Saturday, July 9, 2016

Built Like A Gun. Rides Like A Bullet.

There is something about putting on a leather jacket, heavy duty boots, gloves and a helmet and riding a motorcycle, which is indescribable. Many men have tried to put this experience into words, and they have failed miserably, even inevitably. Riding a motorcycle is more than just transportation from an origin to a destination. The road calls out to you, with open skies lighting the way, and the swishing and swooshing of the wind providing the background score. Nothing makes a person more alive than the pure joy of being able to ride a motorcycle on open roads with no destination in mind. And when the motorcycle is a Royal Enfield Bullet, then opinions, criticisms and questions get buried deep within the crags of the earth. Riding a Bullet is liberating to the point of insanity, yet captivating to the point of rapture.

The roar of the engine and the majestic thump of the silencer make the Bullet a unique motorcycle in India. You can get off a Royal Enfield and be sure that people will tend to take notice. This is why the Bullet is such an exclusive vehicle, with waiting periods almost up to a year for some of the models. Owning and riding a Bullet also places one into an elite club of Bullet enthusiasts who have relished riding one for decades and generations. The brotherhood that develops between two men riding a Bullet is unparalleled and binds them for life.

In India, owning a Bullet has become akin to having taken a road trip to certain destinations, the foremost of these being Leh-Ladakh. People expect you to have ridden there on your Bullet, and having taken the customary selfie. But that is not the essence of being a Bullet rider. A Bullet is not only meant for trundling only the roads of the Leh-Ladakh region, but also for grinding it through waterfalls that crack up roads, for pushing it through dense forests, for cruising on it on open highways and for riding it into the sunset. Any person who rides a Bullet understands that it is not about the destination on a Bullet, it is about the journey.

A Bullet is a beast that is not tamed. It has a mind of its own. It is moody and irritable. Sometimes, it may start with the first kick even after lying idle for a month. But sometimes, it doesn’t even start despite the engine being warm. You cannot explain why a Bullet does what it does. While a Bullet is famous for its thump, weight, overall build quality and stability, it is also known for the vibrations during the ride, its infamous back-kicks and surprise breakdowns. It is like a lover who needs your constant care and attention, and yet can still inexplicably be upset at you for no reason at all. But like any lover on earth, you do not give up on a Bullet.

No, it is not the fastest motorcycle, it is not affordable by all, and it also does not give the greatest mileage in the motorcycles segment in India. But once you ride a Bullet, every other motorcycle seems like a moped in comparison. When you ride a Bullet, you are no longer a mere mortal. You rise above the vagaries and vicissitudes of life, and see life from afar. Your own petty despairs, joys, agonies, and ecstasies feel like emotions suiting only a child. Your soul rises above the shanty rooftops of the limitations of your mind, and unlocks a world of serenity and tranquility.

If you have ridden a Bullet, you know exactly what I am talking about. If you haven’t ridden one yet, do so now and thank me later. I guarantee that it will change your life.

Ride on. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Space - The Final Frontier.

I attended a lecture today on the Mars Orbiter Mission successfully conducted by the ISRO, by Dr. Narayan K., a scientist from ISRO.

Most people there felt pride after the session. Many people were happy about our achievements as a nation and what we have achieved, despite the naysayers. Some people even asked about why we could not find the lost Malaysian Airlines plane despite having technology that enables us to reach Mars.

I was feeling very proud initially. However, now my pride has turned into a sense of under-achievement.

And regret.

I wanted to be an astronaut. I always have. I may never have voiced it, but for me, as a child, and as a teenager growing into manhood, space fascinated me. To go where no man has gone before. Wow, what a feeling that must be! To float, and see stars, and go through black holes, and dodge space debris, and soak in some of the radiation from an unknown cosmos and become vulnerable to the beauty and the serenity of eternal space.

But I could never achieve it. And I know no way of me achieving it now, unless I am rich enough to buy tickets for a commercial flight into space. And frankly, that isn't happening either.

I should have never lost focus on this one dream, one desire. It's hurting now to know that I may never make it into space, forget being on Mars or some distant planet that man has not yet reached or discovered.

I will always be bereft of my biggest longing.

Space. The Final Frontier.

- Vinaykrishnan.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Forgotten Melodies

Conversations that we've forgotten,
Tales that we've skipped,
In the passing of the years,
The songs that we've missed,

What can we hear, that sounds shall tell us,
Mere music, even notes, and tones that can move us,

Wishing for the days past,
And some glorious forever,

I want to relive them,
Now and forever.

- Vinaykrishnan.

P.S. Baby, you always seem to inspire me, I don't know how.

Friday, October 4, 2013

An evening to remember - Danseuse and Goddess, Mallika Sarabhai

Today, I bore witness to something so elegant, so wondrous, so intellectually appealing, and so powerful, that putting it into words is not ever giving it enough justice. I am blessed to have seen a Goddess - Mallika Sarabhai - perform the most wonderful theater act that I have ever seen. 

Lucky that Nishtha read the newspaper today and found out that Mallika Sarabhai was performing today at her family's own, the Natarani Theatre, at the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts (DAPA). Established by her mother, the famous danseuse Mrinalini Sarabhai, and her father, the Father of Indian Space Program, Vikram Sarabhai in 1949, the DAPA is a school for performing arts in Ahmedabad; its departments ranging from performance and teaching of the arts, to the use of performance and arts as development communication, through face-to-face impact. Mallika herself has been Director here for more than 30 years now. 

We reached the Natarani Theatre, unsure of whether we would get passes for this act, given that Mallika Sarabhai herself was performing. The crowd had come in numbers, and frankly I have not seen such a great crowd in Ahmedabad before this. The crème de la crème of society were in attendance, all eager to get the best seats possible at the amphitheater. 

As an interesting side-incident, we were about to buy the INR 200 passes, when a young lady who was right there at the counter intervened. She said she had a couple of extra passes and that we could have them. I pulled out money from my wallet to pay her, but she refused, saying that she herself got them complimentary and would not take any money. We thanked her profusely and went inside, beaming with joy at our luck in finding a good samaritan. The world is not empty of such people indeed.

We took seats at the top flight of stairs at the amphitheater, and had a great view of the entire place. The stage had a black curtain backdrop, with many expression masks kept at various places on the stage. The wooden floor of the stage at the bottom of the amphitheater were a deep oak brown, the rear end of which had the music instruments for the act. 

People poured in, and in about 10 minutes, the entire amphitheater was packed to the brim - I estimated a good 250 people in the audience. The musicians walked out on stage, and took their positions. 

Then grace, beauty and elegance themselves came on the stage in the form of Mallika Sarabhai. Never have I seen an individual with the aura of grandiose splendor like her. She came, took the centre of the stage, bowed and greeted us with a Namaste, the whole crowd applauding her.

"I have a confession to make," she started. "For all those of you who have come to see a Bharatnatyam recital, the exit doors are still open. I am not here to do a recital, but to talk to you about a woman called Sita."

Not a single soul stirred from their seats. 

Mallika talked about how she started performing this act in 1990, when she was still pregnant with her second child, a daughter, and how she did it across over 40 countries for the next 8 years. But that given the current state of India, and how dangerous it is to be a woman in India right now, this act makes more sense and needs more spreading today than ever before. 

The next 45 minutes were easily the most captivating moments I've been in, in a long time. Mallika went through her performance like a hot knife through butter. Every single moment, every single word, every single action, every single music note, every single high and low of the act - gripping, powerful and enthralling. The act in itself is a contradiction against every train of thought, every thread of perspective that we have held over the generations. Sita is no longer demure, obedient and sacrificing; but is angry, dejected and rebellious. She calls Lord Rama shameful, and questions his power, his omniscience, and his Godliness. 

The act depicts the Ramayana from Sita's perspective, the battle of a teacher against her rapist, of a doctor against female foeticide, of a Krishna devotee (Meera) against society and family. This one-woman act is a celebration of a woman's power, courage and bravery to rebel against social dogmas, against societal pressures, and against familial exploitation. It showcases the connection between a woman and nature, between a devotee and her God, and between a child and its mother.

The act ended and I could breathe. Till that point of time, I was unaware of my senses, my feelings, whether the person sitting next to me was still there or not. I had lost track of time, and was in raptures of awe, delight, agony, ecstasy, joy and anger. Mallika Sarabhai kept me hooked, and I did not blink even once. Her grace of movement, the diction of her speech, the meaning of her words, the expressions on her face - graceful, charming, elegant and sophisticated. I have never been so enthralled by a performance in my life. 

Like all good things, the act ended too soon. Mallika waved to a standing ovation by the whole crowd, all of whom were emotionally stirred and overwhelmed. She exited the stage, suddenly the whole aura of brilliance faded and normalcy was restored. But this normalcy was now a void. Mallika Sarabhai had awakened a torrent of emotions in all of us, and even the most stoic and staid personalities must have felt a small tug at their minds - mine said, "Don't go, Mallika. The world is a dreary place without you, like a photo without colours, a photo that would be pleasing to the eye only if it had colours."

We returned home later this night, only to be lost in our own thoughts of this evening - an act worthy of applause, a danseuse worthy of ovation, and a lady worthy of adulation. 

Thank you, Mallika Sarabhai.

- Vinaykrishnan and Nishtha.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mandu - A weekend getaway in the Heart of Incredible India

There's a popular new advertisement making the rounds on television and on the social media arenas of FB, Twitter and Youtube. It's by the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board, tagging themselves the Heart of Incredible India.

One of the places mentioned in this ad is Mandu, near Indore. Mandu ke dekho bhavya mahal (See the grand palaces of Mandu) AND Mandu main mahal dekhne aaye, Jahaaz dekha chakkar khaaye (Came to see the palace in Mandu, went loopy after seeing the Ship) goes the tagline. This, coupled by a few good reviews from friends, prompted us to take a quick trip to this hill station in Madhya Pradesh.

About 50 miles from the city of Indore in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Mandu or Mandav, is a fortress town off the highway. From Ahmedabad, we took a bus to Indore late in the evening, and in about 7 hours, we were at the city of Dhar. The district of Dhar contains Mandu, and buses from Dhar to Mandu ply every hour starting from dawn till dusk.

The first thing that hits you about Mandu is the huge walls of the fortresses, and the gates through which the road snakes up the hills. The gates are splendid, huge and pretty much intact, given that the town's monuments have a documented history of more than 800 years. The bus trudged along the spirals, each gear straining for that extra bit of energy, hoping to make it to the top.

And finally we did. In about an hour's time from Dhar, we were at the bus stand in Mandu, which also happens to be the central square of the town. Home to the rather grand Jami Masjid (Gathering Mosque), this central square comes to life in the morning itself, with lots of small tea and snack stalls, a few cigarette and tobacco stalls, a couple of small eateries and a few grocery stores. The Victory Monument standing opposite the Jami Masjid here was built after the Mughals became victorious over Baz Bahadur, who used to be ruler of the Mandu region.

Jami Masjid - Town Square at Mandu


The weather is the highlight of the place. There is no real concept of "hot" in Mandu. You're always amongst clouds, mist and little bouts of rain that continually keep your clothes damp, but never let you feel hot or tired. There is this zing of energy in the air. You feel like you can climb mountains, walk for miles and swim across rivers, without stopping. Top class, especially if you make the trip from some place like Ahmedabad, which a lot of people are asking to be renamed to "B-l-o-o-d-y H-o-t".

We got down at the bus stand at around 7:45 AM and walked about half a kilometre to our hotel. Hotel is a very very uppity word for the place. Ajooba's is basically a 3-room structure, with mattresses laid out in each. Owned by a small family, Ajooba's is pretty much one of the cheapest options here, at INR 100 a night per person. With a common bathroom and toilet, it isn't grand, but is functional.

Ajooba sits on a chair out in the front, a beedi (rolled Indian  cigarette) in one hand and a newspaper in the other, welcoming people to his place. We reach to find him immediately getting a couple of chairs for us to sit, and ordering tea and water for the tired travelers.

At Ajooba's


He informs us that there was a grand party there the previous night, which pretty much lasted into the wee hours of the morning. All our friends had reached a day before us, and all of them were pretty much dead asleep. We sat for a while, had a cup of tea each, and then slowly the first of our friends started to wake up.

We met all of these folks, and then started our day. Over the two days, we roamed a lot, partied a lot, and basically chilled out in the awesome weather. We saw a lot of wonderful sights, I'm going to list out 4 of these that we went to, and spent most time at.

1. The Rupmati Pavilion:
Baz Bahadur, the last independent ruler of Mandu, fell in love with a singing shepherdess, Rupmati, who was also adept at poetry. They married and came to Mandu, where, on Rupmati's wish, Baz Bahadur had the Rupmati Pavilion built, so that Rupmati could see both her beloveds - Baz Bahadur and River Narmada - from the same place.

On the way to Rupmati Pavilion

The Rupmati Pavilion served as the military outpost of the Manu kingdom as well. Adham Khan, a general in the army of Mughal King Akbar, made war on Mandu, partly due to Akbar's orders, but mainly due to his interest in Rupmati. He defeated Baz Bahadur in Mandu, while Rupmati witnessed this from her pavilion. When Adham Khan came to claim Rani Rupmati, she chose to consume poison than succumb to this villain's desires.

Thus what began in poetry, music and beauty, and was an epic tale of romance, ended in a tragic tale of lust, war and death.


The North & South Pavilion Towers


From the south pavilion, the Narmada River was visible (not when we were there though, due to the clouds and mist). From the north pavilion, the entire Malwa plateau is visible. The whole monument is grand. We particularly noticed one thing about all the monuments here - there are no intricate carvings, unlike palaces or forts in places like Udaipur. But all the monuments in themselves are grand, well planned, well-ventilated, and fit to be the assembly courts of grand kings of old.

2. Baz Bahadur Palace:
Just about a quarter of a mile down the road from the Rupmati Mahal, I have never seen a palace so well ventilated. Like the rest of the monuments at Mandu, the Baz Bahadur palace too lacks intricate carvings or ornamentation, but the sheer size of the palace makes up for it. This palace was built in A.D. 1508, by Nasirud-Din, but Baz Bahadur took a fancy to it and made it his own abode - especially due to it's proximity to the Rupmati Pavilion.

A view of the Baz Bahadur Palace from Rupmati's Pavilion


It's highlight is a pool in the central courtyard; water reflects the sky and the nearby pillars, highlighting the architectural wonders of even that era.

The pool in the central courtyard at Baz Bahadur Palace

Reflections

Close to this place is the Rewa Kund, which is a water reservoir built by Baz Bahadur to supply water to the Rupmati Palace. The Rewa Kund is a highly revered place now, with a lot of people coming here for bathing and prayers.

Rewa Kund


3. Jahaaz Mahal (Ship Palace)
Probably the most popular place in Mandu, and surely the biggest, the Jahaaz Mahal (Ship Palace) stands true to its name. Built in the shape of a ship between two water bodies of Munja and Kapur tanks, this palace was built by the pleasure-loving ruler, Sultan Ghiyasud-Din, somewhere in the late A.D. 1400s. This palace served as the harem for his personal treasure, what is rumored to be thousands of women!

The Front View of the Jahaaz Mahal

The view of the Jahaaz Mahal from the entrance

Not only is the shape of the palace rather unique, it also boasts of wonderful gardens, a long terrace walkway and a well-maintained lake surrounding it. We were glad to see the maintenance done well, and even people were throwing litter only in dustbins.

The view of the lake and gardens at Jahaaz Mahal

On the terrace of the Jahaaz Mahal


Across


We also saw the swimming pools where the harem women would sit and bathe and the Sultan would see them daily. No wonder he was known to be such a pleasure-loving person! Imagine, walking around that well, a beautiful woman sitting on each step, all eager to look their best for their Sultan; how elated must he have felt every morning!


A Water Filtration Drain for the Pool of the Jahaaz Mahal


The Swimming Pool of the Jahaaz Mahal Palace where women of the harem would sit on the steps and bathe


Jahaaz Mahal is also more tourist-conducive, given that it offers drinking water and toilet facilities throughout the whole complex, has a galore of eateries and food stalls right outside its gates, including one "Lunch Pad", which by the way has very British chairs and tables under a huge shady tree. Perfect for a sunny day.

4. Sunset Point (Sooryaast Bindu):
The last place that I want to write about is the Sunset Point. This is easily the finest sunset point that I have seen, and I have seen many across India.

It's on the edge of one of the Tabletops of the Malwa plateau, about a kilometer from the Town Center. But I recommend not going to the actual sunset point. Before you hit the entrance of the Sunset Point, take a left. A narrow path leads to a small water body that you can walk around and come to the edge of the hill. The whole hill is covered with grass this time of the year, except the rocky outcrops, where we all sat down, beer and rum giving us company in the wonderful weather. The rain, accompanied by gusts of strong winds, abruptly appear - they make you get up, take shelter behind a tree nearby, and then disappear. This probably happens every 20 minutes. Every minute there is worth it as you soak in the entire valley in front of you, a green-land in the center, covered on the left and the right by tabletops of the plateau.

A View from the Sunset Point

Far on the right, you see a small waterfall from the top of the hill, crashing into a small pond, and then continuing further to the bottom of the hill.

See the thin line of the waterfall on the right?

That's where we sit and relax :-)

These are the places that we visited this time on our visit to Mandu. There are still a lot of palaces and ruins left in Mandu that we have to explore. Apart from the tiring bus ride from Ahmedabad to Dhar/Mandu, and an untoward accident on our way back home, (the bus crashed into the side railings of the road due to a flat tire - no one was hurt), Mandu was satisfying and we are left craving for more of it.

Mandu is that perfect place to unwind after a long week of work.Take a car, drive with a couple of friends to Mandu, stay at a a nice place, have some beer, sit at Sunset Point, take in the sights. Mandu is the kind of place that you can go to again and again, and not tire of it at all.

Mandu is definitely at the Heart of Incredible India.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My secret - You

I'm going to let you in on something,
Something that only I know,
It's not common knowledge,
And it may not be something
That will endure
For ages to come in people's minds.

But it is that which is as much part of me,
And as much because of You,
That which is the result of this poor life,
Of immaturity, poor decisions and unspeakable vices;
But that which is forever mine,
And forever yours.

My secret is 
That I've now lost to you after playing
These childish games.
And that any more games are just fake.

My secret is also 
That I am burnt by the world, by God, by myself;
I want to stop and heal myself,
And that only your words can be my balm.

My secret is also
That I have only made my life a prayer
From being in love with you,
And that every other spoken word is not endorsed by love.

My secret is also
That empowered by your love, I don't want to fall anymore,
I want to rise. 
And that too only rise the way your head rises from prayer.

My secret is also
That my arms have the habit now
Of feeling your breath on me,
And that anything else is a false promise of hope, love or joy.

You are my secret.
You are all that is left of me. 
 
You are now all that I am.

Nothing else.

- Vinaykrishnan.

Monday, February 18, 2013

On Udaipur, Great Friends and a First Anniversary

Last week, Nishtha and I celebrated our first anniversary together. We took our first vacation in a long, long time. Wanting to plan an economy budget trip, we decided to go somewhere close by - some place that does not require too much travel, and that would also have cheap avenues of stay and food. And then it hit us - Udaipur. It is only about 5 hours by road from Ahmedabad and has lots of great, inexpensive places where we could go and stay in, without burning holes in our pockets. 

Enter Jyoti and Sanal. And a hefty sponsorship for our vacation. A First Anniversary gift to us.

We love such friends!!! It still doesn't sink it - that elation of such an awesome gift from you guys! :) :)

I am eager to show you where we stayed (courtesy, J&S - thank you darlings, you guys are fantastic), but first, let me tell you something about Udaipur. It's a quaint little town, nestled in a tiny valley among the Aravali ranges. The hills themselves are not gigantic, considering that I've seen the Himalayas, but they do seem to have a certain lofted personality of their own, to say so.


The Aravali Hills - A view of the hills from atop Sajjangarh Monsoon Palace

Udaipur is not very big, but it has many attractions for visitors. We had a good time visiting many of the palaces and museums in the city. The principal attraction there, the City Palace and Museum is a grand monument built along the shore of the Lake Pichhola, an artificial lake created centuries ago by a Banjara - a wandering nomad tribal. After seeing this lake, the then ruling Mewar King, Maharana Udai Singh ordered the City Palace to be built here and thus was founded Udaipur.

So, when we reached here, owing to the great boom in our budget, we decided to park camp at a tent resort, called The Aravali Tent Resort. A first experience of living in a tent resort, where the tents have electricity, television, air conditioning and a nice tiled bathroom.


Outside our tent at the Aravali Tent Resort
Outside our Tent at the Aravali Resort
The resort manager tried his best to see that we were comfortable, though I must say I did expect a bit more from the service. Overall, I'd rate the resort a 4/5 for stay, and a 3/5 for service. And oh, a 5/5 for the bonfires that Nishtha and I thoroughly enjoyed a couple of nights. 


Bonfire outside the tent

We visited a lot of places there in Udaipur, but it was more of a relaxing vacation than a "let's see everything today" kind. Nishtha and I are lazy when we're on vacation, and we'd rather flop on the bed and watch TV than go out and roam too much. A few hours of sightseeing, a couple of hours of good cafe food and some cold beer, and long hours of sleep and TV is more how we like it.

Our very first day in Udaipur will stay in our heads and hearts for a very long time. We went to this cafe called Pushkar Cafe, on the first floor of a small shop in the crowded and narrow street of Gangaur Ghaat. And we stepped into an oasis. The walls are painted with lovely paintings of Ganesha, Shiva from Indian Gods, and also along the other walls are paintings by many travelers who've taken a breather here.The food is ordinary here. But the service is good, the owner (Pushkar, who's marriage anniversary is a day after mine) is warm and welcoming, and the beer is cold.


At Pushkar Cafe

Ganesha the Wise


But this is not why we shall remember the place. During the course of our lunch there, I was writing a little something in a diary (remind me to post that poem here too), and Pushkar thought I was painting. He asked me if I was, and that if I wanted to, I could paint something on his walls for him. I immediately looked at Nishtha, and with a little coaxing, she was there, all set with paint brushes, colors and a determined look. 

It took a rough pencil drawing, an eraser, an intense discussion on what to paint, and one more rough drawing to finally setup what we thought would be perfect for the place. And Nishtha did it again - she drew and painted the Matsya Nyaya picture perfect to the T. 

Painting Her Heart Out

Matsya Nyaya - The Law Of The Jungle

Matsya Nyaya - The Law Of The Jungle

The Artist's Signature

So now when any of you go to Udaipur, do check out this painting by Nishtha at the Pushkar Cafe, and think of us when you do. 

A lot more happened, many more places were visited, I'll leave the rest in just pictures. Some nice, some not so nice, but all definitely ones that Nishtha and I won't forget. And we've kept a few places in Udaipur pending, so that we may go back there some day. And relive the first of many anniversaries to come.

Happy 1st Anniversary Nishtha, my love. 


Lake Pichhola at Sunset - JagMandir in the middle of the lake

An outhouse near the Sajjangarh Monsoon Palace

The Bagore Ki Haveli (Palace of Bagore) on the banks of the Pichhola

Sajjangarh Monsoon Palace

Captured

From the Top

How small the world.

Far into the distance my heart lies


- Vinaykrishnan.

Friday, January 4, 2013

About Opinions

To have an opinion about something, is to be human. Every human has opinions.

To have an opinion that could potentially improve or change something, and to not express it, is selfish.

To have an opinion that could potentially improve or change something, and to express it, is benevolent.

To have an opinion that is useless, and to not express it, is wise.

To have an opinion that is useless, and to express it, is stupid.

- Vinaykrishnan.

Friday, December 7, 2012

About pride, vanity and courage.

I've been giving this a lot of thought over quite some time now.

Be proud of everything that you do. Do only that which makes you proud. If something that you are doing is not making you proud of yourself, then quit doing it. Stop right then. And do not do it again. 

When a student passes his exams with flying colors, his parents will be proud of him. But they won't be proud over the whole year of effort that he put in. They will be proud over his achievement - that of scoring well. Had the student failed, his parents would not have been proud of him. Instead they would have hung their head in shame in society and would have reprimanded him for failing.

You, and only you, will ever be proud of what you have done. Others will always only be proud of what you have achieved.

But be also careful, that your pride does not become your vanity. Your pride is your own. You will always be proud of yourself. You will always want yourself to be proud. But the moment you want, or will, others to be proud of yourself, you will be vain. And vanity is a vice.

Pride is mistaken to be a vice. It is vanity that makes a man suffer. Vanity goes before a fall. Vanity stops you from growing. Vanity should die in you, to let Heaven live in you. Vanity keeps you away from Godliness. Not pride. But vanity.

And above all, to be proud, you must be courageous. Pride is what wants you to keep your head held high. Courage will help you do it.

- Vinaykrishnan.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Where we were young

The last time I was there, I was in college. Around this time itself, I visited Mithapur, met a lot of people, friends, and loved ones, roamed the streets like kings, teased girls and celebrated Diwali.

This time around, I did the same, but with the most unexpected person ever. My wife, Nishtha. For those of you who do not know, my wife and I were not exactly "friendly" with each other in school days. Or in college days. We literally hated each other. And if you had asked me who I would be with the next time I was in Mithapur, I would never in my wildest imaginations have thought it would be Nishtha.

I also must add that this time around, there is no one else I would have enjoyed more with than Nishtha.

I find it very nostalgic, being in Mithapur and all. We visited all the old hangouts, met a lot of people we've known since childhood, and in general reminisced about the good ol' days when we didn't have a worry in the world When being younger was a joy in itself. We didn't have cell phones back then, nor did we have Facebook or Twitter. But we communicated, and we all met up and we all had fun. This time around, I talked to so many people on the phone and FB, but ended up meeting less than half of those. Of course, time was a constraint as I was there only for a couple of days, and I apologize to all of you I couldn't meet.

But it isn't all rosy. I heard unsettling news about the decline of my high school, lack of good faculty being the major cause. I also saw that a lot of old houses were dilapidated now, and were to be torn down. It hurt, to know that these will go too, though they were part and parcel of my childhood.

I wish at times I could go back right now and settle down there. The town has a peaceful slumber of its own, lulling everything to a virtual standstill, till you can actually see the sun set right into the far horizons beyond the sea. It's calm, serene and the land of my childhood days.

But that land has no more charms for me as an adventurer. It is home, but I am not done exploring the world yet.

- Vinaykrishnan.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Such a Thorn

It's still is under the skin,
Pricks away at the flesh.
Doesn't do much, just stays there till it's not troubled. 
But then you dig your fingernails into the skin, 
To remove it,
And it hurts.
It wiggles inside. 
Like a parasite, it refuses to leave you.
You think,
"Let's just leave it there, it'll come out on its own."

But it doesn't go away. 

You think,
"I'll forget it with time, time heals everything."

But you never forget.

Days pass into weeks, and months and years,
Yet this thorn doesn't come out. 
It hurts - not all the time - but it's there.
Always.

Sometimes a flashing pang, a shocking pain, a startling revelation, 
Sometimes softer.
A nagging idea at the back of the mind.

Love is such a thorn.

- Vinaykrishnan.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Delayed

Back to the days
Shall we go? 
To the airports and railway stations
That led our paths,
To ensure we meet. 

Life now makes us travel less
For we are with each other,
But I'd still go and catch a flight anytime,
To be with You again.

In that world where I sit at airports, waiting for the flight to come and to take me to Your arms,
I sit with that coffee and the Zinger,
(KFC could count on me at 6 AM in the morning)
And curse the screens when my flight
Comes marked up as "Delayed"
Even by just 5 minutes. 

- Vinaykrishnan.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Ache - I


I have been feeling this ache inside. For quite some time now.


Not physical, no. But not just mental. Not emotional either. I feel as if physical, mental or emotional pain is all just on the surface of some imaginary platform. Like Pratchett's Great A'tuin, this platform, this base is where it's aching. It's throbbing, always has, but now with every throb comes great pain. Almost suffering as well.


It's as if this foundation, that is the very core of my existence is pulsating with pain at something. It's crying out. Loudly. I never heard it this loud ever. But now I can hear it. In the day, when I'm working, at night when I'm at home with my wife or watching television, or reading a newspaper - I can constantly hear it humming at me. Like a drone, it hums on and on and now I am forced to answer this call. I'm afraid to pick it up. Afraid of what is on the other end of the line. 


Is this my soul? Or is the universe aching at my doing something? Or not doing something? Have I sinned? Have I done something so amazing that I should be rewarded for it? (Now, crime is punishable. But merit is only rewarded by a word called "duty". Nothing else. This has always struck me as rather unfair).


It's not a reward. I think. That has to be a sunny, happy feeling, doesn't it? So I'm ruling out the possibility of it being a good thing. I don't think it's also because it's not a punishing kind of feeling after all. It's more of a nagging feeling. So the only alternative that remains is that it is a bad omen. Of things to come, of things to happen? I don't know. I wish I did, but then again, I am glad I don't. Grand scheme of things, ignorance is bliss, and all that jazz. 


I do not know how to name it. I cannot put a finger on it. It's not something that I can make you understand. It's not tangible. It's not explicable. 


Yet is the most basic, most primal of all my feelings, it seems. It seems as though I was not just born with this, but that this is the feeling that created me. As if the universe itself has created me to be its voice. To be its expression. That I am indebted to it to ensure that I act as the medium of its travel. That everything that it wants, I am the one to throw at the rest of the universe, and that every minute particle that every particle of the rest of the gigantic universe throws at me is meant for only me and not one other to be a receptacle.


Maybe I am meant to do something huge. Something that would go down in the annals of not just Earth's history, but the Universe's. (Suddenly I regard the Universe with new found respect, the hypocrite in me). Not sure if that is what this means. But that's what I think. 


May be I should just ramble on and on till I find out. 


- Vinaykrishnan.

Friday, July 13, 2012

No. This is not my India.


I am an average Indian man. I am the same as everyone else. I do nothing, admitted. I sit on my chair all day wondering what's going wrong with everything and everyone around me, agreed. I slouch, read stuff on the internet, watch videos of little girls molested publicly in large cities in India, outrage and then forget about it. I know.

I am a culprit, I say to myself, of a corrupt, immoral and heartless system.

But I am, in fact, the criminal. I am the one who is corrupt. Because I bribe myself into believing that mine is a good, safe and secure nation. I am the one who is immoral. Because I commit the morally reprehensible act of staying silent even when I should not. I am the one who is heartless, because I see something happening as horrendous, yet I do not think the same can happen to my own wife or mother or sister.

I am ashamed today to think that I am of the same nation as those people in Guwahati. The Preamble to the Constitution of India says "We, the people of India,.... assuring the dignity of the individual...hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this Constitution."

But no, we are not people. We are worse than animals. We do not assure the dignity of an individual, but ensure that we shall find every opportunity to downgrade it. We do not adopt or enact any words of this Constitution, but make it our Constitutional Right to ensure that women always think twice before stepping outside their doors.

Aamir Khan in Satyameva Jayate talked about female infanticide and foeticide some time back. Some of those girls who were killed may be sitting up There, glad that they weren't born after all in a land as insane, degraded and horrid as India. They are probably glad that they weren't born in a land where we teach our daughters to "not get raped", but do not teach our sons to "not rape".

This is not where I want to be. This is not the country I was taught to epitomize and idolize when I was a child. This is not the land where "the mud smells like heaven". It doesn't.

Right now, it smells of shit.

No. This is not my India.

- Vinaykrishnan.

Friday, July 6, 2012

You

Your presence is a present for me,
I've got an Angel in You,
Though You don't wear any wings,
You still float like a butterfly,


You're as tempestuous as the sea,
Yet as calm as the feeling I get on hearing your heart beat.


Only you make me want to go on.


Only You.


- Vinaykrishnan,