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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Lady in Black Heels

A lady in black heels,
In a black gown to match
And a soft fragrant white hat
Gracefully following my lead
Her footprints etched for good
Leaving an impression wherever we went
But our affections start to disappear
Much like her footprints do 
When I’m not satisfied
I never am when she
Starts seeming less sharp
We try again 
We fail again
We turn the page
Again
Same route 
Different paths 
Perhaps.
But she starts to age, real fast 
As she shrinks with time, I grow 
Up as a writer, and away from my pencil,
Now feeble and shrunk, 
Unable to match my lead
A pale shadow of the lady in black heels!
She remained faithful till the very end
But me? I move on
To yet another lady in black heels.
A love story that continues to be written.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Stopping by words of copy on a Sunday Evening



    Thankfully for the world, Robert Frost was a poet who won as many as four Pulitzer Prizes for turning his observations of rustic life into complex philosophy through poetry. But I wonder what was to become of his poetry if he was stuck in this time, and forced to make a living as a copywriter, and turn his observations from a plethora of reference material like Award journals, newspapers, TV, internet, FB etc. into a simple sales pitch through words. My guess is he may have ended up writing something like this:



Whose words these are I think I know
His campaigns are from across the sea though;
He will never see me stopping here
To read his copy from an old One Show

The security here must think it queer,
To read something from the yesteryear,
In between deadlines on a Sunday night,
Surely the darkest night of the year.

He gives my shoulder a gentle tap,
Wondering if I was having a nap,
Because the only other sound is of the AC
As I was lost in the tome on my lap.

The words in there are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have too many deadlines to keep,   
And many lines to go before I sleep,   
And many lines to go before I sleep.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Do You Wanna Get Rocked?

I've reached that stage in my life when I try and act like I know nothing about contemporary music and that I would have none of it. Why, I surprised myself the other day when I caught myself saying, " I don't understand how people subject themselves to so much of shit in the name of music."

That however doesn't stop me from forgetting the songs and bands I once loved. Have you ever experienced that strange feeling when you seem to remember the lyrics by heart but cant for the life of you remember the the blasted name of the band or artist who sang it?

I guess its because you never choose the songs or bands you love. They choose you, depending on the state of your life when you first listen to them. Before I totally forget the bands that I once claimed to have loved, I thought it's best to make this list, and save for its preposterity. So here's what I was doing when I first heard these bands, before it was love at first sound byte:

Metallica: Loved them because it was cool to do so as a freshman.

Rolling Stones: Learned to love them because Metallica was only meant for freshmen.

The Who: If a band got a mention in Fundamentals of Physics by Resnik & Halliday, they had to be cool right?

Iron Maiden: I loved this one simply because they had an album named after a book which I'd later go on to read.

The Doors: Well, I just loved the band even before I heard a song they played, simply because they named themselves after a literary work I'd never go on to read.

Bob Dylan: I loved this man because his songs actually qualified for literary work, listening to which would save me the effort of reading anything.

Deep Purple: Loved them because they composed the song that was used in the Philips Powerhouse commercial

Led Zeppelin: Loved them because they wrote songs about Lord of The Rings, which was a super cool movie way back in 2002.

Jimi Hendrix: Loved him because he gave me enough to air guitar my way through second year.

The Kinks: More Air Guitar. My performance of "You really got me going" would have got an encore in any air guitaring concert.

Simon & Garfunkel: Loved this band, more so after it gave me a name for this blog.

Beatles: Loved the band, simply because for the first time, I couldn't justify my love for their music. And thankfully, never needed to.






Sunday, June 15, 2014

Trained For Life

9 am. Time for morning work-out. Speed walk to station. Oh no! Will miss the 9.20. Hail a cab. Minimum fare only. Taxi traffic outside station. Human traffic on the over-bridge. Missed it again. Drat!  Here comes 9.25. Andar chalo, boss! Why crowd at the entrance?

Oh my god! Death by armpits. The burial for every fragrance known to man! Davidhoff Cool Water will develop cold feet. Axe effect will face the axe. Ittar wearer will realise a train is not a bed of roses. Here the sweet smell of success is the one you experience when you can stick your head out like a mutt. Should have stood at the entrance only!

Arre hello, Prannath Bhai! You'll live a hundred years. We were just going to play a new round of teen patti. Here, here. Your cards. 100 bucks please! Come, come. Give the man his khakra! What's wrong with your eyes, Gokhale Saab. Watching match till late night or what?? I dont underastand why young man like yourself should watch football? Anyway, no hope for us, no? Oh, what? There was Hockey world cup also? Oh ho! Put money on Australia, I say. They usually win. Please move a little inside no? Here, here. You can also sit? "Agla Station, Matunga Road!"

Abbey Oye! Yeh First Class hai! Chal Nikal! Side please! Dadar? No? So move no? Please wear bag in the front. Please get off and then get back inside? Travelling the train for the first time or what?  So what if you have first class pass. I also have. Now will you just move. Dum hai toh get off the train and get on to the platform. I'll show you! Yea yea! I also dont have time to waste with people like you. You think you have the most important job in the world. You dont know who I am. Arre Dadar's come. I'll settle scores with you later. Excuse me, uncle. Dont know why I need to start my day like this.

Are you done reading? Oh why dont you hand me the business page. And the editorial to chacha. Dont worry. We will return it to you whenever you get off. We are getting off at Churchgate only. It's been so hot. I hope it doesn't flood this year. Ha ha ha ha! Who am I fooling. Dont know how Mumbai runs? Authorities seem to be doing nothing. They say we are a global city, but look at the state of our local train. You should actually change trains at Bandra. Shift to a fast train, and get off at Bombay Central. Then catch a slow train in the opposite direction. Arre, its easy. You'll get used to it. Wait, Wait. Lots of people get off at Elphinstone road. Get ready to grab a seat.

Hello! Sir! I'm sorry, I am still inside a train. I'm almost there. Let me call you in 5-10 mins. There's poor signal here. What? Oh no. I had called Sriram last evening, and he told me he'll have the report mailed to you the first thing in the morning. No no no. He should be there already! What? My god! Let me call that fellow! I dont know why these people cant plan their lives better. Dont worry. I should reach in another 15 minutes. What to do, walking takes time, no? Oh yes! Thank you! Whew! Hello, Sriram! Where the hell are you? What? Late again? Couldn't you have taken an earlier Train? Now dont give excuses. Just wait for me at the Lower Parel Station. We'll figure something.

9.45. Shucks! I have to stop hitting the snooze button in the morning. Side please!


 




Sunday, April 20, 2014

So You Think You Are Funny?

As a teenager, I spent a few years trying to crack an original joke. And spent many more years waiting to unleash it at a crowd when they least expect it. Just so I time it well. And be hailed as a king of spontaneous wit. Because for some strange reason, this funny voice that seems to emerge from my hypothalamus always told me that it’s going to make me popular. So armed with a few puns, I started writing jokes. I now realise it’s not the same as being funny, but humour me for a few more lines, won’t you?
After writing a few jokes, it occurred to me that it would take me a lifetime before I found an opportune moment to say something like, “KFC is a truly democratic organisation. Whether it’s the left wing or the right wing, both can be bought at the same price.”  What was I thinking?
Probably I thought I’d earned the right to be funny. Taking a cue from all those countless Bollywood movies of the 90s, where one would see 35-year-old heroes literally dancing around college, I learnt that if you weren’t hero enough to say “Meri Pant Bhi Sexy”, your best shot at getting some glory as a side-kick would be if you were witty enough to say, “Draupadi teri akele ki nahi hai … hum sab shareholder hain”. So I went about trying to write something funny every day.
To say I stayed committed would be an understatement. It’s almost like saying the IPL ads are irritating, when you actually mean to say that they are like mosquitoes breeding on Columbia’s most valuable chemicals. So on I wrote, one joke at a time. And what drove me to do this every day? Just a few laughs actually. “When I tell people I want to kick off a career in comedy, they laugh.”
But the more I tried to say something funny, the more I ended up laughing at myself. Here’s a sample, “I’m so lazy that even in my dreams, I find myself sleeping.”
I’d begun this earnest exercise four years back. I am still very far away from calling myself a funny guy. But at least, in four years I’d like to believe I spent more time trying to make sense than Rahul Gandhi has all his life. “What’s common to Congress and the pizza from the neighbourhood bakery? Both have a rotten crust with some Italian topping.
I’ll probably never know what it is to be a full-time comic. But thanks to this silly exercise I subjected myself to, I can make a safe guess. “As a kid, I thought becoming a humour writer would help me laugh all the way to the bank. Today, the only one who seems to be laughing is my banker.”
So after attempting to write 1407 jokes over the last four years, I’ve come to realise there are just two ways to look at all the troubles in life. I could choose to call them nightmares and lose my sleep over them. Or call them bad jokes and laugh it off. I think I’ll do the latter.

If it will bring me nothing else, it will at least help me think up of stuff like this – “The problem with being labelled a funny guy is the women stop taking you seriously.”

Monday, March 10, 2014

All Groan Up



As a child, I imagined my adult life to be very different from what it has turned out to be.

I thought I’d be a dashing man in dapper suits, a paragon of perfection, the epitome of esquireness (is that even a word), the G in GQness, the paradigm of Playboyness…you get the drift. I imagined I’d grace presidential suites in bespoken suits, hobnob with heads of state in stately halls, and shuttle between these routine rituals in a jaunty Jaguar. So basically, I imagined I’d Pierce Brosnan my way through adult life.

Today, the only time I’m dashing is when I try to push through over-crowded overbridges in Bombay. The only time I could carry off the aforementioned adjectives confidently is when I have a magazine of those very names. And the fastest transport I’ve taken is the Kasara Fast from Dadar to Kurla. 

So here I am. The grown up I’ve always dreamed of becoming. Groan!

But when I think about it, it’s not as different as it sounds. Not really.

As a kid I wondered if work would involve myself driving down to a famous skyline at Lower Manhatten. Today, I find myself driven enough to make it to my office, a little building hidden among some of India’s tallest abominations at Lower Parel, by 10 in the morning. 

I imagined swaggering into my office and sitting with my feet on my workdesk. That’s exactly what I do. Because that’s the only way I could catch some 17-18 winks after being in office all night.

I imagined going very far in the career of my choice. I recently moved 707 KM away from home, looking for a new job.

I imagined I’d be too busy to give anyone my time. These days, I’m too busy to give myself any time.

I imagined I’d be committed to enriching lives of people all over the world. I now work on advertising campaigns for a global bank.

I imagined committing myself to a creative hobby every day. Now I’m happy if I manage to write a half-decent FB status message every other day.

I imagined carrying a techie gadget that helped me prioritise all my assignments for the month. I now maintain an excel sheet on my laptop that reminds me when to pay off my rents, electricity bills, mobile bills and renew my train pass.

I imagined wining and dining all over the city all week long. Today, I’m at least whining all week long.

So is there a lesson in here? Most certainly. For young readers who may stumble upon this piece, be careful what you wish for. Because your destiny is written by someone with a wicked sense of humour. Beware!