She Was a Knight

She trotted along, her horse never tiring,
She claimed herself to be a knight,
Yet within she knew she was only a woman,
Tired of being denied of what was her right.
Once upon a time if things had turned out,
The way she had wanted them to be,
Today her son would have been smiling at her,
And she’d have had another in her belly.
She wished that war had never happened,
She wished he had still been alive,
To carry her in her arms when she was wounded,
Or on a day when to walk she’d have to strive.
But none of that happened,
None of it was true,
And she was here, a knight today,
Heading a hundred behind, her own crew.
Soon they would fight,
Soon they’d be dead,
And in the heavens above she knew,
She would be wed.

A Poem From 1960

She looked at me, her eyes ever shining,
As if she wanted to tell me something,
But her lips were pursed, her eyes a million stories,
And I couldn’t make up my mind, which one to read.
She was an open book, then why couldn’t I,
Tell her apart from the rest?
And why couldn’t I figure out, if she felt for me,
The same that I felt for her?
Once a maiden at a fair had asked me if,
I had loved anyone in my life,
I had lied to her and told her no,
All the while thinking about her.
Then whilst she walked back, I intently followed,
But after a while she disappeared,
And afterwards I never saw her again,
And never saw anyone like her.
One night in my dreams, she came once again,
Her eyes still the same from all those years ago,
I held her in my arms, and there was music to the left,
Our feet tapped and we danced for a long time.
She hummed a rhythm that evening,
And I’ve never heard anyone more melodious,
But neither she came in my life any more,
Nor did I try looking for her.
And so fifty years later today,
When I think of the fair, and I think of the dream,
I smile at how when we were young,
Love was all that mattered,
And now when we count minutes unto death,
Love is all that matters.

Technical Posts Shifting to LinkedIn


Small update. Now on the technical posts will be available on LinkedIn. This is so that more people can have access to it in a more professional manner. I can still copy the posts on WordPress, but it will cause a lot of unnecessary redundancy in case I am to write a lot more of those than I am right now.

To find me on LinkedIn, this is my public profile.

Life, Death and Music

The real talent of a popular musician cannot accurately be assessed until the musician has been dead for several generations, so that his or her fame does not interfere with honest assessment.

The issue at hand states that we cannot accurately assess a musician’s talent as long as he is alive, because we may be biased towards him based on his fame and popularity. However, I tend to disagree with this notion. People appreciate music for more than one reason. If the only reason of appreciation of music was who the composer is, then the assessment might have been biased. However, other reasons reduce this predilection and hence I believe that the fact whether he or she is living or dead or how many generations have passed since his or her death is not a reason based on which assessment should be done.

When we listen to music, sometimes we appreciate it without even knowing who the musician is. In such cases, we have already assessed the musician irrespective of his fame. In fact, a musician become famous because of the result of the assessment of his talent. If people did not like his or her music in the first place, he or she would never have been famous. If the fame that he or she has is in any other way apart from music, good or bad – for example, past criminal records or past success in another field – then that fame and the music are in two different places, and we must make it our responsibility to not intermingle both of them.

At this point, people might argue that in fact most musicians are assessed after their death. One might argue with the fact that Warner Bros productions dedicated an entire television channel to Michael Jackson shortly following his death, concluding that he was assessed after his death. However, this is not really right. The channel might have been the result of appreciation from before, and only serves as a dedication forum. Also we have no proof that the channel was proposed posthumously.

It should be made clear that appreciating music after one’s death is perfectly alright. However, that should not be the sole way, or the mandatory style. Whereas it is not wrong to assess a person after his death, it is also not correct to wait ‘until the musician has been dead for several generations’. The issue points out clearly that a musician cannot be assessed until he has been dead for ‘several generations’. However, there is a strong negative notion about this. Music styles are not always perennial. There have been paradigm shifts always, where different generations prefer different kinds of music. We see that all the time even at our homes. Whereas the older generation might have a predilection towards soft rock, children often like noisier music. When an entire population is shifting in its tastes, trying to assess older music is really a bad choice.

In fact, real talent is often judged during the lifetime of a musician. The music award ceremonies are a testimony to this. Assessing during the lifetime also helps the musician because it makes him realize his weak points, and the genres where he is likely to succeed more. We have often seen singers change their styles entirely, moving from Sufi to rock, and from underground to Bollywood, in search of fame once they were appreciated for their work. It also acts as an incentive to better work. Hence the above example acts as a proof that assessment should be done during the lifetime.

To end, I would say that it is the personal responsibility of the people who assess music to make sure they are not hindered by the popularity of the musician. They should make a disinterested judgment based on the music and solely on the music that the musician composes. In doing so, the real talent can be tested more accurately and passionately, and would result in better quality music at the end of the day.

The Bell

Written on December 7, 2010.

Never before had Bull felt the way he felt right now. His emotions swung left and right, and he was under a fix as to whether what he thought was eternal relationship came to an end just because of the love of one’s own life. As he sat in the cell, the king came along.

“So your dear friend hasn’t arrived as yet. Wasn’t I very sure of this! After all why should someone be so foolish as to come back to die once he has been given the chance to escape? Only because his friend believes in him? This is pure bullshit Bull, I told you earlier do not come into all this but you didn’t listen. Now you have to suffer. You have no other choice.”

And then the man rose his head. The king noticed, silently, how the slight curves on his forehead now smoothened, how a black patch had developed beneath his eyes as though he hadn’t slept a million nights, how the skin of the lips had cracked, and how wrinkled the face had become, as if he weren’t a youth but an old man, older than him. Diseased he is, thought the king. Slowly, taking the support of the wall beside, Bull rose up, stood on his feet and cleared his throat. “Sir, you are mistaken. There is nothing to suffer in this.” And he sat down again, curled himself up and was lost in his thoughts.

The king, too confident to argue, left.

Lost in his thoughts, Bull now remembered those moments of his life which he wished he could relive a million times. The house painted white, behind the hedges, the evergreen field on which it stood, the fan hanging on the beam of the roof of it, which he always wished would rotate faster. He remembered how in the cold winter nights he would curl up under his quilt, listening to his parents’ talking among them. He still did not forget that day, when he returned from school to see that the house wasn’t there anymore, only rubble, and he still didn’t know where his parents were. People had told him that they dies when the house shattered to an earthquake, but he never believed those. He knew his parents would return.

His thoughts then went to his school. It was a small four-room cottage, but it was there that he framed himself for the latter part of his life. He remembered the white and red striped paint on the front walls, and the cement broken on the interiors. He remembered how a mattress used to be kept in order that the room wouldn’t get dirty, and how he and Ross stole all of them. Ross. Yes Ross. His favorite schoolmate.

Ross, a dark-complexioned boy, taller than Bull, he thought, and a wry smile crossed his face, when he was reminded of all the fun they had together. Bunking classes to sit by the river, picking pockets of the travellers who passed by, telling people wrong routes so that they lost themselves, making paper airplanes and flying them in the classroom, never doing their homework yet always escaped the teachers’ scolding by making some lame excuse… and how they grew up together, never realizing that time passed so quickly.

His thoughts now wandered only around Ross. He remembered the lunches they had together at his house, when Ross’s mother cooked better food than any other lady in the world. What a sumptuous lunch they had always, though he always wished that his mother come back from wherever she is and cook him her food too. He too wished that he invite Ross to his house and that he ate his mother’s made food. Little did he know that people don’t come out of their graves. Ross’s mother was a kind lady. Short-heighted, yellow streaks on her front hair, she was always a little bent, due to her age he supposed, she wasn’t pretty, but she was beautiful. Her face was white, white as the snow that fell when he stayed up the hills, at an age of four, with his parents. Sometimes when they both would return from school, his mother would be just outside the door, sweeping the floors with a long broom. The broom had a long wooden handle, and he could still remember the exact picture of it. And she would be coughing loud, the dust causing it. And he remembered how Ross would take the broom from her hands, and ask her to go inside whilst he swept the courtyard, after which they had lunch together, of bread with butter and a glass of milk, the milk of the cow tied to the fence in the backyard.

And then the smile on his face turned to a dark gloom, and the curves on his forehead reappeared. It was due to what happened last week. Murder. Ross. Sentence. Thoughts flashed in and out of his mind. What apparently happened was that Ross had murdered the prince of the city. The reason for this was unknown to everyone. Ross did not share this even with Bull. But there was a rumor that it was because of the fact that both loved the same girl and that Ross was jealous of the fact that the girl loved the prince because he was richer. It was due to that that he had been sentenced to death. However, he had a last wish of seeing his parents before he died. But there was no guarantee that he would return once set free to meet his parents. That was where this man Bull came in. Ross begged Bull to stay in his place till he returned. The king put a condition that if Ross did not return within the stipulated time, Bull would be hanged instead. Bull had almost instantaneously accepted the proposal, he having so much faith in their friendship. But now, only fifteen minutes were left for the bell to ring, and he hadn’t arrived yet.

The bell rung. Bull was escorted to the place which was designed for the hanging. A large crowd had appeared. A sense of serenity showed on Bull’s face although in a few minutes he would be hanged for absolutely no fault of his. The bell rung a second time. The rope was put around his neck. Three. Two. One and… “Stop!” Came a voice from behind. He was huffing, panting and through his blurred vision, Bull saw Ross arrive. There was a smile on Bull’s face, a smile of faith, an eternal friendship, a relationship which had passed all limits. Amidst that smile, Bull’s eyes closed. “No!”, shouted Ross in the background. A loud applause of the crowd. Only had Ross been sooner by a second…

Return – Chapter 2

I knocked on the door. I knew what was impending, and even as I knocked again, I felt it would have been a relief if I could just run down the road beside, and keep running until I was tired. But then, I wanted to face what reality had in store for me. It wouldn’t be easy, I knew. In fact, the next few minutes could be the most tough moments of my life, something that I could pass on to my grandchildren in anonymous stories. I waited. A lady shouted from inside, which roughly translated to “I swear this is the thousandth time since morning someone knocked on my door. I will break this door someday.” She opened the door, and for a while she kept looking at me. I realized she wouldn’t know me; when I had last left her, I did not have a stubble. My hair was neatly combed that morning as I left for school. That was four years back. I smiled at her, hoping that would remind her of the past. She did not look a day older. She was the same old woman that I had left a few years ago. Same white sari, same white hair, plump but weak, fat rimmed spectacles, nothing had changed; except time. “Namaste Taaya,” I said, which meant, “Hello, Taaya”. Taaya was what I called her when I was small. I did not know how I came to learnt that name, and why no one asserted a problem to me calling her by that name when she was in fact not my taaya. In relations, taaya refers to an elder aunt. But she was not an aunt of mine, neither did she have any nephews. I was the only person she had, and only had she been the only person I had, nothing would have ever gone wrong. She was my mother.

She looked at me melancholically, kept looking at my eyes for about a minute, and then shut the door on my face. I couldn’t expect anything less or more than that. When I was young, sometimes we used to fight over small trivial matters. Then I used to pretend I was angry and would shut the door of my room and lock myself inside for hours. My mother would cry, thinking I was really angry. I felt sad about that, but I didn’t want to break it to her. If I did, she would never again think I was angry, and things wouldn’t work out. So many incidents flashed into my mind. But then, things changed. Today we played a role reversal. I was crying, and she had shut the door. Only, she literally did it. There was only one person I could now go to. I didn’t know if she would remember me at all, or whether she would give it any thought if I stepped up in front of her, but I owed it to myself, and I owed it to her, to meet her once more, to try to set things right, and to live my life as I should have done before. It was late, but they say it’s better to be late than never. I was praying they said it right. As I walked down the road, an old friend met me. He looked at me strangely, as I stood, stagnated, not moving an inch. He hugged me for a while, and as we walked, he narrated all what had happened in the interim that I was gone. I was gone. I had never thought anyone would put it that way. I was not gone, I was right here. All the while, I was right here. But I couldn’t explain that to him, nor could I talk about it to anyone else around. So I just nodded. He left me after a while, when he saw the way I was headed. “Don’t do it,” he said. “For your sake.”

I strolled on. I had to see if there were a life that I wished for, if there were a destiny that defined me. So I reached her house. And I knocked, hoping she would open and recognize me. I hadn’t been away that long that she’d not recognize me. Unless she did it purposefully… The door opened. She looked at me with her shining eyes. So much of her had changed. Except her eyes. They were still the same. They still said the same story that they said four years ago. And her tears still pained me as it did in my dreams. She had grown thinner, and she looked prettier than I could have ever imagined her to be. “I still love you,” I said. She put a finger on her lips, indicating me to stop talking. And she hugged me. “I’ve missed you,” she said. “I’ve missed you too, Shaena,” I said.

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An Unfulfilled Dream

He pricked a thorn to see if it were true,
All the while believing he was living a dream,
For what he saw was not of this world,
The world he knew had brutalities extreme.
People walked by, smiling at each other,
The pretty little girls with pretty blue eyes,
He was amazed to see how no prying eyes,
Scanned them from top to bottom.
On the other side, a lady stood,
A group of men beside her too,
He was amazed to see how neither cared,
And stayed as if the other didn’t exist.
In his world, things happened differently,
But he wished this world was his,
For he had dreamed for a while, for this to happen,
And how now he savored it.
When the mendicant outside cried for money,
People didn’t throw waste food at him,
When the eunuch smiled at the guy beside him,
He smiled back too, shaking hands for a second.
He was amazed how this world had changed,
And thanked God for a while for fulfilling his dreams,
Only then he realized the thorn wasn’t pricking him,
And woke up dismayed, back into this world.