Life - Satisfaction and Ambitions

The glass is only half full.
The wisdom lies in letting it be.

Ideated by me, wording courtesy to Jubin Vora


It is amazing how four biggest of the giant leaders of our times were instrumental in making the worst blunder of our times

Three because of their actions and one because of his inaction

Jinnah - for sowing the seed to two-nation theory
Nehru - for refusing to accept Cabinet Plan

Mountbatten - for nails in the coffin - Balkanization Plan

Gandhi - for doing nothing considering he could

Ends of a Long Stick

I never intended for that course of life where in the midway I have to have a sense of regret, a tendency to look back, to retrospect that there was a road which I didn't take and to wish that it could have been taken. I had never lost the direction; somehow some sense of right direction was always in my mind. You see, if you are facing right direction, all one has to do is keep walking. But when you don't know the direction itself, even a single step becomes oblivion into delusion. It was for the first time in my life, I think, I had the loose end of a ruined hope in one hand and the vagaries of my fear in the other hand. Whether or not you believe in destiny, it has its own way of telling us that man is a mere puppet in its hand. I realized this when I got a choice, when I had to choose one out of two roads ahead of me.

It is said that the person who can find meaning of his life, can find eternal happiness. But happiness and meaning always have been at odds for me. They happen to be two ends of a long stick, I cannot reach both at same time.
I happened to walk a lonely road; to say it in fact, I liked a lonely life. The other fact is, I was never unhappy about my solitude because I never realized it. Actually the belief that we can only pursue happiness and actually never have it, prevailed strongly in my faith. I never sought happiness, that is why I never longed for any meaning. Perhaps that was a good choice of living a life. You are not unhappy unless you realize your unhappiness. I was comfortable in the hollow sphere of whims, I created around myself. Everyday had been passed in same state of trance and belief that there is no worry.

But a day came when I realized that life is much more than cracking jokes and laughing hysterically. I discovered myself desperately longing for a meaning of the life and wanting to find a moment of happiness that truly can be called happiness. Everyday in the morning I used to wake up with a bad breath of empty, hollow dreams. Now I had a reason, a meaning to wake up. Meaning of life was not difficult to come by, as it was the day when I met the life itself for the very first time.

We used to differ on every little thing. As if destiny had played its role very well, we were inherently contrast, perhaps complementary. She was essentially a feminist, the part of her that I hated most. On the contrary she used to believe that I loved that part most. Perhaps all of it started for all the wrong reasons, but it ended for more than a wrong reason.

She and I had nothing in common except for the chip on shoulder that we both carry to justify our respective egos. Of course and but, the other exception is our egos.
I will have to boast that I was the most unconventional person around her. Maybe she fell for that. Desire is a strange thing. We think we are looking for something and then we find something else. One starts believing that what he found, was more desirous than what he was looking for. Perhaps out of choice, or perhaps out of want. Sometimes what we think we want, is not what in reality we want.

On a cursory look, one will find that she was not very attractive, more so, as a lady from Indian soils generally happens to be. In reality she was more than beautiful. She had an unintended charm about her, but intended ugliness. She was an idealist, used to believe in beauty of soul than body. Her clothes always lagged behind fashion and her dress sense was monotonous. She never wore lipstick, her hairdo was never made-up. She just used to tie her hair with the help of a rubber-band which made her forehead look bigger. Being skinny, her cheeks looked even more amplified than her forehead. But when she used to giggle, facial muscles contracted; everything came into proportion. An absolute angel! She looked like an angel but as if poverty had struck hard on that angel. An angel in rags! I guess if someone saw her naked, he could have appreciated her beauty better than what she used to keep herself. She was one kind of exception in this regard, when a girl places emphasis on individuality than appearance.
But sometimes the essence of feminism used to fail her. Occasionally she tried her hand on those girlish adventures of sartorial make-over but she had barely a sense of fashion. Instead of looking any good she became more awkward. Yellow scarves, red snickers and check sweatshirt were few of accessories in her fashion wardrobe, just to count.

What I seem to be saying is that beauty lies in eyes of beholder. For some, character is sufficient, other want appearance and there are some who want both. But sometimes these things, but anything in fact, really don't count. Sometimes, the yearning takes the place of rationale. I won't call it infatuation as it was not entirely devoid of reason. But calling it rationale will also be as false as calling it foolish. Man is not a slave of desire by choice. It just happens. Even if you want to resist it, it comes back as more of a craving. No wonder, Eve fell for the forbidden fruit.

At some point we both had realized the persistence with which our hearts were failing our brains. Perhaps the only way was to accept it and face it. But not for me, not yet! I was the one who had never taken initiative on anything during my entire life. I never supposed myself to. I was always a follower, and yet; whatever I followed, I pursued persistently. She took the initiative, I should have followed. But I didn't. I couldn't. I would back off from all that when she had said it, was something I never expected from myself.

It did not even take all the words, she wished to say. It is beyond my comprehension how much difficult it would have been to muster the courage and think of those words, which in the end went unspoken. After all, it was not that difficult(or was it?) when she said that she wanted to talk something important to me. The only, plausible and by any of far means, talk could have been talk of which I have feared most in my life. "I don't know how to say this", was all she could say before I found her almost in tears. Perhaps it was her worst fear also. Girls generally have good instincts and perhaps she saw what was coming.

I thought the worst is over. No wonder, hope is opium. She made a second attempt. Perhaps she made a last ditch effort to wake up my courage. But courage is something that comes before fear. If there is fear, there is no place for courage. For once, I too thought that I can overcome my fears. Her proposal was accepted and we met at our favourite place-the shadow under the apple tree.

A respectable person can never understand the tyranny of a person who just lost his respect in front of ten individuals. And believe me the pain of losing respect in front of self is thousand times bigger.
Whatever I like to believe, the truth is I always had a soft corner for her. It was just a matter of mustering courage to come in front, which she managed to take, not me. And that precisely had hurt me a lot because I think that proved me as a coward. And the last look in her eyes had told me so. After that I never faced her. How could I?

And that was it. That was where our road diverged. That was also the point we had to retrospect together and that was where our wish, for dreaming together in future, died. For her it was my cowardliness and for me there was no need of reason, I rationalized my decision in the veil of my fear.
Everyone has his share of burdens. Owning those is half the battle. But there are some people who take refuse, comfortable in running from battle. Whether or not you want, you got to believe in God. One always needs an excuse, an escape from something, some burden, he want to avoid. Believe me or not, the quantum of solace you get in God's refuse is far better than ages of pride of fighting a battle.

What happened to her after that? I don't know. I never tried to know. Perhaps I am afraid of knowing. I am not sure if my scrutiny on her or keeping in touch with her will change the things or make any difference in our lives.

You think it matters? It is not that I will regret this for rest of my life or that it broke me down to pieces that can never be collected together again. And for her part, I am not sure; perhaps she would be stronger now, or perhaps she would not have trust in life any longer. I don't know the answer. Perhaps I don't want to know. I will always like to believe that it doesn't matter; I will always like to believe that some things in life happen to be the way they are...


ज़िंदगी की बुनियाद बनाने की कोशिश थी,
बस इंट पे इंट लगाते चले गये!

खुदी की इमारत पे की मोहब्बत कुर्बान थी,

बस रेत पे रेत गिराते चले गये!!

Smear on Democracy

One of the mistakes of my life has been participating in anti reservation protests. Not that there was any violence involved in it, but by the fundamental truth that in a running and functioning democracy (however imperfect) even the very peaceful protest against government is nothing but a blackmail leave alone the hunger strike. The only correct way to raise your voice is through PIL or any other court of law. Yes one could demonstrate his support for such PIL with candle marches etc. but straightforwardly protesting or having hunger strikes against any bill is nothing but blackmail.

The Gandhian way of protest is a tight rope to say the least. And in India it has been abused over and again equally for wrong purposes as much is for right purposes. It is in this context that I see the latest chaos around Anna Hazaare’s hunger strike.

Two fundamental questions need greater introspection than currently are being given:

  1. Could Jan Lokpal Bill really help eradicate corruption or it would lead to more concentration of power and thus more corruption?
  2. Is Hazare’s way, the right way to protest and making his voice heard or it’s blackmailing in context of a functioning democracy like India?

The answer to both questions has been discussed pretty immaculately by Bhanu Pratap Mehta in his article - Of the few, by the few

Power, divided in a democracy, can often be alibi for evading responsibility. But it is also a guarantee that the system is not at the mercy of a few good men. Having concentrated immense power, it then displays extraordinary faith in the virtue of those who will wield this power. Why do we think this institution will be incorruptible?

There is something deeply coercive about fasting unto death. When it is tied to an unparalleled moral eminence, as it is in the case of Anna Hazare, it amounts to blackmail.

On top of that, what perturbed me most was the response of government. I am not very appreciative of Indian government and Indian people as such, but one thing I have been proud my whole life and have been cherishing is the “democracy of India” (they call it pseudo-democracy, but I believe that’s the true nature of democracy and American way of democracy is pseudo in nature). The Indian democracy is the only ray of hope in the gross darkness of plethora of issues and problems.

“This is a victory for democracy”, said Anna Hazare. Quite oppositely, both, the hunger strike of Hazare and government’s response, in my view, have been a blatant ridiculing of the Indian democracy. I don’t think I need to remind that our government is a representative of 1 billion people if nothing else. It’s world’s largest democracy and having been invulnerable to number of recessions, neighbour countries’ rivalry and the resilience (like coming out of BoP crisis) it shows time and again, only shows the robustness of our democracy. I can’t help but compare this latest gross derision of government’s succumbing to Hazare’s demands to Indo-Pak division on Jinnah’s demands. Though people are putting Hazare in parallel to M. Gandhi but to me his hunger strike is more in parallel to Jinnah’s Direct Action. An important thing to note is that intention behind both has been noble: for one to give equal representation to Muslims while for other it has been eradication of corruption. Except that it’s anti-corruption bill, I doubt if half of people supporting Hazare even knew what Jan Lokpal Bill contains specifically.

In the quest of ‘Founding Pakistan’ and ‘Implementing Jan Lokpal Bill’ (note that I said implementing a bill and not eradicating corruption) the only difference has been violence. Rest all – blackmailing government, blind faith of people in leaders, government’s subsequent response, and inclusion of individuals in governance; has been same. But most of us still would like to believe that Hazare’s victory is democracy’s victory but Jinnah’s victory is the biggest smear on this institution called democracy. The irony lies in ‘our’ thinking.

There are people like me who would say, it’s all system’s fault; our system itself is all screwed up. No, it’s not. It’s not system’s fault, it’s our fault. Fundamentally it’s “we” and “our mentality” that are screwed up. Just take some time to think about how many times have we seen elections and out of those how many times have we voted; take time to think about why the percentage of voters (especially youth and middle class) keeps on coming down with every election.

I know sitting idle and doing armchair discussions and ranting around will not solve the problem. But I still believe one should be pretty clear about the direction a step would lead to, before taking that step.


दूर उफ़क से उठी एक हल्की सी लो,
सुरख रेत पर फिर रह-गुज़र ढूँडने निकला एक कारवाँ है!

शायद कोई निशाँ बाकी रह जाएगा इस रेत पे,

बस इसी उमीद से आज हुए हम रवाँ है!!

होठों का तिल

तेरी यादों की खीज़ान आज फिर जैसे जवां हुई सी है!
दश्त में भी जैसे एक शाख-ए-गुल फिर आबाद हुई सी है!!!

तेरे होठों के तिल ने आज फिर कोई तो हरकत की सी है!
जो मेरे होठों पे फिर एक ग़ज़ल ने दस्तक दी सी है!!!