Wednesday, January 15, 2020


It’s difficult to find happiness or contentment in this world, and hold on to it. It’s like seeking warmth in the middle of the cold, dark forest. We manage to create a little spark. A piece of paper, a few dry leaves, twigs. And we carefully blow on it so that it catches without dying out and spreads its heat to us, and protects us from the wild beasts. Are there wild beasts around us? We do not know. But as we sit around the fire, we are conscious of the intense jungle around and the possibility of danger. We do not gaze directly into the fire, for if we do, our eyes will take too long to adjust when we need to look into the darkness. Who knows, standing just outside the circle of light are all kinds of creatures, patiently waiting for the fire to die. We look around; see nothing. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Nor does that mean they do. As long as the fear is in our heart…

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

How do you think the world's going to end?

According to my early morning dream, it's alien invasion. Not your regular, creepy, six-tentacled, three-eyed, human-sized alien. These are insect-sized. Of all shapes.

Small they may be, but they arrive in large numbers. And we have no escape. Our planet is doomed.

The story begins deep in the heart of Kerala... Actually I've no idea where I am. I've forgotten the backstory. I just remember I'm there for work. There's a mountain range at a distance. And the place looks like a Kerala village. Somewhere I've been, in some forgotten past.

I know the name of the mountain. (But I've forgotten that too, now.) We know everything, in dreams.

As we stand there admiring it, one side of the mountain goes up in a tremendous blast. It's too far away but we feel the tremor.

We've no idea what happened.

A little later, probably hours, as we stand watching, a building closer to us explodes as if a bomb was dropped on it. This time debris fall towards us... We are thrown backwards.

With an eerie instinct we have in dreams, I realise what's going on.

I pick up my phone and call my mother.

I know she would see the news and be worried.

I tell her that this place is going up. I know it's goodbye. I can see her in my mind, holding the phone and staring at the TV, too shocked to even react.

More time has passed... On the river close to our place, we see small boats, thousands of them with colourful sails, they just keep coming...

And I remember, again with that knowledge we get only in dreams, that I've heard this somewhere:

They come in boats.

The next part is sketchy. We run, we hide; we see small insect-like creatures crawling and rolling all over the ground, over everything they see. They have eyes, but pretty much nothing else, except an urge to crawl over and destroy everything in their path. Just swarming everywhere.

A few of us escape from view, acting dead... And dash to an abandoned shed.

We peek through the window, it looks okay.

We go in and close the door. We turn around...

only to see, the room is already filled with these creatures.

It's over. There's nowhere else to go.

Nothing else to do.

We look at each other, my friends and I, smile knowingly, and we hug. At least we have each other.

We're ready.

I feel them creep over my feet.

I hold my friend tight.

And I wake up. Here, in this world, in my bed.

(It's just like Inception. If we die there, we wake up here.)

I remember the feeling. I was ready. I wasn't afraid. I knew there was nothing else to do.

It was time.

Thursday, December 5, 2019


Not a leaf moves.

Not a stone takes it upon itself

To roll to a side.

Not a tree desires to sway.

Not a vehicle arrives.

Not a human decides to stroll this way

Nor a pet or a stray.

I open my eyes.

Leaves are rustling.

Trees are swaying in the wind.

Cars swoosh past,

Flinging pebbles to the flanks

Cats meow eerily

Busy dogs sprint along

For no purpose

The world moves on.

I shudder and I...

close my eyes again.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

When you scroll down...

If you are going to scroll down the pages

Know that you will encounter my Life

What you have known, what you haven't

What you have felt, or haven't suspected

What will shock you, send you reeling

What will calm you, or astound you

What will make you nod and say

I have known this all along

What will make you marvel

Or will disappoint you

You'll find philosophy

You'll find silliness

You'll find half-cooked thoughts

You'll find abandoned efforts

And promising plot-lines

That never quite made it anywhere

You'll see my dreams

Concealed well or peeping out

You'll find reminders

You'll find secrets

You'll find almost everything.

But there will still be a part of me

That I haven't written down

That's mine alone

To die when I'm gone.

They don't emerge from between the lines

They're buried deep in my mind.

When you scroll down these pages

And encounter my Life in words...

Make sure you treat it with care

Because you now hold

My living, beating heart in your hands

Thursday, September 5, 2019

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Quirk of Fate

​The only reason
You're scrubbing
The floors outside,
On all fours,
While I'm seated
Before the TV
Relishing a delicious meal...

Why you're seated
Beneath an unkind sun
Burning your shoulders
Begging for alms
While I sit in a cab
Ordering food through an app...

Why your child
Doesn't know school
Whereas mine speaks
Of higher education
And choices
And contentment...

The only reason
I'm here
And you're there
Is a strange
Quirk of fate...

Something carried over
From an earlier life?
Or someone's cruel joke?
A game of life
where some always lose?

Who decides
Where I go and where you?
Nothing I have done;
Nothing you haven't done.
Our paths have been drawn
Before we were born.

It's as though I was
Given a head start.
For reasons
Neither you
Nor I
Could fathom.

You and I are
through mutual need,
across the closed doors
and thick walls
And the chasm between us.

I'm given the chance
To give you a hand
And raise you
To your feet
Or to turn my back on you
And abandon you
To your fate.

Saturday, August 10, 2019


I opened the door and peeped in. I had gone back to get an umbrella.

She wasn't there so I called and asked aloud for an umbrella.

Still no response, but the balcony door was open so I stepped out. She was there, in her favourite chair, watching the drizzle. I had left her just a moment ago, but the face I saw was not the same.

She looked bewildered. As though the raindrops perplexed her. As though they were not supposed to be there. As though she was wondering what they were.

"Hey," I said, and explained why I was back.

She looked around, blinked and came back ---to this world.

A shiver spread through her. There was a breeze, and it was cold, but not that cold. She looked frail to me, all of a sudden. Frail and weak and... unprotected.

No, she wasn't. The shiver had given me that notion.

"Umbrella," she said and began wandering through the rooms. "Umbrella."

She doesn't have much use for one, I realised, for she rarely went out. Perhaps to the store nearby, or to get a haircut. She could choose her time. She need not go when it was raining.

"It doesn't matter," I said. "Don't bother."

But she was on the prowl and nothing could stop her. Muttering to herself, as to where she had seen it last. I just stood there, watching. Thinking. She was like a tiger in a cage. Searching, seeking, restless. In her eyes, the memory of wilderness lost, never to be found again. Wrapped in a cloak of solitude. Isolated. Desolated. Neglected. Abandoned. Forgotten. Yet living, as only some can.

She found it finally, but by that time the rain was over. It was just a drizzle after all.

She went out again and gazed at the light. She took a cloth and wiped a few drops off the railings. Had she forgotten my presence already?

I wondered if I should stay a little longer. She still had the wild look in her eyes. Just a few minutes ago we had had lunch together and she was a different person.

Now she was enveloped in this shroud.

It was strange.

But was it, really?

I had been conscious of this quiet transition. The shadow had been gaining on the light, in small steps. Today, my reappearance had brought her back. Tomorrow, she would wade into it for longer, and the next day, even longer, until one day she would pass entirely into the darkness.

We all lead two lives, a day and a night. As long as they exist in their own halves, we appear normal. For some, the light chases away the darkness; for others, the darkness shadows the light. There's an overlap that's normal; a shadow region with varying depths that's acceptable. And solitude, an overdose thereof, often lets the darkness in, gradually. We may even allow it to grow on us. The dark side is like a thrill - we know it is leading us astray, that it is shattering us to pieces, but we need its trance, if only to dampen the effects of our inexorable righteous thoughts.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

We (Must) Matter

The one thing we are all afraid of, deep down - however we try to mask it with trivial and flashy occurrences of daily life or by exposing ourselves to desperate acts - is being irrelevant, becoming insignificant. Of passing through life without achieving anything of significance, without leaving a trace behind. Of reaching the end of our journey and wondering what we had done with the time we were bestowed. What extraordinary thing had we done that justifies our time on this planet? Or even, how exceptionally well did we perform the ordinary tasks of life, if at all our life wasn't meant to be remarkable? Something must stand out. We must be content at the end - that is our expectation. We must have mattered, to someone, somewhere. Our presence must have made a mark in someone's life. Preferably for the better. Sometimes even that is not enough.

All our antics are aimed at proving to ourselves and to the rest of the world - whoever be watching, whoever be remotely interested - that we are not immaterial, that we do leave a scratch behind, deep or negligible, that a grain of sand has shifted because we existed...

If everyone shifts the same old grains of sand, our efforts become ordinary, compelling us to begin again, a short distance from where we had started, and add to our efforts to edge forward, rolling up huge globes of clay without seeming to, pushing them up the hill and letting them roll back down... often without a spot of hope. Because each life matters; must matter... we must make a difference...

Everything we do boils down to this unconscious, and sometimes glaringly conscious, dread of being moored, through the relentless passage of time. Of being motionless when the World, in its infinite hurry, passes us by.

A Fear of Having Done Nothing.

A Fear of Not Making the Best Out of This Life.

A Fear of Not Grabbing Opportunities as They Flashed Past.

A Fear of Not Having Knocked on Doors Hard Enough.

A Fear of Regretting Doing Nothing.

"The Cab is at the Door. The Letter is in your hand. All you need is a touch of Courage..."