Alive

I sat next to the hospital bed with my head bowed and watched my friend breathe. The once mighty chest rose and fell with a meekness he never showed in life. And yet, the monitors with the squiggly lines and the beeps said he was alive. Was this life? I remembered how he had behaved when someone tried to mug him. I was there, but a few seconds into the intended mugging, you couldn’t understand who was mugging who. The only explanation he gave later was “When life comes at you with a knife, you go at it with a pickax”. I smiled at the memory, but mourned the present. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

I pulled the cables. I turned off the monitors and knocked over the IV drip. His eyes fluttered open and looked at me, even as his body shook and struggled. But his eyes stayed fixed on me, till it glazed over in the end. Eyes that had remained closed for the past two weeks, reopened to see the end. I kept looking back, even as they rushed in and dragged me away. They would not believe it and I did not say it, but I knew what I saw in his eyes. They saw him die helpless, unassisted. I saw him die just as he had lived, just as he had wanted- defiant.

An ultra short story I wrote in 2016 and rescued from a now defunct website

Words worth

A picture is worth a thousand words

Said an ad-man counting money

We forgot why

Coz he didn’t say it with pictures

So we flocked to the gram

From the tyranny of words

Words that shaped the world

And ended empires

Words that made us weep

With joy, with grief, with life

Are refugees now

In a world of colour

Posing for screenshots

And asking how much

A picture of a thousand words is worth


Note: They told me no one reads blogs any more. You have to do Instagram. I realized it does work well, and helps me write poetry which I had assumed I couldn’t. But had to write how I felt about the whole thing

Why do we put silence on a pedestal?

Indian mother looking outraged and dad looking like he wants to beat you
Exhibit A: When you’re young and want to speak your mind in India

If you were asked to choose who is better – a person who stays quiet and keeps their opinions to themselves or a person who is vocal about their opinions, I bet most of you would select the former. Staying quiet = being good has been drilled into our heads since childhood. Don’t talk back, don’t question your elders. After all that quiet time you would think we would be a nation of good listeners but our most viewed TV anchor is a man named Arnab Goswami, so what exactly is going on?

Truth is, we do like it under certain strict conditions. You are allowed to have opinions. You’re just not supposed to let anyone know what they are until you are above a certain age, or you get rich or famous. The rules are kind of like the ones governing underwear use. It’s OK to wear them as long as you don’t let anyone else see them. Unless you wear khaki shorts, in which case you exhibit it in public events and get called a patriot. If you’re young and unproven, you have no choice but to swallow your opinions and dream of a day when you too can wear your underwear outside your trousers and your heart on your sleeves, like a Desi superman.

Govinda in Superman costume.
Exhibit B: When you’re all grown up and ready to express yourself
Continue reading “Why do we put silence on a pedestal?”

A place to play the fool

The Fool, Tarot, Card, Magic, Fortune, Divination

Buying a domain for your blog is very much like getting your first business card. It’s like that photo Will Smith takes in The Pursuit of Happyness. The one where he’s standing in front of all the handheld scanner machines he has to sell with a big hopeful grin.

The rest of the movie however looks like this.

You burst out onto the world wide web with a song on your lips, ready to share your life-changing ideas and middle-of-the-night philosophical discoveries with a waiting, appreciative world. And then you realize 10 people including your mom read the last 3 things you wrote.

Continue reading “A place to play the fool”