Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The first real love story I watched unfold

You know, love stories don’t always have happy, blissful endings. Sometimes, they leave you in tears with a broken heart and shattered hopes. You find yourself losing faith in love as a concept. In such a situation, it’s immensely helpful to watch a close friend’s love story unfold, day by day, and reach a successful conclusion. That’s pretty much how it was for me.

His name is Abhishek. Hers is Nidhi. And as of today, they’re married. Happily so, touch wood. Me? Well, I am still reeling from the occasional pain of the broken heart. But this is their story. Not mine.

Five years ago, I bumped into Abhishek at rehearsal. A week after meeting him I met his then-girlfriend-now-wife Nidhi. It’s said that opposites attract and these two stood as the archetype of that concept. While Abhishek is the quintessentially short fused mammoth, Nidhi has an air of stability and calmness about her. He’s the reactor, she’s the pacifier. When I met them, they had already been dating for 6 years. I often wondered why she was seeing him. But as we all became close like a family, I could see why. Without each other, they were incomplete. Every time they fought, I saw them itching to make up. Not that it stopped them from fighting.

Trouble was; Abhishek’s family members were staunch believers in astrological predictions, given their experiences in the past. And that prediction said that their wedding would destroy Abhishek. The frustration of disapproval trickled into their relationship, leading to frequent quarrels. Often, he would call me, drive down inebriated and rant on about how he was miserable because Nidhi didn’t understand his dilemma and difficulty. The rants lasted anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour and a half. The next day, however, invariably, I was sworn to silence.

That isn’t to say that Nidhi didn’t have her moments and though I was witness to it far less than I was to Abhishek’s, on occasion, she would bring up her frustrations with the relationship having reached a stalemate. She would be irritable, demanding and obstinate. Once, they argued with such ferocity that by the end of it, Abhishek’s phone lay shattered on the ground and Nidhi could be heard crying on the other end from about 5 feet away. I thought it was over. It wasn’t.

A year after this incident, and after a lot of encores, he managed to convince his father and a wedding date was picked. Great!

But as luck would have it, the morning of the wedding, the open air venue looked more like a reservoir, thanks to torrential rains the night before. Given the urgency, patience was in short supply. While he was scouting venues with us, Nidhi was busy handling the relatives. Finally, a venue was booked at 4 PM, the decorations were done in 2 hours flat and the wedding concluded at midnight, ushering in a happy climax.

On most days, that still gives me a glimmer of hope.

This post was written for the 'The first real love story I watched unfold' blogging contest by http://www.bonobology.com/ and http://writersmelon.com/

Friday, September 06, 2013


Sarfaroshi ki tamanna
Toh hai baaki aaj bhi
Desh par mitne ki neeyat
Kuch hai baaki aaj bhi

Iss watan ke naam toh
Ab bhi yeh jaan qurbaan hai
Ram ho ya ho Ali
Hindustan toh sabki shaan hai

Iss tirangey ke rangon mein
Hai ranga Hindustan
Chahe mazhab koi bhi ho
Yeh hai sabhi ka aashiyaan

Gul hain iss gulistaan ke hum
Hum hi hain angaar bhi
Chahte toh karna dosti hain
Kar sakte hain par prahaar bhi

Chahe humko todne ki
Kar lo tum koshish hazaar
Ek jut ho kar khade hain
Mulk par hone nisaar

Hum na tootenge kabhi
Na bikhrenge hum haar kar
Aasmaan ko chhoo hi lenge
Mushkilon ko paar kar

Sarfaroshi ki tamanna
Toh hai baaki aaj bhi
Desh par mitne ki neeyat
Kuch hai baaki aaj bhi

Friday, April 05, 2013

iAgree – For those unwanted ideas.

STATUTORY WARNING: May bring back disturbing memories. Reader discretion is advised.

If you have served your time in advertising, you will, in all likeliness be familiar with the scenario mentioned below.

Client servicing walks up to you and drags you by your torn jeans and disheveled hair to the client meeting scheduled in the next half an hour. You might be an art director. Or a copywriter. They couldn’t care less. They don’t give a tiny rat’s stinking arse. As long as you’re from creative, you’re good to be served on a platter, with fresh ideas on the side.

You reach the venue, step into the client’s conference room, highly aware that you're not on home turf and soothe your nerves sipping on the tasteless coffee. Servicing talks about, well the things they talk about, and then you’re put up on display. Suddenly all eyes are on you. Maybe all ears too. Suddenly you feel lab rat who’s being watched closely. By now the caffeine starts kicking in and you stir up quite a storm with your ideas and scripts. It seems like everyone on the other side of the table is listening to you with rapt attention. You reach a crescendo, feel light headed, and sit down, thinking you’ve cracked it. You're positive that your appraisals are secure. And just as you're about to heave a sigh of relief, you hear a voice, “you know, it’s pretty nice, the work you’ve brought to the table but I had an idea…”

You're jolted out of the lull. You're shaken. And stirred. But feel like nothing like a martini. All you realize is: there goes the weekend.

Knock knock. Hey you! Houston calling base. Wake up! It was just a hypothetical scenario. There are clients under your workstation. Or your chair. None in the cabinets either. Don’t be scared. Focus. Focus on this piece. It may save your life. And your precious, non-renewable weekends.

If you're blaming client servicing for all your troubles, don’t. Those poor blokes are like Jewish polish in a ghetto. They might carry a baton but they have no power. Really. It’s either them inhaling the Zyklon B or you. The choice is fairly obvious. What you need is a drug/pill to ensure that just unplanned ideas never happen.

Say hello to iAccept!

What if a single pill could render the client incapable of ideation? What if every meeting meant smiles and hugs all around, and possibly a few mugs of beer for all? What if you didn’t have to increase the logo size and ruin your layout? What if you could bring back the good ol’ days of advertising when smart ideas weren't dumbed down? Sounds like a utopia? Not really. Not anymore.

After countless hours of research and brainstorming, we(me and this out-of-his-freaking-hash-infected-mind chemist friend of mine) have come up with a pill that prevents the impregnation of mind with unwanted ideas. We call it iAccept. It is, simply put, an idea contraceptive. It makes the client a lot more receptive to ideas that otherwise would never see the light of day, it lowers the client’s inhibition about going ahead with ideas that haven't been tried and tested before, it makes the client trust you, and client servicing, completely and unconditionally and most importantly, it prevents them from expending grey cells faster than a Uzi. A lot of clients don’t have much ammunition anyway. That’s why the iAccept cuts off the thought flow from brain to tongue. (Oops! Statements like these can be career limiting.)

Anyway, iAccept is an emergency idea contraceptive pill that can save you a lot of hassle, but it has a few drawbacks/handicaps.

·         Unlike regular emergency contraceptive pills which give you a window of 72 hours AFTER the intercourse, iAccept has to be slipped BEFORE the orgy begins. Which is good in a way because you may not want to be a part of that orgy to begin with!

·         You will have to carry something edible to offer to the client because the client definitely won’t allow you to shove a funny looking pill down his/her throat. And if, by chance, the function of iAccept are known, you won’t even have a snowball’s chance in hell.

·         There may be side effects that make the client temporarily delirious. Which should not be something you're not used to, it is just to give you a heads up.

·         Finally, and most importantly, the pill, iAccept is fictitious and a figment of unbridled imagination. But you can, if you have a close friend who's a chemist, start scouting the possibility and feasibility of such a pill. After all, someone did come up with the truth serum too, right?

Client servicing people, if you're reading this then let me tell you I have nothing against you. Ok, almost nothing against most of you. On occasions, you can be really nice people and truthfully, you're just carrying out orders. But the question is, if iAccept becomes a reality someday, will you stand by the creative to put the plan into action? And oh, to the rare breed of nice clients I have come across over the years, I apologise. Don’t take this personally. You're just collateral damage of this piece.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Death to the Gunman

I apologise for the language used here, in case people find it offensive. It’s just a way of expression.

From head to toe, soaked in innocent blood
Silently stood the political whore
As the noose drew tighter around his neck
For the chaos he brought to the country’s shores

Some claimed he shall go to Elysium
Those stakeholders of terror
Elevating him to a heroic stature
Out of a whore, they made a martyr

I call him a whore, not out of whim
But because he played one, right to the hilt
His loyalty for sale to the highest bidder
With no conscience, no semblance of guilt

He begged for mercy
The moment he was cornered
After four years of seething anger
The nation’s will has been honoured

However, it’s not the whores we want
The pimps are the ones we seek
To hunt those down who make these whores
To make a brighter picture of the bleak

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Let there be light!

In the silence of the night
A shattering noise blares out
It calls out to you, my love
Of that, there can be no doubt
Is it the sound tearing through
Slicing the status quo to shreds?
Or is it the sound of a heartbreak
The one my heart truly dreads?
I know not and neither do I
Have the courage to find out
But it’s stifling me from within
This nagging, lingering doubt
Caught between the devil and the sea
This agonising discomfort of helplessness
Where are you, the light of my life
In these dark moments of duress?
These ceaseless hours of speculation
Seem like the wait for Godot
Hours, minutes, whatever it may be
To get through, I don’t know how
I've always been a warrior
I will not go down without a fight
Even if for you it’s just a spectacle
One performed for your delight
In my moments of solitude I've often pondered
Why am I still in love with you?
My heart has often wondered
Yes those moments of togetherness
Brought a surge of elation
But I wanted it to be so much more
Like result in mutual amelioration
I hope one day, soon enough
Our viewpoints concur
Decisions are not strewn all around
But we sit down and confer
I wait for our day of union
I wait through the cacophonic silence
Till that moment, every moment
A test of my love, my resilience

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ek subah aisi bhi thi...

Aankh khuli toh savera tha
Baahon mein tera roshan sa chehra tha
Kal raat ki unn silvaton ko odh kar, dil kiya phir so jaaun
Teri muskurahat ki dhoop mein ek baar aur kho jaaun

Hua toh kuch nahi vaise kal raat, par phir bhi kitna kuch ho gaya
Tujhe lagake seene se, ek arsey baad main chaien se so gaya
Khwaab bhi jaise maano chandni mein dhuley huey thhey
Jannat ke jaise saare darwaaze hi khuley huey thhey

Thand toh bahut thi aas paas, par jism mein ek haraarat thi
Lagta hai jaise iss nasamajh dil ki koi shararat thi
Dua kar raha tha main ki tu karwat na badle
Mann kar raha tha, ek aur baar tujhe laga loon galey

Dil ke korey panno pe jaise likh gayi thi tu kuch
Aakhien bandh, labh khaamosh, par keh rahi thi tu kitna kuch
Pal yeh beet jayenge, iss baat ka zara darr bhi tha
Kuch dil ki karestaani thi, kuch aisa mahol bhi tha

Bas yehi soch kar thoda main bhi muskuraa liya
Ki inn chand palon mein main khul kar jee toh liya
Baahon mein leke tujhe, main phir so gaya
Teri uss muskurahat ki dhoop mein phir kho gaya…

Friday, January 13, 2012

What’s there in a name?

William Shakespeare (may he sleep sound in his grave) couldn’t have been further from the truth when he quoted this. I mean, let alone the fact that in today’s scenario, it’s a person’s name that decides everything, from the ease in getting an e-mail address to a customer support executive being able to pronounce it, even in the times that have been, I am sure names played a significant part. Just imagine, for instance, if a dear friend of Shakespeare found his name too cumbersome and decided to shorten it to Willy Shake, out of affection, the kind of embarrassment it would’ve caused! Alright, maybe ‘willy’ wasn’t the slang for the instruments back then, but there must have been an alternative.

Sometimes I think parents name their children based on how much they love or hate them. Like this one bloke I bumped into, for example. His name was Samay (Time, in English). Needless to say, the rest of the evening was spent making him the butt of every joke. Like when he stopped dancing, people quipped “look! Time has stopped”. Reminds me of one of my ex-super bosses. He said that when the time came to name his kids, he came up with endless options and then sat down to figure exactly how each one of them could be mutilated and turned into a joke. And then froze on the two names that seemed most immune. Now, that’s a fine example of fatherly love!

For those who will probably pick on me saying I am quoting Willy boy out of context and the complete quote was "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.", I differ. Everyone has a name that suits their persona. It’s all about spotting it. Like I know these two sisters, Sandhya and Roshni. Incidentally, Sandhya is as fair as the white wedding dress of a bride and Roshni, well, let’s just say she can never make an image for herself, she can only make a silhouette. Not that I am complexion biased, it’s just that their parents could have reversed the names of the twins because not only is it a complete opposite of their skin colour, it’s also an opposite for the kind of people they are. Sandhya is vivacious, outspoken, restless, and always on the edge whereas Roshni is calm, sober, passive to the point of being a mannequin.

Coming back to the point, names are rather significant. Hence, there should be a few basic rules that should be followed any deviation from the rules should be penalised.

Ease of pronunciation: Absolutely not open for a debate. Names being internationally pronunciation friendly is a must. Take it from someone who has heard his name being mutilated to an extent that he chose to cut it short. Me. Or like this friend of mine, Shahnaaz. Lovely name (lovely girl, too) with a lovely meaning. Means The Royal Pride and translates into ‘a princess’ but a nightmare to pronounce, for those who’re challenged in that regard. On the other hand, there is this friend of mine called Jim (no, not Morrison). One simply can’t go wrong with a name like that!

Ease of spelling: As I see it, all names should be spelt phonetically. Again, comes from someone who has borne the brunt. Me. Like this woman called Kkashish. So, should one stress on the ‘K’? Or Schwarzenegger, for example. I know very few people who get it right.

Avoid religious connotations: Because if one doesn’t, in case of a communal riot or ethnic cleansing drive, one might be, let’s say, rogered. Better safe than sorry, as it’s said. Like with people named Bhagwaan or Christian. What will happen to them if they are caught by fanatics?

Should sound good: Meaningful or less, they should sound good. Like there is this friend of my parents’ called Drishtipriya. Fine meaning but a torture on the tongue! And sound terrible. On the other hand, look at names like Tom, Joy, Rita, Anita etc. One just can’t go wrong with these!

As it is, in India, with the whole multi ethnic, multi cultural brew, finding the right name is probably just as tough as bringing up the child itself because a name is something that sticks. It’s one’s identity!

So, I am all set for Willy Shake’s nightmares tonight because he will clearly not like me taking a dig him. And this has turned out to be a long post. I am bored and have been remarkably patient about writing this, given my serious ADD. Hope you liked reading it and saw a semblance of sense in it too.