Monday, March 27, 2006


Its amazing how you read a poem ( well actually only some of them. Ones that aren't two long, short sentences, rhyme nicely or at least have a sense of rhythm to them, that they're almost pedestrian) and you're reminded of something, or you immediately get attached to the poem and want to say something to it.

Wreath of thoughts is a place where i hope to comment on some of the poems that somehow got through to me.
No nonsense about what the poet might've felt, or how the rhyming scheme didn't match and all that jazz.

sms-ing 101

“I have lost many friends to death, but I’ve lost most of them due to sheer inability to cross the road.”
I hope I quoted that line correctly, but in any case, you get the gist. I don’t know how things worked during the caveman’s time. I am guessing that the colonies were small and intimate. Everybody lived together. The yearning to meet a friend would come during moments of peace, during rushes of excitement and perhaps most importantly when a lion or tiger wasn’t making you run for your life. These moments might have been rare, but when they came, I suppose all one had to do was look across the cave or a neighbouring cave and there he was -the person to whom you could pour out your heart, with grunts, with growls, with a sense of urgency from which sprang new words, with a sense of intimacy due to which your friend always understood, with a sense of desperation due to which it was made certain that he understood and from there sprang language and protocol. My speculation could be entirely wrong. Feel free to fight me with your swords and mightier pens, but for the sake of getting to a more important point, grant me my wild fantasy.
It took such an effort back then, didn’t it ? Thank god for the digital age, for cell phones, for sms-es, for phonebooks, for well regulated traffic signals, where you can talk while crossing the road, for hands-free mode, where you can talk while getting to somewhere important, and for people like me - generous parents who allow you to keep a cell presumably for emergencies, for greedy mobile companies that want a large customer base, especially the communication-hungry college students, and give them a 100 free sms-es everyday, to always keep in touch with someone.
With phone in hand, with the discovery of the T9 english mode, with a 100 free messages to send, and with ample time during a boring lecture, I can say anything I want, anytime, to anyone. And that’s where the buck stops. With messages that are 160 characters long, there’s no style, there’s no character, there’s nothing that helps me like one person more than the other. We don’t even take time to swear correctly. “Shiv, I’m late, asap" is part of our daily parlance, and I’m left wondering why we aren’t even frustrated enough to brood correctly. There’s something wonderfully therapeutic about swearing properly, enunciating it correctly. But an sms needs to be sent, immediately, my comprehension of that new language is taken for granted, and it comes devoid of proper emotion.
What about nicknames? Any random person can guess my nickname. Start typing my name in the T9 mode, and the first word that comes is my name. It does not require anyone to know who I am, what my quirks are, or who my crush is. It requires them to know my name, and suddenly they call themselves a friend.
My mom sits in her rocking chair, sometimes extremely irate that my phone’s always beeping, secretly happy that there are so many people who want to talk to her precious daughter, and I haven’t the heart to break it to her. I haven’t the heart to tell her, that more often than not, when I jump at my phone, and open the message, all there is a “k”, at the corner of the screen. All there is an alphabet, which I suppose should pass for a complete sentence because it is sometimes followed by a full stop. My mom sits in her rocking chair, secretly happy that the phone bill’s come down, thanking the mobile company for only making her pay Rs 30 a month to satisfy my insatiable need to communicate. I haven’t the heart to tell her that it takes much too much effort to call these days. Because the person I want to call is busy sending sms-es to a dozen people at the same time and that person probably doesn’t care for one person any more than the other. We sms-ers live a stoic world. We say the same thing to everyone. We are told the same thing by everyone. We say it the same way. We’ve reached a consensus that deprives us of any streak of individuality because it’s too much to fit in the space of a 160 characters because there is always, always another 160 characters waiting to be sent.
So, am I one of those people who recognize the sms for what it is? I must admit, and I do that rather shamelessly, that I am a hypocrite. Once in a blue moon, I finish my quota, and even though I know that some of them were just forwards, some of them sent to the wrong person, which meant I sent a few more messages saying sorry to the wrong person, explaining what it meant, or imploring them to forget it, and then sent the message to the right person, followed by another message saying that it was originally sent to the wrong person, followed by a “God! Imagine what would’ve happened if I was telling you about that”, even though I know that I finished my quota due to some unintentional mistakes, I can’t help but feel wanted. Then again, I know at times I stop saying something important simply because my quota gets over, and wait until the next day, when the wish gets re-granted between midnight and 1 am, and then don’t say it.
I suppose we change with time. I suppose there will always be tigers and lions preventing us from saying what we want to say. I suppose there will always be a road full of traffic, and indifference on your part to cross the road and say hi, taking for granted that there will always be another day, when an empty road separates you and your friend. However when you don’t step into the traffic, and take for granted instead, the fact that the vehicles will make way, take for granted instead, your own ability to cope with a few well enunciated swear words emanating from faceless people in the vehicles, friends soon dissolve into acquaintances which is sometimes worse than death. I suppose there will always be a 101st message waiting to be said, and more often than not, its worth saying it before the clock strikes midnight, before the fairy tale disappears, because in today’s increasingly indifferent world, the prince might never ever bother to pick up the glass shoe.


I wonder what I’d do if I were all alone on an island. For now, I’ll leave the swiss family Robinsons genre of survival tactics aside. I’ll assume I can learn to eat meat, learn a thing or two about lighting a fire, figure out things that I hadn’t thought of before and work out some sort of arrangement with the elements of nature and with the freaky games of fate where I can take my day to day survival as reasonably certain. Granted - it might take me a few frustrating mornings waking up without a mirror before realizing that ponds and lakes will do quite well. Granted also- that I might have to finally learn to eat fruits and potatoes. Let’s not even get bogged down by such mundane details. We’ve all seen tom hanks do it. So could I. Let’s just take all that for granted, because those things have been written about for aeons and I am guessing that my doomed vehicle would have some sort of survival guide. What it will not have is what to do with my thoughts. What it will not have is instructions about how to get back my comfort zone, the cocoon that all of us seek shelter in when the world around us just gets too heavy to bear. Or perhaps, the most frightening aspect of all, it will not have what to do with peace.

I imagine a night, when I’ve had dinner ( I don’t even want to begin to think about what it is), and am walking on the beach, having long since given up on the tell tale ship that will take me back to a civilized schedule, to the delirious comforts of man-made inventions, or even to the depressing realities of a monotonous life. I imagine a night, when I’ve had dinner, and have long since learnt that deep sleep isn’t exactly beneficial to survival, and I’d be better off up and alert because while nothing on that island has any personal grudge against me, I do have to be wary of overstaying my welcome, which, an innocent creature, struggling for its own survival, will only be too glad to put right. I imagine a night, where all I have for company is myself, my thoughts, my inner demons that I can quell only with self-conjured dragons, my inner fantasies that now, I have no hope of realizing, even with all the world literally spread out in front of me, my deepest fears that are a thing of distance and are probably a thing of insignificance, my moments of happiness that have been etched so deeply, and prodded so many times.

In the past, I might have reached out for those moments in times of despair, in times of uncertainty, in times of loneliness, perhaps in a pain so unbearable that I’d pity the dead fish in my stomach, perhaps in a pain so unjust that I’d purposely take longer to kill the fish the next day, using its pain to overshadow mine, wallowing in self pity and self –absorption, murmering prayers that were never taught right and its meaning never fully gleaned, at the same time cursing all those beliefs that led me to believe that I was somehow special, that I would somehow escape, perhaps blaming wrong acts of past lives, just so I could believe that there’d be a calmer future birth.

And one day, perhaps it had become, that I could catch prey with unerring precision, sleep with a sense of nonchalance, bathe nakedly with all the world to turn its head away uninterested, breathe with regularity, even smiles turning into grins and occasional spasms of laughter without the fear of being branded by anything or anyone.

I imagine a night, walking on the beach, with just my thoughts. Perhaps I’d have names for all the stars in the sky. Perhaps I’d have mock conversations with them, and perhaps they’d indulge me. Perhaps the waves and I played games with each other. But what would I do with not a single worry and not a single care in the world. What would I do now, knowing that survival was now, more than ever, a certainty. What does one do with peace ? There may be variety in the sounds of the breeze, and the roars of the waves, and the sways of the trees. But how long can one do exactly as they please, before boredom sets in again. Would I even learn not to fear the loss of peace, because suddenly I’d been granted with however paradoxical it might sound, an ephemeral immortality ?

There’s a contentment that springs from knowing you’re lost. A contentment that springs from knowing you’ll never be found. A contentment that springs from losing hope and just making sure that every second was noticed and extracted for all its miniscule worth. A contentment that springs from being answerable only to yourself, and having defined every single rule by yourself, for yourself. And then a contentment from escape of harder times, of motorcars and horns, of newspapers full of crimes. A contentment from sudden acceptances of the most painful truths about my weaknesses, and a struggle to conquer them, just as I had done with the fish. A contentment from knowing that now, I’ve found myself, and can bear to live with bitter truths such as the banes of not waiting long enough for a better fish, or of not figuring out sooner that a little evaporation of water would give me salt that makes meat taste a lot better. A little smile at a memory of a 3rd standard text book, of memorizing the definition of evaporation, of getting 2 marks in a test, and of finally, finally, having used it, and of finally having come a full circle, with enough time to spare.

Friday, March 24, 2006


He seemed to have said that before,
I wasn’t the first.
He seemed to have said that before,
A line well rehearsed.

He kept the meter,
Kept true to rhyme.
And all that while,
I’d lost track of time.

There was no memento to keep,
No poem in memory.
Not even hours spent,
Under the shade of a tree.

And I just stood there,
Not knowing what to say.
I’d been his thing of lust,
While he’d been my true first.