Friday, November 24, 2006 13 reflections

existing in pieces - my first paperback book

YES! It has finally happened. After several weeks of editing and inhumane proofreading I have finally made my paperback book - existing in pieces - available for people to buy online. Please click on the image above (or on this link ) to visit the place where you can buy it from. I hope my readers are able to share my world of words with this first attempt of mine.

Also check out the all NEW website launched exclusively for this book -

Thank you very much.

Thursday, November 16, 2006 3 reflections

Absolutely nothing...

An excess of anything is a risky proposition, I had heard somewhere. The meaning of this expression found roots in the fact that individuals tend to do something too many times and too often. Why this is a bad thing? Well there is always the fear of becoming an addict. Even if it involves something as noble as reading or writing there are ways to make an individual less productive in everything else, was an opinion I had heard.

I had pondered a few moons ago about the ease with which people are able to communicate in today’s world. In fact communication using various media is now more a lifestyle and less of a luxury. With changing hands of the masters’ around the world media and communication is definitely one of the best used commodities out there. Everything between Emails to snail mails stand proof to a planet that once upon a moon used birds to send across messages. All the gadgets from cell phones to answering machines are visible entities that make being in touch someone’s idea of a joke.

Fair enough.

But then here lies my wondering. Are we communicating too much? Are all this rapid and user-friendly communication channels making us forget the concept of ‘missing’ someone? Don’t we need to pace ourselves in a way that the other person has some gap in time where he/she can actually wonder about our whereabouts? Counter-productive features of these various technologies are becoming more apparent with each passing day.

I see some people at work who are stuck to their cell phones all the time. It’s true! Every time I see them they are either a) on the cell phone or b) checking their SMS on the cell phone or c) Checking their emails on a website/cell phone or d) all of the above. Its bizarre to think that these people actually believe they are so important that there is someone out there, a different person every time perhaps, who is actually missing them and checking to see how they are doing. Who are these people? And what is with the ‘I am needed’ complex they have? I find it fascinating that they don’t even consider the idea that their acquaintances are actually feeling a little tired of their attention seeking lifestyle.

This situation is only going to get worse with changing times and generations. It has now come to a point where actual email exchanges happen where I write ‘What’s happening?’ and the other person says ‘Absolutely nothing. How about you?’ and I say the same.

Suddenly using birds to exchange greetings seems like a wonderful idea. Maybe by the time they reach their destination we would have done something worth talking about.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006 2 reflections

The twelve square existence

The Sunday newspapers would be spread eagled across Sagar’s room. The colorful illustrations in the additional pages would hold his attention till the last printed word. Everything from which socialite got groped at which event to why the new Bollywood sensation considered the industry sleazy would find an audience in him. He just had to know it all. Did it matter that these were things he would never discuss with anyone? Of course not. He liked to call them his ‘guilty pleasures’.

Apart from the Page 3 sections and the multi-boxed cartoon segments if there was one other column he never missed it was the one labeled ‘This Week For You’. Sitting cozily next to faces he never remembered would be his future printed in bold letters for the week ahead. Without a second thought he would pace his forefinger down to a square with the word ‘Aquarius (January 21 – February 19)’ and hastily skim through the highlights. His father’s loud requests for the ‘color section’ of the Sunday newspaper would fade away as he tried to fathom what he could expect in the coming week.

‘Don’t waste your time on that. Those things are a complete hoax anyway. Not everything they write applies to every Aquarian in the world, you know. Your future is what you make of it’ would be his father’s argument against the twelve square column. As much as Sagar would be tempted to agree with his old man there was always an ounce of uncontrollable inquisitiveness that would get the better of him.

His personal favorite was always ‘Love life looking good. You and your partner will spend a lot of time together.’ He would, week after week, hope that he finds that illusive ‘partner’ since he could not wait for his love life to be spent in bliss. He somehow fancied meeting her in random places like supermarkets or his scooter garage. She would, he thought, fly in with her shiny Scooty motorbike and park it right next to him. Just like in the movies, he would say to himself. She would alight, glance at him with those gorgeous eyes and flick her cascading hair from one side to another with a haunting smile.

Sagar was a hopeless case of never ending hope as this routine went on for years.

On occasion he would ignore the forecast of his non-existent love life and focus on more practical seeming issues. Finance, sports, family and of course, travel to distant lands. On the weeks that had foreign tour predicted he would await some sign all the time that he would be called away on an ‘assignment’ by a foreign land. Every country from Australia to Burma was on his list. On occasion he would also wish he applied for a passport in case of an emergency situation were he needed to fly out midnight.

Never once did any such call come. His relatives wouldn’t invite him to places inside his own state in India so getting out of the country seemed a far cry. But he never lost hope in his twelve squares. He would religiously visit it every Sunday arranging his plans as required.

When Sagar did eventually get the overseas assignment almost ten years later he was 24. He had still not applied for a passport when he was offered the job so his father had to pull some major strings to get him one. He somehow managed to make it just in time and flew out of the nation with a smile on his face and faith in the predictions.

He has been abroad for five years now. He still continues to read the twelve squares every weekend with the same childish enthusiasm he once had. It still serves as a guessing game to see what he needs to do or avoid the next week.

‘It took me almost a decade to get one thing true’ he sometimes says to himself ‘so maybe I will meet her in a supermarket in ten more years.’ He has realized that the ‘twelve square column’ might have delayed justice but did not deny it to him.

He keeps his eye open in supermarkets every weekend hoping another column follower is out there doing the same thing.

Saturday, November 04, 2006 2 reflections

Just Another Day...

He shuts the door of his apartment like he always has. Carefully ensuring that the keys are properly turned in the right direction. He turns around and walks towards the sleepy elevators of his floor. On reaching there he presses the arrow pointing downwards. The mechanical device shudders into coherence at this unexpected seeming action. The red LED display starts ascending from ‘G’ all the way to ‘8’ as he patiently waits for the doors to open.

He steps in and sees her standing in the corner of the elevator. She is wearing a cherry colored cotton salwar and a matching veil today, he reflects. Her hair cascades down her shoulders like they always have. Her immaculate smile seems the same as the previous day. Her presence soon fills the rather cozy elevator as the doors close and the slow descent begins.

She does not say anything but he knows she is there. Looking and smiling at him. Trying to get his attention so that he may turn around and smile back at her. Her soft giggle fills his silent surroundings and echoes around the closed space like a calm snowfall.

The elevator reaches ‘G’. He steps out into the apartment building lobby. As he walks past the neatly decorated showpiece and the gleaming mirror, he spots her again next to his reflection in it. Her familiar smile continues to follow his footsteps as he gets out of the building and onto the cold and partially lit main street.

The lazily moving traffic awakens what remains of his sleep as he gets onto the footpath and starts walking towards the metro station. His path is strewn with familiar sights and sounds of the city waking up with a long yawn. He hops past the silent bus station becoming more aware of the cold that envelopes his warm heart. He walks past the friendly kiosk and finds her standing there looking at him with those sparkling eyes. He pretends not to notice her as he continues his daily trail. Today will be a different day, he reassures himself.

He now gets off the main street and cuts into a dark and silent alley which he considers a reliable shortcut. The sleepy alley echoes the chirpings of invisible birds. He uncomfortably shifts his briefcase from one hand to the other. The sound of his footsteps seem like a gentle rhythm to the birds' songs. He walks out of the alley and spots her waiting for him at the entrance of the metro station. Her mischievous grin reminds him of the soft rays of the sun that is still not completely up. He walks up to her, moves away and continues past her affectionate and complaining glare. He can tell she is not appreciating his careless attitude. He knows her too well to be able to communicate without words. Those expressive eyes are quite possibly the most amazing thing he has ever seen in his life, he reflects.

He reaches his terminal in the next few minutes. He looks around and notices that he is one of the first ones there. His train is due to arrive in ten minutes, he reads. He walks to a sitting bench nearby and places his case as he settles down. She walks up to him and sits right beside him. Looking at him with the smile he can never forget.

They sit there for the next ten minutes. Silent. Motionless. Just aware of each other’s presence. She continues to be with him as the low roar of the train crescendos into lethal existence. The atomic speck of light gradually grows and shoots out of the black tunnel like a rabid beast out to kill. He sees the both of them in the reflections the train emits as it passes them in an insane sense of urgency.

A few stray papers fly about the half-empty station as the machine comes to a long squeaky halt. Others on the station get up hastily and walk up to the doors nearest to them as they wait for it to open.

He gets up and picks up his case. He starts walking towards the doors that open wide. He stops. Looks back and finds that she is no longer there. Only her veil remains with a slight flutter of the new storm the train has managed to kick up. He does not bother picking it up since he knows she will.

He steps into the train with a weak smile of realization. Aware. Awake. He settles down as the train chugs into a maniacal ascent. She reappears on a seat not far away. Smiling. Teasing. Waving. Her child-like innocence is hard to look past but he has to.

He ignores her and looks out into the darkness hoping that he will forget his true love someday.