September 30, 2011


जब से तुम गए हो, ये शहर
कुछ अनजाना अधूरा सा लगता है
पर इसे छोड़ कर जो जाना चाहूं
पैरों में कुछ बंधा जकड़ा सा लगता है
कि तुम्हारी यादें न हो तो कहीं
मन कुछ सूना खाली सा लगता है  
तुम्हे सोच सकूं जिसकी गलियों में
वो शहर जाना पहचाना अपना सा लगता है 

Image by Basu. Part of an experiment he did with incense smoke.

September 13, 2011

Instant Shadi

Will you marry me?

What did you say just now?

Will you marry me?

Are you out of your mind??!!!

No, I'm entirely in my senses.

But we met only yesterday!


Isn't it presumptuous of you to pop that question in what is only our second meeting?

See, I could go about the whole courtship business. Take you out on dates, get to know you better etc etc. And then put up that question. 

I'm assuming you find something amiss with this process.

See, it's thus. The whole dating process (and I'm assuming here is that it ends with the couple tying the knot) is a four-phase process. Made-up phase, make-out phase, make-up phase and make-do phase.


It's all quite simple. In the beginning, the made-up phase, the two people try to put up their best selves forward (which might not be their true selves). This is followed by physical attraction - the make-out phase. The closer they come, the more the faults become glaring, leading to fights and burying of hatchets, only to dig them up again. Hence the make-up phase. Finally, having spent so much of time loving and fighting, they realise that even though they can't live with each other, they can't live without each other too. Ergo, the make-do phase.

And going straight to marriage is the solution?

I'm not saying it's the perfect one. But marriage brings a seriousness to the relationship from the very beginning. You might think it's a spur-of-the-moment decision but any decision involving forever can't be anything but serious. I'm willing to forego the "trying things out" part of the relationship.

You think you are quite smart, don't you?

Well, I'm quite a bit, I admit.

And you think a litany can substitute for almost everything?

Well, if the words are sincere, why not?

How long did it take you to come up with that convoluted logic?

The whole of yesterday night.

You must have rehearsed it then?

Only thrice.

Hmm.. You are really committed to this, aren't you?

Yes, I am.

Okay, I'm willing to give it a try.

You are really going to marry me?

Are you stupid? I said we'll go out and we'll see. 

Ohh! The courtship business!

Do you have a problem with that?

Not really. See, the whole process can be re-classified into three phases with an optimal strategy for each. 

Shut up. And take me out.

Oh. Okay.

September 6, 2011

Across the street

He looked across the street. She was on time and she was looking at her watch. She had always been the punctual one, making fun of his inability to get anywhere on time. He wondered what she would say today. It had been a year since she had said anything to him. A year of hell.

His head buzzed with a myriad random thoughts and questions. Permutations and hypotheses. The email had been short. Almost spat-out. "Meet me for coffee tomorrow evening". No time, no place. None was needed, actually. He knew when and where. He had been then and there almost everyday for four years. Four years before last year.

This was where they had met. This was where they had parted.

She seemed worked up. She kept clenching and unclenching her fist. She always did that when she was nervous or angry. He used to hold her hand to pacify her. She would hold his fingers in a death-grip. Not meeting his eye. It always took time, but she calmed down slowly. And smiled.

He longed for that smile. But her face was hidden by the waiter. He could just see her hand by her side. Fist clenched. He felt the sudden urge to hold her hand again, entwine his fingers with her and calm her down. And yet, he stood rooted to his spot, watching her. What was it that stopped him? He didn't know but he was being torn apart.

She only had to look up once to notice him. He was standing right across the street. But she was making the pretense of concentrating on the menu. She wouldn't look up. Not when she was worked up. He knew what she would order. And yet, she was taking her time. Willing it to slow down.

They had always loved this al fresco restaurant. They would sit there making up stories about people on the other side of the street. And their own too. But all that had happened had never been in the script. He wondered if she would include him in her story if she saw him now.

Now. Here and now. A street to cross. A distance of a year. Would the ten steps make it ten more?

As he came to the table, she looked up from the menu. There was a tear welling up. He sat down and took her hand, entwining his fingers with hers. And she smiled.

September 4, 2011


he was running
he didn't know why
he didn't know from whom
the thought of stopping
had never occurred to him
and so he ran
and ran and ran

on every corner he passed
he would meet a girl
the same girl
and she would smile at him
a sad smile
wanting him to stay
he would breeze past her
and on and on

sometimes he wondered
if he was running in circles
or if the girl was an illusion
or if she could run faster
but he had no time for thoughts
he was running

then one day he realised
he had been running for nothing
and his heart told him
he was in love with the girl
and so he decided to stop
but he couldn't
he tried with all his might
but his legs had a mind of their own
they carried him away

he grew sadder by the day
the girl had stopped appearing
maybe she was waiting somewhere
waiting for him to stop
and this made him sadder
he stopped looking around
hung his head down in submission
and let his legs carry him

and when he stopped thinking
of everything else
he heard a strange sound
footsteps other than his own
he looked up in surprise
she was running with him

she was all red in face
and she was out of breath
but she knew he wanted to stop
and he knew she knew that
he tried harder to stop
she tried harder to keep up

and so the struggle continued
till his legs finally gave up
and he stopped
she looked into his eyes
smiled her sad smile
and dropped down dead