Not because of pain
or love
or superior disdain,
or manic anxiety
or passing despair.

Not because we seek the answers,
or have found one,
but because we know there are too many,
and there are none.

Not for the acclaim and derision,
but to let loose the visions
that batter these walls,
threatening with innocent malice
to tear them down.

Not because we love our craft,
but because we have no other,
and because these words
support, yet destroy.

Not because of anything,
but because of everything,
and because we simply must.
This is why we write,
this is why we hurt.


You think of them suddenly, sometimes, as they were, as you were together. You go over those scenes from long ago, remembering with sudden clarity those little things that made up your life with them in it.

You wonder where they are now, and whether you'd know them today. You wonder if they think of you, and how they do, if they do. You wonder if it is only you that continues to remember, and whether you even should; and are unsure if this is maudlin, creepy, or just simply pathetic.

You can't imagine how you ever just let things drift, and are befuddled when you cannot think of a way to reach them again. And you wonder if you ever knew them, for you realise you do not know where they lived and what they preferentially wore and who they did not like.

And you live with the memories, that slowly seep away, till each time you have to try harder to remember, and each time you wonder how much else you've forgotten.

And you so lose them, and you will keep doing so, and you do not understand any of it, save that this is not how it should be. And so you mourn, for they are gone, and strangers bear their name and faces.

These are the friends you lost.


Paranoia is a small side-step in the dance of thought.


Lives On Trains - 2

She sat there, quiet. She noticed the regular stranger take a seat opposite. And the few quick glances darted her way.

The stranger considered the moisture leaking from titian eyes in a puffy face. and wondered where her laughter-sharing friend was. or whether she had had a fight at home before leaving. or if she had been taunted because of the country she came from (or rather, didn't). or if it was one of those professional problems. And chose to give it a minute more, before deciding whether it would be a disaster to lean over and ask if she was ok.

She felt another yawn come on, and afterwards, wiped away the water that squeezed out when her eyes were scrunched up. She wished she hadn't slept so late.


when words devour
each other,
and thoughts stumble and merge.
when worlds collide
and dreams explode.
when we are not we anymore,
and these words are somebody else's.





hmm...one was mentally doing this, and one had got from Think to Klutz...but one's fingers seem to have life of their own. And one keeps ending with food.


"In the end, it was the Sunday afternoons he couldn't cope with, and that terrible listlessness that starts to set in about 2:55, when you know you've taken all the baths that you can usefully take that day, that however hard you stare at any given paragraph in the newspaper you will never actually read it, or use the revolutionary new pruning technique it describes, and that as you stare at the clock the hands will move relentlessly on to four o'clock, and you will enter the long dark teatime of the soul."
- Douglas Adams (Life, the Universe, and Everything)

.....except that one would push it ahead by a couple of hours, because after all, one can nap on Sundays after a lovely lunch...

but there's something about 6pm on Sundays, when everything seems so quiet, and everyone is at home recouping from the weekend and realising they have another week to look forward to, to curse at.

When you look out of the window and see nary a person around. And even the blare of the TV that you switch on to make friends with, fails to intrude on the growing silence in your mind. And the lassitude that fills you grows into a deepening stillness, like the deep dankness of a boarded up well.

and one can feel quite, quite...

Since one has been asked for recipes

Ze summer-wine-drink.

by proportion...
Medium-dry red, 1 glass.
Fine sugar, 1 tbsp.
Juice of ze lemon, 1 tbsp.
Mint leaves, in abundance.
Ice cubes, several.

Dissolve sugar in lemon juice. Chuck ice-cubes in ze blender, spin for 5 seconds so as to roughly crush. Add the wine, sugared juice, half the leaves, and blend again - but do not let the ice go too fine.

Remove, pour, garnish with fresh mint. Drink, and chill.

One could also freeze, and serve as a sorbet. Remove the mint before freezing though...eating leaves is no fun.


3 bananas, medium-firm.
Cinnamon, little.
Rum, 4 tbsp.
Brandy, equal measure.
Orange juice, glassful.

Bananas are sliced up-to-down, then midway, giving.....yes, you're right, clap clap....four pieces! Place in tray, sprinkling the cinnamon, pour booze, booze, and juice. Coat properly, but do keep banana unmashed. Bake, 190 degrees, 15 minutes.

Surprisingly delightful.


The case for a smaller India?

This may elicit strong emotions.
(or, given one's few commenters....not)

Reading about the various flare-ups across the country, and considering with despair (as always) the morass of lunacy that is Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, one cannot help but compare it to the situation in Europe.

Thanks partly to the break-up of the Soviet Union, the last decade-and-a-half has seen the emergence of hordes of small countries - Macedonia, Liechtenstein, Moldova - and there's the ever-growing possibility of further fragmentation - Catalunya, Scotland. Most of these are reversals to ancient boundaries formed by groupings of race, community, language, and sometimes, geography. In a sense, they are also break-aways from artificial and forced groupings from the countries/kingdoms/republics into which they were amalgamated at some point over the centuries.

(The parallel here with business is interesting - mergers and acquisitions till the monster becomes too big to be any good, followed by divestments and spin-offs, resulting in smaller, more competitive entities)

Which brings us back to India.

The region has always been one of disparate entities - small kingdoms, large empires, the classic North-South divide thanks to the Vindhyas, the vague boundaries of Hindustan stretching at one time till Iran and Cambodia. It never was a country till the British came along. And they, followed by the Iron Man, did incredibly well to coalesce all these little and large fiefdoms into one structure. 'India' was supposed to be the ideal of how different cultures, religions, and languages can all survive and inter-mingle.

And while that may be true to some extent, it's not really been that great an experiment. Regions are still quite fiercely local in outlook and behaviour, intra-country practices are quite cumbersome to implement, and national policy is more or less a joke. And while there is an inherent charm about travelling through the country, and experiencing such a gamut of ideas, tastes, and colours - it doesn't really fit the concept of a country per se.

A country usually has one common denominator, be it geography, race, or language. Yes, they do have smaller communities within, which differ from the majority, but the common factor binding the majority is nearly identical across that country. This applies to any country that one can think of, off the top of one's head - Italy, Botswana, Vietnam, Greenland. Even the US and UK, quite possibly the most 'international' of all countries, have English as the common thread (even if it is in different accents). You cannot not know English to have any hope of merging into the mainstream - and one is not entertaining side-arguments about deliberately ignoring ghettos and illegal immigrants.

But India is so different. In essence, it is a region, not a country.

Take the North-East. Perennially disregarded by the rest of the country, only tolerated because they grow lots of tea and have mines, and only bothered about when India plays cricket in Guwahati. The percentage of people in Western, Southern, and Northern India who would be able to immediately visually identify a person as coming from the North-east region (let alone the actual state), and not from China or Nepal? Very, very, very small....almost neglible.

Take Bengal. Has more in common with Bangladesh than the rest of the country.
Take HP and J&K. More Afghanistan than India.
Take the South. So clearly not concerned about anything above the 16 degree latitude line.

Is it any wonder that, as of this moment, there are so many terrorist/freedom-fighter groups demanding further break-ups of the states that they have been assigned to?

So one wonders - where does this go in ten years? Further fragmentation of current states, or a gradual devolution of power to regions? Turning back to Europe, could it be possible that a more successful system for India would be one similar to that of the EU, with separate regions allowed to create their own laws and systems, with common business laws uniting them.

Because, let's face it, a nationwide system isn't working. You cannot simply general policies simply because the country is so varied. And so many of the ideas meant to unify the country, or prepare a standard base across all states (the ICSE/CBSE board system, for example) have not really worked to the extent they were created for.

And that would also help preserve ethnic identities and customs, and allow those who know them to really implement them. And to those who say this is just a throwback to ghetto-isation, and will result in closed communites, I say look to the EU. Clearer laws are causing freer movement and resulting in migrations not just from the East to the West, but in reverse too.

One suspect there is a good paper in this.