The Monster

Last night I was
Among some deadliest monsters
They crouched together
I fought with great armour
Laws of piety did not matter
As the Digambaras and Shewtambaras have to say
“Killing any is an evil thing”.
For any case that is not a sin
Were there red scars
On my arms, on my skin
I was still lion in the field
No arms, no ammunition
Still the monster was the king
It was with an army, why on earth,
Human was alone
To face so many, night was disastrous
Sleep was gone
My palm, my fingers no more forward
They retired while my eyes collapsed
The quito ring too went dull, final and full
I faced the truth night was a challenge
The day next was tough
I had turned insane,
When returned home
A clarion call said


City of Pride!

The city of thousand stories, Varanasi is like a website page showcasing too many things to choose from. The indispensable country seat is a melting pot of both good and bad. The picturesque Ghats involve temples, shrines and what not! The ripples in the Ganges witness, ‘Aarti’ a real art of tranquillity. The essence of such rejuvenation lies in the rhythmic mantras and other respective recitations. The Ghats and their decor are garnished by priests, saints, sages and devotees. Now, the city which caters spiritualism in tons is technology driven as well. It’s been a couple of years that I went to Varanasi when I saw Puja being offered through phone. The priest explained what ritual to do when. The city which is run by the priests is the world’s oldest city. It’s been said that at the time of destruction, this city would be the last to extinct. The city which welcomes people from all corners of the world possesses the most narrow lanes any city would have: ‘The lanes beckon me beneath the city , the laws of piety are enough to be witty. Those roaring Vindhyachal beasts are now in my kitty.’

The city says,” Come again, come again O lady.” The city is known by other names as well, such as Kaashi and Banaras. It is said to be the abode of Lord Shiva. At this point, let me mention the most important things one must enjoy while travelling the city: 1. Banaras ka paan 2. Sweets 3. Banarasi Saari 4. Black berries The city is a big pot of temples and Shivalingas. At every fourth step there is one small or a big temple. Visheshwar temple, Maa Annapurna temple are few such points of devotion. With the city advancing to technology, the spiritualism is sincerely maintained yet. The city is wrapped with sweetened people, mantras in the morning and whole hearted Bhojnalayas. Sitting next to the Ghat at the peace of my mind, I feel, solace; my ultimate aim.

What lies beneath the veil….

The unnoticed India behind the veil finally is witnessing a massive revolution today. Oops! The veil yet sustains and starves for more independence. This ‘Dil Maange More’ attitude avails me surprised perspectives of ‘the common man’ amidst the crowd. Over the years people’s perception have changed so have changed the people. I remember being zapped at people’s reply often.
It would be an offense if I don’t share this experience. My college friend from her yellow woods homeland of ‘Sonepat’ leads a terrific life at Chennai. She often looses the count of her secret admirers and gives me a nice piece of entertainment every time I listen to her. She said once, “You know what; those ten days with my first boyfriend at our flat was crazy man. My parents were on vacation to native and left me because of exams. It was so sweet of him that he cooked for me”. Next month she is happily tying the knot with a guy chosen by her parents and literally gave a bang on my ear through her phone call while giving me the good news. I just sunk at her reply without any trace. Each nook and corner in the country sees a developing seed of bursting out oneself. The thought goes like this ‘I am better than you, the world knows me better when I am in jeans than in salwar.’ This attitude of present feminine reminds me of hypocrisy going great guns disguised in grooming.
The encounter of such stories doesn’t end here. My office colleague who just got married shared her grief with me, “Gosh, my in laws are coming and I have forgotten my practice of keeping the Ghungta. Moreover, the flat is no more giving me any space to hide my big pile of jeans.” At this junction, I could see the efforts been put to maintain the veil.
Over the years, this clumsy war between veiling and unveiling has been continuing at its pace. Every human being in India has a veil and takes the advantage of it the moment a crisis comes in. Lot of younger people in my college born and brought up in the laps of our Indian traditions and culture vague their tongue at the thought of speaking Hindi. They say they can’t speak anything else other than English. At college farewell, we buried ourselves inside the pocket translation dictionary of Chinese in order to find a suitable word for the theme as if we dint have any language of our own. I too would count myself in the race of veiling and unveiling.
The present day lifestyle, education, profession and upbringing methods are giving rise to out of the box happenings. Here, I can’t stop sharing an incident where I observed a lady pampering her toddler, “Beta, water drink karna hai?” The rest of day went controlling my laughter. Well, whatever it is, the fostering growth in the country certainly would give birth to many such unending instances of veiling and unveiling. And the show goes on….

Highway on my plate too!

Now that the show has almost ventured into most of the places in the country, still, my comment keeps the entire ‘highway’ incomplete. And here it goes..Being born to travel freak parents takes you to all the nooks and corners of the country making sure that nothing was left to be unseen. Right from the time when I was a toddler, I have been travelling pretty well and kept guessing why India is so diverse.

The big question was answered on the way to South India.We all know the fact that Idlis, Dosas, Sambar, Rasam and related items are a staple diet in South while they happen to be our first preference on the menu card in North.At a point when we are in search of forks, knives and spoons to eat South Indian cuisine, Madrasis (as we call them so with love) venture alone into the pool of rice with the entire hand in it.

Must add, they dip into the mountain of rice without swimming lessons and swimming suit too. Maverick is the one who leaves no stain on the plate and that it can be used to next serving without wash. Jokes apart, South Indian food is identified by the little sour element that they have as tamarind is a significant ingredient in most of the items. To top it all, all these delicacies are mostly made in coconut oil unlike mustard and refined in North which gives a certain flavor and aroma. This is why the food in the land of South India differs from rest.

Talking of Rasam in particular, which can be described as South Indian soup is extremely healthy and good for digestion. The menu card in Dakshin is incomplete without curd rice or well known as ‘Tayir Saadam’ in Tamil which is another staple dish. No wonder, meal is totally half done when curd rice is not in the list. This cookery bite is a single traveler unless the drinks join the caravan.

It pretty striking that people prefer more fresh juices than aerated drinks which is why lemon, lime, orange, water melon and others are frequently ordered for juices. Adding to it, butter milk too is a common drink here and infact, one can see hawkers selling butter milk alongwith chilli fry on the road side.Well, when it is a land next to the port side, how can the blue waters be navigated away from the topic.

Standing next to the sea shore, one can see a gallery of stalls meant for mushy snacks. The variety here is splendid. Its really hard to resist things such as peanut chat, malga(chilli) bhajji, potato bhajji and many more pakodas and fries. Cherry on the top, are the fish fries offered which are deep fried with a layer of red chilli paste on them which you simply cant let go until you are a vegetarian.

Food alone is not the only thing why you get inclined towards South but its about the culture, history, architecture, scenic beauty that the land is blessed with. It builds a certain level of craving for it that not many places on Earth do. Signing off!

Through the eyes of an old man

It’s been 35 years since I am traveling from Bhopal to Hoshangabad each day for work and then return. My government job as a clerk or normally called as Babu keeps me at bay from this Americanized work hassles. Sometimes, I keep wondering, we won over our independence and the gap brought us to 14 hours jobs, slogging in front of computer endlessly, typing, aching the body and on contradiction, it pays you hunky dory which I still dream of. Anyway, this is how the present world works.

Just the other day, I was travelling as usual and took a passenger train of long distances. Met an interesting Bengali family which was travelling from Chennai to Delhi. Realized the son was way far talkative and could make a radio jockey run for his money while the daughter seemed to be quite just as the father who preferred to sit by the window. On the other hand, mother and son continued speaking aloud and make their presence felt in the entire bogie. As the train passed from the thick woods of Madhya Pradesh, finding me a localite, the family poured in with questions; ‘how far is your destination?’, ‘what is height of these plains?’, ‘Is government making constructive plans for these dense forests?’ and the flowing questions made me a central authority managing the entire state in short while. Realized, diplomacy can reach to heights and that the best usage of god gifted tongue is the best healer in the days of ordeal.

The young man of the family managed to pay some money and grab a seat as they did not have an extra seat which seemed so. The conversation later told me that the young man was going to participate in common wealth games in Delhi and that it was difficult for him to travel without AC. In fact, he was travelling for the first time like that in a non AC train but rest of the family was well settled without complains. Once full interrogation over MP was done, it was my turn to ask how was capital welcoming Common Wealth. Different people, different opinions, the four members gave various insights. While mother found daily things are coming expensive but yes plantation of trees is an advantage. On the other hand, father found difficulty in mapping out the new routes in Delhi and how infrastructure is developing at a twist of moments. Lastly, daughter found metros a big relief and that the nearby regions of Delhi too are connected so less difficulty is faced.

The son had different story, he was too busy with his preparations and was not much bothered with the developments that took place off late. Political, social and economical and a bit psychological, conversation started and ended. Finally, my destination came and hastily, I preferred to get down. It was too much of talking. After many days, I came across the news on television which had the same young man holding a certificate for participation during the inauguration of Common Wealth involving chess competition. Ecstatic, I told my people that I knew the guy as I pointed out to him. He stood in the crowd but could be easily distinguished with the certificate he was holding. He was proudly shaking hands with dignitaries and was accompanied by inmates who were holding him with pride and getting clicked. Surprisingly, I did not see the family whom I saw in train. My mind revolved around back to that phase and I realized, they were just separate passengers like me and the only thing that made them talk was the one language.

Rescue rangers :: ‘The Darzi’

“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”Oscar Wilde

I remember once sitting for a chit chat with friends when we were discussing exactly what is meant by Fashion and Fashion designing. Different people, different opinions. Few found it a business while others restricted it to a platform of experimentation. I find Fashion an art wherein you play with colors and cloths together. To be honest, its an extension or modification to the profession of a tailor (Darzi) who is seen in various corners of the lanes. Within fifty rupees, you manage to receive a graceful welcome in weddings and parties worth lacs. Remember the chapters we read on Mughals, their heavy attires took month long time to be created. The tailor was named as tailor and his remuneration was his appreciation with few compliments from the king. Today, the art of tailoring has been defined as Fashion designing involving extensive courses and in-depth studies. Pearl, NIFT and institutions like these offer comprehensive courses which can cost a bomb to you, once you plan to pursue it. No one knew if tailoring would take up such a makeover in the league. Wearing good and looking good is the main aim of people with least worries on expenses.

Ritu Beri, Sabyasaachi Mukherjee are the common names in the daily conversation today. In addition to it, wearing designer wear is very much in thing and thus, market keeps booming with the increase of designers and their collection. But to whatever magnitude we change, our 11th moment conversation with our Darzi remains intact especially when he is ‘stitching’ our dress material. We put in our creative inputs to him when the usual reply comes ‘Madamji, do this neck design, it will suit you’. Attending a wedding or a quite occasion, Darzi remains our savior throughout. Though the rescue remains unacknowledged at all times as post stitching, its a ‘designer wear’. Even if the so called designer measured you wrongly, answers are ready with plastic smile, ” my designer you see”. A recent NIFT graduate trying to measure your torso excites you equally to the irritation you develop when the decade old Darzi tries taking your measures. Nothing comes out better other than accepting the talent at any level. Think about the creativity bestowed to your Darzi sitting in small shed before envying his ideation to make you look good.