How To Watch Your Brother Die

(A moving piece I happened to stumble upon)

When the call comes, be calm.
Say to your wife, "My brother is dying. I have to fly
to California."
try not to be shocked that he already looks like
a cadaver.
Say to the young man sitting by your brother's side,
"I'm his brother."
Try not to be shocked when the young man says,
"I'm his lover. Thanks for coming."

Listen to the doctor with a steel face on.
Sign the necessary forms.
Tell the doctor you will take care of everything.
Wonder why doctors are so remote.

Watch the lover's eyes as they stare into
your brother's eyes as they stare into
Wonder what they see there.
Remember the time he was jealous and
opened your eyebrow with a sharp stick.
Forgive him out loud
even if he can't
understand you.
Realize the scar will be
all that's left of him.

Over coffee in the hospital cafeteria
say to the lover, "You're an extremely good-looking
young man."
Hear him say,
"I never thought I was good enough looking to
deserve your brother."

Watch the tears well up in his eyes. Say,
"I'm sorry. I don't know what it means to be
the lover of another man."
Hear him say,
"Its just like a wife, only the commitment is
deeper because the odds against you are so much
Say nothing, but
take his hand like a brother's.

Drive to Mexico for unproven drugs that might
help him live longer.
Explain what they are to the border guard.
Fill with rage when he informs you,
"You can't bring those across."
Begin to grow loud.
Feel the lover's hand on your arm
restraining you. See in the guard's eye
how much a man can hate another man.
Say to the lover, "How can you stand it?"
Hear him say, "You get used to it."
Think of one of your children getting used to
another man's hatred.

Call your wife on the telephone. Tell her,
"He hasn't much time.
I'll be home soon." Before you hang up say,
"How could anyone's commitment be deeper than
a husband and a wife?" Hear her say,
"Please. I don't want to know all the details."

When he slips into an irrevocable coma,
hold his lover in your arms while he sobs,
no longer strong. Wonder how much longer
you will be able to be strong.
Feel how it feels to hold a man in your arms
whose arms are used to holding men.
Offer God anything to bring your brother back.
Know you have nothing God could possible want.
Curse God, but do not
abandon Him.

Stare at the face of the funeral director
when he tells you he will not
embalm the body for fear of
contamination. Let him see in your eyes
how much a man can hate another man.

Stand beside a casket covered in flowers,
white flowers. Say,
"thank you for coming," to each of seven hundred men
who file past in tears, some of them
holding hands. Know that your brother's life
was not what you imagined. Overhear two
mourners say, "I wonder who'll be next?" and
"I don't care anymore,
as long as it isn't you."

Arrange to take an early flight home.
His lover will drive you to the airport.
When your flight is announced say,
awkwardly, "If I can do anything, please
let me know." Do not flinch when he says,
"Forgive yourself for not wanting to know him
after he told you. He did."
Stop and let it soak in. Say,
"He forgave me, or he knew himself?"
"Both," the lover will say, not knowing what else
to do. Hold him like a brother while he
kisses you on the cheek. Think that
you haven't been kissed by a man since
your father died. Think,
"This is no moment to be strong."

Fly first class and drink Scotch. Stroke
your split eyebrow with a finger and
think of your brother alive. Smile
at the memory and think
how your children will feel in your arms
warm and friendly and without challenge.

Michael Lassell

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A promise

"A dog is not a good dog because he is good at barking.
A man is not a good man because he is good at talking."

-----Found this written behind an auto. Philosophy at an unexpected place. Consider it for sometime. What does it say?

Does it caution us against smooth talkers? Does it ask us to believe in the deed and not the hype? Does it say a man who has a way with words is not to be trusted? Does this saying work? Is it archaic? Can it work in advertising?

Think about it. It's been a long time. And here I am back with sad quotes. Will do better next time.


Let everytime drown in sometime
Work become amusement
Winter somewhat lost in spring
Nightmares like moments
Wars mere disagreements
Tears only sighs
Life, let it just get over
Let’s make
Every thing lesser

Cuckold I

Writing a review is a really funny thing, because it begins on the presumption that you know a book better than writer and therefore are in a position to judge it. Nevertheless, I too am making this presumption. The book is concern is Cuckold by Kiran Nagarkar.
Here’s an excerpt from the book’s intro.

“The time is early 16 century. The Rajput Kingdom of Mewar is at the height of its power. It is locked in war with the Sultanates of Delhi, Gujarat and Malwa. But there is another deadly battle being waged within Mewar itself. Who will inherit the throne after the death of the Maharana? The course of history, not just of Mewar but of the whole of India, is about to be changed forever. That is the bare plot-line. It is a singularly inadequate description of the scope and richness of the novel.
Nagarkar subtly plays with form and tradition and breaks new ground, enlarging our notions of fiction. He takes the sweep and breadth of the epic with its panoply of war, intrigue and action and introduces a deeply introspective and reflective note into it. He sets up the old triangle of man, woman and lover and pushes it to the edge to make it a love story like none other.
At the centre of Cuckold is the narrator, heir apparent of Mewar, who questions the codes, conventions and underlying assumptions of the feudal world of which he is a part, a world in which political and personal conduct are dictated by values of courage, valour and courtesy; and death is preferable to dishonour."

Nagarkar picks up the legend of Meera, and turns it into an analysis of a wide spectrum of complex characters, political upheaval, Rajput patriotism, Mughal ambitions and finally the huge ramifications it has on the course of a country’s history. The story told from the viewpoint of the cuckold breaks all conventions of the stereotypical hero. It allows us to explore the possibility of having a God, none other than the Flautist as a competitor.

Nagarkar takes the liberty of drawing a hero who is sensible, progressive despite facing unrequited love. Yet he too is a Maharaj Kumar, and his definition of love does not necessarily mean a monogamous affair. He has no qualms of have an incestuous relation with his Dai who breast fed him, and also seducing the woman who is under trial for adultery and he the presiding judge of the trial to boot.

Maharaj Kumar, despite his accurate intuitions failed to curb the power of his brother and secure the thrown for himself. One may also doubt the actual role played by him in the wars against Gujrat and Malwa. And yet Maharaj Kumar is no Othello, there are many redeemable qualities in his character. The fact that he shunned second marriage till the time it was possible for him, and even donned on the garbs of the Flautist to meet Meera on an equal footing are some of the endearing facets of his persona.
The story of Maharaj Kumar raises the question of many possibilities had he succeeded to the thrown after his father. Would he have successfully conquered Delhi from Babur? Would he be a cruel heartless murderer as the wars he fought against Gujrat suggest? Wondering these possibilities one may very often forget that the character of the Maharaj Kumar one knows, is actually nothing but a figment of the writer’s imagination.

To be continued…

Mad about Mukteshwar

Somerset, the place to sit and watch time walk by...

A quaint little hut by Somerset

Devotion lurking everywhere...even high atop hidden hills...

The Nest, right in the middle of the hills, no lights to guide you at night, no clear road to lead you there...utterly unbelievable

Oak trees playing with the sun...amazing forest to get lost

A lonely cloud afloat

Bird house, so reminiscent of farmville

Treetops meeting the morning eagerly, 2kms before Nainital


The place where we met
Under the shade of the trees
Is lonely today
The seat where we sat
Looking at the green
Is home now to someone else
The days which kept us company
Are long gone
The sun that shone on our head
Feels cheated
The bird which brought tidings of the day
Wander lost
Seasons sigh in remorse
Impatience reigns the path
The place where we met
Is lonely today
And still waits for us…


I remained in yesterday
You moved on
to a strange today


The curtains lived on the edges of the day
Silent and somber watching
As deadlines rushed in & went away


The cat dragged in something
Stinking, broken and bleeding
It was but yesterday’s dream


The splashes from a butterfly fell on my days
Golden were the ways
When I flew where I wanted to


There was struggle between the identities
Me was different everywhere
Twitter, fb, orkut, buzz all agreed at my strangeness


Hunger pangs attacking the tummy
Tummy punished
for all the secret obscenities
it contained


Pain is the most
random thing in the world.
It’s everywhere.


What was stress called
when people hadn’t coined that term?


The grammar of love is confusing
Even practice may not
make you perfect


One by one they leave me
no rhyme no reason
betraying hair on my head


Burden of holding up millions of
thoughts & counter thoughts
so long bow down my neck now


A writer needs to write
A doctor needs to practice
A lover only needs to dream


Recently one my colleagues explained to me the profound philosophy of the Mayajaal of Appraisals… Appraisals are perhaps, by far the most mysterious and dreaded word in every professional’s life and this philosophy expounds the workings of the dreaded appraisal word….how THEY, the slave drivers of us slaves, have developed this philosophy…how THEY have successfully implemented it despite the best efforts of lesser mortals like us to rise above it.

This philosophy depends on a number of givens. First, those who have to leave will leave. They don’t care about whether they are leaving before appraisals or vice versa. They are driven by greater emotions to find greener pastures. This aggrieved lot usually believes that it is a grave injustice that they are stuck at such a place. Basically they feel they are much above the place and also that if they continue in the so not happening place the world might miss out on a legend. This lot also includes calculative criminals who nurse grudges and leave with a sadistic vengeance. Their triumph often consists only of the shattering slap on the faces of their detractors when they drop their resignation letter.

THEY, the makers of the philosophy also don’t worry about the lot who will not leave unless given the pink slip. This bag of loyal losers will stay put, crib, cry, mull, and even dream about the forthcoming appraisals. For them THEY create a Mayajaal of the forever coming up appraisals. Next month… next to next month… next Diwali… next year…next campaign… next promotion…next this…next next…The anticipating losers happily or unhappily thus have many reasons to stick to their place. They don’t want to experiment, they don’t want to work hard (funnily enough they may anyways be working hard in the same god forsaken place). Some of them have even discovered a most innovative excuse for the prevailing scheme of things, namely – “too many changes reflect badly on your CVs.” The morons don’t realize with a mindset like theirs no one would anyways be interested in their CVs.

Stuck between the two lots of criminals and losers are the mixed bags. The poor souls who are neither here nor there, and are basically a confused lot who can’t tell black from white, right from wrong and often are the followers of the herd. In this Appraisal Mayajaal they are the lot who are struck worst as they can’t make up their mind where to look. And if and when they do break out of this confused territory they infringe the former territories.

THEY, the makers of the Mayajaal are not bothered with the first lot. THEY direct their energies in amusing the losers lot and also giving the confused mixed bags regular dosages of confusion. The Mayajaal continues to thrive. And if ever anyone falls out of the losers bracket to the any of the other two territories THEY don’t take tension because there is never any scarcity of new fools waiting to be recruited.

pure inebreation

Came across this piece one day...see if you like it...

Sitting here
thinking about you,
wondering if you're
thinking of me.
We've been down
this road before
and I know where
it ends.
Hypnotic dreams,
so sweet,
of you.
Only to wake up
to nothing more than
an unforgiving
blank wall.
Secrets shared in
deafens me.
Self sedation
brings me around,
to kill the
painful thoughts of
The less you say,
the worse it gets.


Michael "Kemo" Bingoff

Agra for all

What can be said about a place which resides in poetry… which every Indian who can afford has visited at least once in life.

Fortunately for me this was the second time. When I left for Agra I wanted to leave some things behind; I wasn’t expecting much. The bus was not quite what I had expected. But the crowd was an odd mix - an Assamese family, a Belgian, a Korean, two Moslems, two unclassifiable could-be-any-bodies and Bahadur & me.

I realized yet again that looks are so deceptive. The person you believe is the most sensible of the lot often turns out to be the least. The Belgian who looked completely self-possessed chose to pile on with us without any rhyme or reason. And by the time she got our message the journey was over.

In the beginning the journey seemed to drag; our first stop was for breakfast at an over priced restaurant. Hogged on chicken cutlets and utterly unnecessary bread toasts. The bill was so much that it happened to be more than the lunch and the dinner bill. Couldn’t help myself from wrapping the leftover cutlet in a tissue paper and putting it quietly into my bag ;o) Good thing the place had a swing …made optimum use of the time I had in hand. And surprise of surprises no one came to say that the swing was meant for kids under 12.

It was almost 1 pm when we reached Agra…first stop was Agra Fort…2 kms of area open to visitors and only 35 mins to cover it. In spite of this I seemed to be the only person finding it a grave injustice. I tried to salvage whatever was possible in that short span of time that too with the Belgian tied to our tails...she needed translations of what the guide had told, every sentence we were talking in Hindi & every sentence we were talking in English, not once but at least thrice. To top it all she was paranoid the bus would leave us stranded.

Punctual that I am, I reached on the stipulated time but the rest of the lot didn’t seem as obliged. The Belgian was busy cracking jokes on ‘Indian standard time’ while I was lamenting the fact that I can’t differentiate between the diwan-e-aam & the diwan-e-khaas and also because I couldn’t spend more time there.

Next stop was for lunch. Some more commission into the dear driver & guide’s pocket. Food & bill both were fine this time. I won’t tell you anything about the amazingly clean loo. Lunch done the journey once again began in earnest. Our dear guide began an elaborate speech on the mini Taj Mahal, built by the UP Govt by the descendents of the aboriginal artisans of the Taj Mahal. He was also quick to add we shouldn’t shop on the roads as the stuff sold there is not made of authentic marble. After such a prologue our expectations were sadly mocked when we discovered the mini Taj Mahal was just another art & craft shop and not even a govt authorized one. So shocked were some of the visitors that they never realized they were being duped.

I and my Bahandur performed the infamous fuming walk out post which the dear guide & driver were perennially sour faced. Once outside we recovered our spirits by taking some pics. But here too the Belgian appeared.

At Taj Mahal we managed to give the Belgian a slip. Later on she said that Taj Mahal was quite an experience for her, better than the other wonders of the world. What a proud moment it was for me.

There too I got some real nice pics, beginning to think of myself as a budding photographer… (trying to humor myself). As Taj got dressed in the evening and the aroma of a distant “Budham Sharnam Bhikshamdi” wafted into our minds I rediscovered the charms of the evergreen song. There gazing at Yamuna and a flock of cranes we enjoyed few quite moments. For once the idealist in me prevailed and I declared this to be a great example of unity in diversity. In contradiction, Bahadur argued that this is actually propaganda.

After dozing for about an hour and half we reached Mathura. As is the case with every temple visit, I was in two minds whether to enter the temple or not. In the end purely with a tourist instinct that I might miss something I decided to enter the temple. There was nothing much to do or see inside except see devotees in different stages of madness. When we came outside the temple we found that Bahadur’s pretty white sandals were missing. We made a valiant attempt to buy a new pair but couldn’t find a shop. Finally when it came down to either sashaying on cow dung or stealing someone else’s pair Bahadur’s good sense prevailed. She chose a not so attractive pair of slippers…and we left the place thinking something about poetic justice ;)

On the way to Vrindavan a new guide cum pandit came on board complete with a Brahmin ka chotti. He was good orator and pretty convincing one too, won’t go into the details of his sermon. While he gave a lot of info about Lord Krishna and unlike the previous crude guide even at the end of his speech there was no reason to doubt his intentions.

He took us through various gullies to a shady temple…I m still researching to find out whether this was really the main temple. What we found there further reinforced our belief that tourism is in fact fast becoming organized crime. From the guide to the pujari at the temple everyone was busy emotionally blackmailing people. The guide solemnized “purify yourself with the tap water (which he claimed was from Yamuna) because you are coming directly from the Taj Mahal”. Yet another intolerant speech “Mughal Emperor Auranzeb’s pride was broken when a temple was built here”. Like it or not I sulked through the entire episode with folded hands while all the while my mind was screaming hypocrite! hypocrite! Who was I trying to please? Even mom wasn’t around :D

The pujaris, “pay Rs 1000 and your parents will become immortal” was the last straw. What my inconsistant beliefs couldn’t do the threat to my precious money did…lol.. There was a second walk out, this time from the temple. I cursed myself for being part of this hypocritical mono-act. I really envied the two Moslem guys and the Belgian who decided to stay back in the bus.

Outside I had a glass of rabri garnished with pure ghee outside our bus. The bus finally reached Delhi around 2 in the morn…the next day despite everything I was very happy. :D I am so confused. Must have been the Taj …

Moderately Insane

Was I a poet then that I believed you
Or am I mad now to doubt


Whole day the money plant sat talking
To the window panes
The sun smiled on
And when night came
The exhausted stars too did their bit
Until the money plant dozed off


You brought me a little heart
Crooked n crumpled
And I a fool
Kept it under my pillow
Not knowing it will
Steal all my peace


The dirt from your eyes
Spills on my plans
And kills your bloody chances


Rub me rub me the wrong way
How I dare you
Do so…


The tar is set to conquer memories
The sweeter the worse
To remember
Save! Call in the fireman
Record! I want to play them again

Time replied it’s ok to keep some
And to let go off some
But what if the good is gone
And the bad remains?


Scavenger, scavenger
Don’t distribute my pieces
Don’t tell my stories


Restart the brain
Re-pen the thoughts
They have slept for long


Keep your eyes open
Don’t wink don’t breathe
The mosquitoes might attack

Another way to begin

I was always partial to low key New Year celebrations…ones that had family dinner snugly tucked in, bonfire, friends and relatives wishing you and the ever bankable idiot box for entertainment. But this year, I tried something different. I rang in the New Year from Mussoorie. I actually started the journey bang at midnight…explored Mussoorie throughout 1st of Jan and moved on to Dhanolti the day after…

Here are some memories that have spilled all across my thoughts…something I saw…enjoy them and wish you a very happy new year.

we are tall

living on the edge

girl on the rocky hill

mother and daughter

point of view

retro lover on mall road