Jottings – 20/01/2017

Who am I?

Am I the son of my parents?

The brother of my sister?

A friend of those who treat me as their friend?

Who am I?

What is this intense pain?

That starts mushrooming,

Throbbing at my temples?

Why are the visions?

Of another life,

Returning to taunt me,

Haunt me again and again?

How long do I run?

Till which point do I run?

Where is my chance at redemption?

Will I ever find answers?

To the doubts that plague me?

I have not been able to be a good son!

I have failed my siblings!

I have never understood,

What my friends saw in me;

I have never been able,

To live up to their expectations.

Never have I been able to celebrate,

Their special moments,

As I sink further and further,

Into an abyss without an end,

Darkness creeps around me,

I embrace it like a welcome rug,

That comforts me!

But then I awaken,

From this endless dream.

I return to the mortal existence,

Of chasing mediocrity.

Life goes on,

And as I fail,

Yet again to dazzle,

You with my brilliance,

I continue to baffle,

You with bull.

No redemption…


Heart of Darkness

She sent me a message on Facebook,
Nothing complex, nothing extraordinary,
Just a photo of her wedding invitation.
She had just typed, “please come”.
I loked back at all those memories.
It was a foolish infatuation,
A Lolitaesque craze for a child??
Or was it something deeper?
At the end of the day!
What mattered was religion!
Nativity, language, caste, community!
It is a bitter truth!
I have had to swallow it.
I wish you all the very best.

No drama, no beards, no drinking binges,
Life just goes on,
From one pay-check to another.
Somewhere a part of me died.
When she called me Bhaiyya!
Does life have to be like this!
Can an adult man and woman,
Only be lovers, husband and wife,
Or brother and sister!
Does friendship have no value?
What makes people think!
That after everything!
Calling one as brother or sister!
Solves every problem in between?

What Do I Name This Idle Verse???

The darkness in my soul,
Seeks an outlet,
I have to be honest,
I never was ambitious,
My greatest flaw,
Has been to dabble,
In too many things,
And never master anything!

I write free-form,
Pretending this to be verse,
I dream of shooting movies,
I can’t even sketch a scene,
I dream of wooing someone special,
And I can’t even find courage,
To speak or express my thoughts,

I dream of making money,
By noble and honest means,
All I get to do,
Is wait for the next pay-check,
Balancing the EMIs.

I dream of being true to my dreams,
And what do I do?
I just put on a mask,
Smile like an idiot,
Join the crowd of individuals,
Who trudge away to glory,
Having sold our souls,
To the rigours of a safe job.

It is not too late, yet!
Like the sudden shower,
That kisses the gentle earth,
The child who waits,
For his mother to cuddle him,
The lonesome poet,
Who waits for his beloved’s – ‘Yes’.
There is still hope!

Don’t end up like me,
For life is running short,
Chase your dreams young men and women,
Throw caution to the winds,
Travel the country,
Dance and sing as if there was no tomorrow.
Remove that mask and be true!

True to yourself and your dreams!

Fears and Prayers

Hospitals scare me,
For someone who,
Has spent a lot of time,
In hospitals being a patient,
And being patient and attending others,
Hospitals scare me!

There is a deep sense,
Of dread within me,
I cannot put a name,
Or an emotion,
To this morbid fear,
That haunts me.

I am in awe of doctors,
Learned women and men,
With their white coats,
Stethoscopes dangling down,
Nurses attired prim and proper,
Walking up and down!

I am not scared of injections,
Bitter medicines or surgeries,
It is just the realization,
That one by one,
All those who mattered to me,
Bid me goodbye in hospitals!

As Mum and I battle,
Ghosts from the past,
And the demons of the present,
I wake up in the middle,
Of the night, a cold sweat breaking out!
I walk up to the bed!

And look at Mum,
Lost in the drug-induced sleep,
And I see her rhythmic breathing,
And catch my breath,
Pinching myself to make sure,
Everything is fine.

I say a small prayer,
And lie down on the mattress,
On the floor, chanting an incantation,
Forcing myself to go to sleep again.
This continues every night.
At times, sleep evades me.

I just sit cross-legged,
Staring into space,
Looking at the night-lamp.
The inevitable is the truth,
Life is but a gift,
And death a chance for redemption.

As visions and dreams haunt me,
I just cannot seem to come to terms,
To the brutal truth,
That I will have to bid – “Good Bye”
I am scared that it will be yet another painful
Heart-wrenching visit to the hospital!

Dear God! My only prayer to you!
If such an event,
Is pre-destined and in my destiny,
Please be kind my Creator,
Let the end be painless and peaceful!
Prayers, prayers, prayers – My Lord!!

What If????

I had a thought today,
A nagging doubt,
Fuelled my thought!

What if today?
Today was my last day,
In this mortal form.

Living this life,
On Planet Earth.
What if today was my last day?

If this poem,
Or attempt at poetry,
Would be my last piece of writing.

The meal that I shall partake tonight,
Be my Last Supper,
The “hi, hello, bye and see you!”

Are all uttered just one final time,
Never to be repeated again.
What if I never wake up tomorrow?

These are very troubling thoughts!
I have not been able to focus at work,
All through the day – death seems to envelop my thoughts!

Was this life worth living?
Did I use my talents and skills?
Did I touch any lives?

Did I make a difference as a human being?
Other than being a friend, son and brother,
What else did I achieve?

I am deeply troubled!
I do not have answers,
To many pertinent questions.

Will I meet you again friends?
Will I write again?
Will I live to die and be reborn, and live and die again!

What if today?
Today was my last day,
I wonder if I will……

The Show Must Go On

It is around 6 PM.
All the punctual staff,
Who enter on time,
Are ready to leave,
Their day has come,
To a wonderful end.
Having read and replied,
To a multitude of emails.

Others have processed,
A number of files,
Which have been sent,
To people around the world,
For translation into various languages.
Some people have focused,
All their energies,
Looking at statistics,
To determine advertising performance,
Others focus on digital advertising,
That has to be published.

Newsletters that need to be built,
Test to be sent to groups,
Before the final dispatch,
To the client mailing list.
Amidst all this; meetings,
Seem to be taking place,
With unfailing regularity.
A conference room with glass walls,
Distracts my attention and colleagues,
Seem to walk in and walk out!

I came in late today,
Thanks to a massive fault,
On the suburban train system,
Signal failure and track disruption.
My life has become a strange ritual,
Of rushing to catch trains.
Hoping they are running on time.
Sending an SMS to my superiors,
Begging for permission,
To reach a bit late.

Amidst all this hurry and worry,
A rodent has chosen to die,
It is caught in some AC duct,
That is hidden by the false ceiling,
We are being visited,
By technicians and exterminators,
The rodent is truly a devil,
Escaping all the probes and searches.
The stench of the rotting carcass,
Is sending my olfactory bulb,
Into a crazy tizzy.

The AC has been switched off,
The windows opened,
The pedestal fan swings,
From left to right,
And then right to left,
And I wonder with,
A sardonic smile,
Like the fan, I too am lost,
Without any fulcrum or purpose,
From second to second,
And day to day.

In some strange pursuit,
From one end of the metropolis,
To the other, from home to office,
And yet again from office to home,
Repeating the cycle,
All over again!
In pursuit of what?
Love, Money, Respect?
I do not know at all!
Like a robot, pre-programmed,
I am one more human,
Who sold his soul.

I sold my soul,
To adhere to the norms,
Of what this society,
Expected of me,
What my family wanted of me.
I no longer dream for myself,
Except for some visions of Mother Mary,
All that I get are nightmares!
Which have me waking up,
In a cold sweat, in spite of the AC.

This should have been a simple poem,
At the most 20 lines,
But this is the problem that plagues me.
No focus, no purpose, no pattern,
Or design – even in what I write.
A day at the office,
As usual as always,
Perhaps this is the only,
Short span, when I can keep,
My crazy mind free of worries.
For the work and tasks,
Assigned to me,
Will keep me occupied!

It is 6:15 PM now,
I started writing this poem,
At just about 6 PM.
In 15 minutes,
I have tried to cover,
The anguish that many of us-
Lost souls or souls who have sold,
Their souls in the pursuit of excellence.
What is it that lies ahead?
Where does this path take me?

At the end,
There is just one line,
There have been many,
Many such souls before me,
And there will be yet,
Many more souls hereafter.


Like Travis Bickle,
I look at the crowded streets,
The empty souls,
Disguised with mirth.
All fighting their,
Very own battles.

This too is a phase,
Wherever I go,
This phase shall rear up its head.
This is the Game of Life,
We are all players,
The show has to go on!

The Perfumer’s Poem

Have you travelled all alone,
With just a basic kit-bag,
Seeking peace, calm and quiet,
Away from the maddening pursuit,
Of bonuses, salaries, congratulatory emails,
And all those celebratory team-lunches?

Boarding a bus from the terminal,
Late one night after a maddening week.
I knew not the destination.
It was a relatively less crowded bus,
With some other state’s vehicle registration number.
Inviting me to board the bus.

There was a distinct smell of grapes,
When the conductor asked me for tickets.
He smiled; I smiled – we both knew,
He had consumed a peg to keep him steady!
I paid for my ticket, I said ‘last stop.’
He smiled again and gave me the ticket.

I stared at the motley crowd within the bus.
Newly wed couple right at the end,
All smiles and content headed for a honeymoon.
The middle-aged couple headed for a pilgrimage.
Some more people who seemed lost in their world.
The sisters from some church dressed,
In an ash-colured dress holding the rosary.

The bus cut through the traffic,
Leaving the madness of the city,
Fighting with space on the roads,
Evading cabs taking the IT crowd home duty.
Lorries transporting vegetables and fruits,
Other buses headed to other destinations.

As the darkness of the night,
Enveloped me in a safe hug,
I slept, wondering where this bus,
Would take me to?
I woke up after a few hours,
It was early morning.

I looked out of the window,
The smell of the hills,
Herbal mist with a dash,
Of citrus and tea-leaves,
I was happy heading into the hills.
The bus stopped at a point.

A small stream in the background,
A small hotel up-front,
Tea; pooris and aloo-subzi and jalebis.
There was a wait for a while,
Then the journey resumed,
The bus climbed into the mountains.

The countryside was picturesque.
I refrained from clicking pictures,
Just soaking up the beauty,
Of Mother Nature in its glory.
Finally we reached our destination.
Pushpagiri – a place in the mountains.

An abode of Lord Shiva.
It was a pilgrimage of sorts,
A redemption for the atheist,
Who seeked perfection in work,
Answers to troubling questions.
And a purpose in life.

The temple bells rung clear and calm,
The fragrance Of the incense and the flowers,
The stream that babbled away,
The wind that had the slightest
Hint of pine-cones from the trees,
That grew further up in the mountains.

I was at peace absolute peace!
This was indeed a journey,
A strange and necessary journey,
That I had to make.

This post masquerading as verse has been written for the ‘Inspire a Fragrance’ competition organised by Godrej and Indiblogger. The fragrances that I would like to capture and make a part of the range of fresheners and purifiers made by Godrej Aer are:

1 – The fragrance of freshly pressed grapes a fruity wine-like aroma.
2 – The fragrance of various aromatic oils – lavender, rosemary, thyme, patchouli all rolled into one.
3 – The fragrance of saffron and milk that one gets when eating some special Indian sweets (kesar rasamalai)
4 – The fragrance of flowers and incense sticks – the fragrance one gets in the sanctum sanctorum of a temple after the first aarti/puja of the day.
5 – The fragrance of green tea and pine woods!

So what fragrances would you like 🙂

Life as I know it!

The weekend has been a bloody roller coaster ride!

A film-pitch that has cleared round-1 and a call from a producer – so extreme joy!

Cousin arrives, long chat, treat and books, dinner the usual bonding of book-crazy, Padmarajan fanatic brothers – some more joy!

Train as always delayed; some nice soul decides to flick my phone at an opportune moment – within 30 seconds I realize I have been robbed and call the phone from a fellow passenger’s mobile. The crook has cleverly switched off my phone. Rs 11000 down the drain in one instant. Contacts, messages, photos, jotted scribblings on the phone all lost for eternity. – Very, very sad!!!!

I head back home and dig out an older functional phone and reset my Facebook password!

Next morning call service provider and ask them to block the SIM.

Monday morning, set about changing all Google related passwords and sign-out of devices. Creepily one of the gmail IDs seems to have fascinated my pick-pocket who had amended the password. I managed to outsmart the thief by resetting the password based on a non-Google back-up primary email address that I had created for such incidents.

I never thought someone would want a poor-man’s cousin of a Samsung smart-phone – it was a heavily error-prone device from Karbonn that I mainly used for Facebook and now I am crippled without the phone. I thought it would be a good way to stay de-cluttered. But more than social networks, I need steady access to all my email accounts and I made another budget purchase.

The service provider’s showroom seemed scarily full of irate customers shouting about wrong billing – Tata ji I hope you are reading this.

I submitted ID-proof and paid money for a replacement SIM. The young boy working in the store assured me my SIM card would be activated in 3 hours. It turns out the kid conveniently forgot to raise a ticket on the Tata CRM to process the request. I am seething with rage and the people manning the email desk at Tata Docomo received an acidic email.

I am all pumped ready for a showdown at the showroom in another 45 minutes, let us see what happens! Meet you tomorrow!

The film-pitch it is still in a very strange zone – hopefully news should come soon – let us see!!! Fingers crossed – keep me in your prayers and wish me luck 🙂

Meshu Meets the Astrologer

So Meshu calls up the astrologer and fixes an appointment with the wise man. He says visit me on Sunday around 10:00 AM. In the interim Meshu as always being the over enthusiastic bloke that he is goes ahead and posts cryptic statuses on Facebook, which has friends calling him up and conveying best wishes.

The week goes unbearably slow and in this interim for some inexplicable reason, the devil in Meshu’s brain keeps telling him this won’t work, this won’t work. Meshu asks the devil to remain silent and goes about his daily tasks. On Sunday he reaches the astrologer’s residence to see a long queue of people. He waits patiently as the visitors in search of answers leave slowly. Meshu’s turn comes and the astrologer smiles at him; recollecting him from his previous visit.

After the customary namaskarams, Meshu presents the girl’s horoscope along with his own. The astrologer analyses the two, makes calculations, recites hymns and uses the cowrie shells to draw patterns on the wooden board with intricate symbols. Clearly this is not going to be nice; Meshu’s worst fears are confirmed. He says – ‘Son, let us wait, these horoscopes don’t match.’ In one moment a week’s worth of romantic castles built within the confines of Meshu’s heart come crashing down!

Meshu thanks the astrologer and returns; more calls to be made, more horoscopes to be matched!

Meshu’s search continues!

A Bride for Meshu

Meshu went and registered his matrimony profile at Sringeri Madham after his mother threatened to throw out all his DVDs and books if he did not comply with her instructions. The reason why the threat was delayed is because of some inter-planetary transit of planets and stars that did not augur well for marriage for the last two years.

So Meshu registers the profile and secures the list of profiles of girls/women/ladies registered in the past two months at a nominal price of Rs 10 and proceeds home. His mother ensures that Meshu lists every name, star, gothra and poorvigham/nativity. Then Meshu filters out profiles by relevance with respect to date of birth. He does not believe in sub-sects and stars and all that jazz; but the astrologers need to earn their bread and other pesky relatives should not be given a chance to complain. Alas he finds that more than half the girls listed are of the same gothram and nakshatram so by default they are rejected. Another big percentage of girls are from a non-compliant star.

As the list keeps decreasing in size Meshu wonders if at least one compatible profile will be there.

Finally after a three-hour analysis; applying some of the best concepts learnt in MBA class and the law of averages and bell-curves and excel-filters. Meshu looks at the spreadsheet that he has created. Five names – aha! Five phone-numbers.

He proceeds to call each guardian/parent. In a matter of 30 minutes calls have been made to Pune, Indore, Salem, Bengaluru and Kolkatta. SS-Matri profile numbers have been provided by two guardians. Another parent strongly says; ‘you see thambi I expect at least Rs 80000 as your monthly salary’. Another guardian says send me an e-mail with all details. The last person says ‘naanga konjam busy – call later’.

So Meshu as the dutiful son as he is visits the SS-Matri website and keys in the ID-numbers given. He is shell-shocked at the consistent demand of a minimum monthly pay-package of Rs 75000; his hopes are dashed. Finally he sends an email to the guardian who asked him to send the email. One more email sent to another parent whose daughter had made reasonable demands on her SS-Matri profile.

Three days pass – Meshu is worried – not a single response yet.

This morning – on Amavasai day he receives an email with a horoscope and a picture and Meshu is in seventh heaven!!!!

Let us see what the stars have in store for Meshu. Will Meshu find a bride? Keep watching this space for more information!!!

Homage to the King of Poets – Kannadasan

It is really frustrating when you want to convey a hundred things about a poet whom you admire a lot. But then you realize that whatever you write will pale in comparison to what the world already knows. How does one measure the flawless brilliance of a diamond or quantify the child-like innoccence of a literary genius.

Kannadasan – Wikipedia, TFM pages, a variety of Tamil language blogs have bucket-loads of information on the master. It is my immense sadness that I cannot read the language but I follow and understand the intricacies of the language and seek solace in some beautiful songs written by Kannadasan and the other genius Vaali.

Being Kavignar Kannadasan’s birthday today – I do not have too many words to describe what his works mean to me; I just present three songs that have left a huge impact on my mind.

There are a 100 hundred other songs that I could list but these three are very close to my heart!