Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Brand knew

Have you noticed how our own ideas become more acceptable when we put them in the words of somebody famous?

I'd rather not just say ' I like peace' not because I don't mean it but because I'm not sure you even want to know what I like..if instead I quote Mahatma Gandhi, you'd probably listen and be impressed. Also if I'm speaking about spirituality ( which in my opinion boils down to 'I like peace'), I must quote Vivekananda or Ramakrishna Paramahansa. How can I not? And if I'm the kind that likes to shock, I can also season my speech with some OSHO-isms.

Brands are in and anything which is not branded has to be inferior. Therefore just as my watch has to be a Rolex for you to even notice it, my thoughts have to stem from something said by a 'superior' thinker who is now a brand. Why must anyone listen to me wax eloquent about how the conscience must be our only guide? Must I not quote from the VEDAS and the GITA and the UPANISHADS to substantiate my thinking? Even the QORAN agrees but hey, I didn't think of it first and therefore I must bring proof from all these guides that I must use only my common sense and conscience to guide me.

It is amazing how even the most intelligent thinkers of today would rather tie themselves up in - isms and call themselves -ites than just express what they know as true - for themselves atleast. We would rather be part of a herd...than be heard for ourselves.

We are afraid to remain in our own skins when we preach but it is easier to do the very same thing using quotations. I'd rather not say...'hey..chill and do what you have to'...I'd rather say ' Krishna ne kaha - apne karam karte jao, phal ki chinta matt karo' and Krishna is God and I've successfully passed the buck.

Is this why today we lack younger leaders? Is this why we're happy with BJP and the Congress and can't look beyond them? Where is the young brigade with new ideas for today? Where are those people who can THINK and express themselves without fear? How long will we dig into our pasts for inspiration? Inspiration is great but forward thinking indispensable. Is the present not reason enough for us to say ENOUGH?

Get out of that mental prison and THINK and tell us all what YOU think..make a change before it is too late.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Frozen in time
that smile I gifted
to warm lips
that once spoke
of flowers and such

those lips are silent
the smile stays
acid trickles down the chin
“hold it in”, I say
“don’t let it dribble
onto the floor..”

it slithers, you know,
into unlit corners
and stays…
watching without eyes
eating into the walls

cracks appear
snake like
all the way to the roof
and it falls…
into the soul

so much debris
so much debris…


Thursday, May 24, 2007


Iyer. Anita Iyer. That is my name. And Iyer indicates that I am a Hindu, a Tamil Brahmin albeit from Kerala. Brahmin. Funny term that…considering that I now belong to a 'business' family. Aren’t Vaishyas traditionally the traders and businessmen? Aah! But then there are Brahmins in the army fighting wars and in Mc Donald’s sweeping floors and cleaning tables. Not that that is wrong… it is just not ‘Brahmin” if you know what I mean.

I wonder why the priests who conduct these ‘thread’ ceremonies and other such ridiculous functions for ‘Brahmin’ families don’t explain the meaning of the word ‘Brahmin” before they begin their acts. Is it only about knowing the Gayatri mantra and a few other Sanskrit Shlokas and mantras and some yogic postures? What does that sacred thread really indicate? That we are above the others? How? No, really, how?

Most of these priests have day jobs offering steady incomes after they’re done with their morning circuses. Many are accountants and clerks and sales executives and BPO employees and CEOs of little companies even. One of these days I’m going to gather the courage to ask a couple of them if they’re Brahmins only in the mornings and Vaishyas and Shudhras otherwise. Idiots!

It also really isn’t about not drinking or smoking or being vegetarian in my opinion. If it were, everyone who doesn’t smoke or drink or eat meat must be a Brahmin. It is more about the person one is…to me a Brahmin is a person who is close to God, who is highly knowledgeable yet seeks knowledge and shares it unconditionally with those he meets…someone who is superior to others in his intentions and actions. He is superior because of what he chooses to be, not because of the family he is born into or the religion he decides or is forced to follow. He is someone who can be looked up to, respected, of pure heart and pure affection. But then the Qoran says that is also what a true Muslim is. I think I would be a good Muslim if I were a superior Hindu – a Brahmin…automatically.

So... a name or symbol is no certificate of character or religion and mustn’t be, which is why no religion really advocates the use of any symbol. A name is a symbol too…it is designed to label you as belonging to a certain faith or position. It mustn’t. It is given to you BEFORE you develop your own character, without giving you a choice…the choice every religion bestows you with…that of choosing your own path irrespective of its name…your name.

So how then am I an Iyer? How then does my surname proclaim my religion or caste and position as a human being in society? Am I a Brahmin? I honestly hope I’ll learn to be one as per my definition of the word and be worthy of the surname for atleast one day in my life as an Iyer.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Amjad Islam Amjad

Yeh jo reyg-dasht-e-firaaq hai
Yeh rukay agar
Yeh rukay agar toh nishaan miley
Yeh nishaan miley
Ke jo faaslon ki saleeb hai
Yeh garri hoi hai kahaan kahaan!
Merey aasmaan se kidher gai
Terey iltefaat ki kehkashaan
Merey bekhabar merey benishaan
Yeh rukey agar toh pata chalay
Mein tha kis nagar, tu raha kahaan!
Ke zamaan makaan ki yeh wuusatein
Tujhey dekhney ko taras gaeen
woh mere naseeb ki baarishein kisi aur chat pe baras gaeen
Merey char su hai ghubaar-e-jaan, Woh fishaar-e-jaan
Ke khabar nahin merey haath ko mere haath ki
Mere khwaab se terey baam tak
Teri rahguzar ka to zikr kya
Nahin zoofishan tera naam tak!
Hain dhuaan dhuaan, mere istakhwaan
Mere ansoo-on mein bujhey huay mere istakhwaan
Merey naksh gar, merey naksh jaan
Isi reyg-dasht-e-faraaq mein
Rahey muntazir....terey muntazir
Merey khwaab jinke fishaar mein
Rahay merey haal se bekhabar tere rahguzar
Tere rahguzar
ke jo naksh hai merey haath par
Magar is bala ki hai teergi
Ke khabar nahin merey haath ko mere haath ki
Woh jo chashm-e-shoabdaa saaz thi
Woh uthey agar merey istakhwaan mein ho raushni
Isi ek lamha-e-deed mein teri rahguzar
Mere teerajan mein chamak uthey
Merey khwaab se terey baam tak
Sabhi manzaroon mein damak uthay
Usi ek pal mein ho jawidaan
Mere arzoo jo hai beykaran
Meri zindagi ke hai mukhtasir
Yeh jo reyg-e-dasht-e-firaaq hai.. yeh rukay agar...
Yeh rukay agar

Monday, March 5, 2007


My ashes in the Ganges
Soul cleansed and agleam
No hell for me now
I’ve won my reprieve
Tell me, tell me,
How does putrid water heal
wounds I inflicted
on those who still grieve?


Catch 22

The Teacup
There was a couple who used to go to shop in the beautiful stores. They both liked antiques and pottery and especially teacups. One day in this beautiful shop they saw a beautiful teacup. They said, "May we see that? We've never seen one quite so beautiful." As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke.
"You don't understand," it said. "I haven't always been a teacup. There was a time when I was red and I was clay." My master took me and rolled me and patted me over and over and I yelled out, "let me alone", but he only smiled, "Not yet."
"Then I was placed on a spinning wheel," the teacup said, "and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. Stop it! I'm getting dizzy!" I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, 'Not yet."
Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I wondered why he wanted to burn me, and I yelled and knocked at the door. I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as He shook his head, "Not yet."
Finally the door opened, he put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. "There, that's better," I said. And he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. "Stop it, stop it!" I cried. He only nodded, "Not yet."
Then suddenly he put me back into the oven, not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. All the time I could see him through the opening nodding his head saying, "Not yet."
Then I knew there wasn't any hope. I would never make it. I was ready to give up. But the door opened and he took me out and placed me on the shelf. One hour later he handed me a mirror and said, "Look at yourself." And I did. I said, "That's not me; that couldn't be me. It's beautiful. I'm beautiful."
"I want you to remember, then," he said, "I know it hurts to be rolled and patted, but if I had left you alone, you'd have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I knew it hurt and was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn't done that, you never would have hardened; you would not have had any color in your life. And if I hadn't put you back in that second oven, you wouldn't survive for very long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. You are what I had in mind when I first began with you."
God knows what He's doing (for all of us).He is the Potter, and we are His clay.He will mold us and make us, So that we may be made into a flawless piece of work To fulfill His good, pleasing, and perfect will.


'Insipirational' bullshit like this makes my blood boil. I just got this in my mail. Either God is a despot or a retard. I mean if he couldn't produce what he intended to to begin with, he isn't God as we define him anyway. Besides we're not clay to be moulded and we do feel pain. If he does intend to mould us "to fulfuill his good, pleasing and perfect will" then he might as well not give us individual brains or nerve endings to percieve emotions and sensations.

When you go thru shit and come out smelling of it, they tell you that is wrong because all that pain was supposed to make you stronger, not obnoxious. But how does one suffer and not get a tad disillusioned and bitter? I guess that calls for another round of inspirational bullshit about how pain and pleasure are the same thing as percieved by yogis. Dammit, if we were all yogis and perfectly comfortable with what we're given, how do we evolve? Progress is about gettting better. If things seem perfect to all of us what will we aspire for, work towards, look forward to?

And what exactly is wrong with clay? It is perfect in that it is in its natural state. We're meant to be clay, not tea cups. We're moulded by other human beings into what we think is in tandem with HIS 'good , pleasing will" and from that stems all disease. Do you see what a multilayered word that is? - DIS-EASE?. We spend our lives conforming to labels prepared by other human beings. Why we even define God the way we want Him to be.

And so it goes on. ..this endless finger pointing. Either you have changed and are not the person you used to be, which is tragic...or you haven't changed at all and are hopeless and stagnating. Either way the world thinks you need help! If being a teacup pleases you, lie back and enjoy the patting and spinning and preheating and reheating! If you want to be clay, be prepared to be trampled upon. Either way you have a hanging judge!!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Holi re holi..rangon kee toli


Who are You playing Holi with this year?

Satanic v/s ...

Innumerable epics, so many religions, paths leading the way to heaven, teaching us right from wrong, telling us to live, love, celebrate - not kill, grieve and hate.

So much hype around God, around this religious Guru and that - trying to convince us that He is almighty.
Yet…in each one of us Satan lives…more certainly than God does

Every time we talk of good, it is in relation to evil. We cannot seem to exorcise him -from ourselves, from our society. He wins every time ..reinvents himself. Sometimes I wonder if he created God or we created God to deal with him. He manifests in each one of us, in everything we feel and do. Sorrow, hatred, envy, fear, destruction, war. ....

...and where is God? Just in our minds? And if He is in our minds, why aren’t all our thoughts divine, Godly, Kind? Why do we spend our entire lives trying to find Him, if we are already part of Him?

Why is Satan so easily a part of us? We have sorely missed God sometimes, but Satan never left us…He’s around us, within us…omnipresent. You can find him everywhere, smug and smirking. No meditation, no mantras, nothing. He seems to exist independant of it all.
I think about it sometimes and shudder. Maybe it is only he that can rescue us...free our souls, leave us pure again. Should we be worshipping him instead? Praying, pleading with him, to just let us be?

Gritty nitty

DefinAtely, I don't think so there are any doubts. You can be rest assured. But I'll check and revert back to you anyway.


Am I a nitpicker or does this kind of talk turn you into a raving lunatic also? Grammar Nazi? Spelling Nazi? Yeah, whatever, I don't really care for labels. It just completely puts me off how people will not try and use a language the way they should. Not just English - any language. To add insult to injury they'll also tell you how it is only a medium of communication. Not that I'm perfect or anywhere near it even. I lose sleep when I trip up and express myself clumsily. It happens pretty often, but I think the fact that it embarrasses me is redemption enough.

I remember Dad getting terribly annoyed by my teenage habit of ending every other sentence with 'or something'. He'd grunt "Decide what you want to say and don't be vague!" He also hated my using the word "shit" and would ask me what relevance "shit" could possibly have in any decent conversation unless ofcourse we were discussing medicine or manure. Thank God the F word wasn't popular back then. I think he tried to teach me to respect languages and that I tried learning. He only spoke when necessary and then, only what was necessary . He wasn't given to flowery confusing speech but he used his words well. Effortlessly measured and neat, his sentences made sense. I guess that gene didn't really reach me. I have to try and again, my consolation is that I do.

Till very recently I hadn't learnt to count to ten and hold my peace. The fallout of this open nitpicking was that many people avoided speaking to me or in front of me even. They nodded, smiled and fled, afraid to say hello - just in case I picked on their accent or something. As a result I still have very few friends that actually speak to me, but the good part is that I am spared a lot of agony. But can you avoid family? I remember how I almost passed out when my 3 1/2 year old announced very proudly at her friend's birthday party with around 15 mothers and 20 kids in attendance and paying complete attention that she'd "died a mosquito". Then I kicked myself because she was so very little and giggled "So cute, she means killed..". I guess that was probably dad's way of reverting back to me..or something.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Pas e aaina - the invisibles

There is a thin line between stupidity and insensitivity. I think I crossed it the day I said "I have to go, it is getting dark outside" to the child I was reading to, in the Blind School in Delhi. What is 'dark'? he asked very casually. This question has stayed with me for longer than I can remember. It haunts me still. I had tried to explain that I meant 'late', but I had meant 'dark', hadn't I? What is 'dark'? And why did it scare me more than it did him?

Somehow, it is really not about having special places for special people. That would be racism of a sort, wouldn't it? It is about being able to share the whole world with them. They have as much right to it as we do. Yet we decide what is best for them because we refuse to tap our hearts and intellect for ways to deal with their needs. We refuse to learn the languages they speak. Instead we try and come up with devices to make them as much like us as possible. We would do well to introduce braille and sign language as optional subjects in school. We could have interactive workshops in schools and colleges where special children mingle with 'normal' children. But we'd rather skim the surface and do what we can, comfortably. I call us emotionally handicapped.

There is a world on the other side of the mirror but we prefer not to look. Perfect images, made to order, please our eyes so much more that we force parents of special children to sweep entire entities under the carpet with our insensitivity. We almost never see these children at malls and cinemas and birthday parties and parks. Why? I know they enjoy everything 'normal' children do, maybe differently, but definitely as much. Why do parents of these very special children rather they live in isolation or confinement than bring them out to face the world? What do these people fear?


And that, I think, is a shame.


Have you met those people who talk incessantly about themselves and have to run the moment you say "I.."? I think I was one of them before I met this 'friend' of mine. I enjoyed her company, revelled in it even, thinking I was the only one she confided in. The poor thing, so upset with the cards her kismet had dealt her, wanting to share the little joys she squeezed out of her lemon sized existance... till I met 5 other 'friends' at a 'kitty party' ( sic) I was dragged to ( she couldn't make it). There I discovered that they'd all been subjected to many of the same monologues - verbatim! I listened, quietly nodding, amused and angry in turns. Not that she was 'discussed', but you know how these kitty parties are. There is one unspoken rule - Always Show Up!

Now when she calls, I often go " I..." within about half a minute knowing fully well that she'll hang up almost immediately because she just thought of something more imporant to do than talk to me about me. Am I a bad friend and/or a bad listener? I hope not. But she did put things in perspective for me, holding up a mirror to my not so distant past. So if somehow I am a better person now or on my way to becoming one, I owe it to her. I'm glad I have her in my life to remind me that there are others who want to be heard too.

My pen, my weapon
…spewing words
Ink…like blood from a sliced vein
Gushing, drowning all semblance of shame
Words that cannot be withdrawn
Feelings that will not be denied
They are painted all across the skies…
In colors that will not fade
Painted in words…
They are all I have
And they come…
like a river in spate
And I die…very slowly
As my mind speeds by
One word at a time…
I die
As I let go of my soul…
One word at a time

Light and shadow

Creaky gates open
Into an age-worn place
Rickety steps
Lead to the now
A familiar space
Yet strange somehow
Light filters in…
A dusty beam
From yesterday
Past lurking shadows
Some, my own
Thru curtains of time
Half drawn over memories-
Most unlived, most forlorn
…and falls on
A yellowing picture
Carelessly framed
Of a face with an open smile
A smile…one that reached the eyes
It is a face I used to know
A face that I think I once wore

Ahh..My weary wary mind...
Pawn of the devil - Time
What wicked tricks you play!


Call me irreverent
For I flout the rules
Running a-mock
rebelling ...without a pause
Let it be known
I am not clay for a mould
I am like water
Like the air that you breathe
Life itself ...so let me be
There is more to me
than you'll ever see
A soul that will not be tamed
A wild spirit...absolute and free
My eyes are on that finishing line
where I will be me in totality
These shackles will weaken
These ties won't last
I'll run the distance...
far beyond my past
Faster... faster...Until I find release
from what they call
my destiny!