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Monday, 10 October, 2011

Kahan tum chale gaye...

The first time I heard Jagjit Singh was in 1996, not long after I had lost the person who was the guiding light in my life. A “neighbour-friend” gave me an audio cassette and asked me to listen to his songs. I must have been 11 or 12 and music still meant rock and Bollywood for me. I took the cassette, heard him for the first time and put it away for the next few years.

Life picked up its pace and I too decided to move on despite that constant ache in my heart. Crying was not an option and putting up a brave face was the best I could do for my siblings and mum. On a chilly winter's day more than two year's later, I rediscovered the cassette in my cupboard and decided to play it rather unsuccessfully. Full with guilt for neglecting a gift for so long, I decided to buy a new one. I saved for a few weeks to buy the latest collection of his songs. Tears rolled down my cheeks as his soulful voice started echoing in my tiny room. The song was chitthi na joi sandesh…

I remember crying for hours after listening to the song and it became a routine for the years to come. Songs like Hazaro Khwahishen Aisi and Bat Niklegi became favourites. My friends did not like the idea of listening to Jagjit Singh in the era of metal. Punk was also making a comeback during those days. I don’t blame them because you cannot associate yourself with his songs without strong emotions.

My habit of listening to gazals took a backseat as I got busier in life, but the love for his music remained in my heart and mind. I still seek refuge in his songs whenever life throws beautiful and not-so-beautiful surprises at me. The news of his death is more shocking for me because I will never be able to see him in person. I will never get a chance to say thank you to him for showing me light at the end of the tunnel, for letting me cry, for making me comfortable, for making me believe that things will be all right.

Only two months ago he was performing in Delhi and I could have gone. Instead I left it for another day. I am feeling very sad, but his songs have come to my rescue once again. Even in his death he ended up teaching me a lesson. Never leave a moment, never wait for things you want to do because there may not be any tomorrow…

Chitthi na koi sandesh is playing as I write this with watery eyes. Thank you sir…

Saturday, 14 August, 2010

Kannur Beach House

For some odd reason I had painted a picture of Kannur as a small laidback town, and this very fact attracted me to pay the place a visit in June.

As the train chugged into God’s own country, the smell of new sprouts from vast paddy fields filled the compartment. Nothing can be a more delightful sight than this if you are coming from a big city.

But the excitement was soon taken away when the train reached Kannur Railway Station. Wrestling our way through the mass of locals hurrying to work in nearby towns, we emerged from the railway station to find a place quite like any other busy town.

Shops and malls rose up all over the place, and busy traffic completed the picture of a place on its way to lose its soul to “modernization”.

With a sort of disappointment in my voice I called the owner of the Kannur Beach House, who was more excited about the trip than I was.

We hired an auto-rickshaw to reach the home-stay and the friendly driver offered us a narration of the town's history.

The ricky took a sharp turn to enter a road which seemed never ending. I was so frustrated with the journey that I completely missed the sights until Lisa brought me back to reality.

The ricky had long left civilization and was negotiating curvy roads guiding us to the home-stay. My anger soon ebbed away when we reached a cliff and I could see a thick cover of coconut tress along the coast. Postcard perfect.

We paid the autorickshaw driver and were shown our rooms in the house by a quiet lady, who welcomed us with a warm smile and an open heart.

The sun hung gloriously over a tiny beach that lay squashed in the middle of the roaring sea and the gurgling river. Our weekend home overlooked this pretty sight, stark contrast to the dust and pollution of our cities.

After settling in we were soon greeted by the lovely couple Nazir and Rosi. It did not take long to feel comfortable and at ease. I have stayed in many hostels and home-stays, but what sets this place apart is the friendly nature of Nazir and his family.

One cannot write about Nazir’s place without mentioning the food. It is simple and doesn’t tickle your taste buds with too much spice.

The fresh aroma of the coconut and flavours of Kerala make you eat more than your stomach can take.

And if you are feeling bloated after savouring the coastal Kerala delights from Rosi’s kitchen, using the canoe to explore the backwaters is not a bad idea.

But I am not one of those fitness freaks and settled into one of the hammocks with a book. Trust me it’s divine, the mix of the sounds of the roaring waves and gentle flowing backwater is heavenly.

I did not even realize when I fell asleep only to be woken by Rosi for an evening cuppa. The walk on the beach is very different from other tourist hotspots in the state. You will hardly find a soul to disturb you.

As the sun went back into the clouds after a day’s hard work, we headed back to enjoy some more delicious food.

The sky had donned a beautiful blanket of stars giving us enough natural light to enjoy our drink and indulge in meaningless conversation.

Thank you Rosi and Nazir for the Kannur Beach House. I promise to return very soon.

Tuesday, 22 December, 2009


Airports are simultaneously the happiest and saddest places on earth. If emotions could be caught like butterflies in nets and there was a market for them, the world’s emotions industry would be built from airports’ departures and arrivals halls.

Monday, 30 November, 2009

Lines for me

"If I say I love you, what does that say about you? Nothing. What does it say about me if I tell you I love you? It says I love myself in this moment; I am at peace with myself. If I say I don't like you or I don't accept you as you are, what does that say about you? Nothing. It says I am not at peace with myself."

Tuesday, 22 September, 2009

Do we really need to talk?

Let silence do the talking between us
Let music be the rhythm between us
Let rains wet the emotions between us
Let books be the language between us

Trust me I can read into words
I can feel their colour and smell
I don't see the writer in them but
I can see the feelings in them
Do we really need to talk?

Monday, 31 August, 2009

The cracks in BJP

The party with a difference has recently become the party with many differences. The last two weeks have been tough for the country's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The saffron group organised the Chintan Baithak on 10 August in Shimla to discuss the reasons behind its debacle in the Lok Sabha polls. However, the djin of Jinnah largely marred the three-day summit.
The timing could not have been more appropriate for the party's senior leader Jaswant Singh to release his book on the father of Pakistan. The Baithak made it easier for the BJP's top brass to meet over the issue and expel their senior colleague.
What followed this decision was a series of interviews by Mr Singh to bring further embarrassment to the party. He alleged the party leaders of being ignorant of the country's history.
Mr Singh's outburst has earned him some sympathy from party members including Arun Shourie. Mr Shourie openly challenged the BJP leadership and called them incapable of running the party.
Before the BJP could repond to these allegations, two former chief ministers also joined the rebel bandwagon. Bhuvan Chand Khanduri, former chief minister of Uttarakhand, and Rajastan's ex-chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia have sounded the rebel bugle.
Many say that the party is missing its patriach and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The party has many decision-makers, resulting in many aspirations.
This is the root cause of the saffron brigade's recent woes. Mr Vajpayee has retired from active politicis leaving a void which the party is finding difficult to fill. The party fought the general elections under the leadership of second-in-command L K Advani.
The BJP's defeat was a major setback for Mr Advani and many believe that he is still reeling under the shock and has been unable to control the rebellion. The party clearly lacks a central authority like Mr Vajpayee.
Mr Advani could have overseen decision-making from the outside had he resigned with the responsibilty of the poll defeat. He might have also earned the respect of his partymen and the common people.
Unlike the party's slain leader Pramod Mahajn who had resigned from party positions after the BJP could not retain power in the 2004 elections, not even one leader stepped down this time.
The flip-flop by Mr Advani on the Kandahar issue has also marred his image. He has been accused of lying to the nation by claiming that he was ignorant of that Mr Singh accompanied captive terrorists to Afghan city in 1999 in exchange for the freedom of 169 passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines flight 814.
Former national security advisor Brajesh Misra and former defence minister George Fernandes have refuted the claim saying he was aware of the incident.
Since early this year, the party has lost many of its credible faces. Former finance minister and senior leader Yashwant Sinha has resigned from all party posts. Mr Shourie, Mr Singh, Mr Sinha, Mr Vajpayee and Mr Mahajan were the main architects of the BJP's growth.
The party has grown from just two MPs in 1989 to become the single largest party in 1998.
The absence of these men have now left the party in shambles. Several other leaders have also left the party over the past six years including Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh and K N Govindacharya.
The trouble in the BJP's camp is good news for the ruling Congress Party. While the lotus party is struggling to keep it's flock together, the Congress is enjoying the play of power thanks to a weak opposition.
So what makes the Congress stronger than the BJP at the moment? The tale of the two Gandhis can easily answer this question.
Congress' Rahul Gandhi and the BJP's Varun Gandhi arrived on the the country's political platform almost at the same time.
While Rahul is increasingly becoming popular in the country, Varun has been almost isolated due to his Muslim hate speech during the Lok Sabha polls in Pilibhit, Uttar Pradesh. He managed to win the seat but lost credibility as a politician.
However, the BJP has still not made its stand clear on the hate speech issue even after forensic labs confirmed that the voice in the speech was Varun's.
Despite all the odds, one cannot write off BJP. The party has grass-root workers in many states who will continue to work for it.
We as a country need a strong oppostion and if the BJP continues to wallow in its miseries, the country might face one-party domination once again.

Monday, 3 August, 2009

There was a friend

There are times when tomorrow is just a wee bit too late,It's today, my heart is in this abominable state.

There are times when tomorrow just cannot dry,The millions of tears on your shoulders I would cry.

There are times when your presence would have made my world seem all right,But I need it today, to bring me a new insight.

When my heart is weary and my soul seems sad,and you say "you took me for granted", I feel so bad.

Every time that you've called, be it night or in day,I've lent you my shoulder, I've shown you a way.

I've stood by your side through the thick and the thin,I wonder if I did wrong, committed a sin?

Sometimes I think its your way of saying "Move on,My need for you, seems now to have gone."

I know you must your horizons grow,I know the world to you, has a lot to show.

May you find fresh promise with each new tomorrow,For me, my yesterday was full of sorrow.

I needed you then, as you've many times needed meI'm learning, though slowly, things aren't what they seem to be.

I wonder how many tomorrows our friendship will weatherI know I'm close to the end of my tether.