Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Is Dead, Long Live 2008!

Words won't be necessary.

These are pictures of 2007. Selected at random.

No, things weren't as bad as that, and NO, I AINT down and out...

Mr. 2008, here i come. Stop me if you bloody well can!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Of An Aquamarine Sea And The Visions It Holds…

The blue waters of the Doha Bay lapped gently against the old black inflated tube, overgrown over the years with sea corrals, off the Marina at the Marriot Hotel. The yacht, slowly moving away from firm land, curved around and began its seaward journey.

The occupants, with wind playing games with their hair, sat mesmerised, as the Filipino captain expertly handled the boat, shouting instructions into his walkie-talkie, in sweet Tagalogue tongue.

The boat’s speed gathered, and wind scattered people’s hair with newfound vigour. The fun was on, and on the top platform of that open luxury Caterpillar yacht, my mind was born again.

I was once again a little child, flying through fresh, sea-salty night air. Stars shone bright, reflected in the deep pools of my fast-filling eyes. My spirit soared like a seagull, ever expanding its trajectory upwards in graceful motion, capable of by only the very best of god’s creations.

We left the Doha shoreline behind, and with the deepening depth, the blue waters turned green. The only other colour was that of the waves, making white froth against the boat’s hull.

I imagined imaginary fishes jump up and plop down back into the water, making widening water circles, to be immediately devoured by the ever-strengthening sea waves. I imagined a bald eagle sweeping down majestically from the heavens above, squarely landing on the water surface, firmly clutching a still-dying fish, that was the master of all it surveyed, till a few seconds a go…

I imagined an imaginary land, hundreds of feet below the calm sea tops, just waiting to be discovered.

I discovered that world, in the insides of the belly of the boat, so unlike its stylish outsides.

Luxury seeped from its every pore. Soft lights emanated from the most unlikely places, giving it an almost ethereal quality. Sunlight played a game of hide and seek with the lush green curtains at the windows. The carpets were softer than freshly sheared wool, off a well-bred Swiss sheep. Rich, sweet music engulfed me and tugged at my heartstrings. And as easily as it appeared, the vision lifted…

The wind still flowed, and I was still at sea.

The glorious, aquamarine, calm, peaceful, life-giving, salty sea…

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things…

The ‘Sound Of Music’ inspired me, for the millionth time, and hence this list, of a few of my favourite things…

- The wind - sweeping through my hair, tears - forming channels on the sides of my eyes, as I breathe the delicious night air, while coursing the misty dark New Delhi roads, in my silver Honda Activa, on my way to Jama Masjid, seventeen kilometres away from where I lived, to have steaming hot beef kebabs, lovingly baked over red hot coal pieces, and blown hot by the little silver hand operated fan, worked by the little boy, standing nearby, in his traditional Indian Muslim dress…

- Sitting cross-legged, on the floor, with a big elephant-ear shaped leaf in front of me, white, yellow and red curries keeping me company, eagerly looking forward to have the first taste of steaming red rice, cooked in the dark black mud clay pot…

- Slicing the still night with the yellow beam from my pearly white ‘Don Whito Corleone’, during long drives into the desert, with nothing more than soft music, keeping pace with the very beats of my heart…

- Seeing a cloudy sky, feeling the clap of distant thunder, eagerly looking heavenwards, to catch the first round fat water droplet, at the tip of my nose…

- The birds that fly to the south, in an open V formation, with wind on their wings, and courage in their eyes…

- The gentle gooey feeling of clay, sticking to the base of my feet, and the delicious pain that follows, as my bare skin touches the hard white rock below, at the Al Khor beach, on a dark night, with just two friends, and the numerous crab hunters, with their shining lanterns, as small as fireflies, in the distance, clothed in darkness…

- The pain of labour, while giving birth to words, fearing each moment, if they would be lost on me, forever….

- The immense satisfaction, after each successful story written, of having brought into this world, a healthy, screaming, imaginary baby, full of words…

Last, definitely not the least, thinking about my favourite things, and mentally reliving every moment of them, over, and over, and over…

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Written Word…

I sat in the middle of a largely empty stadium, devoid of the numerous screaming fans that usually inhabit it. They were still at least an hour away from me. It was then that I realized that my laptop had died on me. I had nothing but the greens in front of me, gradually springing to life with the frantic footsteps of the camera crew, eager to air the football match that was soon to happen.

Strangely, I was not sad at my predicament of an hour to be burned out… for then, I rediscovered the joy I always felt, when I was writing.

I freed myself from the constant ‘spell checks, word counts and thesaurus checks’ that had made my words plain mechanical. My notebook was once again filled with words that had cuts and bruises on them. My hands protested against the unfamiliar writing routine I was putting it through. Somehow, I felt happy, and I felt human.

Once again, it was that delicious race against time to transfer ideas onto paper, before they disappeared altogether. No one has ever called my handwriting neat. But at that point, I swear I felt that it was the best on the globe.

Though I don’t remember the first word I learned to write, I do remember the first word I spoke - ‘Am-ma’, which means ‘mother’ in my native tongue. I do remember the innumerable hours the lady so selflessly spent, to teach me to write and read. I do remember her gifting me my first ‘join-the-dots-yourself’ alphabet book. I do remember the joy I felt when I completed joining the dots, though I had no idea at the time that I had written what was my first few English alphabets.

Sometimes, in the darkness of my bedroom, when I am balancing myself between consciousness and a dreamless sleep, I rue my loss of the written word.

To own a computer was a childhood fantasy. I yearned to escape from the dirtiness of my written word and graduate to the tiny, neat, roman letters that appeared on screen whenever I gently tapped the white keyboard in front of me. For the 18-year-old boy who was me, it was a dream that led me on while growing up.

Now, two desktops and two laptops later, I yearn to return to the written word, fully knowing that it’s simpler said than done. Computers hold a charm for me no more. In the midst of a rapidly filling stadium, I understood that pen and a sheaf of paper were indeed my greatest friends.

Not to forget the written word was a lesson I learned while I grew up. Not to forget the written word will now be a lesson that I will learn never to forget.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

...And Calm Came Down!

Sometimes, emotions built over months will pass in just an hour of simple talking. When it does, one'll feel calm, and peace with oneself.

Like I do now!

The wait, and the calm, was well worth it!


Friday, August 10, 2007

The ‘F’ Word

When it comes to matters of the ‘F’ – The Family - I have been a lucky bloke. My parents knew the importance of a tightly bound family, god bless them for that.

Every of my trips home, including this one which I waited for over a year and a half, has been something that I looked forward to. This year, I had started my countdown well ahead, from day 150 on.

Scattered widely at the four corners of my state and in the neighbouring one, we have never been closer. Every one of us counted days on the fingers of our hands to the day when all would descend to one house. And then, laughter, fun, and unbound love would come together. And it did.

On the very first day of my vacation, my grandmother fell ill. And the hospital became the family. From the four corners came the family, just like that, and room No. 502 suddenly became the next meeting ground. The pall of gloom usually associated with a hospital suddenly became a stranger among us. All was well.

During our get-togethers, memories are always an important compatriot. Blunders done during growing up years always came back to haunt me and my cousin brothers/sisters. None were spared. And when fourteen people sit together, some on chairs and some on the floor, there is never a dearth of smile-worthy topics. And that’s why I love my family get-togethers.

I have been lucky to have strongly-bound families on both sides. I don’t know if I would have turned out the way I am, for better or for worse, had it not been for this group. I owe my way-of-life to them.

I am content.
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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Feeling In Love...

It must be a direct result of all those intense love songs that I heard in the calmness of the silence provided by my dear Don Whito Corleone…

The ethereal silence inside my car and the faint chords of melancholy belted out by the soulful Gregorian saints gave me that feeling again…that of feeling in love. The boy was once again little, excitedly hopping ahead to where the sands of time intended to take him. For him, without a doubt, the land of love would be filled with milk and honey and frankincense and myrrh…

…and of course, the girl he went to sleep thinking about, the girl he woke up wishing about…

The first time the boy felt in love was in his sixth grade, when the girl in the blue dress with the blue tiffin box to match offered him a piece of brown bread dabbed in red jam and faint yellow butter… he accepted the bread crumb and along with it, a part of her, into his life…

The feeling stayed for close to six years, until he reached graduation.

During a boring session at the physics lab, there seemed to be one spot that emanated much positive energy. Invariably drawn to its point of origin, the boy stood, and stared. Seated on a high platform, eyes closed in concentration, listening intently to the vibrations of the thin tuning fork, sat the most beautiful being he had ever seen… she struck the tuning fork again and the vibrations seemed to link with his heart, to the very depths of it…

… and the girl opened her eyes to him. The boy could do nothing, but melt at the sweet smile the girl gave him…

Eons later, the boy graduated and each went their way, in search of the life they knew they both should lead…separately.

Sometimes, when the boy sees a girl smile, nod her hair away from the forehead while concentrating on the book she is reading, take the extra care to put things back in place, arrange the flowers in breathtaking fashion, smiles at the old lady before helping her cross the road, wave at the school bus filled with grinning children, hand over loose change to the blind man sitting on the road… he would once again feel in love. A love that was never meant to be...

With the faint hum of the air conditioner in his ear and a thousand stars reflected in his eyes, the boy took the right turn, to home and to oblivion.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Kawabunga...Its The Holy Grail Of Football...

I am sorry, I know i am vain... but i just wanted to shout it from the rooftops anyways.


When AC Milan's Clarence Seedorf unveiled the Champions League trophy at the ASPIRE Academy, i just died.

And i a piece of photo, immortalised for ever.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Just Plain Crazy Old Greeker!

You know, its one of those times...

What do people collect for a hobby? Rocks, stamps, coins, centipedes? I collect mails in my yahoo inbox.

I just sat down today and went down memory lane, through 2045 e-mail messages, seven years worth. I replied to about forty, for the second time in five to seven years.

There were people who owed me cash, there were people whom I hated through the core of my being, there were people whom I owed my life to, there were people who I knew I could never talk to again.

The thought, somehow, makes me truly melancholy. Why had I waited to rewrite to them for so long? After all, they are people who I have known through that growing up phase called life...

It’s plain amazing, but of the forty that I mailed, just three bounced. And that leaves me with only thirty seven reasons to be anxious.

Tomorrow, for me, is NOT just another day. It is for me, the delicious wait for the unknown.

Would my mail ring a bell? Would the ringing prompt them into action? Would they be joyous at hearing from me? Would they spite me for the troubles I took? Would anyone remember? Would anyone care?

A few years a go, when I still lived in a world where lies didn’t exist, I would have felt an optimist. But now, in an age where emotions are considered a weakness, I truly don’t know anymore...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Corniche Virgin!

I was, in one of its truest sense, a Corniche virgin.

I knew not the pleasures of walking the Corniche. I knew not about the gentle salt breeze that would play hide and seek with my hair strands. I knew not about the pleasant pain that the walk would leave in its wake, I knew not the joy of lying on the grass afterwards, staring into the black sky, willing a star to appear.

I witnessed the Asian Games on the shores of the gentle blue sea, which splashed gracefully at the stone walls that guarded man from water. During the triathlon event, I watched one toned body after the other emerge from the sea’s depths to run the Corniche. I watched, I wrote, and I got published. It was just my job.

Yesterday was different. I wanted me to believe that I could.

I did.

I started slow, promising myself to go slower as the distance increased. Surprisingly, my legs had other ideas, something it has never done before. The walk took on a life of its own. The simple walk gradually graduated to a ‘quick walk’ and later went on to metamorphose itself into the desperate urge to run.

An hour and a minute after it all started, I knew that this must have been how all those timeless love stories began.

The pleasure of walking the Corniche, was finally mine.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Life Is Beautiful!

Open it up, and watch it unfurl in vivid hues of blues, greens and violets!
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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Need I Explain?

Excuse the profanity. They aren’t mine.

What IS mine, is the condition,

That of a confused writer!
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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Music That Maketh Me!

Some days, I hallucinate about the Roman Catholic churches, which sung the Gregorian chants for mass.

The church would almost always have ceilings that touch the skies and more often than not, the ceilings would be adorned in frescos…the fall Of Man, Judgment Day, The Rise of Son of God…

The tiny streams of light coming in through colored glass pictures - which took many glassmakers the major part of their lives to craft - would create the feeling of being in a garden made of glasses.

The men, and the women, would sit in stony quietness on the two neatly laid out rows of benches made of black teak wood. The silence of man talking to god would as always, be deafening.

And then, high above them, from invisible vantage points near the roof, the opening notes would play down. It would start as a tiny note of the grand piano. Then there would be the quivering voice of the tenor. The shiver in his voice would then be complemented by the deep strong voice of the bassists. The sopranos would take their cue and music would begin its life journey. The sounds of a thousand throats under the frescoed ceiling would then join the singing from above. Man and man, women and women, would come together to sing for the lord.

The power of music would never fail to drain out all worldly differences. There would no longer be white, black, brown, old, young, freckled or supple skin. There would not be the poor, the rich, the once poor and now rich or any other permutations of life’s situations.

There would only be music that transforms one’s senses. Transformation from mere mortals, to the one standing in front of god, gazing at his greatness, feeling small at the strength of it all….

Once in a while, when I am insane enough to travel into the night with just the silence of Whito by my side, my hands would search for the CD I marked ‘Gregorian chants’. With Whito his silent self, and the Latin chants washing all over me, I would make my connection with God. I would hold my private conversation with Him, with His favourite music setting the background.

Me, and the world, have no one to thank but a group of monks who lived centuries a go in penury, for the greatness of god. They believed that god’s name was beautiful and so had to be his music.

Unknown monks of the generations past, I thank thee for bringing me the most beautiful sounds in my life.


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Monday, January 29, 2007

It (D)Rained!

There was a time not too long a go when the first drops of rain on fresh baked earth sent me into moments of nirvana. The heat would suddenly dissipate and in its place would come the sweet smell of parched earth, which suddenly founds its lifeblood. And then, inevitably, the croaks of a hundred frogs would follow.

I had my most beautiful rain experiences in God’s own country, at my very own backyard. There always was a set pattern. The skies would darken; my pet dogs would get restless; the air would cool down; the first hint of wetness would creep into the wind; and then, god would cry down.

…Or as my some of my friends used to say, god would take his shower.

It was a long time back that I fell for rain and she, was my first lover. I could sense its mood swings, its silent rage. I could see the soft smile, I could feel the gentle grace. It was always my soothing calm and more than anything, she was mine.

During the Asian Games, it rained in Qatar like never before. It lasted weeks together, but there never was any warmth. There was no smell of parched earth, there was not a croak to be heard. All around me, the pale earth got paler, and slimier. The Arabs went wild with joy and burned tyres on the pavement in an act of joy.

Sometime then, somewhere deep inside, rain died for me. For it to come back alive, I need to be surrounded by the greens, the chirpings of the birds, the restlessness of my dogs, the yellow leaves that skelter down, the croaks of the frogs, the salty wind that course through the hair…

In short… Home!
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