Monday, November 16, 2009


Nowadays, I am generally in the “eerie” mode. What with the sanguine belief of SCOPE being haunted and the blood curdling evidences of the same being discussed quite often in the department (major contribution from my side), added to this genre of exchange are the supposedly “true” incidents recounted by my colleague with whom I have lunch everyday.

Some have this para-normal obsession with the make believe world of unearthly beings and spirits that are commonly referred as ghosts (a most underrated terminology!!) Strange things happen to them too which reinforce their belief in "The Others'. They may be gifted with what we are not but having said that I also feel that a susceptible mind and fertile imagination are sufficient fodder for optical delusions. Lonely unoccupied minds brooding over the unknown and the unnatural - undoubtedly, the turf is more than prepared for extra sensory perceptions accompanied by a staunch belief and deep satisfaction that a tangible proximity with the supernatural is being experienced on day to day basis - feeling their presence all around including the “frozen touch”.

A cynic’s definition of hallucination may be a very simplistic but pragmatic explanation diluting the “eeriness” of the impact of such experiments to the minimal. But dissection of facts may reveal a repetitive thought pattern attracting similar vibes which the mind craves for. Invites to these spirits hovering on the periphery of life and death may be a fanatic's delight but in this whole episode my position is the worst.

I being the sole audience of the almost daily narrations of white nebulous forms lurking around/ peeping through slightly ajar doors/glaring boldly from one of the poorly lit corners/ just swishing past at times/ breathing down the neck/keeping a watchful eye while she cooks etc. etc. which leaves my heart perpetually in the “sinking” state.

Since, these so called anecdotes are transmitted mostly during lunch time, I confess that I am a little wary about visiting the Ladies Room alone in the afternoons which is quite justified in my case as that should be the desired effect of such recounts on the listener.

But the less comprehensible part is the reaction of my colleague who after having delivered these goosebumpy narratives to perfection ( with vivid descriptions going down to the minutest & the scariest details) retreats into her shell and refuses to budge till the closing hours of the day!!!!!!!

How’s that for a gory story-teller?

Friday, November 06, 2009


A conversation, only for comical interlude, is highly underrated and almost as the colloquial phrase goes a “time pass”. A conversation is not only an exchange of dialogues; it is an interaction of ideas, emotions, knowledge and empathy. Conversation is sharing. It is situational and therefore should manifest all the "navarasas" from time to time, including comedy. If it is only a comic relief, then perhaps it is transient and does not intend to hold a permanent place in our memory bank.

Of course, conversation in its purest and most sublime form has been epitomized by Socrates in his quest for the ultimate truth. I feel it is possible to have a little more "meaningful" conversation without indulging in such higher forms of dialogues.

A one sided conversation is thoughtlessness in its extreme. The mainstay of a ”functional” conversation is conjugality of minds, if not perspectives. A conversation cannot meander beyond niceties if inititated with divergent intentions.
A conversation for the sake of having a conversation is wasteful. Again, conversation is not an isolated experience. The full import of words spoken can be assimilated only when combined with gestures, facial expressions and body language. But we should not however forget that sometimes silence speaks more than words and a mere pause inbetween can convey loads more than a loud ejaculation.
The moot point here is that a conversation should be able to satiate the quest of the participants, whatever that might be. The result would yield far reaching benefits, if the conversationists are joined by unity of purpose and thought.
Words spoken should not be taken lightly. They are mirrors of our thoughts. Satisfaction is in venting as well as in imbibing. As we speak, so, we should also listen. As the spiritual leaders say that listening should be prayerful i.e. as in a prayer we concentrate with our whole mind, body and soul, so should we listen to others to take in the best and the most that we aspire for.

Conversation is a thirst to be quenched with the right measure of verbosity. The penultimate conversation is of course divine. but again the process is frought with experimentations. Seeking is an endless endeavour and you may knock hundreds of doors before finding the right one. Till then, you do not permit yourself to be let in. Wander till you have sought what you are looking for and sooner or later you shall be blessed with God’s receipt.


Strange that you should send me this mail, although it appears to be in circulation as a sort of general warning, however, it reminded me of a similar incident that occurred quite recently with me.
As you know, it's so difficult to get an auto from SCOPE without having a fierce debate with the driver regarding the legitimacy of fare being asked for, as few auto-driver in Delhi conscientiously follows rules and agrees to charge by the meter. One evening I was trying my luck in vain to get one to reach Patel Chowk Metro Station wherefrom I take the metro home. It so happened that my luck was out on that day and none of the auto drivers was ready to go in that direction. Therefore, I decided to change my route and take the metro from Rajiv Chowk, hoping that CP being a central location, auto-wallahs would perhaps be more amenable to go that way.

It was a decision taken in duress as I generally do not like the CP Station. If you have ever been to that location, you will appreciate that the station is too big with long, never ending corridors and the crowd too unruly and rowdy. However, my change of destination yielded result and soon I got an auto which took me to the station. But by that time, it was quite late and being autumn, it was darker than the usual dusk, when I alighted at Rajiv Chowk.

The station was crowded as usual with people thronging in from all directions of the city. Incidentally I find Patel Chowk Station more to my liking as it is quiet and peaceful and the crowd, generally the “sarkari babu” type, seemingly docile and belonging to known milieu, hence, homely.

In order to get inside the underground station, one has to ascend a few steps and take the escalator or the staircase down, as per individual choice. As I was climbing up the steps a man suddenly approached me and said in English “excuse me” in a very cultured voice. I looked up to find a bespectacled face smiling at me. The man was tall and lean in built. I think he wore a white lungi and a chaadar over a bottle-green and yellow striped shirt, which somehow reminded me of the mourning attire that the Bengalis usually wear in bereavement. He was carrying a few books which by a cursory glance looked like religious pamphlets. But what attracted my attention the most was the long sandalwood tilak drawn from his forehead till the end of his nose. He looked and sounded educated and spoke English in a well modulated voice. But looks could be deceptive. It took few seconds for me to notice all these things. While entering the station, I had casually glanced around and seen him standing on the right hand side corner of the entrance. He was standing alone and looking at nothing in particular. He had crossed across the throng of boarders to speak to me!!!

If I had to describe my feelings at that particular moment it would be sheer fear. Why I was terrified I would not be able to say. It was an instant reaction. On the face of it, the man looked sophisticated, well mannered, courteous and apparently above board. But at that very moment, when he stood there smiling, my nostrils were being assaulted by this overpowering fragrance of sandalwood, the source of which could not have been just the tilak on the man’s forehead. He continued in English, smiling, “May I please take a few minutes of your time?” It took me a flash of a second to react, “No, thank you.” I turned around and walked past. The man did not follow me. I did not look back to see whether he was still there. But the fragrance of sandalwood continued to haunt me till I reached the platform and boarded the train.

Somewhere I had read that strangers accosting people in the middle of such crowded places use strong fragrances to hypnotize or befuddle them and when they come back to their senses they cannot remember what happened after inhaling the strong aroma. Sooner or later, some valuables are found missing from their persons. I do not know whether this piece of information was at the back of my mind when I vehemently nodded my head and rushed off to the other direction to avoid the man. But the presence of the man could definitely not be considered benign if it was catalytic in evoking a premonition of danger. The conscious as well as the subconscious minds have many a tricks up their sleeves and sometimes it is really difficult to fathom what exactly triggers off reaction to strange stimulii in the instant case my reaction to the stranger.

But I still spend a considerable time in pondering over the fact that the man chose and approached me of all the people in that station with whatever noble or evil intention that he may have had in mind. I really wonder what sort of people they look for such misdeeds. The apparently gullible ones most probably. That makes me wonder whether I look that gullible for a hoodlum to target me as his chosen victim……….I have not found the answer as yet. As a matter of fact, I do not know whether the stranger could be branded as an out and out outlaw.

Incidentally, I have always preferred the fragrance of sandalwood to all other perfumes. I am generally allergic to most. But as I said earlier, the fragrance haunts me now and will always do so reminding me of a strange incident half understood and (God forbid!) half experienced.