Here’s something i had written a few months ago.


Battling writer’s block


         Every now and then I pick up my pen and start off what I think can make a wonderful story. But no sooner have I penned a few lines than I find myself stuck, stranded right there in the midst of a potentially ‘novel’ story, with no end in sight. Oh my God, it’s the dreaded writer’s block, I fear. What is it with this affliction among writers, which puts us in a tizzy, when the mind is brimming with ideas but the pen just doesn’t seem to run at the same wavelength?


Determined to put all such doubts and queries at rest, I pull out my writing pad and sit at my desk armed with my loyal pen ready to script a brilliant article. A cup of hot tea stands by to rejuvenate those grey cells just in case they’ve become rusty. Then on the virgin sheet of paper the first few words make a tentative entrance: “Sunny glanced at through the dust-covered window at the lone banyan tree which stood outside his house.” Sheesh, such a poor opening. I rip the page off the pad, crumple it into an oval kinda ball – if at all it can be called a ball – and chuck it into the basket at my foot, which I always keep handy in such situations.


Okay, let’s get back to work, I tell myself. Maybe I need to write in a different genre, something which suits my style. So here goes: “Once upon a time, in a land where people had plenty to eat and drink, and disease and ill health were unheard of  …” Now I don’t need a clichéd line like that. This is it. I can’t get a decent opening even for a fairy tale. Another sheet added to the basket, and I now notice the cup of tea which was indeed hot ‘once upon a time’. I take a sip of what now tastes like a sugar supplement and promptly put it away .


My taste buds given a rude shocker, I start again. A whacky idea sprints through my edgy mind and by the time I can put it on paper, it’s gone, just like a splinter which ignites easily but is blown away by the weakest gust of wind. At the end of the whole exercise, I have written 5 stories – a decent achievement except that each tale has not more than two sentences to it. So much for a budding author! 


But looking at the brighter side, at least I’ve got something to work on for the next week . Before that there’s one thing I need to do – get another writing pad soon for this one’s lost more than half its pages to the dustbin.

Back after a weeklong hibernation largely due to a terrible throat infection. Tried a few prescriptions from the remedial menu – Mom’s enthusiastically recommended homoeopathic pills (these white balls look and taste the same to me, no matter what ailment they’re meant for), salt water gargles, Kanthill (Ayurvedic stuff), ginger tea and of course those bitter tablets from the medicine man. Also had a friend suggesting a mix of honey and lemon; wonder how many different therapies might be existing for a sore throat. Now, a week and half a dozen tested remedies later, I think I have recovered through this ordeal; whether I should accredit it to the many concoctions I’ve sampled or to the sheer passage of time is a debatable matter .. . One thing is for sure: I did turn myself into a guinea pig trying to overcome this resilient affliction.


 


Enrolled for a Java course this weekend, it’s been interesting so far and I’m glad my programming concepts are still good even though I’ve not done any coding for quite some time now. Besides, it’s also good to learn something new, more so for the experimenter that I am. It’s kept me busy as well; though I must say I miss being with my pals at Rameshwar. This is a humble sugarcane juice stall where we’ve been hanging out lately. It’s great fun being there in the evenings especially when it rains, munching on hot vada pavs, watching the raindrops leisurely slide down the banyan tree outside, people walking back home dodging the muddy slush that’s typical of most places here.


 


Now this walking in the rain without painting your backside with wet brown spots is an art in itself. Most Mumbaikars have mastered it with experience. And to the uninitiated here’s how to do it: pinch the sides of your trousers and pull them up a few inches. Then move forward stepping only on your toes. Caution: Do not in any condition ground your heels or the whole exercise may be wasted. Repeat this procedure whenever you encounter a puddle. I have always tried this whenever I’m out on a rainy day, albeit with 0 % success … 

Inspiring lines from Learning to Fly, a track by Pink Floyd. One of my all time favorites from the pioneers of psychedelic rock, this is pure poetry put to music.


 


 


Learning to fly

Into the distance, a ribbon of black
stretched to the point of no turning back
a flight of fancy on a wind swept field
standing alone my sense reeled
a fatal attraction holding me fast, how
can I escape this irresistible grasp?
can’t keep my eyes from the circling sky
tongue-tied & twisted just an earthbound misfit, I
ice is forming on the tips of my wings
unheeded warnings, I thought I thought of everything
no navigator to guide my way home
unladened, empty and turned to stone


 




A soul in tension that’s learning to fly
condition grounded but determined to try
can’t keep my eyes from the circling skies
tongue-tied & twisted just an earthbound misfit, I.

Above the planet on a wing and a prayer
my grubby halo, a vapour trail in the empty air
across the clouds I see my shadow fly
out of the corner of my watering eye
a dream unthreatened by the morning light
could blow this soul right through the roof of the night.

there’s no sensation to compare with this
suspended animation, a state of bliss
can’t keep my mind from the circling sky
tongue-tied & twisted just an earthbound misfit, I

The day of reckoning


Its time for the final charade in the half-a-decade periodic phenomenon, commonly known as the Lok Sabha elections. As counting goes on today throughout this nation – where for once politicians and film stars have usurped front page media-bytes from the men in blue – I wonder what the candidates must be doing. Having a pooja to invoke the gods or pacing up and down with an ever-increasing anxiety or sitting glued to the tube to catch up on the latest poll drama? Guess we could have a reality show about this rigmarole, depicting how Messrs Advani, Sonia et al deal with this last round.


 


I infer counting will be a lot easier this time with EVMs (electronic voting machines to the ignoramuses) instead of the bulky ballot boxes; and foolproof too, but you never know – some scheming neta may well have found a new mechanism to bungle up with technology. So booth capturing might soon be an obsolete trade giving way to more evolved and less conspicuous forms of chicanery. As Bob Dylan crooned in the 60’s “The times they are a changin’”.


 


While I’m writing this, I learn the results are coming in and it seems we are in for a star studded Parliament this time: gaudy Govinda, Garam Dharam Paaji and also the ever eloquent Navjot Sidhu – now the debates in Parliament will last longer, rest assured. Hope these celebrities do use their clout in actually doing some work as well.

A tongue-in-cheek account of the English Premier League season as it draws to a close (Hey Arvind, I guess you’d agree, do let me know of your nominees in case you don’t).


 


Team Player of the season: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Chelsea)


Defender of the season: Lauren (Arsenal), his self-goal against Manchester City would have done any striker proud…actually it was difficult to know which team he was playing for.


Goalkeeper of the season: Edwin Van der Sar (Fulham), for having the nerve to dribble one-on-one with Jose Antonio Reyes in the 15-yard box, only to find the ball in the net.


Team of the season: Leeds United, from contenders for Europe to battlers avoiding relegation; what’s going on guys?


Best striker: Henry Camara (Wolverhampton Wanderers), his woeful early season hit rock bottom in the home game against Manchester United, did well to redeem himself in the closing rounds though.


Best goal celebration: It’s Jimmy again with his MJ-inspired moonwalk: at least that’s what he seemed to be trying each time he scored a goal.

These are some of my friends who are so very dear to me.


 


Arvind:


My buddy since the past three years. Ally at college quizzes and fellow rebel in defying the college authorities. Together during our college days, we got into hot water with the profs occasionally (I bet he enjoyed it every bit as much as I did), now we share laughs over things others wouldn’t find remotely funny (Jimmy, Angel, Aamir Sohail… the list could go on). At first glance he’d appear to have a devil may care attitude, but probe a little below the surface and you’d find him really conscientious at heart. He’s been the calming influence to me in really tough times with his words of optimism and motivation. Amazingly intuitive and analytical when it comes to interpreting people, I guess he’d make a great counselor. Hey Arvind, ever thought of that as an alternate career?


 


Amit, Selwyn and Spencer:


Sorry for grouping the three together but there’s just no way of mentioning any one of them without the others. Great pals right since school days, they’ve known me through different phases – in school when I was a tad arrogant and impulsive, in college as we kept discovering ourselves and even now though our different lifestyles do not allow us to meet as frequently as before. Amit, the affable dude, with a mischievous grin that’s so infectious, could endear himself to almost anyone instantaneously. A flamboyant actor also gifted with a fantastic stage presence. Selwyn’s the chap with a head perfectly balanced on his broad shoulders. He’s always at hand to lend a listening ear, though I must admit, his silence can sometimes get boring. Another candid confession: I do envy the way he seems to be in control most of the time. Spencer is undoubtedly the entertainer, the man with the laugh-a-minute gags and his own version of Mithunda’s dancing style. The four of us have such contrasting personalities, yet blend in so easily even if we’ve met after a long time. Together we’ve talked about anything and everything under the sun, be it girls, careers, sports or movies, usually in that order,  .


 


Priyanka:


Brash, in your face, unconventional, staunch feminist and oh yes, abundantly talented. I admire her for her attitude of never caving in to any pressure from whomsoever and sticking to her guns. She’s one of the most hardworking people I have known and I guess I could take a leaf out of her book of time management and scheduling.


 


Roselyn:


The eternal dreamer, the diehard romantic almost detached from reality, that’s Roselyn for you. Definitely one of the most intriguing people I have come across: her theory of perfection (or perfect imperfection) is one thing I’ve yet to come to terms with. Given her opinionated nature, she has a refreshing perspective about most things and I’ve had many an interesting – or should I say vociferous – debate with her. Dominant and attention seeking at times, but also high on creativity and intelligence, her idiosyncrasies – her fascination for Gulmohar trees, for one – never cease to surprise me.


 


So these are my friends and together they fit into my world making it a vibrant colourful mosaic, each adding his/her own flavour to it.


 


Psss… I hope all the aforementioned people do read this, I’m waiting for a thank you note from each of them  

Turned 23 last Friday. Had a great birthday at the office and also at home with some friends coming over. Guess everyone likes birthdays, that special treatment from parents and siblings, the extra attention from friends. But then there’s also the feeling that you’ve grown a year older and you’re supposed to be more mature than before, less impulsive and more reasonable. Man I hate growing up!!!


 


As I look back on the last year, I realize I’ve changed an awful lot. So many new things discovered, unchartered areas explored and yet there’s so much more to learn, so much more to find out. So much has changed in the past one year. I’m out of college and how I miss it. Remember all my pals and all the great times we had together, with all those sad PJs (Chris – you ruled in this department), the weird nicknames (Rivaldo – yours truly for his antics on the football field, Suleman – Vaibhav, the mediator, Bevda – Arvind, I never figured out why), the clashes on the football field, the petty squabbles for a foul or a freekick, we did have a rocking time then. Made some real good friends and I hope we keep in touch.


 


This first year after college seems to have brought about a metamorphosis in me. I guess most people go through some transformation in their early twenties. I realize I’ve now gotta fend for myself, that I’ve gotta take on more responsibility. I now see how I am different from the rest, have a fair idea of my talents and vulnerabilities, notice my idiosyncrasies and have learnt to accept them, maybe even laugh at them. I’ve found the answers to some of my questions, yet there are so many more to be resolved. Does God exist? What is the purpose of my existence? Time has mellowed me down. I wonder if there is enough time to do all the things I want to do and if not, then what should I give up?


 


I know this is a phase, a phase which is an adventure of self-discovery and revelation. I’m enjoying it and I know this will make me a stronger and more determined person.