Friday, September 25, 2009

The rebel

She could have been the academician who does the circuit at seminars and round tables. Or the opinion leader in a NGO or a UN body. But she chose to sling a rifle on her shoulders, and stride in the dreaded jungles of Bastar for the sake of the poor and overlooked.

The life and times of senior Naxal leader, Anuradha Ghandy who died of cerebral malaria in April 2008. Her husband, senior Maoist ideologue Kobad Ghandy was arrested in Delhi on September 20.

Read here.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Erase memories

One day I will just pop some sleeping pills and erase all memories. What do you do with them, anyway? Some you just share with your friends every time whisky and cigarettes are being passed around. They know it well by now. It’s like a journey to a place where you have been a thousand times. You know every turn, every bend, every pothole. The same is with the memories I share with my friends. They know it all by heart by now. They know where I will pause; they know every expression on my face, and where it will change and to what.

But they keep silent. Probably they realise that these mean a lot to me. So they hear it again. “… And then she came with her arms open and hugged me in front of everyone. I still remember she was wearing an electric blue sari….” “We danced all night – she and I – holding each other tight.” “And then I put my coat over her shoulders. She just looked at me and smiled. Oh God, I can’t forget that look in her eyes.”

Even after I am gone, these memories will remain. Over whisky and cigarettes, perhaps, my friends will recall those moments when I told them these stories. Then a time will come when these memories will not belong to me. They will become a part of my friends’ life.

And then they might require those sleeping pills.

Of course, some memories one doesn’t share. They become a part of your bone and flesh. They just lie there, within you, breathing when you breathe. They form patterns when you are not thinking of them, and when you do, they appear, revealing a new aspect every time. Say, for instance, there is a memory of a beautiful foot. Years later, when you think of it, new details emerge. Like a toe ring you had never remembered so far. Or that droplet of sweat on the instep. Or the artistry of the spot where the foot merged with the ankle.

You keep these memories to yourself. They form roots within you. After you have popped those pills, they don’t remain alive among your friends. They become stars.

And then, one day, the heat recedes. They fall on the ground. Ashes. Some day a mad man smears them on his body. He falls. He gets up. He sings. He remembers that foot.

Memories, they don’t go away. They just change form. They always come back.

Monday, September 07, 2009


Hi there. Do you know someone who can suppress a yawn and an erection at the same time? Just a random thought, nothing else. Don’t read too much into it. Hell, do, if you can’t resist the idea. I am a man of ideas myself, a slave to multiple thoughts which come and go on their own. You could call them gate crashers if there is something like a gate of the mind. Sometimes I think how sane it is to read five books at the same time. More so when one is by Updike and the other by a man called Uday Prakash. The third one is a book I’ve read many years ago and, now, as I read the first two, I develop this strong urge to pick up this one. So it comes out from the shelf – Disgrace by Coetzee. Then the fourth and the fifth one. You wouldn’t want to know their names. If you insist, I may tell you.

What the hell is going on? (Haven’t I been using this hell word lot many times?) Nothing much, except the usual fights with inner demons and the occasional slipping into silence for hours. To put it into perspective, that means locking myself up in a room and wishing all noise – inner and outer – would just go away. But noises are noises after all. They don’t go just because you wish them to. They follow their own routine, their own schedule.

Here I stop. Will tell you more later. There is too much noise right now. Internal. But before I leave, here is the name of the third and the fourth book: The Human Stain by Philip Roth and Ann Weisgarber’s The personal history of Rachel DuPree.