Thursday, December 29, 2011

Goodbye Ahmedabad!

Dead body at the Sunday Market

Leaving my city tonight. Not sure if I am coming back. I already know I will miss you Ahmedabad, more than any other city I have ever known in life.

I will miss the bustling roads and the buzzing lanes. I will miss the cows crossing over even at the busiest junctions and the cars and bikes which always almost bump into each other. I will miss the men and the women who almost die everyday on the roads, but never actually do. I will miss the old city, the pols, the sweet Gujarati food. I will miss the mosques, the temples, the people who make them alive. I will miss walking on the streets aimlessly, talking to friendly strangers, eating food way past mid-night in the old city, and desperately searching for an open cigarette shop at 2 am.

But I will miss the people the most. I will miss the friends I made over the many many years spent in this city.

Bhavin has been my companion for the longest period of time. We made the perfect house mates, always there for each other and always giving complete space to one another. He knows all my secrets, but they never went beyond him. I can tell him just about everything, knowing that he somehow would understand. We traveled a lot, did lots of photography and bike rides. We were never close as classmates in NID, but living with him bought us much closer, and surprisingly we lived in perfect harmony. I have a feeling that he is getting married because I am moving out of the house, and he won't be able to take the loneliness :) Bhavin recently wrote an amazing post about me on his and that can be read here.

Manoj, the one guy with whom you can have a conversation about almost everything. He was my life line when it came to discussing things which everyone else seemed to be disinterested about - the politics of South India, stories about Gods and Goddesses, impact of religion and its evolution, invasion of Iraq, unrest in Syria and so on. We became better friends as we started playing tennis together, but it was only when we discovered our love for traveling that our dosti rocked! We bonded over the numerous shared cigarettes (I had to force him to give a few drags from his, initially reluctant he eventually relented) and the shared blankets over many trips :)) Though extremely reserved about himself (unless of course when he is drunk), Manoj is a perfect friend and an exceptional travel mate!

Vikram and me share the same sun-sign and I get along extremely well with him when the time is right! We had the most fantastic time in Chennai (and on numerous trips made together) when we stayed for a couple of weeks working with a client. He is the funniest of them all and can keep you entertained forever and ever. We have had our own set of screw-ups but I guess that's all part of growing up and learning in life. I guess we will eventually move on over it all. I would always remember the absolutely insane movies that only the two of us went for and still enjoyed.

There are so many more that I am even afraid to even mention the names here, I might miss some and end up offending them. But all the people who I came across in these years, only made the time spent here more eventful.

I am going now, but I have a feeling that the city will call me back. Again.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Birthday!

I didn't hear you as I sat with my back against the painted walls of the shrine. The men played their music, different pitches intermixing, different voices creating absolute, sublime magic, their music divine. I remained numb to it all, numb to your presence, even when you perhaps called out to me constantly, asking for my love, asking for life.

The words filled my ears, echoed in my soul, yet I remained indifferent. I had to make a choice that day and I didn't know how. I always believed in Him, but my faith was already wavering. The soothing words, the smiling faces, the beautiful red roses strewn all around, they all spoke to me, all asked me to listen to your calls; I remained deaf, didn't hear anything. The void within was shallow, and it didn't allow me to hear anything, to feel anything.

I walked around looking for a sign, looking for your guidance, looking for an answer. It was all around me to see, but I remained blind, never saw anything. I saw a young woman playing with her young kids, yet I missed out on their smiles, and their laughter. I saw grown ups with their old parents, yet I missed out on the love between them. I looked past them all, and I made my choice.

Hours later as I woke up alone in the cold hospital room, I felt an acute emptiness within. It was your absence that made me realise how your presence had become inseparable from my existence. As tears flooded out, I was blinded by your thoughts, and my love for you.

You would have been four today,
To you my baby, Happy Birthday!

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Monday, December 12, 2011

The Dirty Picture - a review

The following is the review for the movie 'The Dirty Picture' which is winning hearts all over. Muzayun used to write on her blog, but had to shut it down due to some caustic elements. She would be publishing articles through this space, however, all views expressed here are her own. Its highly unlikely that they reflect my views as well, we've always been on opposite poles when it comes to thoughts!


Frankly what was dirty about the picture, it wasn't Silk or any other thing in the movie, it was a dirty job done by its thinkers.

The movie had a subject line depicting life of a lady who dared to be fearless. It is badly shot, disappointing directed and leaves you with disgust, not about the story, Silk’s actions, or the casting rather on the team’s incapability to make anything remarkable. This film is far from perfect, but the producers will have nothing to worry as they seem to earning enough. 

Silk was in a way living her life according to her terms. A tale deserved an art-movie treatment, but Ekta Kapoor only wanted to make money out of some little known facts from her teen days. There is little attempt, basically, no attempt to treat this material with sensitivity and depth. A bold, beautiful and arrogant woman was definitely an avant-garde of that time, I didn’t see her doing anything more than the present day actresses do. The difference is in the curvaceous Indian woman as Silk against the slim and copy-western-model theme of the present. She is out there and proud in her skin, men of her time could not bear the crudeness in her character, and this film could just unfold it as a series of provocative scenes strung together for Indian men, on the strength of some sexually loaded dialogues. 

Abraham’s detest for Silk also seemed to be misplaced, and so does his sudden change of heart and yet he has the most interesting dynamics to create a flow. Alas, it’s too little too late, to give some character to this trailing job. The dirty picture fails to do justice to an otherwise stunningly dirty life of Silk. I am sure Silk did not die in a red ‘K series’ sari, with a desire to be married, she was way beyond that typical notion of women’s internal desires.  

As one of my friend who gave me a company to watch this says, ‘we saw some soft corn of 80s’.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Strangers who knew each other too well

Smoking was something Roshni never indulged in, yet today she laughed uncontrollably every time she tried making rings of smoke. Almost every time she tried, smoke came out looking more like smoke from Aladin's lamp, and in her current state she laughed and waited for the djinn to come out and join them on the terrace.

All this while Arvind just stood in a corner, the ice cubes slowly melting in the glass, smoke slowly escaping out of his amused smile. He had tried his best to teach her, but today wasn't a day when success would have come to him easily. He stood back and looked at her, but saw nothing. It was a space filled with his past, filled with remorse. Looking at the perfect arches of now redundant yet iconic Ellis Bridge beyond the curls of her hair, he tried to keep his mind from wavering

Without any warning, Roshni came close, stepped on his feet and blew the last sleepless, shapeless smoke ring directly on his face. Taken by surprise he held her back and slowly turned her around towards the river so they both faced the bridge, the peaceful and sleeping river, the life lazily passing by. They had so many of their memories centered around the bridge, of the many vacant evenings spent strolling on it. It was one public space they could secretly call their own...

It was late in the night and with a few lights to disturb their view, they could clearly see the city beyond the river and its numerous bridges. Instinctively Arvind lightly wrapped his arms around her and smelt the fine fragrance of her hair. It was beautiful, more beautiful than anything else he could imagine at that time. She turned around, reached up and lightly brushed her lips on his, stroking his hair with her fingers, leaning against the terrace wall, her cold fingers curling around on his ears. None of them knew what was going on, none cared.

Arvind moved back as he heard the sound of approaching footsteps; no one came up from the party going on in the open verandah of the old house, no one saw them there. He offered her another cigarette, this time she refused. The spell was broken, the moment was gone. He went back to his glass of whiskey, while she looked on towards the bridge, playing with the rings of her hair.

While other guests at the party were still asleep, some drunk while others high with the smoke of marijuana, he walked her back to her house in the wee hours of the new day. The laughter was lost, the silence between them had become overbearing. They both wanted to go back to those few seconds of intimacy, yet knew it would never happen again. She had pined for his touch for so long, and knew that it was the last time she would see him. Her mind kept going back to the few beautiful, rushed days they had spent together years ago, to the moments that were fading fast from her memories.


Walking alone in the slowing awakening pols of the old city, Arvind took the last drag from the last cigarette on him. His insomnia was back, he knew the memories from last night won't let him go back to his life again anymore. Stubbing the cigarette, he finally made up his mind and decided to go back to Roshni. It was an end to a life long struggle for him. Finally.


Later she sat alone on the balcony as the sun lazily rose across the river, oblivious to the golden light filtering through the rich flora. A long journey awaited her, a place called home was calling her back. She decided to let go of the struggle inside and move on. Arvind was past for her. Finally.

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