Thursday, February 25, 2010


I don’t know Murthy but I have been introduced to his follies by somebody who does not know him either but has come to know about his plight from someone else who is his pen/mail/tele/Orkut or some such pal and enjoys a distant, naah, electronic acquaintance with him. In short, none of us knows Murthy in person but every one of us is aware of his trials and tribulations and feels sorry for him.

The story goes like this…………

Once upon a time there lived one Mr. Murthy, an almost confirmed bachelor, with two adorable sons (hainee?) & they lived happily in their abode oblivious of the rest of the world (blissful, is it?).

Mr. Murthy’s life revolved around his sons. Sorry, let me do a little bit of explaining here. Murthy’s solitary existence was redeemed by the company of two male pets, Pugs to be precise, whom he doted on almost like his own offspring (Genetic engineers can exhale deep sighs of relief here!).

Pug Sr. was an adult of two and a half years. Pug Jr. was still a teenager of one and a half years. Pug Sr. was obviously more mature, calmer, quieter and wiser; in short, a thoroughbred. Pug Jr., on the contrary, nurtured a more Bohemian spirit and was a constant menace to the neighborhood.

Then one fine day .................

Murthy went to attend a wedding and fell head over heels in love not with the bride, stupid, but with somebody who had also come to attend the wedding, of course! Bowled over by her lovely eyes/smile/face/skin/cheeks/hair/whatever, Murthy decided, no not decided, he actually got married to her and brought his bride home.

Until then Murthy was the unquestioned monarch of his kingdom with two free-spirited princes stomping around the territory unfettered. The entry of the queen was an intrusion in privacy, not for Murthy, who had willingly allowed that to happen (Just imagine!) but for his two princes who were at first awestruck then dumbstruck and then gradually as the import of the inclusion was brought home, went wild with jealousy and rage, finally declaring war against the invader, the unfortunate Mrs. Murthy.

From thereon Murthy’s life became a mess coz Pug Jr. point blank refused to accept mother Murthy. (Pug Sr. being of more profound disposition has shown exemplary composure and an enviable capacity to endure grief in silence.)

And now…………

PJ has decided to share Murthy’s bed, night after night, and has suddenly discovered that Ma Murthy’s pillows are extremely comfy. In fact, Murthy’s suhaag raat was spent in threesome. Murthy, Mrs. Murthy and PJ sprawled in between.

PJ has developed a sudden fondness for samvars, especially, the ones lovingly cooked by Mrs. M for her new found husband. Time and again, the dining table has been found soiled with up-turned bowls of samvar and resultant mess of PJ’s distressed stomach.

PJ loves to relieve his bladder on Mrs. M’s expensive Kanjeevarams, the swish of the silk a sensual additive to PJ’s sensory pleasures.

PJ has chewed away the beautiful cloth bag spun by Mrs. M, a wedding gift for her loving husband.

It is not known who eggs on PJ but in his royal rage he has extended his enmity further and gone ahead to incur the wrath of the uncle living next door. Poor man found his walking shoes left outside generously sprinkled with PJ’s” Leaky Cauldron”. Uncle naturally had a lot to say about it which upset Murthy, who, in turn, gave his piece of mind to PJ, who, in response, went without food a whole day. Result - an untimely summon back home from office and a tear jerking reunion between PJ and Paa Murthy.

When the night guard had the audacity to point out PJ’s annoying partiality towards neighbours’ cars for marking his territory, PJ post haste made it a point to prove that he was the monarch of all he surveyed and left his indelible mark on the night guard’s sitting stool.

In this entire drama, the silent sufferer, Maa M, has also broken her silence of late. Considering the havoc wreaked by PJ, she does not miss a maa-in-law anymore.

Murthy, sandwiched in between, still lives on…………………….

Poor Murthy……………

is now looking for a foster home for PJ - a loving, caring, doting, understanding family who would smilingly overlook PJ’s vagaries. He found one too in his boss’s family who were dog lovers too and had two Labradors to keep PJ company, in case, PJ conceded to have them around.

A day was spent in an exercise to familiarize PJ with his new family. PJ cheerfully exchanged notes with Labs Sr. and a few other things which are least elaborated the better. By evening Murthy was both convinced and relieved that PJ was in safe hands. However, when Murthy got up to leave PJ also bade a curt adieu to all and trotted out with an imperious wag of his tail.

Moved by Murthy’s travails and turmoil and being a dog lover myself I threw a casual suggestion to my family to adopt PJ which met with an uncharacteristic but emphatic NO.

Any takers? Not for Murthy, idiot! Oh no! Not for his wife, either. But for the protagonist of the One Act Play ………….PJ!

I personally feel Murthy should give some more time to PJ and Maa Murthy to build a rapport between themselves. Every relationship needs time to evolve, right?

Also, PJ will not be happy parted from Murthy and vice versa. Murthy, please don’t think on those lines. You’ll be miserable and repent later.

Until then…….

Murthy continues to be a martyr…………………

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Sachin has once again made history scoring 200 runs in ODI beating all other erstwhile records which were none-the-less marvelous attempts but failed to reach the magical milestone of a double century. This historical feat has been attained after 39 years! The last record which was smashed to smithereens was of 189 runs by Sanat Jaisurya. Sachin pushed in the extra 11 to outscore him. The 200 odd runs comprised of 25 fours and three sixes adding up to 118 runs and the rest 82 were made of singles, doubles and occasional triplets. The quadruples and sextuples were thrown in-between as humble offerings of superb craftsmanship, an accumulated collect of years of dedication and not as boastful bragging.

And that’s how, my friend, history is created. Unhurried attempts of constant and never-ending improvements underlined with deep and unwavering conviction punctuated by master strokes and artistic deliveries at the opportune moments. While Sachin has out-beaten all, the contribution of his predecessors is none too meager. Yesterday’s historical record is the result of cumulated efforts of Sachin and his predecessors over a period of more than three decades. Sachin’s being the cherry on top of the layers of cream piled on the score-pie.

Here’s a lesson for contemporary rat-racers whose endless spree of record achievements is by way of running against time; a series of hurry-scurry-grab-grope-kill; skillful short cuts and willful ruthlessness; marauding the lesser mortals in the way who are never-the-less considered arch rivals and stiff competitors in the survival-of-the-fittest game.

Who would teach these passionate pilgrims that things happen when you are ripe for it? You get what you deserve and not what you demand.

Sachin’s final missive to the world was his super-stroke when he lifted his bat skywards, after securing the decisive run(s), saluting the Master-Player up above, acknowledging the greatness of the Penultimate Source of courage, conviction and creation.

What we get is what He gifts, the rest is just an excuse……..

Sunday, February 07, 2010


It was 22nd of January 2010.
In my forty seven years of existence on this planet Earth, it was the first time, that I woke up with a feeling of being immensely blessed.
It was a perfect morning…………..
Mr. Boots woke me up as early as 4.30 am which was a little unusual in itself considering the fact that nowadays he’s also given to enjoying his wintry morns and late rise from bed. We went out for a “dawny walk” down the foggy lanes. Generally these walks end up with our little “teattering”(that’s twittering over tea for the dull-witted ones) upstairs at Didi’s where I am greeted with a glass full of black tea(nothing less than Earl Grey) with honey, which of course is my brother-in-law’s moral duty to pamper his iklauti saali with, and Mr. Boots with hot, freshly roasted rotis straight from the scalding tawa.
However, this morn, it was too early to barge in on the sleepy-heads. So, we came back and took refuge under layers of downy quilts and blankets to reemerge at 05.30 am. Bleary eyed prodded to the kitchen with strains of Vaishnava Janato (amazing jugalbandi by the two maestros, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Ustad Bismillah Khan) wafting from the hall. Made two cups of tea (regular ones) for meself and maa and settled down on the sofa to enjoy the music……………….
The feeling of being blessed had surged up while I was still in bed oscillating between the two extremes of dreamy wakefulness and not-so-deep-(shallow?)slumber. It was, as though, I was sitting on the edge of a dancing wave, rising and falling, in regular intervals with rhythmic grace……………
It was there in the half lit, slightly chilly hall that I silently rationalized my maiden feeling of gratitude and thankfulness and enlisted the factors which had led to this sudden realization which was at the same time uplifting and humbling……………
Blessed to have a loving, understanding, encouraging family………………..Maa, the strict disciplinarian in my life, of whom, as a child, I was in awe, which feeling has lately translated into loving familiarity (read fond contempt)
Blessed to be pampered by all and sundry………….cousins, aunts, uncles, et al (may be a spoonful of pity is also diffused in the swirling beverage of kinship and empathy, but this morning my heart chose to ignore that)
Blessed to have a sister in whom I can confide the most (well, almost) in spite of our massive sibling rivalry and outrageous personality clashes.
Blessed to have a brother-in-law who stimulates most of my mornings with steaming glasses of tea, sometime (well, most of the times) with a yucky overdose of Mathilda’s secret.
Blessed to have two nephews who carelessly take me for granted and try dominate me as much I try my freaky ways on them
Blessed to have like minded people around me on whom I can barge in any part of the day with my stupid brainwaves
Blessed to have the right amount of moolah in my pocket to squander on my “favourite things”
Blessed to have Mr. Boots around who I can irritate with my over indulgences…………. (gives me very dirty looks at times)
Blessed to have extremely sympathetic colleagues who take care of me whenever I am hungry
Blessed to have a boss who treats me with poorly disguised contempt for not having the “pro” label on my bulky self (a constant reminder of my imperfections)
Blessed to have the kitchen fire burning
Blessed to have hot water in the bathroom
Blessed to have a window to the outside world which I cannot reach out otherwise
Blessed to have somebody around to have a good laugh with at the expense of others (bitching is the right word)
Blessed to have my sensory faculties intact
Blessed to have a “groping” grasp (appreciation?) of the subtleties of the finest specimens of human creativity (even sublime!)
Blessed to enjoy the changing hues of day and night
Blessed to swim and soak in the extravagances of life
Blessed, blessed, blessed all throughout
In tears and chuckles
In sobs and giggles
In wonder, in daze
In awareness, in haze
In remembrances, in reminiscences,
In music and melody
In laughter and tragedy
Blessed to have experienced infinite possibilities
Amidst the maze of Draconian drudgeries
Yeah, this morning couldn’t have been better!

Kii paaini taar hishaab melaate mano mor nahey raaji
I shan’t dwell on what I have been deprived of
These may fall short of what I have got
(Why do my translations always result in disaster????????????)


Oof ! yeh bheega hua akhbaar
Paperwale ko change karo
Paanch sou gaon phir baha gaye isbaar

Oonchi dyori more khwaja kii
Mose utro chadhyo na jaaye
Kahdo more khwaja se
Mori bahiya pakad le jaaye

Nadi kinaare dhuan uth rahaa
Mein jaanu kucch hoye
Jis kaaran mein jogan banii
Kahin wohi na jalta hoye

Apni cchab banayke jo mein pee ke paas gayee
Jo cchab dekhi peehu ki so mein apni bhook gayee
Cchaap tilak sab ccheenee re mose naina milaayke
Aamir Khusro

Maazoor mooh jo paao mera betarha pade
Tum sargalaan to mujhse na ho main nashe mein hoon
Mir Taquee Mir

Umredaraaz maang ke laaye the chaar din
Do aarzoo mein kat gaye do intezaar mein

Four days had I the loan of life
Spent in wasteful shame
Two in wishful thoughts &
Rest waiting in vain

Mohabbat mein nahin hai farq jeene aur marne kaa
Usee ko dekh kar jeete hain jis qaafir pe dum nikle
Mirza Ghalib

Tere vaade pe jeeyen hum toh yeh jaan jhoot jaana
Ke khushi se mar na jaate agar aitbaar hota
Mirza Ghalib

Fake is the call of death
Lived I have on promises made
Had I imbibed the Eternal Faith
Sublime would have been
The call of death

Paakhire diyeccho shwar shey gaaye gaan
Taar cheye beshi kare naa shey daan
Aamaare diyeccho shwar aami taro cheye beshi kori daan
Aami gaayi gaan

Bestowed have thee the birds with song
They sing and twit and chirp along
Gifted am I too with song
With lilts, notes, strains & strings
I bring
A joyous bouquet of lyrics unsung
Honeyed with mellifluous aplomb
I gift thee thy song

Meri aawaaz hii pardah hai mere chehre kaa
Mein hoon khamosh jahaan, mujhko wahaan se suniye

My words are but a camouflage of my thoughts
Glean my silences to fathom beyond

Ghar se masjid hai bahut door challo yun karle
Kisi rote huey bacche ko hasaaya jaaye
Sudarshan Faquir

Kheliccho e bishshow loye biraato shishy aanomone
Praloyo srishti tabo putulo khela neerojone probhu neerojone

The Universe is a mere spectre of a toy
In the hands of the Eternal Infant
Cares not He plays on Infinite games of
Doom & Creation
In blissful solitude
Of his own

Kahaan ke pathik kahaan keeno hai gamanwa
Kaun dhaam ke graam ke baasi kii kaarana tum tyajo hai bhuwanawa
Uttara desi ek nagari ayodhya jahaan dasaratha nripa waha hai bhuwanawa
Unahee ke huma donon kunwarawa maata bachana suni tyajo hai bhuwanawa
Graama vadhu poocche seeya se kaun so pritama kaun dewarawa
Seeya muskaaye bolata mridu vaani saanwaro pritama gaura dewarawa
Tulasidas prabhu aasa charan ke mero mana hara leenho jaanaki ramanawa

Eka samaya shri krishana prabhu ko horii khelana mana aayee
Eka se horii macche nahin kabahu yaa te karun bahutaaee
Yehi prabhu ne thaharaayee
Kasi horii machaayee, acharaja lakhiyo na jaayee

Above all Tagore
His innumerable verses which cannot be captured
Within the periphery of miniscule blog space
Such gems………..
Such pearls of wisdom & poetic beauty………..
Giving expression to the deepest of deep emotions and
Feelings a human heart is capable of
Then why do people just go gaga over
Shakespeare, Keats, Tennyson, Shelley, Byron, Yeats only
Colonial legacy , perhaps…………….


When I got my maiden opportunity to venture into the mystique expanses of the walled city, I was surcharged with pro-rated measures of eagerness, excitement and enthusiasm with an overdose of trepidation callously thrown in. Diffused with the anxiety to experience a world, till now glimpsed only through historical sagas and epic movies, was the nagging doubt that heightened expectation might surpass rude reality. Added to this, was a dash of adventure, as the visit was planned for a late evening explore. Of course, as the time suggests, the nocturnal trip was not meant to gape at historical legacies generously dotting the hilly encompass, but to savor the gastronomical delights of Kareem’s. For me it proved to be much more than that.
Our carrier, a model ancient enough to be fossilized as prehistoric and lovingly called “The Tractor’ by the owner, was a self effacing predecessor of a modern, much-in-demand luxury brand. Sturdy but stout, the four- wheeler, a prized possession of the family, had to be ensconced in a safe nook before we could proceed further. The day a weekend and parking space in the narrow confines of the city being usually scarce, we decided to leave our chariot in the dark adjacent alley and walk the short distance. The alley-way was a long, winding, undulating stretch vanishing somewhere into the distant horizon. Our car found space in front of the closed gates of a hospital whose façade was but an insignia of an era long gone by.
It was in this bizarre locale that I spotted the most extra-ordinary beauty bordering on the ethereal. Her pitch black locks tamed by an arm length of chiffon, her perfect hair line, the ivory texture of her contours, the arch of her forehead, the cesspool of her dreamy eyes, the perch of her aquiline nose, her immaculate jaw-line and above all her beatific smile disclosing a set of evenly moulded pearly teeth condensed into a spectral persona of measured perfection.
Her long lost youth was draped in white simplicity. Nor was she adequately adorned. But everything about her gleamed glowed and glittered. Smoky scenes floated by as I captured her beauty in my mind’s eye…………..
An infinitesimal moment of endless gauzes of sequined fantasy swirling on marbled corridors, the petal soft footfalls on cold surface, the fringe of deep, dark eyelashes lifting just a little bit to showcase the bottom less ravines of mesmerizing gaze, the misty shadows underlying the hollows underneath the dark pools poorly disguising the pain beneath the mirth, the heavily hooded demeanours, the careless wink of thousand lights refracting from the valuables carefully ornamenting the fragile forms, the seductive beckoning – the enchanting temptresses with their bouquet of ceaseless charms and entrapments.
I could hear the tinkle of glasses and crystals reverberating in the crowded halls, the whispered conversations of the sophisticates and the cumulated symphony of thousand bells loosely tied around the anklets ushering in long evenings of melodious playfulness drawing to a reluctant close in the wee hours past midnight. Against the backdrop of dark silhouettes she was a remembrance of forbidden galore of a tainted past best kept secluded in the pages of historical romances.
We decided to take a rickshaw to our destination. Halfway down the crowded path we decided not to torture the puller anymore. The elevated road and our cumulated girth made onorous demands on the man’s emaciated frame. A city can best be explored on foot. The road was brightly lit, flanked by shops and bar-be-que stalls, selling beef kebabs, on the left and the Mosque on the right - Jama Masjid, built in 1658 during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan, an ensemble of minars and domes, stood like a dark knight enduring in brooding silence the ravages of history. This was my first close-quarter-view of the behemoth, (which is an absolute shame as I take pride in categorizing myself as the quintessential Delhite).
Kareem, though not comparable with the spatial extravagance and architectural grandeur of the historical assemblage, can still lay claim to fame and antiquity. It was started in 1913 as a small tawa restaurant adjacent to the city wall. It is going to complete its centenary in 2013. I was surprised to find that the motley of sit-and-eat arrangements was located off the main road almost hidden from public view accessed through a sliver of a meandering pathway.
I had heard much about its ambience and gentry but was still pleasantly surprised by the wide cross section of the populace frequenting the spot. From locals to foreigners to tourists from other parts of the country, they were all there. The spotlessly clean vessels to the framed accolades adorning the walls, the understated elegance of the delicacies and the unceremonious attitude of the supervisors spoke volumes. Kareem is the only restaurant in the world which serves the goat foot soup and brain curry for breakfast. Highly recommended by BBC and National Geography, no doubt, it is the much coveted food joint for the West meeting the East. Kareem is the only restaurant which caters to foodies from 7.00 am in the morning to 12.00 pm midnight. I am told that the relaxation in operating time is by a special permission of the Government. It is also a fact that at midnight the horde of gluttons still thronging around the premise are perfunctorily told to leave. Fame and de-fame both attribute to legend.
Our culinary choice included tandoori fish, a dark golden brown slice of unfragmented wholesomeness, raann an enormous hind leg, like the ones you see in English movies poking out of silver salvers, suffused with exotic ingredients, mutton korma, an irreproachable blend of fluidity flavor and taste, and tandoori rotis which melted in the mouth like butter. The difference in class could be made out from the aroma itself which was less of an assault on our sensory organs and more like a lingering caress on our palates.
While coming back, we had to traverse a tricky bend almost blocked by an SUV filled with burqa clad figures with kohl-laced eyes scanning the periphery – a burning example of a society in transition where tradition jostles uncomfortably in the crammed space of modern comfort. I got what I wanted. Walking through the roads, passing by the shops, snatching a few pieces of conversations and looking into the eyes of passers-by, I gleaned fragments of an old world habited by people who looked different, behaved differently and articulated in a different way. Crevices in the cocoon spilled out a culture (tehzeeb) which once formed the bed-rock of the cityscape. Currently, defamed by misplaced fundamentalism, it perhaps bemoans its slow demise, under star bedecked wintry nights, when unknown travelers like me tread past the sands of time.
Post Script: The romantic escapade was followed by a subsequent revisit which was, in short, a complete anathema to my preceding venture. It had rained the previous night resulting in the usual pandemonium which the city experiences as an aftermath to an unexpected downpour. Roads were choc-o-bloc and metro came to a stand still. Stranded at Kashmere Gate and surviving a stampede at the metro station, I decided to take the road which was the biggest blunder of the day. As I came out of the station, I realized that I was once again in the labyrinthine gullies of the walled city but now in broad daylight.
The mud-splurged roads interspersed with ankle-spraining pot holes, the heavy congestion of traffic, the inability to get a transport to my workplace and my limited knowledge of the area added a strong potion of disillusionment to my earlier euphoria. I cursed myself for being a romantic fool and having ever imagined that the rugged landscape of this part of the city could be shrouded in anything but a film of mystique expansiveness.
The transcendence of time was more than apparent. The trot of the cattle’s hooves and the groan of the cart wheels were now replaced by the cacophony of honking horns and haze of polluted emissions. The azaan and the nahabat were drowned in the angry shouts of the rushing multitudes whose feeble attempts at surviving the Draconian drudgeries of modern civilization were an every day priority. The solicitous hospitality had been overpowered by disinterested detachment. The cityscape presented a grey, dirty, dingy, bleak and lackluster facade.
I was lost. So was lost the nightscape of not so long ago when I had trodden these alley ways inhaling deeply the fragrance of by-gone imageries. The stars had winked at me mischievously then. The sun hid in shame behind the dark descending clouds today. End of a lost era…..end of an illusion…………the rude, crude reality cackled with ominous glee as I at last sped towards my destination in a three-wheeled machine leaving behind trails of black dust and smoke………and a sadness which spread vapour by vapour in the quickly evaporating surreality, a figment of my imagination………..

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


I am going to make this my Bible......


Having lived a reasonably contented life, I was musing over what a person should strive for to achieve happiness. I drew up a list of a few essentials which I put forward for the readers' appraisal.

1. First and foremost is GOOD HEALTH. If you do not enjoy good health you can never be happy. Any ailment, however trivial, will deduct from your happiness.

2. Second, a HEALTHY BANK BALANCE. It need not run into crores but should be enough to provide for creature comforts and something to spare for recreation, like eating out, going to the pictures, travelling or going on holidays on the hills or by the sea. Shortage of money can be only demoralizing. Living on credit or borrowing is demeaning and lowers one in one's own eyes.

3. Third, a HOME OF YOUR OWN. Rented premises can never give you the snug feeling of a nest which is yours for keeps that a home provides: if it has a garden space, all the better. Plant your own trees and flowers, see them grow and blossom, cultivate a sense of kinship with them.

4. Fourth, an UNDERSTANDING COMPANION, be it your spouse or a friend. If there are too many misunderstandings, they will rob you of your peace of mind. It is better to be divorced than to bicker all the time.

5. Fifth, LACK OF ENVY towards those who have done better than you in life; risen higher, made more money, or earned more fame. Envy can be very corroding; avoid comparing yourself with others.

6. Sixth, DO NOT ALLOW OTHER PEOPLE to descend on you for gup-shup. By the time you get rid of them, you will feel exhausted and poisoned by their gossip-mongering.

7. Seventh, CULTIVATE SOME HOBBIES which can bring you a sense of fulfilment, such as gardening, reading, writing, painting, playing or listening to music. Going to clubs or parties to get free drinks or to meet celebrities is criminal waste of time.

8. Eighth, every morning and evening, devote 15 minutes to INTROSPECTION. In the morning, 10 minutes should be spent on stilling the mind and then five in listing things you have to do that day. In the evening, five minutes to still the mind again, and ten to go over what you had undertaken to do.

I can add one more to this list.

SAY "DISAPPEAR" TO ANGER, HATRED AND VENGEFULNESS. Once upon a time I used to consider these feelings as great driving forces of life. Not now anymore. They are suicidal. Shoo them out of your system.