Today is about quitting. Or rather, not quitting.

Yesterday the results came out, and I have failed again to win the hearts of Competition Judges. I am getting accustomed to rejections.

But the feeling of “not wanted” “not good enough” is piercing. It is like a knife which I hold in my own hands, close to my heart. And when I am most vulnerable or pensive, I jab the knife in. Right in.

Careful enough to open the wound, but not to spill any blood. Nobody should see the mess.

So I find solace in my friend’s words. He says – Celebrate each rejection, wear it like a label on your arm. And keep trying.

Thank God for these positive people! They stir up the souls of the likes of us with a big spoon, and give a good knock on our heads. Yes, it makes us feel happy. And makes us write.

About the other quitting – I quit smoking last year, July 31. But that wasn’t the day I had my last cigarette. I had many after that. I don’t smoke unless someone offers me one. So I am in that can-smoke-if offered-for-free type now.

God! I have hated free loaders all my life. And now I’m one. So maybe I have not quit. But not to be too harsh, I do avoid people who smoke.

And sometimes I seek them out when I get those pangs in the middle of the night, to smoke. Very akin to being horny.

While there is a way out for the latter, there is none for the former. Coz I have quit.




She had once flown, clutching her desk and drawers,

And as the clouds whizzed past.

She caught a glimpse of God

But the screams shut him out


She had once sat on a rainbow, with its colours melting

All muddled up, until it was night.

She jumped down and headed home

By the last local train


She had once eaten, by the wayside temple

A gift from Gods,  yet so simple.

Now she belched after her meal

The poison tasting stale


She had once worn clothes, the fabric clinging to her sweat

The threads intertwined, until she was naked.

Now she turned in her sleep, her lithe body awake

The fabric became a blanket which he has flung away


Published in Culture Cult





Where we will be

Wife and I wander around in the bubble. We see everything but they are out of shape, everything stretches out and time stops in the bubble.

We have a child, of this world. And two of the other world. The child of this world wants friends, parties, sleepovers, brothers, sisters and a secure playroom and a school to go to when she is bored at home.

Wife and I want nothing. We want to run, jog, exercise, listen to our own kind of music, watch movies which doesn’t bore us too much and fight.

The fights get bitter and it is always a Who-dun-it. Whoever wins the fight has to apologize to the loser. That’s what I like and hate about our fights. Depending on whether I lost or won.

And now we have to go back. Maybe. Quite possibly.

Go back to a place where my wife came from and I had overstayed.

Kolkata was always a motel for me. A few clothes, fewer friends, old relatives, some secure jokes and an insecure job or school.

I don’t know what it was for wife. Memories she wants to forget because they are too good. Plus these memories threaten to burst her bubble.


It’s not about bad roads, or goons or school pressure or lack of jogging tracks, or clear weather or ignorant people.

It is about being.

We have to be again. We have to pretend again. We have to live again. In the original aboriginal Indian way.

Were we ashamed of our Indian label? Not really. But we were ok with only the label.

It’s like joining a candle march. You hold the candle and cry. Because everybody is crying around you and you think you can actually feel for the departed and their dying moments.

But you don’t – You’re in the bubble.

But for the parents of the dead, it is a raw wound and it hurts from all sides. It stifles them and they cannot breathe, eat or sleep. They need redemption.

So they run. Run to candle marches, give television interviews, rant and shriek for the out-of-turn death. But they find no respite. There is no escape.

Their grief is not a label. It is not a candle. It is a breath taken away.


So it is with going back to India. Being Indian won’t be a label any more. Being Indian will stifle us. It will hurt from all sides.

But this hurt won’t be grief. It will be a shock for the death of an NRI. Yes, there will be death and there will be a birth.


It’s scary because we don’t know how it will be for our earth child. Because she is not in the bubble – Her real life here will be a real life there.