Sunday, December 27

there's no use waiting for someone who doesn't know

Saturday, December 19

the other one

sinfully sinister is love outside love
the darkest of temptations
the most forbidden of sins
a whiff of crack
an acid trip
a mistake as simple
as a moral slip
what does it take
for a man to know
he's playing a game
where no one wins.

Friday, December 11

who be that

who be that
who once was
now trying to figure
what he is
who gazed at stars
from naked rooftops
and chuckled as they blinked

Tuesday, November 10

i have no excuses for my madness
except maybe, my dissent
for the illusion that you call reality.

Monday, November 9

two on two

A wet thatched blanket of furry grey clouds has swept over Bangalore. The cold winter sun is fighting to find a way down, but the best it can manage is a diffused glow – the kind photographers, writers, singers and painters dream to recreate. A perfect holiday for me perhaps to lie back on my couch of solitude and reflect on the strange twist of destiny that made me cross roads with the most wonderful girl I had ever known. It’s been exactly two years to this day since I said the most beautiful words known to man, to the person went on from being my favourite writer to the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. It is two years since that beautiful Diwali night in the hour between darkness and dawn. Three a.m. Neither morning nor night. The evening bustle was now a silence peculiar to Diwali nights. Drops of paraffin indicated a trail of candles that survived their battle with the breeze. Less fortunate ones stood like stubs in balconies and railings across the city. Diyas were now dry, except for a soaked sooty wick. Everything looked spent. Burnt out. Bombay now smelt like Sivakasi on a cold windless night. My favourite friends are the twinkling lights peeping out of windows. They always keep me company as I cherish wakefulness in the dead of the night. Stray fireworks would go off deep into the distant sky followed by a mild thud. It was about a month that we had met. We both knew it since. I just wasn’t brave enough to admit it. Or say it. I still remember the pause after I said “I love you”. It just felt so good to hear myself saying it to somebody for the first time meaning every bit of it. It was such a release. And a start to the most beautiful journey in my life. Magical. Can’t believe that it’s two years already. We lived so much of life in it. Two more years to go. I’ll marry the lady if she agrees to it. I’ll fill up these two years with so much magic that she probably won’t be able to refuse. The next two years will be difficult. We’re miles apart. The MBA would hopefully culminate into a job that’ll let me have the dream wedding in Goa or Shillong. A small, handmade wedding. Handpicked guests with compulsory attendance. That dream keeps me going now. I know this was a mush overdose. But can’t help it. It’s the Bangalore weather. And everyone who has seen this blog from its diaper days is a special someone in the story of my life. So it feels good to celebrate here. With friends. Love to all.

Saturday, October 17

twinkling lights peep out of windows
in a bombay washed in glow
and the way it smells here tonight,
no other city will ever know.
Feels good to be back home for Diwali.


Thursday, September 24

The most beautiful relationships in life end without a conclusion.

Monday, August 31

I miss being here, and i'm missing my favourite people.

Thursday, July 30

ellipsis

I wanted to say something that i wanted to hear as well.
I waited for twenty minutes, and this is all i could tell.

Monday, July 20

I'm missing too many birthdays this year that i really don't want to.

Thursday, July 16

valium

I'm lost. Without a torch or a beacon. A rhyme or a reason. Even the mirror seems untrue. I fail to recognise myself from who i once was. The sacrosanct solitude has been breached by sundry circumstances that are threaded together in what at times becomes a perpetual hallucination substituting life. Everything is so perfect, so right and so rigid that i can't help but detest it. There were objectives i had clearly defined before i dived into this corporate drain. I knew i'd have to fight the gravity of the system to stay afloat. Why is it always so easy to embrace mediocrity? So easy to give up on ideals and blame them for being lofty. Why is it always easier being someone else and why is it so difficult knowing it all along? There are no questions, only derelict solutions that lie in wait. A malnourished intellect feeding on subterfuge. How long can we hide the truth about the simple things in life. About love, passion, pain, joy. The simplicity of being maligned by the convenience of ignorance that we latch on to in our daily lives. Even the ignorance isn't pure. We know and then we unknow. It's easier. Until the doors of perception open to give us a glimpse of the outer world. Why then do we shut it when we ought to walk through? Maybe these are sluggish questions born out of sleep depravation. But what good is it to wake up from one slumber into another?

Wednesday, July 15

grief equilibrium

The pictures are clear in my head. The ambulance, the ICU, the medicines, the wait. Your comatose body soaked in sweat. And tears. We waited three months to speak to you. To hear your voice. Now, we just speak of you. I can't stop missing you. Maybe, i'll just learn to live with it. Maybe i have. But there was so much left to tell you and one thing left to ask. Could you hear me as i spoke to you, for days at end by your bed? Or do you still hear me when i stop thinking that you're dead?

Monday, June 29

the bad goodbye

I'd be gone nowhere without you
just living in a different mile
counting the length of every hour
and the distance between our smiles

Thursday, June 11

status update

Everything remains the same. Just a different place, from a different machine. I'm moving to Bangalore tommorow for 2 years. It's the MBA. The preceding chaos and hectic schedule have ensured i haven't had much time to speak here, but things will change in a week's time. I expect to be writing more often about things i wanted to often say. Already beginning to miss the most special one, two years is a long distance with heart too heavy to travel. This blog will now trace the locus of our journeys over the coming months and i promise i'll do my best to keep it safe from the b-school rant. Love and cheers, and until we meet again. Goodbye.

Tuesday, May 12

Everytime i return after an induced sabbatical, my fingers find themselves shackled by the half spelt words in my mind. Saying every sentence twice before typing it and tapping the backspace while nervously gauging if they are close to what i want to say. Just like meeting long lost love or an object of erstwhile familiarity, the words are drying up in my head as i look to break the silence that is now getting uneasy. It is a sort of emancipation you know, not having a post to write. Losing the urge to read. No comments in the mailbox. No RSS feeds. And most of it happening for no reason. Just a lull that turned into a season. And now i wonder who still reads this. And more importantly, who still writes. If he's getting too lost in the overcrowded train of life, jostling for some space with me.

Thursday, March 12

Body Copy

With the explosion of media, today's world is probably a lot more aware of my profession. It doesn't necessarily hold true for what i do. As such, there is no clean definition for what i do. Broadly put, i write to make a living. My words feed me. After six arguably sincere years of science including four years of professional training to make chips talk, i chose to drop out of mainstream. I started writing copy, dribbling past peer-parental suggestions that it was the wrong career choice. The white-collar dream has always fascinated bong bourgeois and they weren't the least amused by my round-collared meanderings. Honestly, i surprised myself as well. I started young but perhaps i started wrong. Only Perhaps. I risk my modesty here, not that much of it exists anyway, but sometimes the burden of being bright is especially heavy when you don't know where you're headed. When i was younger, much like a lot of us, i thought i could be anything i wanted to be. Strangely as i grew up, i failed to streamline that belief and much of it holds true even today. Only now, i'm a professional copywriter. Partly by chance, partly by choice. Struggling,  good and lost in an alien industry armed with pure belief when i could rather have done with some clue. 

Even after almost two years, i still wonder how i landed up here. I didn't know too many people in advertising. I didn't know much about it either. I loved ads and stories of advertising. I loved seeing the ad-people on print and television. I loved the fact that there were no rules. Rather, no strict rules. and you could look the way you wanted and wear what you were comfortable with to the workplace. I loved brands and their stories. I always had an idea when i saw an ad, only nothing to do with it. In the last few months of engineering when i was gearing up for the b-school routine, i had an opportunity to "write a few lines" for a small agency. A story-telling session followed in what i later learnt was called 'briefing' in my profession to-be. I liked the money, they liked my lines. More briefs followed and more money. I was still coming to terms with the fact that I was paid for burping words. In the absence of a desirable IT offer or intent for the same, I spent time cracking sums and writing copy. Slowly I started spending more time at the agency writing more than just copy. It was the phase I call ‘my drift’. The job-offer soon followed and was accepted. It was my first job and i had no one senior in what I did. Previous and previously experienced copywriters maintained atrocious levels of copy at the agency and i was their cheaper, better solution. I learnt everything on the job. In a year, i had a body of work spanning campaigns, ads, inserts, innovative media to every collateral that involved a written word. It was a proprietor driven agency so it had its pros and cons. Pros being meeting clients at a very senior level, incommensurate to my experience, getting to create entire pitches, handling accounts, recruiting people and so on. It was inexplicably too much to learn in the first year and probably the only compensation for not joining the big guys who of course would have pushed me through the trainee grind and paid me lesser.

Small agencies have an orbit by themselves. They're trying too hard to survive. Biting more than they can chew and chewing more than they should. They have a strange, self-repeating life-cycle. They find it hard to attract good talent, harder to retain them and are often annexes to the client organisation. They are forever struggling for the big ticket (read big client). When i joined advertising, i didn't personally know anyone from this field. Or from the big agencies. I always wondered what agency culture meant. I'm not racist, but the small agency trap for a copywriter is being limited to the creative exposure of a predominantly vernacular art department. I wasn’t sure where the job was taking me. Today, I have a higher pay and greater say in another agency that is happy to hire me. But the thrill is fizzling out.

I’m at mental crossroads. I see a deluge of people in the big agencies, none of whom I know, doing second rate work consistently well. And some young people doing prodigiously well. I’m missing that creative buzz. I wonder if buying time in this new job is actually losing it. It’s one thing plying your skills ad quite another honing it. There will be a time when I’ll outgrow this agency, if not already, but will I be ready for the big league? We aren’t much different, us writers, from aspiring actors in this city. Maybe just a little less desperate and a little more cerebral. Otherwise just the same. Armed with a promise and a portfolio, trying to get an audition with creative directors across the city. Our screen tests are copy tests and we have awards instead of gladrags. We struggle to land the big roles, with the big cast on a big script. So we settle for small agencies. Smaller brands, smaller budgets, smaller canvasses. They feed us, keep us going. 

What keeps me going? It's the glint of hope in my eyes everytime i leave for work, that someday, i'll leave for a bigger place. Pit my wits against the very best and use my work as my ladder. That someday,  i'll make it big here before i succumb to the i succumb to the left brain's lust for corporate moolah. 

Two years down, I’m still holding on to the belief I started out with. Looking to break in. Only now with half a clue, as the copywriter by chance. No, nothing to do with copyrights :)

Saturday, March 7

pause

don't quite know what i want to say today, except for the fact that i want to say something. just put a few words here. set them free from the burden of meaning. they don't always have to mean something do they? i want to say that as of this moment, i'm happy. content in a very reassuring way. this equilibrium isn't meant to last. i'm happy it's here this moment. i'm happy to savour it. it's like that moment in a marathon when you pause for a while. you've run the hard miles, there are miles to go. yet, it's this moment when everything stops for you, if you stop for yourself. there is no destination, no goal, nowhere to get. life is just the next step. the one after that. and the one after that. this is the between of one step and the next. you look back to find out if you can still see where you started from. you look back to see the people you left behind. and then there's the road. the future. the dreams that'll get eroded by reality. but they'll take you somewhere. new people are waiting if you let them in. new avenues, new streets. it'll be another long run before you get to the next milestone.you wonder if you'll pick up more reasons to smile while you get there. we'll see. one step at a time. let me fill up my lungs today, after all, always good to feel happy on the day you're born.

Tuesday, March 3

metaphor

Talk about fucked up neighbours. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri-Lanka and Nepal. We are the Slumdog Millionaire in a way. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 24

sup?

It's been a busy week and i'm robbed of space and time for posts that are bubbling in my head. The new job started well last week, but there's a part of me grudgingly unhappy. Add to that, the daily rigors of local trains borne out of complete lack of options. Work helps you value Friday nights. Valuation being alcohol. Much was ingested and assimilated as intellectual babble with a school friend and fellow brilliant copywriter (note the insinuation) without the 'right' job. Woke-up with a hangover that transformed to a pretty rough migraine. Yeah well, even vodka does that to me these days, should've stuck to beer. To add to misery, the next day i had GD/PI for the only b-school that i happened to date this year. However, hungover and headeached, i ended my rather long and entertaining interview with a brief discourse on spirituality and Osho. Clearly alcohol was still in my blood. I'm still uncertain and concerned about the market scenario after two years. Very few stories offer hope for a better tomorrow down the b-school channel. That apart, Delhi 6 was seen and forgotten. Milk was seen and loved. I was going to post this last week, but things haven't changed much since. A couple of posts need to be here before i wrap up another year of my life. Once they're through, maybe i'll reflect long and hard on what'll soon be, being twenty four.

Monday, February 16

It's not so much about not having the answers anymore,
it's about not having the right questions.

Friday, February 13

to a tear

The fading orange of the setting sun
deftly turns into pink,
trapped in your crystal body
rolling down my cheek.
Nor can i hold you back
neither gravity.
In your tangy potion
you've dissolved a lot of me
but i'm still not crying you know,
just sweating, emotionally.

Monday, February 9

Dev D

Saw Dev D twice over the last weekend. It's a good film, but i was probably expecting too much out of it. Before i cave in to the inevitable urge of writing a review, let me tell you that i saw it twice and this post shouldn't take anything away from the effort and intellect that has gone into the film. In fact, i'm only disappointed by the fact that the film eventually didn't evolve from its brilliant promise and lost itself to its own cause. It is a good film that could have been a great film, but that is a matter subjudice in the court of perspectives.

I won't dissect the movie there are too many reviews anyway. I'll give you a rating. It's a must watch. Now for those who have seen it already and those about to, lets celebrate the non conformist niche that we have carved amongst Indian audiences and more importantly, film makers who partly sympathize with our sensibilities. In breaking the prototype, Dev D is brilliantly conceived as the pill popping snorthead drenched in the misery of lost love and vodka. It's a simple story immortalized by a novel and Bollywood's numerous tributes to the same. But in truth, the reason we all love this tragedy is because we have all been there. Because life in the shadow of a heartbreak is effortlessly dark and we're enamoured by the its trail of decadence. We fall out of the downward spiral and reconcile to the truth of our lives, but that magentic urge to give it all up is an unkindled presence inside each one of us. I have long believed that the greatest thing love does is that it submerges the ego. And when it ebbs, the ego rises like a stubborn rock at the shore. Waves crash into froth but the rock doesn't move. It wounds itself in this tidal tragedy of the heart. To that effect, Dev D brilliantly exposes the ego aspect of the story. While the motive of the story is to highlight the self-destructive guilt trip of the protagonist who burns out in repentance, in retrospect, Dev D does that too but is somewhere, somehow too lost in its own cinematic cause. Breaking the prototype.

The first half of the film is sheer delight as it builds up the story inter weaved with captivating screenplay, cinematography and a bingo soundtrack. In the second half though, towards the end, the movie loses its scheme and screenplay, unfolding as a montage of audiovisuals interspersed with very few dialogues or character interactions. After a point, you want to know the story more than seeing Dev getting high again, and again. It is essential but overdone given the ending the movie chose for itself. It should have been played up a bit more, the ante should've been stepped up. The ending is a bold statement poorly made.

I don't wish to give out too much of the movie but i can't resist spelling out a few magic moments from the film. There is a scene where Anurag subtly underlines his directorial masterclass. Dev, back from London is lighting up a smoke in the evening outside his house and his cigarette is not an Indian manufactured stick but rolled up tobacco, so typical of people coming down from UK. You'd argue it's a joint, but i don't think he'd smoke up so publicly in and around his house. I think it's a great touch. Emosanal Attyachar is probably one of the greatest creative highs to light up Indian movie screens. It's a story in itself and I'd watch the movie again for that stuff. Although dissected and played out in three segments in the second half, the rock version of the fore mentioned song is equally good and brilliantly composed. Also, scene compositions and shot breakdowns of Dev getting sloshed, captured by alternating sequences of focusing and de-focusing or coked, when is evidently high and flying (It's a technique called camera tripping and also the reason Danny Boyle is spelt out in the credits) or the background score when he dips his head under water are testimonies to Mr. Kashap's film making genius. The main leads are cast well and Abhay Deol pulls of yet another super-act. As the decadent Dev, he is effortlessly convincing and hungover and has played it to perfection. Mahi Gill aptly manages the raw, rustic charm of the pind girl and is delightfully in character. Also, every captivating eyes. The surprise is Kalki, strangely attractive with a subtle vulnerabililty in her portrayal of the besotted consort. Her second half performance is truly delightful especially the brief underplayed mush scene with Dev at the steamed momos. But i guess that's the best she got from a script which was rushing the movie to its end.

In summation, Dev D is like a juicy paan that is sharp, strongly flavoured and enjoyable but gets too bland to chew after sometime. But go for it. In the end you'll agree, Dev D is like great sex without an orgasm. You'll enjoy it, but will remain disappointed.

Wednesday, February 4

Monday, February 2

...

Saw Luck by Chance over the weekend. Loved it and would strongly recommend it.

Saturday, January 31

Two

Alternate Perception is a two year old baby now. In the comfort of his crawl, he's yearning to walk. Learning with every half step, stumbling as he fights the gravity of reason while succumbing to instinct. He has made a lot friends growing up here. Some as old, some older and some timelessly captured in words. He has lamented lost love but he has also fallen in love here. With wonderful people. And the woman of his dreams. It's here that he learned to share his dreams and his fears. Sometimes, true to his age he littered and whined. Sometimes, truer to his age, he stained the walls with half broken crayons. With patterns and shapes that meant something to him. It was his way of capturing the world. It's here he vented his fascination with this world. It's also here that he let out his frustrations. It has been his closet, his fireplace. It has also been his playground. The canvas of his dreams. Alternate Perception is now two.

With his toothy grin and dimpled face, he's heard echoes and caught dreams. He's cut clouds of the shapes he wanted, to a perfect t. He's read things easier said and he's lost his heart saying.. Maybe. He's learnt subtext before words, but he's still learning to speak. He's still in need of diapers, he doesn't know when not to pee. He spills his food but mumbles a promise, he'll stop when he's three. He's held on to his name, his colour and his games. He's much the same, just a little lazy and lame. When the crawling comes to a halt, he'll take his first steps here. Learn and perfect his walk. There's much to probe, and he's only just begun.

Tonight he's happy, clapping flat with his little palms. He'll manage to blow one of the two candles and quickly phoo at the second one. He's waiting for the cake. The cherry piece. But so are we all aren't we?

Thursday, January 29

Motion is the greatest illusion of time.

Thursday, January 22

Seven

It's not because it's 3 am and i just dropped my most special one back home. It's not because i'm dealing with more ethanol in my blood than permissible by the celebrated standard called sanity.
It's the greatest truth, more honest than any film-maker has ever told you. The greatest thing you'll ever experience in life is loving and being loved in return. And in the humble theatre of my life - a mile for every inch, a gallon for every drop, a quintal for every ounce and a million for every cent. I love as a way of life and i simply love too much. But i have far more in return. So i'm dealing with surplus. Remember me in your darkest hours, in the loveless grey sunday evenings of your lives (earnestly wish there aren't too many). For i have a heart full of love and more than a hug to spare and your merit is this space at which you stare.

Wednesday, January 14

So

I need a buzz. I need a trip. I need to be incredibly high on something. Substance or idea. That's the kind of indulgent writing that this blog endorses even as it miserably fails to sustain a readership. Sometimes it's just lack of solitude. Space and silence. An alliterative combination that crystallizes the amorphous contours of thought into more definitive forms of expression. It allows me to hear myself with a clarity that wanders lost in this worldly cacophony. That was probably how this blog started. Out of a need to hear. Myself. But when space and silence fail to translate into words, i wonder if i've lost the need to hear myself or if i have run out of things to say. It's tragic that the existence of this blog has been reduced to the tightrope between these two horrific ends.
The truth is i have become lazy, lost discipline, been too indulgent to inertia. So, to breathe life into this blog and punch it with posts till it wakes up with a shudder i'm working out a stimulus package in keeping with current trends.

The first fortnight of the new year has zipped past rapidly in what has been a very adventurous start to the long list of months to follow. From writing b-school entrances to boarding running trains on the way back from a clandestine trip to Delhi with the most special one. This year should necessarily be one of change. It'll start with the blog. It has to change the way it speaks to you. Or to me. The posts on new year resolutions, on delhi and on the most special one are simmering to a boil. There are request posts and pending tags. There's stuff to do with tone and identity. So well, yeah that's more or less where Alternate Perception is headed.

Altough i'm late as usual, it's not too late to wish you guys all the very best for the forthcoming year. I mean happiness, success, love, good place to sleep, good sleep, good people to sleep with, fewer hangovers, more parties and other such fun things. I wish all of that. Hope the recession ends, we dont fall prey to bullets and bombs and have a lot more to write about.

I'm using madness as a protocol this year, so i'll be a little mean. If you dont post with a week of reading this, i hope you land up with tapeworm from the next pork chop you eat. Vegetarians don't smirk. Post instead.

(Look who's talking)

Cheers.