Dear heart,

010bec82ea34a4e22f93bd1b60cd5d74

You pump blood. Till that point you are my most essential, fascinating and important partner in this body. I draw the line here. I find you meddling in my affairs too often for my comfort.

If I didn’t think and analyse there would be anarchy in this world. Forget about this ‘rich tapestry of life’ and ‘wonderful memories’ and all that bunkum … this poor soul, that you allude to, would be in an asylum. My job is to see that this soul finds an easy landing in life, sticks to the straight and narrow, lives by rules, appreciates the law and enjoys a comfortable existence.

I don’t believe in rocking the boat. I have no interest in dancing. I have a lot of things to mull over and I need to prepare for contingencies. The most balanced people are those who think several steps ahead.

Please stop misleading people with impulsiveness and silly behaviour. It becomes impossible to control a situation that gets out of hand.

I hope we understand each other clearly.

Stay in your corner and allow me to run this life. In case of unforeseen developments I will consider consulting you but I have seen from past experience that it is better I stay in command.

Its a lovely day and I see this soul is already stirring with some ridiculous notions that I will need to attend to and kill.

Your warden,

The all knowing mind.

Dear mind,

Let’s just get this straight, once and for all. I need you but we are clearly not ever going to be on the same page. Not until you calm down.

If I can do the same thing (pump blood) for hours, days, weeks, months and years in the simplest and yet most sophisticated way, even if I do say so myself, why must you constantly look for complication?

And then there’s something called instinct, gut, a knowing. Why must you question it and mislead the poor soul? A perfect trajectory ruined with over thinking and analysis, both unnecessary ingredients in the scheme of life. Urm. Ok. Not unnecessary … but not always mandatory.

Dear mind, let’s work together. Heed my advice sometimes and I will learn to be cautious from time to time. I know I can be impetuous and act before I think but that’s the reason this soul has had such a rich and memorable life. Imagine following you … it would have the most boring, predictable and blah life ever. Come on. You know it. Nudge. Wink. Coax. Grin.

Let’s live a little, dear mind and let’s dance together. I know this new hot step and if you can just get into the groove without another thought … I know you will love it!

Yours truly,

Crazy Heart44f497fbf816271bc83991c9a1bdaa98

What does Freedom Mean to You?

What does being free mean to you? Does it mean the right to express yourself freely and frankly? Does it mean the freedom to be yourself, to live on your terms and to hold your beliefs regardless of other opinions?

49adef0b54d19c26fbdf2847f4234e4a

What does being free mean to you? Does it mean the right to express yourself freely and frankly? Does it mean the freedom to be yourself, to live on your terms and to hold your beliefs regardless of other opinions?

What if this right to freedom of expression and speech, the right to live a life of dignity were taken away?

Would you remain quiet if

  1. Your money was not in your control and banks were to charge you for every transaction, levy whimsical penalties?

2. If restaurants were to fleece you?

3. If your green cover were tampered with and replaced by concrete in the name of development?

4. If a saffron bearing yogi were to unleash terror and divisiveness in the name of religion?

5. If your history books were rewritten in ways that make your past a sham?

6. If people in power were to remain unaccountable?

7. If someone were to tell you what you can or cannot eat?

8. If you were to be fed propaganda instead of news?

Is it ok to pretend that you are unaware of the noose of control being tightened gradually around you? Is it ok to choose to advocate or to be blind to the annihilation of people because they don’t fit your idea of evolution?

Is it ok for all argument to be choked out of you till you fall in line?

Is it ok for your children to live in a climate of fear and repression?

Because, once you have been silenced, there will be no coming back. Your impulse to fight back would be destroyed. Your right to question would be considered laughable and very soon you won’t know the difference between being free and being a conscientious tax paying citizen number.

A. Puppet. On. A. String.

It will be too late.

Yours, if you want me
Your Right to Freedom

Dear Friendship,

We learn cuss words. The best ones. From friends. We speak freely without censure and judgement. Come to think of it … almost anything and everything is without judgement.

The pranks. The madness. The wild cackle of laughter. The passionate debates. The lunacy. The impulsive travel. The movie marathons. The whirling dervishes we transform into. The gluttony. The wisdom and the sage advice. The falling over and picking each other up. The celebration and the tears. The sharing of fears.

The circle is tight.

High Five!

Member of the tribe

Dear 2017,

78fb746bd2be02a450db3455a1571a3d

Hope is the word that drenches every new year wish. Desperate, urgent, heartfelt hope that the world will be a better place, all lunacy aside.

These are 10 hopeful, anxious requests to the year 2017.

1. May we never again have to deal with whimsical people hijacking our hard earned money only to dole it out to us in rationed amounts.

2. May we find the voice to counter fiction with fact … it’s that little detail that checks out consistently across time and documents.

3. For the love of God, may the Air Traffic Control at airports get their spatial assessment right … each and every time.

4. May news channels discover a conscience and give the people a fight worth cheering for, a truth worth aspiring to and an idealism that inspires the nation.

5. May the underprivileged stand up and demand their rights, leave fatalism to the past and broker a brand new future for themselves.

6. May we, the citizens of India, not have to pay for silly statues and the lavish lifestyles of our illiterate … uhh … hard working netas … until each and every citizen gets to experience the basic human dignity of living.

7. May we acquire special powers that can stop the flow of stupidity from the mouth of leaders.

8. May we find the cure to chronic ailments so that hospitals are no longer the sought after destination hubs.

9. May people allow themselves to be better, more compassionate, kinder and more generous souls.

10. May new item numbers flood the market and fill the world with joie de vivre. The nation needs to be inspired to sing and dance and laugh and love.

Yours hopefully,

A speck in the vast humanity

Dear ‘Dangal’

Some key lessons that were beautifully interwoven in your narrative :

 

 

Relationships based on respect and trust rest on a foundation of deep love.
Arrogance and complacency gets you only this far and no further.
There is no joy in humiliating and defeating your mentor.
Perseverance, focus and hard work are the best route to success and fulfilment.
To teach and have any impact you need to inspire.
Choices define the direction your life takes but course correction is always possible.
Keep it simple.
Patriotism is potent and powerful stuff.
Be independent because at the most crucial juncture of your life you may find yourself alone.

To convey all of this and more without being sanctimonious is remarkable.

You are not just a good film. You are a warm, heartfelt and inspirational story of courage.

An appreciative filmgoer

Dear Veggies,

9be5958391f000cdf1e25cde9f7bcc25

I’m torn between two choices. Should I pick you up from the vegetable vendor who has still not transitioned to cashless but needs the business and the cash to survive another day

OR

Should i order you online to be part of the self-congratulatory, cashless tribe?

Yours affectionately,

Confused but wanting to do the right thing

 

Code word, BLACK

Dear evasive 2k,

You double dholki, you! You’re clean and yet, you’re also black. You are the embodiment of social transformation, economic reform and the lighthouse of controversial change.

And yet, you are also dirty and found in numbers so huge that lone cars and hidden vaults are unable to contain you.

You were introduced so that terror would slink away with its tail between its legs.

You were revealed to the adulatory public as whitewash … washing black money and making it white, leaving a trace of pink behind.

But, you magically became black. The one thing you were meant to curb has now become a dirty river in full flow.

Not only has the earlier black become plywood. The current black, sorry pink, has become the most elusive little thing. The hottest. In demand. Ticket to survival. For the poor. What a fine reputation you’ve earned for yourself in 34 days.

You are the symbol of a ‘little inconvenience’ but an alchemic, gilt edged distant future.

The problem is this new black stain. It’s refusing to wash away.

Sincerely,

An unimpressed user

Dear Celebrity Obituaries,

I’m trying to choose the right outlet to express my loss for a beloved celebrity. On a social networking site.

R.I.P, the most often used, pithy and safe expression … it’s non-committal, on the fence and looking into the park with binoculars. No one sees you or notices you. You, however, notice it all with a token hands up in the air. A part of the tribe that wants to be part of the larger tribe. The Hail Mary #I’mwithit #IknowmyGK bandwagon. An apologetic meow.

Then, there are the quotable quotes. One step further towards committing to a stand. A neutral quote that allows you to wet your toe without getting into a provocative debate.

The forwarded article comes next. This one is a bit dicey. Is it safe enough to put your name to? Will it get the likes and will it position you as smart and up to date? Or will it give away your political ideology, your state of mind, your carefully cultivated personality type or upset friends and family? While you’ve wet your ankle by now, it still keeps you at the water’s edge. You are using someone’s views to position your own. The trolls are still distant.

Then there are the news clips and the documentaries and the audio-visual clips to share. The commentary may simper, be obsequious, surprisingly factual or just downright fake but there’s a choice to be made again. Will you associate with the genteel, intellectual, smart and factual or the frenzied, over the top and volatile editorials? Deep thought.

Then come the Originals. Downright direct, undiluted opinions. Fearless or foolish. Open to bouquets and brickbats. Expressing like or dislike of the person who has passed … may god rest his/her soul. Anything and everything is fair game to this opinionated soul. Measured, contradictory, rabid, dramatic, emotional, ridiculous, loving, angry, soulful, all embracing …. endless genres of expression. Loud roar.

So many choices. So much to weigh. My image is at stake. Definitely, my sanity. To be a fence sitter, observer, water temperature tester, ass licker, skinny dipper or just plain cussed … what will it be? Wary that the beasts on the social net whacking sites could troll. The cops could break down my door. Some jail time. Public apologies. Haters. Worshippers. Nothingness. Safe anonymity. What do I choose?

Worriedly,

A mourner.

Seriously, it’s not about me.

Dear Companion,

At the age of 82, stooped, gnarled hands, knobbly knees … I stare at my reflection and marvel at this body that houses me. I feel my heart beat. Steady. My blood thrums in my veins. My brain is sharp. I know the clock is ticking but so far my body and mind have stood rock solid by me for all these years.

0946b0911defb3036cd61b9d64ed1b29.jpg

I’ve experienced joy, love, sorrow, loss. My heart has sung and it has ached. My liver has, too!

In my 20s, I didn’t give it a thought. I was young and I was driven. I was the master of my destiny. I pushed it. I whipped it. I disregarded it. I took pleasure from it. I starved it. I over-fed it. I abused it. I took it for granted. It didn’t break under the relentless pressure and stayed strong, absorbing the punches.

As I grew older, I had to get my machine serviced from time to time. A fracture. Pneumonia. Appendicitis. Flu. Heart attack. Diminished eye sight. Diminished hearing. Stuff. Each breakdown reminded me of its value. This wonderful machine that works so hard. Relentlessly. No weekends off. No power naps. No holidays. Definitely, no vacation. It keeps at it. Maybe, its the partnership I formed with my body that allowed it to give me its best. Or I’m just one of the lucky ones.

I look back at my life and see my body as my constant companion. A sensory bridge that allowed me to experience this life to the fullest. For that, I can only feel grateful.

As I near the end, I’m conscious of my failing and tired body and all I wish is for it to go gently into the night when it is done.

with immense gratitude,
A young old man