Monday, March 31, 2008

P & P

We’ll talk about lovers tonight.

We’ll talk about a couple, but not about Laila-Majnu, not Soni-Mahiwal, not Heer-Ranjha, not Chirkut Lady-Kekda Man, but about a pair whose relationship has transcended the concept of time, a love that can actually boast of being truly, singularly eternal.

We’ll talk about Poetry & Prose.

Yes, we’ll talk about P & P, two entities who differ as matter of principle, by the way of definition, who are said to be two opposite sides of the coin, but who, as a matter of truth, are linked to each other as two inseparable souls, their destinies so intricately intertwined, that, at times, it takes an effort to recognise who’s who, both working for the same purpose, the same end, but through varied means.

Maybe as they are, after all, when one thinks about it, two opposite sides of the same coin.

And why should we talk about them tonight?

Because reality, as they say, is stranger than fiction. Reality, as the name itself declares, is real, and when the real gets into its own, the two lovers cease to exist as two different entities, they cease to exist as two opposites, they combine and mix into each other to an extent that its impossible to determine what is Poetry and what is Prose, everything taking the shape of Poetic Prose or, alternatively, Prosaic Poetry. Call it PP, the order of occurrence of the lovers’ names depending on the observer’s choice.

Because when reality hits you, it hits you in the form of PP, not as the demarcations of Poetry & Prose, which are just, when one thinks about it, products of man’s passion of convenience.

Hmmm. Done. We’ll talk about Poetry & Prose tonight.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

In Colour

It’s all in super slow motion. Amir is running, but not too fast, on a brown dry narrow patch of land. On both sides of the path, there are lush green fields – without end, the sun shining majestically above.

He feels like a marathon runner, about to complete his final lap, almost reaching the finishing line, the slow, lazily moving surroundings accentuating the feeling of triumph. Not only this, there are a countless number of people on the boundary of the path as well, held away from Amir by a strong, taut rope, the sort one sees at such races.

And like the races, most of those people look frantic, trying to reach out desperately, extending their hands just to have a touch or grab at the centre of attention – Amir. There are others too, who stand quietly by the side, just watching him pass by. Some look angry and some forlorn, gazing at him through the emptiness in their eyes. He can even see a woman holding a handkerchief in one hand, wiping away her tears. For some reason he doesn’t quite understand, all the faces seem familiar in some way or the other, as if he had personally known these people at some point in history.

But nothing clicks.

Their faces suggest that they might be shouting, shrieking, urging him on. But all is mute. All Amir can hear is the sound of his own breath, the motion of his own muscles, his feet thumping on the ground again and again, the sound too, in super slow motion.

People keep passing by, faces appearing and disappearing in the space of a moment. But the finishing line is nowhere in sight, and the jog continues. Slowly, Amir gets so used to the rhythm of it all – his breath, the movement of his limbs, those familiar but unknown faces – that he doesn’t feel anything anymore. His mind has almost gone numb.

And then he sees his mother in the crowd, standing serenely, looking at him with eyes that tell just one emotion. He sees his father too, and his grandparents, his uncles and aunts, the maid at his village home, the kindergarten ‘best friend’ he had almost forgotten the name of, the first girl he ‘fell in love’ with back in Class 2, his junior school class teacher, the bully who pushed him repeatedly against the wall every morning at school, the person at Mother Dairy from whom he used to take the milk every evening, his father’s friend whose sight he couldn’t stand as a child – everyone! Everyone!

Amir watches perplexed, trying to call out to these people, but no words come out. He tries desperately to say something to them, a Hello maybe, but it’s as if his vocal chords have disappeared. He finally gives up, and instead, waves at them as they wave at him, smiling at them as they smile at him.

It feels as if it would never end, new faces replacing old ones, more and more of them coming from the recent past.

And then, he wakes up. It’s a dream.

He smiles to himself, and gets up from the bed, feeling oddly enlightened.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Ladies and gentleman, welcome to Khana Khazana! I’m your host Bery Vored and today I’ve got something really special for you people. It’s called the LSA.

Ha ha, don’t be afraid! It’s not what you’re thinking, just a simple, clean, easy-to-make, easily-made dish, and one that’ll leave you wondering what it really tasted like!

Getting to the recipe, start with a Day Without Anything To Do. Boil it over a Morning Spent In Bed for a minimum of three hours, maximum - as much as you like, and leave it in the Hot Summer Sun for about half an hour.

Pretty easy, isn’t it? And you know what? Half the work is already done!

Now take the pan and put some Indigestible Paranthas to it. If the mixture burns and lets out violent, pungent fumes, you know you’re on track! Take the above and if you so wish, put a pinch of Movies Played And Stopped In Between. To add further spice to your very own LSA, you can even add a little of Newspapers Flipped Through And Closed.

You’re now almost done. To add colour to the thing, you can add two teaspoons of Cigarettes Smoked To The Filter. This is sure to give the mixture a tinge of bright, effusive yellow. If you’re the dreamy type, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add a handful of Absurd Plans For The Evening as well. Just for fun, I mean.

Last but not the least, be sure to put in some Tongues Clicked And Sighs Sighed. This is perhaps the most crucial part of the recipe, giving all the previous actions meaning and form. In a way, summing them up!

All this done, go ahead and have a bite at the yellow, placid looking solid in front of you. What you have got, ladies and gentlemen, is your very own Lazy Summer Afternoon!

I hope you liked what I had on offer today. Your host Bery Vored promises to be back at the same place, same time next week. Till then, its goodbye!

Friday, March 14, 2008


The madman sits beneath a tree, from morning nine to evening five. The tree provides him relief from the sun overhead during the day, perhaps the only comfort he has decided to bestow upon himself.

He is always dressed in a grey full-sleeve shirt and white trousers, colours of both being judge-able only through close examination. He looks young, hair all black, skin unwrinkled, almost like a boy in his teens. His skin is jet-black, so much so that no one can tell where the forehead ends and the hair on the head starts. His eyes are small and weird, as if he was suffering from permanent eye-flu. The pupil isn’t even visible; all one can see is a small, dirty white in a forest of black.

He sits cross-legged, carrying a string of beads in his right hand, which he keeps turning incessantly. His left hand is free, resting on his thigh. He doesn’t sit still under the tree; he shakes, twists and turns, jolting all parts of his body vigorously, like a man delirious with fever. He mutters things under his breath, loud enough so that you can hear the sound, low enough that you cannot make them out.

In between this act of pure, crystalline madness, he stops. Suddenly. As if he was in a game and someone had just said FREEZE. He then gets to his feet, moves a little away from the tree, looks up at the skies, smiles – first to himself and then to the intrigued strangers around him, and gets back to work.

He is a madman. His work is madness.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Dark Man III

‘Dada, come here…’, Amir heard his younger brother Ari shout to him.

‘What is it?’, replied Amir, sitting under the mango tree, reading a book.

‘Come na!’, Ari shrieked again. This time, Amir could detect a tremor in his voice, a tension. He walked over to where Ari was.

Ari was standing in front of a neighbouring house, leaning with both hands rested on the wooden door. He was as tall as a six year old boy is and could see the scene unfolding in the backyard behind the door only between the planks of wood.

In the backyard, there was a dark man squatting on the ground. He was clad only in a white dhoti, everything else about him being black. In his left hand was a chicken, fluttering desperately. In his right was a long knife. The man was trying to control the chicken with his one hand, but the chicken seemed to be in no mood to give it all up so easily.

Ari watched the chicken. Amir watched Ari.

The dark man, finally fed up trying to stifle the chicken, pressed all its feet with his right leg, and in one quick action of his knife, separated the creature’s head from its body. The head flew in the air and fell a couple of feet away. The dark man recoiled sharply from the spectacle, as if in deep disgust.

Ari watched the chicken head. Amir watched Ari.

The rest of the chicken’s body still fluttered for a few moments, Ari constantly staring at it, waiting for it to finally stop.

It eventually did. Amir tried to pull his brother away from the scene, but Ari wouldn’t budge. Amir finally decided to leave, unsure of what had disturbed him more – the incident or the look in Ari’s eyes.

The above is a shot-to-shot description of a scene from the movie Pratidwandi by Satyajit Ray. Liberty has only been taken with the names of the characters.