एक प्याला चाय 
कुछ रुई से मुलायम बादल 
पहाड़ों में बारिश की आवाज़ 
सुदूर वादियों में अलसाता हुआ सूरज 
ठंडी खिसयानी हवा 
कुछ अधपके ख्याल 
सूखे सुर्ख गाल 
पैरों में गुदगुदी करती चीटियाँ 
खोया हुआ मैं 
सूजी आँखों से वादी की नमकीन सुबह 
और चाय का चढ़ता नशा ~

What if ?

What if real life is not real? What if you wake up when you fall asleep, the dreams that you see are the world you belong to, and what you consider reality is just a dream gone wrong. What if all your fears, all the pain, all those heart wrenching moments, all the suffering is just a part of your imagination. And all the smiles, those long lost hugs, memories to cherish, photos you never clicked are just an extension of your true self belonging to the world behind closed eyes. What if every truth you know is a lie? What if love is all there is, all there was and all there will be? What if when you close your eyes forever, you start dreaming forever?

Desire ~

Have you ever felt a kind of uneasiness, the kind when you're under water a split second longer and you long for that one breath,  that one deep quick drag of life. In that brief moment, every fiber of your existence only seeks one thing. A kind of fatal passion - where you become one with your 'want' - sweeps you away. Have you ever felt that kind of inexplicable desire for something, or someone? 

Some Haikus

Found this webpage online which has compiled the #haikus posted by me on Twitter on a beautiful page. Haiku is an ancient Japanese zen poetry form which has only 3 lines with 17 syllables(5-7-5 pattern).They are deceptively simple and often involve nature, my understanding on nature's involvement is that they were written by monks who had nothing else to observe but nature (how lucky and blissful). The beauty of haikus lies in their simplicity and subtlety, but they often have multiple dimensions. I am presenting my haikus here. 

Lush green monsoon hills
A waterfall flowing carelessly 
And a train coming out of the tunnel.


Darkness flows through the moon
Enchanting symphonies of the night
Sun breaks the silence.


Flow like a river
Just for a while
The pain needs a medium.


River caressed the sides
Playing with it
The boat moved on.


Sudden bursts of smiles
The kid kept giggling
Mysteries unraveled.


Whispering mornings
Sleepy grass
frozen tears.


Faded colors
Of the green leaves


Rise up and raise your arms
Embrace the shower.


They fluttered at the edge
Anxiously waiting
Birds cannot hide from the sky.


Like the iron, Like the man
Everything decays
Just a matter of time.


After a while
You start asking questions
From the paths.


A kind of numbness
A kind of love
Eyes sometimes, suffer a lot.


एक पागलपन में जकड़े बेवजह जिए जाते हो 
भीड़ से भागने के लिए, भीड़ में समा जाते हो
कहते नहीं कभी लेकिन कितना कुछ सह जाते हो 
मकान को घर बनाते हो, और फिर घर तोड़ जाते हो
रिश्तों को दाँव पर लगा जाने क्या आज़माते हो
रोज़ रोज़ मरते हो आख़िर इतनी हिम्मत कहाँ से लाते हो
बोलो ~
सवालों के लिए जवाब, जवाबों के लिए सवाल तलाशते हो
भागने की कोशिश है सरपट तेज़, इतना किस से भागते हो
अंधेरे से डरते नहीं और उजालों से थर थर काँपते हो
प्यार पता नहीं किस चिड़िया का नाम है, और डीगें हांकते हो
टटोला नहीं रूह को, और दुनिया को हरदम इतना छानते हो
अपने दामन में ये उम्मीदों के नाग क्यूँ पालते हो ?
बोलो ~


अभी कल ही की बात है
दरख्तों पर बारिश की बूँदें नाचा करती थीं
टपक टपक कर मचलती हुई
सावन की ताल पर थिरकती हुई
पत्तों से उतरकर, फिसलकर, गिरकर,
संभलकर फिर ज़रा दूसरे पत्ते से होती हुई
पानी से पानी पर पानी लिखती हुई
वादी से बहती हुई आज ये सीधे
आँखों में चली आई हैं
आबशार बन ढल जायेंगी
अभी कल ही की बात है
जब इन बूंदों के मानी अलग हुआ करते थे ..

9 floors down the memory lane : JUIT

I have been wanting to write about my alma mater JUIT since a long time. I would have written this piece much earlier, only if I had enough motivation or the right words. Recently on a free wasted weekend, I loaded my photo collection DVDs from college and spent a good time re-living the moments. That sorted out the motivation part, words came instinctively. This post is a slightly longish read, hence I recommend reading it in your FREE time aaram se and if you ever make it till the end and like it, please do share it with the ones who were a part of your grand journey. Our grand journey. :)

9 floors down the memory lane

I see clouds. Lots of clouds.
Embracing the mountains like lovers cuddled up together.
You can't tell one from another.
I am mesmerized. Awestruck. And yes, terrified.
This is how it started.
A journey of four years that I would later remember as the best four years of my life.

I enter the hostel 15 at JUIT. It is newly built.
The smell of dust, cement and dry paint fills the void that silence creates.                                                                                           
It is a long walk down 9 floors to my room.
I arrange my luggage, and meet some people.
They are at the same podium, as nervous as I am, as open as I am.
Misery finds company, we become friends.
A lot has been said about being bullied and ragged by Seniors.
Not that it isn't unexpected, still the fear is overwhelming.
We go for meals to Junior-Mess in groups.
Passing through senior hostels, ever aware of the watchful eyes upon us.
We try to ignore it. Look away. Try to camouflage.
Nobody is spared.
A tender hand comes around the shoulders and whisks me away into the slaughter houses.
Inside the room, a flock of predators has gathered to enjoy the show.
After one hour of dancing, cussing the fan, loving the wall and all along trying not to laugh, or cry; we're freed.
Angry. Shocked. But relieved. Ragging isn't that bad after all. The fear subsides a little.

It is 8:50 AM. I'm having tea at the tuck shop, having thrown out of the class again.
A new found joy sweeps in upon hearing the magic words these days : "get out of the class".
It means getting the chance to soak up the morning sun. The sun feels nearer in the mountains.
It also means not missing breakfast that day.
We are sitting in the Mughal gardens. Copying the assignment for Microprocessors class.
Academic block stands tall as if mockingly announcing to the mountains, 'I'm the boss here!'.
A bunch of 4th yearies are playing Cricket on the Basket Ball court.
Envious. I think how "lucky" they are to have so much free time. I'm wrong.
Coming back to my assignment, I realize I don't have stapler here.
We go to the library to ask for one. Librarian gives his usual curt look before giving it to us.
Microprocessors is followed by preparing a lab file followed by coding Fibonacci series.
Funny how life becomes so intervened in certain activities that you forget to breathe,
Making the occasional deep gulps of the thinner but pure Solan air vital.
Dhabas have been discovered. Monthly Shimla trips have begun.
Trekking is the new craze where more than the terrains we explore ourselves.
I now know what it means to be a JUITian. I'm wrong. Not yet.

I'm a senior now. Life on campus looks much better.
Now that I can be on the other side of the bargain, I still don't like ragging.
It is not in my nature to have a false sense of power, I yearn for respect instead.
Academics has taken a back seat. True college life has begun to flap its wings now, so have I.
Late night LAN games are a hip. Freedom and JAP are our answers to Cyberoam.
I now know almost everyone in my batch. A walk from hostel to 'academic' never goes by without a few Heyys.
From blank multicasts to groups to latest movies, IP messenger gives 'sharing' a new meaning.
On weekends Wakna, Kanda, Shoghi, Solan, Shimla, calling Baldev bhaiya and the likes for cab,
Clubs and societies, events, competitions, tuck, cafe, and McD dhaba,
"Kaushal bhaiya, samosa crush kar dena..", "1 ka sikka nahin hai, ye lo Eclairs le lo.." are now a custom.
One night stands with books and notes help us sail through the exams. Well, almost.
To take a break from celebrations, we celebrate even more.
Le fiestus. A few weeks of preparations for three days of non-stop lunacy.
However hard I try I cannot become sincere enough for the exams that follow the fest.
Thanks to relative grading. We all do equally bad, and hence are equally happy.
As placement season approaches we try to become 'serious'.
One by one almost everybody gets placed.
We are ecstatic. No pressure whatsoever on the remaining days at college.
The best semester of all has started. 
Classes are rarely attended. Final project is going on at a snail's pace.
We have become lazier. I want to soak every ounce of this beautiful dream.

And then the 'lasts' begin. The last shimla trip. The last trek.
The last photo session. The last CS game. The last class. The last exam.
The last birthday bumps. The last joints. The last drinks. The last celebrations.
Documentaries are made from SENTIest movie songs. Farewell messages are scribbled.
The blue shirts become home for cliched goodbye messages and some creative erotic drawings.
The 'last' week is the toughest, more so if you're leaving in the end.
The empty hostels with their monstrous claws and paws tend to rip your soul apart.
The door that welcomed you a million times, now only has a graffiti - parting - message, and a lock.
Roaming blankly on empty hostel floors is followed by another daunting task that I vehemently hate : Packing!
Rotten socks, fungi laden mathri-boxes, empty deo bottles, seal packed shampoo, new crisp 1st year books,
Stack of old newspapers, Ultra stuffed dustbin with Maggi packets, Eclairs wrappers -- and what not!
I don't know where to begin, so many loved attachments to throw, so many memories to stuff in these bags,
So many moments of infinite joy to be taped. Forever.
I have learned a hell lot in these 4 years. Most of it outside the classrooms.
Affairs, crushes, FRIENDSHIPS, fights, chaos, apprehensions and inane dramas have taught invaluable lessons.
I now comprehend that the bold letters on the 'Thank You' gate are a dedication. From us to the alma mater.

I am standing at Waknaghat.
At the same spot on the other side of the road waiting for my 'last' bus to Kalka.
Acquaintances at the chemist shop, Paradise hotel, the salon and the general store --
Unbothered, are busy with their regular work. They have witnessed heavy hearts leaving hundreds of times.
The bus comes.
I am lucky today, I get a seat.
The last journey begins on the same winding Shimla-Kalka NH-22 which is notorious for giving sickness to many.
Sardarji from Punjab Roadways are driving the bus with the same nonchalant concern.
Twists and turns and slides and roles begin.
After a few minutes, the bus passes through a turn, known as TOI in Jaypee parlance.
And then I see it. For a last time like this.
In the lap of Shivaliks, nestled on top of the hill, standing tall like a barren fortress with sparkling neon diamonds.
I wave towards my JUIT, and it smiles in return, like an old granny adjusting her glasses to have a good look,
And instructs the hill and the trees to join in the farewell, my fortress subtly waves its tall hands,
I am not sure whether it is saying goodbye; or calling me back.

p.s. Here is a collection of some photos of JUIT on flickr.

Trees will fail again tonight.

Trees. Lots of them outside my window. I am surrounded. They don't let me feel the loneliness, adding up to my solitude. They are comforting. Winds play rustic tunes with the leaves. These symphonies are the sweet lullabies that this soul is in dire need of. 

I close my eyes. I see you. May be denial is the only way out. May be I can think of something else because your thought makes me miserably weak. Because your thought is the only thing that is left. It is precious. I try to think of something else. Anything but you. 

I think about trivialities. The mundane things - the computer in my office desk needs a software upgrade, I have to call a friend this weekend, the milk in the fridge might have expired today, what will I cook tomorrow for breakfast, I need to pay the rent, this place is so hauntingly beautiful.. 

Mind processes thoughts at the speed of a super computer to the power super computer. All these thoughts zip by in a flash. Moving briskly with the thoughts yet not going anywhere -- I try to stop seeing. I force myself to think not to think. The mind gets confused by this contradiction. 

I pay attention to the lullabies. I try to relax. Cuddled up inside the blanket, I feel like home. I am able to breathe. I become light as a feather, circling around among the trees, flying with the wind, going higher, I can see the whole forest now, I reach the tallest tree, settled in its glory is a sparkling nest, I go inside.. and bang! -- like a crushing wave of emotions you come back. 

Another night will be spent sleepless. Trees will fail again tonight. 

A treacherous creature

We all carry certain images in our heart. Certain chunks of memories that are doomed to be with us forever. They flash before our eyes out of the blue, like a pebble being thrown in the already disturbed waters, causing some more ripples before settling down again. These mental images can be anything; of things that weren't but could have been, or of things that were but should never have been. Memories indeed are a treacherous creature.