Sunday, 30 September 2012

Sheyr-o-Shayari – 2

This new one was triggered by repeated hearings of three of my all-time favorite Kishore Kumar romantic numbers over the last 4-5 days:
  1. Aankhon aankhon mein hum tum [Mahal – 1969] — Kalyanji-Anandji
  2. Yeh duniya-waale poochhenge [Mahal – 1969] — Kalyanji-Anandji
  3. Saawan ka maheena aa gaya [Nehle Peh Dehlaa – 1976] — RD Burman

"Aksar raaton ko tanhaa baithe,
Tere baare mein sochtaa hoon...
Jab sannaate ki zulfon se tapakti shabnam,
Dastak dey khayaalon ki chaukhat par,
Pesh-qadmi ki ghadiyaan gintey huye,
Tera intezaar kartaa hoon.
Aksar raaton ko tanhaa baithe,
Tere baare mein sochtaa hoon."


Saturday, 22 September 2012


I am not a poet. Despite being an avid lover & student of literature, I have never been too keen on reading or writing [the latter is something that 99.96% Bengalis try at least once in their lifetime, esp. during their college years, even more so if they go to Presidency College/University or Jadavpur University, & invariably when—not if—they fall in love] poetry. I don't think I have the talent or the patience to write poetry.

The following lines took shape in my mind on some lonely afternoons & pensive nights, & I didn't even notice. They just...happened, & without any effort, if I may add at the cost of sounding a little vain. I don't recall what I was thinking or doing when it happened, but one thing I can assure U of: though they seem a bit Gulzar-ish, they are completely original. With that, I now take the liberty of putting them up here.


"Bas kuchh dhundhli-dhundhli si yaadein,
Kabhi Kabhie tanhaai ki waadiyon mein,
Ek jhalak dikhaakar,
Bikhre huye armaanon ke toote huye parr lagaakar udd jaate hain..."


"Woh sard shaam, woh besharm taarein...
Woh bheed ki tanhaai, woh andekhe nazaarein...
Teri rukhsaar pe khamoshi ki nami, merey labon pe ankahey izhaar...
Kuchh sawaal jo fasaane ban gaye, aur kuchh dard jo aksar raaton ko milne aate hain..."


"Yeh woh shahar nahi Ghalib, jahaan dost bastey hain...
Yeh qasbah hai naaraaz tanhaaiyon ka,
Yahaan to saaye bhi paraaye hotey hain."


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

What Are Friends For?

A few years ago, I became good friends with a [now ex-] colleague of mine. The gentleman was somewhat of a “charming rogue”, at least as far as first impressions go. We were working in the same company & project—in fact, I was a member of his team—& before long, we became good friends [I repeat the phrase from my opening sentence, because this particular phrase holds a great deal of importance to me].

We were friends for almost two-&-a-half years, during which we experienced, & shared, a lot of things. I considered him, & still do, one of the best IDs I have ever met [but then, I’d say that I’m probably among the bottom 3-4%]. He was not merely charming, but quite intelligent, & could hold up his end of an intelligent conversation for long. He was quick-witted & glib, if slightly of the Aunty Acid type.

Over the next couple of years, our interactions & intimacy grew. He survived a bad separation from his girlfriend of 8 years; lost his job [I remember trying to canvass for him & being snubbed by the powers-that-be; in fact, I was his replacement!] while I survived nearly 3 years of that impossible place; sat me down at his 1-BHK pad in Mumbai for an all-night talkathon, during which, over endlessly-flowing rum [which he drank] & Coke [which I drank], he gave me tips on how to avoid a pretty-but-nagging, clingy, & harboring-impossible-romantic-hopes-about-me colleague [“Her motto is: First we make fraaands, then we make baaabiesss!” still cracks me up when I think of that night & of him] as well as on how to appease my wife, with whom I’d been having a series of fights…yes, he was a good friend to have.

And then, he went away.

It so happened that soon after the aforementioned break-up, he acquired a “hot new piece of a$$” [his words, not mine] who had joined the organization where we worked. The relationship grew at a rapid pace, & before long, the girl, otherwise known to be fairly good at her job, started neglecting her work [he'd already been doing it for quite sometime]. What got my goat was that she, for no apparent reason, was always after him to end his friendship with me. However, he did not pay heed to her.

He left Mumbai & went back to his old company in Pune, taking his new girlfriend with him. Soon after this, my sister joined the organization, & I asked him to “keep an eye on her, guide her in terms of work—& life, as need be…generally, be her brother/friend/mentor.” He agreed.

Strangely, my sister & my friend’s fiancée bonded fairly well, & she bonded with my friend too…until one day when they invited her for dinner & didn’t serve anything to eat until about 1 at night, when my friend’s fiancée cooked up some sandwiches that disagreed with my poor sister so badly that she landed up at the hospital for a day.

That incident upset me, but it didn’t exactly send me to the orbit. Shortly after this, however, another incident did.

I was having an email conversation with my sister & inadvertently Cc-ed my friend. My sister, while replying, hit the ‘Reply-All’ button by mistake, so her response went to him as well. Ideally, he should have kept quiet [that would have given him an opportunity to have a laugh at the two of us later, & no one would have minded], but he chose to respond with an unnecessarily sarcastic & derogatory reply. What’s more, he Cc-ed his fiancée, & she in turn, having read through the entire conversation, replied with an even uglier & downright insulting comment directed at my family. Despite my first protest, she persisted.

That made me go ballistic. I told my sister to step aside, removed the churlish girl [my friend’s fiancée] from the list of recipients, & flew at the guy. I mean, I just flew at him, with all the guns that I could find lying around blazing away on full automatic. At first, he tried to brave it out, but quickly realized that I was in no mood to relent. I gave it to him right then there, over a series of emails, & by the end, he was begging me to stop & crying for truce.

I told him: “Dude, we’ve been friends for so many years, & discussed so many things. There have been numerous occasions when certain things that you, or your girlfriend, told me could have been construed as downright offensive. But did I take offense? No. that’s because I knew where you coming from. So now, instead of trying to put up a brave front & cover up a blatant mistake, the least you can do is take a step back, sit down for a minute, & think why I am saying what I am saying!!!

The guy stopped in his tracks. In halting tones, he asked me: “So would you still be interested in attending my marriage, after all this?” I replied: “Why not? What have you or I done to change that? We are still friends, aren’t we? You only have to tell me the date and the venue, & I’ll be there as promised.”

A couple of months after this, my friend called me up to tell me that the marriage date had been fixed & that he would email me the details soon. I told him that I would be waiting.

The invite never came. I came to know of the marriage date a few days before it took place from another colleague, who gloated over the fact that someone who I had claimed would name me as one of the first invitees had not invited me, after all. I knew the real reason behind this snub, of course, & stayed silent.

That was the day when we parted ways, that friend of mine & me, never [yet] to get back. It is not that I miss him, it is just that I remember the series of good moments we shared, & how one bad moment that was not my fault in any way made him move away. Good riddance, you say? I don’t know.

And I can foresee history repeating itself. This time, the wounds are going to be deeper, so deep that no ointment is going to heal them; the scars are going to be wider, so wide that no thread of time can stitch them together. Because this time, it is not just a “good friend” or even a “very good friend” I will lose, but someone who endorsed my claim when I said that we were “not merely BFFs, but soulmates for all eternity without being lovers”.

On the previous occasion, I lost a friend because I stood up for my rights; this time, I will lose another for reaching out to U for help, Coco.

Yes, My Friend, I needed your help. I had voiced my concern some time ago, if U remember. I had told U that for the first time in our friendship, I am facing problems, & they concern U. I wish U had paid a little more heed to my words than the usual lip service that I usually get. I wish U had taken that all-important step back, sat down, & pondered over my statement. I wish U had defended me, on stupid social networking sites, as vociferously & as readily as U defend your other friends, some of whom [rather ironically] U met through me. I wish U could spare for me a thousandth of the time that U spend with others. I wish U had reached out, even once in a while, placed your hand on my wrist, & told me: “Yes, I know that a lot of things are not going right in your world, or as well as they should go, but remember that I am Constant, as steady as the Pole Star, as unvarying as Life itself, in your life. Do not worry about me, my Friend, for I will be there for you even after we both stop breathing.” That is all I needed to hear. Not every moment, not every day, but once in a while. That is all that was needed to heal me, cure me of my fears & my insecurities. That is all.

That is all.

Sunday, 16 September 2012



Complex, complicated, relentless.
Maddening, frustrating, difficult.

Bring a smile to your lips when you are shrouded in melancholia.
Squeeze a drop from your heart when you are surrounded by gaiety.

A sidewalk you may have walked down with someone special. A blanket that belonged to someone, but now warms another. Sundown hour that was hitherto synonymous with tea made by an old, grown-accustomed-to hand, but from now on will announce the presence of a new one.


Choking windpipes. Curving lips upwards.
Flooding eyes. Throbbing hearts.

Memories. What devils they are!