“ If there is one regret in my life, its not being able to play football. I was very good ,Ma’am, and believe that it should have been my career….but my father insisted I join the Government”.

That was what a junior colleague, told me over coffee and gupshup on one of those days in office, which seemed to stretch on endlessly for no reason. I heard the catch in his voice and startled, looked up to see him lost and a little bewildered. Something I had not expected ,perhaps, to encounter in a person who was in a secure, well paying, respectable job.

Deep conversations with the right people make you either fulfilled or restless -I have come to this conclusion after many, many such interactions over the years. It has also been my experience that both the feelings are absolutely and strangely compatible. And yes, indisputably, these conversations make you grow. Read somewhere that  ‘ you are the books you read, the films you watch, the music you listen to, the people you meet, the dreams you have, the conversations you engage in. …you are what you take from these “

It is with this background that that I pushed off , last Friday, straight from work to watch “ Rock On 2”.  The rather grim faces of  moviegoers  who had caught  the first show did not portend too well for the movie. I caught phrases like ‘ without any imagination’’,  “ absolutely lacked direction’,  “pointless yaar…paisa barbaad’’, ‘’so contrived’’ etc.

The movie sadly turned out to be all of these. It was a very superficial, urbane hash of very deja-vu feelings and ideas .  Farhan Akhtar as Aditya is disturbed  and feels personally responsible for the death of a young boy, Rahul Sharma, who had hopes of becoming a ‘modern’ music star . He seeks redemption and retreats to picturesque Meghalaya for some heavy soul -searching. Arjun Rampal as Joe Mascarhenas is now a Mr Moneybags in Mumbai , owning a posh club and a judge of  a reality show ( seriously, when is the world going to wake up to this assault on one’s senses? )  In Purab Kohli as KD , hope springs eternal about a re-union with his former  “Magik” bandmates.  Nothing magical seems to be happening to “Magik’’ though. Its more like ‘’ subeh hoti hai, shaam hoti hai, umr yun hi tamaam hoti hai “ ( Ghalib) , till the  agonizingly cliched arrival  of Shraddha Kapoor as Jiah. Yes, she is none other than  Rahul’s younger sister and musically gifted too. She is troubled by her brother’s suicide and blames her renowned Hindustani- classical- musician- father for  it, naturally. Misunderstandings, heartbreaks, partings all happen but finally end up in a happy story.  We are also sensitized to a have vs have-not crisis in the North East via  Ba Singh–a supposedly old timer from Meghalaya who looks more like the ubiquitous Chinese old man in all the Chinese bric-a-bracs that we love to buy from Lajpat Nagar market. Thus, the sequel to the cult musical drama that had moved us , almost eight years back, failed to elicit any fervor.

Yet, I sat through the movie and pinged my sister that it is eminently watchable.

Why did it work for me ? Well, to be fair , individual performances were rather good.  Shraddha Kapoor deserves a special mention. The cinematography was breathtaking. I rather fancied a red, knitted artsy  jacket worn by Farhan Akhtar ( Damn! I need to visit the  North East emporiums on Baba Kharak Singh Marg). Oh yes, how can I forget to mention the super hot , jaan-leva Arjun Rampal ?

But, it was that yearning in my young colleague’s  voice for a dream not pursued, a passion that was snuffed out and sorrowfully a life not being ‘lived’ but just ‘existing’ which flashed in my mind as I watched the movie. The dark truth of Pink Floyd’s “ Another Brick In The Wall’ as manifest in parental control/aspirations , societal definition of the ‘ideal’  and an alienation of Kierkegaardian proportions  are the intangible but throbbing elements in the movie. It brought back memories also of my father’s wrath when I played the riffs of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ on my sitar. I was being trained in HIndustani classical music , in the Vishnupur gharana tradition- that music flowed in my veins, but so did Jimi Hendrix.  Did Ravi Shankar’s collaboration with George Harrison not produce great music ? Purity in music, I did respect but my gypsy soul  also longed for the music of  that piper at the gates of dawn.Like most of my generation, I listened to my parents too and moulded myself on their expectations, despite my psychedelic sheep orientation. They wanted the best for me and I love them for that. Today, I am middle aged , secure and respectable-I pay my taxes and usually don’t jump red lights. But within the not-too-rigid walls of my life, I do what I love –save animals, wear red lipstick ,read Rumi and rock to Led Zeppelin. Just as Jiah does with her music and life.

Rock on, I tell my young colleague- its not and never too late to live that life you yearn for.  The age factor will not allow him to be a footballer now, I realize.But there are so many other ways he can be connected to the sport in real time. Maybe he will set up a football academy ? Own a club ? And help, support , inspire that little boy whose father possibly says  ‘’ Son, you need to become an engineer/lawyer/doctor/IAS officer! Concentrate on studies not football!’’

And yes, I hope ‘’ Rock On 3 “ happens for all of us who seem to have got stuck, for whatever reason, in lives which doesn’t let us /stops us from dancing the mambo.

The accidental sufi bids you au revoir and as usual leaves you with a favorite song ….its fusion music….something which my Dad , the purist, would frown upon 😉




I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow; but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.” ( Agatha Christie) 

The Most Beautiful Makeup Of A Woman Is Passion


She seems so cool, so focused, so quiet, yet her eyes remain fixed upon the horizon. You think you know all there is to know about her immediately upon meeting her, but everything you think you know is wrong. Passion flows through her like a river of blood……She only looked away for a moment, and the mask slipped, and you fell. All your tomorrows start here.

Photograph: Own, including the eyes

Words: Neil Gaiman, ” Fragile Things: Short  Fiction & Wonders”

Song: From the Bollywood movie ‘Jab tak hai jaan’ ( 2012)

Music: AR Rahman

Lyrics:The magic of Gulzar Sahab

 Here is the translation 🙂

Chali Re Chali Re Junoon Ko Liye
I started my trip, carrying a passion
Qatra Qatra Lamhon Ko Piye
Enjoying life moment by moment
Pinjre Se Udda  Dil Ka Shikra
Like a falcon,  my heart flew away from its cage
Khud Hi Se Maine Ishq Kiya Re
I started loving myself

Jiya Re Jiya Re, Jiya Jiya Re Jiya Re,
Jiya Jiya Re Jiya Re Jiya Oh Ho
Oh heart, live, live your wish 

Chotte Chotte Lamhon Ko Titli Jaise Pakdo Tho
If we catch little moments, like they are buterfies
Haathon Mein Rang Reh Jaata Hai Pankhon Se Jab Chodo Tho
Its colour will stay, even after we take off our wings
Waqt Chalta Hai
Time moves forward
Waqt Ka Magar Rang Utarta Hai, Aparajita
Colours of time fades away, Aparajita
Udte Udte Phir Ek Lamha Maine Pakad Liya Re
But I got hold of a flying moment

Jiya Re Jiya Re, Jiya Jiya Re Jiya Re,
Jiya Jiya Re Jiya Re Jiya Oh Ho
Oh heart, live, live your wish

Halke Halke Dardon Mein Muskurana Acha Lagta Hai
When I  feel little pain, I like to smile
Roshni  Jo Deta  Ho Tho Dil Jalaana Acha Lagta Hai
To get the light, setting the heart on fire ,seems fine
Ek Pal Sahi, Umar Bhar Isse Saath Rakhna, Aparajita
Even if it is a moment, keep it for life, Aparajita
Zindagi Se Phir Ek Vaada Maine Kar Liya Re
I made one promise to life

Jiya Re Jiya Re, Jiya Jiya Re Jiya Re,
Jiya Jiya Re Jiya Re Jiya Oh Ho
Oh heart, live, live your wish

Standing On The Edge

These are five things which trouble/d me greatly, in no particular order:

  1. Signage in AIIMS ( All India Institute of Medical Sciences) New Delhi, that a doctor cannot examine a female patient without the presence of a lady nurse. I guess this is would be a universal signage in all hospitals. So we accept the fact that a sick, suffering woman can be taken advantage of by a doctor…the one she has come to for help.
  2. Sometime back in the family court here at Saket, New Delhi, the custody of a 9 year old girl was given to her mother, in an acrimonious divorce case. I can’t forget the little girl’s tears as well as her father’s. They clung to each other before saying goodbye. Men cry too…fathers feel as much as mothers.
  3. A stray dog had given birth to 11 puppies in my neighborhood. Early morning screams of the dog made me rush to the place.Some teenage boys were trying to take the pups away.The mother fought back valiantly, grievously injured, as they beat her with a rod. The boys laughed. I saw in them, the makings of  perhaps future serial killers, rapists, pedophiles.
  4. I was a kid and going to school in the morning. I had to cross a club where marriage receptions and parties were held. The large dustbins were overflowing with thermocol plates and wasted food. The stench was unbearable. Two young men, hardly 18 years old, were scrounging for food from the bins. One of them smiled in happiness when he found a  tandoori chicken leg piece.
  5. There is a happily married couple I know with two sons. Everyday, he wishes that he was with the woman he loves. But,everyday he returns for dinner, unfailingly, with his family. His wife knows about his wish and also the woman.But, she  makes and serves him hot food everyday for dinner.

So Robert Frost tells me “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”

 But Dumbledore admonishes me calmly as he does Harry Potter : “I DON’T CARE!” Harry yelled at them, snatching up a lunascope and throwing it into the fireplace. “I’VE HAD ENOUGH, I’VE SEEN ENOUGH, I WANT OUT, I WANT IT TO END, I DON’T CARE ANYMORE!”
“You do care,” said Dumbledore. He had not flinched or made a single move to stop Harry demolishing his office. His expression was calm, almost detached. “You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.”

Slaughter Yourself

The sound of the rains and me have a very deep connect. It has been raining in New Delhi. Sometime back it rained hard. A white incessant noise, so intense and pure, that it stilled all other sounds of life. I could only hear the sound of my inner being.
Just as I had heard it almost five years back, when I decided to slaughter myself.
It was raining that day too. It seemed the rains remorselessly washed the self imposed veil over my eyes off ,all that which I clung to in the hope of being ‘grounded’.

I always wondered why the moon and the dark waters called out to me. I questioned myself whether those around me, with fixed smiles and still eyes, could also see in the dark like me. I told myself that they are pretty, nice and sweet and I should be like them. I must tame that free spirit, that voice inside me which makes me yearn to burn like the sun.
So I cloaked my wild self. I covered it in comfort, normalcy and convenient emotions. I acted out the role I chose for myself perfectly. In a relationship with an ordinary man whose only dream was to make money, I played the perfect wife and hostess. In a job which was safe and secure, I played the role of the perfect subordinate to those above me and the perfect leader to ones below.

I was in a dull comfort zone. I stopped growing.
Then it rained one day. I went and stood out for hours.
I hacked away at myself brutally, patiently and gracefully.
I was in pieces, raw, bleeding. I could see my bones. I saw my naked soul. I saw my unhinged mind.
I broke that self imposed cage and stepped out. It was terrifying. I had become used to tameness, mediocrity and security. My wings had been cramped for so long that I could not unfurl them. My voice was rusty.
It took me time to re-metamorphosise into my old self. In my previous world of fire and rapture, the man who gloried in my darkness, depth, emotion, passion and who had waited for me to return, came striding out to meet me ecstatically . I smiled firm and strong,when within the  amorphous shackles of my socially successful job, I created my own space that allows me to grow from strength to strength.
I realize today that everything that holds you back on the shores needs to be butchered with an unrestrained brutality. So Rumi says “In the slaughterhouse of love, they kill only the best, none of the weak or deformed. Don’t run away from this dying. Whoever’s not killed for love is dead meat “.

Power to those of you who will  dare to hack yourself bare and seek the  fire and the sun.You will burn. But then “you must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame;how could you rise anew if you have not first become ashes ?” ( Nietzsche)


( photo from the Internet for illustration only)

Compassion Is the Basis Of Morality ( Arthur Schopenhauer)

To be read with my  blogpost ‘ Creativity Takes Courage”, Nov 16th, 2014.  I had just finished reading ‘ The Narrow Road To The Deep North’ by Richard Flanagan. About the book I had said, “There are moments in the book when I felt I could no longer bear to read the brutality and butchery.And then suddenly there are moments of sheer beauty .Like the moon coming out in a dark sky. A novel about survival on the Burma ‘Death Railway’’.

I came across this article while surfing the net :”Thailand Does It Again With This Brutal and Beautiful Ad About Kindness “… a stirring, cinematic spot in which the daughter of a charity worker visits a Thai woman who helped her father when he was a prisoner of war in World War II. ( )

Watch the link  below:

I have always believed that one need not dream, and thus wait, of doing something totally grand, messianic etc etc to change the world… just by reaching out with/by the smallest gestures of compassion is enough.

Compassion also calls for strength because “‘Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors ” ( Andrew Boyd: Daily Afflictions: The Agony of Being Connected to Everything in the Universe).

Six Secrets

Here are six secrets about me that I  reveal  today:

1. I don’t like to shower. Jeez, don’t jump! I bathe 😀 But the Indian-ess in me roots for a bucket & mug. Immensely satisfying!


2. Everyday I plan to kill  a particular senior colleague of mine. The methods which I dream of would make Hitchcock bow and call me ‘Master’. You see, guys,  I can never forgive him for asking why I chose to adopt a Special Needs dogs. ‘But the dog doesn’t have a leg ?’, he told me. ‘Its my calling Sir. Just as working with people without brains is”, I replied.

3. I find posters like the ones below a tad irritating & offensive. Most of my female friends normally coo ‘Cho Chweet”. I  always think their estrogen has got mixed up with LSD to induce  such hallucinogenic horrors.


4. I have once  eaten the  exorbitantly priced Kitkat bar kept in the small  room refrigerator in a 5 star hotel. Then, I had packed the wrapper so craftily that no one could make out that the chocolate had been eaten. I feel terrible confessing that I  had felt quite gleeful.

5. I had once milked a buffalo  (in my village) wrong. I felt bad. I am not that kinda cruel feminist as you guys might be thinking!


6. I actually like this song.

Umm…please don’t hate me 😀 Its Friday, yeah!


Alright, tell me six secrets ( Sounds a bit corny, non? And has the tremendous potential of being mis-read/spelt?)) about yourself 😀

Chew on this : “Know thyself’ was written over the portal of the antique world. Over the portal of the new world, ‘Be thyself’ shall be written.” ( Oscar Wilde)


( All photos from the Internet for illustration only)