Voices in my head

These are just some voices
I keep telling myself
Time and again
Through the pain

They fiddle with my thoughts
Making me cringe with fear
Shattering the hopes
Taking me in ropes
But, I keep on believing, These are just some voices

I try to defy the odds
Fighting with enormous intensity
May be, I try too hard
May be, I should just let it be
After all, these are just some voices

I open my diary
And start writing a poem
But words fail every time
Every time emotions overwhelm me
Still, I soothe myself, these are just some voices

I switch on my music player
Trying to sleep it off
Volume goes higher
The song starts screaming
Voices fighting Voices, but it doesn’t last long

I shut my eyes as hard as I can
Pulling them inwards
I start seeing colours, and the light
Voices fade away for a second
Then, from the distance, I hear them again

I’m lost.
I feel helpless.
I wish I could run away.
Damn the voices, let’s just say.
I keep on fighting.
I don't know why, but I’ve always been.

These are just some voices
I keep telling myself
Time and again
Through the pain

FICTION: "Ghosts are not real, but.."

She didn’t believe in Ghosts. How could she – being born and brought up in a Metro where, forget the Ghosts, humans barely survive. Everyone in her family was a radical thinker and an atheist. She had often debated with great zeal about the (non)existence of ghosts and God. On a hot summer afternoon, she was discussing about ghosts in her cubicle on chat messenger. It can be imagined how depressing the office would have been that day, she had no work so she needed something to kill time. Moreover, she never tolerated educated people who believed in ghosts. This friend of hers - whom she was chatting with - belonged to a small village in Bihar who had struggled his way through and made it to the IT industry. He was sharing the experiences, that the people from his village had had with ghosts, and there were plenty. The chat:

She: hv u evr seen a ghost urself?

He: No! but I knw a lot many ppl who hv :)

She: how can u be so sure that they were not hallucinating…if u keep on hearing the tales from an early age, u start believing in things tht dun even exist

He: Okk, then can u explain me, how the hell a person saw and talked to his old father in the field…. When his father had been dead 5 hrs ago??

She: I told u na…he might have been hallucinating…

He: But this old chap - the father - told him abt a secret pot with silver coins…he told him d exact location…embedded in the back wall of d house…nobody had any clue abt that treasure…and wen they dug up the wall a few days later….wallah!…der ws the same pot…filled with silver coins…. EXPLAIN THAT??

She: I still don’t believe u…. his father might hv told him earlier… he might be lying… whtever but there’s no scientific proof of after-life or ghosts…

He: U dun believe it until it happens to u….one day u will…. Btw, turn back!

She turned back and to her utter shock, this guy was standing right behind her. He was supposed to be in a different city – this was unreal for her. A bead of sweat trickled down her eyebrow over to the nose, she kept staring, he kept smiling. She raised her arm to touch him, to see if he was for real. No logic, no reasoning struck her at that moment. ‘WTF!!!’, was all she could utter. He sat beside her and asked, ‘So? Now u believe in Ghosts?’. She hit him hard on his arm, ‘Idiot!! Moron!! There are no ghosts. I was just taken aback by surprise! And what the hell, how did u do this?’ To which he playfully replied, ‘If you have answers, there are no ghosts. If you don’t have answers, ghosts become real! And we have a lot of instances where science is not able to answer things, that’s where it all starts!’. Still confused, she turned over to her monitor, as she moved her mouse to clear the screensaver, she saw the cursor still blinking over that last exclamation mark. And then - out of nowhere - it struck her, she was actually chatting with herself!!! Text cannot have a cursor blinking unless it has been typed by you. She wanted to scream but the table suddenly turned and monitor toppled over her hand, it was not heavy but she quickly removed her hand moving it sideways smashing it in the drawer……… and that’s when she woke up. The pain was real, and so was the red scar on the back of her palm.


'Questions are never silly, answers are.'

When I heard this line for the first time, it amused me. I am a person known for asking too many questions. In school, one of my teachers even punished me for asking silly-useless-pointless questions. Her argument was that I was disturbing and slowing down the whole class, specially when we were lagging behind the schedule to finish the syllabus. It was 9th standard Physics, this particular teacher, in fact liked me as I was the topper(Andhon mein kaana raaja! you see :D ) of the class. After that encounter, questions became my enemies and I vowed not to ask any more questions and still top the class(add to this reason, that my teenage hormones were at their peak!). I did top the class, scoring full in Physics. But that was the first time, I began to question my questions. I started thinking, pondering over things before asking them to anybody else.

When I went to Kota to prepare for IIT JEE at Bansal classes, I was amidst the bunch of kids who were said to be the best in JEE aspirants. I was intrigued, awed by some of them. Hence I began to hesitate while asking questions in the class. But, as they say, old habits don’t die easily, I still asked more questions than my fellow students. I think, this too much awe led to my disastrous performance at IIT JEE 2 years later. I don’t know and now I don’t care either.

As I reached college, I was taught by the kind of professors from whom it was pointless to ask doubts. Most of them were simply not competent enough to answer simple questions. Moreover, it was the college life, where learning in the class took a back seat giving way to bunking classes, reading novels during lectures and mostly accepting everything as a fact and understanding it in a way just to clear the exams. I guess the US universities that have offered me admission for Graduate studies, would die out of shock at these bitter truths. Of course, I learned in college. But the questions were answered either by experimenting myself, discussing with friends or Googling! Not in the classrooms as they were supposed to be.

From questions beginning with ‘What is a Lion, Pa?’ to 'When a person uses toilet in a flying air-plane, how come the shit doesn't fall off to the ground?' to ‘Can we dig a hole in Earth deep enough to emerge out from the other side?’ to 'How can i change an Android app to make it work on iOS?' to 'What is Life?' to 'Why is Life?', I think my tryst with questions has come a long way, is still on and will remain so, hopefully, in the times to come. And if there's one thing i've realized, it is this - Questions are never silly, silly! Answers are.

बूँद बूँद

बूँद बूँद
रात भर

अलसाए से
सताए से
दर्द समेटे
यादें लपेटे
बातें कहते
क्या कुछ सहते
चुभन सी एक
घुटन सी एक
पलती रही
बढती रही

बूँद बूँद
रात भर

कहानी गढ़ी
दिलचस्प बड़ी
आवारा हुए
नाकारा हुए
ताने सुने
आहें भरीं
लम्हों की लड़ी
और वो घडी
कतरा कतरा
थामे न थमी

बूँद बूँद
रात भर
मचलते रहे बरसते रहे
कुछ आंसू आँखों में ही जलते रहे

Score kya hua? - An experience worth sharing

The World Cup encounter between India and Pakistan was a cracker of a contest. India won it, and went on to become the world champions. This high profile semi-final match gave a run for its money to the final, as far as the hype and excitement was concerned. It was cricket fever at the highest. Economies came to a stand still, governments declared half day holiday, employees of private firms either bunked or took leave from the office, some corporations were smart enough to screen the matches, giant TV screens were installed in societies and what not!

On the D-day, when the Pakistan innings started I was travelling back to India after my 2 week sojourn in US. It was an indirect flight via Dubai, as there are no direct flights from Houston to Delhi. Before boarding, I had last checked the score in the airport lounge. Although the match was very well in India’s grip by then, still I was keen on knowing the score, curiosity you see. So I called up my uncle(maama) in India and asked - what the ad-omnipresent SRK is asking these days in Airtel ads, Score Kya Hua? – the score. Maama’s ecstatic tone gave me the hint that we had won. Kitte runon se? To which Maama replied, 29 runs se jeet gaye, Sachin Man of the Match hai.

There were still some minutes left before the take-off, so I rushed towards my sister’s seat(who btw was sitting a few rows behind). I told her gaily, ‘JEET GAYE!!!’. She smiled happily, and we cheered. Natural enough. So then, there was an old couple sitting in the next seat, they turned back, smiling, they asked(just to confirm I think, obviously they must have heard us) ‘Jeet Gaye??’. We were glad to hear hindi in a land where we had grown accustomed to English in the last couple of weeks. I replied cheerfully, ‘Haan, Jeet Gaye!!’. The old lady said, ‘Thank God, I was so tensed!’ I was very touched by this, to find our own people in a strange land, to share a common joy, it gives you a really nice feeling. This is the greatness of this country, no matter what culture you come from, no matter what local language you speak, when it comes to cricket – every distinction barrier loses its meaning. Except this, the whole journey was boring. I had switched seats with my sister, and luckily no one was sitting beside me so I laid down comfortably for the rest of the journey.

Just when we were about to reach Dubai, I heard the old couple talking to one of the air hostesses, “We have to change the plane for Islamabad from Dubai!!”. It took me a split second to realize what had happened. While I was giving the news to my sister, I had never mentioned that INDIA had won. It was obvious. Implicit. And this had created an epic misunderstanding, perhaps at its ironical best. I couldn’t stop myself from smiling. Kamaal hai, I thought.  


कौन अपना है कौन पराया है
किस्सा ये फिर एक बार दोहराया है
कशिश मीठी होती तो क्या बात थी 
यहाँ तो बस घुटन का साया है

ज़िन्दगी बीत गयी खुद को आजमाने में
सारे रिश्ते छूट गए आने जाने में
किससे कहें किससे छुपायें
अब तो डर लगता है दिल की बात बताने में.