Thursday, March 31, 2011

Many Men

Streets go empty
excitement in the air
Pak versus India
the World Cup is here

will India make it to the finals
the men in the house worry
women worry for feeding those men
hot chapatis and curry

he stops all work, is glued to the TV
bites his nail and perspires for the game
her day unchanged, she cuts cleans and cooks
her routine of drudgery, all the same

home-maker she could be, or a coporate lass
but it's on her the responsibility rests
of keeping the house clean, supplying nourishing food
and children's school work and tests

men remain engrossed, in tall wordly matters
at leisure and convenience, they indulge the kids
women remain absorbed, in zillion homely work
and when their baby craps, men don't clean the shit

he gets the car serviced, he even buys his clothes
for such little work, he praises his own knack
the wife has no time, from his socks undies and ilk
she toils through out the day, almost breaking her back

freedom has brought her, car and communication
now added to house-work, is outside shopping
her man's freedom however, is in gadgets and playstations
he's plonked on the sofa, while she does veggie-chopping

worse than the modern woman, is her village counterpart
fetches water from miles, tends to cattle and field
but man takes the pay, for all her hard work
she endures his drunken beating, to his abuses she yeilds

visiting her mother, is her occasional solace
much to the objection of the man and his parents
men of course are free - to drink, dine, and roam
they decide unlike women, how their time is spent

"cleanliness is your concern", say men to avoid work
they deserve to be left with cockroaches and rats
but she bears it all for the sake of children
"why should kids pay for their dad's lazy ass?"

"women prefer petty work", men often say
"since intellect demands reading and research"
but women know too well, that for big and bold work
you cannot be trusted if you leave the small in lurch

painfully but surely, she climbs up the ladder
through talent and toil, of management and maturity
while men scheme of being, catapulted to the top
fraught of inexperience and full of insecurity

hardened by injustice, steeled by disregard
she's stomached everything thrown at her face
but the day she resolves to give up on her chores
the world will stop, it'll be the end of feminine grace.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pissing Off!

The road from sector 6 to sector 4 market in Dwarka, New Delhi, like most Delhi roads, is wide and smooth. That is, for the cars. For the pedestrians, it is, what you can call as an ‘olfactory nightmare’.

In between the two markets runs the famous ‘naala’ of west delhi, an age-old landmark occupying a prominent guiding position in Eicher maps and Google Earth. For the uninitiated, the far-reaching smell is indicative enough. The naala oozes with gut turning muck in the middle of towering concrete structures. Nature’s way of saying – the shit has hit the fan.

Offering a passage above this naala (no matter how nose-burning) is a short bridge. Almost every evening, I cross this stretch on foot to reach home. Day before yesterday, I risked an unusual response to a usual phenomenon in this part of the world.

I saw him from far and close enough to figure that he was peeing. With men, the pose tells it all, actually. What angered me was that he was pissing bang in the centre of that cruelly narrow footpath on a very busy road. I agree that men (and women) can’t be expected to control their bladders in a city with abysmally inadequate public utilities…but they can at least be expected to use some discretion? I mean, the man could have urinated a few meters ahead or behind that point where there was some space for human and excretion to co-exist. But no. He will piss wherever he feels like. As if it’s his dad’s road. As if others are his piss bearers.

I just HAD to give it back to him.

I timed my steps such that by the time he zipped, I was close enough to be in talking range. Once he did, I stepped down from the footpath, and said, “ये लोगों के चलने की जगह है भाई”. Honestly, I wanted to give him a piece of my mind…but there I was, on a rather lone and dark delhi road…accosting a man for something that can hurt his pride. So that was all I could and would manage.

Unexpectedly (you are expecting the worst while doing any dare-devilry), the man almost fainted. He immediately sidestepped and said, “गलती हो गयी मैडम, आगे से नहीं होगा’।
Strange. Almost innocent. No, foolish.

As I went back smiling to my home, I thought…if more and more people, especially women…started being more open and reasonable with the pissing habits of men, the world might just become a cleaner place to live in.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Usher Girls

They stood there wearing cool black t-shirts and red mini skirts. A picture of the modern disdainful beauty – thin figure, out-of-bed hairstyle, kohl lined eyes and sulking demeanour. They were what they call in the PR/ Advertising/ Event Management lingo as the ‘Usher Girls’. Dissatisfied as they always are with the outsourcing agencies, the only one thing that the entire Client side agreed to, was the fact that these girls did everything but ‘usher’ the guests in!

Why? I keep wondering (I also wonder why I ask so many whys?). What’s the need of these usher girls? As a concept, per se, it makes sense for lean organisations to hire temporary manpower for one-off events to do the sundry jobs. The entire outsourcing business owes its origins to this reason. But only because most of the world is going for outsourcing, does it become obligatory on big organisations, with more than enough (and potentially good but abominably underused) manpower to get into the same rut?

All said and done, even if you have entered the rat race and got hold of some sassy looking girls to do the ushering job, what exactly should be their work? It’s an important question, especially for the one who pays through one’s nose for hiring these girls (but many employees even from the client company don’t give a damn coz it’s the company’s nose, not theirs, after all). Either way, one would expect these girls to be briefed about the event, and also learn a word or two about the company they seemingly represent. It wouldn’t be asking for the moon to expect these girls to guide the guests in a warm and meaningful way. One is not asking for puppets, one is only asking for a little smile and a little sense. Is this combination impossible to achieve?

One more point. Age-old of course. Do young, slim and merely good-looking girls automatically qualify as hospitable? This question has been thrashed thread-bare in the airline industry to no real conclusion. But let’s look at this through common sense. What are we trying to offer to our guests/ customers? Helpful people to best address their queries or eye-candies to double up as aphrodisiacs? Most event management/ cosmetic based industries will put up a staid defence to this question – why can’t you have both in one? There comes my exact question – what’s the need of having aphrodisiacs in events? Are we assuming that a majority of our audience has roving eyes, or are we trying to influence our audience’s tastes by presenting them with this omnipresent option? With whatever little experience I have, I think the latter is true, since it goes on to be the sole raison d'etre for so many organisations. ‘Your potential horniness is our bread and butter’ – is the undercurrent. So why not feed those instincts and quadruple my profits! Pretty simple equation, isn’t it?

I will stomach even that, since this is the age of freedom. Only wonder if and when those girls will stop commodifying themselves.

Recently, I was present at a typically high-society event liberally splashed with its share of usher girls. Hardly out of college, the girls merrily chatted among themselves, stood as gate-keepers during the assigned hours (the chatting still going on), and hardly greeted any guest. They joked and ate and quipped while the guests groped for directions. Detached in spirit from the hustle and bustle of the event. In one word - Cold.

I happened to pass through the door of two such girls. Giggling, one of them chortled, “oh! That guy?! He f@#$ing pisses me off”.

A rather uninviting way to usher people in, no?

Silence replaced You

Everywhere I go
everywhere I prevail
a silence leads
a silence trails

I do what I love
I dance and read and write
I sing I play I travel
with silence as my guide

my friends are my darlings
and family my resort
but silence is what stays
in my actions and my thoughts

I shrug it off in music
in things that make me proud
but it returns with a vengeance
a silence – clear and loud

silence flies all day
in nights it comes to brood
my mind is its nest
my heart is its food

it’s found a hole in me
it lingers near and close
it resides in the vacuum
in just the place that was yours.

अबकी सावन फिर आया है

अबकी सावन फिर आया है, बताना उन्हें
दिखाना उन्हें,
वो सड़कें जो पत्तों से ढकी हुई हैं
वो टहनियाँ जो फूलों से लदी हुई हैं
वो सुबह-सुबह कोयल का गाना
वो भीनी सी खुशबू का हर पल आना
वो झरने की रिमझिम तरंग
वो दिल का उछलता पतंग
वो प्रेमी जोड़ियों का मुग्ध संग
वो प्रेम के धागों से जुड़े हुए अंग
वो दिन की ज़रा-ज़रा से धूप
वो धरा का खिला खिला रूप...

अबकी सावन फिर आया है, बतान उन्हें।

एक और गर्मी बीत गयी,
उनके पसीने की ठंडक को छूए बिना
एक और बरसात टल गयी,
उनके जिस्म को आप में घोले बिना
एक और पतझड़ चला गया,
उनके साथ एक लंबी सैर किए बिना
एक और सर्दी पार हुई,
उनके बाहों में सिकुड़कर सोए बिना...

अबकी सावन फिर आया है, बताना उन्हें
याद दिलाना उन्हें, कि मैं आज भी जीती हूँ
उनसे दूर बिताए लम्हों को, उँगलियों पर गिनती हूँ...


RED was the colour of seduction.
of sizing you up with dark eyes
provoking you with casual lies
of inciting you with clever tricks
of love that fights, bounces and kicks…

GREEN was the colour of envy.
when you spoke of another
woman with praise
I’d clutch on to you
my heart ablaze…

BLUE was for our after-fight mood.
lying on the same bed
apart and aloof
waiting for another
to make the first move
and as we got a chance
which we just wouldn’t miss
we’d put our heart and soul
in a mighty giddy kiss…

WHITE was the colour of peace.
holding hands on a busy road
snoring and sleeping in your arms
gazing at your face- wordless & quiet
soaking in love and its charms…

PINK was the colour of joy.
joy to love you
joy to tease you
joy to take you for granted
and then,
joy to appease you…

ORANGE was the colour of our dreams.
the flame that glowed behind us
that guided and held us
that found and smelled us
that inspired and charmed us
that strengthened and armed us…

PURPLE was the colour of our nights.
stars lit up the sky
to celebrate our coming together
and full moon shone with glory
in nights that lasted forever…

the city I live in, celebrated holi
the festival of colours, of everything new
my palette laid there-barren and empty
you took away all my colours with you.