Thursday, August 6, 2009

Rain Song?

Thunder, lightning, pouring rain
All so dark and full of gloom
A wind so cold, almost cruel
Without a hint of pity, or remorse
As it swept across the open land
Not a soul in sight, a bird or creature
The clouds thundered, lightning flashed
It rained and the land quivered
Their fury combined, to what end?
Beauty lost, nothing gained
A sad rain song, yet again

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


As always, the night was still
The skater boys gone
In the distance, the arch shone
a stairway to heaven?
Mr Moon smiled at me
Sent a moonbeam my way
Yet I was lost, like he
Playing hide and seek
With the grey, dark clouds
As they made their way
Across the silent night sky
Not a star shone
To show us the way
I waited, I watched
Prayed for a miracle
But there was none
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust
Death came as the end
In the end, all I had was a requiem...
A requiem for a dream

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sense and sensibility. . .

It's 2 am on the countdown charts and I've been listening to some awesome tracks by an UK artist called Nihal Chugh (if i got the name right).  It's quite amazing what he's done on his new album 'The Lost Soul'... hauntingly put together Hindustani classical with vocals (the singer has an amazing voice too...) with some rhythm and bass... superlative to say the least. My favourites? Bawariyaan and Ud ja... go on then, it's worth a listen.

So it seems that I have an essay due in a few hours from now, a very busy and long day ahead and then a couple of more assignments to work on. And here I am. Have my senses taken leave of me? Or have I taken leave of my senses? Either way, I hope sensibility prevails...

Summer is finally upon us (oh wait, I believe it's still Spring) and already the effects are there for all to see. Knee-lengths, shorts, sandals and flip-flops have already made their appearance in the corridors of academia. Occasionally, a sleeveless tee too. And yes, I'm tempted too... my Bandra Boy sensibilities have been evoked. But do I dare, yet? I don't know... later if not sooner.

I find myself increasingly at peace with myself. I'm not quite sure why, but the emotional turmoil has lessened. I've got my hair cut (well, it's been a couple of weeks now, sorry US didn't take any pictures), shaved too (which EVERYONE noticed!) and had the most wonderful surprise a couple of days ago. The sleeplessness seems to be going away too... yes, my heart is in safe hands.

I wrote to her, "I don't want that burden too..." She replied, "It's not a burden for you! Far from it... the pursuit of happiness is not a choice dear, it's destiny." She has accepted it. And I?

Meanwhile, somewhere in the Swiss Alps:
Ursula Heller has been selling apparel for hikers and trekkers for five years in her shop just off the town's main square. A threat to her business from nude hikers? She laughed deeply. "If you want to get undressed," she said, "you can always wear shorts or a bikini."

How profound is that?! I'm still laughing... and you? Go on then... smile, laugh a little. I know I am.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Just another day in paradise...

He still had another hour at work but he was bored, tired and sleepy. Yet another sleepless night. Just three hours of sleep was all he managed. When will this stop, he wondered. Luckily, he'd made it to work on time. As he looked around him all he saw were hunched backs and bent heads as their owners tapped away at the computers in front of them. The weather was lousy. Cloudy first, then rain and now cloudy again. Even as he looked out at the gloomy sky, he was surprised to find them clear - almost in an instant - as the sun shone through. Ok, this is it, he though to himself, I'm out of here! Barely five minutes later he was on his way home, hands in his pockets, snug against the cold and a song on his lips, "Aaj mausam bada beiman hai, aaj mausam..."

She sat there on the bench, visibly tired and exhaused. At her feet lay her shopping, four bags filled to the top. Surely, she's not all by herself, he thought. She struggled to get up even as he walked by. She'll manage just fine; in any case they never want help. But some thing made him stop, retrace his steps and ask, "Can I help you with those?" The relief shone on her face. "Oh, yes please young man, thank you." "I'm just going up Sheepcote Road; are you going the same way?" she asked. "Yes, yes, don't worry, that's on my way," he said.

"I'm such a fool to think I could have done this and at my age. I still needed more stuff, thank God I ran out of money," she was apologetic. It wasn't much of a walk really but with all those bags, she'd be sitting there for quite some time. He was glad he stopped. "I'm right here, thank you young man. I'll be fine now; I have the keys to the door and the lift to take me up." "Thank you, and bless you young man."

He left the bags at the door. "Don't worry about it, I was happy to help." He smiled, waved as he walked on... hands in his pockets, snug against the cold and a song on his lips, "Aaj mausam bada beiman hai, aaj mausam..."

Yes, it was just another day in paradise. 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Moonlight and Valentino...

Mr Moon has been paying me a visit these past few days. I catch a glimpse of him sometimes when the dark clouds part and he sends moonbeam my way. The night is cold, empty, dark and deep. But I have miles to go before I sleep... (and counting sheep doesn't help). 

It's make or break now. The countdown begins. Do I make the final dash or do I keep the pace? I don't know yet. I'm still taking it one step at a time. I know I have to up the momentum, later if not sooner... there's no turning back.

It's funny, how life suddenly takes a deroute when you least expect it. And then it's all or nothing at all. Yes, I miss it all. How can I not? Yesterday is but a memory, today a present. Here I am today, and tomorrow? It is but a dream...

He said, "You're the loser because you'll never know love."

She said, "I have faith in you."

Love and faith. Moonlight and Valentino. Go figure.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Heathrow Terminal 3

Heathrow Terminal 3. It was a long wait. But then, I was there early. So who's to blame?

I waited. I watched. I observed. There were friends. There were lovers. Husbands. Wives. Kids. Parents. They all waited in anticipation. Anxiety? Or a longing? And then the smiles. From ear to ear. Broad smiles. The open arms. Come, run into them. The cute kid with a sign: My Daddy. The guy wth a bouquet for his girl. The dad with a camera to take a picture of his daughter. The friendly back-slapping. The uninhibited public display of affection as he swept her off her feet and kissed. . . it lingered.  

There was love and longing at London's Heathrow Terminal 3 that evening. . . and my heart skipped a beat. It did. . . just like that.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Kiss the rain...

It's been raining here in London for the last 3-4 nights in a row. As I lay awake at odd hours - 2 am, 3.30 am, 4.30 am - I can hear the pitter-patter of the raindrops on my window. Today, it rained much earlier, from about 10.30 pm onward. It reminded me of the rain in Bombay. Only this one was colder and harsher. Almost as if it was reminding me that this is not where I belong. But this is where I want to be... forever? Perhaps. It's 1 am and it's still raining... I'd love to go dancing in the rain. Like Frater, I'd love to chase the monsoon. What is it about the rain and me? It refreshes. It rejuvenates. It gives life. And death. Go on then, kiss the rain. 

So where do I go from here? Back where I came from? Where I belong? No. I don't want to. I like the anonymity of London. Of being the outsider. There's no compulsion to be someone I don't want to. It's a new world. A new freedom... I'm a stranger in the crowd. Like Camu's 'Outsider'. A stranger to himself. Just another brown face in a sea of millions. No, but wait a minute. I'm fair. Mixed identity. What's with the name then? Muslim? Arabic? But the accent is a dead giveaway. I'm no one and everyone. Does it really matter. No. I'll always be a stranger. To myself too.

It's 1.40 am and it's still raining. I'm sleepless. As for you... go on then, kiss the rain.

Image courtesy:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dear Mum,

January 09, 2009

Dear Mum,

I guess you will be pleasantly surprised to receive this letter. After all, we have been speaking over the phone every seven to ten days and there is no need really for me to send you one.

Mum, your phone call this evening probably prompted me to put my thoughts down on paper. Yes, I miss you too. Isn’t that obvious? Only I have not said it as much before. In another ten days, it will be four months since I first came to live and study in London. And what an experience it has been so far!

I will be honest enough and say that the first month was difficult. There was so much to do. From moving in to a new place I shared with others, to cooking, doing the laundry and attending Uni. – it was all so overwhelming. There were days (and nights) when I wondered if I had made the right choice. I wondered whether it was really worth the effort. Even now, friends, acquaintances and ex-colleagues back home in Mumbai express their surprise and shock over my decision to quit work and go back to school.

Yet, as far as I can remember, I have always wanted to do my Master’s. Over the last couple of years, as disillusionment with my work and what I did set in, my desire to study further only strengthened. Given my journalism background, it was even more surprising to many that I decided to do my Master’s in Media Management. But honestly, doesn’t it make more sense? Combined with my previous knowledge of what I know about the media industry, I can now apply what I have learnt in a new management role. Yes, it does seem a bit of a risk to take at this stage of my life and career. I am worried that I might just have to start right at the bottom again. But as they say, it is only when you risk the fall will you survive!

Going back to Uni. after so many years has been quite tough. Since management is a completely new subject for me, the task has not been any easier. There is so much to do in terms of reading, research and assignments that some of it does not make any sense at times. But you know what? I am enjoying the challenge of being a student again. I am actually applying and using my brains for a change, instead of mechanically going through day-to-day tasks. I dare say I have always been a little cocky about being smart and intelligent and all of that, but being in a Master’s class has put a lid to that. Some of my classmates bring years of industry experience and keeping up with them is a task in itself!

has not only been about work; it has also been about some fun times! I have fallen in love with this city and its people. Then again, I have always been a big city guy. I love the lights, the pace and the rhythm of London. I like the fact that I can walk about in Central London all by myself, waft in and out of a Starbucks with a coffee to go and sit at Piccadily Circus for hours together. I have met so many wonderful people from across the world and come to realise that whoever we are, wherever we are from, each one of us has the same fears, aspirations and the quest for a better life. I am learning about new places and new cultures, new ideas and new values. And that more often than not despite our differences, we are all the same.

I would like to believe that London has changed me in more ways than one. I have definitely become more focussed about life and career and where I see myself as a professional in a few years from now. It is a ‘Suddenly Salil’ moment for me – I feel so grown up and responsible and I have realised that there is still so much I have to do and achieve. Sometimes I wonder if one lifetime will ever be enough. Yet deep down there is a confidence in me that gives me the courage to grab this opportunity with both hands and make the most of it. Just last weekend over dinner, I remember saying, “Within the next ten years I will be among the top 10 young media professionals of India.” Gosh! And no, it was not the alcohol talking. How can I ever thank you and dad and repay you for giving me this opportunity? Not to mention the family and friends who made it possible too.

I have rambled on for a fair bit, so I will stop now. Do not worry about me, I am fine. I have my old friends in London and the new ones I have made to look out for me. They are just a phone call away. Let me know how Dad’s operation goes. Of course I will call to find out. And yes, a happy 59th birthday to you mum!

With love and longing in London,

~ salil
ps: I love you...

Image courtesy: