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Monday, December 27, 2010


They look down upon the myriad boxes, rolling along on feet made from rubber from their lofty perches, with curious detachment. Aware that with a tiny flicker of their coquettish eyes, they can cause brakes to squeal like pigs being slaughtered. At their command, internal combustion engines hunch together - heaving, purring and clutching at each other, like participants in a depraved Roman orgy. On their whims, they send commuters running helter-skelter like insects scurrying in search of food.

They look at the mangled pieces of metal and the shards of glass that were once vehicles, but now lie like lovers spent, having just consummated their togetherness.

Like little children revelling in mischief, they wink in merriment.

And the chaos goes on.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Void

The demons return. Every night. To feast on my soul. Fighting to grab the tiny slivers that now remain - little shards of humanity soaked in blood.

The deities stay unmoved as their temple is desecrated. Dead deities. With hearts of stone.

I feel the darkness closing in, pulsing like a living organism.

I am one with the darkness; the point of fear is past. And I open my arms to embrace my freedom.

The Void beckons.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Baroda-ly speaking

With completely innocent and reader-friendly intentions, I had planned on calling this post “Broadly speaking” because you will find many of my prejudices/biases/opinions/brilliant observations about some recent experiences listed here. However, when I realised that some of those oh-so-ignorant meanderers who chance across my super-awesome blog might make a connection with a certain English fast bowler who was clobbered by a certain batsman from Punjab (when he could bat, field and be seen without a beer belly), I decided to ditch the idea and be my usual punny self.

So, dear reader, please do not read any further if:

a) You belong to Gujarat.

b) You are one of Narendra Modi’s cronies.

c) You are one those prudish folks with upturned noses, who look down upon opinionated folks.

d) You have no appreciation for brilliant writing. (Ha, still reading eh?)

Ok then, it’s been over 2 months in this strange land called ‘Gujarat’. It’s a land of anachronisms – a land of strange paradoxes. On one hand, you see expressways drastically shrinking the distances between places, and factories mushrooming overnight. (That’s when you say, “Wow, the development in this state is fantastic,” and rattle of growth rates and comparative charts and statistics, if you are from that much maligned breed of capitalists MBAs/MBA students.)

On the other hand, you see farmlands being acquired for building factories, with no sustainable income sources for farmers and companies making a beeline to set up shop in Gujarat, to take advantage of the cheap labour and government freebies. (That’s when you lean back on your recliner, take a swig of imported malt whiskey, run a hand through your lush hair slicked with gel, adjust your Aviator glasses, adjust the temperature of the AC and say, “Sheesh, what exploitation! Stop destroying our planet! Down with capitalism! Long live imperialism.” Then, you fish out your latest Blackberry, and with your nicely manicured finger, dial the number of your press contact, giving him/her the details of your next protest march/candle-lit vigil/rath yatra to mobilise support (and funds!) against all this.)

Anyway, I digress from the main point here. So yes, Gujarat is a land of diversity and the average newcomer is likely to be lost or even bewildered for the first few weeks. Hence, a brief guide is being published here to help such newbies. (I thought “Gujarat for dummies” was too lame a title, and moreover even dummies don’t like to admit that they are what they are.)

1) Do not offer a Gujarati any medicines for cold/cough, by way of misplaced concern. When you think they are sneezing, they might simply be talking of arriving soon. (Aaoon Chhoon = Atchoo!)

2) Gujaratis seem to be fond of painting, especially spray painting. In fact, many of them practise this fine art all day long. The Gujarati technique of spray painting involves chewing a mix of different shades and colours, till it attains consistency, and then using the ‘point-and-shoot’ interface. You may stop to admire this artwork on walls and even on road surfaces. If lucky, you might even catch a master artist at work. However, do not touch the paintings for it may spoil them.

3) I’m not quite sure of this one, but it seems that this state lacks some of the basic camaraderie that we experience in the North. For example, there is no back-thumping, effusive greeting with references being made to your (female side of the) family among friends. So much so, no expletives are exchanged among friends to express warmth. Weird! (This trend completely negates Sumit’s law of friendship: The strength of a friendship bond between two persons is directly proportional to the frequency and intensity of the swear words used, per unit conversation.)

4) Non-vegetarians, please bring along a basket of eggs and an incubator to hatch them in. This state is extremely unfriendly to all of you. Apparently, Gujarat is supposed to have the highest number of vegetarians in India. Bah!! (Ahmedabad’s claim to fame: The first city to have an all-veg Pizza Hut in India. POOH!!)

5) Either the people, or the cops in this state are extremely lazy. Reportedly, the crime rate in Gujarat is the lowest in India. For the record, Gujarat is a dry state but I have seen people carrying liquor bottles being waved through a police check post at 5 am. (Don’t ask me what I was doing at that unearthly hour!)

6) The capital of Gujarat is Gandhinagar. Officially, yes. Unofficially, Ahmedabad is THE capital for all practical and business purposes. Gandhinagar is green and clean, and has wide roads. But, for buying books, watching a movie, hanging out, visiting a market, Ahmedabad is the best place.

7) All men are ‘bhai’ and all women are ‘ben’. (‘Ben’ is pronounced as ‘bane’. For example, Shantaben would be pronounced as ‘Shantabane’. I wonder, why ‘bane’? Open-mouthed smile) Please do not be astonished by names like ‘Rameshbhai Bhailalbhai Parmar’ or ‘Nathiben Nathabhai Raval’. (These are actual examples, not concocted ones.)

8) Prof. Kakani, who teaches Finance (and the art of walking around like an undead zombie without bumping into things/people) was right about the Gujju bhais. Apparently, 35% of our stock market wealth in India is owned by Gujjus. (Theory: Khakra sharpens the brain and stimulates neurons. Note to self: Buy 1 kg of khakra tomorrow.)

I guess all those pointers should get you started. The rest, you will either figure out or will be spoonfed to you through this blog. So, don’t worry. There is no Dantesque inscription at the Gates of Gujarat: “Abandon hope all ye who enter here”. (That inscription has been copyrighted by my employers, for use on their gates.)

Eat. Pray. Love. But most of all, P.R.A.Y. (No reference to any individual with a similar sounding name)

P.S. No references to Baroda, you say. Well, only because no other puns with city names struck me. Disappointed smile

P.P.S. I did warn you to stop reading. If after reading, you dislike my views, your problem. HMPH!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Scenes from a life that I lived eons ago, flash before my eyes. My laptop’s luminous display glows like the eye of a Cyclops in the darkness, and its fan purrs like a feline pet, puncturing the silence with its soothing hum.

There is silence all around. And darkness. Nothing stirs, nothing moves. Except the collapsing remains of dreams that once were. Each layer crashes, shattering into myriad pieces, each filled with moments of joy and moments of agony, moments of ecstasy and moments of pain. I can do nothing but stare, trying to preserve the fleeting images that speed by, to be lost forever.

In commiseration, or in mockery, the luminous eye of the laptop glows brighter for a second, and then winks out, silencing the fan in the process.

The dust settles, and there’s silence once more.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


The last vestiges of daylight slip away like grains of sand from my aching fingers. I smile at the night, as it engulfs me in its warm embrace, covering my wounds with its blanket. And I lie oblivious, till a dagger of sunlight creeps up on me, and stabs me like a vengeful, jilted lover.