December 23, 2010

Slivers of silver thread

Have you ever thought of the myriad of different connections that you have made. The numerous strands of relationships that tie you to this universe. Spanning the past, the present and the future, this is the reason you belong, here and now and always.

An "always ready to give you a good yell" mother, A "loves you but wants you out of the house" father, A "distant but means well" brother, An "old, grizzly but gives the best hugs" grandmother, the myriad close and not-so-close relatives that include a sweet and sly kid cousin brother, a reminds you of cruella-de-vil aunt, and then there are people you meet who make everlasting impressions...your first crush, the two am friend you no longer talk to but wish you could, the mindless antics with a set of absolute crazies... the indo aryan nazi, the religious south siren, the BB addicted social butterfly, the logical yet whimsical excel queen, the child who grew up, the dainty yet strong snow queen, the irritable and chirpy insect hater , the edwardian lord, the dreamer, the one you never meet but have long conversations with ...and the ones you haven't met yet....

All connected to you in inexplicable ways... like slivers of silver thread- connecting you to earth. Making you feel loved, making you aspire to be better, to go on, to make your failures seem better, and rejoice in your successes... to make life more liveable... Thank You for being part of mine...

December 8, 2010


Winter's here. Cold and deep,
The land is barren, humanity asleep.
Darkness has fallen, swift as sound,
The silence is deafening all around.

The cold creeps in tendrils, o'er my heart,
I wish I could go back to the start...
To the beginning of our journey together,
To dreams of spending life forever...

But now you are gone and winter has come,
And life is empty without my sun.
I wish my heart would cease to feel,
I wish that reality wasn't real.

I long for warmth, once again,
I hope that I don't go insane.
Waiting and longing for sunshine,
And to feel this cold heart of mine.

September 25, 2010

Letter to GOD

Dear God,

I must confess, I have not been one of your greatest supporters. I have laughed and snickered when someone spoke about your miracles, shaking my head at the naivette that makes us human beings want to believe. However, I now write to you, with the hope that there is something in what the world is talking about, when they refer to you.

Forgive my impunity, but I hope that you can do something- anything.

For I need strength. Strength to carry on in my struggle to be a good person. To not let the selfishness of the world turn my heart into ice. To not let the unfairness get to me. To forge ahead on the path that I envisioned for myself. To make a difference, however small. To learn from my mistakes, and to not let setbacks make me want to throw in the towel. To learn when to fight, and when to stay silent. To do one act of kindness everyday. To remain positive, and not get bogged down. To learn to treat everyone equally. To propogate compassion for animals and the environment. To seek happiness in the small joys. To remain a maverick and a minstrel at heart. To be able to express my opinions, but learn to listen as well. To take on the challenges that tomorrow brings, head on. To dream a little everyday.

To never never never give up.

I understand that I cannot ask for the sky, but a small piece would do just fine.

- The soothsayer

August 24, 2010


One man's passion is another's pain,
Everyone is here for profit and gain.
Honesty & Sincerity cuts no ice,
Am a fool to have thought otherwise.
Broken & battered, unsteady I stand,
Looking for that one outstretched hand.
Wondering when the pain shall subside?
Wondering if it would be better if my conscience died.

July 19, 2010

Unlearning the corporate code of conduct

I am sure you have heard this a million times before: - Advertising guru ditches the corporate life to become a farmer, IIM-A graduate leaves a million dollar job in favour of starting a rural start up, Ivy League Scholar takes up a low income teaching job... and so on.

Have you stopped to wonder why increasingly people are moving back to the basics? Why 'successful' people are ditching their $$$$ jobs in favour of the simple life? Why after having climbed the corporate ladder, people suddenly feel they have no-one to share their accomplishments with? Why?

I recently re-read George Orwell's classic "The Animal Farm", and find that a reflection of a microcosm of the farm is present in every office. There is always a Napoleon who assumes total power and commands respect through lies, deceit and treachery. Then there is always a Snowball who might have the greatest vision, but succumbs to the great tide of corruption... then there is Boxer, or rather a series of Boxers who work their hardest till the very end... believing in Utopia and the greater good, until one day, they are nothing more than a statistic, being ticked off a chart. And then there are always the minor characters of the cat, the sheep, Benjamin the Donkey & Moses the Raven...

What is interesting thus is to realise what one's place in the story really is? Are we the hard workers, the yes-men, the work shirkers, the evangelists, the bull dogs, the blind supporters, or the eternal pessimists??- For all of us do find a reflection in the animals of the Manor Farm.

Quite frankly, I am tired of the gibblygook being fed in the name of visions and missions... what pays is to be a mindless pawn who does exactly what the perfect employee in the employee handbook does (and they never even show you the fine print which states that 'having an opinion = insubordination, apolitical = professional suicide, climbing the corporate ladder= kissing tusshy big time, and my personal favourite "The boss is always right!")

Once you have superimposed this simple story on your life, you will realise that 'the greater good' is nothing but the biggest lie that was told to you, over and over again, to make you tow the line.

And it is this realisation that made these people choose a different path, a path in which LIFE is no longer a footnote...

Life is a fairy tale.

Life is a fairy tale. Magic surrounds us. Permeates are very being. Shows slivers of itself in our every day lives. Stolen glances of the one you love. Glimpses of a life you can imagine. The longing in your eyes of what you believe cannot be. The absolute disbelief when something you thought was impossible happens. The soul stirring conversations that last well into the night. The peace and comfort that you find in the arms of a special someone. The laughter and momentary madness. The childishness and giggles. The walks on the beach in the twilight. The dips in the salty sea. Leaving foot prints in the sand. Watching someone sound asleep. The twitching smiles in the corners of your mouth. Magic is all around us. In all of these little actions. It gives us the fuel to believe that everything is good. It is for a reason. But only if you believe- Life is a fairy tale.

A Nation of Extremes

India- A nation which is proud of its culture, its people, its spirituality and its values. A nation where multiple religions co-exist peacefully (for the most part), and whose democracy as a system of governance is used as a case study, all over the world. However, India is also a nation which is painted in a canvas of extremes. The divide between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots, the optimism of increasing growth rates and the pessimism of consumerism, all add to the starkness of this divide.

2009 has been a year of global economic turbulence, with recession triggering a domino effect, the results of which, were felt the world over. India too felt these tremors, and after a period of gloom, the clockwork started to whir towards growth, signifying cheer on Dalal Street. The dawn of 2010 and the Union Budget have further strengthened this resolve, with the markets nodding their approval on Pranab Da’s ‘aam aadmi’s Budget’. Thus, on paper and the Sensex, India looks firmly set on a path of unprecedented growth, with comparisons of the Indian Tiger vs. the China Dragon being rampant amongst economic circles.

However, this optimism is surely misplaced, as we are thinking of reaching level 10 without the first nine levels having been constructed. The problems that we as a nation face, our extremely basic in nature, and yet we continue to live with it, applauding our resilience, tenacity, and the ‘spirit’ of the undying patriotism of being Indian. Worse still, we choose to blind ourselves and ignore what is blatantly in our faces- basic need fulfillment, which is woefully inadequate.

Look around you, and look hard. Stop and think. Is this what a developing nation or an emerging economy looks like? Look at the garbage, the squalor, the pollution, the lack of infrastructure, the indifference, the lack of work ethics, discipline, education and respect for a fellow human being. Why are we as a nation ok with all of this? Why do we take the sheer amount of bull-shit meted out to us on an average day? Is it that we are ok with things the way they are, or is it that we just don’t care? Why can’t we say that we have had enough and things need to change?

I drive to work everyday, and apart from dodging the now normal amount of pedestrians, cows, auto rickshaws, hand carts & crazy taxi drivers, I am now contending with every route to office being dug up for one project or the other. At one point, Dr. E Moses Road (where my office is), was dug up for 3 different projects (the Mahalaxmi Sky Walk, BMC drain work, and Worli road concretization), making it all most impossible to traverse this 500 meter stretch in less than 20 minutes. Roads to Chembur (where I live), are part of another nightmare with the Mumbai Metro, Mono Rail, Flyovers, and more BMC digging partly blocking each of the 5 different routes that you could think of taking from Worli to Chembur. A journey that should not take more than 40 minutes (accounting for traffic signals which do not follow any TMS), this journey now takes 1.5 hours, one way. That is 3 hours of each day spent in traveling.
Walking on Mumbai roads should be added to the list of most dangerous activities in the world. With no pavements to walk on (since hawkers, beggars, squatters, more digging by BMC/ MMRDA), people have to walk on the roads and dodge an obstacle course with the bet being human life. Add to this the sheer piles of rubbish, excrement and spit that we throw on our roads, and the thought of walking on them will quail even the best of walking enthusiasts.

The levels of pollution in the city are another cause for concern. Air pollution and suspended particulate matter lead to bronchitis and chest congestion, water pollution leads to high levels of water borne diseases, Noise pollution in the form of emphatic honking, all make this one of the worst places to live in. No wonder then that the average rate of life in Mumbai is amongst the lowest in the country at 52.
Corruption and bureaucracy are eating away at our foundations with government projects not seeing the light of day. Delayed projects mean escalation in costs, with kickbacks going into the politicians’ coffers. We need to set a system of governance in place, where responsible parties are held accountable for the projects they undertake.

The apathy that is now synonymous with our people is most prevalent in the white collared corridors of corporate organizations. Long working hours without pay, indifferent, biased and incompetent bosses, hours spent in politics, back stabbing and taking credit for other people’s work, coupled with grossly underpaid and worse still de-motivated employees, is the true emerging picture of professional India. The stress levels in most Indian organizations would never be tolerated elsewhere in the world, and yet we are all ok with being treated like the scum of the earth.

Frankly, I am fed up. Fed up of having to fight for everything everyday. Fed up of wanting to have a decent work and life balance, clean & green transport, hygienic food which is not genetically modified, and fed up for not getting any appreciation for the work & hours I put in. The thought of going back to the basics and living like a farmer seems more and more attractive. I wonder whether life is coming full circle for all of humanity, and whether we shall revert to becoming cave men, having destroyed the planet with our greed and corruption, so that what will be left, will be to fulfill basic needs of food, water & shelter…