Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Tryst With the Gods

It was a fine morning. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping and a handsome young man was walking through the ravines in the Chambal valley when suddenly- Dhishkyaooo! A bullet from Dakoo Bhairo Singh’s gun pierced the silence and the man’s chest muscles. Dakoo Bhairo Singh curled his eighteen inch moustache and grinned a 440 watt-yellow-toothed-smile.
About four hundred miles from all this, with nothing to do with Dakoo Bhairo Singh or the unfortunate (but handsome) nameless junior artist of our story, I was in a train, on way to college. In perfect oblivion of all that, I was sitting in the first class ladies compartment, staring out of the window at the dozens of residents of this city who live in toiletless homes and use the railway tracks for a variety of purposes- the earliest in the day being the smelliest. The sights and smells however managed to distract me from the perfectly offensive obscenities scribbled on the seat before me. Besides, odours from the woman sitting next to me were fiercely competing with those coming from outside, to the extent that I was contemplating suicide by holding breath.
Amidst the odour mania, general train squabble and the faraway, inaudible roar of Bhairo Singh’s laughter, Dadar arrived. Along with several other women (and their respective smells), she entered. Not a word escaped her mouth but all women showed signs of reverence to the “Western Railway” badge she wore. Automatically hands reached into pockets, purses, wallets and other places of storage (ahem) to bring out passes and tickets. I too conformed to this glorious tradition.
She looked at the tattered document I held out and then at me. After a tense moment she finally uttered, “Expire ho gaya hai!” My world was shattered. Those three words spelt doom. But not much could be done. At Elphinstone Road she led me to the Station Master’s office, or rather a dingy room which resembled those used by the armed forces for torturing POWs. Other passengers looked at me with sympathy, contempt, ridicule and Thank-God-I-Wasn’t-Caught looks.
But what could be worse than getting caught the very next day after your pass has expired? I was soon to find out, when I was made to empty my wallet, pockets and bag for money to pay for a fine of Rs250. I had a sum total of Rs.170.25.
The station master looked at me, as if to gage if I was a seasoned railway rules offender. He waited and thought. Finally he made a slip of “Extra Luggage” for Rs.165 and issued a ticket back home for me as I waited there like a criminal in trial for murder. Finally he smiled a 440watt-yellow-toothed smile, picked his nose and handed me the receipt and ticket ( using the same hand of course), but personal hygiene isn’t high on the list at such times.
I ran out as quickly as I could and silently thanked the railway gods who had smiled upon me. The situation could be well described by the Hindi films of yesteryears when the hero came out of the blue-grey metal (or thermocol) doors of Central Jail. Relieved and broke, I made my way back home, with a vow to check the expiry dates on railway passes in the future to avoid any tryst with the Railway Gods.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Gajodhar Bhaiyya vs Shankar Bhau

This is a tale of not very long ago
When two young men lived in a city next door.
One was born there, the other came later,
Both were the same, none the better.
They toiled together and earned their bread,
But in different directions were they led.
The peace they lived in wasn’t too exciting,
To earn someone votes, it wasn’t inviting.
The others saw a plan and hatched a plot,
Hit the hammer when the iron was hot.
They made them fight for no good reason,
The city was plunged in a deathly season,
Bhaiyya and Bhau couldn’t stand each other,
Two words, both meant brother.
The culprits were caught finally, by their own kin,
But so were they let out as soon as they were put in.
They got their mileage, and their votes and all,
The lawkeepers too stood proud and tall.
The media too had a field day,
Watching the cat and mouse play.
The only ones who died were the two naïve neighbours,
Someone else to enjoy the fruit of their labour.
Clichéd as it might be, this story is just as common,
For in this city, common sense is most uncommon!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Do you?

Do you think of me the way I do?
Do you wish for me, upon a shooting star,
Or sit with a lonely sun,
as the waves rise to swallow it?

Do you share your lonely silent moments,
And those amidst all the noise,
With the me of your imagination?

Do you wonder what I would do,
Or say to you right now,
If I were there with you?

Do you dream often of smiling
wrinkled smiles together,
and still not running out of things to say?

Do you wait for me when you know I won’t come,
and look for my face in the crowd,
even when I couldn’t possibly be there?

Do you see my picture in those impulsive,
Stolen moments, and wish that it would,
Come to life somehow?

Do you chat with me at night,
When I’m not around,
Desperately wishing I was?

Do you ever think of me the way I do?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Chaos of the Mob

A salty teardrop fell from a frozen eye
And lost itself in a stream of salty blood
And lost was a person in
The chaos of the mob

He knew not his religion,
He couldn’t remember his faith
His Gods were lost in,
The chaos of the mob

He did hesitate once, before he plunged,
But others urged him on,
Blame them not, either, they too were lost in
The chaos of the mob

He now shivered with excitement,
A lust to kill, a thirst for blood,
His peace, and his dreams, lost forever in
The chaos of the mob

He burnt his own children,
Raped his sisters and stabbed his kin,
But blame him not, because he was lost in
The chaos of the mob

It was all over now, as the fires died out.
He sat in the corner over a pile of ash.
His own house burnt by
The chaos of the mob

There was no one left to blame,
No one left to kill,
All his senses muted, by
The chaos of the mob

It was his own salty teardrop,
And his own salty blood,
The only one left to blame was
The chaos of the mob