Ode To Life

And thus it began, as mentioned to us by the age old man,
The Seven Stages of Life which I have lived through in my limited time.

But no matter what you may say,

You cannot call me a Loser.

For I stand here, after quite convincingly winning the very first race that you had put me in.

I’ve walked; briskly and wearily,
I’ve ran; swiftly and heavily,
I’ve fallen down, flat faced into the delirious entrapments of your fanciful debauchery,
And yet I’ve stood back up at the end to embrace you wholeheartedly.

So whatsoever it is, tell me.
What next do you have in store for me? However odd or silly may it be
I shall take it upon me to finish this race that I started so steadily.

For now I realise that you are but a Privilege given to a select few. I realise that you are not my commander but only a chanced encounter.

You are a race which one can never actually win as your loyal servant runs behind in order to obliterate us all.

But to those of us who can look down upon the road rather than seeing far away into the distance searching for the destination and the meaning; they shall see the footprints left behind by the ancestors of our humble beginnings.

Life is a race indeed. Run. Not to reach the inevitable end but to leave your footprints on the tracks instead!


Living Dead.. 

Dehradun, 2000

Oh please! Just shut up. I’ve been listening to this crap for a long time. Your family had never accepted me wholeheartedly and I am tired of pleasing them ever since. “, her mom was  screaming at the top of her voice. 

Not a single word was heard from her father. 

Avantika kept her head down looking at the carpet and her mind constantly trying to connect the dots of this daily disagreement and the increasing distance between her parents. Though she was just 8, yet she could understand the differences between her parents. She knew that they did not like each other. 

Avantika?  What kind of non sense is this! You were supposed to write an essay on ‘My family’. Why did you copy Arshi’s essay? “, her teacher rebuked

Because I found her family to be happier than mine..”, she replied 

Her teacher had no answer to that. She did not know what Avantika was going through. 

Avantika’s soul was caged. She wanted to flee. She seeked help.. 

To be continued… 

¿Enemigo? Mi amigo.

To Depression,

My old foe; withstanding the sands of Time, we’ve surpassed everything and everyone. Time has passed us by like the clock hands ticking away, counting Eternity. We’ve stood there, face to face, addressing our wounds through each other’s eyes and coveting our victories with malicious vice.

You’ve taken away from me umpteen amounts of Moments, gifting in return nothing but tears and dilapidated ruins. The child who’s mind runs through vague ideas is our playground; you being the Sandman of the Night while I’m the Morning Sun.

In this playground we meet again, ill-advised we wage war again, to see who reigns supreme, to see who stands tall when the dust settles down again.

All I can say at the end is that one day we shall meet again, away from this playground and its meshes while it rains.

One day we shall meet, where the World fades away and the dark crimson line between us turns pale.

One day, You and I shall be Friends.

~ Happiness.

Knowing Emraan.. 

14th April, Kurseong. Present Day. 

Happy Birthday Emraan“, a voice of a lady came to his ears.. He still had his eyes closed until a touch on his forehead woke him up.. 

Thank You Miss.”, he said. 

You better take a leave today and enjoy the day. Have a good day my child.”, and then Miss. Lobo left his room. 

Emraan stood near the window watching the boys play. He then sat on his bed, lighted a matchstick and watched it burn till the end. When the whole school gathered for the morning prayer, he was still there in his room lost in his thoughts, the outside world did not bother him. After a while, he reached out for a book and turned to Page 78. There was a picture of a boy laying on his mother’s lap. He watched that till his vision went blurr and he shut the book. 
This hostel was his home, the garden adjacent to the school was his playground and the flowers were his friends. He spent the entire day watching them. 
10 long years in that place, he saw them grow. He saw them smiling to the sun, He saw them fall. Every spring he had new friends and every autumn, he would lose all. He knew what losing was, how it felt. And like every year, he spent his entire birthday with himself and the roller coaster of emotions he couldn’t keep aside. 
“Come Emraan. It’s time to cut the cake. Come with me.”, it was again Miss. Lobo who brought him back to the real world. 

Can I cut the cake in my room?”, he said looking down to the untied laces. 

Emraan has always been different from those of his age. He wasn’t abnormal, he was just friends with himself. Little did the world know the reason behind his calm…. 

To be continued…. 

The Goddess’s UTOPIA

The din of our day to day lives suddenly gets usurped by the rumble of the clouds while the lightning bolts scurry through the cloudy sky. The nonchalant passer-byes tread upon but one mind detaches and fancies a thought process; “the clouds float oh-so peacefully through the sky but even they need to roar so as to usher in the rains.”
Muddy, convoluted lanes encroached upon by in-numerous thatched sheds comprising of wooden frameworks waiting to be touched by the artisan’s hands that will mould the frameworks of clay into incarnations of The Deity. The pot-hole ridden lanes crowded upon by amateur hands holding various models of cameras to capture that holy moment when her eyes are sketched and drawn which is fabled to bring Her into Life!
The magnanimous idol situated in the southern part of the city attracts an endless sea of visitors, who brave the sweltering heat and the various hurdles that our beloved city’s traffic has to offer, only to catch a glimpse of the idol that towers over the surroundings and to see whether those countless slogans of ‘Eto boro? Sotti?’ were merely false propaganda or had any truth in them; while the necessitous maker of that very graven image wanders about, searching for an idol of that very same deity, only the puniest version which befits and is in-sync with his stature.
He hopes to find one so that he can look into the eyes of his own goddess who’s glimmering eyes wait patiently for her beloved father in torn little frocks with a sickly smile.
“What a hapless father am I? And what an unlucky daughter is she? I help create these colossal statues for people I barely know but for Her, my Angel, I can do no better than this.”
It is fabled that this deity had been created by combining the virtues and strenghts of the most powerful Gods and Goddesses so as to defeat the Asuras; an army of devils who were granted immense power by the very Gods and Goddesses they rebelled against. This deity, Maa Durga had single-handedly (actually she possessed ten hands) defeated the leader of the Asuras and taken his life. This moment is the one brought alive through the idols. Peace had been restored and humanity could grow and head to where we all stand today.
God created humans; Humans created Religion and Religion created various faces of the Supreme Power or the Almighty. Which face to worship? Which one to frown upon? Where to kneel down and solemnly pray? A Mandir? A Masjid? Or the Church?
Where should this father go and pray? Where should he offer flowers, sheets covered with rose petals or candles so that his daughter does not have to face such impecuniousity?
Humans are believed to be the foremost species of life to have ever graced this planet. I do implore the “finest creations” to try and answer the questions that darted out of this meandering mind.

  “All you need in this Life.. is a hand outstretched for you.”

Folded hands address that same deity who once rid this planet from the ghastly terrors of the Asuras, who stood alone in the face of danger and defeated Evil. She brought us out of that peril, I hope she can see how many hands are outstretched for Her to grasp and pull them out of this delusional place which she vehemently fought for once. I hope she hears this father’s prayers and see his daughters tears. I hope this time when she returns back to her husband; she makes sure there are no more hands that are left outstretched for her to grasp!

Lugar Profano o Paraíso de Bibliófilos?

‘Where are you? Where the hell are you? I’m just going to try and finish whatever you are!’  a voice rattles from the pathway leading to the chamber. The magnanimous house drenched in white with an eerie atmosphere around it! A paranormal experience enthusiast’s delight!
The Belvedere House; the enchanting presence that has it’s delirious entrapment ready to baffle and play with our meandering minds!

‘Someone there? Help me out!’

The chamber in the ground floor sealed from the above and bricked up at the entrance through an unique archway. No trapdoors or openings yet a sudden chill runs down anyone’s spine walking through this passageway with an inexplicable feeling of being followed. The guide says that it served as a torture chamber for prisoners during Lord Belvedere’s reign and has never been opened since. The voice fades away but the absurd thoughts carry on. Book lover’s Paradise? Or the safe haven of something Unholy?

Ville de joie

The train enters the station and slows down. The familiar voice greeting new passengers comes floating through the open windows. Sleepy eyes are awakened, luggages are pulled and settled, the elders are counting the number of heads again vividly and then as the platform comes into sight, everyone gushes towards the gates like someone has opened a tap and the water is gushing towards it! The ‘arey’, ‘uff’, ‘dada ektu shorun na’, ‘egiye jan”; start off with the pushing and grunting and somehow everyone on board manage to get out. The station is huge, strewn with hawkers and coolies ready to jump on you to offer their respective commodities. It’s a long walk to the entrance yet there is almost no unnecessary commotion other than a family’s occasional loud bargaining with the coolies or some people carrying huge cartons along the platform shouting ‘shorun, side deben’. The station resembles the good old ‘9 ¾’ platform and straight off its evident that the only description given by the tourists about the City of Joy is spot on; it is truly a timeless beauty that has forgotten to adopt the new exuberance of the other metropolitan cities but chooses to be draped in her age-old cloak of conjuration! No wonder the British chose it to be the Capital of India, no one can disagree that the Englishmen have great taste!

The old clock tower reads six o’clock. As soon as someone takes the first step out of Howrah station, one can see the daily bustle across the city even during the wee hours of the day. In the age of Olas’ and Ubers’, getting a taxi from the pre-paid booth is an ordeal though it perfectly befits the city’s knack of keeping the old charm intact! The sea of yellow taxis instantly takes you back in time. The taxi takes you inside the city over the Ganges through the colossal structure known for its architectural prowess called the Howrah Bridge and the pavements are filled with enthusiastic runners, people treading along and little kids running here and there playing with cycle tyres. The seemingly endless river takes your breath away and the sudden gush of cold wind sends a quick shiver but as the sun comes up, the city bathes in sunlight and the vermillion sky seems to be in sync with those pundits and pujaris around the ghats and small temples starting up the day with loud mantras and myriad pujas murmuring different incantations and prayers.

The roads are strewn with cars but unlike other metro cities, this retro city still has hand-pulled rickshaws and trams. The buildings are picturesque, depicting the heritage of the city and they stand proof to the evolution of the world. The city can be easily divided into the north, the south and the central and the people residing in the city along with a person who’s completely new can see the differences between them. It is said that Kolkata is only about Bangalis or Bengalis but it is quite strange that this city has so many different types of people living together that it perfectly depicts the true sovereignty that our country was meant to portray. Different cultures, religions, caste and creed form this city and don’t be amazed to see a Marwari or a Punjabi speaking fluently in Bengali and a Bengali speaking the Punjabi language perfectly!

The city is like a holy ground with dozens of temples scattered all over it. Hordes of people appearing everyday to offer pujas to their respective deities. The two of the biggest temples are the Kalighat temple and the Dakhineswar temple but what’s the most appealing part of this city is the innumerable numbers of mosques, dargahs, gurudwaras and even churches. The religiousness of the people here beats that of any other city. Kolkata celebrates every festival as its own and the people celebrate it pompously.

The one thing that the people of Kolkata love almost as much as festivals is food! This city is a form of paradise for foodies. Starting from their very own Bengali cuisine and ranging till Continental; this city has revolutionized outdoor dining. This city houses some of the biggest hotels and restaurant chains and it has its very own China town which serves the best Chinese dishes fathomable. It doesn’t stop there as the city boasts of Indian restaurants that are fabled to have recipes coming down directly from the Mughals themselves! Already hungry? Desserts are still left! evil smile
The one thing synonymous to Kolkata and Bangalis is ‘Mishti’. Trust the people of this city to make sure your meal ends at an absolute high, the sweets and confectionery items found here are unparalleled. From ‘doi’ (curd) to ‘Payesh’; every person who has ever been to Kolkata knows that it is the Food capital of India! It is customary for every Bengali mom to make payesh for her child on his/her birthday!

During the day; the city is like a machine that keeps working despite heat, thunderstorms or unbearable cold! People commute all over the city for their respective jobs but if anyone ever needs any help, be rest assured that you shall have more than one person to help you out. Being experts about roads, every person residing in this city has a unique knack of helping someone who’s confused about directions. If you ask one person for directions; it is a given that more than one person will start bombarding you with directions!

At night; the city puts on a shroud of mysteriousness. The lanes seem like the deep, profound and enchanting eyes of a lover who never expressed much yet expressed alot! The whole atmosphere and vibe of the city changes at night and even places that are the most crowded during the day have a strange vagueness surrounding them at night. The quietness unnerves even the soul that is deeply searching for solitude. The mystic aura envelops this city and enthrals every soul that treads upon it.

The city perfectly depicts its women. Mild yet tough. Strong yet poignant. Calm yet unnervingly impatient. This city loves those who love her yet sometimes it breaks a few hearts for no visible reason. The women, like this city follow their main Goddess and during Astami when they get all decked up in sarees for their respective ‘premiks’; every guy can see a reflection of Goddess Durga in her! And if you witness the spectacle known as ‘Sindoor khela’ on the last day of Durga pujo, be rest assured that the whole imagery will stay with you till the very end.

This piece is not about what to find or do in Kolkata but to simply to try and describe my ineffable city in my own words. Kolkata – the city of Joy, which has experienced a lot of sorrow yet it stands like a timeless enigma, fearful of oblivion but fairly certain that the world will never forget the land of the poets, singers and dancers who showed the world how painfully beautiful life can be.

“Like a candle burning on both ends; my city is nothing but a spectacular and gorgeous mess.”

What goes around comes around.. :) 


Little Meher is a graduate today, ready to explore the world all alone. Her father still reminisces the day she had reached out to him with her arms wide open to say ‘Papa’ 

Yes that ‘Papa ki Pari’  was all set to go the distance and face the hideous world. She is jovial, kind and confident. She packs her bag, heads for the station. 

phone rings

“Come back! He’s no more”, a voice from other end said nothing further and hung up the call. 

Clueless Wridwik, took his wallet, banged the door and called for a cab. 

Trains these days need a 4 month prior booking yet people fight for seats. Wridwik booked 4 hours before the train was scheduled. Naturally, he was bound to be in que and nowhere he could expect a reserved seat for the long 26 hours journey way back to his home. 

“64 to board from Bhubaneshwar, so I can manage there for the time being”,Wridwik murmured as he checked the list of passengers. 

Their journey started from Howrah station with them taking two different trains, 

After years, they’re heading for Howrah on the same train. Has destiny planned something for them or will they write their own? 

Let’s see… 

There’s much more than a match!

As I scroll down my news feed; I see something that is peculiar yet quite palatable. I see countless posts; memes, videos and even status updates regarding a cricket match. Let me rephrase that, THE cricket match! It is the most exciting encounter of any given tournament. An encounter that is not just limited to the field but which has a direct connection to tens of thousands of heartbeats sprawled across two nations; two nations that have earned an infamous reputation of being used as synonyms to conflict, war, despair and animosity. Two nations who have subjected their populations to countless battles and unnecessary violence. Two nations that have fought like siblings bickering over who is more beloved to their mother. They justify by saying that it is not just a match but it is an emotion! Basking over a few consecutive victories and making the mistake of identifying oneself as invincible is not an emotion but simply hypocrisy! A sportsman is not supposed to be affected by any personal or national prejudice while playing for their respective countries but what can a team possibly do if the very people they represent are so whimsical and frenzied that all of their attention is focused on the possible outcome of their match and the repercussions that’ll follow! How patriotic of us to subject our players to such magnanimous pressure before a game that has such paramount importance; not because of who the opponent is but because it is the final match which the team has reached after going through extreme amounts of hard work and training?

To all those baffled minds who fail to grasp this; I have but one thing to say, we need not be patriotic only when it’s the 15th of August or the 26th of January or when we play against Pakistan. If patriotism is what you want to showcase, do it by bettering your country rather than by demeaning another country’s sportsmen. The game that our country is synonymous to doesn’t need this kind of orchestrated chaos and disparagement.

It is not only about a match tomorrow or which team wins and who gets the Man of the match award; tomorrow is the day we celebrate those who have single – handedly won every Man of the match award in the innumerable matches that life had to offer! Tomorrow is the day to recognize the Clark Kent’s in our lives who have been our Superman all along. Tomorrow is the day to acknowledge all the Bruce Wayne’s in our lives who have been switching into whosoever we need them to be; may it be the suave cool dad in front of friends or the chiding Dark Knight who silently swallows our anger and subjects themselves to harm just to protect us! Tomorrow is more important for that bald, pot-bellied man sitting beside you watching the same news over and over again! Tomorrow is the day you are a Son/Daughter first and a convenient patriot later! Cheers to the reason why we had a chance to see this final and all the myriad things we lay our eyes upon! Thank you for making sure we had a Real Superhero to look up to when the facade of cartoons and comic books broke.

To Every Father, Dad, Daddy, Papa, Dadzyy, Paaaa out there.. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

Dark lights

The lights ushered into my eyes when I first opened them to see the world I was born into. It was strange as everything seemed blurry and vague but I could hear some sound around me. The first clear image that I saw was of an object, hovering over my face, enveloping my body with a pinkish, soft thing sticking out of the mouth. Soon I realized that some watery substance was enveloping me amidst squeals of noises I had never heard before. Who were these strange angular faces with two bulging brown dots and the tip of their faces marked with a black patch with two holes and why on Earth was I been ogled at?  Why was this particular being licking the hell out of me! My eyes shift upwards towards myriad streams of lights spreading against a vast space of darkness. A humongous bang disperses the accumulated crowd and sudden wails reach the side of my face. I am picked up by my neck and I am carried somewhere away from the noises and my eyes shut close.

It was five whole weeks later that I learnt about the significance of that episode that glorious night when my eyes decided to open themselves and enjoy the sensation of sight. I had the privilege of understanding what I was and for those of you reading this who could not grasp such an obvious predicament.. for you all, I shall have to clarify that yes indeed I, Bholu, am a ROADACIAN; or commonly known as a Street Dog. The one licking me with all her might that night and the one who carried me in his mouth after that awfully loud noise were my parents. They were solely responsible for my birth and they were going to be the ones to look after me till I could start looking after myself.

My mother, who’s licking had increased since that night was a very strange being. Enveloping us in umpteen amounts of her saliva one moment and in the very next she had her teeth out, chiding her lungs out at her husband or us. Ah! Well that brings me to “us”; namely Chintu, my elder brother, Sadhu and Ghushan, my elder sisters and Nonte, my younger brother. Yes people you just read five hilarious names but to you I should inform that all these names were christened to us by none other than another kin of your race. Sarcasm must be noted. This human whom I just mentioned, named us even before our own parents could assemble all of us together! They were not at all surprised because even their names had been given by this very same woman whom everyone called ‘Mashi’. It occurred to me that this Mashi was a famous woman as everyone who came to her shop knew her by her name. We used to loiter around all day near her shop looking for scrapes that some humans graciously left for us to nibble at and at night we took shelter in the neighborhood. Some nights were good if we could sneak in and sleep at the front porches of the nearby houses while most were plagued with mid night rants from the occupants of those houses whose front porches we used for a mere four or five hours. From a very early age we knew that our lives were hard as mostly we had the nights mentioned latter. Thus, my journey of life started with my four siblings but there was one major difference between them and me… I had the huge honor of being born on that fateful day known to you humans as Deepavali; the Festival of Lights.

The reason I had to mention such a trivial fact is that for humans my birth date is a symbol of the triumph of Good over Evil, a festival that dresses the melancholic night sky with innumerous arrays of colours whilst in the dog world, it happens to be the Worst day of the year and such was my incredible good luck that I was born on such a day…