Friday, January 25, 2008


Dear Web,
Having eaten all I've wanted to eat, seen most of the places I wanted to see, met the people I most wanted to meet, I now proceed to undertake the most painful and tedious task in the world....PACKING!!!(groan) Should I forget something I shall constantly be plagued by worry and regret once I reach the appointed destination, be it even to take one last glimpse of the busy street twelve floors below my bedroom window. That reminds me, I still haven't eaten any senti 'shrikhand'! My eyebrows are still bushy and my upperlip is beginning to resemble Hitler's 'stache...I must see a miracle lady before boarding that plane tomorrow!!!
I shall miss a million things and perhaps the longing to come home will increase with the distance. Bombay belongs to a different planet altoghether, and New Bombay even more so! Looking back though it feels good to observe that these vacations have been most satisfactory. Perhaps a cream coloured building would've appealed more to my aesthetic senses than a green one, but some things in life just cannot be helped. Alright then world, I must take your leave. There are bags to be packed, documents to be printed and CDs to be burnt before I can sleep. On the day that India became a Republic....I shall once again be bound in chains.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


I cannot recall
The many trains of thought.
It's only what I felt,
That rests still.
Amongst palms
And footprints
And faces blank,
I found not you,
We were lost in the din.

Beams from a barrel,
Neon lights.
Concrete, Steel & Xerox Machines.
Chug Chugs, rail tracks,
Three second stops.
Drifting with the crowd,
My sole gave in.

Shanty towns,
Cabbies, the mafia,
Born to lead.
Film shoots and recordings,
Glamorous Bollywood.
In want of a sign,
In want of a hill.

Reaching for the stars,
In vaccum crammed.
It's a blur, the drive,
Pumping adrenaline.
Going, Doing, Moving,
Passing bridges and rigs,
Words escape me,
Die on my lips.

Sit back, relax,
Till Sunday we must wait.
Hungover on work,
Groping in bars well lit.
Reflected in the glass,
Our spirits are weary.
Thirsting for a drop
Of tranquility...

People abound,
In crores, in lakhs,
There's not a person
In the mob.
Buried in the sand,
Lost at sea,
The silhouette in the moonlight,
Frozen in memory.

There were beams
And bars,
And things afar.
Towering monstrosities,
Undeserving of name.
Yet somehow,
In the midst of anonymity,
I found not you,
I found me.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


“I hereby proclaim that I shall uphold the rules of this school…and undertake duty such that I face unpopularity for the sake of truth and pick the harder right over the easier wrong…”

Okay maybe it won’t be in exactly those words, but I, along with six other members of the new captain body ’08-’09 of Welham Girls School, Dehradun will be taking our vows on the 17th of February not understanding in the very least what it is that we are going to get ourselves into! Imagine the horror of swearing never to break a rule! All our lives we have done just that, and enjoyed a not-so-secret glee every time we did it. Normally I would choose to lock this confession up in the depths of my diary rather than to publish it on the worldwide web, but unless I get to the bottom of this ‘affair’, unless I confront it, I will never be…a leader.
To begin with, let’s address the question that first comes to my mind- why is it that we break rules? The answer comes to my mind even faster than its causality- because they infringe upon our freedom and that suffocates us. Breaking them then permits us to breathe. People have fought for freedom time and again in the course of history. People whom we look up to, people we idolize. Then being a rule breaker must be a good thing and a champion of the law- necessarily bad. Maybe that is the case, but only so when the law which is being flouted (or guarded in the case of the latter personality) is unhealthy. Protecting a law which has gained public consent is virtuous. (Hey! But I don’t remember consenting to not being allowed tuck in school!)
Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard examined the ‘original sin’. He came across a dread that Adam faced in his absolute freedom. The dread of being absolutely free. To understand this let us look into Adam’s brain. You see Adam could do anything that he wanted to do (as per God), except to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Now he probably would have overlooked that tree, had not God categorically pointed out that he could not. In fact Adam had not been able to understand a sort of dread he felt at the pit of his stomach until God forbade him to eat the fruit of that tree. Kierkegaard claims that Adam dreaded himself. He did this because he, and only his self, knew that he was free to do anything, even to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree (this is as per the self in contrast with as per God). His free brain must have consciously said to it itself – “But I wanna, so I’m probably gonna.” What I mean by citing this example is this- you are free. Your actions and your thoughts for that matter cannot be regulated by anyone or any God. You know you could run over someone with your car, but you probably won’t. Who stops you? You; rather your fear of the freedom you desire. Freedom the monster. So to save you from this constant dread, to save your peace of mind, you probably don’t want this freedom anymore. You probably prefer being bullied around by rules. But there is a problem still. You are condemned to freedom…eternally! Luckily though, there is a solution- You ,being free, can choose to follow (or not) the rules commonly accepted and established by your country, society and school. You can choose to profess Hinduism, Islam, Christianity or nothing at all for that matter. You can choose between being a follower and a rebel. You can choose- to dread or to obey. This argument makes it quite tempting for one to follow rules, don’t you think?
There is also something else that one notices while contemplating humans and rules. Humans are by nature rebellious. If they are told- “You must not do such and such thing.” They go ahead and do just that. Perhaps we do it because we enjoy a moment of ecstatic freedom at defying orders. It’s a pure moment of selfish indulgence, but individualistic that all beings are (since we are beings-for-itself), we enjoy selfishness. But what after that moment? What happens once we remember our ideals and the other aspects of our selves? (After all the ‘self’ is more than just a hedonistic narcissist!) Are we ready to sacrifice our freedom, our being-for-itself to be objectified in our own eyes later on? In other words, are we ready to be ashamed of ourselves only so we can enjoy a puff of a cigarette on top of the science block? Are you and I prepared to look into the mirror to see nothing but lowly undignified and unethical brutes with not a trace of integrity? Only to be free and only to dread?

World…the choice is ours!