The saddest thing about the world these days is not that there is too much hatred, but that there is too much apathy. In an age which is calling out for us to feel, indifference dominates as a numbing shadow that has made us impervious to the joys and sorrows around us.

We no longer care enough about anything. Our fellow people's happiness doesn't excite us anymore. Heck, we don't even know our neighbours these days. Nor does their suffering touch a chord in our heart. If we see someone being beaten, robbed or raped, we prefer to look the other way and carry on with our lives as if nothing really happened. We don't offer to help a blind person cross the road, or carry a heavy bag of shopping for the elderly. It isn't the accident that kills a man on Delhi roads.. it's the hundreds of people who pass him by and don't stop to call for an ambulance.

We're so self-absorbed that we have forgotten to look beyond our own existence. Getting ahead in the rat-race, climbing the corporate ladder, gunning for that next promotion, looking to make more money, buying property, living the "good life" a.k.a. living in the lap of luxury... these are the catch phrases that dominate our thinking and psyche. Ironically, it is in the pursuit of that elusive "good life" that we stop living altogether.

These days, we see so much struggle, suffering and strife around us that we have become numb to their effects now. It is a paradoxical situation - you're not human if you don't feel, and yet it is difficult to live when you feel too much... The trick is to empathise but not let it make you miserable... and that requires strength.

These are the ravings and rantings of a mind that has failed to understand how creating marketing strategies to make profits for big pharma companies is contributing towards making even an iota of difference to this world.

Thoughts anyone?

Where The Grass is Always Greener : Chapter 2

Mike Mitchell was an enterprising junior secretary to the assitant manager in a big financial firm. He was among the lowest paid and most burdened workers in the firm and he was nowhere in the line of going up the heirarchy unless he did something really extraordinary, and he wasn't bright enough for that.

He sauntered along the shopping district, peering into windows to select something cheap that would do for a ring to propose to his girlfriend with. Mike had no pretensions about his attractions and knew that he was getting a good deal. She was pretty, kind hearted and loved him inspite of his faults. He wasn't sure if he loved her, but he was fond of her and was good natured enough to keep her happy. What he really wanted was money to lead a comfortable life, to indulge a little in the horse racing circuit and have abundant meals and clothes. His was a simple and rather unoriginal mind, and he did not have the mettle to make anything big of himself.

As he walked along the shop fronts, he looked with awe at the glittering diamonds, shining gold and shimmering trinket jewellery in the upscale stores. He couldn't even imagine entering and buying something from one of these shops. They seemed inaccessible to him behind those glass doors that formed a barrier between him and his dream life on "the other side".

Finally, he spotted a fake diamond gimlet ring and wasted no time in buying it. He looked at his inexpensive faux leather strap watch, a gift from his lady love. It was getting late and he quickly walked across to the street that would lead to the corner of The Residency, where his ultimate boss and idol live.

Mike saw Mabel from a distance, and smiled. She looked prettier than ever, with the rose in her hair, and suddenly he wished he had bought a better ring for her. He walked shyly up to her, and without waiting a moment, he produced the fake diamond ring and breathlessly asked her to be his wife. Her eyes shone as she said yes, and pulled him into an embrace. It was surprising to him how even the gaudy diamond seemed to gather radiance and class when on her finger. Though he was happy, he was also slightly alarmed at the prospect of now providing for two people instead of one, and was suddenly overcome with doubts as to the astuteness of his proposal to her.

Mike Mitchell looked up enviously at the tinted windows of The Residency. The door opened suddenly, and he couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the owner of his company, Mr. D'Arcy, sag against the door. He pushed Mabel away and rushed to help D'Arcy up to his feet. The doorman at The Residency held D'Arcy up and supported him back inside, his immaculate shirt still without a wrinkle and his Rolex glinting at his wrist. Within minutes, an ambulance screeched to a halt outside the door, and white coat clad medical attendants ran inside.

As the door of The Residency swung shut, Mike wished for a moment to be free of Mabel, and have enough wealth and power to generate such importance. As he sighed and made his way back to where Mabel stood, Mike wished he was on The Other Side.

Where The Grass is Always Greener : Chapter 1

D'Arcy flicked an imaginary speck of dust from the cuffs of his expensive and meticulously tailored shirt. He looked about him with disdain, observing as the menial ones scurried around eking out their living. Standing at the window of his luxurious bedroom, he looked down upon those lower beings with their grubby faces, grimy hands and scruffy clothes. Those men and women of toil and labour, who probably earned less in a month than he spent in a day on cigars. A clear line marked him and them.. a wall of wealth, success, opulence and luxury. They were on "the other side" of it. He smirked and sipped his morning cup of coffee, watching snow flakes drift lazily down on a cold gray December afternoon.

Jack D'Arcy was a hard-nosed businessman, a financial genius people called him. He knew where to invest and when to cash in. He was known equally for his charm and wit as for his heartless and fearsome takeovers of small, mostly family-owned businesses, cutting out the owners completely and transforming them into money making machines, but at the cost of generations worth of goodwill. He had made his fortune out of others' misfortunes and took pride in his rapid ascent from a small town, middle class boy with burning ambitions to a tycoon.

He lived in an apartment in one of the most exclusive avenues of the bustling city, simply called The Residency. The firm that built it specialized in catering to its high-profile clientele, providing its patrons the privacy and discretion they desired without compromising on the luxury that was their prerogative. The door that led to the foyer was unostentatious and plain, but the single gold band around its edges and the simple golden angel motif on the top right hand corner marked it out to the cognoscenti as the mark of the highest of high society. Noone could enter the pristine halls unless accompanied by a patron or one of the firm's own escorts who were trained to allow only those who were possessors of enough millions to be potential customers. It was from the window of his well appointed bedroom in this fiefdom of the wealthy that he now witnessed the early morning hustle-bustle of the world beneath his feet.

Down below on the street, a young woman hurried down the crowded footpath, colliding with several on her way to where two roads met on the corner right below D'Arcy's window. She looked anxiously around for someone, eagerly scanning the face of each man who came her way, each negative followed by a moment of disappointment and then hopefulness bounced back on her features. Her body was tense and she looked as though poised on the brink of something that was important beyond measure. She wore a simple gray dress that somehow managed to flatter her slim figure and bring a dignity to her bearing. On her hair was adorned a single blood red rose that seemed to bring a spot of colour to the otherwise dull, black and white pallete of the winter afternoon. It was the rose that caught D'Arcy's attention, and the woman that made him catch his breath...

A lifetime ago, D'Arcy had been Jack, a boy with dreams in his eyes and Mabel in his heart. They had grown up together, been to the same school, lived in the same neighbourhood. He had loved her and wanted nothing more than to spend his life with her. And then he discovered he could make money in a thousand ways. Greed overcame Love, and he moved from strength to strength, and never found to time to tell her he loved her.. and then he found she had become a stranger to him... He remembered the pain and shock in her eyes as he bulldozed her father's old bookstore to make way for his supermarket... but she no longer mattered to him and she had never forgiven him....

As he saw Mabel standing there, his love for her came rushing back. He wouldn't let her go again. Loneliness and longing bit him like a serpent, and he knew that no amount of money or success could heal the rift in his heart. The coffee cup slipped from his fingers and crashed to the floor as he rushed out the door and ran down the stairs. As he pushed through the gold lined, angel motifed front door, he saw her in the arms of another, a middle class young man, much like he himself had been a lifetime ago. Joy radiated from her face, her lips parted in a smile that held the warmth of a thousand suns even in the bitterly cold winter. D'Arcy sagged against the gilt-edged door, a moan escaped his lips and he felt his heart shatter in an instant.

And in that instant, he would have given all his wealth to have become that poor young man who held D'Arcy's greatest desire in his arms. His last thought before he slipped into unconsciousness was ... He wanted to be on The Other Side.

Hello Stranger

I saw my reflection in the glass walls of a building
Walking along the street one day
I stopped to smooth my coat
A breeze blew my hair astray

Impatiently I flicked it back
Getting late for a meeting
There's no time for frivolities
Its a dog eat dog world you see

But who was it staring at me
Out of the green mirror
It was someone I had forgotten
I said , "Hello Stranger"

This girl who stared right back at me
Her eyes told me a story
Of starry dreams and moonlit nights
Her brow was clear of worry

She stood in the spotlight
Her hair and gown blowing in the wind
The world her stage, the stage her world
Like an angel she would sing

She spoke to me in tones that lingered..
"Hello Stranger"

The reflection cleared
I stared back at myself
When did I leave my dreams behind
When were my songs shelved?

My face pinched with concentration
Trying to keep up with work's pace
Pondering how much the next cheque would bring
Trying to stay ahead in the rat race

No sign of starry eyes
Or the sheer joy of symphony
No music like a kaleidoscope of colours
Every note in perfect harmony

My guitar replaced by a purse
How ironical, I smirked
Passion overcome by profession
Heart overtaken by work

The Stranger returned
She put out her hand
I took a leap of faith
And held on with all I had

I shook out my hair
from the ribbon that held it tied
It was almost symbolic as I brought back to Life
That part of me that had almost died

I turned my face up to the sun
And breathed in deeply, savouring the fresh air
I walked with a new spring in my step
Suddenly life seemed lovely and fair

As I hummed a new tune, I looked back at the mirror
I saw myself now...
No longer a Stranger

The Colour of Love : Green

She sat in her corner, darning a dress
She sniffed and brushed away a tear
The dress was green, a plain woollen knit
It looked old and faded, threadbare almost
But she held it with a loving tenderness
She looked at a picture, black and white on the mantelpiece
It showed a laughing couple in the bloom of youth
A strong young man and a pretty young woman
Arm in arm by the seaside
The woman wore the green dress
Her eyes sparkled and the warmth of love enveloped them both

She remembered those days of early love
She'd been a waitress, he was a mechanic
It was perfect - spring, youth, hope, togetherness
They weren't wealthy, but they got by
As long as they had each other they were rich
The wedding was simple and spontaneuos
Family and friends gathered on the beach
Everyone came straight from work
She had her special green dress on
The one he'd gifted her when he proposed
They took their vows on the beach promenade
Passersby smiled and gave congratulations
And he proudly told them ,"This is my wife"

She looked at her husband now, 40 years later
Crumpled where he'd once been straight backed
His face still held the vestiges of his handsomeness
But his eyes were vacant, expressionless
They used to be alive and merry
The doctors called it Alzheimer's
All she knew was he no longer remembered her

They only had each other
Forty long years gone in the blink of an eye
They had had their good days and their bad ones
But the love had never diminished, only grown
Even when she couldn't have babies
Even when he lost his job
Even when they had to give up their dream of going to Europe
Because they had to pay for their house instead
But they loved their home and each other
And that was enough for them both
Now they didn't have each other
And she had never been poorer in her life

He would shuffle around the house
He looked at her, but didn't see her anymore
She had begged the doctor to let him stay at home with her
and not to send him away
The doctor had agreed, and they stayed together
At least physically
He was in a world of his own
Fogged and befuddled
He'd been the cornerstone of her life
A tower of strength for her
Now he couldn't even eat without help
She sat with him all day
Showing him their photographs
Willing him to remember
Praying for a glimmer of recognition
He didn't even know her name now

If only she could see a sign
That he had not forgotten their love
She could live with his disease
And with her memories of their life
She would love enough for both of them
She would live their forty years of togetherness
She would believe he still loved her
Just as much as he once did for sure
But she wanted that one sign
To carry on living this life

But she had seen nothing in over a year
And today was their fortieth wedding anniversary
She brought out her wedding dress
That simple green woollen dress
The memento of his love flooded her with anguish
She sat in her corner, darning the threads that age and disuse had pulled apart
She caressed the soft folds of her green dress
And her eyes filled with tears
She was losing hope
And the will to live
She now existed only to make sure
he ate well and had his medicines on time
She felt old and unwanted
And most of all.. unloved

She wiped away her tears
And looked at the clock
It was time for his medicines
She put the dress on the table
And went to get his pills
As she filled a glass with water
She began thinking of suicide
They had no family left, no friends to speak of
Dying together seemed better
than living without being together
She went back to the parlour
And stopped in her tracks

For there he was, sitting in her chair
Holding the green dress in his hands
He looked up at her, his eyes clear and bright
And he smiled at her like the old days
He pointed to the photograph on the mantelpiece
And said proudly, "That is my wife"

Just one glimmer of recognition, though the rest was still foggy
She laughed through her tears
She could live now
She could make a fresh start
Even though he still knew her not
She knew he still loved her deep in his heart

And as she cried and laughed and hugged him tight,she thanked God for the sign she had seen
And in the parlour that anniversary day, the Colour of their Love was Green.

The Colour of Love : Red

He watched her greedily,
drinking her in with his eyes
while in his heart he was sure
If she knew, she would despise.

He'd coveted her since he was eight
Every moment, every minute
Her gentle grace and kindness
Her beauty and her wit

He remembered how
She'd stood up for him
In the playground, against them all
Who teased him for his ragged clothes
Who tripped him and made him fall
They taunted him,
for he was a petty thief
And yet she'd protected him
He blushed crimson when she smiled

His thievery, his rudeness
His wild anger, foul-mouthed and crass
She saw through the layers
For what he really was
Scared and alone, poor and ugly
A hunchback and a limp
Abandoned by his creators
His existence a mere whim
The orphanage was a cold place
No love did roam in its corridors
Whiplashes, screams and tears apart
Utter loneliness knocked at the door

She was the only one who cared
The one who gave him hope
Little did she know
She gave him courage to cope
When Life in all its bleakness
Throttled him in its grip
He remembered how she smiled
And her friendship

She did not pity him
Or shrink away in disgust
She made him feel human
And the world seem less unjust.
He loved her deeply
Truly and madly even
She liked him with all her heart
She knew he deserved more than he'd been given
They grew closer
With every passing summer
He loved her more than ever
His heart grew ever warmer
He pledged his life to her
He vowed to give her all
that she wanted and more
But never did he say it aloud

He left his thieving days of old
But carried a jackknife, just to feel safe
He started with a new vigour
He fought to keep up with the pace
He slaved and saved and scrimped
He studied days and worked nights
He skinned himself to the bone
And yet she was his shining light
She saw in him a determination
that sparkled and shone
And she was delighted at him standing
Up for himself, on his own

She was probably too close........
She did not see the lovelight in his eyes
She missed his sighs
She overlooked his eagerness
To make her his own, his Life.
She could not see past her childhood friend
Whom she loved, but could never Love

'Twas ten years to the day
Since they'd first met on the playground
'Twas the day he chose to propose
To bare his soul to her at long last
He called her to the playground that night
In the moonlight he thought he'd say
All that he'd wanted to
Every single day

And as he watched her from afar
Drinking her in with his eyes
She walked smiling toward him...
But she was not alone that night

She strode hand in hand with someone else
Tall, handsome and debonair
No suggestion of deformity or depravity
And oh, how she bloomed in his embrace
They kissed goodbye at the gate
And parted.
She reached out for him, her "friend"
And told him with a glow
That this was the man she loved
And she wanted him to be the first to know

He stared, disbelieving
What was this cruel blow fate had dealt
Did she not love him, was he not hers?
And that was when he realised...
What he'd seen, and all he'd missed...
For he had been hers all his life, to do as she pleased..
But she was not, and never had been, his......

A wave of panic filled him
It left him numb for a while
He tried to collect his shattered dreams
His mouth filled with bile
A cold anger sprouted in his heart
She would be his, or not be at all.
To possess and own and conquer
It was all he wanted, all he cared for
How dare she spurn him
After having led him on
His whole life was based on a falsehood
He'd been living a lie all along
She was the thief, not him
For she'd stolen everything from him
His one chance at being human

A fire consumed him
A crimson tide
A possessive passion filled him
He was never more dead, yet never more alive

As she hugged him goodbye
A solitary tear made its way down his cheek
And he thrust his knife into her, again and again
She gasped in pain, and looked up surprised
A second later she fell, still uncomprehending
And as she took her last breath
Her eyes were bewildered

A wise man once said
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned
The wise man had not accounted for the hunchback
Who would have set the world on fire

And as the fire ate into him when he saw her dead
The Colour of his Love was Red


Its not that I am not aware of how blessed I am... its just that there is an ever growing discontentment with life as it is that's bothering me. I can't quite place my finger on what exactly is lacking, but there is a void that is expanding and I don't know why...

Suddenly, the world seems like such a big place, with so much to do, and so little time... I'm so caught up with living my daily life, that I'm unable to do anything more than just that. I'm so sure there's more to life than just earning my daily bread and leading a take-it-as-it-comes existence. I'm not much of a planner, I've never been an ambitious person. And yet, people around me have faith in me and my abilities, maybe more than I do... and that is a disturbing thought. Am I meant to do something more, am I supposed to make a difference? If so, what, how, when, where and why? I don't see it happening any time soon, and the horizon stretches endlessly in front of me.

I know I sound gloomy, but apart from this feeling that's gnawing me from inside, I'm actually pretty good. I'm happy and not content.

Ponder and wonder...

A few good thoughts to ponder upon from a book I'm reading, Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster :

"It isn't the big troubles in life that require character. Anybody can rise to a crisis and face a crushing tragedy with courage, but to meet the petty hazards of the day with a laugh - I really think that requires spirit."

"Don't you think it would be interesting if you really could read the story of your life - written perfectly truthfully by an omniscient author? And suppose you could only read it on this condition : that you would never forget it, but would have to go through life knowing ahead of time, exactly how everything you did would turn out, and foreseeing to the exact hour the time when you would die. How many people do you suppose would have the courage to read it then? Or how many could suppress their curiosity sufficiently to escape from reading it, even at the price of having to live without hope and without surprises?"

"The world is full of happiness and plenty to go around, if you are only willing to take the kind that comes your way"

"I don't agree with the theory that adversity and sorrow and disappointment develop moral strength. The happy people are the ones who are bubbling over with kindliness."

A Walk in Solitude

I stand alone at the peak
The world lies at my feet
I haven't conquered it.. yet
It spreads as a valley unmet

My dreams are my only companions
My spirit soars across new dominions
The wind gives wings to my thoughts
I journey around the world as I walk
Along a winding, rocky path

I chance upon a clearing
Wrapped in tendrils of fog
The sky holds me aloft on its cloudy palm
I'm enveloped in a misty blanket

Huddled at the foot of a musky deodar
I bring out my flask
The smell of pinecones and a cup of hot tea
Make for a delicious combination indeed

I see a lone eagle spiralling in the distance
It reminds me of my existence
I'm floating along in life
Unaware of my purpose, yet strangely satisfied

I count my friends, and am happy with my lot
I count my blessings and count myself fortunate
I wonder if I'm a success
and make a note to ask the ones who matter.

I whisper a silent prayer into the mist
I put my dreams into a list
I'll look at that list someday
And check for the ones left unfulfilled

And I may yet fulfill them at my own pace
But for now, the mountain gives me solace.
I enjoy the solitude
For I am not alone.. I am with myself.

Would you say Love won if Love conquered all, including Love itself??

Stripped of Innocence

Life's been dealt a pretty bad hand
I am halfway across no man's land
No future presents itself to sight
The past is strangling my present every night
Why did this happen to me
Why, I scream, but no answer would there be
Betrayed, faithless, stranded, broken
No word could say what the tear has spoken
My thoughts are shattered
My soul battered
Bruised I lie
Waiting till I die
Hate bleeds me like a disease
The pain is a welcome release
Agony makes me feel alive
My soul is dead from all the strife
Impaled time and time again
My body robbed, my pleas go vain
I'm hurting but there's no respite
There is no love, only spite
Innocence turns to ashes
Dreams burst in flashes
Lightning strikes with ferocious pace
No wait, its just the tubelight biting my face
I can see red rimmed eyes
Lustful, triumphant, gazing at their prize,
They watch me writhing, but they are dumb
My very core destroyed, my life force numb
What did I do, why me, I sob, with my head in a whirl
Why you, you ask? Its quite simple... you're a girl

The Circle of Power

She looked at him with pain and fear in her eyes. He stood above her, holding a frying pan by the handle. She was bleeding from the corner of the mouth, where the edge of the pan had struck her last. She lay cowering in a corner as he began his next bout of assault on her. He was drunk senseless, and all he could see was the weak, helpless being he was bethrothed to... the woman he owned, and not loved. What was she for, if not to satisfy his demands whenever he demanded, or bear his frustrations when he was frustrated, or feed him when he was hungry and leave him alone otherwise? Who cared whether she had problems of her own, she hadn't brought enough happiness from her father's home... she wasn't permitted to have any troubles... and here she was nagging him about getting medicines for the baby. He whacked her again with the pan, slitting her forehead.

As she lay bruised and bleeding on the floor, he saw the simple gold band that proclaimed their wedding vows glinting dully on her finger. He saw the more expensive diamond one on his own finger, the one her father had sold his cow to pay for. His ring was the Circle of Power that night.


He choked with gasps and guttural groans, his face a grotesque mask of terror, his legs kicking wildly at the empty space beneath him. She sat at a distance on the mud floor, calmly watching him hanging by a noose from the hook on the ceiling. A stool stood fallen on the ground below. A short distance away stood her brother, with a nasty expression on his face - one that had anger and satisfaction mingled in a grim smile. She still bore the marks from her husband's assault two weeks back. The scar on her forehead stood out in sharp relief in the dim light of the lantern. As his struggle grew weaker, she looked around her. The TV set,the fridge, the jewellery from their wedding that he had locked up in his cupboard, the money in his bank account and the house.. it would all be hers now, the prerogative of being his wife. She could get a job in the department he had worked in, she knew people there. They would be sympathetic to the plight of the widow whose husband had committed suicide. Friends and family would chip in to help her stand on her own feet.. Being a helpless widow actually helped a lot.

As she looked into his unseeing, bulging eyes and contemplated how he was more a husband to her in death than in life, she looked at the diamond sparkling on his lifeless finger and her own simple ring that promised a new life for her and her baby. Tonight, her ring was the Circle of Power.

The Colour of Love : Blue

The robin soared across the vast blue sky, beating its wings and feeling the wind rush past. Never was any being on earth as free as this bird. It flit left and right, dodged a tree, nipped at a hanging guava, trilled cheerfully at fellow robins in their nests. Its red breast, cocky feathers on top of its head and bright eye shone with the radiance that is the prerogative of the Free.

The robin watched the azure sky turn from light to darkness. It followed Nature's paintbrush, as the Heavens turned from pale blue, to cobalt, to violet and finally to an inky indigo. The robin dozed off happily on its perch, dreaming of its flight tomorrow, when it would touch the clouds again...

The robin woke up, and looked around. Where was the bright sunshine and the crisp morning breeze? Why were there brown woven ropes around it? The robin struggled for flight, but was pulled down by the net. The bird catcher sneered as he watched the robin haplessly flapping its trapped wings, chirping frantically, its eyes wild with terror. As the bird catcher caught it and put it in a cage, the robin looked up for one last look at the vast blue sky that was his home and birthright, the sea of clouds floating lazily, carried along by the wind that blew only in the sky. It beat its wings against the bars, screeched pitifully to be let out of its bonds and set free. The bird catcher pulled a sack on the cage, and all went dark...

The robin saw light again, but it was different. It was yellow, and it was hanging from somewhere above the cage. The robin hopped around in fright, and hit the bars with its wings again. Its wings hurt now from being cramped, and it longed to stretch and flap.

A pair of eyes suddenly came into view. They were peering at him in wonder. And they were the colour of sky. The robin hopped a tiny hop closer to those eyes that seemed to him to be the sky itself. They were big and round and the clear blue of the morning sky. The robin's heart soared as it approached the blueness, its wings spread in anticipation of its long awaited flight.

The little girl, the owner of the big blue eyes, was startled at the robin's approach, and rushed off to hide behind her mother's pallu. She peeked at the robin from behind the safety of her mother's saree. The robin was her new pet, and she had decided to call it Bibs, because she thought the red breast looked like the bibs her mother made her wear while eating.

Bibs was shocked and perplexed. The sky had disappeared suddenly, and it was still within bars. The little girl's father hung the cage on a hook in the balcony, so the robin could have fresh air and plenty of sunshine. The darkness of the night was upon the sky now, and the robin slumped, exhausted...

Everyday, the robin woke with the sunrise, watching its beloved sky turning from indigo to violet to red, the orange flames eating into the blackness, and finally blue. The robin chirruped mournfully, its soul trapped as much as its body behind the cruel bars.

Each day, the robin spent fruitless hours battering its wings against the cage, willing the lock to open and set it free. It watched its fellow robins alighting on a nearby branch, and then taking off into the open. It flapped its wings harder, tearing them, its claws and tiny beak ripping along the iron rods that prevented it from keeping its appointment with the wind and the clouds.

The robin didn't eat, its feathers lost their lustre, its eyes lost their shine. The robin was slowly, but surely, dying from within...

The little girl saw the robin's attempts to escape, and was scared at first. Cautiously, she approached the cage, and would spend hours simply looking at the bird. In her little heart, she could feel the tug of the robin's helplessness, though she didn't quite understand why.

On the day the robin stopped trying, she realised something was wrong. The robin lay listlessly on the floor of the cage, its unseeing eyes staring at a distant point in the sky. It didn't rise even when she touched the cage, but a feeble lift of its wings assured her that there was Life in this robin yet.

The little girl tip-toed to her father's room, climbed a stool and groped with the tips of her fingers for the tiny key that held the cage shut. Her tiny face screwed up in concentration, she stood on her toes to find the elusive key. She finally managed to push it off her father's dressing table and quickly picked it up off the floor.She ran to the verandah, stood on a chair and twisted the key in the tiny keyhole, her fingers slipping and sliding as she struggled to hold the key properly.

The robin saw her eyes, hypnotised by their resemblance to the object of his desire. Innocence and humanity shone from the child's eyes, and the robin gathered hope from their depth. It rose weakly to its legs, took uncertain steps towards the cage door that was suddenly open. It stepped out tentatively, and stood for an unbelieving second at the door that had held it imprisoned for so long.

It shook out its battered wings, gave a tiny wobble and then rose into the air as it flapped its wings. With every beat, the wings became stronger, the old vitality flooding back into them. The robin sang out of pleasure, and the little girl laughed delightedly at its merry song. Never had she seen the robin as happy as it was now. Freedom was its at last, and it rushed to meet the sky again. It soared into the clouds, and flew strongly into the wind. As it suddenly flew into a clearing in the clouds, it remembered the blue-eyed girl who'd returned its freedom. It rushed down to the little girl's balcony, and perched in front of her. As it looked into those blue eyes, it saw in them what it held most precious and dear - it saw a vast and clear blue heaven.

And as into the heavens it flew..
The Colour of its Love was Blue

The Connoisseur

It was a rainy day. The sky was dark and overcast, shadows flitting across a grey morning. The Connoisseur sat at the window, listening to the pearly raindrops making splashes on the sill. Nothing stirred in the house. He sighed, then looked around the room he was in. It was a well furnished drawing room with elegantly dimmed lights, a plush sofa set facing the balcony with glass doors, a comfortable arm chair, large cushions set fashionably on the floor for a relaxed chat, low stools dotted here and there, a soft and expensive Persian rug on the floor, with a glass topped table in the centre. It was also the room where he got more closely acquainted with his latest acquisition.

He looked towards the centre table. Mingling with the soft drip-drop of the rain outside was a soft drip-drop of something else inside the room.... the trickle of something red that made a pool on the table top and was slowly forming a puddle on the rug...

The Connoisseur smiled. She lay on the glass topped table, her mouth slightly open, the source of the trickle. She had lasted much longer than he had expected, and having had her in his grasp after she had eluded him for so long.. the rewards more than justified the price he had paid...

He could still taste her.. the bouquet of flavours that took command of his senses, the aroma of wild flowers, the fragrance of meadows and fruits in full blossom. He visualised her colour - a sparkle that caught all the brilliance of the rays of the setting sun, a soft blush that accentuated his desire to hold her a little longer, like he never wanted her to go. He remembered the warmth that spread through his body wherever she touched him. She had fulfilled all his desires, satisfied his rigorous demands. He was The Connoisseur, after all. It was not easy to please him. He had rejected many an offer before her.. before Rose...

She had been brought to him by a trader who did not quite meet The Connoisseur's eye when he questioned the trader about her. The Connoisseur was sure that with her exotic look and colour, she had been smuggled from somewhere. But when her intoxicating aroma enveloped him, teasing his senses and playing with his consciousness, he knew she was worth the risk. His only regret was that once he was through with her, he could never have her again...

The Connoisseur sighed again, and looked at her body lying on the table. A look, one of tenderness and sorrow, stole across his face, and he approached the table slowly. He held her to his lips one last time, and then placed her with the others that he had similarly sampled.... Rose...

A woman's voice startled him, "Darling, if you're done, could I please watch television in the drawing room?". The Connoisseur sighed yet again. Sometimes he was sure Millie was jealous of the time and money he spent on Rose and others like her, each unique in their own special way. Sadly, he took one last look at Rose. The label on her body, the elegant curve of the champagne bottle, said "Dom Ruinart Rose 1982"

It was only then that he noticed the stain on the carpet. Millie would get hopping mad! This time The Connoisseur was sure blood would be spilt - and it would be all his.

I've been celled- Part 2


I wrote that post when I bought my new sleek cellphone with the better part of my first month's salary. I've lost that and one other (slightly cheaper) cellphone since then, and am back to a (slightly newer) version of my original "Nokia 1100 - Made in India" model.

This one has a radio that barely catches the waves, a colour display and snazzier games, but like the original, has no camera, no tooth (blue or otherwise), a 5 day running battery and a torchlight too... In your face Disappearing Electricity of Gurgaon!!

And I have come to realise.. New is silver (coincidentally also the colour of the erstwhile jazzy cellphone I owned for too short a time), but Old is, in fact, gold.

Of Orkut and Life...

I left Orkut about a year back. Don't ask me why, I may not have a sensible answer. It was just one of those things one does and then doesn't know why one did (a lot of ones flying around in this sentence). Several of my friends were bewildered ("Huh? But why?"), some were disapppointed ("The testimonial you wrote me is gone! Thanks a lot for nothing!"), while others were resigned to the fact that since I wasn't replying to their scraps anyway it wasn't much of a difference ("Orkut is blocked in my office dude, seriously.. I am not, repeat, NOT avoiding you" got me a "Yeah, whatever!")

Although I have aged considerably since those long-gone, but oft remembered, days of college 2 years ago, getting back on Orkut has brought back a flood of fond memories....

Before I came to IIT-R, I was a simple girl with just an e-mail ID and an account on Yahoo! And then came Orkut. My senior, in keeping with the ritual of inducting a junior into the tribe, sent me an Orkut invite. Wide eyed with fear and trepidation (we were still having "interaction" with our seniors then), I filled up the form and with just a click, I was into Orkut.

I soon discovered that everyone in IIT and their aunt was on Orkut. There are all sorts of weird communities one can join... "Oversleepers Anonymous" lies drooling right next to "Proud to be an Oversleeper" ; every sun sign has a comm proclaiming its virtues and another one pulling it down ; arbitrary communities appropriately named "ArBit" and comms committed to various causes like "Save the Children" populate the annals of Orkut. One can discover long lost friends in their school or college communities n renew old ties (read crushes, as is done by certain friends of mine).

Then there is the life force of Orkut... the members themselves. With a profile format that allows one to write reams about themselves and put forth their likes and dislikes on any and every sphere of life, we often find innovative and interesting profiles and the people behind them. So we have "Rammurthy Selva" insisting he's into "Simple living,High thinking" ; "Hot Chick" who warns "You'll burn your fingers if you mess with me" ; "Count Dracula" who invites you "For a night of fun,frolic and blood sucking" ; "Sathish Sathish" who's "fun-loving and wants to make friends" but has a pic that would make your blood curdle (incidentally, he happens to be on Dracula's friend list..food for thought) ; "Hunk of your Dreams" with a dreamy pic, but a profile that displays his not-too-bright brains ; "Apocalyptic", reading whose profile will take me a year coz its so long ; "Mo' F*cka" who says just that in his profile some 10 times (driving home a point seems to be a big thing with this guy) .. and so on and so forth. While there are some who wax eloquent about philosophy in life, there are others who choose to write poems and songs, some who prefer profanity to anything else, and others who choose to say things like "If you know me, you don't need to read this, and if you don't know me, why the hell are you reading this anyway??"

The friend list and fan list are big ego boosters... or ego-busters. 270 friends and 123 fans sounds and looks good. But then again, how many would you personally know or care to scrap even once a year? Then again, having 2 friends and scrapping them incessantly doesn't help either. How bugging can you get? Everyday, the high point of the day happens to be checking out the new scraps you've received. Heartbreaks are common when there are no new scraps ("Why me?? What have I done to deserve this??") ... so is ecstasy ("He scrapped me today!!!") The number of people visiting your profile daily becomes a prestige issue (" Know what, 12345 people have visited my profile since Feb '06... beat that!!") . Scrapbooks become chatrooms, with scraps flying thick n fast when two buddies meet online. Unwanted solicitations, arbit friend requests, weird scraps are all part of the Orkut experience. Testimonials written for and received from friends further serve to brighten your day.. coz even if it isn't very flattering, at least you know the person took the time to write something for you !!

And if you need further proof as to how far Orkut has entered our lives.. here I am writing a post about it since last night. Guess we'll just keep Orkutting away to glory....

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