December 14, 2012

A Nomadic Generation

I had been sitting in dark for over two hours now. It was weird to experience a power cut; Almost like remembering a faint childhood memory. With the rustling of leaves in the background, the only thought racing in my mind was, how did we live without online TV, till only a few years ago!
Suddenly, my room mate rushed in, drenched from head to toe, with his flashlight clinched tightly in his fist.

"Dude, we should evacuate."
"Yeah! Haven't you seen outside?"
"It's pitch black outside! I can't see a thing. And I was busy eating my cold, yet delicious, food, in the dark".
"There is an electric pole hanging on our apartment and our neighbor's wall has collapsed ! You really think we should still stay in?

Hanging pole. Collapsed wall. Stay in. Echo. 
He stressed on just the right words to wipe the smirk off my face, make me jump out of my bed and take a  peek outside.

The reality only sunk in then.
Hurricane Sandy had hit New Jersey, and this was going to be a long night.

The Aftermath

After a few more nerve wrecking moments of deafening silence, we talked about the emergency evacuation kit, important documents, options where we can go etc. We left soon with just a backpack each to a  friend's house for safety.

As I laid, in someone else's dark and cold living room, I couldn't help but think that how quickly and with so little stuff, could I leave my house. I had my passport, immigration documents, driving license, car keys, credit cards, and "my precious", laptop. I wasn't sad or upset about leaving what was supposed to be my "home", till a few minutes back. I was blank. No attachment, whatsoever! 
And I don't lead a monk's life. I am a self confessed shopaholic who has got a lot of stuff. But nothing seemed worth taking. Nothing gave me a mutual feeling of belonging.


I left with just a backpack, in my car. All I needed were my identity documents, some money and a mode of transportation. What does that make me? A nomad! Come to think of it, most people of my generation are leading similar lives. We change cities, countries and friends at the drop of a hat.

We didn't grow up like this. Most of us spent our entire childhood in just one or two houses. There used to be a rental house, to which our families held on to as long as they could, and then sometime in our early teens, we got our own house. It simply meant 2 things- that from that point on, we would have the same neighbors for life and that city would forever be referred to as our "hometown". Secondly, and more importantly, it taught us the difference between our home and  just a house. 

We all grew up with a generation willing to sacrifice careers and lifestyles for stability, a concept lost on this generation. Living in the moment has become the buzzword, not because its mandatory in today's time, but due to our sheer inability to see beyond a few years in future. We are blindfolded by ambition, money, power and lifestyle.
We still take pride in telling how big and close our families back home are. Yet, the thought of meeting our uncles, aunts and cousins never crosses our minds. And if we absolutely have to meet them, no stone is left unturned to make one point clear- that, because of our extremely busy (read: nomadic) lifestyles, we don't know when we would meet again! Farther is the new better! 

We have an illusion of forever being in touch. Facebook, Twitter, emails, Whats-app, what not! However, this is a disconnected and disillusioned generation which doesn't even have the concept of "forever", let alone, of  "forever in touch". One of the major reasons for the success of all the social media in the recent decade is because of this nomadic lifestyle where we are overcompensating at every step of our lives without as much having an inkling of it. We search for acquaintances in strangers, friends in work colleagues, cousins in friends and a mentor in bosses.

The previous generation had clarity and definitions for every relation. Siblings were different from cousins and neighbors  from uncles. Family was family, irrespective of the distances. Not to belittle any relation, but each one had its importance and position. We never saw our fathers turning to their friends in moments of either celebration or grief, before family. Now, we are one better job offer or even one cheaper apartment away from losing everything that, in this moment, we hold dearly. If Facebook didn't have the birthdays and anniversary reminders, we would have lost on the idea of wishing our so called near and dear ones as well.

India is undergoing a transition. From the clutches of socialism it has freed itself to become a free economy and slowly we are transitioning into a capitalistic society. Migration, for a better career or education, has become inevitable. If you are not away, you lag behind.
With the heftier pay checks and longer sedans, has come, a new societal framework. Our society is undergoing a paradigm shift. 

No kid will now have a creche-less childhood, homemaker mother, verandah cricket with father, intimate cousins and a very interesting love-hate relationships with grandparents. 

Sure, this lifestyle has made us more polite and better suited for the world, but it also has made us plastic and lonely. That's a big price to pay.

The hurricane didn't hurt me or damage my house. Trust me, all these thoughts are neither the result of a tree falling on my head, nor are they accentuated by the fact that I don't live in India! I happen to know a lot of people who feel the same way in a Bangalooru or a Pune or a Noida. That small incident made me realize how much my generation is losing in pursuit of our beloved lifestyle.

I still remain a shopaholic, materialistic and ambitious young man who lives on foreign shores for opportunity and dollar conversion rate! I can't give up all this, not at this juncture at least. I am on a journey with no destination in mind. But now, I do have the lingering thought of this life being over in a fleeting moment. However, even if I have realized about my nomadic existence, most of my generation hasn't. They may not savor the little mutual time we have, living in the moment, before we move on.

We are a rootless generation who wants to branch out regardless. One way or the other, we end up losing people on a continuous basis from our lives, racing towards a point of no return.

Wake up!


My previous posts punctuating related train of thoughts

सपना !
हम में आज भी कहीं एक बच्चा बसता है !

Image Source-


November 24, 2012


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A night before Thanksgiving, I was sitting in a diner with a friend. We were talking about the American holiday and its history, which to my amusement, has absolutely no relevance to the way it is celebrated. It was a dinner between the Pilgrims and the Indians, which can probably be equated to one family welcoming another family in the neighborhood. But no one celebrates it that way now because talking to neighbors is a thing of distant past, at least in the West. It simply is a day for family re-unions and a wait for Black Friday deals! As they say, only in USA, can you be sitting with family and friends, being thankful on one day, and trampling over others for cheap electronics, the very next day!

I have always struggled with the use of the word "re-union" with respect to families. May be its the growing up with the Kauravas vs Pandavas stories, but in my mind, for a re-union, there has to be a falling apart. However, with the modern lifestyles, just being apart, calls for a re-union. Why not use the term "get together" instead?
There were 5 old men sitting on the next table. All of them were in their mid to late sixties, I guess. They looked really happy and content. Their loud  and careless laughter lit up the otherwise dull place. There were college stories, work gossip and, the obvious, wife bickering! It was anybody's guess that they were having a good time.
Quite  clearly, it was a "boys" night out, away from their families and the routine hustle bustle. A  friends' "get together" on a night before the holiday that they would essentially celebrate with their families. Again, friends before family! 
Old habits do die hard!
Then again I thought, why wouldn't they be happy! At this age also, they have the luxury of being with their friends, reminiscing about the good old days and forgetting the age woes. The occasional fun nights and the sense of togetherness, especially at that age, must be invigorating.
These are the moments, we ought to be thankful for! That is a true celebration.

October 8, 2012

My Poem On Radio

One of my poems, "फिर मिलेंगे ... !" has been selected to be aired on one of the leading online radio stations for Bollywood music, Mera Sangeet.

The air times are as follows:

USA - Eastern Time

Wednesday- 11 AM and 8 PM; Thursday- 5 AM

USA- Pacific Time Time

Wednesday- 8 AM and 5 PM; Thursday- 2 AM


Wednesday- 8:30 PM; Thursday- 5:30 AM and 2:30 PM

The RJ, Madhur Chaddha, has also recorded this for YouTube.

I would like to thank and RJ Madhur for selecting my entry. Many thanks to for providing the platform

All of you who want to enter your poem for this show, follow the link

Have fun listening! 

September 24, 2012

Of Food, Philosophy and Passion (Junoon)

"There is no love sincerer than the love of food"- George Bernard Shaw

It's not every day that we look for inspiration. Most days are exhausting, mundane and caught in the routine conundrums. Generally, we can't wait for one such day to get over yet dreaded by the thought of  another similar one to begin.
Such is life's irony.

This has lead to the urban legend of Weekends; 2 magical days when we are made to believe, by the
almighty forces of the corporate world, that we can breathe fresh air, enjoy the serenity of the dew in our garden, dance in the rain, feel the soothing warmth of the morning sun, and if we are really lucky, meet our friends and family. Most of us though spend it sleeping and grocery shopping!
However, on one such weekend, yours truly decided to attend an Indiblogger meet in New York City, the first of its kind, and got inspired by an ordinary man's extraordinary life and achievements.

Hi! I am an Indian and I Blog
I will be honest here; I didn't go to the Indiblogger meet looking for an extraordinary story. I went to meet the fellow bloggers of my area, network with them, learn about their work and enjoy my Sunday with gourmet food and delightful cocktails at the Junoon restaurant. It is a famous Indian restaurant, in the heart of the City, known to host a lot of celebrities, and quite honestly, way out of the price range of a recently graduated student. Not a bad deal, is it? 
Our host was the celebrity chef- Vikas Khanna. He is famous for a myriad of things- from being on Master Chef to writing books to hosting President Obama. I was welcomed by the very amicable duo of Anoop and Diana. It was a small group of people, mostly in their 20s and 30s. There was an unusual number of food bloggers that made me wonder if we ever realize how hard it is to describe, in words or photos, a plateful of food. The genre probably doesn't get the appreciation it deserves. Some intense discussions about Indiranks followed our brief introductions. Everyone agreed that blogs of different genres shouldn't be rated by the same yardstick. Similarly, frequency of blogging is bound to vary with the genre. A movie review is not the same as a book review and a poem can't be compared with a photograph. While a rank is not our motivation to write, it surely is an impetus to write more and better.
I don' t think it is possible to have a blogger meet without discussing the 3 most prominent bloggers of our time- Saru Singhal, Purba Ray and the caped "alter ego", Blogwati Gee! It began with my enquiry about Saru's chances to attend the event which then moved to their meteoric rise in the "blogosphere". All of them are relatively new to the blogging world but have not only surpassed their predecessors but  have set new standards for their peers. Saru has just reached the magical figure of 100,000 in around 15 months of blogging. Now, that inspires us to write more than any rank would ever do!

 Our "host in NYC", from Bangalore- Diana
"Yes! I am 25 and I write dark poems; still a normal guy though" ;)

The Man Himself
Humility is a virtue, possessed by only a few. Here was a man, who has an international celebrity status, millions of dollars, magazine covers and book deals to boast about and the looks that got him into People Magazine's Sexiest Men Alive list of 2011- but he preferred talking about his grandmother's kitchen. "I have an open kitchen here. People can come in and take recipes. My logic is that had my grandmother shut her kitchen doors on me, I wouldn't have made it". Oh, by the way did I mention, that this millionaire had a dirty gamcha on his shoulder all the time!

The kitchen and the spice room at Junoon.

He talked at length about his humble upbringing and background. "Once they fired me from a job. I started giving out flyers and walking dogs in Central Park. I would still talk just about food. It hit me then, that I don't know anything other than cooking at all. If this doesn't work out, I am not fit for anything else!" He has spent a lifetime trying to recreate the aroma of his grandmother's kitchen that remains the most endearing memory of his childhood.
His simplicity and focus bowled me over. How many of us would have the courage to stand up again if we were trained to fit in just one profession- and we get fired from that job in a foreign country ? He was one step away from either returning back to India or live like millions of immigrants who make no difference to the society. Leaving an indelible mark would not just be a farfetched thought, it would rather be a painful delusion.

In my opinion, simplicity comes naturally to a champion chef or you can't survive in a profession where you are as good as your last served plate.  He was in a controversy when he gave a statement, around Mother's Day, about how cooking for President Obama "wasn't a big deal"! "Mein to pind ka admi hun ji, mujhe yeh intreview aur media zyada samajh nai ata (I am from a small village, I don't understand interviews, media etc). What I meant was that a mother cooks for her kid, her entire life; Presidents change every 4 years. If I could serve my mother one day, that's an achievement; not serving to a President".  Needless to say, the queue outside Junoon on Mother's Day crossed the boundaries of nationality. A nation just got reminded of the importance of Mothers by a foreigner "bawarchi". (I know for a fact he doesn't mind being referred to as "bawarchi" as he insisted GQ to have that word on cover with his picture).
We are all ears for you Vikas ji
Preconceived Notions- A Life Lesson in a Recipe
As a fun activity, Vikas brought us a sample of one of his soups and asked us to guess a minimum of 10 ingredients. The food bloggers led the group but, barring one, all at least got one ingredient wrong-curd. When the tasting began, someone said  out aloud that the sourness is due to curd. No one could think beyond that and even the food experts couldn't beat their preconceived notions. Vikas told us with a hearty laughter, that how a chef has to overcome his natural tastes, step into others' sensibilities and create new tastes, letting go of all his notions. A chef's brain must have a short-term memory with taste to be honest to every recipe. We live a life dictated by pre-conceived notions. Everybody has an opinion that subconsciously prescribes our actions. If we could think like a chef, erasing our notions before every action, and start afresh, it would be a much simpler and happier life. I couldn't help but think how many moments, which could have surprised us, are lost just because our opinionated brain didn't let us seize them. With every sip of the soup, which had pomegranate for sourness, I promised myself to be more spontaneous and less judgmental! An opaque soup had all the colors of life, all we needed were a chef's eyes!    

The mystery soup and Vikas ji checking our "papers"

It's been eight days since the meeting, but I haven't stopped thinking about the life of Vikas Khanna. I read about him and every piece proved more inspiring than the previous one. It's a simple story- of talent, ambition, commitment, humility and most of all, JUNOON. On second thoughts, these are the things most notably absent from our lives these days. The traits that should be the very essence of being human are becoming virtues that only a few possess. Where are we heading?
Certainly not towards the simplicity highlighted by a pind da chulha filled with the intoxicating smell of biji ki rasoi.

       My best Junoon moment
Indibloggers of NYC with VIkas Khanna- photo courtesy- Nivedita/Panfusine


September 9, 2012

Times Square

Click on the image for an enlarged view and an enhanced feeling!

Being at Times Square for the nth time is weirdly like being at the beach- a strange tranquility surrounds the inevitable and innate chaos.

Thousands of faces, albeit unknown, smiling for some reason., seeking quiet in one of the most noisiest spot in the busiest city of the world!

Life, here, is truly in the moment

Image Courtesy-

August 15, 2012

And He Ran Like A Man Possessed...

Miles away from failure
A step towards success
Yet miles away from reality

Like a cruel game of chess

With sweat glistening on his forehead

He ran like a man possessed

His legs trembling
His eyes tearful
His body numbing
He shouted without a voice
Ignoring everyone who had gathered around

Waiting for him to give up

But he had made a choice

Looking up
Staring the zero in its eye
He suddenly sped
And ran like a man possessed

With his world crumbling before his eyes
Only a little was left under control

That gave some peaceful moments and hope to his soul

Where he could deny descent
And aimed for the summits
Not for victory but to play the game of grits
He challenged himself and pushed his limits

Forgetting for a little while, his self-detest
And ran like a man possessed

With logic outdone by sheer arrogance

He reminded himself that he could still be a winner

Here he renewed his belligerence

Letting go of all that was repressed
He ran , he ran,
And he ran like a man possessed

August 4, 2012


Guest Post by Hiral Patel

I want to be liberated....

liberated like
the waves in the ocean
the birds in the sky

I want to live....

live like
there is no past or future
there is no fear of winning or losing

I want to fly....

fly like
there are no obstacles
there are no competitors around me

I want to swim....

swim like

the fishes in the ocean
the swimmers in the Olympics

Now that I got all I wanted....

I want to go back to my crazy world!

Image Courtesy- (directed by Google Images)

July 22, 2012

Until Death Do Us Part

He looked in the mirror and adjusted his sehra. He was looking smart.

This was one of the few solitary moments he got during the whole wedding. He had started to realize that Indian marriages aren't really a piece of cake for the bridegroom either as he was made to believe. For the past week, he lost count of the ceremonies he had been a part of, the times he sought blessings of the same people, the times he changed his "costume" (not attire!) and the most excruciating of all, the Sanskrit words he was made to say. In moments filled with mantras and rituals, sometimes this past week seemed even harder than the last 3 years!


The last 3 years flashed in front of his eyes. The meeting, falling for her, dating, fighting, patching up, listening, sometimes not listening, fighting again, patching up again, growing up, proposing, waiting, and the biggest of all, convincing both sets of parents.

This, he thought to himself, would be the perfect culmination.

Tonight, he would get married to her.

The thought of getting married brought a smile to his face, rather, he blushed a little. Not that any of it was sudden or , God forbid, unplanned, but the realization was new. He felt different from the lot. While most of his friends were still battling their feelings, dating blues and break-ups, he was about to be someone's husband. At 27, he wasn't immature, but at that moment, he felt as a grown up, like he never had before.

A lot that was happening, in the last 3 years, seemed hard then. Many a times he was convinced that there was no way out and they had hit the ultimate road block. While the times could still be hard on the road ahead, there was a major difference now. There was no going back after tonight, come what may. And that was a commitment for life, Life! His mind emphasized on the last word.

He had a hard look at himself in the mirror again. He remembered the vows, not the ones he was supposed to take, but the ones he wanted to take. He reminded himself of the commitment he made with her , a long time ago.

Tonight, was just a ceremony


Tonight, I take you to be by wife.

You are my responsibility, my love and my life. My biggest drive, from this moment on, would be to build a family with you, cherish every living moment and work to make it better by every passing day.

I accept you for what you are, with your kindness, love and virtue.

I don't talk about eternity because no one knows what eternity is or feels like. We have one life, lets strive to make that perfect. We will fall, but let's hope to have each other to hold one another when we do and walk again.

I promise to stand by you in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad and for better or worse, Until Death Do Us Part!

Image Courtesy-

July 7, 2012


You were happy, I was not

You were significant , I was not

You were oblivious, I was not

You were the center, I was not

You were indispensable , I was not

You mattered, I did not

Simply, Because

I was in love , you were not.


I win...!

June 17, 2012

नया राष्ट्रपति

दुनिया भर के लोग एक विश्वास के साथ बड़े होते हैं- राजनीति एक गन्दा खेल है और वहां आम आदमी की कोई ज़रूरत या जगह नहीं है. इस विश्वास ने हमें इतना असंवेदनशील कर दिया है की छोटे मोटे अपराध या भ्रष्टाचार में जब किसी नेता का नाम उछलता है, तो हम चैनल बदल कर दूसरी खबरें देखने लगते हैं. इस व्याप्त उदासीनता के बावजूद कुछ चीज़ें ऐसी हैं जिन पर विश्वास करने का मन करता है, जिन्हें देख कर लगता है की वक़्त कैसा भी हो, यहाँ राजनीति की "गन्दी" परछाई नहीं पड़ेगी. भारत में राष्ट्रपति का चुनाव, कुछ साल पहले तक ऐसा ही हुआ करता था. पर आजकल वोह भी उदास कर देता है. क्या हमारे नेता इतना गिर गए हैं की महा-महिम के चुनाव को भी बाजारू मोल भाव के स्तर पर ले आयें?

विश्वास टूट रहा है. शायद एक दिन सब्र भी टूटेगा, और शायद इस देश का तब नया जन्म हो!

भारत में हाल ही के राष्ट्रपति चुनावों में जो निम्न स्तर की राजनीति देखने को मिली है, वोह इतिहास को भी शर्मिंदा कर देगी. इस राजनीति ने हमारे स्वर्गीय नायकों पर क्या असर किया होगा, उसकी कल्पना करती एक कविता

मेरी दूसरी ब्लॉग , जो राजनीतिक विषयों के लिए है, किसी भी ब्लॉगिंग फोरम पे नहीं है, इसलिए यहाँ से उसका लिंक शेयर कर रहा हूँ.

पढ़ें - "नया राष्ट्रपति" (क्लिक करें)

June 9, 2012

सपना !

कहते हैं कि सपने हमारी मानसिक स्थिति का प्रतिभिम्ब होतें हैं. एक सैनिक हमेशा विजय के सपने देखना चाहता है और एक व्यापारी सदा मुनाफे के ख्याल से ही उठना पसंद करता है. लेकिन ना तो हमेशा विजय मिलती है और ना ही हमेशा मुनाफा होता है. और हमारे सपने आने वाली परिस्थिति का अंदेशा हमें दे ही देते हैं . जब इस कविता का ख्याल मेरे मन में आया और मैंने अपने मित्र ऋषिकांत को बताया, तो हम दोनों ने इसे अलग अलग दृष्टिकोण से देखा, जो शायद हमारी मानसिक स्तिथि का प्रतिनिधित्व करती है. हमारा सपना एक ही था, पर हमारे दिमाग ने उसकी व्याख्या अलग तरीके से करी. इसलिए, चाहे मेरे शब्द हो या उनके, इस कविता का बड़ा हिस्सा हुबहू एक सा ही है, सिर्फ आखिरी के दो छंद अलग हैं.

प्रस्तुत है एक ही कविता के दो रूप, एक ही सच के दो सपने. आपको जो पसंद आये, हमें ज़रूर कमेंट्स के रूप में लिख कर बताएं!


मेरा सपना

आज दोपहर में आंख लगी
तो घर दिखा , अपनी गली दिखी

अचानक माँ नज़र आई

दरवाज़े पर
नंगे पांव
निवाला हाथ में लिए

सड़क को टकटकी लगाये घूरती
जैसे मेरा ही इंतज़ार कर रही हो

वहीँ लॉन में
पिताजी दिखे
आंखें अख़बार में गड़ाए हमेशा की तरह
चाय की चुस्कियां ले रहे थे

अख़बार में तो जान बसी है आपकी

माँ मेरी ताना देते हुए बोली

उसी से क्यों नहीं कर ली शादी
पिताजी ने अनसुना कर दिया पहले

और चाय की एक और चुस्की ली

फिर मुस्काए ,बोले

अख़बार को चाय बनानी नहीं आती !

अपनी हंसी को दबाये
मेरा मन हुआ कि माँ वोह निवाला मुझे खिला दे

कब से भूखा हूँ ऐसा लगता है

पिताजी आंखें उठाये और मुस्कुरा दें ,

गए तुम !

बस अब जब भी खुले, तो मेरी आंखें घर में खुले

उस ख्याल से
लो सकपका के उठ गया हूँ

एक झूठी सच्चाई के पीछे भागता
अपने सपने को भी खो चुका हूँ

ना जाने कितना समय बीत गया है
और कितना दूर गए हैं

अब तो वोह भी कब आओगे नहीं पूछते हैं

और एक चीज़ देखी है मैंने
अब वोह कभी खिलखिलाते भी नहीं
सिर्फ मुस्कुरा देते हैं

फिर से उसी ख्वाब में जाना है
उनकी झलक को वापस पाना है

खेल तो देखो

कब से आंखें मूंदे बैठा हूँ
पर नींद भी नहीं आती अब


ऋषिकांत का सपना

आज दोपहर में आंख लगी
तो घर दिखा , अपनी गली दिखी

अचानक माँ नज़र आई

दरवाज़े पर
नंगे पांव
निवाला हाथ में लिए

सड़क को टकटकी लगाये घूरती
जैसे मेरा ही इंतज़ार कर रही हो

वहीँ लॉन में
पिताजी दिखे
आंखें अख़बार में गड़ाए हमेशा की तरह
चाय की चुस्कियां ले रहे थे

अख़बार में तो जान बसी है आपकी

माँ मेरी ताना देते हुए बोली

उसी से क्यों नहीं कर ली शादी
पिताजी ने अनसुना कर दिया पहले

और चाय की एक और चुस्की ली

फिर मुस्काए ,बोले

अख़बार को चाय बनानी नहीं आती !

अपनी हंसी को दबाये
मेरा मन हुआ कि माँ वोह निवाला मुझे खिला दे

कब से भूखा हूँ ऐसा लगता है

पिताजी आंखें उठाये और मुस्कुरा दें ,

गए तुम !

बस अब जब भी खुले, तो मेरी आंखें घर में खुले

उस ख्याल से

मुस्कुरा के उठ गया हूँ

मुस्कान तो होठों से मेरे चिपक सी गयी है

तभी घंटी बजी .....

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