October 29, 2018

And a Step taken!!!

And a step taken and the eyes open,
No desire to thrive and no life that shines,
It is so easy to die when you just close your eyes

October 28, 2018

Hard Way Home

This harsh and splendid land,
With snow-covered rock mountains, cold crystal streams,
Deep forests of cypress, juniper and ash,

Is as much my body as what you see before here.

I cannot be separated from this or from you,
Our many hearts have only a single beat.

- From "The warrior song of king cezar"

October 20, 2018

Of People, lashes and love

If I make the lashes dark

and the eyes more bright...

And the lips more scarlet or ask if all be right...

From mirror to mirror, no vanity's displayed.

I am looking for the face I had, before the world was made.

What a poem by a man long dead

Memories from the Past - 23rd Sugust, 2001, Thursday, 0830 hours

It is such a romantic poet's dream come true

The weather in front of me is blowing, howling and raining as hard as it can, probably as hard as it can get.

It looks so beautiful that I would rather not comment on it. As I write, the intensity is decreasing and sometimes increasing.

The drama unfolds when KD takes me outside. This is one of the rarest times when someone else has taken me. Usually, I am outside on my own. But this rainfall is something else. It is simply great. The intensity, the overwhelming qualls, the everything, the overflowing drains, the stalled Maruti cars, the poor old Bajaj's, students trying their best not to get wet yet hopelessly losing in their endeavors. The nala is losing all semblance of decency and is soon about to break all decency and lay waste the country. But strangely, this never happens.

The ground in front of the Arts college is waterlogged and ideal for some face bashing exercise and this is what Girish and me indulge in and I get completely boxed by him. Soon, we are racing along with the world and hopelessly lose out. KD meets with a dreadful accident which will probably lay him incapacitated for a week...........

October 7, 2018

ANd the Giant Grizzled Squirrel quietly fades away

Ratufa macruora is dead. Long live the revolution.

Ummm, sorry. The Giant Grizzled Squirrel is not yet dead. But even he and many of his ilk die, will it matter My bet is on the big word "No". Who are we to worry about the Ratufa macruora, who are we to worry about this obscure animal also known as the Giant Grizzled Squirrel.

For it was giant in an earlier time and era, it was a giant when the end was not so near and it was a giant because some romantic biologist deemed so.

This article brings out a point. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/dwindling-grizzled-giant-squirrel-species/article25106154.ece

With 500 of them remaining, we should wait to see whether they live to see 2030

October 5, 2018

The Water Skater

While I sat quietly on stony shallow,
And the water gurgled urgently around.
I could see a boy run busy,
And I decided I must found out why.

For, he was a bubbly water skater,
As that's what he did - skate all around.
He pushed his hindleg back and pushed ahead as if no one saw.
I am sure that he could beat his competition through.

He occasionally jumped, as if on a fright
And then sized up the water flow
And then, as if on a rush, went flying through

October 4, 2018

And when I walk through the pathways of heaven

And when I walk through the pathways of heaven,
I stumble upon magic forests.

The whites turn to green here and the stones turn to dreams,

I hear sounds of the winds, hear water bubbling through,
And I know that if a choice was made to me, I would willingly surender myself to this beautiful view

April 29, 2018

For, I walked the Appalachians

Wide eyed unkempt hill folks warmly surrounded by vistas grand and wide.

I walk through a trail through dense undergrowth. I stumble upon a hidden waterfall and sit with a sigh on top of the world's oldest rock

For, I walked the Appalachians

April 14, 2018

In all the things that were made to seem, it felt that life was not so difficult so

Wherever I moved, life came around and seemed to pass through

I thought of maneuvering around it but it would not let me do

And then I get imprisoned in a manner that seems so unjust so

Life just grips you and does not let you go

And you say that death is dreadful while actually, it may be life that is cancer you can't let go

February 3, 2018

On being a solitary insect

Fritting as if none is around, nibbling at food impalatable, making its way through the forest of grass, tumbling over obstacles insurmountable

Magic Forests through which we walk

And when I walk through the pathways of heaven,
I stumble upon magic forests.

The whites turn to green here and the stones turn to dreams,

I hear sounds of the winds, hear water bubbling through,
And I know that if a choice was made to me, I would willingly surender myself to this beautiful view

Magic Forests through which we walk

And when I walk through the pathways of heaven,
I stumble upon magic forests.

The whites turn to green here and the stones turn to dreams,

I hear sounds of the winds, hear water bubbling through,
And I know that if a choice was made to me, I would willingly surender myself to this beautiful view

Magic Forests through which we walk

And when I walk through the pathways of heaven,
I stumble upon magic forests.

The whites turn to green here and the stones turn to dreams,

I hear sounds of the winds, hear water bubbling through,
And I know that if a choice was made to me, I would willingly surender myself to this beautiful view

Magic Forests through which we walk

And when I walk through the pathways of heaven,
I stumble upon magic forests.

The whites turn to green here and the stones turn to dreams,

I hear sounds of the winds, hear water bubbling through,
And I know that if a choice was made to me, I would willingly surender myself to this beautiful view

Magic Forests through which we walk

And when I walk through the pathways of heaven,
I stumble upon magic forests.

The whites turn to green here and the stones turn to dreams,

I hear sounds of the winds, hear water bubbling through,
And I know that if a choice was made to me, I would willingly surender myself to this beautiful view

The Water Skater

While I sat quietly on stony shallow,
And the water gurgled urgently around.
I could see a boy run busy,
And I decided I must found out why.

For, he was a bubbly water skater,
As that's what he did - skate all around.
He pushed his hindleg back and pushed ahead as if no one saw.
I am sure that he could beat his competition through.

He occasionally jumped, as if on a fright
And then sized up the water flow
And then, as if on a rush, went flying through

January 12, 2018

He Slept

He slept beneath the moon,
He basked under the sun,
He lived a life of going to do

died with nothing done

- James Albery

January 3, 2018

Books that were Read

A long time back, in a spurt of energy, I read these books like a hungry pig -

- Understanding War
- Ice Candy Man
- The Moor's last sigh
- Love and longing for Bombay
- Mistaken Identity
- Plans for Departure
- The day of the shadow
- A situation in Dew Delhi
- The last don
- The Godfather
- The partner, firm, client, street lawyer and The chamber
- Best of Manto
- The blue bedspread
- Raavi Paar
- Dare to dream
- Ganga
- Hullabaloo on the Guava Orchard
- A suitable boy
- Thunderwith
- The hunt for the Red October
- Haroun and the sea of stories
- The river sutra
- Shall I tell the president
- Kane and Able
- Friends amongst equals
- Fools die
- The 4th K
- The great Indian novel
- Riot after Riot
- Uncivil wars
- IS India going Islamic
- The company of women
- The fountainhead
- Bullet for Bullet
- Himalayan Blunder
- Freedom at Midnight
- An equal Music
- Stories about partition
- Love story
- Kala November - The carnage of 1984
- Not a penny more, not a penny less
- Hero
- The Indo-Pak War
- Honour among thieves
- India:The Siege Within
- Great men, great lives
- Toxin
- Corruption by S.K. Bhatnagar
- Dispatches from Kargil
- Train to Pakistan
- Congo
- Guns and Yellow roses
- Beyond belief
- India:From midnight to the millenium
- Curfew in the city
- Holi and collected stories
- We, the living
- Man, woman and child
- The Aquitane Progression
- Absolute Power
- Bag of Bones
- The graduate
- Burn Rate
- Three countries, one people
- Air frame
- Shame
- Dusk before dawn
- Some shallow, some deep
- Kashmir - A tragedy of errors
- Omerta
- Punjab: Genocide
- The god of small things
- Sun signs
- The Srinagar Consipracy


January 2, 2018

The way things were

I don't know why people feel that if this is the only life, then it follows that one must be hedonistic, or live hard.

I should think that if this is the only life, if really and truly there is this and nothing else, then one can relax, squander one's life with impunity, spend it reading, sitting in a chair, or learning languages. Wait it out, you know. Treat it like a throwaway thing. One-use-only.

December 31, 2017

When the Music is over, turn off the lights.....

And when the storm whirls around, you be the dervish that is there.

When the clouds burst through the light, you be the darkness all around

December 13, 2017

The Mines!!!

Before my father retired and our association with coal came to a silent pause, a time that began with my grandfather in 1946 to my father's elder brother and more relatives (people who had left Punjab in North India to come and work in the rather difficult climate of Eastern India), me and a friend of mine went to all our childhood mines and took as many photos as possible. That childhood was unique wherein though the pollution literally killed many of our kind and this is when we led privileged lives in forested colonies, unlike field workers who lived in more difficult conditions, it still was a childhood lived in eternal wilderness, a wilderness of the dangerous type, where dead bodies were common and strikes prevalent. The small reforested patches were loved by us kids and preferred by small time criminals. So, an exciting time it was.

November 12, 2017

Why nature inspires us so...

Why nature inspires us so...
Why do we feel this primeval pull, why do we suddenly become better.
Why does the heart slow down and why is the mud so clear.
Why the gurgling water starts flowing through your vein, why the sounds of the cicada seems like a symphony again.
Why do these rocks seem like diamond,
Why the trees feel their worth in gold.
Why the quite sun seem so mellow, where has all the aggressiveness gone.
I wonder why I become a better person, for a few moments so.
I wonder why the nerves seem to be like the roots of the ancient trees before.

October 23, 2017

Playing with our minds

Conspiracy theories abound by the millions and especially here in India, they sure do take up a lot of space. If Vargos Llosa were to be born in India today, he would come up with strange magical stories that will make no sense except to the one who reads it.

And I will be not in the least be very interested for I am what but a product of the life and times of where I live in. And when you consider that so many conspiracies are being pandered about, maybe all we have to do is nothing and just rejoice reading about those theories.

What about the fact that the recent Bangalore floods have caused an immense loss to the powers that were - as they were ready-steady and go to denotify a few lakes and put them out of their misery. Why... because these lakes could have been put to better use by building apartments over them.

Now the theory is that - the conspiracy got derailed by something unprecedented and that is - unprecedented rains leading them to fill up and somehow survive this year.

Now, only if the gods could plan something as sinister as this next year and ensure that the lakes again get filled. The only good thing emanating out of this will be that the lakes will survive and the actual conspirators who planned to destroy these lakes will not be able to do so for some time to come.

October 13, 2017

Becoming the Monkey within you

Sitting on a tree, staring at the sky, chewing a piece of a tasty twig and generally doing nothing. One of the key pleasures of living the jungle life is that one can do these things and not many more. One needn't do anything more if one has to survive the way of life that a monkey does. That is because we really do not want more. What we need is not wanting more and being happy with what we have.

Even that proves to be impossible sometimes, just being able to want nothing ore out of life. Everyone questions you, everyone points out. You yourself lose confidence and re-join the rat race. What you need to relearn and unlearn is that the monkey has very few basic needs and needs very basic things at that. So why worry about a million things that will have no resonance when you are ready to leave the world. Just not done. Chill and be a monkey

October 9, 2017

The DEATH of Indian Forests.

The discourse on forest protection has been on a decline since the past few years. It was always a topic limited to a niche class in urban India, even in the early 2000s when I was working with Keystone Foundation. the more I worked within the NGO system, the more I realised that reallly very few are interested in protecting the forests.

But what has gone down the drain is that in these 15 years, whatever meager talk of forests that one would come across in newspapers or TV with notable exceptions like the Aircel-Save the Tiger Campaign has reduced drastically. People are doing a lot of good work but good news does not seem to travel across to the public. While on the other hand, bad news is suppressed and does not evoke any reaction amongst people at large.

Why is it so - I may not be able to judge the answers in this lifetime but what is for sure is that forests have been clearly defined as an obstacle to development and is seen as an antagonist to the forward looking urban elite. Also, people who have the capacity to bring about a change in cities - clearly see the forest as a recreational unit - to be used on weekends. They are intent to see the forests stripped of is essentials and only focus on the large mammals, almost as if forests need tigers and not tigers needing forests.

The views of communities living near forest is almost always neglected and even if a movement develops in those regions, they are usually suppressed violently. Once conspiracy theory clearly states the large contingent of para-military in Chattisgarh is there to merely facilitate big business for ease of work.

But what has got my goat in the past decade and a half is coin with two sides. On the one hand, the high priests of wildlife and forest conservation have been exposed time and again to be be big ego bastards who care a lot about their next foreign trip to Sweden and occasionally also about the forests and on the other hand - the large public who gave grown big seeing hardly any forest does not seem to be interested in any discourse regarding protection of the forests - something the government knows only too well. So, a news of the destruction of the Narmada forests is immediately challenged by dataloads of the benefits of canals-upon-canals providing life to millions. So, the public the cares a fuck about Narmada ma and plans to set up the next big swimming pool in parched Gujarat. The sarkar merely taps into this sentiment.

All in all - we are in for some big shit in the next couple of decades. And I do not have the gumption to even start thinking about what's happening in Brazil.

October 8, 2017

Modus Operandi on Tiger Poaching

An amazing discussion on how tigers are poached through traps and how they should be saved – by trekking in the evenings and by foot patrolling.

Many evenings ago in a beautiful forest guest house overlooking the Totaladoh dam, I was privy to an interesting conversation between forest officials in the thick of the conflict in Pench and officials from Karnataka who do not face these threats as much.

It is all about the bahelias, said an officer. I was pretty surprised for we Indians have a general tendency to paint an entire community with one stroke based on the alleged/proven crime of a chosen few, just like the Britishers did with their criminal tribe tag. However, experts say "this poaching community members simultaneously operate at multiple locations at a given time within any region of the country. They literally kill wild animals like a portable slaughterhouse."

As per The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India--Volume I (of IV), authored byR.V. Russell, Bahelia are a caste of fowlers and hunters in northern India. In the Central Provinces the Bahelias are not to be distinguished from the Pārdhis, as they have the same set of exogamous groups named after the Rājpūt clans, and resemble them in all other respects. The word Bahelia is derived from the Sanskrit Vyādha, ‘one who pierces or wounds,’ hence a hunter. Pārdhi is derived from the Marāthī pāradh, hunting. The latter term is more commonly used in the Central Provinces, and has therefore been chosen as the title of the article on the caste.
The Bahelias from Katni are an ancient group, who have gained significant notoriety in the recent few decades, have gained a gangster status nowadays. Forest officials from MP to Tamil Nadu shudder when they hear that a Bahelia gang is in town. Simple looking, they comfortably settle among roadside open spaces. In large groups, they move around as a self sustained group. They carry bags contain traps, spears and spade.

Amongst many ways, the modus operandi remains unique. They first track which road the tiger takes – if there are 3-4 approaches to a waterhole, he will obviously take either one or two or all the approaches, but will definitely choose within the available options. They track the tiger for a few days and conveniently lay a trap after studying the behaviour of the tiger. Usually though even that is not necessary, they prefer full moon nights to study the tiger. A jaw trap is laid and the tiger is caught.

In pain, the tiger could either roar or be quiet. However, what happens next is unbelievable, I personally never thought that poaching could be so cruel, but I was being naive. After all, poaching is what it is - killing an animal in the choicest and cruelest way possible.

After the tiger is captured, he is attacked on the nose to anger him. The tiger bites the spear, thus hitting the spear directly and not damaging the skin, the spear lodges itself inside the throat of the tiger and he inevitably dies. If he does not die on the first instance, the spear is used again. This goes on and finally, the tiger dies without any damage to the skin.

The significance of bright moon light comes into significance now as the the tiger is immediately skinned under the light with tanning material. The head of the tiger is hidden under a rock. The body meat is thrown in various directions away from the actual place of the kill to divert the attention of those in pursuit.

The role of those who are engaged in the trade quickly shift as the poacher connects with his carrier. The skin and other parts are shifted to the carrier. The role of the poacher ends here. The carrier takes the earliest bus to a nearby city where he meets a designated person, hands over the skin and goes back. Money is not exchanged.

The tiger is poached. That is the story of hunting….

If arrested, convictions are slow and rare. No one carries any proof of the crime. They are ultimately given bail as they are connected politically. One tiger less in the country now.

Of the times spent in Baiga Chak - The heart of Tribal India

Wilderness is not all that wild. Maybe what has remained of wilderness today is just a lost memory of what was wild long back. Sitting as I am in one of the supposedly most primitive villages of the nation, a village named chara, deep inside the sal forests of the central highlands, I feel I know why Verrier Elwin chose to spend a few decades of his life in this place. These are the verdant forests where nothing else but poetry flows and the march of development seems stalled. But fifty years hence sitting in the village square I see the progress right down to the centre of the village. People may have conflicting views on development, but for me it gets increasingly difficult to find the one man yet
untouched by our progress.

Leaving aside the development issue, it is better if I look inward and feel its beauty and not its bane. Nestled in the maikal ranges, Baiga Chak is almost a thousand metres above the sea. The temperate climate all round the year has given rise to a wild outburst of fauna and flora, beyond one's wildest dreams. No wonder this area is known as the botanist's paradise. Outwardly silent, the village brims with life in its own way. The startlingly beautiful, well-tattooed Baiga women add to the charm. All similarities with an ordinary revenue village end at the word 'village'
itself. Huge forests, calm people, a certain degree of laziness, this is for all I know, a model village.

To the uninitiated, the sarkar proclaims hat the village has four wells, two taps, one pond, one school and the list goes on and on. What purpose these signboards seem to serve is a matter of debate but the villagers use it as an effective place to smoke their morning bidis and the birds for their droppings. The village is crowded with one small hotel selling black tea and a little bhaji. The omnipresent 'pandukan' has made inroads here too, with its standard four-legged existence. A school here, a rest house close, 78 houses, that is it. And then the forests take over. They roll in from the hills on all sides ending only when the hills meet the levelled fields. These great trees catch your attention and hook you onto them. Even agriculture looks beautiful. Small fields in patches close to the forest gives one the impression of a grassy meadow in some virgin patch, the late bloom of rice adding to the colour.

Chara is a hill station where the march of progress takes a break but does have a presence, albeit less. The place may not be wild as the forests adjacent to it, but it still holds forth the hope that there is still wilderness left in the spirits of men here.

Landing here late at night for only one bus comes, and that too late at night, my first morning was as good as it gets. Mist had rolled down to the valley and hardly a living object seemed to be moving. Clouds were playing games with us. Slowly a few drops fell as if to test the mood of the people, and then the clouds burst unleashing the beauty of nature. The village as if on cue has gone quiet as if shrouded by the cloud of silence. Mornings at Baiga Chak are full of non-events, small affairs in the run of life. Lazy is the word, lazy in its appearance, relaxed in its outlook, problems kept aside not being allowed to interfere in the joy of living life. And surely, it feels nice.

October 2, 2017

Papa John Wakefield - The Grand Old Man of Kabini

It is not very often that we come across people who have seen the world through a myriad window with experiences that transcend time. Colonel John Felix Wakefield passed away at the age of ninety five years had done all this over his long and chequered career. He has been a hunter and a soldier, also being a diplomat and working in a corporate venture for some time.

But what makes him so special in the conservation history of India is that he has been passionately involved in ecotourism based conservation over the past 30 years. For the past twenty five years, he has been on the board of JLR. He was the Brand Ambassador of JLR, always hard at work in his second home Kabini. John Felix Wakefield was born in Gaya on the 21st of March 1916.

While sitting over an evening drink with Colonel Wakefield, one was struck by the vast amount of historical wealth he possesses. His modest living room in the Viceroy Lodge at the Kabini River Lodge was stacked with books of all sorts – from wildlife to travels to cookery show tips. He also had an assortment of knick-knacks, ranging from a singing fish to a highly rusted Swiss army knife. Above all, he had an envious array of liquor, found nowhere else but in his den.

He needed it all for his guests ranged from Hollywood legends to high profile businessmen. Amazingly, he disappointed no one and even an unknown visitor was treated to his warmth and welcoming attitude to which there was no parallel.

At an advanced age, he oversaw that state of affairs of the largest property of JLR and did it with élan. Every evening, the office boy would come over with the guest list for the next day. After each safari, the naturalists described in detail the sightings of the evening. The manager constantly took guidance from him. The Colonel was the axle around which the professional ethic of Kabini revolves. Papa John as the world calls him was a living encyclopedia who shared his wide experience with all. As a noted author wrote once, 'John is not just the brand ambassador of Jungle Lodges and Resorts. At the alert and clear-thinking age of 96, he was the brand and his passing left us with a small hole that does not require to be filled up but to be respected.

September 27, 2017

Jungle Lodges and Resorts - Ongoing experiment on Ecotourism

Tourism can aid in supporting livelihood generation for the local community and JLR over the past thirty years has strived to achieve this social goal. At Jungle Lodges and Resorts, community participation has been the norm ever since the first resort was set up. A majority of employees are from neighbouring villages, mostly within the same taluk or district. At Kabini and in the newer resorts of JLR, perhaps the single biggest action of distinction is the employment of local villagers as the custodian of day to day working of the resorts. More than 95 percent of all employees employed at Kabini are from the neighbouring villages, with 37% of from the nearest Karapura village. Following the same trend are the Cauvery Fishing Camps with more than 75% of the staff from the adjoining villages of Shimsa, Bluff, Dallankante and Muttathi.

JLR resorts have been set up in regions that are traditionally backward on social development indices. Each location of JLR has spawned multifaceted benefits and helped that particular region develop socially and economically. Most residents were engaged either on collection of forest produce or rainfed farming. This dependence on farming for income made them highly vulnerable to debts and the resulting poverty cycle. It may well be difficult to imagine that rural woodcutter form the neighbouring village in any other role, besides what they have been practicing over the past centuries. But to see the same villager, cut off from the world, earning a livelihood just a few hundred metres from the house and being proud of the contribution they have made to tourism, especially wildlife is a matter of pride.

Education for children has taken off in a big way. The auxiliary benefits have trickled down not just for employees but also for locals benefitting in the form of the business offered by such an initiative. The diversification and availability of alternate economic options locally has helped shield farmers, who were hitherto prone to the vagaries of nature, while reducing the vulnerability resulting from pure dependence on farming or collections from the forest.

The improvement in the quality of life of our staff is a major contribution of JLR as an institution. Virtually every staff of JLR, more than 600 of them now send their children for higher education in various towns and taluk headquarters. The positive social change on their lives can be now witnessed after several years of operation as the first generation of staff would testify. The young generation has progressed, establishing themselves in economically beneficial opportunities, while several have joined organizations in posts that their fathers could never have hoped to achieve after years of service, on virtue of their education and skill enhancement. Bringing about this miniscule yet significant change in the lives of the people has perhaps been the single largest contribution of JLR in the past 30 years and counting still.

September 17, 2017

ANBE SIVAM - Kamal Haasan R. Madhavan Kiran Rathod

Thank god that I got the chance to see the movie and also to see Satan, the dog who is god.

Reviews must be aplenty but for me, it touched a chord that brought some of the dormant naturism that I thought had died within me. I can only be thankful to Kamal Hasan for creating such a masterpiece. The theater scene, the vulnerability of Madhavan, the death of the child in spite of the viewer convinced that the child will live, the continuous upliftment of the evil human who in most mostly might have been shot or killed but in this movie continued to live life happily, the pain that Kamal's character faced and yet somehow managed to scrape through, the idea that communism is not an ideology but a feeling - thank god that I watched this movie...

September 10, 2017

Lessons from a Magical Land – Kudremukh National Park

Somewhere in the lost lands of the Western Ghats, in the midst of never ending sholas and floating grasslands, there is a wonder land known only to a few. Many may have heard of this paradise, many would have read about the tragedies that befell this land in the form of rampaging mining, but not many know that this paradise has regained its lost glory as one of the crown jewels of the Western Ghats.

The land south of the holy shrine of Sringeri and towering over the tropics of Dakshin Kannada is known to most as Kudremukh. To me, it is simply known as devarkadu – heaven. And it was in this heaven that I was lucky to have arrived at the peak of monsoons, with pouring rains and dense mist all around. I was blessed to be at Kudremukh. It was in the middle of the day that I reached Bhagvathi Herbal Camp and it began raining immediately. The cicadas fell silent with the rains and I could see the clouds roll into the campsite. And just as I began enjoying the rains, the rains stopped and we could step out to take a walk.

I walked upto the Bhadra river and could see the river in spate, the river nowhere as inspiring as its downstream avatar but nevertheless jumping and skipping over the rocks as a butterfly would. The trees were sparkling under the fresh rains and everything looked fresh and green. I was just as happy as a wandering soul would and could think of nothing else, no worry plagued me, no desire throbbed. I walked around like a silly boy while pretending to be a grown up adult, all I wanted to do was to do nothing.

However, there was work to be completed and we were taken to see the nearby areas within this range. My wondrous gaze only grew bigger by the minute. The vehicle which took us had suddenly taken a turn into the adjoining grasslands and we had entered a different world. Wide expanses of grass laden hilltops, patches of shola forests providing a deep contrast to the bright green grasses, stupefied sambar deers who were startled by our sudden arrival and just nature, exuding in her purest form. We drove on and on and reached the highest point in that range where a 360 degree view of the gigantic manifest bloomed all around. Everywhere, as far as our eyes could dare to contrast, there were rolling hills and mighty peaks, there were huge barren rocks and there was wilderness all around. I could have become a poet then but then I remembered to take a few photographs. Even the camera refused to cooperate for it could not focus at the subject, the subject was bigger than the widest lens man could have made and I shivered in cold delight at the failure of another of mans mining ventures at the hands of nature. Kudremukh National Park strikes its claim as one of the gems of the country and at that moment, I could see why Ervaikulam in Kerala, Mukurthi in Tamil Nadu and Kudremukh in Karnataka needs to be preserved for eternity.

There was a stunned silence on the way down and everyone in the jeep was lost in their own personal perceptions of heaven as nothing could possibly compare with the sight we have had. The forest had made believers out of us when all of a sudden, there was an alarm call. We stopped and listened to the cacophony of the macaques and a solitary langur for some time. Surely, a tigress was walking past us, somewhere close by, surely she must have seen us and as her wont, preferred to give us the royal ignore. The excitement at being close to the most majestic of them all made us agree on one aspect, that those who had been mining here for close to 25 years have finally been defeated. Nature has reclaimed her territory and the tigress her own. Kudremukh is safe and sound and what scars remain of the mining are important reminders that it was mistake to ravage this beautiful land and run it to the ground.

The trip ended on a somber mood though there were many treks that followed. Trekking to the Kudremukh peak was an unique experience and so was the walk to Kurinjal Peak through some of the most densest sholas that the subcontinent has. It was ultimately two days of being soaked in nature’s finest, however two sights stand out. The view from the top and the view of the recovery being made after mining stopped. If nature was a person, I could have given nature a big strong hug and said thank you.

The Story of Him - VII

He was on his third drink and having trouble relating the events in a sequence. He remembered his father leaving on the scooter making his way to the office. The land was quiet, no voice came from the surrounding villages, and the huge machines in the mine were deathly quiet... And then came the sounds, a silent, growing hum.... almost like the bees who buzz around his head day after day...The sound grew slowly, almost apologetically, as if the villagers did not really put their heart into what might happen next.... Besides, most were indebted to his father and the giant of a grand-father before him....They would be more worried to harm him than to shout for their demands. But mobs do not behave in the usual manner of a docile human. Mobs derive their strength from a random shriek, a cry or just the presence of huge numbers... And the mob was slowly making its presence felt... The shouts increased until it too merged with the vivid landscape of the mines... The shouts turned into one long monotonous drone... he knew that this was the moment when the mob will start doing something foolish.... And RS was right. At this very moment, his father - a veteran of a hundred mines, blackened with soot that clinged to his face inspite of heavy scrubbing, his father gave up on the hope of an amicable solution.... The crowds were thronging the grounds below the ancient British Administrative block and one of the unknowns had just thrown a stone into the third floor....

The stone crashed through the glass and came unstuck in the protective steel railing. But this was the catalyst. The father rounded up the thirty or so timid office staff, ran across to the corner office in the third floor - the office which held the strong room and locked them in..... He ran next to the other officers and called the police one last time.... The station was nearby and they had been urgently informed atleast ten times, but seemingly the jeeps did not have diesel in them.... The father shouted that they have a few minutes left and then the police can leisurely come to pick up after the bodies... Exasperated, he turned to his superior who was as stubborn as they get. An old school disciplinanrian, the boss refused to budge even as the crowds already entered the complex... It would not end anytime soon.

September 2, 2017

The Story of Him - VI

We stood silent and I walked to the garden. It was slightly overgrown, due to lack of the gardener’s interest in the recent days. The gardener's house had also subsided and he was on leave with the rest of the villagers. But the garden, howsoever unkempt, retained its charm, for it was cared for by the loving hands of many more people, my mother, father and above, by me. It was my secret universe, the huge peepul trees, the slight guavas, the wavy rose petals and the effervescent bougainvilleas. I took care of my garden for my treasure was also there, hidden under the ground, ready to be removed. The garden was big, with a driveway coming up to the house and lawns on both sides of the driveway. But it was a bit strange, this garden. On the right hand side, there was little space for many plants to grow but the left side of the driveway was big enough to be a football field and it was here that my secret games were conducted in great solitude. May be because, the garden patch on the right was unknown to me also - the shrubs were high and there was too much water seeping in from the ground. It seemed to be the other world, of the ghosts and the weird. Besides, on the left, I could always be sure of my mother’s presence wherever I was, she could keep a watch over her adventure seeking son who was prone to accidents.

I stood below the giant peepul which had ancient markings of the lord Shiva at its base. My mother said it was done before their time and was a sign of the gods who lived there. I believed her and believe her today too, though she laughs off these ideas. Maybe, mothers forget the tales they tell their sons when they are young. The tree was looking even bigger today for I was standing right at the base of its huge trunk and looking up. Standing there, I forgot about papa's worries and sat on the swing.

Years have passed since then and I have moved on, away from the land where I was born into landscapes which are different, yet that day remains vivid in my memories, RS surmised philosophically...

August 23, 2017

The Story of Him - V

The father came rushing up to the front room and plunked on the sofa. Moustache bristling, body in sweat and his silent anger was enough to compel one to remain hidden from the room. It must have been a bad day today. As it is every day for him. Early morning, he walks out into the black coal and comes back covered in coal dust by lunch. And each day, he walks in anger. Almost six feet tall, with a foreboding presence, he scares everyone out of their wits with one twirl of his moustache. And it has always been like this for him. Scaring the world but deeply tired himself.

RS was young at that time, not more than five, yet with an increasing scope of memory patterns that took in all the sights the world had to throw at me. Those images of his childhood are so vivid that it seems like today itself. The father coming in, the mother, an equally strong person soothing him down, RS and the sister cowered behind the curtains.

As RS recalls, that day however, things were different. He ate his lunch quickly, talking in hushed tones to my mother and almost as soon as he arrived, he was ready to return, not even waiting to say some few loving words to us. We waved him bye and stood silent. Mother was worried and though her voice did not waver, she mentioned a 'gherao'. Gherao ohh!!! Another long day and a night full of worries. He would be surrounded by hundreds of angry villagers all the while soothing them not to make any disastrous move. They had all converged upon his office claiming compensation for their displacement from ancestral lands, a demand that was beyond the powers of my all powerful father to settle. But he had to take the brunt of their fury, for he was the face of authority here and matters were totally for him to solve.

July 30, 2017

The Story of Him - IV

Hello, drawled RS. Hey, what's happening with you? No call for days or is months, Where have you been RS. What have you been up to? It seems like life has made you an expert on special appearances... You never talk to me and neither, I gather to any of the others. What's wrong? Are you fine....? And he went on and on. In what seemed to be several minutes worth of high pitched advises but lasted only for a few seconds, RS said hi, how are you. How is Aunty (easily the easiest way to divert your well-wishers attention is to recall your relation with his or hers family), I hope she is keeping well. Yes, RS, she is doing fine, we have to make monthly visits to PGI and the bus ride sometimes rattles her. But this is how it is, I am the son and I have to take care, isn't it....

Yessss, RS replied recalling him to be the fittest friend he ever had, running from Solan to Shimla in a few hours. At the peak of his athletic supremacy, he used to run for up to twelve hours in a single day over high hills and wide rivers. His was the ultimate body, not an ounce of fat..... not much bulk either...just pure animal sinews...RS could imagine him carrying his mother down from the mountains to the grand old hospital of Chandigarh without breaking a sweat, carrying out the ancient Indian tradition of Shravan who carried his blind parents across the country side. If only he could have excelled and cleared the army interviews, he would have made a great soldier for the country, one that the forces would have been proud of. But the very army rejected him thrice in the interviews - all for reasons unknown.

Yes, my dear old friend said RS... Yes.... You need to take care of the elders and that's that.... Anyways, how has life been? Hmmm, let me see... I dream of the army even today and moreso today... So many of our friends who entered the forces without breaking a sweat have been dropping out like flies... Imagine, after all the care the forces took of them, after all the money spent...here they are.... running away to sell soaps...soaps of all things.... Imagine an army man selling soaps... And I who wasted, no persevered for so many years now have the misfortune of being the host to all these runaways when they come visiting Chandigarh to reminisce the old college days.. And I who serves them hot fucking parathas when all my mind says, Wish I was in the army.... But here I am, a manager for a sales team, selling soaps over phone.... What an irony...my ex-army friends sell soap and so do I... And imagine how it would have been........

Leave it; I actually called you to let you know that I have transferred the money back to your account... Thanks a lot for the help, now that I have my dream house as well... in the city of dreams, my life is set... I have repaid all my installments, have blown away half my parent's pension on that dream house and now I have to commute two hours everyday because that dream house is faraway in the suburbs.... And to think that I own thirty acres of apple orchards in Himachal..... So fucked up, life is, isn't it..........

Hmm, RS pondered, ever the fast thinker.....Hamm... Take kindly to life....life herself is in a mess, managing so many of us and so much of our wasteful ways..... And thanks for calling, I am busy and we will speak in the evening....You cool down and bring your mother down to the plains. With this, the major event of RS's life, atleast for today came to an end....

July 26, 2017

The Story of Him - III

RS had this bad habit back then as well. He would launch into his extempore of death almost suddenly and then shock all of his friends into imagining their dead selves, twisted, gnarled, and stone-like. Happy souls sitting on the university wall would instantaneously turn into statues listening to RS's hysterical metaphors on death.

RS was dreaming of the old days and of the fact that most of his friends were now dead, divorced or distant and he was infact the only link to several of his old friends - their only connect as they could not bring themselves to talk to each other - he was their convenient sounding board. Sleeping, he could afford a smile.... sleeping, he almost looked god-like with a smile on his dimpled, youthful face. Sleeping, death usually decided to give him a miss.....

The phone rang. RS got up casually, he was not one to mess around his body patterns, he knew getting up suddenly could shock his body into disintegration. He was always careful not to pain his body.... The phone kept on ringing, the caller oblivious to the fact that RS had these unique theories about life that ensured that he cared the least about the human world around him and was only concerned about his interaction with the unreal world.

Waiting long enough for RS to pick up, the caller must have tired for the call got disconnected abruptly. RS went back to his reverie immediately and dozed off. His dreams came back to him, he saw a distant relative on a Ferris wheel, going round and round.......the wheel went on, when at last, his head spun over and the dream came to an end. The phone rang again, the tune ringing like some old song...pulling him back into memories of old... back to the college days when the song was a hot favourite aongst doped out guitar friends - who would hum the tune for days on end...
He finally picked the phone and saw the time in the illuminated screen....... Three in the noon, no lunch and the prospect of facing his forsaken friend who definitely asks for more money....

July 23, 2017

The Story of him - II

He felt sleepy; thinking about death all the time usually makes him slightly tired. And sleep was anyways preferable as it was the closest feeling he ever had that mimicked death. It made him unaware of the world around him, lulled him into a comfortable disbelief that he is suspended nowhere and most importantly, made him dream. Crazy, confused, lustful, coloured - dreams of all sorts and varieties.

RS as his few friends called him was a floating soul. Never having being straitjacketed into a type or a personality, he was infact many things to many people. He was friends to several, people who thought him to be their own, yet they would not realise that he would just float out of their lives, the moment he closed the door behind him. They felt he was their brother, a member of the fraternity, yet were surprised to see him chatting away the girls from the neighbouring society without a care. His friends would be confused at his behaviour but put it off by claiming that all of it was temporary and he would be back to his old group again.

June 29, 2017

The Story of him - 1

Death does not come easy to him. It plays with his senses and cajoles him into believing that his time is near, yet holds him back. Sitting miserably, he pondered whether this was really the right time now. What if death did not really affect him, what if death was just as miserable as he was, having to worry about another sad soul wishing to make his final journey home.

April 7, 2017

So I thought, before...

So, I thought that before my time is over, I should sit down and talk to me

And I thought that since it is noon, maybe, I should not talk of things that scare me

So, I sat down to watch a movie and the mind could not follow the scenes that passed by

And then, I thought that maybe I will read but even that proved to be a task to hard to try

So, I thought what else needs to be done and maybe then, I knew it...

What needs to be done is nothing. For nothing is for sure the best thing to do

And the best way to walk and perhaps to talk, nothing is now my way to do

The lives we live

The lives we live, the lies we tell
The games we play, the bets we wager.

The fears we face, the anxieties we bear
Makes us all weaker, makes us all losers

April 5, 2017

Of Great People in Saigon

Our host in the the Saigon Charming Hostel lovingly wrote this message on a piece of paper which says something like "Where is the direction to the Railway Station" She was of great help to us in so many ways.. https://www.facebook.com/charming.saigon

Hoi An Old Quater, Ayuthayya and Hanoi Maps - Was of great help during trips

April 1, 2017

I wish that things could have been better
I really wish that it was true

They say that the bad times runs out of breath
So is true for good times too

Bad times tend to score best,
When I am down and out and not able to rest

March 13, 2017

There are statues made of soil, staring intently.

They turn around and nod at one another

The see the road pass by, the winds rustled around

They stand together in a straight line, they march steps together
The only person who wants a change in the world is a baby with a diaper

We want people to make choices that is influenced by us

Our mind is used to holding very few variables

All truth passes through three stages - first it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed and third, it is accepted as self evident.

The secret of happiness is where you put your reference point - Ambani or your neighbour

If I fight so many times, am I wrong

If they argue so many times, are they right

Do you know what should be done

You should go back to your basics, go to the field, roam around, write read and I repeat read. Look out for alternatives. If you survive, fight out

If you cannot figure out what to do with your life, try being cool about it. See what are your immediate priorities and complete those tasks. Go step out, see what you want to do

I had loved her today, I had loved her then
I remembered her smile and loved her eyes

There was a smile which burnt bright, eyes that twinkled wide
She spoke just words, she walked happily

There was a rush, wind rustled by, the trees stopped swaying, the birds failed to fly

I burnt with desire, drenched by loads of sweat, I could feel her walk by
There was a well ahead, glistening with sweat
It promised a better future, it promised some light as well

There was a rope and a bucket, there was some water as well
The well had everything required to make my heart throb
I saw the well from far away, I could see it glisten with sweat

The well had an issue though, the well could walk as well
As I walked below the flaming sky, the well seemed at hand
The sun created mirages, yet the well had roots that spread wide

I was almost upon it, when the roots began to shake

I reached fr the bucket, could feel the caring water on my lips
It was then that the well walked away, leaving me with the bucket unopened

It kept walking and I stood in shock "Oh my hard work has been lost"

There walks my redemption

The well stopped some distance away and beckoned me again

I stood in disbelief and held my arms high in pain

What happens when the lights go out

What happens when the lights go out,
whether the sun shines or the stars dim

Where is the path that stood at the end of the tunnel,
Was the tunnel just an illusion to lure the gullible

When I entered the tunnel, there was darkness all around,
There was water, there was food but was there goodness around

March 5, 2017

Still the noise in the mind: that is the first task - then everything else will follow in time.

- R. Murray Schafer -

March 4, 2017

An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language.

- Martin Buber -

November 12, 2016

Random Jottings from a classroom session at IIM Shillong

One of the first thing that Prof. Giri did was talk about our experiences. He made us write in a piece of paper and stick it in the white board. The prof gave the names back to us but took the post back. And as he said, he took our ego back.

Nobody like positional leadership based on a person's qualification as most of us do not have the attitude.

More money flow in the economy means more acceptability to corruption
• more regulations - more corruptions - more stringent rules
• less complicated - less corruption
• more process- more corruption

The Story of tax avoidance verses tax evasion using the example of the cow, God and monkey was an interesting one. Guy has cow which provides him daily sustenance. Cow falls ill and guy prays to the good lord that if god recovers the cow, he would sell the cow and give all the money to the temple. God takes pity and cow recovers.

Guy goes to the market and puts his cow on sale for Rs. 1. He also puts his parrot on sale for Rss. 19999 and says that the cow can only be bought as a combo offer with the parrot. Someone buys both of them, guy goes to the temple and gives Rs. 1 to the god as promised for the sale value of the cow. This was tax avoidance, not tax evasion.....

CSR starts with how are we treating our customers / employees. CSR is deeply connected with HR- if a company is not taking good care of its employees, foundations of CSR will be weak. The moment CSR is delegated to a staff function- it ceases to be effective .

VMV-vision(future) - mission(why we are there) - value(how to)

CSR is not a philanthropic activity only. it is part of the business process.

Ethics is the super structure. Value is the fundamentals.

I know what is right and I am inspired to follow it, I know what is wrong but I can't resist the temptation to avoid it.

The problems of 'value communication'. you may address it to people in good intent, how the audience absorbs the message may be different for each member of the audience so the value communication has to come down to the level of each member of the audience.

Communication failure - shepherd and wolf story. The child says when asked what did you learn, he said child labour - so message of shepherd and wolf was lost. Another child says, every time I said a lie regarding the wolf people came to help- the one time, he said the truth, no one helped so is it wise to say the truth or lie.

A Director of a company shall not achieve or attempt to achieve or attempt to achieve any undue gain or advantage, either to himself or to his relatives, partners or associates and if such director is found guilty of making any rule gain, he shall be liable to pay an amount equal to that gain to the company.

Harish "an email is permanent copy of you" IT act recognizes an email you cannot remove anything from an email.

KMP- key managerial personal "MD, CAO,CS,DIRECTOR and any other officer as prescribed by the MD- other directors ( govt directors, independent director, women director)

Share a page of JLR "vision, mission, goals and objectives" in all camps

Under article 12 of the constitution, staff of PSU's are govt staff

November 8, 2016

The talk of women in POWER Position still goes on

Again, a discussion, again assertiveness leading to aggression..... again a discussion of “whether a woman should be on company boards” lead to aggressive behavior on part of the group. One fellow even suggested that if you remove Muslim’s from the count of prevailing education levels, overall education levels will improve. What strange logic.

9.5% women are part of Indian corporate Boards. It has been proven if women are there, decision making process will improve, corruption is reduced, too many logics for women to be part of our system. When it comes to the actual business, the word business cannot be separate entity as opposed to society. Hence business is a part of society. If a woman cannot work freely at night for work, corporate governance will suffer. So, 37% representation in Scandinavia, and even that is not enough.

That room full of senior executives are well respected in business. That it is futile to even discuss the virtue of anything. And since everyone has a strong opinion on their biases, it is not possible to talk them out of it.

And most talk about women is often linked with laughter, a common male laughter that trivializes the discussion of women, just or it will be trivialize any other discussion such as caste or religion.

Gender bias is so entrenched that I could not even talk about it and it stems from the fact that the systems have been set from childhood and we are but a reflection of what we learnt during our childhood.

November 5, 2016

Sitting through the haze, glistening in the mist, birds chirping all around and the pine leaves feel magical

Sitting around a conference board table, we discuss a lot. And then, we end up doing nothing

November 1, 2016


Nice word - Skinbags... A fried referred to humans as skinbags and come to think of it, he was right. We are but skinbags, while we live and after we die. We are resting within the stretched frame made of skin and bones. What are we but that.

The skin comes off and there we go, left bereft of our false egos - skinbags that we are

July 25, 2016

He died


I have been surviving in this world of men. Just about scraping through.

From the time we met and now, I got a son - who was actually a dog - Siddu.

He helped me get past life, made me scrape through it,, being the pessimist that I am - I survived.

But then he died and he died just a little while ago and with him died - all the remaining world views that I was left with.

So, now, I have no views left. Just wandering around, just doing nothing. The world has did me in.

So, I thought before I die, let see more things

July 10, 2016

This tragedy will not end or The Rape of the American Indians

Ended up watching Dances with Wolves - and what more can I say.

For a person like me, this movie is almost a death knell in matters of trust and deceit. The America Indians were a nation, if ever there is a concept of nature. They were a tribe, they were a nation, they were the ecosystem people. they were the Baigas, they were the Kurumbas and perhaps they were the Todas. They lived in India, perhaps they lived in the United States of America, perhaps in Canada, perhaps in Africa.

One strand runs through them. they were did in by the non-ecosystem people. They were did in by the White, by the coloniser, by the Hindu and by the christian. They were did in and they vanished and perhaps with them vanished the last vestiges of hope for nature and for the land as we know it.

What happened to the Lakotas or the Pawnee or so many, they are impossible to keep a count of was a genocide that Hitler or was it Hotler could not match. I wonder why people so like to despise him, perhaps they want to hide their crimes. These crimes and many more crimes like these are worse than what Hitler did.

Actually, all men commit crimes, surely the Indians versus the Indians were doing this too... Perhaps, the main difference is that when the Indians killed, they killed for safety or their immediate requirements. When the modern man killed, it has always been for perceived weightage, whether their victim will turn back on them, whether the victim could be of threat in future, whether the victim will threaten the killer's progeny in future, whether the victim will turn out to be an asshole.

Fuck the Modern Man.

July 8, 2016

Fuck the day

It was a dirty morning, soggy and dirty. And I was sitting alone in the hellhole which I called my home. With no food in hand, having a good breakfast was not in the picture and through the haze; I realized that today is just going to be one of those days. I will merely sit by the window, watch nothing go by, stare into the smoggy sky and wait for the evening to arrive. That was the plan and I intended to be the best sloth around, practicing the art of converting the day into a slow motion time lapse.

An hour passed and then another. I must have slept by the window for I saw bird droppings on my torn shorts. Must be the pigeons who have become comfortable with my presence and do not mind resting on my cave of a bed, for it does resemble a pigeon’s nest, sometimes. “Shit”, I murmured and got up to change into another worn out shorts. Having done that and since I realized that I was temporarily active, decided to go for a walk. I could perhaps buy some grocery and fill up my stomach, enough to last through today.

And then, the day came to an end

July 6, 2016

In the High Himalayas - with a prayer and a dog

Alone in the mist, a sight rustle in the woods making the moment awkward, fraught with expectations of the unknown, shadows leap silently and then, the mountains beckon. Straight ahead as far as the eye can see, a vast perpendicular massif of approximate age and snow filled valleys, we were in the upper Himalayas and the whole world down there somewhere has ceased to exist.

Here in the high Himalayas, nature still retains her control over us. Here, we have not yet pummelled her into accepting our diktat and fall into line. Here, the word raw nature exacts its true meaning. Here, in the high Himalayas, we are all pilgrims of nature and it was here that I came to walk.

It was meant to be a test of my frail body and whether I would be able to last for a few days in the extreme climate. With little preparation and prayers on my lips, I set out for Kasol on a late night bus from Chandigarh. Kasol is currently famous as a high altitude party zone and stories abound of how Indians are not treated well and preference is given to westerners. It turned out to be a falsity for people at Kasol are welcoming and ensured that backpackers like me had a great time. Of course, there is one version of Indians who take partying to a dizzy height, ogling and breaking glass shards of every shape and size. These people are then treated rather unceremoniously and often get a kick in their backsides and I would say that this is a healthy precedent for they pollute the cool climes of these high hills in ways and means that are disgusting to say the least.

But Kasol was not my destination and I passed the small but crowded town and moved towards the small bridle path that leads upto Grahan Village. Grahan is the last village below the snow line and has the unique reputation of a voluntary ban on spirits and a general implementation of rules meant to keep the fragile society and the ecology intact in the face of onslaughts of development.

As I walked away from Kasol, remnants of the foreigner crowd that make Kasol its home started thinning. There were a few random tents with smoke wafting across, a few quiet couples sitting around and then, as I walked up the first incline, silence took over. Nothing but the vast forests of deodar and chir pine covered everything in its midst and I walked on. Having climbed three steep inclines, I sat down to take a break and perhaps have a biscuit when I noticed a giant of a dog staring at me from a few feet away. Brown in colour, enormously muscled yet with the eyes of a pup, he must have been rather young, not more than eighteen months. He was staring at me but not in a threatening manner, rather as a curious bystander and I was tempted to offer him a share of my snacks. Shy but not scared, he gobbled the snack and stood ramrod stiff again. Those eyes could have melted hard iron and I ended up giving off the entire packet to him and found him following me though the woods as I took off for Grahan.

I thought nothing of it then and let him follow me and continued my trek. It was a silent though beautiful experience. Alone in the forest, softly walking amongst the leaves and with a giant baby dog alongside, the three quintessential aspects of a mountain walk was coming true in front of my eyes. The walk turned from a tough into a blissful stroll and we whistled on. The forests were denser and I met a few hikers who had stayed over at Grahan and spoke of the stunning views and gripping cold up there. Saying hello to many as they passed, I kept on walking after having some maggi at a small stall and giving off my packed lunch to the dog whom I called Siddu. We reached the camp site by late afternoon and promptly slept off under the giant beautiful sky. When we woke up, Grahan with its ancient temple and strict visage stood majestically across the hill and tourists were cautiously welcomed. However, the day had been long and after a quick walk, we were inside the tents. Siddu, my dog slept outside my tent.

The next morning, it was to be a tough climb to Padri through some dense forests and steep trudges. We had been sufficiently acclimatised reaching the Padri camp site by lunch and was witness to a sight that is forever a special offering from the Himalayas to mortals like us. The camp was laid out in one corner of a giant meadow or bugyal and all around us were giant trees and snow covered mountains. If picture perfect is a phrase, the phrase must have been coined here long back. Personally, it was an underwhelming feeling of humility to be with nature that night.

The walk continued and though some sheer inclines, we kept on climbing towards the Sar Pass. In between, the gods decided to let us on in the fun and sent some freezing rain across, rain which turned into snow or hailstones soon after. We were soon walking through an inch deep carpet of snow in the middle of May. Someone cautiously mentioned as we were trudging upwards that the real India of hot plains and paralyzing winds is somewhere down there, but who were we to care. And so we climbed, up and up, though the slush and the sights, through the forests on to the campsite. It was a visual treat for the clouds moved away and the entire Himalayan range as far the eyes could see cleared up and slowly but inexorably, trees began to give way to high altitude shrubs, scraggly yet majestic and exuding smells which are indescribable. Just the smells of these shrubs is reason enough for one to visit these high altitude heavens at least once. Siddu was loving the sights and smells as well and would often jump deep inside the roots of one of these giant shrubs to hunt unknown enemies. The walk was difficult but the air was light and we managed to cross the tree line after a halt at a temporary camp. It was a revelation for everyone for as far as the eyes could see, on all ridges and cliffs, the tree line visually came to an end almost at the exact same horizontal mark, as if they knew that nature will not allow them to grow any further. Grasslands crept up, herbs everywhere, rocks sprouting, loose mud, slippery paths and then the first hint of snow, deep in a valley and then another.

Suddenly snow was everywhere but not yet in the path we walked and as suddenly as that, Siddu transformed. From being my companion to a wild free soul, he went crazy over the snow. Jumping across huge boulders, he would dive straight into the snow and play with his imaginary friends, eat snow like we hog rice and roll around. Siddu was home and we all knew that he was happy here. He bounded up and reached the main base camp at Nagaru without missing a breath. When we reached the site, absolutely tired, there he was, chomping on some old bones that he must have found on the way and striking a visage of a zen master of the high Himalayas.

But when we managed to catch our breath, my eyes were in for a slight shock – for all around us were grand mountain peaks. We were at 12000 feet and the entire Kullu district laid out her mysteries to our minuscule eyes. If there is ever a 360 degree view, here it was and in a manner befitting the gods, clouds kept on peering, the sun gave a blink and I bowed my head to the gods and to Mother Nature.

That night was cold and our worry was Siddu but when we woke up to start our final trek to the pass, he was eagerly waiting for his treats and be on his way. We had been worried for him but he seemed to have been made for the snow and was enjoying every second as if it were his last. The walk began and the ascent took us higher through deep fields of snow, one step at a time, legs plunging into whiteness. Almost as if it were the effects of high altitude sickness, I found some of friends going crazy over the endless fields of snow, one group was particularly creative for they were photographing themselves in angles which made them seem to climb perpendicular walls of snow, surely their facebook accounts will be flooded with congratulatory messages in honour of their solo expeditions into the tough Himalayas.

Me and Siddu reached late and thanked what is left of Mother Nature for this amazing spectacle and then almost as if, we had reached the grand finale, I found myself standing next to a vertical slope of more than two kilometers and the guide saying ‘Go’. Just that, no formalities, no wishes, just a simple word ‘Go’ and there I was twisted in gravity, sliding through a deep snow field as fast as my body could cope and amazingly with Siddu sliding or running parallel to me all the way. It was 60 or 80 seconds of a crazy, mind-numbingly moment of thrill made priceless by having Siddu come the entire way with me when finally the slope reduced and my butt braked me into a single human on a mountain slope with a crazily barking dog and an almost involuntary prayer of thanks to nature. I fell back, looked up to the clear sky, held my Siddu in my arms and went blank.

The others joined me soon, each holding their own individual tale of magic to their sleeves and started our long walk back to the base camp. I looked back after an hour and saw the mountains standing still, golden light on the summit, the slide marks still visible and a gang of deliriously happy individuals who had all experienced something unique. Siddu, merrily oblivious of all these emotional fluctuations that we were going through was busy concentrating on some cows who in turn were warily looking at this crazy dog running up to them at a mind-numbing speed.

We walked down and the shrubs vanished, the trees returned, meadows turned green and we knew that the mountain shall wait for us to return again. We walked down-hill, resting at another beautiful camp site and finally reached a small village where a giant dam is being built to ensure that we must play god with god and do that right inside God’s sacrosanct territory. Huge trucks and giant concrete beams were strewn around and ambitious agendas to dig tunnels through these giant mountains were in place so that no river may ever run free and no fish may dare to thrive, but the needs of us humans continue to be met as only we can think of these outrageous ideas to fill our quota of greed.

The magic of the past week with Siddu along with the shattering of the beautiful world we knew in form of this hideous dam and the fact that Siddu may be parting ways with us made me all the more melancholic. The bus conductor sportingly allowed Siddu to be boarded and we paid for his ticket and in an hour, we reached Kasol. At Kasol, Siddu was spotted by his family and they tearfully held on to him. I stood there, alone, looking at SIddu who was now called Buster and who suddenly did not look towards me and stood there for a long time, when finally it dawned upon me that it was time to say bye to him. I said bye and walked off from Kasol, back home.

July 3, 2016

Listening to Nadine Gordimer

Real writers go on writing the truth as they see it. Creativity survives so long as the artist himself cannot be persuaded, cajoled or frightened into betraying it

What do you say Siddu - Enlarge the reader's apprehension

In the given case, life happened to be like that

A writer must not become too conscious of literary fashion.

June 5, 2016

June 2, 2016

I stood watching...

I watched her pass by as I stood on the door,
She barely cared, she merely smiled.

I knew she smiled at my pain, I knew she had a chuckle,
Yet, I could do nothing more, just stand by the door.

It was cloudy, the weather I love and she hates,
And then the sun peeped though, the weather I hate and she loves.
Her smile seemed to grow bigger, the sun made her glow.

The streets were empty, most people on a motion slow,
I sat down by the door and watched the procession grow.
She was at the head, as always, smiling but sadly now,
I think she wished that I would stand up, would follow her through.

I knew it was too late, yet I knew where she had gone.
I decided to follow them, or maybe later then.
I again stood by the door and saw the empty streets.
As if no one knew that she ever walked past,
I will visit her grave later and cry alone and without fear.....

May 30, 2016

There I was walking still, and it all went blank
I stood stunned and never felt like hit me so hard

May 23, 2016

For there is nothing left, on the screen on the left
there is but a river crossed and I look back and cry
the waters pull away at you and all I missed is there for you
I could not stand still why, I am suffering from the incurable now

May 21, 2016

3 Months and a few hours

In between, I found Buster - the dog who walked me through in Kasol.

But otherwise, it has been 3 months and 24 hours since Siddu died. That is what he did - died.

And the blurring of his memory causes too much pain, more than the immediate aftermath of him dying. He is refusing to come out of his shadows but if I look at his photos, he still looks the same, as if nothing happened, as if he is still with me.

In these three months, I went back to Chitradurga where he had had a good time, went to Dubare, took him to foreign lands, to Jog and even to the Sar Pass. He travelled more in these three months than he would usually travel with me and surely, he must have had a good time. He always had a good time being around with me and his ashes make a comparatively poor substitute.

I will meet him soon.

April 24, 2016

The days, they remain the same

The one person who I loved the most is dead, dead and gone

The one person who loved me the most is far far away

The parents who brought you to this world are now scared about your time here on earth

The one friend who I had for so many years just does not trust me anymore

The other friends who I had are somewhere far beyond my world

Th person whom I trusted gave me the royal fuck somewhere down the line

The place I built and cared for like a baby has forgotten me already

Those grasslands where my son and me used to walk have grown thick with fresh grass

Though the days never seemed any different, a lot has passed over time and these years have just flashed past in a blink

Do Not Cry

There was fire in his eyes, burning blue and burning bright.

There was love drooping by, whenever I would just pass by

I sat next to him that day and all was lost and all was frayed

I spoke to him, asked him, even tried all tricks

But he refused to come by

He went away, leaving me alive, he went away, killing all inside

He, my boy, play well, eat hard and sleep tight, all that is yours and you do not have to cry

The Lost Boy

There are no more tales to be told. There is no one point in the sky that I can look upto to and wonder what has happened. The earth has just moved on as it usually does and left with nothing behind. The earth just moves on.

Men in their selfish moves make the move of their lifetimes and look back expecting applause or fearing contempt and then that man also moves on. What was here a hundred years ago is no longer present now. What was he a hundred years ago might just be a bag of bones or maybe not even that.

Men move on though they have a choice not to. They move on because they say that they must. But some men don't. They stay there, soul imprinted on that minute and that second where life had for once lasted longer than a second. They decide to stay there and remain there till the earth has moved too far ahead for them to catch on. Their bodies do the universal twist but the soul stays on. Who said it cannot be done. Who says one life in a 100 billion is irrelevant, who says anything about anyone is right or wrong. The men who stay put but their bodies move on lose the sense of attachment, they are now detached. They are nobody and nothing touches them. Everything must be shallow but the water floods them. Who says that you cannot stay on. You can move on or you can stay on. Or maybe, you can do both. The soul stays and the body moves.

One life can touch a hundred maybe a thousand maybe a million. But that one life still touches someone deeply, does it now. There is no need to feel pained by the lost moves you never made, by the lost promotions you never got, by the lost raises that never came your way, by the lost words you could not utter, by the lost wind that got sucked out from your lungs, by that lost boy who is no longer with you. The lost boy will see to it that for every moment in your waking world, where you talk and run and walk and eat, he will be over you, above you, alongside and not care a hoot with what others think. You be best happy when with him, not really a need to sucker upto to humans, is there, your boy was all you had and he is all you got, the last remaining bits of him. The twain shall meet and the strings will tie and then in this world of humans, you will be just a statistic passed.

April 16, 2016

Where are you boy...what are you doing...what are you eating...where are you.......

I miss you so much, yesterday in the dream - you kept on coming back. I had locked you in a room and somehow you came out, through a drain, through something.

Why did you do this, why were you selfish.... How did you die.. what happened to you.... was it painless... was it poison... why in that position, the position that you love so much, what did yoou think before dying.... why did you make those two sounds... why now when you were still young.... why did you have to go.

Siddu, why does god not send me to you fast.. I never loved anyone more than you... I never really loved anyone, even with you it came in phases.... where are you kid

March 25, 2016

How memories fade

First, comes the pain and the grief. Shock at him dying. The comes then empathy, the messages, the sharing of your grief. Then time passes.

And then a month or so, first people who know you as an acquaintance clean slates him, then your friends saying, 'he was a good dog but what is gone is gone, you cannot bring it back'. Then your family, ' he is gone but he is always there for you, he is looking down at you'.

Then nobody talks about him, not even you. you may be scared that people think you are a physco, your closest freinds change the topic when you again start talking about him.

People ask whether your mourning is over. You mother says it is time to move one, staff says get a new dog, some other friend says, ' chill, he was just a dog'.

The you start forgetting him, his face is not as clear as it was for the past 6 years, his paws look faded, forgetting his eyes and how they looked up at you, the tears form but find it increasingly difficult to come out. Everybody around you has moved on, even you are taking involuntary steps to move on.

You are forgetting your son, your life and your love. You think about him, pass over his photos casually and forget memories.

You are just an asshole like the rest of us. You are but, just a human. Fuck You KS. Siddu will not forget you. Will you???

March 22, 2016

My Mourning will Go on Forever

What they say does not matter. What they don't say does not matter an ounce.

But while nothing matters and nothing else matters even more, it appears that there is one thing that matters, flying in the face of my fundamental theory system. And while this blog is mine and I tend to or rather have started using it as a diary, there is this that I am announcing to myself.

My mourning will go on forever. And I will cry and cry and think and think and despair. I will be sullen and sad, have red eyes and parched lips. I will gaze out like a monk and when I don't feel like it, I will sleep. I will get up when I want and do what I want and I when I feel like it, I will cry more.
For doubters, mourning can go on forever. Everybody loses somebody. I lost my everybody, my best buddy, Siddu and I am not at all happy about it. The moment I got to know, I realised that things will never be the same again but this is one slash and burn by god/dog that was completely unwarranted. And the problem is I cannot even complain to anybody. My sister says that noone will understand my pain and will not be able to empathise as well. She is right.

But I have the right to mourn and mourn I shall and mourn I will. I will mourn for him till I mourn myself to death.

March 18, 2016

I miss my dog and I miss him so much

Boy, a month now already. Siddu boy, hate to say this but time seriously waits for none and neither does it give reason on what it decides to do with a anybody. Maybe, they were jealous that you were a god and not a dog and were hogging all the limelight. These gods can be jealous and vindictive if given a chance. They are after all our imaginations and we do noting except be vindictive or jealous or cussed most of our time. But in this grand scheme of things, why would they screw your happiness.

You never did really learn to read or write, infact you learnt to do nothing. The master of doing nothing, who wagged his tail if needed and make the most useless face to get a little more food. Remember, I used to say that you were never given any training and that was but the truth. You never had any technical training and all you ever did was whatever you wanted to do, which again was nothing. Ambitious humans would commit suicide seeing your lack of professional ideologies.

But you did one thing better than anyone. You fucking knew how to love me, more than anyone could have had ever. Every love came with a set of conditions even mother's love. You bloody fellow loved with no agenda and how. Licking, waiting for me, jumping on me, looking back as you would walk, sitting in front of whichever closed door I was behind. Ohh Siddu, why did you break my heart, why did you go away.

March 15, 2016

Know what boy, I am developing a phobia against them. They are everywhere, these scums. They laugh aloud, appear so confident, talk loud and dress proper. I cannot stand them. They are wise and smart, they know what to do. They have been trying to find the answer to our creation from billions of years back, they think they can find that out. They want to go far from earth and say that they have done it.

If I ask any of them, why would you want to this or that, that answer is the perennial "Why Not?". Smart alecs. They are ambitious, they protect their turf, more territorial than any tiger or leopard.

They talk smart, analyse and over analyse, hoard things and when they give away things, make it seem that they are doing a favour to the world.

Siddu boy, I cannot stay longer with them.

March 12, 2016

Wonder what is happening to Siddu after his death

I was a privileged one.

And had not seen any deaths in the family. Some deaths on the road, one in the track but none except for my grandfather when I was pretty young.

Now, with he who I loved the most gone and theoretically, gone forever, I have been unable to digest his dying. So many answers remain, Will he ever wait for me at the gates of heaven. Will he even remember me.

What about the smoke that he became. In front of my own eyes, I saw him change to smoke, through that tall chimney with a bird flying round and round. I have his ashes with me, some of which I dropped off at various places recently. Now, that he is smoke - how will he change back into the form that he was when he was here. Very difficult to answer this.

I feel that he has settled on some cloud or maybe just floating around and will one day float back to earth or the ocean and be a part of the soil or sink into the sea. Which means, he will not come back as I knew him. Which means he is gone forever. Which also means, there is no afterlife for Siddu, atleast not in the form of what he was when was here. Which thus means, he is gone.

I have his ashes though and I can say with surety that in whatever form, it is but him. The only remaining physical form that he left behind.

And if his soul, if there is a soul. And if is soul does indeed extract itself from all the smoke and the ashes that I have, why would his soul wish to go anywhere, any heaven but be with me. I was his heaven and he was mine. Why would he go to some random place, heaven it may be, and wait there for me. If he is the Siddu I know, he will just stay with me. This leaves me with an advantage. I do not have too carry him around, no airlines fees, no problems of visa, of the railways. Wherever I go, he goes. That is nice.

However suppose, someone did come and tell him that he cannot stay by me and has to go to heaven, I am sure he must be lousy and howl his way into everyone's nerves up there. He will refuse to eat and just stare at the distance, perhaps look down at me. And wait for me to meet him fast. And the longer I take to reach him, the more sad he will become. Which means, this is a Catch-22. They will not let him stay by me and take him somewhere, where he will be sad. And if he stays with me, he will not be able to lick me and he will be sad. What can be the way out.

One, I need to keep him by my side all the time and talk to him occasionally so that he does not feel sad about licking me. Two if he is up somewhere, I need to make arrangements to see him soon. Once, I kept in Kabini for a month and he was as miserable as a miserable dog.

Siddu Raja..... Chill man, your ashes are warm and your hair is all around. Don't you dare forget me.