Friday, December 12, 2008


I recently came across this beautiful speech delivered by one Subroto Bagchi to the graduating batch of IIM Bangalore in 2006.

I have been thinking these last few day about just such speeches. Say, it so happens that one day society takes note of you. Takes note because your work has made a tangible difference to the lives of those people who might not even be known to you. And so you find yourself in front of a graduating batch of bright, excited students, raring to enter the real world. You narrate experiences that shaped the course of your life. In all likelihood, they will be full of insights you gained during your childhood and college years, not in an advanced class on micro-economics or nano-photonics at whatever post graduate college you went to. Some might remember your speech. Some might not. Some may forward it to their friends. One person's insights become another's anecdotes. Till one day, somebody has an epiphany of their own; that their insights have similar roots as the ones narrated in the many "Interesting fwds" that came their way!

Just what is it, that transforms words of inspiration into inspiring words?

Monday, December 01, 2008


After unarguably the most dramatic terrorist event in India's history, people in India, Pakistan and the world over are trying to make sense of what just happened. I mention these three geographical entities separately, because each has their own official stance on the matter, that not surprisingly, differs from each other's. In the initial shock of the event, all three voices speak in near unity; horror, sorrow and solidarity. No sooner has the shock subsided does each one return to their official stance, which has more to do with posing for the gallery than building peace, at the same time furiously working out mechanisms to deal with such terror if and when an encore presents itself. Harder questions that deal with trying to understand the root causes of extremism are brushed under the carpet. In such times, fear, both real and manufactured, make people more willing to give up a part of their individual liberties. It is a trap that the Indian people can very easily fall into when faced with the new found bravado that the government is displaying. Yes, it is a display. The Indian and Pakistani governments are talking to each other through the media, which makes it into a collection of monologues, rather than a dialogue. In rhetoric of this nature, the first casualty is hope. The hope for stable and lasting peace. The Indian establishment is posturing with an excessive use of quotation marks. India will take up strongly with our "neighbours" that the use of their territory for launching attacks on us will not be tolerated and that there would be a "cost" if "suitable" measures are not taken by them. The media, ever ready to ponce on sensational material, is not to be left behind. Any "evidence" the government presents is lapped up all to willingly and judgements implicating the same "neighbour" are passed instantaneously. With a chilling soundtrack softly playing in the background, I might add. Fear, manufactured. The official Pakistani government line so far has been fairly restrained and should be appreciated. Its media, leaves much to be desired, however. From what I have seen so far, people floating conspiracy theories about the attack being conducted by Indian authorities themselves are given liberal airtime. Of course, I must admit that in the last few days, I've followed the Indian media in a lot more detail than Pakistan's. I do not know the extent of the Pakistani connection in this whole episode. I only "know" what the media puts in front of me, but I'm not willing to suspend my critical faculty on account of the enormity of the tragedy. But one thing I do realise is that if the two governments are serious about trying to remove extremism from their societies, trials and monologues through the media must come to an end.

And no, the US need not play baby sitter. Or big brother.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Define and refine

The vanity of it all.
Sharply defined likes and dislikes.
Refined over time, apparently.
Your complicated ideas,
or the infinitely complex person?


Again. AGAIN.
Heroic tales will be told
brave souls will be remembered and honoured.
After the hows
we'll run around like headless chicken asking why.
Is the solution stricter laws?
an armed policeman on every square foot of our land?
No, no, NO.
Spare a thought for the man in uniform who goes in, knowing that there is every chance he won't survive.
For whom or what does he willingly risk his life?
Is the Home minister, who announces on live TV the number and arrival time of commandos, worthy of the brave soldier's sacrifice?
Is the media team, that consciously decides to air such information in real time, worthy of the brave soldier's sacrifice?
My head is splitting, and my blood boils.
Again. AGAIN.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cross roads

Life, is a journey. When we are little, our parents teach us the ropes of how to walk it and walk a part of the way with us. Then, one fine day, just as the child graduates from his/her infallible tricycle to an unstable bicycle, we're on our own. Just the magic of being on our own and making our own decisions is inspiration enough to get us started. We want to prove ourselves and sometimes believe that we are the epitome of creation, such is the audacity of youth. Soon enough, we come upon cross roads and realise that our beloved path, now branches into many different directions. We become dimly aware of similar situations our parents had faced while we were still making sand castles on the beach. Some of these paths eventually converge, some have a better view, some are dead ends, some have company, some don't, and so on. The bewildering diversity of life becomes a part of our concious experience. As it usually happens, our initial decisions are made with the help of our parents and friends and the burden of a particular choice being made doesn't rest heavily on our shoulders. Things begin to get complicated further along the way. We find ourselves increasingly alone as we are forced to choose one path over the other. Some invoke God to help in the decision making. Some invent purpose and derive their choices from this invented purpose. Some declare the entire journey to be absurd and contemplate on suicide being the only non-trivial question. Some find that there is no meaning to existence at all and the business of decision making, futile. Some go where inertia takes them. Its like looking down a kaleidoscope. 

Friday, June 06, 2008

Monsoon, come she will.

Her journey has been long, yet she isn't tired. The old and the young await her arrival with bated breath. The young ones look upon her coming as the jail break they needed from the shackles of the dreary summer, already a distant memory; the old feel a return to innocence and reminisce the days of their youth. In the hustling-bustling city where life never seems to stops there is one moment which holds everybody grounded and breathless. The air, heavy and still, is ripe with the scent of her arrival, now imminent. The usually noisy avian residents of the telephone wires are quiet, the way school children become when faced with the towering persona of their principal. As though sullied by the rush of her chariot, the clouds are dark, rendering Apollo into a mortal, helpless spectator. She sheds her first tear drop, the first of countless. And all of creation rejoices.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

कबीर का एक दोहा ..

रंगी को नारंगी कहे
बने दूध को खोया
चलती को गाडी कहे
देख कबीरा रोया

Friday, January 18, 2008


कहता है कवि
जीवन है बहती नदी

न जाने कब वक़्त ने बांध बांधा
हुआ है आलम आज कुछ ऐसा

लेती है रूप वर्तमान की आशाये
अब केवल अतीत के प्रतिबिम्ब मे