of what a human mind and heart can do are endless. And I, like everyone else, have experienced both the positive and negative outcome of this ability.

Have been travelling a lot, mostly at local level. From the Chappal market of Lakherapura to the diaper making unit at Mandideep. Were you aware that a completely finished child diaper is a product of 16 different components. How many of us knew that?

Another startling fact, Bhopal has a unit that manufactures Bullet Proof vests!!!

In between these inspection tours I was caught in a traffic snarl and saw a Hindu Dholras procession passing through the narrow streets of a local muslim area. People were dancing on Bollywood songs as they were being showered with petals from above, thrown by the local population. The atmosphere was electric. Two religions embracing each other, just like they have done all though these years and decades.

All in a days work at SMECCC,SBI.

Soon, I will be heading to the now cliche "interiors" of Madhya Pradesh on official work. My all plans of taking lessons of Garba stay dashed. Still i am sure that i will be back in Bhopal for Abhivyakti. But if it comes to choosing between attending Abhivyakti or staying in the interiors even thousand hurdles of profound depth would not be able to stop me. :)

Would recommend everyone to read "The Corridors of Power- An insider story" which is an autobiography written by P.C Alexander. I have just started it, and am sure it will live up to my expectation. His proximity with people who mattered in India gives a good insight of how things work at the highest levels.

IAS lobby in Bhopal have asked for 3.25 acres of land in the posh Char imli for a mind boggling lease of 1 Rs. Yup, you read it right ONE Rupees. The actual cost of the land is around 50-60 crores.

What to say except that I would be least surprised even if they manage to get it, such are tales of the various lobbies of Bhopal.

Two of my very close college friends will be getting married soon. One of them is marrying her long time sweetheart and like I have said in the earlier posts, it is a privilege to attend such a great culmination of simple love stories. The other one has opted for a more traditional approach.

Best of luck mates,comrades, countrymen.....and not to forget the quintessential Romans.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tough time calls for BJP

The 2009 general elections didn’t turn out as the BJP had expected, as a matter of fact, I too was surprised by Congress’s win. But as we now see that surprise defeat was not the end of problem for the saffron party, but just the beginning.

The Chintan Baithak at the scenic and cool Shimla got off to a rather hot start with the safari suit clad Jaswant Singh being expelled from the party. Not quite a long back, he along with Atal and Advani constituted the face of BJP.

He might not had a dramatic rise but a crestfallen Jaswant Singh sure had a rollicking downfall. No single reason can be attributed to the recent development.

The crab mentality that plagues every organization, which currently is working at full force for BJP, the emergence of new ‘young’ leaders, who have waited years for their turn to come but all in vain, the recent poll debacle, the RSS factor, and the slow but steady disappearance of Atal from the party, all made it easy to show Jaswant the door.

We have been hearing the same name in BJP for all these years. Names that have been in queue to climb up the ladder, a ladder whose top three stairs have been booked for Atal, Adavni and Jaswant. Of all the three, Jaswant was the weakest, and he had to go. Advani will be next and with Atalji retired, it will be everyone for himself for the next generation of party leaders.

The loss in general election was a good ground to start with the assault. RSS saw it as a golden opportunity to once again tighten its grip over the party. RSS had reasons to believe that in recent years its hold over the party had been shrinking. With Jaswant Singing Jinnah and blasting Patel, they found a much needed cause to show who the boss is.

The other big reason is that BJP is still figuring out what to do with the Muslim population. It is still going to and from whether to appease the minority population go soft on Hindutva or stick to hard core Hindutva. In between this undecided scenario, Jaswant thought that maybe praising Jinnah was the next best thing to do after denouncing Patel. And as we all now know, neither of them worked in the way he expected it to be.

There have been far greater grounds for axing leaders in BJP in the past, but as I said, if it was just on the basis of the core reason, Jaswant would have been still alive and kicking. It is obnoxious to expel a leader who have been in the party for the last 30 years, who had just won a lok Sabah election by more than 3 lakhs vote and a man who did good, if not great work in various capacity at the central level, just because he wrote a book.

To start with there was no bigger ground than Kandahar to expel a few sleeping man who waited for the god to intervene before the aircraft took off to Kandahar, then came Kargil, still the same old guys continued to ‘serve’ the nation.

And finally came Gujarat. Not trying to sound a pseudo secularist, what happened at Godhra was and is unpardonable and and exception should have been made out and the perpetrators should have been given a medieval kind of punishment. But whatever happened thereafter could and should have been controlled had the BJP state government followed Raj Dharma as Atal pointed out.

BJP right now is going through a churning process, which as we all know is not very memorable. From now on it will be Advani who will have to fight and stave attacks, depending on whether he has any desire to do so.

Don’t think that Rajnath Singh will have to bear the same as he doesn’t have ambitions that require a bloodbath as he knows his position, strengths and weaknesses well. Sushma swaraj too is now a shadow of her former self, and with no Atal to provide her support she too will be contended in whatever she is offered.

The two people to look out in the near future are Modi and Jaitley. They will be the two poles that the others will have to choose from in the near future.

But a party cannot be run by two men who are highly ambitious. Atal always knew that he can never be replaced or upstaged. And Adavani too was aware and accepted the fact that he will be more highly rewarded if he stays with Atal, if not behind him. There was never a dichotomy or any doubt in any of the BJP workers mind that who had the final say in the party matter and that made for a smooth running. In a relationship, of every nature, one has to be one percent more than the other for it to blossom.

And between Modi and Jaitley, one of the two has to realize this. The sooner they do it, the better it will be for them and for the party. RSS should limit its role to that of a guardian, and that too in a strict sense, only coming in the picture when it’s truly required.

There is a difference between meddling and offering advice. This is something that Mohan Bhagwat has to make himself and his organization understand.

The Chintan baithak will come out with many ideas, but only with time, will the BJP regains it full glory, till then it has to wait and bid its time.

Looking at a larger perspective, India, just like any other democracy, will be benefitted more if we have a strong opposition party, which as of now is nowhere to be seen.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Bhopal diary II

Day before yesterday, I along with a friend went to my alma mater, my school, Jawahar Lal Nehru at 2 in the night.

As is with everyone else, this institution is very close to my heart. I can talk and talk and write hundreds if not thousands pages on my moments at Jawahar and it hurts very deeply and very subtly when you find that something which is so close to you, something which has given you so many things is going through a bad time.

As we entered the school campus, there was no sign of any welcoming party except a sleeping guard and 4-5 dogs who were as charming as they were allowed to be. Memories as unfailing as ever came back in waves.

Nothing had changed, sounds cliche, but that's the way it is. The same sprawling football/kabbadi/cricket ground. Even the lamp posts appeared as silent as they use to eight years ago.

As I went further, I found the stairs of the basketball court breathing its last few breaths. There stairs were located and built at a very strategic place offering good view of the many things. (No pun intended).

Then we had a stroll in the famous corridors of Jawahar---and as expected met no one. Went through the list of retired teachers and staff and was hit by a strong sense of nostalgia. It's sometimes very hard to accept a fact. Just couldn't imagine what was at work, maybe it was something hard to decipher let alone describe.
But now Jawahar has lost its academic and other attributes that were so once so famous. I guess the downfall started in 2003-2004. One of the cause was Trishal sir's retirement and the subsequent inability of the school management to instill the same level of discipline.

Have heard stories about misadventure in the premise of the school that was unimaginable in our times. It was not the fear of any disciplinary action that stopped us from doing any thing reckless but a sense of belonging and a sense of respect. And remember there was no RDB syndrome at that time which would have given us any inspiration.

About a month back while having tea at a roadside chaiwala I saw a bespectacled dude in Jawahar school uniform smoking cigarette. The best I could do was to ask him to keep the school tie in his bag because our school has a dress code that's similar to many other schools of Bhopal and it is the tie that separates or more appropriately used to separate the wheat from the chaff. He readily obliged as he was spared the lecture of the ills of smoking , which I had no intention of showering him with.

Can only hope for the revival of the good old Jawahar...

Still remember the last days.Everything is so vividly sketched,May they never fade.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Bhopal diary I

What should i write...there are so many things to say.

Life has come a full circle, both literally as well figuratively. And i stand at a place from where I started. Back in Bhopal after a not so long period of 4 months has been a see-saw of a ride. Most of the times it has been on an upward climb and often i have experienced the feel of gravity pulling me down.

For now my career-car is parked in SBI where i learn the art of being a probationary officer. During times, when my mind is at its idle best, which is very rarely, I dwell on how it was to be a lawyer and a journalist.

It was from Bhopal that i took my first steps towards Doha as a journalist and it was in Bhopal where i got a degree which gave me the title of a lawyer.

Just days back, one of my friend asked me that how long i am going to remain a banker and i replied not for long. I don't know why, but still i feel that this is not my final destination. SBI is a great place to work and the colleagues are great. The nature of job too is not bad as i thought it would be, but i am sure that sooner rather than later i will be into another role...

Those who know me well, including my aunt, ask me to foray back into journalism again. Maybe i will, once i am retired and living a not so mundane life, maybe i will.

Finally i will soon be having a Dell laptop to 'play' with and i am sure that i have not made a wrong choice, a choice which is a culmination of long hours of walking into shops and talking to people from different fields and none of them from the IT sector. Also have some travelling to do as i will have to go to Delhi, Kolkata and Patna soon. "Indian railways mai aa raha hoo...gana mai gaa raha hoo''.

The hoohoo over Balochistan, The yet another spat between the Ambani brothers, the not-so polite tit-a-tat between Mayawati and Bahugana and the real 'Sach ka Saamna' enacted by Omar Abdullah made for a good reading on an otherwise dull week.

On a more local level the increase in the crime rate in Bhopal is being attributed to the fact that most of those involved in these petty crimes are getting patronage from their local saffron clad leaders. How far this is true is something that can be argued on, but if this has any crediblity then its not a good sign for anyone. Shivraj Singh Chauhan's hard work on good governance may lose steam if the crime level is not controlled.

Would like to end with some lines that i read somewhere...

"When the dark deep black falls over the blue sky
and the stars begin to flicker in the cloudless sky
through the mist of memories you wander back to me
breathing my name with a silent sigh...

simple words, pure emotions...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Why and till when...

It has been more than one month since i have posted anything on my blog. No, i have not lost interest in blogging neither have i lost my ability to write.

Most of my time i am deviating between my new job and a new house.The remaining moments is spent on setting up a new home.

As I joined SBI and shifted to Bhopal, i had to start things from scratch and i would like to add that still not much has been accomplished. The first thing that i purchased was a gas stove :).

A gas stove purchased from my own salary,well, that is some thing to narrate to my grand children in the near future. Then came basic utensils, a pan for boiling eggs and preparing coffee.

What next? May be a laptop. No, not maybe, a laptop for sure.But till then, Please bear with me.

Manzilein itni bhee door nahee...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

India : United and diverse

It was refreshing to go through Vir Sanghvi’s column “Counter point’ in which he very surprisingly deviated from his generous habit of playing ‘Congress is India’ slogan and raised very obvious, valid but seemingly neglected points of the danger posed by the effects of the regional parties when they transcend their region desires and aspire for a part at the national stage.

For the starters Sanghvi pointed fingers at Congress (yeah, actually he did it) for allowing Karunanidhi to play with the religious sentiments of Hindus when he infamously asked for the credentials of a person called Ram ( of Ramayan fame, Ayodhya wale).

Similar he poses uncomfortable questions to the other national party of India, BJP, asking it to come out with a white paper ( well, he didn’t actually used this term, but I would have) regarding its stand, if any, on the whole episode of Marathi manoos Vs North Indians where the Shiv Sena is one of the main protagonist. ( Manoos V Indians, how ironical).

We have always read and heard about this whole Indian world of unity in diversity, a place, a metaphysical state where diversities of various nature, culminate into one, to make up an entity called India. But that changes once we step into the political scenario, for then the role reversal takes place.

A swapping of roles take place as diverse parties, many aspirations, hundreds of inspirations vie to put up a collage of what is called “Alliance”.

Political artists try their best to achieve diversity in Unity. Sometimes that collage, in the crudest form of use, appears satisfactory but generally it is one heck of picture which is best left unviewed.

And when the work is finished, we have Muftis, the Badals, the Yadavs, the Mayawatis, the Mamtas, a whole bouquet of the Leftist, the Ammas, the not so sane Karuna and the insane Thackrey smiling at us. (Already started feeling dizzy, and I have not even worked out the details). The above all are just a broad contours, I still have to work on the colors.

Imagine a government where all the above players come together and assume the role of leading India into the next millennium. (I couldn’t, too much of brain required). If this happens then we can safely assume that Kalyug has truly arrived and the time of Mahapralay is near. A time of apocalypse, when every national aspiration, dreams will be quashed for regional interest, where a CM will come above PM in the list of invitees. The more illogical demand, the more higher a politician will go.

After Amma’s call of marching Indian army into Sri lanka is fulfilled, Karunanidhi’s demands of building an expressway between Srilanka and India overlapping the Ramsetu will be next and then will come the time of heeding to Thackrey’s clan demand of annexing North India and moving the refugees to wherever the government seems fit.

And soon we will have four countries, a grand alliance of sort between the smaller states, teaming up to fight the national aspirations of a country called India that is out their to usurp their regional demands.

And that alliance will broadly be based on geographical indicators, viz, The North India, the South India, the West India and the South India. And soon enough that alliance too will break up and only god knows when will the opportunistic leaders realize that out there is another East India company who is just waiting and watching to rush in just like it did centuries ago.

(What started as a writeup based on facts turned into a work of fiction and imagination just like what started as a fight for dalit cause turned into a struggle for the PMs post )

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Who is the more lethal? Karuna or the LTTE

In Southern India, leaders who aspire to play the role of kingmakers in a para-jumbled scenario that will possibly emerge after 16th May are raising a hue and cry over the alleged atrocities carried out by the Srilankan army against the Tamil refugees in their war against the LTTE terrorists.

Karunanidhi, Jayalalita, Vaiko all these ‘Tamil’ sympathizers or more appropriately ‘Tamil opportunist’ have said that they are against this ‘misadventure’ on the part of the Srilankan government. A misadventure that is aimed towards dismantling one of the most feared terrorist outfits.

Someone needs to remind them that this supposed misadventure has been going for the past 2 years. But none of them voiced their dissent against it till now.

The alleged atrocities against the Tamils as purported by Karunanidhi has more to do with garnering the Tamil votebank rather than his genuine sympathy for them.

Kaurnanidhi and Vaiko have openly come out in support of the LTTE which is a banned terrorist organization, not only in India but worldwide. They have orchestrated protests against Indian establishment in UK and in other foreign countries so as to put pressure of the Indian government to use its clout and ask the Srilankan government to stop the offensive.

Even the Congress, whose own leader Rajiv Gandhi was killed by the LTTE has acted submissively to the pressure of its allies and has time and again sent senior officials to Srilanka as a show of its willingness to tow the lines of Karuna and Vaiko and to make sure that they are not displeased least their support is required to form the next government.

The stand taken by Congress is one is driven by short term political gains but in in return they have bartered a peaceful-safe neighbour.

Have not Fingers been pointed at India too for the same level of atrocities that our troops have alleged to commit in Kashmir and in the North east. But national interest has always prevailed. So why should the present Indian leadership or for that matter any leadership pressurize the Lankans in what is their internal matter to stop their assault against a brutal terrorist organization, an organization which has killed numerous high profile leaders and many civilians and even to this day continues to use innocent unarmed combatants and small children for their own safety.

This continuous pressure politics by the Indian government has alienated Srilanka further away from us. Though our old ‘friend’ China has not lost this opportunity to help the tiny island nation by supplying it with arms and materials.

And it is not that the Srilankan government has neglected the refugees. It is doing everything that it can. Independent observers operating in Srilanka have said that the refugees are being taken care of. One needs to understand that even the best of human efforts sometimes appear insignificant in times of human calamities. Give them time, the country has gone through a difficult phase for many years.

All this may seem immaterial now, but years later I hope we don’t use the present Srilankan crisis as an anecdote to illustrate as how not to conduct your foreign policies.

Morality and principles are the two most overly used yet the least applied term in Indian political arena. And it can best be seen by the way Congress has reacted to the rhetoric of a leader who has no personal credentials and a person who prides in calling Rama a drunkard.

It is very sad that it has so easily forgotten the killing of one of its own leader who was killed because he sent the Indian peace keeping force to Srilanka to the very same job that the Lankan army is doing now.

Congress is a “national party”, the grand old party of India. Need we remind this to them again and again?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Go on Das'ji

To be in Bihar and to not be part of any political activity is like living in the holy city of Ujjain and yet failing to take a dip in the Kshipra.

Voluntarily or involuntarily, as the election time approaches you find yourself being attracted to any of the many types of informal, formal political gatherings. Such meetings take place at every conceivable place. Outside home under a mango tree, in the road side teashop, in a temple and sometimes even outside a crematorium. If you have an opinion to share you will find an ear to listen.

Maheshwar Das who retired as deputy SP one months back now finds himself in the illuminated company of politicians who stay in our residential colony.

Dasji, my immediate neighbour is contesting as an MP from the well known Hajipur seat of Bihar. Hajipur is just 15 kms away from Patna and is currently represented by Union minister and Lok Jan Shakti party supremo, Ram Bilas Paswan.

Hajipur has been Paswan's citadel for years and he has created a record of winning that seat by a record margin in the previous election.

It is a reserved seat and my friendly Dasji is pitted against Paswan and Ramsundar Das who is representing (JD)(U).

Dasji a dalit, has started his political move on the right foot as he has managed to secure a BSP ticket. 5 years ago this would not have been significant news, but now with Maywati’s enhanced status it is something big if not spectacular.

Interestingly until he got his nomination, Dasji used to pat my pet German Shepard, Bela, by calling her Mayawati. but ever since he got the ticket everything is back to normal. Though Bela does occasionally misses the tag of being a 'dog' representing the oppressed mass.

Now I leave it upon the readers to apply their own sense of imagination as to what is the significant behind calling my revered Bela as Mayawati.

On the first day of his campaigning I too jumped in the cavalcade of his white Boloeros covered in marching elephants embedded on Blue flags ( representing BSP) as we rode towards Hajipur, the land of world famous small Bananas.

Earlier our former civil servant wanted to wear a black bundy ( jacket) over the traditional white kurta, but he was consented to change his mind by my father and he amended it for a more cooler brown one and we proceeded.

Cries of "Jahan hai Das-wahin hai Aas" filled the air as we crossed the majestic Gandhi Setu connecting Patna and Hajipur. Seating in the back seat I could clearly see the elation on Dasji 's face as he enjoyed every bit of attention that he was getting. Ahhh...the charm of being a leader.

We addressed two political gatherings on the first day and I was not surprised to see a sizable number of people everywhere we went. Probably it was the curiosity to know the unknown or it was the Mayawati effect or most probably the political atmosphere that drew the people out in the basking unforgiving sun.

People with folded hands with glitter and hope in those small eyes gathered around us and their love was reciprocated by folded hands and a bowed head. Dasji at his modest best.

I have heard and read about the concept of giant killers. An unknown-unheard candidates arises from nowhere and trounces a more powerful opponent. Whether I will witness the same in Hajipur will become clear in the third week of May, but if you ask that whether I want to witness another instance of giant killing then my honest reply will be, yes...why not!!!

Go on Dasji...


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