Sunday, June 26, 2011

On The Simple, Unskilled Act Of Speaking The Truth

Some people can, some people can't and some people can't not.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Takings from a small list

A casual scroll down the list of Bharat Ratnas gave much pop trivia to indulge in.

Ever wondered how there's a marked increase in musicians getting the Bharat Ratna? All of our last three Bharat Ratnas have been musicians. Five out of the last eight Bharat Ratnas are musicians. Incidentally, these are the only five musicians to have received the Bharat Ratna till date. The first musician to be so honoured was MS Subbulakshmi in 1998, that is, forty-four years after the awards began. However, this must not be construed as some musical wave that has swept our country lately, as all these eminent musicians were born in 1910s and 1920s. Nearly a century back.

Eleven of the thirty nine Indians who've been given the Bharat Ratna were not alive to receive it. Add to this sixteen more people who received the award in the mostly uneventful last five years of their big, eventful lives, and you know that we in India think really long and hard before making this big decision.

The awareness of such thoughtfulness on the part of the authorities must be juxtaposed with another awareness: Of India's first nine PMs, six were from the Indian National Congress. The same six are all Bharat Ratnas.

As a sidenote, all of India's first four Presidents were awarded the Bharat Ratna, as was President number eleven, APJ Abdul Kalam. This does not seem odd or untoward as Presidents in India, thankfully, are anyway chosen from a pool of highly accomplished people. An exception being our present President who, as her saving grace, was justified to the public by virtue of her being the first woman to the post. A smart political statement needed to be made, I guess, so meritocracy had to take a backseat. That's quite alright, really.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


“Have you lost it?”

The person on the other end of the phone replied something. I don’t know what. But this distraught looking man standing next to me on the bus stand, with a large brown overcoat meant for someone larger than him and a large black umbrella meant for me, kept shouting the four words repeatedly on the phone, sometimes cupping his hand around his mouth, mostly not. If he released spit when he shouted, you could not know it: such was the rain.

The important part here is that I did not have an umbrella. It was raining furiously; the raindrops nearly hurt you as they made contact. The bus stand was not actually a bus stand, but a place where people waited anyhow and therefore buses stopped to fetch them. Meaning there was no shade, and I was feeling sort of cold in the rain, especially when a thick trail trickled down the back of my ear through my neck into my shirt. That shivered me, and for a brief moment I would shake like Shakria’s bum.

He was standing to my right. While telling you about how in this rain you couldn’t know if he unconsciously spat as he screamed, I forgot to tell you that you also couldn’t tell if someone's eyes had tears flowing down them freely if they stood unumbrellaed in the rain.

At least he didn’t seem to come to know.

But that could also be because he was so caught up in his own mess. You can never be sure.

You can never be sure about him, my husband.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Traffic Signal

Ennui-burned eyes peering out of a car.

Plimsoll, A child. His father, Hawaii chappals.
Sunburned feet.
Walking. Playing. Smiling.
Father doubling up as teacher.

Pavement. Scattered grains. Sparrows.
Drops of water down a random pipe. One pigeon.

The skirling screams of kids killing their days away
for alms.


Air conditioner.

The music from inside the expensive car
speakers - so advanced they produce notes to a clarity
the human ear can't even appreciate.

The sudorific sight of a cartpuller. A saliferous shirt.
Droplets on a dark nose. Oops.

Oops, fingers to the remote control. Now! Lower
the temperature.

Fold Economic Times. Peer out once more.
Indulge. Worry.

Recline better to worry better.

Relax. It's never too hot to wear your
pellicles of sophistication.

Q: What is happiness?

Ans: Oblivion. Oblivion is happiness.