December 21, 2009

To Be… Or Not To Be


Why is it that a person who dies young, an unnatural or self inflicted death, but lived and enjoyed life till it lasted becomes a “tragic” figure in the eyes of the rest of the world? What is a tragedy any ways? Is having a stable life with a secure job promising a cheerful bank balance and a family to catch you whenever you fall, the only way of living? Apparently, any person who dies without any of the three most sought after things in the world (i.e. Money, Family and Security) ends up being pitied and looked down upon by the rest who might be suffering equally even after having them. Marilyn Monroe is the first name that comes to my mind when it comes to interpreting these so called “Tragic Figures”. Trust me; if someone could get her feedback after she died… she would hate to be a part of that list. She was probably not a mess as people thought her to be and this article is not about defending her ways of living either. This article is about how each individual is likely to be judged for every act in their walk of life and there’s no escaping it!


Surprisingly, there will be many out there who will claim to live life on their own terms and proudly declare that it barely bothers them what others think of what they do. Somehow, I find it hard to believe that they are human if it doesn’t. Or they are plain ignorant of their deeds! Gautam Buddha might have charted out an eight fold path to end the suffering in the world, but I doubt if he really ever attained Moksha himself. I’m not trying to hurt any religious sentiments here, but my doubts about the right way of living are pretty strong and won’t be sufficed without a proof! Gandhi may be a Mahatma and I respect him for his ideals and principles, but I find it hard to follow a person who turns a deaf ear to the basic human needs especially towards his own dear ones. The righteousness of Gandhi is as debatable as that of Lord Rama. It may be easy for a King to practice his principles religiously but the case is not the same for a beggar. So are we here to decide what is right or wrong or live life with what it gives us? Why is it that the mistakes of “Mahatmas” are forgiven or rather ignored with greater ease than a regular person’s? Social norms and boundaries vary from culture to culture and so do the problems. Then how can a single way of living life be a solution to the problems of the whole world?


Out of all the legends and idols in the world, not many will advice their fans to follow them. Imagine the pressure of being an example for a huge population when you yourself are figuring out life like the rest of them. Maybe being happy is not the sole purpose of life. Maybe it’s the suffering that relieves you. Who knows? Who cares? Kurt Cobain once said,

If you die you're completely happy and your soul somewhere lives on. I'm not afraid of dying. Total peace after death, becoming someone else is the best hope I've got.”

Some might say he was messed up. Some might say he was depressed. And there might be a huge chunk of population that might consider his followers just a bunch of losers! But honestly, we all have a loser hidden somewhere inside us whom we are scared to show because of a single fact that we hate being judged! No one wants to look like a tragedy. Maybe the day people stop bothering about what they “Don’t” want to be and stop being scared of being judged and under the constant scrutiny of the outside world, (since that will never end!) they might end up being their own role models and will finally learn to forgive.

December 15, 2009

What’s your choice? ... Create Money or Chase Money?


This article was just a result of great appreciation that I felt for a friend of mine who definitely seems sure of what he needs, deserves and aspires for in Life. It was just a regular chat with this particular person that prompted me to Google some figures to be sure of what I usually thought. I won’t say I was surprised, but deeply saddened by the figures which show what a major failure our education system has become over time. No amount of easy exams or abolishing them altogether can help the students cope with the pressure that they face today. And that is exactly what I’m worried about. Why should education create any pressure on a human brain? Isn’t it supposed to enlighten and spark the mind instead of burdening it?


As I mentioned earlier, some figures just affirmed a few ideas that I held before. India is a home to approximately 3,573 Engineering Colleges. (Source: http://www.indicareer.com/engineering-colleges-in-india.html) In 2004-05, India produced 464,743 engineers. One can imagine the increase in the number at present and it’s a fact that approximately 80% of the entrants in the IIMs are engineers. So, where does that leave the rest of the chunk of students specializing in some equally important streams like hospitality, media & entertainment, tourism, etc.? There is no doubt about the fact that IIMs promise an assured job with a handsome pay packet at the end of it all, and not to forget the coveted tag of the institute in your C.V. But is that all that takes to lure engineers into taking management as a career option? Then I’m afraid the engineering colleges aren’t doing a very good job at creating engineers out of the already confused freshers that join engineering colleges under peer or family pressures. Even if the schools seem to be failing at preparing a student for the world outside, further studies are supposed to empower the youth not deviate them from their goals (if they have any!). The endless race to top exams, scoring “depressingly” high scores without actually learning anything in the whole process just disables the whole education system at its core with greater evils like the system of unnecessary quotas, which is just another poke in the eye but I will not touch that topic right now.


And with around 3,500 engineering colleges, we still have to hire foreign companies for any massive engineering projects in our country. But with an evident lack of ‘desired’ jobs in the country, we sit and complain about Brain Drain. Why shouldn’t a student go abroad if he/she feels that his knowledge is well accepted and put to better use in some other place that requires it? It’s a shame and a pity to see all the training and education invested in the colleges in India literally going to waste. But who cares as long as they have a satisfied pocket and a collar to brag about! The lousy pay that school teachers are paid, makes teaching just an alternative for most people. I remember my mother threatening me when I showed my interest in teaching! The pressure of the school management on the teachers to produce bright numbers scored by students, leaves the teachers helpless too. Hobbies turned into co-curricular subjects for creating all-rounders instead of activities of relaxation, just doubles the pressure on young minds. Why do humans tend to forget that awards, fame, and money follow when you do what you please? Or else all one can create is horses running after dollar bills to satisfy a ravenousness never satiated. The situation needs to be looked into before all the deserving engineers leave the country and the rest join the management cadre and all that is left is a population that keeps complaining!

November 22, 2009

VAAT IS YOU-VUR PROBLUM ?

You know it’s not fair when the world flinches upon hearing a Malayali in his uber awesome accent. I mean come on people, we account for at least a decent 60% of India’s humour! And what amazes me even more is how the Malayalis react to the ridicule. Trust me on this one… they are not such good sports when they are the epicenter of mockery. Though usually they are harmless but you will definitely get some bombastic comebacks that will lead you to the hospital with a hurting tummy (due to the laughing of course!) I don’t intend to hurt any feelings here, so before a Mallu sentiment gets hurt, I would like to disclose that I’m a Malayali myself. And before any of you Malayalis reading this start pounding me with coconuts and run me over with one of your pet elephants for betraying my clan, my only advice will be to take it all in good humour.

The age of the santa-banta jokes is so passé. I think it’s the era of Lola Kutty now. One reason being that the maximum a Malayali can hurt you is by picking up his Mundu (Lungi) in style and tucking it like a skirt and exposing his hairy legs (sometimes even the striped boxer shorts) to the shock of the onlooker and leave him completely scandalized. And if he gets really mad he can even fold up his shirt sleeves to expose dangerously hairy arms and head butt you to leave an imprint of the coconut oil on your brand new white shirt. But otherwise they are pretty docile creatures in comparison to the hot headed sardars who don’t receive jokes very well. It’s high time we moved down south to the land of coconuts and banana chips for some more fun. I feel so proud when I get to hear songs sung in praise of mallus especially “Hotel Keralafonia” and “I am a Malayali”. Finally all the joblessness from the perpetual “Hadtaals” in Mallu land has given birth to some productive humour. But it’s not just the accent that cracks people up. It’s their sheer laziness in naming their kids these days. They might be good at fishing for good jobs in “Gellf” but not for good names!

Shakespeare didn’t know Malayalam. But he sure did believe in what an average Malayali believes –Vaat is in a name? I am sure we all have come across Malayalis named Biju, Soju, Kinju, Pinju, Seejo, Teepee, Potee etc. Before we exchange some of the most interesting names that I have come across, let us analyze why these Keralites resort to such torture.

Not long ago, Keralites had a habit of pre-fixing their name with their villages’ name, their mother’s name and their house name. That made for names like: Pilavulakandi Thekkeparambil Usha (that is PT Usha), Kallatu Kothakery Kamini George (luckily she is not famous), and Vallamattam Muvattupuzha Nisha Santosh. I could go on naming them…but I am not able to. All children born till the late 70s were forced to carry such long names. The fact that they were all sleeping when the naming ceremony was going on made them feel helpless. As years rolled by, the children-with-long-names grew up and decided to give really short names to their children. Names like Biji, Saji, Mini, Betsy etc. You could say it was a revenge over their parents…but today we are forced to live with such names. Sometimes there names are so short that their nicknames become longer than their actual names. And this is not an exaggeration. Nicknames could vary from MaalluKutty to Kuttoos or even Kuttappa. I once knew a person called Baby. I guess his folks never imagined he could grow up one day. You could try not embarrassing yourself by mispronouncing their names by not venturing anywhere near them but that idea nearly fails when you realize that Malayalis are “Blady” everywhere! So all one can do now is just enjoy their presence, laugh behind their backs and soak up every bit of humour they can offer before they all migrate to the Gellf !

October 30, 2009

Photocopied days!

It’s been quite a while since monotony has taken full control over my life and turned it into what can only be called a comical tragedy of choices. Not that I’m the adventurous sorts or would go doing wild things just to live on the edge, but I never mind a little unexpectedness or adventure once in a while. Sadly, that hasn’t happened in quite a while and I feel like a cog in a wheel that never stops.


Starting work at six in the morning doesn’t sound that pleasant. Does it? Well let me affirm that thought for you. It is not! Especially when the mornings are cold and the air around you is at its best to make you sleep. Your eyelids are bearing the weight of dreamless nights and just won’t open. I get out of my bed, with my eyes closed, and figure my way to the bathroom. Heavy metal grunge playing through my head while I’m shivering in the chill of a cold winter morning Brrrrrr. If you ever want to jump start your day early in the morning, just splash your sleepy unprepared face with icy cold water and it’ll scare the daylights out of your dull head. But I call it self inflicted suffering. So, finally, that I’m awake, irritated and shocked early in the morning, the music in my head gets louder and the first facial expression for the day is a disgusting frown looking back at me in the mirror! My alter ego hates me at this time of the day. It takes some time to settle matters with her and repair that awful frown on the face till I’m staring back at what cannot be called a pleasant morning face but definitely a less aggressive one. My head still droops with sleep clogged in my brain. I pull myself through the rooms and drag my body that is the heaviest at this time of the day to fix myself a kick of caffeine. Honestly, coffee never wakes me up, but it’s just for the satisfaction that “At least I’m trying to wake up!” that I treat myself to a cup of coffee.


The hot steaming cup in my hand is like a radar guiding me to my computer. FUMP! I fall into my chair and stare at the machine. Widen my eyes a couple of times. The voices in my head telling me to go to sleep. Click! I start the machine. While it takes its own sweet time to start, I stare at the goosebumps on my arm. It’s cold. I need a jacket or something. Ah! too lazy! So I just sit there feeling cold and waiting for the machine to start. Waiting… waiting…waitiiiiiiiing! God! This stupid thing is slow! But you know, I always thought machines are way smarter than humans. They understand every emotion around them. It is like they sense the air around themselves and function accordingly! OK! I might be sounding like a total nut case right now, but yes I talk to machines. Crazy as it sounds, it WORKS! I pat the mouse a little. Put on a smile. And fold my hands before the machine, praying for it to start soon… and Voila! It does.


I want to start work right away. It’s 6.15 A.M. The sun has just started peeking. So I start off my music player. With respect to my beliefs that machines are really smart, my media player is always playing a shuffled playlist. And it manages to sense the “Air” around and plays exactly what I want to hear. My day starts with Collin Hay’s “Overkill”. Well! that manages to bring a true smile to my face. I love machines! They are better than dogs, babies or even boyfriends! I open the boring documents and start off typing like a brainless freak. Thinking how have I managed to change the world by doing this mindless work. But then the world doesn’t need me to change it. It does that work pretty well all by itself. All I want right now is the money that this mindless work is giving me at the convenience of sitting at home. Yes! I’m a freelance editor with a leading publishing house. I don’t have to bother with the nerve wrecking commutes, or the morning decision making riots of what to wear or which asshole I have to avoid during the day at work while I sit in a depressing cubicle limiting my life to the three walls. Instead I sit at home, comfortable and cosy doing my work any way I want to. But being a human, satisfaction doesn’t come that easy, does it? The comforts turning each day into a Xerox copy of another gets on to you. It’s like a vicious circle. The constant thought of how was my today different from yesterday irking you to break free.


That’s when it dawns upon me. I’m living a vacation. And I need a break from this holiday. I check out sites for a quick getaway. An escape. A moksha. A vacation from my circle of life.

October 27, 2009

No Time




The mirror tells me I’m still the same

Same as I was a second back

It’s hung there for a year or so

But it’s the same as it was a year back.

There’s no time, no time at all

No summer. No winter. No fall.


Can’t remember if I had a wrinkle a month back

The photos tell me… but the mirror just laughs

The present can’t trap what’s gone

It’s only the past that clings on.

The ant just lost a fragment of its life

as I stare at it for an hour.

But it walked almost a mile

While I sit sour.


Who would know the years

If the sun never sets down

Take off the past masking your fears

Smirk at that clock, turn time around.

There’s no time, no time at all

No summer. No winter. No Fall.


Counting seconds will make you lose an hour

Every morning you wait for night

And your bread tastes bland

‘Coz the last supper wasn’t right.

The monsoons you remember for the tears u wept

But forgot the spring that made you laugh.

What’s gone left a trail behind

And reduced your life to half.

There’s no time, no time at all

No summer. No winter. No fall.

September 21, 2009

The Ghost of Montockshire


He got up from his muddy bed

to find his favourite flowers wilting next to him.

Taking a whiff of the midnight air

for once he could smell the moonlight so dim.

He stood up on his dead feet

to find his pain all gone

The silence groped him

now, that he was all alone.


Realising he didn’t blink for so long,

he did it… just to feel human.

He breathed once more

to colour his skin so ashen.

No longing could hurt him now.

No wishes he wanted fulfilled.

Absence meant nothing to him,

for every desire in his dead heart was killed.


He knew not where he belonged.

He had forgotten the desires he longed.

“Was he happy?” was a doubtful thought,

since sad he definitely was not!

The wind cooed in his ears

The wild dogs howled out to him

He smelt life around himself,

but no scent of the same within.


Roamed the town aimlessly

in the chilly air of Montockshire.

Not a shadow did he cast on earth,

nor did his eerie attire.

Breezing past a hobo asleep on the pavement,

disturbing not a soul dead or alive.

Peace engulfed his every step,

since no sound could he revive.


The moon silvered his way

to show him some light.

But failed to show a similar soul

in his world of black and white.

Squeezing through the walls and the locked gates,

he knew not what to believe in.

Sight, smell and touch betrayed his senses

He fought a silent battle he could not win.


The sun never showed up on his face

It is always night in his eyes

Without choices he walks the lanes of Montockshire,

waiting to touch the sunrise

The wind whispers to him throughout

Since his journey has no end

The world of black and white will colour his life

In this town of Montockshire his death he will spend.

August 26, 2009

A Wonderful Time

Its such a wonderful time

When people do care

But it sometimes gives a fright

When you care to scare


How you care what Thomas is upto

In the middle of the night

And you even care for Bob

Who owed you and got out of sight!


Its such a wonderful time

When people do care

But it sometimes gives a fright

When you care to scare


Now why does Farah

stay all alone?

But when Ricki went over to her

You ran to the phone.


As you very well know

Wally got rich too soon.

You never cared before

But now you are best friends too.


Its such a wonderful time

When people do care

But it sometimes gives a fright

When you care to scare

August 12, 2009

Are We Free Yet?

As we progress towards the celebration of 62 years of freedom this 15th of August, the only thought that crosses my mind is, ‘How free are we anyway?’ How many times have we actually tried to imply the Freedom that we won almost 62 years back? On a personal level I feel that Democracy is just another word for an Indian, inscribed in the so called Constitution that is remembered merely once a year used as an alibi for what can only be called oafish behaviour. It’s funny how we still believe, had we not lost our country’s wealth to the British we could have been the wealthiest and the most powerful country in the world. Sadly, not even half the population actually understands the true meaning of Democracy. A term which is just a mere definition in the school books and an organ forgotten even if it helps you carry out your daily functions at ease of hardly lifting a finger. I remember myself mugging up the definition of Democracy in school days,


A form of government

for the people,

by the people and

of the people.


But unfortunately, nobody bothered to explain the true philosophical meaning of such a heavy word. Maybe nobody wanted to explain it, since it just opens a can of worms nobody wants to see or accept. If simply put, it means that every individual has an equal right to live or to think in their own desired way and live life with dignity and self respect. I hardly find half the nation entitled to such rights though. The problem lies not in the corrupted ways of the government officials, or the government and not even in the stifling bureaucracy. It lies within all of us. The minute you try to correct some opulent bully with a shiny black car treating the road like a garbage disposal unit and you receive a painfully pleasing remark saying, “Tere baap ka kya jaata hai?”, that is the exact moment Democracy gets killed. One’s attitude towards any other individual irrespective of class, creed, color, sex or even wealth determines how democratic an individual he/she is. It’s not just about how much freedom you can exercise. It’s about how dutifully you exercise them. India is still behaving like an impatient bull released out in the open ready to attack any living soul with a blessed excuse called Freedom.


Simple examples like reality shows being taken to court, gay marriages still considered illegal in the nation, or useless quotas that do nothing but deteriorate conditions rather that empower classes, clearly mock the very existence of Democracy. Why can’t an Indian live and let live. And media can definitely not be blamed for the situation either since it’s the very reflection of the people it caters to. After all they show what sells. And the very Indian who buys the dirt, flinches at the very sight of it. It’s a pity that a word like Democracy is limited to a nation and surprisingly varies from nation to nation. The world can only rejoice the full glory of such a magical word if it were considered globally. Why can’t all the citizens of the world have an opportunity for Democracy since it definitely is a right each individual should be born with? It’s high time people free themselves of stereotypes and give an opportunity to every single being that desires one. And the day that happens, there will be what we call…


Freedom of Thought

Freedom to Grow

Freedom to Create

and most of all, Freedom to Live!


May 10, 2009

PLAYING GAMES

Open my eyes to see this red blob.

The closer I get, faster it disappears.

Reach out to catch it before it goes...

...in my hand the blob just sears


Counting the sheep just doesn’t help

So I start counting stars.

Finally I run out of them

trying hard but my sleep is sparse


Humming loud but in my mind

Bobbing my head from side to side

The tingly feeling in my head

and the smile in my eyes I cannot hide.


High up above or down below

I'll choose my path, I just need to float.

The sun kisses my face with a delicious smile

I can feel the touch of fairy gold.


I see colors of every kind, except all

Tapping my foot on nothing below

Feel a cold breath down my spine

Tickles through my veins they flow.

April 4, 2009

THIS LIFE'S NOT ENOUGH

Feel no ground below my soles

since the day you left me behind

You said I don’t need you no more

I was scared and petrified.


Lost in the alleys of the dark clouds

that leave no space to breathe

I might seem alright on the outside,

but I’m crushed underneath


Nothing can stop you from leaving.

No matter how much I sob or not

It’s your will, I cant change it

There’s a lot of mess to sort


‘Tis now that I realize

that we are all alone.

No company when you die

You leave all on your own.


Will wait till I can meet you again

I’m sure we will one day

Since you promised me the same

before you died last Sunday.

March 19, 2009

MAUJI DARUWALLAH

(This poem is an outcome of a classroom activity where 15 random words were given to the students and either a poem or a paragraph needed to be penned down in 20 minutes. I chose to write a poem on this unique fellow called Mauji Daruwallah. Hope you enjoy it! The words are highlighted for your reference.)


Today my friends, I’ll tell you a story

of a remarkable young lad, called Mauji.

Never in my life have I ever lied

this story is true, it can’t be denied.

This wondrous creation of the lord

was blessed to the Daruwallahs one fine morn.


When Mrs. Daruwallah felt a kick

she knew this day will be ‘BIG’!

BIG indeed it was…

Not just the day, but whatever followed.

The doctor cried in delight and in awe

“This DIKRA is the biggest baby ever born” and he cut the cord.


Mauji always faced ridicule since then,

“There walks, my friends, India’s biggest Ben!”

His T-shirt could encompass the whole class.

He ate his food in a tank of brass.


He always wanted to be an army man,

but he violated the requirements of the clan.

The general said “You are too visible

to camouflage in the foliage, you snowman abominable!”


The agenda hurt Mauji deep down.

His anger scared the whole town.

The red on his face was bright as the sun

His omnipresent fury made him pick up a gun.


The valiant ardour with which he stomped about

shook the whole battleground.

The calm young lad had now lost his cool

The tiny gun in his hand projected him as a fool.


When his mom heard of what happened,

she caned him good on his back end.

“My little Mauji, no matter how big you become,

you are still my little diva and not a Bum!”

His mum’s sweet words put sense right back in

from where it had escaped and created this din.