Tuesday, July 29, 2008


“So tell me from the very beginning.”
“yaaa… I couldn't get any sleep last night.”
“I said - from the very beginning.”
“But wouldn’t you like to listen to the reason that made me come to you.”
“Ok, go ahead.”
“Well, I spent the entire night thinking about whether to use “Here’s the most exciting offer...” or “Tata Indicom presents the most exciting offer…”
“Then what did you use?”
“It’s not about what did I use. It’s about why did I think so much about it…”
“That’s what you are paid for, right?”
“Yaaaa…but you also get paid for scratching out shit stuck in commodes.”
“That’s another debate….let’s stick to your problems. Tell me what worries you the most?”
“Every night I dream that I’m a fish.”
“And what happens then?”
“I’m always in a small pond and there are these other fish that smell exactly like me.”
“Can you really smell them in your dreams?”
“Of course, they all smell like fish…Actually they even look like me.”
“Ok, so they are the same species.”
“And there’s no other species, not even frogs… no alligators… only fish.”
“Must be a small pond.”
“They even sound the same.”
“What do they say?”
“Nothing they just open and close their lips.”
“Ok tell me about your friends.”
“yaa…. That’s an interesting topic, I have lots of friends.”
“Tell me about your best friends. What do they do?”
“One is a copywriter, the other is a copy supervisor and another is a creative supervisor. But I’ve left them all in Delhi.”
“Do you have many friends here?”
“Lots of them.”
“What do they do?”
“Let me think… ya… one is a senior copywriter, the other is a junior copywriter but some of them are still trainee writers.”
“Quiet an interesting variety. Don’t you have friends in other professions?”
“Nope… the marketing guys are so boring. They don’t watch the same movies that I do.”
“And what kind of movies do you watch?”
“My friends have quiet an interesting collection that I can choose from.”
"There must be more."
"yaaa...but...well, all that my friends in sales talk about is the slight increase in Katrina Kaif's breast size since she started sleeping with some new dickhead. hey... by the way did you know that there's a scene in that movie 'Boom' where Katrina pushes Gulshan Grover's head into her boobs...wow... I still haven't checked it out.”
“Ok, tell me about your job.”
“I don’t feel that excited about it, anymore.”
“Go on.”
“I once used to think of it as a noble purpose that one could abandon everything else for. But now that I know that I won’t become a martyr, it’s really hard to carry the same enthusiastic smile. The fact is that Ill only be slaughtered like a sheep and hung upside down. A butcher will chop me off piece by piece to sell each one for a profit and the young lambs will watch in amazement.”

“Im afraid son, we’ll have to continue this some other time, your time is over. That would be 700 rupees.”
“Hey but you haven’t yet given me any expert advice… what are the 700 bucks for?”
“I listened to you.”
“No one gets paid for doing nothing.”
“I’m sorry but the board outside says ‘Advertising psychologist’.”

Monday, July 21, 2008

Equation of line

on conception it is a straight line, drawn with pencil on a blank sheet of paper. it breaks into four in cursive writing notebooks, moves to criss-cross squares in math copies, moves to double lined copies, and finally pauses at single lined copies trapped in a paper hall of mirrors.

the single lines then move to rough registers, fancy hard bound notebooks, a4 sized sheets in file covers and resolve themselves to mini sized notebooks carried around with cellphone, cigarettes and ballpen.

done, the line drops down from single lined trouser and double lined denim pockets, bounces on the footpath and becomes a divider traveling the length and breadth of cities worldwide, where it travels till night becomes day. jumping across, back on some footpath, it does a tarzan from person to person in a queue and is next seen on the DJ’s console in parabolas and ellipses. a haze reveals a bathroom door behind which it is seen, white, powdery on a closed commode seat, disappearing up a nose, vaporopus.

appears, to the tune of ‘one, two, three, again, one, two, three, again’ on a cardiogram where electrical pulses menace it up, down, up down, in tiny screeching desperate movements that take it down, take it down, take it down till it’s that straight line again.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


the song. my cue.

everyone’s off. streaming sunlight through glass walls mention cathedral. people smile as they move from side to side.

there are no deadlines that need attending. there are no phone calls on hold.

after loses meaning. before hums along with the song. the tide is past. my palm rests placid on the sheet of the sea.

the virus is done. i wipe my nose. i sit and stare at the monitor.

so long, i write, and thanks for all the fish.

Friday, July 11, 2008


After a week of shameless intrusion into the married life of two of my friends (married to each other of-course) I thought I should now try finding a new accommodation. Being new in the city won’t be considered a respectable excuse for long. Especially for a guy like me who’s best friends hate to introduce him to his girlfriends. Let alone girlfriends, keeping me close to any of their female acquaintances is considered like an invitation to a dreadful calamity that will ruin their lives and careers for eternity. Maybe these particular friends of mine helped me because they kind of expected the wiser side of me (surprise! surprise! I do have a wiser side) to camouflage the weirder one, in face of such generous attitude.
Ok, forget all that, I was about to tell you a nice warm story about a nice warm (I guess I shouldn’t use this British expression in a hot and humid city) rather nice cool apartment. Luckily after finding a room-mate and shelling out 50,000 bucks for just half of my share I became the proud co-owner of a one bedroom, hall and kitchen apartment. It’s got a fridge and an AC (All my life I’ve never had an air conditioned room, because of the disrespect it causes to our middle-class family values). Although my share in the room’s rent came out to be around one third of my meagre salary, I thought this flat would be really comfortable to get a pretty Ukrainian whore home and lose my virginity after 25 years. And also I wouldn’t have to shell out any money to buy ice for the weekly parties at my flat with half-naked girlfriends of my friends spread around.
Anyways, I started staying at this new flat with this wonderful AC which always buzzzzzed me to sleep. And automatically woke me up after chilling me to the bone so that it can be switched off. Mornings seemed to be difficult at first because I had to take a detour around all the buildings of the colony and then reach the main road. One day I tried to experiment and started walking in the opposite direction and wallah! I discovered a shorter way. Later I realised that it wasn’t actually a shorter cut, In fact it was stupid of me to take a de-tour when the way to the main road was in fact the same one that I thought myself a genius to discover.
Now that I had discovered the way out it was always a confusion to find the way back in. Then I discovered this big bold ‘sorry’ banner that had been tied on a tree at the turn towards my building. For the first few days I didn’t think much about it other than the fact that it was there to help me find my way back home.
One humid evening, when my T-shirt was sticking to my back, and I had fucked up the first brief I was given in my new agency, I looked at the ‘sorry’ and felt really good. It was as if the world feeling apologetic for my all fucked up existence. The question that why I had a fucked up existence in the first place flew across my mind, but well... it flew fast and was nowhere to be seen after a few seconds.It really was a refreshing message for me.
To me it meant - Sorry, for not letting you have a phone number... Sorry, for not letting you have a bank account which can get you a phone number... Sorry, for not letting you have a billing address that can get you a bank account... Sorry for not letting you have a passport which can give you a billing address... Sorry, for not letting you have a pan-card which can get you a passport... Sorry, for not letting you have a valid license that can get you a pan-card... Sorry, for not letting you have money to go back to Delhi to get your license validated and Sorry, for not letting you have a bank account which can get you money.
That ‘sorry’ never seemed to be solving any of my problems but still it was a relief. When I managed to come out of this existential-angst cycle, I looked around and saw that the apartment windows of the opposite building were facing that ‘sorry’ banner. I figured there’s a nice pretty girl staying in one of those apartments and her boyfriend must have tied that ‘sorry’ banner right opposite so that she can forgive him for tearing her new Tommy-Hilfiger T-shirt during one of his animal urges. Although I hate love-stories, I thought this one was cute enough to warm my depressingly cynical heart.
A few days later when I had stopped looking out for the ‘sorry’ banner (although mostly it was hard to ignore) to find my way back home, I saw the reply that was etched out across the banner with a blue pen “It’s ok, Rahul” or was it “It’s ok, life.”

Monday, July 7, 2008

Old white T and Baby blue jean:

I’m sitting on a beach. It’s more of a fjord, actually. Blue lagoon, sailing breeze, and the swashing sea. My feet are all sand and my head is all shine. And evening quietly falls in as if not to disturb me even a bit. I have lost all my void, my articulation, my well versed lines and my reserve. I am holding my long cast Shakespeare but I’m not there. Not at all.

It’s been a quiet sometime now and I haven’t caught anything. But that doesn’t matter. Not even a bit. My head is stone and my heart is sleeping calmly. Now the moon is out, glimmering beautifully in the still waters afar. And my gaze just shifted after a long long time. It is still now, though. I’m casually losing my alphabet, phonetics, and my grammar is wearing out, as if it were bio degradable.

I stand up slowly and put aside my rods, my plugs and my spinners. Gathering a few bits of twigs I start a fire. And looking at the stars I lie down on the ground.

She turns around and hugs me in her sleep. Sigh~

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Deshu in Mumbai

Dilli waala

“arrey saab saarey mumbai me paani bharela hai… 750 lagega.”
“Meter se chalo.”
“Meter se nai jayega, paani bharela ai.”
“Lekin Mumbai central se Andheri 750? 600 doonga.”
“(dilli se aaya lagta hai chutia, meter se to 200 hi banta hai.) accha 700 de dena… jaldi chalo.”
“Accha ttheek hai, lekin 700 se ek paisa zyaada nahi doonga, chalo chalo.”


“Bhai yahan mere dost rehte hain Neeraj or Ira.”
“Kon Neeraj Ira.”
“Yahin 2nd floor me rehte hain.”
“Dilli se aaya tum?”
“Wahi log jo bhada pe rehta hai?”
“Haan haan wahi.”
“Vo aaya nahi teen din se ghar.”
“Kya?.. lekin…par… bhai par mere paas 6 bag hain. Ab kya karoon kahan jaaoon.”
“itna samaan kaye ko leke aaya Mumbai. Phone karne ka tha na un log ko.”
“vo phone nahi uttha rahe. Please mera samaan rakh lo. Mein kahan jaaoonga?”
“koi leke gaya to?”
“bhai le ke jaane do ab. Kya kar sakta hun? Kucch important bhi nahi hai. Bas rakh lo.”
“ttheek hai… ttheek hai… rakh do seediyon ke neecche.”


“yaar loki mein aa gaya.”
“to bhosdike ehsaan kia agar aa gaya.”
“yaar Neeraj Ira ghar pe nahin hain, mein kahan jaaoon?”
“bhenchod phone karma than a pehle.”
“yaar teen din se vo phone nahin uttha rahe.”
“to bhosdike bina phone kare aata hai kya koi Mumbai.”
“kya karta yaar. Accha mein tere ghar aa jaaoon?”
“yaar mein coffee shop me baitth ke coffee pee raha hun. Ek ghante tak pahunchoonga.”
“ttheek hai mein apna samaan leke pahunch jaata hun.”
“bhosdike samaan wahin cchod de, mujhe flat khaali karne ka notice mila hua hai.”
“yaar lekin mere paas 6 bag hain.”
“gandu koi 6 bag leke aata hai kya Mumbai. Mein jab aaya tha sirf ek bag leke aaya tha.”
“ab kya karoon yaar.”
“Itna samaan leke aayega to gaurd dande maar ke bhaga dega, vaise hi sulga hua hai mere se, Samaan wahin cchod de or aaja ghar.”
“ttheek hai.”


“Why did you even think of moving to Mumbai in the first place?”
“…because… well…I wanted to experience something… I don’t exactly know what.”
“And you got your share the day you landed.”
“Looks like it...”

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Part I: El Silencioso

On the way back, he replayed the conversation in his mind. He remembered every pencil fumble. Memory was the least of his problems.

“Ah yes. Come in. How are you?”
“Fine sir”
“Good. I hardly see you now days.”
He smiled, but kept silent. He generally preferred to remain that way until someone asked him a question.
“I wanted to speak to you for some time now…” his boss continued “…but something or the other kept coming in the way. You know how it is here…”
“Yes sir” he said. He did know how it was there, in fact, and it affected him a lot more than people realised. He wondered what was making the man who had single-handedly set up the firm they all worked in some thirty years ago so nervous.
“So anyway…here we are now…”
“You joined two years ago”
“Two and a half sir”
“Right. Right. So, how are you finding things now days?”
“Good Sir, fine. Lots of business coming in…” he started, but saw the silver-streaked head before him shaking and stopped.
“Not like that. I meant how are things with you today, after this much time with the company”
He knew what to say. Anyone who had done an MBA knew what to say. “I feel much more involved today sir. I think I’m beginning to understand my job and my role in the organization a lot better now”
The Living Legend tapped his pencil and looked worried. “That’s good. Though to be honest I was expecting you to say something else …if you do have any problems you can tell me…”
“What sort of problems?”
“Anything. We are completely open door. If there’s anything about your work that’s troubling you…or the office…”
“I love my work here”
“Are you sure? Don’t you find it difficult to have to talk to so many new people? Every day. With your condition…”

Sometimes he remained silent even when someone had asked him a question. This was one of those moments.

“The eloquent young pilgrims pass, and leave behind their trail, imploring us not to fail”

“Its nothing to be ashamed of…”
“I know”
He knew that. Sort of.

After a long uncomfortable silence, the boss asked him a series of questions. Had he thought about his future? Was he interested in pursuing other lines of work (because they could help him, get him started off, put him in touch with the right people)? Did he see himself doing this job in five years? Did he sometimes feel his talents lay elsewhere (not that he was not good at this, he was, but its all about human potential, isn’t it)?

He finally understood. He thought of asking if his Team Leader had complained. But he knew she wouldn’t have. She didn’t mind him. Neither did the others actually, he just wasn’t one of them. He remembered his first week. So many people had come up and asked him if he was always this silent, until he finally decided he would adopt it as an identity.
Lord Silens.
Monsieur Silencieux.
El Silencioso.

Every office has a quiet guy.