Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Fringe

Look who walks along the fringe
Look who talks like a pendulum swing
It is the heart that forever brings
The mind to rest in an autumn-like spring

Which way to go, what step to take
Which bridge to burn, what roads to make
The fire burns as cold as snow
One leg says "wait", the other says "go"

Go on you must or retrace your steps
Go seek your home or stay in your nest
Wage a war or toe the line
Live anew or die defined

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Festival season meltdown

I don’t see a single way how any festival celebrated these days is beneficial to society or the planet.

Let's take the example of Ganeshotsav, since it is currently the rage in all of Maharashtra. Traffic jams, noise pollution, discomfort to the elderly, sick and children, water pollution, political agendas. This festival, in its current form, is a curse to the city of Bombay. As is Navratri. As is Diwali. As are many other festivals. I don't see a boon.

The small matter of why on earth do we worship idols made of Plaster of Paris (POP) and toxic colours is an entirely separate tangent altogether, but keeping that aside, let's bring the "faith" element into consideration. How difficult is it to paint a beautiful Ganesh or Durga picture on a large canvas with non-toxic colours and worship it? For visarjan, how much easier would it be to splash water on the canvas and bid adieu to your favourite deity? No water pollution, no traffic jams.
Why do pandals play any music at any point of the day is beyond me. Perform aarti twice a day and be done with it. Why cause discomfort to every living being who hears those decibels blaring out of monstrous, torn-bass loudspeakers?
Besides, with the unreal spike in the number of Ganpati visarjans every year, I'm tempted to conclude that bringing Ganpati at our homes and societies has become more of a fashion statement disguised as faith. The way we damage our ecosystem and ourselves in the name of "God" is distressing.

The masses are morons and it's fascinating how we are such complete, collective morons. We create a nuisance for ourselves and then complain like we're shocked as to how the nuisance exists. Then again, we are a doomed, thankless race and deserve to perish eventually in the worst possible manner.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Search

Somewhere between
the break of dawn and fall of dusk
another day spawned.
Looking for meaning in the meaningless
measuring the depth of the bottomless. 
Waiting for life to fill some color in my mind,
some excitement in my being,
the way the rains do.
For the rain, it falls steadily
it pours in sheets,
cleansing the earth,
everything within and without.
The search for someone who'd make me feel the way the rains do,
is all this is all about.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bring Dada back

Now that the abject surrender of the Indian cricket team at the hands of the English is complete, it's slowly sinking in as to the depths to which our team has sunk. It just reiterates my belief that this team fundamentally and gradually lost all stomach for a fight, first with the retirements of Saurav Ganguly and Anil Kumble, and then the retirements of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.

Performances of each and every player do need to be considered, but a succeessful team isn't just a sum total of all individual performances. The conduct, intent and willingness of the players matters just as much, if not more. Why else do we see a battle-hardened swagger in the Proteas now? Or the mighty Australians of a few years back? It's in their face, in the way the conduct themselves on the field. The determination manifests itself into every seemingly pointless dive at every half-chance of a catch or a couple of runs to be saved at the boundary. Sadly, this is missing in the current Indian cricket team as a whole.

With the kind of megastars our team had at the turn of the millennium, we needed a coach who would take a backseat and quietly control things. Someone who could handle the players' massive egos. In John Wright and Gary Kirsten, we found such coaches. We all know what happened to the team with an outspoken authoritarian like Greg Chappell.

You may call this benefit of hindsight, but when Duncan Fletcher was appointed as the coach, I literally had my head in my hands. Fletcher is too mild-mannered. It is plain to see that he does not inspire any sort of confidence in the players. Add to that an increasingly inexpressive MS Dhoni and we have an equally clueless team and a watershed on our hands to boot. I don't even want to talk about Dhoni's appalling statements in the media.

Ganguly, Kumble, Laxman and Dravid have retired. Tendulkar, Sehwag and Dhoni will soon follow suit. The team will have to deal with a Grand Canyon-esque sized hole in the experience department. The likes of Kohli and Pujara will most likely be the torchbearers for the coming generation of Indian cricket. At such a time, we need an influential coach. Someone who can put some belief back into this team and inspire newer and better Kumbles, Laxmans, Gangulys and Dravids. Who better than Sourav Ganguly to do that?

By no means is this a sure-fire quick-fix to our team's fortunes. There are many more factors that have lead to probably the darkest hour in Indian cricket, not the least of which are the IPL and a rotting domestic league. However, every sustained bear run in the stock market has a turning point. The point where the luckiest and the wisest invest heavily, with the index at its lowest ebb. So now can we please sack Duncan Fletcher and get in Sourav Ganguly as coach?

Friday, November 23, 2012

An "Outsider's" Tirade

I am an Indian, living in Mumbai, who hails from Rajasthan. And honestly, I'm tired of certain Shiv Sainik Maharashtrians calling and treating me as an "outsider" in Mumbai.
Just because Bal Thackeray stamped his authority over this city during a period of turmoil in the 1960s and '70s does not mean his supporters can discriminate against non-Maharashtrians in today's day and age. Just because it is "Maharashtra" does not give a non-Maharashtrian any less entitlement over this land.
Maharashtrians and people from all over the country have made Mumbai the city it is. I do not like to discriminate, compare or judge on the basis of religion or caste, but since they attack me with that yardstick, allow me to reply with one of your own kind. If not for the entrepreneurial skill of the Sindhis, Punjabis, Gujaratis and the like, I'm sorry to say, but Mumbai may have been another Solapur.

I know loads of Maharashtrians who were born and brought up in Mumbai, have done their engineering, gone to the USA for their masters and have settled down there since, minting the greenback. Well, that is their choice and a perfectly fine one at that.
But when these same people point a finger at me and call me an "outsider", I have a problem. I am living here. In Mumbai. In "your" land. I am a professional, contributing to Mumbai's economy and growth. On what basis do you call me an "outsider"? If anyone, you are an outsider. Brain drain much?

I have been roughed up by Shiv Sainiks on more than one occasion. I was repeatedly denied the opportunity to play cricket for my local club and for Mumbai 
by officials and coaches who were Maharashtrian Shiv Sainiks. Why? "Because you are not a Marathi." I was told that to my face, thrice. When I was thirteen, fourteen and fifteen-years old. In spite of being better than most others at the selection trials. I am not exaggerating and pardon me for my immodesty, but I could've very well been playing for the Indian cricket team today.
So yes, I have a problem with the Shiv Sena, its ideologies and the extreme way it conducts its affairs. For wont of a willingness and ability to carry out an intelligent dialogue, they resort to violence and intimidation.

What has the Shiv Sena done to promote the wonderful Marathi art, culture and language? Nothing or thereabouts. And I shall voice my opinion because, freedom of speech.

So those who call me an "outsider" in the city of Mumbai, leave "your" land and go settle down in a foreign land, which some of you have already done. If you or your kids ever face discrimination by stooges of a local don because of your caste, race or nationality, do tell me how you feel.

I was born in Bombay. I grew up in Mumbai. I embraced everything this city has to offer; the people, climate, food, culture; and am giving back something to the city. So learn the meaning of secularism before you go and poop next time. It'll come out much smoother.