Mondays, Januaries and Birthdays

Time might be an illusion, but the calendar is a fraud. Its periodicity skews our perception of time; Mondays and Januaries give out a sense of resumption. So do birthdays. We look forward to these beginnings with renewed hopes for our future. But life is a linear progression from birth to death. It may turn, meander or even come full circle, but it doesn’t offer a reset that the first of a month craftily promises.

And it is easy to fall for the apparent optimism of it all. As fake as it is, what’s the harm in getting a symbolic restart ever so often? It could be used to achieve something better! Problem is, the concept of future as a new and segregated quantum of time allows us to indulge in a false assurance of self-improvement. We assume and expect different results from the chunk of hours up ahead because it is disguised as a new day. Tomorrow is that magical utopia where we will lead a flawless life. But nothing really changes with passing weeks, months or years. Not unless we make it so. Happy birthday!

Ain’t no cookie for Mt. Everest

You know why scaling the mount Everest is so goddamned difficult? Because you can’t do it for a cookie! A lot of things we do in life have an immediate payoff. Eating douses hunger. Sleeping provides rest. Busy work wears off the day. Moving the hand away from the hot plate prevents pain. Easy stuff that we don’t really fuss about. The difficult things are good for us only in the longer run or have an indirect benefit. Eating your veggies. Being financially wise. Controlling the urge to poison your enemies. These difficult tasks, as good as they are for us, require discipline and psychological trickery; an assemblage of proactive or forced carrots and sticks. We get by.

But some tasks are so herculean and life defining, that no reward (or punishment) is big enough. Such tasks are their own reward. You know accomplishing them will transform your being to an extent that your life will acquire a new meaning. Their perceived monstrosity overwhelms our senses to the point of submission. There is no fight or flight; we just freeze. The worst part is, they do not provide any sense of gratification as you progress because the going only gets tougher. There is no felicitation for doing them half way either.

But there are huge “head fake” rewards of even attempting such endeavors. Every other step challenges you to push your thinking deeper and wider. The willful exposure to struggle increases your threshold for perseverance. Failing at them teaches you about yourself and affords a sense of humility. So, if you ever find yourself standing at the base of your Everest, just start climbing. No matter where on the way to its top you crash and burn, you’ll be stronger, wiser and more accomplished than your undecided self standing frozen at the base. And the scenery up there is breathtaking; it alone, they say, is worth the effort.


आशिकों को मौको की कमी कहाँ?
ये मोहब्बत सब रंग-ढंग सीखा देती है।

वो कहती है बकवास करते है हम,
ऐसे इज़हार-ए-इश्क की सजा देती है।

हमारी बातें उबा देती होंगी तुम्हे, मगर,
दिल की लगी कुछ और कहने कहाँ देती है।

चलो दिल्लगी ही कह लो इस को,
खुश हैं, ये कोशिश तुम्हे हँसा तो देती है।

इश्क में कोशिश होती है, फ़िक्र नहीं।
ऐसी लगन है, कामयाबी को धता देती है।

चलती फिरती ग़ज़ल है वो लड़की,
उसकी बातें ही हमे शायर बना देती है।

Rolled-up Sleeves

No. Not again! Why?! Why is he wearing a shirt? He looks pretty decent in a tee-shirt. Our workplace doesn’t mandate a strict dress code. We are allowed to wear anything. Tee-shirts are fun. They are cool. They are hip. And more importantly, they do not have sleeves, so he doesn’t have to fold them up. And, I don’t have to imagine how he did it. The left sleeve doesn’t bother me that much. It would probably look ghastly if he leaves it unfolded. But it kills me that his right sleeves are folded too. Does he fold it before he wears the shirt? May be someone else rolls it up for him. The rolled up sleeve on his right hand destroys the peace of my day. It stares me in the face and judges me for taking life and its countless blessings, like the ability to use your hands for something as menial as rolling up your sleeves, for granted.

तुझसे सवेरे मिलूंगा मैं

तेरी हर बात में रात है. सर से घुंघराले अंधेरों का झरना ऐसे गिरता है जैसे क्षितिज पे रात का साया ढल रहा हो. और उस झरने में से झांकता है एक चाँद, हर उस चीज़ की रौनक लिए जो ज़िन्दगी को खूबसूरत बनाती है. ये जो होठो पे रातरानी की गन्ध सजी है, इतनी मंद है की समझ नहीं आता मुस्कान है या तेरा गुमान. और आँखें.. उफ़ ये आधी खुली आँखें.. ये नींद को सपने देखना और रात को मदहोशी सिखाती है. ज़ाहिर है, हम कभी जागना नहीं चाहते.