Monday, December 31, 2012

As you sow...

The rain had stopped by the time he woke up. The convict stretched himself, wincing a little as the stiff bones in his back complained. He cursed, then remembered he was in the solitary confinement cell. He thought back to the time of his arrest, just a few days ago, followed by rejection of his bail petition. He was in solitary for his 'own protection', his lawyer had told him. "It will be over soon," the lawyer had said. "Your bail had been rejected because of the public outrage and the protests, but the public will have something new to focus on very soon. The evidence won't add up, and there were no witnesses who will speak against you." 

He remembered the night of his wedding as if it was yesterday. His dowry had arrived the previous day, and he had spent the night partying with friends. He went about the ceremonies piss drunk, glad for the flowers hiding his bloodshot eyes. The bride's face was hidden, but he ogled at her body through his headgear, eager for the night that followed. After promising to fulfill her needs and protect her for the rest of her life, he took her home where he had his way with her. She screamed, begging him to be gentle, but he ignored her. When she showed up the next morning with bite marks all over her face, his mother called her a witch who was too ugly and had come cheap. Daily thrashings and extortion threats followed from the mother, leaving her meek at night. Ten days later, the bride pulled out the gas pipe from the kitchen cylinder, waited 30 minutes, lit a match and then gave herself up to the fireball that followed. He did not know what the fuss was all about. She had come cheap and she had been 'his' to do with as he pleased. The bride's family did not care, as they considered her 'paraayi amaanat' after the marriage. He yawned, then heard the key in his door and grinned, knowing it was time for his biryani.


She had dreams. She had topped her school, and wanted to be independent. She had studied for her entrance exams by borrowing the neighbor's books and reading them under torchlight in bed. When her father told her a month before the results that she was to be 'married off' in a week, she had been shocked, but had trusted her parents's decision. "It is a modern family, beta. The boy is a graduate. They are not asking for much, and you can do your studies after marriage." She did not want to rebel, so she had agreed. The boy looked cute too. She had looked forward to looking him eye to eye when he gently took her 'ghoonghat' off. She realized her naivete the moment he ripped it off her head and gazed into her soul with eyes filled with lust and evil. As she struck the match, she prayed to God for an end to her suffering.


The politician squirmed in his seat as he read the medical report. If this got out into the open, riots would ensue. He nodded to his aide, who already had the false statement prepared and ready. He could not let the son of his close friend go to prison for such a small thing. The girl's old neighbors had already been paid off to deliver false statements blaming her character. He anticipated the matter to die out within a week.


The door opened. "Time to go," the man who entered said. "That was quick". The convict put on his shirt over his vest and walked out. The man led him down a series of corridors until he was completely lost. "Where are we going?" "We cannot let you out the front door so soon. We have arranged for more comfortable lodgings until then". The convict was led into a room with a TV, plush sofas and a bar set. "All yours, and the bedroom is through there. Relax here until you are free to go eat your 'maa ka khaana' again." He threw himself at the bar and downed a bottle of whiskey in no time. Sated, he decided to sleep. He opened the bedroom door and walked towards his bed. He heard a soft moan from the bed and smiled. This sure was 'comfortable lodgings'. He took his clothes off and jumped onto the bed.


The courtroom was full. Everything was in order - the 'false' witnesses, the medical reports, the evidence. As the convict was led in, his friends were relaxed, but they realized something was wrong when they saw his face. As the judge began proceedings and asked the convict whether he had done the crime, the convict said  "Guilty" and recounted all his doings. It took little time to sentence him as no other information was needed.


The man sat on the park bench, staring up at the politician's statue. He spat at the ground in front of him, then watched as the person he awaited walked up through the crowd and sat next to him. "It has been done," the newcomer said. "No more red tape. No more mud slinging at victims. The message will be clear. All perpetrators have been punished." The man acknowledged the update and got up and left.


His lust fulfilled, the convict lay on his back in the dim bedroom, then winced as the lights suddenly came on. As his eyes adjusted, he looked at the woman next to him, then retched violently as he recognized her. He spent the next hour retching onto the floor until they led him back to his old cell.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

In my belly...

The thunder rumbles... the emptiness trembles... in my belly
Rats run abound... creating a monstrous sound... in my belly
Digestive juices lie still... waiting for food to fill... in my belly
Can't wait for the food... to create a world of good... in my belly

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Haiku?? Kai ku??

Damn Haikus
They need seventeen syllables
What the hell

Reading manga in Mumbai
so I feel like a haiku
Friend asks "Kai ku?"

Winter arrives
Time for boots and coats
I hate winter

Damn syllables
I never could get them well
I stop now

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I rule you...

I am like our beloved country
with lots of layers and tiers
When both do get wounded
do you shed so many tears
Solutions, problems so many
by us do end, from us do stem
Complex we are, intricate we are
Whatever happens is 'cos of them
But between one and the other
If to choose which to keep at hand
Country then forsaken would be
for me would be the great demand
For abstract the country concept is
Even if it shows real on a medallion
But I, I am very real, and very needed
I can destroy the country, I am the onion!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Bleach the landscape...

The grasshopper falls bright green blot on grey
Grey under and grey above on a so short day
Naked trees lifeless green and the north air
Wind from hell freeze the bones lay us all bare

Pull out wool the therms the fleece
Get the logs light fire melt cheese
Hot choc single malts and mar-mallows
Too cold? No worry Use the bellows

Coat jacket cap gloves hood two pairs of socks
Sliding on pavement and slipping on rocks
Green and grey all turned white and you go Oh
Brick car lawn lake road all covered in snow

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A dream within a dream!!

Considering its the Inception season and everyone is talking about the movie, you will probably go all "Aaaah... this is about the movie again... How boring...". Well, its not about the movie, its about something which actually happened to me, but the reason I'm writing about it is because I remembered the movie when this happened and it seemed like a big coincidence.

So there is a power cut at home, and hence nothing at all to do. Three hours are spent watching a movie on the laptop, and then some more time reading. Sleep then descends upon me sometime in the early afternoon. And a nice dreamless sleep (or siesta) it was too. I don't know how much time passes this way. Suddenly, I'm wide awake.

Its dark outside. The stray dogs, who rule the Bangalore streets once the sun sets, are exercising their vocal chords. Damn, I overslept, I think and get up to turn on the lights. Flick. Still dark. What the... is it still a power cut? I start walking out of the room to check on the main switch. My legs feel like lead. My view feels like a camera lens. Panning out. Zooming out. Defocusing. I feel the air going out of my lungs. I fall, more of a free fall than a crash. Its like a balloon deflating. The lens view shows the ground coming closer. And closer. And closer. I am on the ground now, a balloon with no air in it. I try to move. All I can do is twitch a little. I lie there for a few minutes. And then I open my eyes. I'm in bed. And its still dark. I pinch myself. And feel myself waking up again. And its just 3PM. Bright outside. I hope this is reality!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sri Lanka, cricket and Murali - a trip long ago

Last week Pragyan Ojha cemented his place in history by becoming Muttiah Muralitharan's 800th test victim, and the island nation rejoiced. A perfect send-off, a perfect end to a glittering career, and a grand farewell.

It all took me back to the summer of 2004, when me and my family went to Sri Lanka on vacation. The first thing that struck you about this island nation was the green, the natural beauty. The people (those who spoke English) were very friendly, and the food amazing. Our spirits were not at all dampened by the fact that it was Buddha Purnima time, and in a nation with a strong Buddhist heritage and following, that meant no alcohol was served anyplace (though I was still in my pre-alcohol days). Our hotel was also very close to the Presidential Palace, which meant seeing guards with machine guns from the hotel window.

After two days in Colombo, and a trip south to Hikkaduwa to see coral reefs (which sadly were destroyed in the tsunami), we moved inland to Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. Our cab driver, a pleasant man who spoke English with a German accent, and spoke a lot, was named Silva.

Our second day in Kandy, as we wait for my family to come down to the hotel entrance, Silva struck up a conversation with me.

Silva: So what's your name, son?

Me: Sanat

Silva: Sanat? Sanat? Wow, man! Yours is the second most famous name in Sri Lanka. After Murali of course. You just tell people everywhere what your name is, and everything will be free. You will get discounts, freebies, galore. Sanat!! You are a superstar, son. You are famous.

Me: -muttering thanks-

Silva: So you studying, lad? Where?

Me: Trichy... Engineering... in Tamil Nadu

Silva: Don't say that aloud. Being known as a Tamil or speaking Tamil isn't the smartest thing to do in this country!!

It was shocking to hear this, especially since I had hoped to use my rudimentary grasp of the language to get around the island. I was going to ask the chap about Murali and how is he so respected in spite of his ethnicity and all that, but it was time to leave, and the question went unasked.

In Nuwara Eliya (which is a beautiful hill station and was very foggy and cloudy and pleasant even in the peak of summer), we were shopping for curios, when my father came across this section with mementos of Sri Lanka's World Cup win in 1996. We ended up buying a nice wooden showpiece, with a bronze bat having the autographs of all the winning team members, and another bronze plaque with the scoreboard in the final. And I remember the big grin the shopkeeper gave us when he took it to the cash counter, as if saying, "Yes, that was our moment of glory. Glad to see you know about it."

Our last day on the island, we checked out of the hotel, but then had a long wait before our flight back to India. Silva took us to a hotel near the airport, where we lounged next to the pool eating french fries and sipping cold coffees. And as we do a lot of the time, my father and me started a discussion on cricket.

Waiter: Sir, I overheard you speaking about cricket. If you like, there is an empty lounge room you can sit in. It is more comfortable and you can see the test match too.

Us: Oh wow. That would be great. Which match is this?

Waiter: It's Sri Lanka v/s Zimbabwe in Harare. Murali needs 2 wickets to get the world record.

So we move to the lounge, and watch the match in peace (we still had a fair few hours before we needed to go to the airport). And we were in Sri Lanka when the man got his world record (Mluleki Nkala c. Jayawardene b. Muralitharan) and we would see the rejoicing among the hotel staff. Plenty of fireworks and celebrations were on sight all the way to the airport. As we proceeded to security check, one of our bags set up a big buzz.

Guard: What's in your bag? Something metallic and big... open it. Open it.

Us: It's a showpiece about your World Cup victory.

Guard: Its very nice to see that. That was a great day for us. And of course today we have the world record. Murali is great.

All this while, since my first conversation with Silva, I had seen little sign of any Tamils (who, I gauged, were concentrated in other areas). And from what little I knew of the LTTE and all that, plus Silva's words, I knew that there were big issues on the island. And here was a man who stood above it all. A nation torn by war. And united by cricket. Thanks to one man!!

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