Sunday, May 21, 2006


He puts the barrel in his mouth and cocks the gun.

A million images flash. They end with only one thought.

He pulls the trigger.

He will not be missed.

Monday, April 17, 2006

summer nights...

Remember the time when you woke up from a horrible dream and realised you hadn't been sleeping?

The summer night offers respite to many. The working men go home and take off their work clothes. Some have a shower, some don't. They eat their dinner without too much meat because meat gets them hot. But they do enjoy a good strong drink with some ice. They watch TV for a while and then they fuck their wives. Or they do it during, if a sleazy movie is on. Usually, the summer gets them too tired so they pass out on their wives the moment they are done.

She will look at the ceiling in the moonlight for a while and wonder why she is crying. Then she will wriggle out from under her husband and curl up into a ball on her side. She will not sleep just yet. His sweat will be lathered on her body and the stench will suffocate her. She must wash herself if she wants to get some rest, she knows. The warmth on her and inside her clouds over and boils. It will be the next day before she is clean again. There is no water in the tank.

Outside, on the road, many men are putting themselves to sleep amidst needles and charred spoons. They smile when they feel their bodies awash in summer flames. They are happy people. They have blackened teeth and dirty hair. The boys they sleep with were afraid at first but they learned the ways of the road quite well. December was a good time for training. The cold made the men ready to go all the time. It is not easy living on the street when it is cold. Men will want to do it just to feel the energy coursing through them. It hurt and bled at first and it hurt a lot more because of the cold but they had the medicine to make the pain go away. And the pain goes away every day now. Only, it is better in the summer. They don't last as long because it is too hot to do it. They only do it out of habit now.

Some can't sleep yet. Some, like the bartender, will be awake all night. This is the time. This is the wave they must ride. Summer is good for business. The crowd is heavy on summer nights and they mostly want beer. Soon they will start feeling good about themselves and they will sing. Noise scares the bartender. When people start getting loud, they start getting rowdy. He wishes he was at an upscale place. Girls going to those places go out with the bartenders, he has heard. A nice place in town with some music, he reckons. There are no girls in this bar. Not in summer, for sure, unless somebody walks in with a paid for woman. He hopes nobody does. It always invites trouble. As the singing gets louder, he knows he is not done hoping for things. He hopes nobody in the house has brought a gun or a knife. Men are always ready to spill blood in the summer.
I hide behind a smoke screen and sing to the ceiling fan. It tells me many stories when I close my eyes and really listen. There is a favourite of its concerning a man who hanged himself from it once. I do not know if it is true. Summer is a time of delirium. I am never quite sure of what I feel in the summertime. I supposed it is because of the icy whiskey my heart has been pumping all night. I close my eyes. The fan sings me a lullaby in its broken voice. I dread the sense of security that is enveloping me like many shadows of the past. I keep my eyes closed nonetheless - my finger remains on the trigger.

Remember the time when you woke up from a horrible dream and realised you hadn't been sleeping? Every summer night.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Summer must be art

The heat pours down my back all day. Time melts.

The city burns in the setting sun like a giraffe.

I find myself dreaming to the hum of a bumblebee.

And I am but a ghost of myself

as my thoughts take elephantine strides out of temptation.

But the memories persist.

And are reduced to mental masturbation on digital paper.

Monday, March 20, 2006

folded faces to the floor...

Yesterday the news came in a 40cc column - four rapes under four headlines. Everything else is toilet paper. The great tabloid in the sky promises quite a large roll of it too - more than 100 pages, as advertised.

Today, the front page carries sports. The last page carries 3 quarter-page advertisements.

The Vikram Poddar murder emerges as the new flavour of the season. Jessica Lal is so passe. Meanwhile, three brothers drown in Mandvi. I realise to my morbid amusement that three fingers more than adequately cover the entire article.

No news of the Kasliwal case today. Housewives turn back to their TV soaps in despair.

The Navi Mumbai curfew has been ceased.

Switch on the telly. Maybe you will catch a fresh rape or two. Or another murder, if you're lucky. Just a little bit of violence will do to keep the food going down the gullet. A spatter of blood. A battered woman. Anything.

I cocked my gun and waited for eventuality. But nobody came. I wouldn't have noticed if they did. Once you've laughed at your own monsters, everything else is Donald Duck.

I still waited for the feel of cool steel against my temples, for the earth to give way under me. I waited for the familiar smell of gunpowder and of battle. I waited for the fiends that lurk around the corner.

In the distance, someone died quite suddenly.

And I thought I had problems.

Yesterday the news came in a 40cc column - 4 rapes under 4 headlines. There might have been survivors but the newspaper saw to their burial in their innermost pages. Today they are forgotten.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

the woods are lovely...

Most of us breathe to stay alive.

The dead calm following the premature rain should have warned me. Complacence is no excuse for getting shot at. Not that I'd mind a few more scars. I just wish I didn't have to fire back.

You don't step on her turf if you don't want to get bitten. She lurks in the difference between a fruitcake and clinical insanity. What the world failed to do with her brain, the pills will finish. Eventually. But till then, you don't step on her turf if you don't want to get bitten.

I didn't. I'm a non-violent kinda guy.

Which is why, when I walked into her firing squad, I was more sitting duck than myself. But I was a sitting duck with a gun. Feathers flew. Some were mine. But by the time we were done dancing, I was the only one with two feet left.

I looked at the mayhem. It was like a butchered nursery rhyme.

Gone to the birds, I said. Mother Goose was just plain old cuckoo. To the birds.

I couldn't kill her. I was once part of her squad. The crazy old bird had kept me warm when I couldn't spread my wings. Things were different back then - even in the hell I was born to suffer. But time had broken many things - her mind and my conscience.

I left her wounded. I knew she would come back for me. And this time she would bring him along for the ride. A world of pain awaited me. Something told me I should be watching my back. But who has the time?

Most of us breathe to stay alive.

Some of us stay alive to breathe.

Friday, March 10, 2006

My kinda spring

The heavens open up and all hell is unleashed on this hole of a city. Lovers take to parks like frogs in a fuckfest. There is some pleasure derived from the thought that they too will croak.

And how.

Quacks get their 15 minutes. The sudden change in weather will cause widespread sickness, they say. Well, Moses be damned. Bring on the plague. It can't get worse than my throat-ache, I reckon.

Besides, I have my elixir right here. It cures all kinds of pains. Even the ones that look you in the eye when you face the mirror.

One part whiskey, one part warm water.

As I nurse my holy grail, the gutters overflow. The sky turns a murky shade of grey. (What other shades of grey are there anyway?) The breeze stings and the stench of death and flies lurks in the air.

Ah, spring is here.

Retrospect on a late January entry

26th Jan

It doesn’t take too long for a man to realise the odds are against him. Chances are, the odds are always against him. Somewhere between selling your soul to the devil and seeking retribution from a God who doesn’t show himself, you lose count. The dice rolls and you roll with it.

It was a surprise, then, to know that the ties you had severed with the real world still held fast in another dimension that was slowly edging forward to consume you.

He replied to my message.

A long silence and a cryptic laugh wasn’t much of a reply. But it was something.

And yet, beyond the relief that those who once covered your back on the field still remembered your name, I couldn’t help but feel an overbearing sense of impending doom.

A voice in my head said this is where it starts all over again. But I was wrong. It had started long back. And there was nothing I could do about it.

The dice rolls and you roll with it.


Endgame, I said. You have nothing left to shoot me with.

But he did.

When the world starts slipping away, you grasp at anything - rope, snake. The hand that pushes you over the edge is the hand that you reach for because there is no other in sight. And then, in a miraculous twist of sadistic irony, it pulls you back up.

He had the gun at my back only because I had given it to him that night.

And when you are left at the mercy of your own mistakes, all you can do is distance yourself from it. You can deny its memory. You can deny its tempting deception.

He is in Pune today. I haven't seem him since that night.

Endgame, I said. You have nothing left to shoot me with.

But he did. He had plenty to knock me down and send me to kingdom come. He just didn't know it yet. ...I hope he never does.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Beginning of the End

- and from the twisted end of the Mobius strip... it starts.