Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 And All That Blah!

2010 comes to an end and all that blah! The last week of December doesn’t belong to December but becomes the property of the entire year gone by, good or bad. We have best of lists, worst of lists, historic moments lists, flops, hits, trends of the year, etc., etc., etc. Heck! Even I made two lists prior to this blog post. Ah! Yes. How could we forget the New Year Resolutions lists? These are invaluable.

I don’t see the fuss over a new year, frankly. Yes, it is fun to make these best of lists and see what the year was like. But for me that’s it. Luckily, till date, the new year has always been preceded by a week-long Christmas vacation so when I get back to college in the new year it does feel refreshing. Though I wonder how much new year is going to feel like a New Year once I start working, come April, and when I’m probably working my ass off on some year-end list on December 31st only to get back to create a list on January 1st about what to look forward to in the new year.

Well, call me cynical, but then the truth can be that way.

After all, what would New Year’s Day be if some wisecrack thousands of years ago who has found his name in the trivia books hadn’t made the Gregorian calendar. What would New Year’s Day be if that wisecrack hadn’t said that December would be the last month and after that would begin a new year? Would we have an all night party counting down to twelve o’clock (well, would we have a twelve o’clock at all? But that’s another issue!) if the Wisecrack hadn’t decided that January 1 follows December 31?

For all that matters, we wouldn’t even be celebrating our birthdays! (But that is not a good thing. I love birthdays. I’m too narcissistic to not love or celebrate birthdays).

So what is a New Year? Just a passage of time. Nothing more. And yet we wish for a “happier 2011” because “the previous year wasn’t good”. Well, a New Year is not going to change anything guys. Especially if you repeat the same things that you did the previous years. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for making mistakes. How else will you learn? But then don’t go and foolishly hang yourself off the fan just because you didn’t succeed the first time!

Your New Year will be a “happy and prosperous” one only if you want to make it one. Only if you act in a manner befitting one. Only if you don’t blame destiny and fate and God…

But sigh! Only if…! If only…!

Happy New Year anyway!

Monday, December 27, 2010

My Favourite Hindi Film Soundtracks - 2010

Two days ago I read this post about the best Hindi film soundtracks of 2010. I must say, I was disappointed with the article. Maybe my musical tastes do not match those of majority of the Indians and the site too, but missing out on a few really good soundtracks of the year after including Tees Maar Khan, Prince and Action Replayy is ridiculous, I feel. I was anyway about to write my post regarding my favourite Hindi film soundtracks of this year. Now I get an added reason to do so.

Not in any particular order, here we go.

1. Udaan (Composer: Amit Trivedi) - Can this guy ever get it wrong? After Aamir, Dev.D and Iktara in Wake Up Sid he came up with the soundtrack of perhaps the best Hindi film of 2010, Udaan. An untypical film demanded an untypical soundtrack, and that Amit Trivedi provided. My favourite from Udaan is Aazadiyan. The lyrics speak about freedom and liberation and that is exactly what the music feels like: liberation from the routine, monotonous music that composers in Hindi films had been providing. And although music in the rock genre may be his forte, he sure is adept at other genres too; fusion especially (more on this in the a little later.) Listen to Naav and Nadi Mein Talab Hain as well. The list mentioned above missed Udaan. Well, this list ensures that you shouldn't miss out on it like they did.

2. Aisha (Composer: Amit Trivedi) - And after Udaan, Trivedi followed it up with a commercial soundtrack in Aisha. But by 'commercial', he did not go to the ludicrous extents that other composers go to make their music commercial. Mixing various genres here (yes, that fusion I mentioned) he created a really eclectic soundtrack. From the rock of By the Way to the Punjabi folksy Gal Mitthi Mitthi Bol and from the acoustic Sham to the pop-ish title track, and how can one forget the soft-rock of Lehrein where he brought the piano and the violin together: absolutely melodious! This guy is here to stay.

3. Break Ke Baad (Composer: Vishal-Shekhar) - Vishal-Shekhar (VS) had composed music for I Hate Luv Storys (sic!) and Anjaana Anjaani before coming in to Break Ke Baad. All three films are romantic comedies and I didn't exactly like the music that the former two had. For Break Ke Baad, surprisingly though, VS went in for a more Western sound. The Indian feel was there too in Ajab Leher (where VS employed Neeraj Sridhar to sound amazingly different), but it was songs like Dhoop Ke Makaan, Dooriyan and Main Jiyoonga that had me swooning. It was probably the effect of working with a lyricist they had never worked before: Prasoon Joshi. But the results showed. And how!

4. Ishqiya (Composer: Vishal Bhardwaj) - Bhardwaj last composed music for his own film Kaminey last year and the music was a breakthrough hit. He composes again for debutant director Abhishek Chaubey and keeping with the rustic feel, yet thriller atmosphere of the film comes up with a suitable soundtrack. From the Spanish strumming of Dil Toh Bachcha Hain Jee to the electric guitar sounds on Ibn-E-Batuta, Bhardwaj really creates a fragrant blend. Badi Dheere Jali presents a classical tune in a slightly modern avatar. My favourite, though, remains Ab Mujhe Koi. A very soft track made even more soothing because of Rekha Bhardwaj's smooth voice. Enchanting.

Special Mention:
Peepli [Live] - The songs were not the typical Hindi film sound again. Indian Ocean collaborated on the soundtrack and provided an amazing track in Des Mera.

This was my list for 2010. Two songs that do not make my list, but I'm sure will make others' lists for Best Hindi song of 2010 will be Munni Badnaam Hui and Sheila Ki Jawani. Well, to each his own. But I really do not endorse the use of people's names in such a lyrical context. Freedom of expression, too, has its limits.

Looking ahead, 2011, I hope will be a good year for music too. Amit Trivedi has already started it on a bright note with the music for No One Killed Jessica. Watch out for him; this man knows no bounds. Next year, then.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

My Favourite Songs - 2010

Since this is the end of the year, I feel obliged to create my own 'Best Of...' list as all others do. (It is a totally irreverent issue that no one reads my posts but that's a topic for another day). Today I will list out my favourite songs from this year. But before that a brief insight into my explorations into the music scene this year.

Ever since I got an internet connection last year, I visit sites like Billboard and Pitchfork often to search for new music. Being on Twitter also helps a lot while seeking new sounds to listen to. Besides, new friends at my Journalism course introduced me to lots of Indie music that I would've otherwise never listened to. At the same time, I also kept a ear out for the mainstream music that I like. So now, after I have given a short premise I list out my Favourite Songs of 2010, not in any particular order.

1. The Suburbs (Arcade Fire) - Not just the first single off their third album is worth listening to. I was introduced to Arcade Fire last year and Funeral (their first album) remains my all-time favourite album a year later too. With The Suburbs, they experiment further with their music, but not in entirely new directions; we had seen hints in Neon Bible (their second album). This third album is up for Grammys in the coming year. I do not know whether they will win or not but this much is sure that they do deserve the recognition they are getting. Their music is very cathartic and engrossing; music just got steroids in its veins.

2. Giving Up The Gun (Vampire Weekend) - Their music is chaotic and mad, yet it makes perfect sense. There is no other way I would love this band. Sure, Giving Up The Gun is not exactly in the same mode as their other songs (Oxford Comma, A-Punk) but Ezra Koenig's voice more than makes up for it. There's that same mischief inherent in their music that was visible in their first album (Vampire Weekend). With Contra, they just show that they are having a lot of fun (check out the video for Giving Up The Gun). Another good listen from this album would be White Sky.

3. When They Come For Me & The Catalyst (Linkin Park) - Linkin Park gave themselves a makeover, and how! 15 songs, all joined up with one theme: that of peace in violent times. Just like Arcade Fire's The Suburbs, it doesn't make sense to listen to songs in isolation in this album. But The Catalyst and When They Come For Me really stand out. Whereas The Catalyst still sounds typical Linkin Park to some extent, the latter explores new territory. Listen to the entire album; it is a very good listen.

4. Misery (Maroon 5) - Trust Maroon 5 to come up with good dance numbers. Misery and the MJ/Prince homage Give A Little More (also the first two songs in the album) will keep you tapping your feet. The rest of the album takes a little slower tempo but makes for good listening nonetheless. Stutter is typical Maroon 5, whereas the title track (Hands All Over) goes into an area which the band hadn't covered yet. Get hold of the deluxe edition. Their cover of Alicia Keys' If I Ain't Got You is plain lovely.

5. Becoming A Jackal (Villagers) - An Indie band that I found online, their first album (also Becoming A Jackal) is a poignant listen. Some very interesting lyrics thrown in with the uneasy yet reassuring voice of Conan O'Brien keep you on edge. This album hasn't received much publicity (it is up, though, for a Mercury Prize) but it can easily be one of the better albums this year. The title track pulls you in like no other off the album. Also pay attention to Set The Tigers Free: another good song.

6. The Flood (Take That) - I started listening to Take That after they regrouped four years ago. Shine from Beautiful World remains one of my all-time favourites. The Circus didn't impress me much. Now with Progress, Robbie Williams has returned bringing with him a new electronic sound previously unknown to Take That listeners. The Flood is the anthem-song for Take That, it has a 'reaching-out' feel to it. At the same time, it derides those who thought they would never be back together again. I am, yet, not a big fan of their music. But this song will remain on my playlist.

7. Tighten Up (The Black Keys) - Another band that I did not know much of. I downloaded this song only because it was number one on some Billboard list. I really loved the song, its Chinese influences and the video was funny. I didn't like their other songs, but in Tighten Up, I've got a nice earworm to deal with, although I don't mind.

8. Bad Bad World (Guster) - I downloaded Bad Bad World because they were giving it as a free download. I downloaded it, though, more so because I loved their song Ramona. (Thanks Ankita Kanwar) This is a very good band, I must admit, of which I just can't get enough. If Ramona (from 2003's Keep It Together) presents a love song like no other, Bad Bad World (from this year's Easy Wonderful) makes you want to believe that everything is alright with the world.

Over here, I'd like to mention one last artist that did not release an album in 2010. Their only album One EskimO was released 2009. The artist being talked about is One EskimO. With ambient electronic sounds mixed with guitar and piano beats and a voice that would make you believe that you are listening to James Blunt, One EskimO is surely an artist to look forward to. Listen to Chosen One and Kandi. Thanks Shubhra Rishi.

That's all for 2010. 2011 too promises to be a musical year. Here's a short list of a few of my favourite artists releasing albums in the next year. Will definitely be awaiting them.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Green Day (Live album)
Nelly Furtado
Kelly Clarkson
The Ting Tings

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Puddles of Water

I stare back at me, through the puddles of water.
I glare back at my misery, in these puddles of water.

Scattered, in grief, decadent over my life of a quarter.
Silent, these pools stare back at me, o'er these pools, I falter.

Puddles of water, endlessly reflecting the buildings, the skies, the flounderings.
Puddles of water, in silent despair, they hold on to share a moment of 'morrow.

The dead leaves, the grey skies, a crow crying.
Nature halts life, I too stop by.

I splash these puddles of mucky water.

Friday, November 19, 2010

From Light To Darkness

Because we descend into darkness today,
Allowing it to shroud us.

Slowly, unseen, stealthily,
we reached,
where no light could reach.

Dipped in  black, our eyes got new sight,
nothing was wrong, nothing was right.

Darkness had done its job, its palms taken off our eyes,
we settled back in this world, no truth,
no lies.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Where Is The Sense?

5th November throughout the world is Guy Fawkes Day, which is celebrated by bursting firecrackers. 5th November, 2010 in India was Diwali, (the Festival of Lights for the uninitiated) which was celebrated by bursting firecrackers in perhaps much more a proportion compared to the ones blown for Guy Fawkes.

Last night was living hell. Literally. It was blazing on a November night. At a time when the fan is usually on 3, I would've loved having an Air Conditioner in the house. The smoke from the crackers was enough to suffocate an asthma patient! And the noise... Well the lesser said the better!

I woke up this morning quite early because I had to be at church for some work. I had a good night's sleep, not because the crackers had stopped bursting but because I'm a heavy sleeper, and I was tired the previous day. So cheerful that I was, I stepped out my building into the compound, and the sight was a dismay. Firecrackers littered everywhere on grey concrete which had turned black in many places, plus their boxes strewn across the compound. Even the garden was not spared.

I moved onto the road and as it was around 7am, the sweepers had not swept the roads yet. Well, I think they wouldn't have liked sweeping the road that day. I went along my way just wondering at the people's apathy towards the situation.

Considering that public awareness is at a high nowadays: Textbooks are full of chapters explaining the ill-effects of firecrackers. TV, newspapers, internet are not behind in teaching one the harm involved in using firecrackers. And yet, why do people choose to ignore them? Do they not care about the environment? Do they not care about the others? Do they not care about themselves? Does the pleasure they derive while watching a rocket burst into the air and make 'beautiful' designs exceed that of watching an intricate rangoli being made or of watching the diya burning away into the night? Are we really a people who can't do without the noise? I don't have any answers. I can just hope.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Birthday Resolution

Since people have been bugging me and asking what my birthday resolutions are (looking at Zena & Shubhra) considering it's my twenty first birthday, I'll list a few that I think I can manage to stick by... (for a day at least).

1. Looking at Ishani & Sylvia (Puneites), Shubhra & Mudita (Delhiites) and Hrisha & Ishani (again) (Bengalis): I shall not poke fun at Pune, Delhi or Calcutta ever again. Oh correction, Kolkata...

2. I shall not use the word 'watever' or phrase 'wat ur saying?'

3. I shall stop biting nails.

4. I shall get a girlfriend. (Looking at Shubhra, Sarah & Tina.)

5. I shall be a very humble person and TRY not to be narcissistic. In which case, my twitter handle @MrNarci becomes redundant.

6. I shall strive to complete my assignments at least a week before each one is due.

7. I shall listen to music by Himesh Reshammiya, Anu Malik & Justin Bieber as all music is art and it is to be appreciated.

8. I shall watch Avatar. In 3D. And also Avatar 2. And Avatar 3.

9. I shall definitely smoke and do drugs as one should experience everything in life at least once.

10. I shall stop my sick PJs and come up with witty jokes a la Avinash on Twitter. (By the way, Avinash is really good at them. I am flummoxed at how he comes up with them so regularly.)

11. I shall continue writing fake stuff like this. Definitely. Scout's Honour. Oh wait, I never was a Scout!

Well, I do ACTUALLY intend to learn some things this year, earnestly. And that list is:

1. Learning to jive is still top priority. David, Tina & Sylvia, you people are yet to teach me!!!

2. I do intend to start writing a book. And a script too!

3. I do want to work as a feature writer. More than anything else. It's interesting compared to reporting. And although I love the language, editing still is a headache! (My parishioners, improve your English. Editing the parish bulletin is a pain in the a**e.)

4. I intend to travel more. Traveling is fun. Alone or even with a group of like-minded friends.

5. I shall continue to be a good friend to all my companions.

After 21 years of being alive, I've learnt that life is not easy and not everything is as it seems. This may seem like an Oscar acceptance speech but as my Facebook status said: "There was a film called 21 and it was a huge hit at the box office. God made my life, called it 21. It is an even bigger blockbuster and it still hasn't finished its run at the box office!"

I'd like to thank my parents. Without them, I'd be nothing. Absolutely. Nothing.

My friends are my family away from home. All my friends, from St. Paul's (Schoolboys) & Bakery Building (Paos) to St. Xavier's (JC), to Our Lady of Nazareth (my parishioners), to Wilson's (senior college: one of the best periods in my life) and now XICites (Future 'corrupt' Journos). And friends I've made out of these groups too. I'm grateful to all of you. You know who you are.

I've had friends who were good friends of mine but with whom I'm not in touch with now probably due to miscommunication or my fault. I'm sorry if I ever hurt you. I've learnt a lot from you. Rest assured, I'm grateful to you too.

My teachers. They may be teachers in school, or priests. I've had a few who've guided me in all I do and wherever necessary. Their inspiration kept me going.

And last, but the most thankful to God. For scripting a beautiful story for my life. As my birthdaysake Shah Rukh Khan (Happy Birthday SRK!) said in Om Shanti Om: "Picture abhi baaki hain mere dost."

Saturday, October 30, 2010


step you take ahead.
Two you take behind.
It doesn’t work like this, you know?

As you look
onto the seas,
as the waves splatter
onto your face.
As the sun strokes the waves,
and descends upon your
silent face.
As the clouds gather
over your head
covering you from the sun.
So will I be there
to protect you;
you’ll never want to run.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Last Prance

He was walking,

coolly, calmly, no hint of resignation.

The traffic moved around him,

honking, horning, in no state to stop.

With his saddlebag and black umbrella,
he ambled past shop owners,
and street children playing at the signal.

Fifty for one, hundred for three shouted some,
he did not pay heed.

People bargained, shopkeepers did not relent,
he kept on walking,
and then

the traffic rules he bent.

The green shone on, the yellow of the taxi in the distance.

He saw his chance, he hesitated, he ran.
The taxi rammed. Into him and ran. Off into the night.

Silence entrenched for a moment,
people looked and ran to help.
It was, but, too late.

A life was taken.
His choice or by chance.

The little feet of the children, after that, never did prance.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Soundtrack Of My Life!

Irrespective of whether a movie is good or not, one always remembers the soundtrack to a movie. No matter if the soundtrack contains an obscure "Sarkaye lo Khatiya" or a raunchy "Munni Badnaam Hui" or a superhit "Ande ka Funda" in a forgettable film. Inevitably even if the film is a dismal affair, the song will always register even if its heard after many years. And if the song was based on an iconic scene (Rocky's Eye of the Tiger) or used in a good film ((500) Days of Summer's You Make My Dreams), then it becomes an unforgettable experience.

What matters is, is that these songs always make for a splendid background to the happenings on screen. How I wish that I too had songs playing during some moments of my life. So now I list a humorous list of which songs I'd like playing at certain moments in my "dramatic" life!

Well, the songs listed below may not suit the moment musically because I'm going more on the lyrics here. That too, just a few appropriate lines!

My overall theme song: "...I am one of those melodramatic fools; neurotic to the bone, no doubt about it..." Green Day's 'Basket Case'.

While ranting on this blog: "Do you have the time to listen to me whine?" Green Day's 'Basket Case' again.

Completing impossible assignments: "I am in misery, there ain't nobody who can comfort me..." Maroon 5's 'Misery'.

While watching Inception: "Every night in my dreams, I see you, I feel you." Celine Dion's 'My Heart Will Go On'.

While driving drunk: "Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel" The Doors' 'Roadhouse Blues'.

While dealing with PR agencies: "Just have a little patience..." Take That's 'Patience'.

When I'm in a mood where I can't decipher how I feel or how to put it into words: "I'll go crazy if I don't go crazy tonight..." U2's 'I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight'.

After the ticket seller at the ticket counter on the railway station closes his window: "If you change your mind, I'm the first in line..." ABBA's 'Take A Chance On Me'.

As an alternative to the four-letter F-expletive: "And I will try to fix you..." Coldplay's 'Fix You'.

When spreading message of peace and love: "Everybody's gonna love today, love today, love today..." Mika's 'Love Today'.

When I'm being too desperate: (Next two lines) "Anyway you want to, anyway you got to, love, love me..." Mika's 'Love Today'.

When writing a person's profile for a feature: "Tell me baby, what's your story, where you come from and where you wanna go this time?" Red Hot Chili Peppers' 'Tell Me Baby'.

While having sex ::wink:: : "Now I'll fly you to the moon and back, if you'll be, if you'll be my baby..." Savage Garden's 'To The Moon And Back'.

While jumping onto a moving train to catch the window seat: "The kids don't stand a chance" Vampire Weekend's 'The Kids Don't Stand A Chance'.

When with friends: "You know I can't smile without you..." Barry Manilow's 'Can't Smile Without You'.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Madness Personified!

Note: This is a feature article I wrote for my Feature Writing assignment in college. Since it has been described as "unRuncil-like" and it also was a topic pretty close to me, I have put it up on this blog. :)

On May 22, 2010, Paras Sharma attended Blow Up Bombay – a photo exhibition on the streets of Bandra, where after viewing the photographs, he was allowed to take them home for no cost at all. Blow Up Bombay was organised by a duo called BLINDBOYS which had already organised such events in Bangalore, Paris and Delhi. Paras loved the idea which eventually coupled with a few others germinated into an art appreciation and sharing society of sorts – Madness Mandali.

Paras mentions that it wasn’t his idea alone. He was also inspired by the Wall Project 3 and encouraged by his friends who had similar ideas. Thus was born Madness Mandali – “a maha mash-up of creative minds, each of whom express themselves uniquely. But when their powers combine- the results are bound to be crazy!”

So what does Madness Mandali do? Paras responds that their book of visual poetry comes out in November followed by book readings. They also intend to start their own line of t-shirts, and although they have not planned anything concrete for their next project, they do have photography and music in mind.

But Paras and his group did not start Madness Mandali with any intention of making it huge. “For me it was about meeting like-minded creative individuals and having the opportunity to work with them,” asserts Paras, but also assures that the Mandali can really grow in two to five years as it helps unearth a lot of “under-the-radar” talent.

Keeping that in mind, all the Mandali members’ efforts are now poured into the Visual Poetry project, a compilation of poems and illustrations, by artists, that represent the poem. But who pays for the cost incurred, considering that most of the core group members are students?

Paras informs that the Visual Poetry book will be a self-published print-on-demand one. And as they already have the creative capital to produce the book, they won’t be spending any money in designing it.

But how worthwhile can this idea be? After all, many campaigns begin through Facebook and fizzle out later. Their Facebook page has 347 members as of now and the numbers are growing day by day. One look at the group’s wall on Facebook shows the vibrancy of its inhabitants. Photographs, paintings and poems make for a perfect blend of uninhibited chaos. But will people participate? As Proshant Chakraborty, a first year Arts student at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai affirms, “This group is very unorthodox when it comes to something like publishing; it’s more like a writer-artist initiative and it’ll continue to be a great platform for creative individuals.”

But were they, themselves, not afraid of failure? Paras refutes the notion of failure saying that one couldn’t define success or failure in their context. “I am aware our book won't give Chetan Bhagat a run for his money but I also know that it will find its own audience,” says Paras confidently. “The only thing we care about at this point is acclaim for our ideas. And at the risk of sounding cocky, with the kind of talent we have in our ranks, I've never been afraid that our ideas won't be appreciated,” contends Paras.

Madness Mandali made tremendous use of the internet to promote themselves and their ideas. Although it started off with just Facebook, it eventually spread to Twitter as well as Blogger. Word of mouth too helped in the long run. As Paras puts it, “We love seeing the numbers grow on our Facebook page, but we don't want to be another group with thousands of people on it that finally produces nothing. The numbers really grew once five-ten of us met in person and then went back and shared our ideas with our friends both online and offline. I guess no matter how internet savvy you are, word of mouth still remains a very effective way of promoting an idea.”

Another impressive strategy adopted by the Mandali is their advertising tactics. The language and style used in their posters, blog or even while conversing on the group wall on Facebook grabs your attention. Indian English is the norm of the Mandali; and their posters, created by Mira Malhotra, a fellow talented Mandali member, are a “celebration of kitsch”. Bold in colour and striking in style, the Mandali-esque posters have struck a chord with everyone. For Paras, a fan of Nissim Ezekiel, “Very Indian English” is something that he indulges in everyday. “When we converse in English, grammar goes for a toss and no one bats an eyelid, so why shy away from writing exactly in that way? Writing our posters or mailers in any other style would be just plain pretentious according to me,” upholds Paras.

The longlist for the Visual Poetry project was out recently and the book releases in November, something that Paras can’t wait for. “Once the book is out, it’s going to keep growing and I can't wait to see that happen.” And grow it will, because as Zena Yarde, a participant in the Mandali says, “There are many people who are waiting for their opinions and work to be appreciated. Madness Mandali gives them that platform.”

This November doesn’t seem like the usual cold and dreary month for the arts circle.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Oh! Sweet Sorrow

Oh! Sweet sorrow,
enrapture me.
Take me away from this madness
into a world of serenity.

Time stands still,
memory hazy.
We can dance into the trembling night;
indulge in passion

That which I never had.

Come close to me,
hold me,
don't let me fall.

Answer me,
caress me,
assure me you're mine,
that's all.

The night falls apart now,
daylight streams through.
You. A distant memory.

Oh! Sweet sorrow,
kill me.
Pain is my pleasure.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fragments from Class...

Written during a boring lecture while waiting for it to end...

Fragments from Class...

voice droning.
eyes drooping.
class goes on.

laptop switched on,
caricaturing teacher.
class goes on.

students paying attention,
a rare exception.
teacher's very irritating.
class bores on.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Cecilia was sitting on a bench, rather uneasily, waiting for me, when I reached the place. She had decided that we would meet here, for the last time. I still couldn't understand. A cemetery?

The cemetery was silent - the kind of silence that glides over your skin and pierces you, making you want to break its steely grasp - a silence to be afraid of; the silence before the storm.

The breeze blew the leaves that crowded my path marking for me a clear road to Cecilia. I walked with fast steps towards her. She stood up, while I hurried to tell her to continue sitting.

"No need," she replied in a cold tone, "we came in through this end of the cemetery, we can walk to the other end. And talk too."

She wore a black kurta laden with golden embroidery. Contrasting colours - and I guess even more ironic for the occasion although it suited the location. The usual kohl under her eyes was missing today. Her long flowing hair was restricted to a bun.

We walked with slow, perhaps unsteady steps. There were thousands of gravestones around us. Some were sparkling white, few were freshly dug and the soil was uneven. Most were greying due to neglect. Some of the crosses had fallen apart, the angel's wings had come off. These untouched graves provided the famished atmosphere for us to talk in.

"So, should we get on with our talk?" I asked, knowing anyway what was to come.

"It's not working, Charlie," she said, looking away from me, "you know it too."

"There's nothing that can't be repaired, Cecilia," I protested, "there's still time. We can convince your parents."

"You say this after knowing my parents. I don't know if that's arrogance or ignorance."

"It's neither. It's just plain hope."

"Or living in denial," she retorted.

That swift tongue!

We continued walking. I saw a gravestone that bore the deathdate April 7, 1985 - my birthdate.

"So, you want me to forget you? Just like that? After all this time?" I asked. I was on the verge of pouring all my anger on her.

"See Charlie," she said hesitatingly, "I know it's difficult, but..."

I stood rooted to where I was, ""Difficult? It's not only difficult. You think it's very easy to forget that we went around, kissed, shared the same bed - all in one go? It may be easy for you, but not for me."

I was shouting now and my voice echoed because of the stillness around. A few mourners at a nearby grave had stopped the rosary and were looking at us. 'Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.'

Cecilia shrieked, "Don't you raise your voice at me, Charlie."

"You've given me reason to do so."

She stayed quiet. I became aware of the breeze blowing the weightless, dead leave around. I heard the whispers of the mourners praying again. I heard myself breathing heavily. I heard sniffles of despair.

She looked at me, straight into my eyes, perhaps for the first time that day.

"I know what I am doing to you is unfair, but life is unfair. It has been unfair to me too. You don't have to listen to the abuse I receive everyday, you don't have to feel the pain I feel everyday. It's the cycle of life Charlie, we just  pass on the unfairness that we have received to someone else. And in time everything gets alright. You too will be fine, Charlie."

"But," I protested, "the love we shared was..." I was at a loss for words. Was our love pure? Eternal? I was even beginning to doubt whether it was love.

"The love we shared," she whispered, "was good while it lasted. It's over from my side now. I think you should get on too. There's a time and season for everything, right? You used to sing that. Our's has just passed."

We had not moved since we had last stopped. Cecilia turned to face the opposite direction.

"I'm sad we couldn't finish our little walk."

Little Walk.

"I'm going back from here. I have to meet Jude."


"Take care of yourself. I'll meet you perhaps to give you the invitation card."

I looked at her. She was looking in the other direction. Her voice was shaking. Why couldn't she say it looking at me?

"Goodbye Charlie."

"Wait Cecilia," I quivered. Trying to strengthen my voice, I said, "I want one question answered."

"Okay, just one question. What is it?" she asked impatiently, still not looking at me.

"Why here? Why the cemetery?"

The still air blew furiously now. The leaves flew around, some into our faces.

Cecilia turned around, and for the last time faced me. Her eyes were red.

"You always say your last goodbyes here, don't you?"

And then she turned around and walked away, never to return again.

The mourners were at the end of their rosary, signing themselves.