Last Few Days

Huh!! Seems like it has been ages since I posted here. It has been a very busy week:

* Last Sunday, I wrote the last of the "Closed Book" exams for my MS. They went fine but not that great (how could they when I got only 8 hours to study for two papers). Anyways I am happy that finally after 3.5 years of sheer pain it is getting over.
* I am finally done with my iPhone app demo at my office. It generated a lot of buzz and I hope will generate some funds. I desperately need a device and another macbook to work on.
* Debu, Ankit and I met yesterday and finalized on the new project we are taking up.

Life has started to settle down after a week of frenzied activities and now I am feeling both exhausted and aimless. I need to take up more challenges to keep myself motivated. I am thinking of starting a new blog about the technical aspects of my life. Will let you guys know when I actually do it. Till then Adios!

आरम्भ है प्रचंड - A soul invigorating song

What would you say about a song which reminds you of the poetry of Maithili Sharan Gupt and Mahadevi Verma? I say AWESOME!!

Thanks to Anurag Kashyap and Piyush Mishra we have an album of brilliant songs who reinvent the meaning of good poetry. A tribute to Sahir Ludhiyanwi and Majrooh Sultanpuri, the music and lyrics of the movie Gulaal is simply put in a word 'AWESOME'.

The song which really touched me though is "आरम्भ है प्रचंड". The song reaches deep within your heart and brings out the 'ओज' and 'वीरता' inside it.

The first time I heard the song I was like shocked. How can such good songs even come out in these days of blatant remixes and 'Desi Girls'. It was like getting transported to the good old college days with 'Nukkad Nataks' playing in the lawns. I knew I HAD to write about it.


You can listen to a part of it here :



Here is the lyrics for the song. Enjoy!!

आरम्भ है प्रचंड
बोले मस्तकों के झूंड;
आज जंग की घड़ी की तुम गुहार दो
आन, बान, शान या की जान का हो दान,
आज इक धनुष के बाण पे उतार दो

आरम्भ है
प्रचंड...

मन
करे सो प्राण दे,
जो मन करे सो प्राण ले,
वही तो एक सर्वशक्तिमान है
कृष्ण की पुकार है,
ये भागवत का सार है,
की युद्ध ही तो वीर का प्रमाण है।।

कौरवों की भीड़ हो या,
पांडवों का नीड़ हो,
जो लड़ सका है वो ही तो महान है
जीत की हवस नहीं,
किसी पे कोई वश नहीं,
क्या जिंदगी है ठोकरों पे मार दो।।

मौत अंत है नहीं,
तो मौत से भी क्यूँ डरे,
ये जाके आसमान में दहाड़ दो॥

आरम्भ है प्रचंड ...

हो दया का भाव,
या की शौर्य का चुनाव,
या की हार का वो भाव,
तुम ये सोच लो
या की पूरे भाल पर,
जला रहे विजय का लाल,
लाल ये गुलाल,
तुम ये सोच लो।।


रंग केसरी हो या
मृदंग केसरी हो या
की केसरी हो ताल
तुम ये सोच लो।


जिस कवि की कल्पना में,
ज़िन्दगी हो प्रेम गीत,
उस कवि को आज तुम नकार दो।
भीगती नसोंं में आज,
फूलती रगों में आज,
आग की लपट का तुम बघार दो॥

Aastha

Maybe it was her last painful scream। I hope, maybe it is over। No! She screams again, one more time, one more...

I am weary and even in the mild cold spring morning, my forehead is wet with beads of sweat sparkling in the rays of the rising sun. Seeing the sun, I suddenly realize I was awake for the whole night.

There was a stabbing pain in my head. The fear of something bad, something evil but unevitable had not let me sleep - I was fearful for her. Will she live? Or rather will she die?

She screams again.

The sun is rising. It rises everyday without ever tiring out. It was the same sun rising yesterday when all this happened.

It rose everyday even when I was in my college....

"PK, PK, Kahan jaa rahe ho bete?", Mungeri shouts from behind. Bangu, Chandu and Dhiru are with him.

"Going to meet her?", Bangu inquires, glancing mischeviously.

I nod an affirmative.
"Haan! Tabhi to. You are shining throughout.", demures Dhiru.
I leave them all grinning.

She screams again. My train of thoughts is broken as the nurse comes out and walks past me in a hurry.
I shift my position on the uncomfortable iron bench. I start dreaming again...

The farewell party. Everyone is sad - some because they are and others because they ought to.
Friends make promises - that prove themselves hollow as the friendships, in eventuality - to keep in touch.
I listen to them. I, too, make promises (of course, fake ones).
Minu is crying, she has been crying all through the day. I try to console her but am surprised to find tears in my own eyes.
We cry together, holding hands.
We roam around in the college for hours...

She screams. The screams are relentless on my ears. Why don't they help painless deliveries? I try to ignore the screams.
I light a cigarette. The smoke brings tears to my already strained eyes. I throw the cigarette into the dustbin.
I remember the day when she snatched a cigarette from my hands and threw it into the bin. She made me promise never to smoke again. The promise eventually broke up - same as we...

Rrring! Rrring!
The phone bell rings. Mom picks it up. I am at home, enjoying my holidays months after I had joined my first job.
"Hello!.... Haan, aap kaun.... Ya, sure beta.... Gunjan! Gunjan! Tumhara phone hai."
Mom hands it out to me.
"Hello! Who's this?"
"Hi!", a machinised voice chirps.
The sound rings bells all through my head. My heart aches, stomach lurches. I suddenly feel the need of cigarette again.
"Hi!", I said...

I go out and smoke after so many months. I drink for the first time. She is going to be married - to a doctor. This guy, Abhi, is a brahmin...
After so many months of vacuum she calls up to say this.
What was the need?
I was happy with my illusions...

Oops! The phone is ringing.
"Hello!... Haan baba, haan. I'll be back... I don't know. The doctors are hopeful... Ya, I remember I have got the meeting tommorow. And haan, khana kha lena. Love you. Bye."
It was Riya. This was almost her hundreth call since yesterday morning. Sometimes she seems to nag me a lot, or maybe its her love for me.

Two doctors come out - they deliberate on some topic, awkwardly staring at me all the time. They go inside again.
My head aches. I need some sleep.

Yesterday morning...

I am going at a high speed. My new car is responding good to the well laid tarmac. I love driving and this stretch is awesome.
Suddenly a few meters ahead I see something abnormal. In the wee hours of the morning driving usually takes all your concentration and I make it a point to respond to all external stimuli. At the speed which I drive, my life depends on it.
A heavy truck is trying to change lanes. "Crazy fucker", I mutter. Anyway, Mumbai - Pune expressway is full of them. The truck pulls up in my lane. I can't figure out what the hell the driver is upto. Trucks normally drive in the last lane and leave the other lanes for the cars and buses. It is about a hundred odd meters from me with a red ford in between, a distance comfortable enough for me to brake.
But the fellow ahead was a little clumsy. He rams into the truck, at around eighty. The effects - obvious...

"Mr. Kumar", The doctor is standing in front of me. I shake myself out of dreams. She stares down at me as if we were playing David and Goliath.
"Yes. How's She?", I enquired, almost pleaded.
"Not so fine but, umm... I think she will survive."
"And the baby?"
"Ah! She is a thorough survivor. Even after such an a.... Well! she is coping up nicely"She grins. I too break up into a mutilated smile.
"One more thing... She should not know about her husband, at least not now. Do you understand Mr. Kumar?"
"Yeah! Sure! Can I meet her?"
"Not now. She is still not out of danger. Her brain is traumatized and also the delivery has strained her a lot. She'll be kept under observation till tommorow."

I drive back home, feeling satisfied, if not happy.
I take a short nap. Oh! how much I need it.
I wake up, take a quick shower and go to office. An important meeting is scheduled and had to be present for it.
My head is killing me. I have to rest, I think. I go home early.

Rrring! Rrring!
I get up, not wanting to disturb Riya. Oh! how beautiful does she look, sleeping peacefully.
Its one o'clock in the morning. Who the hell is at this time!
Rrring! Rrring!
The phone rings again. I pick it up.
"Hello!... Yes... Yes, Doctor... What?... I am coming soon. Thanks."
I run downstairs and down to the garage. But then I have missed the keys. I again run back to the bedroom - wake Riya up, kiss her good bye, take the keys, run downstairs again - and make haste to the hospital.

Thankfully the roads of Pune are not crowded at this hour, just as that of Delhi.
Delhi - where my love started, flourished and withered away...

She wants to talk to me. She is not going to live long - at least that was what the urgency in the Doc's voice hinted at. I knew I had to get there and get there fast.
I don't blame Minu for our breakup. No one was to be blame but our fate. Anyways she was happy with Abhi till yeterday when they met with the...

I reach the nursing home.
I run upto the ICU.
The doctor comes and shows me in. I am alone with her, not for the first time in our lives. We have been left alone, so many times, years ago.
She is lying there - so calm, as if dead. This shocks me. How can I even have such a dreadful thought?
She moans and turns her head slowly and painfully towards me.
She opens her eyes, she is crying, she has been crying all through the day. I try to console her but am surprised to find tears in my own eyes.
We cry together, holding hands.
"Do you hate me?", she murmurs painfully.
"No."
"Do you blame me for all that happened?"
I slowly negate with my head.
"Anyways, I am sorry. I caused so much pain to you..."
"I too am."
"You.. but why?", she is dismayed.
"Because I can't see you in this condition. I love you . I still love you, Minu."
She is all the more dismayed. She turns her eyes away, perhaps she can't face me or perhaps she is disgusted with me.
"How is Abhi?", she asks.
I suddenly feel my stomach tied into a knot. The long forgotten feeling starts again. I feel the need to smoke again.
"He is dead. That bastard Abhi is dead", I utter out, full of hatred for him.
She looks at me in disbelief. She cries again. I look away.
I stand up, disgusted with this bitch of a girl. I felt I would puke. She was not worth all the love and pain I had for her all through these years. I feel cheated. I feel destroyed. I walk out on her.

As I drive back home, my head starts reeling...

I recognise them on the first glance.
I see her lying in the pool of blood - that of Abhi - on the Mumbai Pune expressway.
Abhi was dead - the bonnet smashed in his chest. Minu, seated in the back seat, was miraculously saved. She is heavily pregnant. She is pregnant with the child of Abhi.
I shudder at this thought.
She too recognises me.
"Hi!", she murmurs vaguely.
Her voice raise the old, long dormant dillemmas in my mind. My thoughts go crazy.
I, somehow, control my emotions and call up the PCR and the hospital.
Suddenly, she started moaning and lurching.
"Oh my God! Her water just broke. She is having labour", shouted a woman behind me. I didn't realize, a few cars had stopped to look at the aftermath of the accident.
I knew I had to rush her to the hospital. The ambulance would take time. I had to take the chance. I carry her to my car and lay her on my back seat - her clothes all soaked up in Abhi's blood - dirtying the plush, spotless interiors.
I race away to Mumbai - to the nearest maternity home...

I find myself at the gates of my home. Riya is waiting for me. I realise I had not given her the due share, but still she has loved me, unconditionally. This increases my hate for Minu.
Walking towards Riya, I suddenly come up to a great realisation. Minu was not a true love, it was just another college crush. Love is what Riya is.

As I write today, Minu is dead. She died a few days after the accident, heart broken, full of grief. I sometimes tend to beleive it was because of me but then it may be because of Abhi.
Her child is with us. I didn't want her to go to an orphanage. We have christened her "Aastha" - just as Minu and I had decided years ago. That was to prove my faith in our love.
Ha! my 'Aastha' is alive but my love Minu is dead.

Sometimes I have too many doubts :
Maybe Minu loved me...
Maybe she was forced to marry Abhi and was fulfilling her marriage obligations...
Maybe she wanted Aastha to be with me..
Who knows... No one and no one can, possibly, except my love and my 'Aastha'.



कुछ पंक्तियाँ...

मैं तुम्हें छूकर ज़रा सा छेड़ देता हूँ
और गीली पंखुडी से ओस झडती है।
तुम कोई झील हो, मैं एक नौका
इस तरह की कल्पना मन में उभरती है।

माथे पे रखकर हाथ बहुत सोचते हो तुम;
खुदा कसम हमें बताओ क्या है माज़रा
लम्बी सुरंग सी है तेरी ज़िन्दगी तो बोल
मैं जिस जगह खड़ा हूँ, वहां है क्या कोई सिरा।

अफवाह है या सच - ये कोई नही बोला
पर मैंने भी सुना है जाएगा तेरा डोला।
मेरे गीत तुम्हारे पास सहारा पाने आयेंगे,
मेरे बाद तुम्हें मेरी याद दिलाने आयेंगे।

[ये पंक्तियाँ मैंने कॉलेज में लिखे थे... पता नही कितनी अच्छी हैं पर मेरे जीवन का हिस्सा हैं ये]

भिखारन

एक पतले से चादर में वो
लिपटी थी, सहमी सी - सकुचाई सी
आज भी याद है मुझे पूस की वो रात
मिली थी जब वो सिमटी सी - शरमाई सी।

ट्रेन से उतर मैं उस ओर जा रहा ही था
की अचानक नज़र पड़ गई उस पर
न जाने क्या हो गया मुझे-
जाने क्या खिंचाव था उसमे - मैं उस ओर चलता चला गया।

छरहरा बदन, गोरी नही तो गेंहुमी तो जरूर होगी
मासूम चेहरा, नीची निगाहें
अपने जीवन के ताने बने को सुलझाते - सुलझाते
घिस गए थे उसके हाथ पांव।

सत्रह सावन भी शायद पार न की हो शायद
पर बिखरे हुए बाल उसकी उम्र को बढाते थे
चीथड़ों पे बैठी हुई न जाने क्या सोच रही थी वो
अपने भाग्य के विधाता को शायद कोस रही हो।

मुझसे रहा न गया तो जाकर पूछ ही लिया मैंने
"यहाँ क्यूँ बैठी है? बाप कहाँ है तेरा?"
अचानक जैसे तंद्रा भंग होने पर उसकी आँखें खुली
अपनी व्यथा भरी आंखों से उसने मुझे दो पल देखा
और बोल पड़ी "रहने दो बाबूजी - मैं भिखारन न हूँ।"

Election Circus is here

So finally Behenji has started to voice out her PM ambitions aloud. Dunno how come these people feel that the so-called "Aam-Admi" won't understand what these clowns stand for. And I also fail to understand the reasoning going in the minds of their followers. Who the hell elects them??

Schoolmates


Surprise!! Surprise!! Guess who I met yesterday? Well.. I met one of my long lost and forgotten (on second thoughts, not so forgotten thanks to Orkut) classmate from SFS. Now, its not like we were bosom buddies or anything, I hardly talked 2 or 3 times to her in all my 12 years of schooling, but still meeting her was what I would categorise as 'nice'. Meeting anyone from your school 10 years later is always 'nice'. A blast from the past!

The most embarassing part was when I met her hubby (Yes!! She is married, I am not the only one from my class to tie the knot) all I could manage was a dumb "OK! So you are the husband". Now, this guy is a very cheerful, warm and smiling person and thats why this is embarassing. Had he been some creep then I would not be writing this post, would I? Whats more funny is that standing there I felt he was the outsider, a third entity, an uncomfortable presence.

I dunno how to justify this feeling. I can only say that meeting girls, who I have seen in those red-school-uniform-skirt and red ribbons tied to their unkempt hair, with THE guy of her life is something that would take some getting used to. Maybe thats how Neha's friends feel when they meet me or my friends feel when they meet her. Its a very complex emotion, very hard to explain. Its not like we want to own the person but everyone from our schools or colleges own a part of our life - some moments when we had fought, some moments when laughed together and some moments when we didn't even notice each other.To relinquish the ownership of all these moments to someone else is difficult. Have you ever had such feelings?

And before I forget, let me wish that may God bless them both!!

When Orkut fiddled with the gender

Check this out... One of my very masculine friend Abhinav's gender was fiddled with by the mighty Orkut. Looks like there is something very stinky going on in the Google Labs, first the gmail-down-for-5-hours fiasco and now this momentous blunder!!


[Please click on the image to enlarge it]

Wonder what the Pakistani govt. has to say now

Lets see... the various options that Pakistan Govt has:-

1. Blame India for the attack and plead helplessness.

2. Blame Taliban for the attack and plead helplessness.

3. Blame the non-state actor and plead for helplessness.

4. Blame Srilankan authorities and and plead helplessness.

5. Blame US of A and and plead helplessness.

6. Blame the whole world in general and plead helplessness.....

In any case we should be prepared to know that the Pakistan govt is helpless and no one can do anything over there as President Obama has cut the multi-billion dollar aids to supposedly fight the supposed terrorist off the supposed militialised land in Pakistan.

SFS Class of 99 reunion : The first step

Looks like we are finally having a reunion, well not if for the whole class then at least for a few classmates definitely. Six of us (Pratyush, Saket, Preenon, Anup, Deepak and I) met on Saturday to discuss the plan. It was a fun filled evening, meeting after years always is.



We had lots to catch up with and tell to each other. Lots of new facts came up during the meet and there was a lot of leg-pulling. And in the end we somehow convinced Saket of sponsoring the evening's dinner (Thanks a lot dude for the awesome sawarmas and kababs!).
Anyways the best part was that we came to an understanding that:

* We were leaving on 3rd April in the evening for Goa.
* We will be there till 6th April, and leave back in the evening so that everyone can attend with their respective offices on Tuesday.
* The place of stay will be decided upon the number of participants and if it is less than 10 then we will hunt for the place after reaching there.

We also called up some guys and confirmed their availability:

1. Sougata is coming to B'lore and will join us from here.
2. Maurya will board the train in Chennai and will be meeting us on board.
3. Piyush Sinha (Pinna) will be coming in from Pune.
4. Tata will join us if his wife gets leave from her office (which most probably means we will have a new guest on board!).
5. Gaurav and Atul will be coming if he gets his leaves approved.

No news still from the girls. Lets hope for the best.