Monday, July 26, 2010

The Next Train

Homework is homework, fun is fun. Fortunate are those for whom homework is fun!
A short story I wrote for a college assignment. I know I could have elaborated it further, but I just didnt feel like touching the original thing I wrote.

The evening rush hour was always the busiest time of the day in the city. And if you were at the Dadar railway station at this time, you felt this the most. A sea of humanity making its way back home after a day of hard work. A train would arrive on the station every minute but the sea would just keep on rising.

Raahul Khan stood on the bridge and drew a deep breath as he looked down at the crowd. For the past nine years, he had shared a mutual love-hate relationship with this crowd. He cherished the way he could easily melt into it and be one with it. On the other hand, he hated it for its relentless speed and perpetual hurry. They could be a little more considerate to the next king of Bollywood, he felt. Ever since he had come to Mumbai, his resolve to become a famous actor had just become stronger.

Suddenly, he was jolted out of his reverie by a lot of commotion on platform number 2. A train was just pulling into the station. The train he was supposed to board. With a lurch, he realised that he should have had been on the platform by now. He broke into a frantic run as he pushed the surging masses around him. With practised precision, he navigated past fellow commuters, hawkers, porters and a few stray dogs. A feeling of triumph was rising inside him as he neared the platform, when he bumped head on into a man with an elegant uniform of a black jacket and a shiny badge. The ticket examiner.

“Ticket please.” commanded the TE. He had roamed these platforms for over 15 years now. One look at the startled face of Raahul Khan had told him that he did not have a ticket. Raahul helplessly groped about his pockets and mumbled something about having misplaced it. For the next 4 minutes, Raahul felt about as small as could possibly feel. The TE roared at him about how the youth lacked any sense today and about how people like him were destroying the city. Then he asked Raahul if he was going to pay Rs.500 with a receipt or Rs.300 without one. Ultimately, he managed to pay hundred rupees and get off. And to worsen his misery, his train had rolled out of the station by then.

Raahul was a broken man as he walked away. He hadn’t felt so bad since Sanjeev Dastani had refused to even audition him for the friend’s part in his upcoming movie. Now, not only had he missed his train, he had also lost the money that he had saved up to get a designer haircut. He was suddenly very sick of the city. He hated it.

As he was walking past platform number 4 on his way out of the station, he suddenly sensed a lot of commotion. There was the familiar warning blare of a horn from behind. That thundering of the wheels that he knew so well now. He blinked and looked up at the indicator even as he was carried ahead by the masses. A train was pulling into the station. A train that would take him to his home in the city.

He gave a wry smile. That was the best part of the city. Even if you missed your train, another one would always come along. You just needed the willingness to struggle past the crowds onto it and the luck to be on the correct platform at the correct time.

Maybe it was always worth one more shot.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Something Pure

Sachin Tendulkar. What can be said that hasnt been said before? Answer : Nothing much. So then, here is a collection of the best that has been said so far about the man who bears the weight of Indian expectations on his shoulders. Not by the ‘experts’ or the ‘analysts’. But the people. Sachin’s people, fans. A collection of one-liners from stadium placards, posters, banners, streamers, chants from India and beyond and public forums on the net speaking about their beloved God.

“ Sachin is God.”

“ Sachin, I grew up watching you.”

“Sachin Tendulkar : Reducing the number of atheists since 20 years.”

“ Commit all your sins while Sachin plays. Even the Gods are busy watching.”

“Cricket my religion, Sachin my God.”

“ When I die, I think I’ll have God. Till then, I know I have Sachin.”

“ The Pope may be German, but God is Indian. “

“ The model role model.”

“ His Royal Highness, the Emperor of India and the resident God of Mumbai, Sir Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.”

In 2011, Sachin will play in the ODI world cup. He will play for India, for his team, for himself but mostly for that one final shot at the pinnacle of cricketing achievement. All the very best Sachin , the final frontier beckons!

But then irrespective of that result, Sachin will still remain the favourite for millions. Because with him, you can detach all the meaning attached to the game. His game invariably carries him into that realm where you can do away with the situation, the score, the result, the setting and everything else and all you will be left with is a man wielding a piece of wood in his hand. Dispatching a shiny leather ball to all parts of the park with the atmost grace and poise. A master at his art.

photo edit : Malvika Asher.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Down the River

Floating down the river,

He can hear the knell of that distant waterfall.

Yet he is calm. Almost serene.

People are shouting at him from the shores. Pleading him to stop.
Pull over while he can. While there is time.

But he knows that he cant.

What do they know of the thrill?
Of the joy of floating down that river.

Of the journey to that magical land far, far away
from where he can scorn at the hypocrisy of the world beneath.

All they care about is the fall at the end.

They will all have to go down it anyways.

Meanwhile, the current becomes stronger
and he hurtles ahead quicker than ever.

But he couldn’t care less.

His magical world awaits.

There is war, there is terror, there are earthquakes and then there is teenage smoking. But as the big boss once said, you can wake up somebody who is sleeping. How the hell do you wake up someone who is pretending to sleep?

Concept and Design : Malvika Asher
Photography : Aditya Akash

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Five Days

Two root canals but no time for pain

A chance to get wet but no time to dance in the rain.

One movie but barely any time for more recreation

A feature to write but no time for inspiration.

A re-union where we watched memories win

A report to prepare but no inclination to begin.

Two dinner parties but no mood for ice creams

Just a brief moment in the middle of all that madness

to once again fall in love with the city of dreams.