Thursday, March 17, 2011


It’s been three nights, three consecutive nights that I have been listening to the music of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movies. He is one of those rare filmmakers of India who work so meticulously on every aspect of movie making. Very few Indian filmmakers have been so committed to the holistic beauty of cinema. Raj Kapoor, Gulzar, Subhash Ghai, Vishal Bhardwaj are other filmmakers who can be named other than Bhansali who believe in working on each and every aspect of their movies to make them a true piece of art. Their movies not only dance, sing and celebrate on celluloid but also breathe and speak through their audience, live and die with those who cherish them. But this post is not about these people. This post is about a painter who knows how to fuse life on canvass. This post is about a poet who doesn’t only rhymes words with words but also rhymes them with air we breathe. This post is about a musician who not only creates music but also allows it to flow and vibrate in our systems. This post is about a man called Bhansali who is a painter, a poet, a musician, an artist and a director. This post is about Bhansali and his ability as a filmmaker to blend poetry, art and music in every frame of his movie.

Every time I listen to the music of Bhansali’s movies I am transported to a world which is beyond the world I live in. This world is a momentarily created, illusionary realm replete with thousands of beautiful colors splashed randomly on a huge canvass of life. This world is like a small island in the middle of blue sea on a starry night with music reverberating in atmosphere from all the possible directions. This world is an intoxicating dreamland where I see myself dancing and rejoicing all through centuries and ages. Jhonka hawa ka, Devdas theme, woh chand jaisi ladki, daras bina, sawar gayi, yun shabnami, dhundhli dhundhli are those compositions which are conceived once in a lifetime. His art is like a fascinating irony on this insensitive and ruthless world we exist. Whenever I listen to the music of khamoshi it makes me believe that silence not only speaks better than words but it also resonates and pulsates in the ambience. The music of hum dil de chuke sanam tears me apart and of devdas takes me back to an era where devdas would be living getting intoxicated in the memories of his beloved. Black too leaves an everlasting impression through the rousing background score given by Monty Sharma. The music of much criticized saawariya has a special place in my heart because I consider it Bhansali’s most well conceptualized and accomplished work ever as a musician. The music of this movie seems to flow in layers, falling one over another, integrating and breaking further into many more layers creating magic and spark in the air which surrounds me. I listen to the music of saawariya and sense the current passing through my body. I get hypnotized and lost in a moment full of music and light. I listen to guzaarish and feel that life is sad but too beautiful for all this sadness. The musicians don’t compose music for his movies. He makes them compose it for him. Bhansali creates a symphony with thousands of violins, guitars, synthesizers and drums echoing in harmony with life. Bhansali is a master magician who creates life and makes it breathe through celluloid. His movies are like beautiful exaggeration given to a poem by a poet. He may not always be original. And he may not have much to say every time. Or he may be saying it again and again. But he believes in saying and he believes in saying it beautifully. And this is what Bhansali is all about.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I woke up in the morning and touched myself to believe I was alive. I washed my face and wiped it with a towel. I felt slightly itchy, itchy behind, in the groove of my left ear. I touched the part. Found it to be somewhat rough. I tried to look into the mirror. A fungus had grown in the groove and was causing me trouble. I applied the antifungal ointment. And smiled. I smiled because a fungus had found a place in my body which is unknown and alien even to me. My senses do not remind me very often that such a place exists in my body which can be a dormant ground for some kind of ailment. This place is almost like a barren piece of land where the possibility of any kind of growth is remote and impractical. But the truth is it exists. It exists and harbors a potential possibility too. Anyways I had my breakfast and went out in the garden. Stumbled in the pots and fell on the ground. It had been years since I had fallen anywhere. I laughed and looked at the ground. I saw grass, roots, weeds and ants, flourishing and breathing in the wet soil. I saw a squirrel swarming and grabbing the roots of the tree, climbing it and mounting on the edge of the boundary wall. I looked around and saw birds chirping and perching on the branches of the tree. Scientists say that there are a millions of galaxies other than us where life exists in some form or the other. There exists a possibility of another universe with similar sun and planets revolving around it. They also say that there are millions of lives other than us, breathing and harboring in the spaces we live and die. Some years ago I read that millions of bacteria exist on the tip of our finger. So the tip needs to be thoroughly cleaned with sterillium before making a pin-prick. Seven years ago when I dissected the first dead body I found lots of spaces which exist inside us and are very own. Last year when I was posted to an altitude of 18000 ft, I found thousands of pieces of demineralised bones scattered everywhere in the cold desert. There were human as well as animal skulls, mandibles, femurs, tibias, fibulas, vertebral columns and all sorts of bones lying in their natural fate. Because of the demineralization, the bones seemed to be hundreds of years old indicating the presence of life in a place considered to be inhabitable and unfamiliar to a majority of our population. I looked around and discovered thousands of spaces existing in my immediate vicinity. Spaces which haven the possibility of life and existence. If creatures below us on the evolution ladder can find those spaces and encourage life to exist and thrive, then we as human beings with better capabilities must find some spaces having better prospects of life and its survival. Spaces which might be foreign but where a man could breathe without fear. Spaces which might be barren but where hopes could be cultivated without apprehension. Spaces which might be novel but where dreams could be seen and accomplished all over. Spaces where a new world could be erected and structured. Spaces where life could deliver again and flourish into a new civilization. We need to look for them. We need to hope for their existence.
Spaces…Alternative Spaces…
Alternative Spaces…With Alternatives…


The Flock Of Sheep And My Power

Note: This is one of my very old posts. I have published it again in this series.

“Power is when you have the power to kill someone and you don’t. That is what the emperors do” says Oscar Schindler

“Now I think you are a little drunk…!”
(Schindler’s list)

I am educated. I am sitting on a chair. I have the power to consume whatever I want to. Some body knocks on my door. They want water. They are starving. I will die if I share what I have. I can’t run. I will be caught. I will sit inside and not open the door. This is the only way. They know what's happening inside. But they are helpless. I have the power to exploit. I have the power to hide. They are meek. They can’t organize or revolt. They are handicapped. They need someone to initiate. A spark. Seems impossible to light up from anywhere. Someone needs to be insulted badly. Someone needs to be ripped. Darkness is their weakness, their darkness my power. Phone is ringing. A warning call. A call for help. They know that I'll not pick up the phone. But still want to try their luck. Luck is their last resort, their luck my escape, my power. They chose me. They have to suffer now. They could have stood up that moment. They would have blocked my way if they wanted to. But they didn't want to. They were having nice dreams. Feared they would depart if eyes see the morning sun. Dreams were their leisure, their dreams my realism, my power. I didn't want to drop what was coming my way, in my ‘luck’. They are dwarfs. Lonely dwarfs. Now they are entangled in a web. A web of dreams, a web of lucks, a web of misfortunes. I have the power to cut the web and break the wall. But I don't want to starve. I have to eat. Someone has died outside. They are crying. They are howling for help. Believe somebody would come and help. Their belief is their destiny, their belief my treasure, my power. I am helpless to help them. We both have the key to the door. I have not changed the locks. I didn’t have time. I had to eat. They have lost it somewhere. They can search it if they want, open the door and kill me. But I doubt they would find the key. One needs to fight for it. They can never. They want to cry and dream and try their luck. They are adamant. Ignorance is their light, their ignorance my steer, my power. Oh! I can’t listen to the music. They are screaming like beasts. But who cares for the music. I am starving. I have the power to eat. I will eat...

“Bleeding and babbling
We fell on his neck with a scream
Wave upon wave of demented avengers
March cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream”
(‘sheep’ by Pink Floyd)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


The arena

People go there. They go there often. It’s a large well in the middle of town. They make prayers. They take circles around the well. They look into it. And smile. Also wave into it sometimes. Then they close their eyes. And pray. I tried hard. Many a times. To solve the mystery. Also looked into it. I didn’t see anything. I could only see some coins thrown by the people. And some food packets scattered all over. There was a rotten smell. Putrid. Repelling. It was hard to stand there. But people spend hours standing there and looking into it. They go there in large numbers. But only one person is allowed at a time to go near the well. Others wait in the viewing gallery. I also made a visit to the well. Other people were standing in the gallery. There is another place in the town. There also people visit in large numbers. It’s called the arena. Basically it is a large circular platform made up of red bricks with an amphitheater all around. It has a capacity of about 50,000 people. Herds of people go there every Sunday evening. For a show.

I was new to the town. I had heard a lot about these places. They were famous tourist destinations of the town. But I didn’t know the significance of these places. So I asked a gentleman passing by. He got frightened and ran away. I asked a number of people. Everybody acted strange but nobody gave me a reply. A six year old girl was standing in the corner watching me struggling in the new town. She pulled my shirt, gave a smile and said, “Do not worry. You will come to know…soon…very soon…” She laughed and ran away. I got scared and returned home. And struggled for two more days asking about the significance of the well and the arena. Until I met an old man having a cigarette in the corner of the street. I stopped there to have a cigarette. He seemed old but intelligent. Hesitatingly I asked him, “Why do people go to the well and arena?” He smiled and told me to accompany him. He was going to the well so he took me along. We reached the well. There was a ticket counter. Nobody could enter without a ticket. So we got the tickets. We entered the viewing gallery. Thousands of people were curiously waiting for something remarkable. It was hot. So people were getting restless. But nothing could smash their enthusiasm for the show. I asked the old man, “What the hell are we waiting for?” He told me to have patience and wait for the gong… Gong? I got irritated standing there in the hot sun on a marble floor. I was looking all over when I heard a loud sound. It was the sound of the gong. People got into attention and there was absolute silence as soon as the gong was heard. After few minutes, I saw a young girl. About 18 years old. With long black hair. Naked. Absolutely naked. She came from behind clearing the crowd in the viewing gallery, going towards the well. She reached the well. Folded her hands. Closed her eyes. And jumped into it. I was taken aback. For a moment I thought it was a dream. I looked around. And the crowd went into applause. People clapped and shouted victoriously. I looked at the old man pleading him to explain the situation. He told me not to ask anything and follow him to the arena.

It was six in the evening when we reached the arena. An equal number of people had gathered there too. We got the tickets and went inside. The tickets were costlier as compared to the well. We got the back seats. Since front row seats were reserved for the aristocracy. I was in a deep shit after watching that young girl dying in the well. I was not able to forget her face. I requested the old man again to explain what was going on. He told me to wait for some more time and let the show begin. I did as he instructed me. There was a loud cheer in the air. People were going mad waiting there for the show to begin. I heard a gong again similar to the one I heard at the well. I got frightened and decided to run away. But all the doors had locked and there was no escape. And I saw a smart man in his thirties coming into the arena. Naked. Absolutely naked. He reached the center and sat down on a chair. Folded his hands. And closed his eyes. Then I saw a six feet tall dark muscular man approaching the man from behind with a sword in his hand. He came closer and within a fraction slashed the neck of that man. I went into shock. Felt dizzy. The old man shook me and told me to relax. I looked around. And the crowd went into applause once again. I felt disgusted and came out of the arena. The old man followed me. I requested him to explain.

He told me that it’s a regular ritual of their town. Every Sunday two shows are organized. One in the afternoon. Other in the evening. And people wait for the whole week to watch them. He told me that the people are fed up of their lives. So they give it up in the manner they like. The hard ones who can do it themselves go to the well and commit suicide. And others choose the arena to get murdered. It’s the only option they have in their lives. It’s the only escape. But it’s not a moment of remorse. It’s a moment of renunciation and celebration. It’s a new beginning…a new life.

I requested the old man to take me back. I was really disturbed. I couldn’t sleep at night. The faces of the young girl and the smart man were dancing before my eyes, mocking at me. I spent the whole week thinking about the situation. And at last decided to visit the old man. I went to his home. Knocked. He opened the door and looked at me. I said, “I want to talk to you about the whole situation. I am very disturbed and confused. Please help me.” He told me to go back since he was very busy.

I asked him, “Sir, Can I come tomorrow?”

He said, “No, I won’t be there.”

I poked him further to know where he was going.

He told me that he was going. Going to the arena.

To die.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Note: Russell is a work of fiction. So are other characters and facts mentioned in this write-up. Any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely co-incidental and unintentional.
Russell sang it. He sang it great. It’s a wonderful world by Louis Armstrong. He always believed in the words. In fact embraced them like anything. His father used to sing it for him. Now, he used to sing it for his son, Michael. He took him in his lap and kissed him on his forehead. Michael looked just like his father. Dark eyes. Brown hair. Sharp nose. He poked his finger into Russell’s eyes. Russell kissed him again and handed him over to his wife, Laura. She was a real beauty. Appeared to be an angel. And also dressed like one. She ruffled Russell’s hair, took Michael from his lap, kissed him goodnight and went to sleep. Russell continued talking. He wanted to continue speaking. Nobody ever stopped him. He felt hungry. Went to the kitchen. Grabbed a cookie and then he was back again. Russell and his words. It was a pleasure listening to him. He started with a joke like he always used to. But couldn’t keep up with it. Something was hurting him really bad somewhere. We wanted to know. We wanted to poke him. But we didn’t. We wanted to let him speak for himself. He resisted a bit. But he gave up in the end. Russell was a captain in British army. A tough soldier. And an honest officer. Right from the day one in army, he was observing everything too carefully. He was uncomfortable with it somewhere. But he never told anything to anybody. We tried to ask him many a times. But he always used to divert the whole thing with his jokes. That day we asked him again. But he was too good with his words. He knew the art of doing it so easily. He played Beatles on guitar for us. We clapped and sang with him. He was doing it fine trying to hide everything but couldn’t hold it for long. He forgot the words. He tried hard to recollect but couldn’t. The guitar slipped from his hands. He felt sorry. We tried to hold him. He resisted. Even stammered a bit. His face turned red and eyes blurred with tears. He said it’s nothing but the weather change. He got up from the chair. Turned his face away with his hands resting upon the sidearm. Kept standing there for few minutes. And finally exploded. It was the first time we were seeing him so helpless. He had always made us laugh with his jokes. We had always seen the shine in his eyes and the moment on his face. It was quite a site. He was crying like a child. Like he had fallen on the ground and was asking for help. It seemed he was asking us to pick him up and give him a hug. We felt weak unable to help him in his condition. He was alone. Nobody could stop him. Nobody could hold his hand and wipe his tears. It was just not possible. He disappeared from the site for some time. We thought he would have gone to wash his face. Then we heard something. There was some problem with the sound. We couldn’t figure out. We looked at each other. We were worried and were waiting for our Russell. We were waiting to see his sparkling eyes once again. He came after ten minutes. With fiery red eyes and a gun in his hand. He smiled. For the last time. Put the gun on his head. Pressed the trigger. And shot himself.
Russell was dead. So were Michael and Laura. He had shot them both.
We were watching it live. Live on our computer screens. Millions of people were downloading it simultaneously as Russell was uploading it on the internet sitting in his room that night. We always used to do it earlier while he used to entertain us with his stand up acts. He was very popular among us. He was our hero. And he proved to be one.
Nobody came to know why Russell acted like this. A court of inquiry was organized by the army. It took them six months. Finally, they drafted the final report and labeled him a coward. They said that his wife was disloyal to him and was sleeping with somebody else. They also proved that he was having a mental condition and was incapable of handling stress.
Whatever it was. Nobody poked it further. But the live video generated millions of sympathies and millions of fans for Russell. The video became quite a sensation on You Tube. We still watch it sometimes because it’s very compelling as well as thrilling at the same time. Yesterday only, I had organized a small party at home. We were having beer, listening to rock, getting high and screwing each other. We also watched Russell’s video and then partied whole night.
It has become the most watched video on You Tube.
The video has generated 1,537,469,028 views. Highest in the history of You Tube ever.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Dilatation and curettage

She walks inside the gloomy corridor of a dilapidated building in the secluded corner of the street. She goes to the counter and addresses a stocky dark man sitting there with muck in his nails and moles on his face. He speaks very little and works only by gestures. He gives her a slip and indicates her to sit in the place provided by raising his right eyebrow. She crumples the polythene bag which she is carrying along between her thighs and crushes the piece of paper in her left hand. She walks in a direction opposite to the counter, moving hardly 10 steps and grabs a seat on the left. She settles herself and wipes the sweat on her forehead with one end of her yellow sari. She attempts to open the crushed piece of paper in her left hand and looks for the number written on it. Its 127. She looks all around and finds almost 200 women with bloated bellies with a similar piece of paper in their hands, waiting for their turn. The man on the counter shouts a number after every five minutes and every time a lady gets up from the end, goes inside the room next to the counter and another lady with a bloated belly comes out from inside the room. Sometimes it’s a happy lady. Sometimes it’s a sad lady. And sometimes a lady goes inside and doesn’t come out for hours. The man shouts 120. She starts getting up. Then a lady sitting by her side tells her that it’s not her turn. She feels thirsty and asks for a glass of water from the man on the counter. He raises his eyebrow to indicate the water cooler installed in the end of the corridor. She walks towards it, quenches her thirst and returns to her place. She sits down, closes her eyes and goes to sleep. Then the man shouts 127. He doesn’t see anybody getting up and going inside. He shouts again. She gets up in surprise, hesitatingly and almost stumbling on her way to the counter. The man looks at her with disgust while she crosses him and gets inside the room.

She keeps her polythene bag in the corner of the floor. A middle-aged bulky woman dressed in a white sari grabs her arm, almost crushing her fingers inside her flesh, takes her to the bed, gives her a white towel and tells her to lie on the bed. She lies on the stinking white bed sheet with stains of blood and mucus all over. The woman in white sari holds her legs, raises them, takes them apart and places them on either side of the bed, almost touching her abdomen. On her right side she sees a big machine with a small screen, a probe with a long handle and a panel with numerous buttons of various shapes and sizes. A tall man wearing a white coat and spectacles with a rectangular frame appears from behind the machine, grabs the handle of probe in the right, clutches a bottle of gel in his left hand, places it upside down, squeezes out the gel on the round of the probe, smears it all over and drops the bottle on the table. He then orders her to take a deep breath and inserts the probe inside her vagina without any prior notice. She closes her eyes and cries in pain. He rotates the probe inside for five minutes, slowly and carefully while watching the images on the screen. Then he takes out the probe, clicks a button on the panel and begins writing on a paper. He gives her the paper, lowers himself to the level of the bed and whispers in her ears. Then both of them converse quietly for few minutes. She gives a final nod and gets up from the bed. The woman in white sari grabs her right arm and takes her to another room behind the machine.

The woman in white sari hands her over to another similar woman in white sari. She is told to remove all her clothes including the undergarments. She undresses herself. Then the woman in white gives her a torn green gown and a mask to wear. She wears the gown and follows the woman. She walks down a long cold corridor with doors and doors on either side and sees lot of people wearing similar gowns and masks on their face. She is taken inside one of the rooms. The room is cold, made up of four bare cemented walls with a naked steel bed placed in the center. It stinks of flesh, blood and dead rats. The woman in white tells her to lie down similarly as she lied before on the scanning table. As soon as she lies down, a group of five people, men and women, dressed in green gowns with masks on their face rush inside. She is then asked to turn to one side with thighs touching her chest. A syringe is loaded and injected in her backbone. She cries in pain. She is switched in her previous position after five minutes and her arms are strapped on the side rests of the bed tightly with a Velcro tape. The people surround her from all sides. Two of them stand on either side of her breasts. Other two stand holding her both the legs. And the fifth one stands between her legs. He looks at the trolley on his right. He examines it carefully to make sure. He then takes some gel on first two fingers of his right hand and inserts them inside the vagina. He takes them out and mutters something to his assistant on the left. He then starts inserting metal dilators of increasing diameters inside her cervical canal, pushes them inside one by one until he is able to dilate it sufficiently enough for the rest of the procedure and finally places them back on the trolley. He then takes a curette and inserts it inside her vagina. He scrapes it all around against the walls of her uterus and continues doing it for five minutes. He finally takes it out and places it in a kidney tray. He inserts his fingers again for the last time and gives it a wash with warm saline. He reassures her and advises her to take the prescribed medicines for few days. She is then transferred to a stretcher and taken to the adjoining room. She rests there for some time. Then the woman in white sari comes to her with a kidney tray in her right hand and shows it to her. She raises her head, takes a look at it and turns her face to other side. A tear rolls down her eye and she sobs in the silence of the room.

Some pieces of dead, blood stained flesh, worth few grams, removed from inside her body were lying inside the kidney tray. They were dead. And they had been removed from her body. Forever and for good.

They say it was a girl. And it weighed 300 grams.

मौत - भाग २

कई बार सोचता हूँ,
फिर सोच के मुस्कुराता हूँ,
और मुस्कुराते हुए कहता हूँ
कि नहीं हो सकता,
ऐसा कभी नहीं हो सकता,
भला ऐसा भी हुआ है कभी,
मैं भी कितना पागल हूँ,
फिर लगता है सोचने में
क्या हर्ज़ है,
कौन सा सोच पे कोई क़र्ज़
लगता है,
सोच भी अपनी है,
वक़्त भी अपना है,
और ज़िन्दगी भी अपनी ही
तो है,
सपना ही मान लेते हैं
चलो इसे,
सपने तो होते ही ऐसे हैं,
हकीकत और ज़िन्दगी से
कोसों दूर,
अपनी ही दुनिया में मस्त,
फिर भी उन्हें देखने का अपना
ही मज़ा है,
सच न हुए तो क्या,
एक उम्मीद तो रहती है न,
कि काश कभी ऐसा हो जाये,
ज़िन्दगी नई सी लगती है,
धुली हुई,
साफ़ सुथरी,
शहर के धुंए से दूर,
कहीं किसी गाँव में बसी हुई…
ऐसा ही कुछ सोचा है मैंने,
कहना चाहो तो कह सकते
हो एक सपना,
कि मौत अगर ज़िन्दगी से पहले
आ जाए तो कैसा होगा,
ज़िन्दगी ही ज़िन्दगी होगी,
बिना किसी ख्वाहिश के,
बिना किसी खौफ के,
और बिना किसी सरहद के,
सच में,
मौत अगर ज़िन्दगी से पहले
आ जाये तो कैसा होगा,
ज़िन्दगी सिर्फ ज़िन्दगी होगी,
बिना किसी अंत के,
बिना किसी लक्ष्य के,
और बिना किसी सहारे के,
सिर्फ ज़िन्दगी…
सच में,
मौत अगर ज़िन्दगी से पहले
आ जाये तो कैसा होगा...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

मौत - भाग १

छुपी पड़ी है
न जाने कबसे,
ढूंढ रहा हूँ
इधर उधर,
पलक झपकते ही
छुप जाती है
न जाने किधर,
कहीं कोने कुदरे में
दब गयी हो गयी
रख कर भूल भी
तो जाता हूँ अब,
किताबें हटा
के देखूँगा कल,
देखना वहीं होगी
और झांक रही होगी
जहाँ पढ़ते पढ़ते
छोड़ा था उसी पन्ने
की दरीचों में,
नटखट है,
नादान भी,
कठिन है,
कठोर भी,
रूठ जाए तो
मनाये भी नहीं
जिद्दी है,
आखिर मुझपे ही तो
गयी है न,
आवाज़ देता हूँ तो
बोलती है कि
अभी नहीं आऊँगी,
गुस्सा होता हूँ तो
पलट के
पल्लू झटका के कहती
है कि देखलूँगी
वक़्त आने पर,
एक दिन रूठ कर
दरवाज़ा तोड़ के जो
भागी थी घर से,
घंटों तरसता रहा
था खिड़की पे
बैठे बैठे,
कि गली के मोड़ से आती जब
नज़र आएगी तो
खूंटे से बाँध
दूँगा उसे और
अपना बनाके रखूँगा
उम्र भर,
उम्र बीत गयी,
दरवाज़ा आज भी
उसकी उम्मीद में खुला
पड़ा है,
और खिड़की से जब भी बाहर
नज़र घूमाता हूँ तो
लगता है जैसे वोह आ रही है,
पर ऐसी है यह कमबख्त
कि आती ही नहीं,
बड़ी ही अजीब चीज़ है
सच में,
ऊपर वाले ने भी
बहुत सोच समझ के
वक़्त से बनाई है,
कि जितना चाहो फिर भी
नहीं आती
यह मौत…