Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Train, Of Thought

He yawned his sleep away, wiping the tears from his tired eyes. He never could sleep on trains, and didn't on this one either. He looked out the window, his cheek resting on the grill. Dawn was forming, the promiscuous sky welcoming her new lover, looking forward to the new clothes he would bring...he would get off soon. Looking at the sun prepare his canvas for the day, he smiled, remembering other days, other trains, other journeys, other dawns.

He scanned the compartment he was in -- empty except for the tramp snuggled against the toilet door, and the college kid in the next booth, with loud music filtering out of his head-phones. Newspapers lay strewn along the aisle. Some had been read, and then thrown away, used. Some had served other less noble purposes. The stories, the reports, the cartoons -- now shunned for the latest. Occasionally, a swirl of wind would catch the papers and spin them around in an eddy. The papers would play along, happy for the momentary respite from lying around, feeling used. Some memories were like that. A forgotten emotion would come by and swirl them around, examining everything that had not happened, everything that had not been said, before leaving those frames from yesterday in their resting places, along with others of the past...Yesterday was fleeting, fading, and today never stayed. Tomorrow is only what everybody has. The next hour, the next meeting, the next station...

The train trundled along steadily. The wind ran its fingers through his travel-weary hair, parting it in newer patterns, almost as if fascinated to see how he would look if he'd combed it differently. He felt the chill of the morning in the hollow of his prickly, unshaved cheek. He pulled his collars up and hunched deeper into the corner of his seat. And in doing so, felt the pressure of the ticket in his pocket against his chest. Instinctively, he reached inside, feeling for it, reassuring himself from the coarseness of the paper that it indeed was the ticket. Everyone took care of their tickets. Except the ones who never bought one, of course. Some got good seats, some didn't. But everyone took good care of their tickets. At least, they tried to. Until the journey ended, that is. The tickets would then be thrown away, used. Then all that remained was to buy the next ticket, wait at the station, board the next train, and look forward to tomorrow.

The sun had climbed up a bit now, striving for a better look of his land, checking if something had changed from yesterday. He wondered if the sun ever got bored. But then it was perhaps the hope of change that kept it going. Like his hope that these rail tracks did indeed lead to a better place. Travel itself is a great exercise in hope, he thought. Of newer lands, newer dreams, newer tomorrows. Better tomorrows. But then, so is Life. So is Life. Even though we convince ourselves with iron reason that something is worth doing, we hope that the fruit tastes good. If we get the fruit, that is. And until we taste it, we never know if it will.

The train turned a bend abruptly, and drew into the station. He had to get off. Tomorrow had become today.

Monday, June 20, 2005


She looked ruefully at the unforgiving sky -- believing, yet disbelieving. She felt like a smile. She felt like a cry. It had happened. Like he had said it would, leaving her wondering if it was all real.
He got into bed quietly. A warmth spread across his body as he wistfully replayed snatches from the conversation they had had. I just want to hear you breathe, she had said. Sometimes Hope is cruel, yet he hoped.

To stand on the shore and look as the river passed him by, or to plunge into it, had been the question. He had decided to lose himself. He had decided to gift his dreams to the night, so that she would see them in the morning.

The digits on the LED clock glowed in the dark, reminding him of the morrow and the mundane.

He didn't want to sleep. But he wanted sleep like never before.

He didn't want to dream. But he wanted dreams like never before.

He didn't want to wake up. But he wanted to wake up like never before.

He felt her words in the cold draught that had somehow slipped into his room -- just like her.

He felt her words in the soothing darkness that lay around him -- just like her.

He felt her words echo in the memory of all the days that he had gone sleepless.

He closed his eyes, and heard her coy voice again, with the pain hidden so well, he had almost missed it.
He wondered if she was the mystery that he didn't want to solve.

He wondered if she was the wave that would take him out to sea and never bring him back.

He wondered if she was the woman he had never dared to put down in words, scared of tempting Fate.

He wondered if she was his past come alive to be moulded into his future.

He wondered at how she was everything he was and yet everything he wasn't.

He wondered if this was how it felt to be weak, to be vindicated, to be Alive.

He wondered if eye-shadow could be more enrapturing, silence more resonant, pain more poetic.

He saw her in the playful darkness -- pleading at him to explore.

He could see her in the dissolving shadows -- waiting for him to throw light her way.

He saw her in the demure streaks of sunlight -- brilliant and pristine, so full of Life.

He could see her in the rain, in the lightning -- revealing, hiding.

He fell asleep, dreaming of dreaming about her.
She looked ruefully at the unforgiving sky -- believing, yet disbelieving. She would await his dreams in the morning.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Clouds confer,
Their demeanour grave,
Their heads heavy,
As they ponder
Thoughts of rain.

Umbrellas unfurl,
Their faces eager with colour,
Their owners pensive,
Summer's first rain.

Trees tremble,
Their manner changes,
Their leaves whisper
Tales and secrets
Of rain and afterwards.

Pen poised,
Paper ready to wet,
Words in abeyance,
I await
The rain on my window.


It's been raining ever since I came here, and like any water-starved native of Chennai, I'm loving it.
It happened to me: The you-wait-all-day-to-talk-with-'someone'-and-then-when-the-moment-arrives-you're-tongue-tied thing - Damn!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


My days so far...

Today - 7 June

Today was perfect. Just perfect.

As in rain washed morning, drippy trees perfect.
As in woke up before the alarm clock woke me up perfect.
As in couldn't wait to catch the train to office perfect.
As in the traffic just stayed at home perfect.
As in drowned myself in the silence of my work perfect.
As in the radio kept playing my favourite songs perfect.
As in a smile stayed on my lips all day perfect.
As in solved the crossword perfect.

As in wanted to run till my lungs burst perfect.
As in wanted to make everyone around me happy perfect.
As in write that book I always wanted to perfect.
As in wanted to go on a sailing holiday perfect.
As in wanted to be nowhere else, doing nothing else but this perfect.
As in happy for every moment I was alive perfect.
As in wouldn't have mattered if I died just like that perfect.

A perfect day. And I lived it well.

Yesterday - 6 June

Yesterday was a rotten day. Really rotten.

As in gray skies, murky weather rotten.
As in plane couldn't have landed more roughly rotten.
As in nobody came to pick me up rotten.
As in the taxi driver couldn't keep his mouth shut rotten.
As in didn't have enough local currency rotten.
As in all the money changers were closed, public holiday rotten.
As in had to adjust and eat soggy noodles on my first day rotten.
As in jet lag, no sleep on the flight, work tomorrow rotten.

As in didn't want to answer any phone calls rotten.
As in wanted to hang from the nearest tree rotten.
As in I could write a book about my day rotten.
As in wish I was on a sailing holiday rotten.
As in wanted to be somewhere else, doing anything but this rotten.
As in cursing every moment I was alive rotten.
As in wouldn't have mattered if I died just like that rotten.

Rotten day. But I lived it well.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Off to a new place

...well not entirely new, but yes, a change of scenery.

In case you've not noticed it in my profile, I'm in Perth (actually in Singapore now) - I've been sent on an assignment by my company and I'll be here till the 2nd of July.

I did well the last time I was sent here; hope I do well this time around too. There's just this wee bt of anxiety - not entirely unlike that before an exam or a cricket match.

Also plan to do some more travelling this time and catch up on the sights that I'd missed last time.

Last but not the least, will try to keep the posts coming.

Well, here's to me and Perth!!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Speak out

Love lurks,
Behind latched
Grass covered
Let it out.
Let it out.

Love stays hidden
In the pages
Of a secret diary,
In the colours
Of an unfinished painting.
Let it free.
Let it free.

Love lies troubled
In doubting
In questioning
Let it live.
Let it live.

Documentation woes

Life has this way of laughing in your face.
It's been more than a month since I started blogging - mostly as a means of sharpening my writing and to keep the creative juices flowing. At the risk of sounding narcissistic, I must say I've been impressed with myself - the last two posts being a case in point. I wrote them both on the same day - within an hour of each other.
So, some time back as I was floating on cloud ninety nine - overjoyed at the rediscovery of my writing prowess, I was brought crashing to Earth by a small incident that happened in my office. As my profile says, I'm an Engineer, and my job also involves writing technical documents - usage instructions, design specifications, test reports...I try to make it interesting but at times it gets really irritating, especially when there are stupid standards to follow.
So, this is what happened. A couple of weeks ago, one of the documents that I'd written came up for review:
Boss - "You know, I was reading through this 'thing' that you'd written, and generally wanted to speak with you..."
Me - bracing myself, "Yes sir...", thing???
Boss - "The document by itself is good, I'm not questioning the contents..."
Me - Go on, I can handle this. Deep breath now.
"...but it's the way you write...it's...it's too ..."
Me - Here it comes...
"...see this..." - he showed me a document a colleague had written - "...this has everything in black and white. Only what needs to be there is there. But yours seems to be..."
Me - "...long winded??...", incredulously.
"...no, no, not long-winded at all..."
Me - phew!!
"...but it's just that you give too much importance to the little things..."
Me - Whaa..., come again?? Isn't that supposed to be good??
"...I mean instead of only the essential being there, you also put in a lot more which are not necessary. I don't want to spend my time looking for the important stuff. I want it to be easily visible...blah...blah...BLAH" - he went on but I had had enough. My 'writer' bubble had just burst. My self-esteem, as an aspiring writer, took a beating. I broke the record for the least time taken to perform a free fall.
In short, what my boss wanted me to do is what I call "bullets writing". You know, use all those stupid bullet points that MS Word offers you, and write documents cynically, without sentences, without neatly laid out paragraphs, just to the point, without life or blood. I felt lost that day. Life had lost its meaning - at least momentarily.
So, from that day, I started writing like 'them' and not like 'me' - the documents, I mean. No adjectives, no beautiful turn of phrases, no imagination, nothing - just plain writing.
And my boss is happy.
And guess what, the colleague - nice chap, I hold nothing against him - whose document my boss had showed me the other day, got pulled up, and was shown one of my 'new' documents as an example of the areas where his documents could improve.
Talk about getting beaten at your own game. Take that!! I could make out what my colleague was thinking when my boss was giving him 'tips' - Life has this way of laughing in your face. Exactly buddy!! Exactly.