Sunday, May 31, 2009

Not a poem

On his throne of white marble,
the thinking man,
ponders much,
and leaves yesterday behind.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A moment for you

Cycle down a deserted dark road with the wind blowing through your hair.
Forget about the helmet.

Let your mind replay every single word of The Argument Sketch.
Laugh until your eyes water.

Remember times of madness, of raucous laughter, of friends, of photographs.
Things always look better in retrospect, don't they?

Shout out the lines to every ridiculous Hindi song stuck in your head.
"Suraksha, Suraksha, teri karenge saaton janam!"

Talk to yourself all you want. Entirely in cliches. In Klingon. Backwards.
No one's listening in.

Search for answers to your questions.
Now's a good time to start.

Cry for lost opportunities. Cry for the things that did not go as you wished they would.
You're the only one who really cares.

Scream for the times you screwed up. Scream for a better you.
Pedal ahead.

Dream of belonging, warmth and company.
They're all yours.

Live.
For you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lilian

He looked out of the window as a stream of water droplets sped downwards outside the cold glass pane. This was going to be one long plane journey. He never liked to travel alone - there were no interesting people on flights anymore, just fat middle-aged women whining about the cramped seating and bald guys in suits reading a fat bunch of papers.

Just when he was about to put on his earphones to drown out the numbing silence, he noticed a pair of sparkling eyes looking at him from between the seats in front of him. When he looked at them, they disappeared. A minute later, they reappeared, this time from above the seat. The eyes had the familiar shyness, and yet a mischievous tinge. This time he looked out of the window like he couldn't see them peering down at him, and then suddenly stared back. The eyes slid out of sight. This game of hide-and-seek continued for a while.

The face to which those eyes belonged was now smiling down at him over the edge of the seat. As he smiled back, he looked deep into those eyes. In that most innocent of moments, he had found a happiness he always searched for. A true love, untainted. Words were unnecessary. A mutual understanding. There were no agendas, no perspectives, no opinions. A jump back to a time in life where things were simple and straightforward.

Before their game of who-blinks-first could end, a rather grumpy mother called out, "Lily, get back in your seat and put on your seatbelt, we're about to land!"

Lilian had given him so much.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Of Identity

Is he my skin?
Is he my eyes?
My several faces,
or my sole disguise?

Is he my anger?
Is he my pity?
Is he unique,
a single entity?

Is he my mirth?
Is he my fall?
From the outside,
Is he my wall?

Is he a loner?
Is he my friends?
Is he my ambitions?
My means, my ends?

Is he my beginning?
Is he my fate?
A randomly chosen
personality trait?

Of people I meet,
Is he a blend?
And when I'm gone,
is he my end?

And every morning,
I stare at the mirror.
Is he really me?
Am I truly him?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Los Angeles Metro

Aging Chinese woman, pink shirt, fading jeans, tattered shoes, trolley, huge black plastic bags, unruly kid.

Young black girl, red and white scarf around neck, green t-shirt, jeans, white shoes.

Middle-aged Hispanic man, dirty white vest, brown shorts, large sunglasses, gold necklace.

Hot Chinese girl, yellow glares, white t-shirt, tight jeans, I-Pod Touch.

Hispanic father, son hugging leg.

Two young American girls, mosquito glares, Hollywood dreams?

Large Hispanic family, chatting loudly, half a dozen kids running around.

Raucous laughter at possible Spanish joke.

Doors open.

Next stop, Universal City Station.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

All for bigger pencils

It was a fine Sunday morning. He woke up late and opened the windows. A bright and sunny day lay ahead. The new e-mail alert from Yahoo messenger sounded. He'd forgotten to switch off the computer at night, and it had switched off the monitor to save power. He pressed a key and the box whirred back to life. A flickery screen showed him that the new mail in his inbox had been sent by a Eugenia Jimenez. He clicked on the link and Yahoo mail opened up. He browsed to his inbox, and found the mail. It had a weird subject line, and he could not figure out why a strange unknown lady would send him an email.


He opened the email, but it just contained a link to some website where you could buy things online, and more words that seemed to make no sense. Intrigued by this unexpected turn of events, he called up his friend and invited him over to check out this email that he'd recieved. This guy had been using the internet for more than two years now, he'd know for sure what the email meant. Mom and dad couldn't know of this, they would surely email the nice Mexican lady and tell her not to email their son. His friend came over, and he showed him the email.

The friend pondered over the email and delivered his conclusion. "Who wouldn't want a bigger pencil?", he said, "This thing sounds really interesting. From what the email says, its some kind of natural cream made from herbs that increases the size of your pencil. Makes sense, na? Pencils are made from trees, and a cream made from herbs helps it to grow. Think of all the money we would save if we made all our pencils larger. We wouldn't have to buy pencils for weeks and years. Our classmates would marvel at the size of our pencils and we'd be the most popular guys in class. 10$ for all this. It will be worth it. I'll even split the cost with you, and we can share it. I have my dad's credit card number, he won't mind me using it, and you can pay me in cash."

It sounded good. Those long pencils were available in stores too, but his mom would never let him buy them, she said they were useless for writing purposes. Now he could make his own, as many of them as he wanted. The cash could come from the money he'd been saving up for a new bicycle. 5$ wouldn't take too long to accumulate. "I agree", he said to his friend, "Let's do it!"

The friend clicked on the reply button.
Hello Miss Jimenez,

I and my friend am tired of having short pencils and would like to make them bigger so we can impress our friends. The price of 10$ is acceptable to us, please let us know how we can pay for it.

They waited for a reply from Miss Jimenez until evening, when it finally arrived. All it had was a link to a Paypal account where they could simply put in the credit card details and be done with the payment. The friend pulled out a piece of paper from his wallet with his dad's credit card details written on it. A couple of minutes later, the payment was done, and all they had to do was wait for the cream to arrive.

It was a long week. He checked their mailbox everytime he saw the postman, lest his parents find out about their secret plan. But sure enough, there was a small box in their mailbox the next Sunday addressed to him. He made sure no one was watching, snuck it out of the mailbox, shoved it into his pocket and ran up to his room . He ran up to his room, and called up the friend. He ran over in minutes, excitement in his eyes. The box lay unopened on the table. Strangely, the "Pencil enhancement solution" sticker on the front was misspelled.

Co-incidentally, the friend's father happend to recieve his credit card statement in the mail that morning. A strange entry marked for 10$ caught the his attention. The name of the merchant sounded very suspicious, and he definitely hadn't made any such purchases recently. The father looked around for his son, but his wife told him that he'd gone over to his classmate's house. He placed a call to the parents and told him that he and his wife were coming over, explained the situation to him and then rushed over to their place. The parents were waiting at the door with a look of anxiety. The four of them rushed upstairs to the boy's room and opened the door.

They would never forget the day they caught their thirteen-year old sons frantically rubbing cream meant for "male enhancement", onto their entire set of pencils.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Another

The lights came on. They didn't serve any purpose for him other than to give a vague sense of light from under the eyelids.

Life, he thought. What a letdown it had been. The past day came rushing back.

He'd been trying to complete another assignment the previous night, and to catch up on some project work, trying to figure out how to bring it all together, all that he had been working on for the past few weeks. He'd dozed off on his keyboard midway, letting loose a stream of characters on the screen. The mail alert on his computer had woken him up soon after, and he'd managed to complete just enough of the assignments to get him through the day.

The clock blinked 7:00 and beeped. He hit the snooze button and struggled to catch up on some sleep. The beam of sunlight that crept from behind the curtains didn't help matters. He yawned and finally let go of his blanket. His eyes hurt and he had a nice throbbing headache that would probably stay with him for the rest of the day. The past few days had been a blur, for many reasons. Fuck, its that guy's lecture at 9:30 today. He'd missed a lot of his lectures already, in part due to some work he was doing for his old school, but mostly because somehow he didn't care anymore.

Man, he'd been such a bright student back then. A brilliant record since school, but a few marks lost in the HSC exams had landed him here. He'd been a good student through the early semesters, listening with interest to his professors, taking it all in, looking with amazement at how a few equations and some abstract mathematical concepts changed the way he looked at the world. The subjects had seemed really invigorating, a breath of fresh air from the dreadfully boring HSC. This happiness had reflected in his marks, and all was well, for a while. But as the semesters wore on, the sheen had worn off, few professors seemed to be truly interested in what they taught, and he had somehow lost interest in them too. The subjects in themselves were still good, but the drive for learning them in their true spirit seemed to have disappeared from him.

He took a bath, put on some random clothes from the cupboard and left for college. He'd reached just in time before the professor arrived in class, and the class stared up at him when he entered. He'd been such a good guy. People looked up to him for help, and never hesitated to help him out when needed. Of late, that had disappeared too. It was like he'd retracted into a cold shell, that never let anyone else inside. He replied to everyone in a curt and cold tone, and an expressionless face. The teachers could feel it too, where had he gone wrong? What happened to the guy who did all his assignments himself, knew the answers to all the questions? The professor entered sharp at 9:30. The subject being taught had been one of his favorites, but it seemed to take on a dull tone during the professor's lecture. He barely looked up at the professor, and went on scribbling away in his notebook.

And then there was her. The image of her, seemingly left untouched by this horrible grey world that seemed to envelop him, had kept him going. A tinge of colour in the essentially grey, so stunningly beautiful, he thought. But then, the image had begun to fade away now, in a flood of tears he hadn't cried. I've never looked at you that way. Not that he hadn't expected it, but that never served to dull the blow. What would someone as lovely and bright as her, look for in an average engineer anyway? His scribbling took on a furious pace, and he ended up tearing the page out. The professor looked at him under his glasses.

His friend sat beside him through the lectures. What the fuck is wrong with you, man? You look a little dazed. Chutiyagiri mat kar, attend at least his lectures. He can screw up your term work and mess up your vivas you know? What is up with you nowadays? Even she was asking me why you didn't attend college for the last few days. How's your project going? Chal kutte, canteen chalte hain, its the break, you know.

He didn't reply. Food seemed to be the last of his priorities. He'd grown thinner in the past year, and had dark circles under his eyes from working on the computer for long hours. The day dragged on. Professors entered and left, but he never made eye contact with any of them, even the ones who'd known him since the first day of college.

The future, he thought. What did it hold for him? He could take up one of those coding jobs at the dozens of IT companies that frequented his college. But that was not what he wanted to be, even if it meant financial independence and a disposable salary. Higher education seemed like a distant dream. His parents had wanted him to go for a Masters degree, but that meant additional exams, and currently, he was too overwhelmed with the regular college work to study. What a letdown he must have been for them. His brother had gone on to do his Masters and was currently doing a fully funded PhD at a great university. His brother would regularly write emails to him, advising him on what to do in order to get into a good university. Earlier, he read with wonder about the amazing facilities and courses, but recently he'd taken to deleting the emails without reading them. Mom and Dad, he was sure they were worried and to some extent, disappointed at how he'd turned out. There he was, another average engineer among the hordes.

Chal be, lectures khatam. His friend was talking to him again. He'd let them down. Each and every one of them. Poora class nikal gaya hai be, we're going by train today. Coming? He shook his head, muttered a vague no, and walked out of the class.

The bus stand. He'd spent a whole lot of time here, waiting for the buses to arrive, hoping he'd get a seat. Buses came and went, but none seemed to have his destination written on them. People boarded and left, and after some time he felt like he was the only one who was left at the bus stop. He put on his earplugs and turned on his MP3 player. The song playing was High Hopes by Floyd. How appropriate. He loved to listen to music. Metallica, Floyd, the masters. They could speak to him as he wanted it, clear and true. The music served to wash away his thoughts. A kitten brushed past his leg and purred. He lifted it up onto his lap. Lucky chap, he smiled. The kitten would never be as miserable as he was.

Suddenly he gasped, and opened his eyes. His eyesight was a blur. He couldn't make out any faces, but they all seemed to be dressed entirely in green. One of them spoke to him. He's awake, finally. Do you remember who you are, kid? He shook his head and tried to bring his hands up to clear out his eyes, but couldn't move them at all. Might be temporary retrograde amnesia, Doctor. Do you remember anything about what happend? The bus that hit you, do you remember?

Gasp. Every inch of him pained like never before. He closed his eyes again. The bus. Had he really walked out onto the street right in front of it? Had it been an accident? Suddenly, he felt better about everything. He could turn it all around. He could prove it to them. He could work hard again. He could make his parents happy. He could do a Masters degree and land a good job. He could make it all work. Somewhere in his head, Coming Back To Life by Floyd played itself out in full surround. He just needed another shot at it, another chance, he really could.

Gasp. His eyes opened again as a stinging pain ripped through his chest. A series of fast beeps came from the machine beside him. He's fibrillating, doctor! Administer 25 c.c. of Epinephrin, stat! Ready the defibrillation kit, nurse! There was a final long unending beep. He's flatlining! Code red!

Another average engineer. Not anymore, he wasn't. The grey world spun around him and faded to black.