January 30, 2010

Unfulfilled - Aparajita - II

A salt n pepper stubble, ruffled hair, tall lanky frame, the shirts he wore were typically long stripes and black trousers with khadi shoes. He had this innate ability to stand still, hands hanging by his side and an expressionless face. Sometimes waiting in the bus stop people would often take him to be someone suspicious. 

His behavior was normal or nothing that would catch the attention of the authorities but his unspoken words had led to many speculations in the past. He had a sling bag across his shoulder which from the outside, looked as if it was empty. But it was not.

Adjusting his bi-focal, wiping his fore-head, he took out the press card from his pocket and showed it to the security officer outside the office. A quick customary glance at the card and the officer thought of asking a question but he was interrupted by Vijay Phadnis pro-actively,a  reporter for IndiaTomorrow. 

‘yes I have an appointment with the minister.’ Vijay said. And showed the email confirmation from Madam Aparajita Banerji’s office.

‘everyone has’ said the inspector wryly still examining the card.

‘yes but I have to speak to her on a very urgent matter’ Vijay remarked.

‘yes everyone's issue is important’ inspector looked at his counterpart and smirked.

‘you are right, the other day I got one whose cow had run away to another field,and they refused to give her back ~’ they broke out into a snigger. ‘Oh my- cowuch’ added the other inspector continuing the joke.

Vijay Phadnis had a strange way of communicating with his eyes. They were intense. They were angry..but his face was  still. As Vijay kept looking right into their eyes, the inspectors turned to look at Vijay and their laughter died down...something told inspector Balwinder Singh that there was something not right about  Mr. Vijay Phadnis…but he could not point his finger on the dot.

‘what is it about ?’ Singh asked.

‘it is a matter of national importance’. Vijay replied matter-of-factly.

‘which is?’ Singh raised his eyebrows.

‘i cant share this with you - it is only meant for Madamji.’

‘why?' am I not important? am I not intelligent? am i not educated? am I not worth living in this planet?’

It even surprised Singh as to why he took off so suddenly. Inspector Singh spoke sternly, somehow his deepest insecurities came out. There was something in the tonality of the guy or the way he looked... he was not sure. But there was definitely something wrong and he was getting angry.

Just then the other inspector gestured to Balwinder Singh to calm down.

‘what are you staring at? Take your sorry ass and get out of here’ said Singh , trying to keep his voice low.

‘I will not go until I meet Madamji.’ Vijay replied quietly.

‘are you arguing with me?’Balwinder was getting furious now.
‘if I have said no it means a no’. Sensing an escalating commotion the other inspector remarked to Balwinder -‘we still have time before lunch’.

Balwinder looked at Vijay squarely in the eye…and after a few seconds to calm down he said…‘go to the reception desk and register yourself' the inspector said pointing to Pinky.

‘We should alert other officers,I find something fishy about this guy.’ remarked Balwinder quietly to his counterpart.
‘Naah nothing to worry he’s just an old journalist trying to save the nation on his big strong shoulders’ remarked the other inspector sarcastically.

After a brief moment of silence ,exchange of cold glances, Vijay Phadnis went to the reception and registered his name. Pinky could smell Polo green on the gentleman. She was sure because she 'd gifted one to her lover in the party.

It wasn't until much later that it would strike Pinky why the perfume and the man seemed an odd combination.

When Pinky woke up – she saw blood spattered on the wall, Balwinder Singh lying on ground dead .A plethora of bullets had strewn his body and his counterpart had been shot in the head.

The door  to Aparajitaji’s cabin was ajar..

Shocked at the sight she barely managed to get out of her groggy self  & dragged her feet to peep inside the room –  only to see an open window and bullets strewn on the carpet…with no sign of Aparajitaji….or the stranger…

She frantically searched for her mobile and pressed the redial…in horror..

‘Hello Pinky – what happened’? said a dark voice from the other end.

‘Balwinder and Shindey are dead and I was gagged’ said Pinky trembling.

‘Damn you’ screamed the voice.‘you have failed the mission – killing Aparajita was our only option to win the election’.

‘No Darling please listen to me.... we were on track, we had cancelled all other appointments,kept the area clear of all people, and we were on the clock… but this strange guy came from nowhere and showed us a letter from Aparajita herself’…
‘what ? who came? What letter? The dark voice interrupted.

‘some Vijay Phadnis had come. Balwinder tried to wave him off but he didn’t agree…so instead of creating a chaos and raising an alarm ,Balwinder thought of getting this over and done with quickly and quietly... and he sent him to my desk for the usual process  of registration... and I think that’s when the perfume’ ….she trailed off…

‘WHAT ? how could it be Vijay Phadnis? Yelled the voice. ‘Vijay Phadnis is dead. I killed Vijay Phadnis 20 years back.! How could he be walking into that door?

Shocked Pinky  slumped to the ground…and as the wind gushed in from the open window..the pages of the register turned and the scribbled name…. showed Jatin Banerji.

Gyanban Thoughts - Read about  Aparajita - I ?

This post has a lot of questions unanswered - and it is deliberate. Possible sequel ? Yes thinking on those lines. The story is shown from two angels and depicts how the meaning changes and impacts the crux of the story.Each untied thread is a clue and leads to your imagination about the various outcomes. Note the first name and last name of the characters..this too will give you some clues.They have a meaning inculcated in the story.

January 28, 2010

Undefeated - Aparajita I

'It would be on Friday ' remarked the party president Raja babu at the congregation of the party meeting.

Lal Prasad slowly raised his head,but could not utter his resentment...instead he asked "what do I need to do ?

Raja babu noted Lal Prasad's clenched fist...but chose not to address it.

'I will let you know tonight'.In the meanwhile make all preparations, I want maximum impact' trailed off Raja babu into his cabin.

Raja Babu had brought Lalla over from his village to the city of joy...and perhaps dreams.

Raja babu was an excellent judge of people and knew potential when he saw one. Lalla, as he was affectionately called, beat up 3 people in the middle of a busy street, Raja babu had noted the ferocity and intensity in every punch and kick he delivered.

It was intense. No one dared to stop him , such was the power of his aggression.

Raja babu knew at that instant, Lalla would someday be useful to him.

Lalla had a developed a certain perception around him - stay away - which was complimented by his height at 6 feet 2 inches ,a lanky frame , his face bore a scar over the left eye, ruffled hair, and eyes looking down with eyebrows raised, big deep set eyes, put on mascara, and a slight frown on his face perpetually.

The fire within made him stronger in the mind. People often got misled by his lean appearance only to get shocked and beaten later.

"how long and how many will you fight?' asked Raja babu in the canteen sitting beside Lalla sipping tea, as drops of blood sprinkled on the white saucer.
“You need to get out of here and do something more important else risk dying an anonymous death .

Lalla did not respond. He looked at Raja babu with his eyebrows raised and eyes lowered, and went back to drinking his tea. After a brief moment of silence, Raja babu took the napkin on the table, and wrote his number down. “Call me, if you want to be something in life'...and left without waiting for Lalla's response.

Few years later,marriage,poverty and no money had forced Lalla to call the number.

"What are you going to do' ? Inquired a worried Susma lying in a general room at Ruby Hospital...
' I don't know, and stop bothering me with questions ..Lal Prasad said to his wife in a deep baritone...without inflection.’

You know I can't refuse Raja Babu after all he has done for us. This is his hour of need and I have to standby him'.Lalla said as he opened the top two buttons of his shirt and sat down on the floor.
Just this one last time and I am done with the debt’.'I will leave all this and start a new life Susma.. We’ll go somewhere else and make a new beginning...I am not going to get defeated by the system anymore..’

Just then , the phone rang - 'at sunset on Friday we will light up the park... a familiar voice said at the other end of the line. We meet near Ruby hospital sharp at 5PM - the minister is arriving for the function at the park opposite the hospital.' 'That should be the last function he attends along with his followers." click...the phone hung up.

Friday morning during the regular checkup Dr.Gandhi said ‘Mr.Prasad you would need to get ready by evening for the delivery…possibly earlier..We have given Susma some medication already’.

The clock seemed to tick faster that day…every tick tock hurt Lalla’s head. He was tensed and for the first time in her life Susma saw her husband’s vulnerable face under the tough exterior.

The minister was on his way & the motorcade preceding his car signaled his proximity. Lal Prasad signaled to his fellow party members to get ready for action…as he lay hidden behind the dark glasses of the parked white ambassador.

The vibrating phone in his left pocket showed Susma on the screen..

‘Please come now...They are taking me to the delivery room’..sounded a harried Susma.

‘Susma I can’t I am tied up, you know…’ screaming in labor pain Susma interrupted & pleaded Lalla ....he disconnected the phone.

The minister stepped on the dais and began to address the crowd. His party members were in the front row – this is exactly where he had to disrupt the proceedings. His fellow party members had their own share of arsenal to ignite…he had a gun.

Lalla slowly moved out of the car and walked into the park as an ordinary follower and sat near the exit gate.

It was time.

Just when he was about to take a shot – his phone vibrated again…he thought it was Susma again and did not take the call…before he could take another aim a sharp gunshot pierced his back..Chaos triggered.and simultaneously a loud explosion was heard...

There was dust in the air and people were screaming…Lalla got kicked and pushed as he rolled on the ground struggling to keep consciousness and go to the hospital a few yards ahead…as he lifted his head up he saw his fellow party member lying dead on the ground.

The crude bomb shrapnel had fleeced his skin, slit his throat and blood oozing from his mutilated left arm clutching a vibrating phone…

Meanwhile, in the operation theater Susma and the doctors struggled to deliver the baby as the chaos in the park led to disturbances in the hospital..The mob broke glass panes and ran helter skelter some in shock and some to shock others…

As the clock ticked ...the doctors were beginning to look at each other while trying to untangle the infant from the same source that gave her life… now could be the reason for her death.

There were complications in the pregnancy, she had probably died at birth some thought, for a few seconds...as the umbilical cord had almost choked her...but she fought.She survived. She arrived in this world with blood on her face and determination in her genes. The frantic efforts of the surgeons had given her a new life.

When Lalla unclenched the phone from the corpse he saw Raja babu flashing on the screen…

‘hello...Bhanu Singh…are you there..did you manage to kill Lalla ?’ ‘I knew he was having second thoughts about being with us, besides he knew too much, he had to die today...Disrupting the ministers gang was an added bonus…we killed two birds with one stone...good riddance to bad rubbish isn’t it Bhanu’..

Lalla gathered his breath and courage to speak a few words....‘Raja babu…my debt is over…..oh and another thing... get yourself insured..At least your family will benefit from your demise’.

Lalla threw the phone away..And walked towards the hospital bleeding profusely…he fell 20 steps short of the operation theater and his life - where his daughter was born…undefeated by her fate and circumstance...

‘She was born to fight’ Doctor Gandhi remarked…I’ll call her Aparajita’ said Susma closing her eyes with a wry smile…

Gyanban thoughts - This post is an ode to the 70's Hindi Film Industry.The character,the backdrop,the sequencing all are an attempt to expand my writing skills to a different genre - that of a masaala thriller.I have tried to be completely visual about the scenes and enacted them in my mind.! Was itching to do a character sketch of Raja babu in further detail giving an angle of twisted positivity to it..maybe in it's sequel.

January 26, 2010


When I was a nobody,
you walked in to be somebody,
my life was going no where,
don't know why you wanted to share,
love luck or money I had very few,
and you came out of the blue,
my night is long and I know why,
walk away or you'll just cry..

but you walked with me...

when I didnt have a penny,
those days were really funny
walking into a restaurant was easy,
it's the price list that made me queasy,
walked out quietly, head hung low,
promising some-day i 'll show,
standing in front of a big mall,
and eating by the road-stall

still you walked with me...

when i didn't have a job to pay bills,
those winters of silent chills,
that scooter without a back rest holder,
and you clutched on to my shoulder,
the ride long and winding,
getting lost and then finding,
but then one day when it broke down,
I was kicking but you didn't frown

and you walked with me...

the local trains were jammed,
you got jostled and rammed,
the rickshaws wouldn't oblige,
night shows and the fights,
the bus was always late,
getting a seat together wasn't my fate,
I stood hanging by the bar,
your eyes moist like twinkling star,
your soft smile and that little sob,
kept me going every day,

and you walked with me...

the day i decided to leave,
to make my dream weave,
the packings were silent,
the smiling goodbyes were diligent,
the tear drops asked me to stay,
the lips never parted,but the eyes gave it away,
the walk into the plane was long,
but I had to be strong,
away I went over the seven seas,
leaving behind my treasure of memories,

and you walked with me...

many moons had passed away,
I sat by the same subway,
as the trains rushed by,
the strangers asked me why,
I would've jumped on the track
but a hand held me back,
It rained hard that evening,
as I looked up in the sky,
I saw you crying and saying..

I ll always walk with you...

Gyanban thoughts - Revenir means come back in French.Often time we keep waiting for the right moment,only to realize later that the wonderful moments we spend together..were the ones to be cherished..sometimes in life we forget the price we have to pay for our dreams..

January 18, 2010

Et tu ?

'Give me your number again ,I just lost my address book’ requested Rohit.

'9211 04201’.........

.....'& Radhika’s?

‘hey isn’t my number enough? .....Why do you want my wife's number ? Rahul joked.

‘Ufff, I am planning to run away with her.... happy?’ they both laughed loudly.


'Thanks buddy’ said Rohit...with the two airtickets clutched in his palm.

Gyanban Thoughts - Thought of giving it an alternative tittle - A friend indeed ...is a friend in need ! am guessing most readers would think Rohit ran away with Radhika...see how we all think alike ? But I must confess somewhere the thought did cross my mind what if Rohit was actually clutching the connecting flight ticket ?

January 9, 2010

Morning never shows the day...

The sun was showing itself off in full glory.Not a cloud in the sky.There began my journey.

My predecessors had told me,this would be the hardest part of your journey.such was the design of the plan that there could be a chance that I never got selected.The very thought of getting left behind made me ripple.But i was determined.My size was small...but my spirit high.I was determined to reach the top.There was competition.Stiff one at that.But something in me told me I was meant for something else.Something bigger.As days passed into nights and moons hid behind the sun I was getting heated up from inside.Patience was not my strong point.But such was the design of the system that I had no choice but to be ready whenever it was the right time.

I was mentally getting ready for the long haul but the day came sooner than I imagined.I was absolutely thrilled..I was on cloud 9 ! The few who got in this batch were worthy competitors.They all looked well curved and well balanced.Deep inside a small voice told me, I belong.Thus began my journey to far away lands and exciting experiences.I didn't know what to expect but was more than energized to accomplish any task given to me.

Training was long and hard.Many new faces,places and races.I was not always welcomed by my seniors,they thought since i was so small I d not be able to live up to it.I'd probably drop off after some distance.They indulged me and secretly laughed at my trials and failures.Rude comments and scoldings were increasing by the day.

I was given the task of watching the path ahead,and alert of any obstacles on the way.I was so determined to succeed that I made all arrangements to stay awake in the night and do some prep work.I worked really hard,sat up all night watching every possible hurdle that came and went, alerting when needed ignoring when unimportant. IT was about time the sun showed up it was a long night.Suddenly a fight broke out between the seniors.

They fought like thunder and lightening.It was a big chaos but I couldn't make out what was the issue..there was a loud jerk and i was all shaken up.Every one had become quiet.something had hit us.It then dawned upon me that I had failed to alert the oncoming obstacle.!That was it ..this was the moment I dreaded.All my efforts would be wasted.I was scared.

Next day,I was called and asked for an explanation.I kept quiet and nodded to all arguments leveled against me.I shouldn't have left my post no matter what.But I did.Dejected I went back to my place.Little did I know what lay ahead of me.

There were many obstacles that followed, same loud jerk and shaking and I felt even more guilty.Till one day the loudest jerk happened, every thing was shaking, we ran out of our places,there was chaos,I didn't know where to go,everyone was running.The places begun to crumble and I was thrown off....

I was falling and falling really fast, many of my friends were with me.They too were scared.But something strange happened just then.the more we fell the more pleasant we felt.It was no longer cold and windy..it was a touch comforting warm.We looked at each other in disbelief.What was happening? how could imminent death feel so comforting.?

As we looked down, we saw many trees,plants ,birds and a whiff of fresh air went through us.the last few seconds were the most frightening and I think I d blacked out.When I opened my eyes, I was resting on a rose petal.I thanked my lucky stars.The journey from cloud 9 to the rose petal was an eye-opener.

Indeed morning never shows the day.!

- Droplet.

Gyanban Thoughts - this could also be read as an autobiography of a droplet..it s emotions,fears,thoughts,and final moments of glory are all captured in the words.
If you have the time, then read the post again keeping in mind that it is a tiny droplet
speaking about it s life,you just might enjoy the post better.

January 4, 2010

Resolution Road -

Most of us look forward to a new year.A new year brings a new perspective,and along with it a new resolution.

Each passing year, we start, stutter and then stop...just to start again the following year.how many of us can boast of a resolution achieved? I am sure there are exceptions, but the certainly not the rule.A good majority would have made a new resolution on January1 ,2010.Some would have renewed, some engineered and some not taken at all.So why do we land up making resolutions every year?

Why not start with no resolution for a change? Read carefully. No-resolution for a change. Let us resolve to stay the same.The most common factor missing from every resolution stopped is resolve, discipline.So If one cannot resolve to keep a resolution why not have a resolve to not have a resolution? At the very least you will develop a sense of resolve and discipline.This too requires an effort.Most of us in the comfort zone, just adjust.Most of us really adjust to whatever is thrown at us...and move on. We are all gung-ho about a resolution at the beginning of the year, but as days progress we find more excuses to not follow it. That too tells a story about yourself.Don't make a resolution for the heck of it.Chances are you ll break it as soon as you created it.

There lies the root cause of "chalta- hai" or "it's ok" or "whatever" attitude. When this collective attitude adds up it forms the personality of a nation.Then how can we expect a change? That's how the people of the world identify you,your race or your country as whether or not there are exceptions.So, for those who think they are not like this,they fall under the exception category - but they too get sucked into the situation whether they like it or not.Because in the larger scheme of things, we are all one. So action is for everyone.The do'ers and the not do'ers.And unless we collectively correct this..no resolution will be resolute enough and no change will change your life enough.Yet we make it a point to crib,criticize the system for ever wrong that has happened.We criticize our leaders for not running the country properly - what are we doing about it ? We cant even run our lives properly ?

Sometimes people are like the Ostrich,with no disrespect mean't to Ostriches, who covers her head under a rock thinking that her whole body is covered as well.Unfortunately the part exposed is always the part that gets hurt.Yet we continue to crib and complain about everything..and keep doing the same thing again and again.That's how we form the fabric of our society and therefore of ourselves.

Take a random example.Just like this post. Some will read and think, this is a nice read,and forget about it.Some will think how idealistic...and move on.Some will find faults and move on and some will just read the first and last few lines and leave a comment...move on.We need to look at us first before we comment on others.

Another reason why many resolutions fail is because there is no tracker.There is no measure.We do not know what we set out to achieve whether we are close or far from it ? And where do we exactly need to improve? How can we measure that change? how can we know how we are faring against our resolutions ? I have made a list of changes I would sustain from now on - Here is an example of how one could track your resolution - read the explanation below.

1I will not criticize -If I cannot correct it 1 0 1
2I will not comment - If I cannot add value1 0 1
3I will not give excuses - If I cannot do it.0 1 1
4I will not dirty -What I cannot clean1 0 1
5I will not discourage someone -because I cannot do it1 0 1
6I will not cheat because someone cheated me1 0 1
7I will not break a rule because I am lazy to follow it01 1
8I will not feel superior by making someone feel inferior0 1 1
9I will not package if I don't have content02 1
10I will not let anyone stop me0 1 1
Grand TotalWhat's my score.5 6 11

Give yourself 1 point for every Yes and No.At the end of every week, add up the score to see how you fared against your resolution index. Either there would be more number of yes - which means you are adhering to your resolution,so you could reward yourself with what you like the most. Alternatively, there could be more number of No's so you know you are defaulting, and know exactly where to improve the following week,are you willing to discipline yourself?

Even if you discontinue doing it - that also means something isn't it? Then next time you crib rant or complain you clearly know where you stand in the scheme of things. Since there is no right or wrong , true or false to this - it just tells you how your are.These simple results also tell what kind of a person you are,determined,lazy, procrastinator or simply an excuse finder,whatever maybe- you know who are, maybe you can fool the world but if you are fooling yourself,just remember the day you wake up - it is going be a very rude awakening and can happen sooner than you can imagine.This also translates to the society as a whole.If we continue to carry on our lives without resolve without any discipline ,we are setting an example for the wrong kind of a ripple effect...and as time passes by you will for sure find yourself making another attempt at making a resolution the next year.

If we as a collective society make ourselves better human beings from what we were the previous year, I think that in itself will contribute to a mass improvement. Which in turn will benefit us and make our resolve stronger,longer and effective.

Remember when you start to cycle,the first pedal is the most difficult and requires the maximum effort.But once it rolls.it becomes progressively easier.

History repeats itself because people don't learn from it.

Gyanban Thoughts - this post is simply trying to remind the reader to have an accountability system in their lives,a sense of discipline,and courage to follow what you have decided.It gives mental strength to know that you have lived up to your expectations.

January 2, 2010

Yes we can

Yes we can,go on a diet plan,
we always plan,to go on a diet plan.
If breakfast with bagels and waffles
would loosen all those stiff muscles,

If donuts or cakes and pastries ,
got rid of some calories,
we could eat with a smile,

If steaks could make us walk a mile,
Duck roast and Cantonese noodles
could make us loose oodles,

If we lost weight eating tandoori chicken and pomfret,
we could ask for another helping without any fret.
Pork chops make my heart flutter,
just need a dash of lime and butter,

Smoked salmons and scallops
would compensate for all those push-ups,
Some vodka , blue cheese and caviar,
would make my waist look thin from near or far,

If Blueberry cheesecake and creme brulee
would make us agile like Pele,
It would be nice to have High cheekbones and six pack abs,
what if we could eat six fat lambs.
there would be no pressure
to get the desired Hour glass figure,

if only we could have strawberries and whipped cream,
with extra topping and still be lean,
alas this is just a dream
with a dash of sour cream,
like all dreams some day this too will come true,
till then i 'll make do with my little chicken stew...


“Stop staring at me!  Stupid cab, didn’t see the puddle. Now please, eat baby, don’t fuss,” said June pushing the tray. Just then Consta...