The Climb


It’s time to climb.

The wind blowing through her hair,
She stares up at the mountains.
They’re high, too high,
But she walks on towards the climb.

On her way, she sees fellow strangers,
Making their own way up.
Some very far ahead,
Some at the very start.

She huffs and puffs,
Tired out of her mind.
“I’ll rest a little”, she thinks,
While the others pass by.

Waking up she realizes how far behind she is,
All alone, no one to hold her hand,
And she tries to start again.

But the wind, it bites.
And the skies, they weep.
Pouring down tears of ice,
While the angle of the climb steepens.

She whimpers as her strength is sapped away,
And suddenly! She falls,
Into a hole, just her size.
Crying, almost giving up.

She sits there for a while,
Losing her grip on her sanity,
And then she thinks about her life before the climb,
The warm memories, the sweet times.

And they give her strength.
All her memories, the good, the bad.
Those that made her and shaped her.
She hears her father’s voice, saw her mother’s smile.

And for them, she perseveres.
For herself, she perseveres.
She pulls herself out, looking up at the peak.
Looking back down, she sees some below.

So she smiles, gives them a wave and yells,
“I’ll wait for you at the top!”
And the weather clears,
The sun shining down, the peaks beautifully snow-capped.

And she continues the climb.

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Staying in the Now

How often do you catch yourself thinking about how you wish things would have gone, or how you want things to be? Are you a worrier? Do you try to solve problems before they even occur?

The most important thing to do is to stay in the now. You have to stop letting any thoughts affect you other than what is here, what is now.

Write down your goals. What you need to do to achieve them, and achieve them wholeheartedly rather than adopt a sub-par approach.

Decisions that you have taken and have gone bad, discard them. Don’t think about them and imagine how your life would be if you had done that one thing differently. Because you haven’t. And it’s okay. You need to deal with what you are going through at this moment. My mother always tells me, “Suck it up and do what you have to do.”

It’s okay to wallow in grief for a given period of time. You’re entitled to be sad. But afterwards, you need to move on. Moving on is an important step of life. Priorities need to be set. The goals you wrote earlier, you need to get on with achieving them.

And let go of people that are harmful to you. As trees are pruned by removing the unhealthy branches, treat yourself as a tree that removes the poisonous branches in order to grow better. Anyone who is stopping you from doing what you have to do, willingly or unwillingly, discard them immediately. They are a bane to your growth. Don’t keep them on or don’t keep lingering in the past. The past is something which is done and over with. You can’t change it.

Your future, where you want to be in life in the next few years, that is more important to safeguard. And you safeguard your future by taking care of your present. Surprise, surprise, that means staying in the now.

So stay in the now. Look at experiences as an opportunity and not as a potential problem. Be optimistic. Don’t fret about what could happen. Pay attention to what is happening now.

Goodbyes and Moving On


It’s time, it’s almost time
To pack up your things and say goodbye
Tears shed, hushed and fervent promises made
Of remaining in touch, pacts to abide.

It’s time, it’s almost time
To box all the memories,
Nostalgia exemplified
Remember this? You’d say with a smile in your eyes

And regrets, too many
I should’ve done this, I should’ve said that
Past hesitations that seem laughable,
Yet changed your course altogether

Chances, now gone,
That window, now firmly shut,
On what could have been
Be it joy, sorrow or even love.

So open your eyes to the now,
Live with every fiber of your being.
For this time, it’s limited,
Let’s make it count, as much as we can allow.

Being Human

Being human means to act humane, that is, having or showing compassion or benevolence. By definition, mankind is supposed to be, well, kind. A famous quote by Ian Maclaren, paraphrased, is:

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

These are truly words to live by. People whom you meet around you, you may judge them or size them up in an instant. But you never know their side of the story. The person whom you think isn’t very smart, calling him or her stupid isn’t going to change things. Or that person you just called fat, he or she might be struggling with a health problem, or something else you can’t see just by looking at them. Stop patronizing others. Your judgement isn’t going to help them in any way, so just keep your thoughts to yourself, instead of voicing them out loud and hurting them.

Recently, a tragedy had befallen to someone I know. I wasn’t quite fond of that person, but upon seeing the pain that person was going through, something inside me also broke. So be kind, be kind to everyone. That person who makes it their life’s task to be mean to you, just ignore it. Let them be petty, but never tarnish the goodness in you. Who knows, maybe it’s jealousy that spurns them, maybe it’s something else entirely. But always be steady, and don’t it affect you. Empathize with others, get a taste of their pain before commenting on it. Learn to see things from other people’s point of view, rather than blinding yourself to them by your own stubbornness.

But keep in mind, don’t be a pushover. If you keep listening to whatever people throw your way, saying to yourself, “I can take it, it’s not a big deal,” or convincing yourself that the core of the person is good, then you start losing yourself, piece by piece. And that’s dangerous. Never become a mat that everyone walks all over. Keep your identity, and let go of those people that dirty the pureness that is your soul.

And in doing so, emerge from the rest of the world, rise above, overcome the small irritants of daily life that affect others so deeply. Be an ear for others to talk to, be a rock that your loved ones can always depend on. Let everyone know about the true you, and don’t be a person that molds their personality accordingly to the people they are with. And most importantly, be kind, for everyone around you is fighting a hard battle.

The Silversmith’s Apprentices

There once was an elderly silversmith who had three apprentices. One was called Flynn, the other Chester, and the last Poe. They were three good natured boys, with an appetite for work. The silversmith was very pleased with his apprentices and their performance. They had been working for him for 5 years, and had learnt and perfected the tricks of the trade.

One day, the silversmith decided that it was time for his retirement. He would hand over the practice to one of his boys, and the other two would remain on as assistants. But he did not tell them directly, instead decided to test them. He went to the living room, close to the shed where the boys would work, and announced in a loud voice to his wife, “Jane, I shall hand over the shop to one of the lads, whoe’er proves it most.” All three boys heard this loud and clear.

They looked at each other a moment and scurried back to work before you could say “Hey-oh!” Natually, all three of them wanted it badly. They were resolute to win the position of proprietor.

Flynn, while almost finished with his current project, a finely made cutlery set with gold edges, decided to ask the master for some help and guidance. “Oh, Master,” he said, “how should I improve this set further? I feel that it is lacking somewhat. Might I have your expert guidance?” Though surprised at this question – no five year apprentice would ask this – the silversmith agreed to go over the pieces made. He found everything to be well enough, the finishing done quite beautifully. And he said so. Flynn beamed, and said, “But sir, there must be something. If at all anything, please do tell me. You have such a trained eye. You cannot miss anything.” The silversmith nodded and smiled politely at him.

Chester was, in the meanwhile, lagging in his work. He was in the process of annealing, when by now he should have finished his project, a bowl with intricate carvings. As he knew that he would soon be inspected, he quickly grabbed an old piece, one Poe had painstakingly slaved over, so that the silversmith wouldn’t chide him for being behind in his work. Soon enough, as the silversmith came to his workbench, Chester said, “Here, Master. I made this bowl, around last week. And now I am in the process of making another one. Annealing is in process, soon I shall finish the next one as well.” But the master was no fool. With one look at the bowl he realized that it was not Chester’s work. Every silversmith has their own signature method of design. And this was not Chester’s. But the silversmith did not say anything, nodded and moved on.

Poe was also lagging in his work. He was in process of making a beautiful trident. Casting was done up to now, and he had yet to solder and rivet the pieces together. But he still worked diligently and peacefully. When the silversmith approached him, he said, “Master, I am not yet done.” The silversmith was shocked at this reply. “What do you mean, not done?” Poe, with an apologetic look said, “I still have to solder and rivet the pieces. The casting had to be changed, you see. If I had shown you the final product as-is, you would have appreciated it but Mr. Stone, our customer would not have. Hence, my work remains incomplete.” The silversmith appreciated Poe’s honest answers. He gave Poe a pat on the back and said, “Very good, lad. The only qualities I wanted were honesty and diligence. You have showed me both. You will be the one to take over my practice.”

Flynn and Chester were outraged. “But, Master! I have completed my project before his, and better!” said Flynn. Chester chimed in, “Sir, I have completed mine and am doing extra as well, for the customer, as you said!”

The silversmith turned to both of them. “Flattery and cheating will get you only so far. It is honesty and hard work that only ever matter.”

Mystery and life

These small streams that flow below,
The tiny birds that glide above,
How does freedom taste in this earthly glow?
How is life far beyond to grow?

These majestic clouds at my feet,
The tall mountains where the skies meet,
How is life so humble and neat?
Does life grow far beyond this bitter treat?

These cold winds that storm like a warrior,
The rain drops on the leaves that spatter,
How does life strangle with the fiery matter?
Where is the end to these dreams that shatter?

These valleys that disappear into the abyss,
The horizons that extend till the skies,
What is life without all secrets and lies?
How do things end at infinity, and yet so fast the time flies?

These misty mornings that dawn so early,
The dew drops that shine so brightly,
Why does failure come with anguish and happiness with glee?
Why isn’t everyday a new start in this heavenly place to be?

Seek I the answers to the riddles so rife,
When sometimes it’s love and sometimes strife,
Where one hand has a rose and the other a knife,
Such is the mystery of this little place called life.

Diminished hobbies

It is a regular Sunday morning as I lay myself to rest on the chair in the porch admiring the morning dew as I hit the play button on my iPod. I look at the sky in eternal tranquility while I listen to the notes of ‘Blackbird’ kick in. “Paul McCartney. That man must be in such a poignant state yet with so much passion”, I say to myself as I continue laying down in the chair. I pull myself up against the gravity which fells doubly strong as before and grab my old guitar lying in the attic. I sit down to play a few chords. I play a few of my favorites, but my six string doesn’t quite glue me to it. The next moment I find myself dumping my old six string somewhere among the foliage. “That hobby is too long gone. I can’t do it”, I convince myself before I begin carrying on my composure.

The sun grows brighter as I draw myself into the house. I sit at the table as I sip my morning tea. The television flashes the new art competition going on in town. “Such beautiful pictures! They must have some weird musings!” I think as I finish my tea in a jiffy. I go into my bedroom and lay a canvas on the floor. I grab some colors and splash them on the canvas haphazardly. I sit down and try to mend the painting. But somehow it doesn’t feel quite right. I let the colors spill on the canvas and leave the room, feeling somewhat blue. The colors spread like a skyline waiting to inspire, the canvas laid on the floor like a lake only still. But my mind left the zeal to add waves to them.

I walk into the Kitchen to fix a broken pipeline. I sit down like an unflagging plumber, not realizing all my energy getting drained by all the water that has spilled out. I finally get up like an undermined loser. I see my kids having their breakfast; their little feet hanging down from the chair, their petty fights about the bottle of jam. “Daddy, can you please sing us ‘Best day of my ljfe’?” they shout before I pull out a chair and try to believe in the irony implied. I start to sing a first few lines before my coarse voice refused to tune me to the person I was years ago. The music which sounded like melodious birds when I sang as a young philander now just has a good tune only in my mind. In reality, it just doesn’t feel quite right.

When the afternoon sun convinces me to sit down in the sofa and read some classic novels, I carry myself with my burden and start reading one. Halfway through it when the dusk has just set in, I feel an unstoppable urge to do what I really like doing. I put on my running shorts and hit the streets. After a few minutes, I am pulled down by gravity and I feel as if I’m being pulled behind by loser in me. My body refuses to put me through enough enthusiasm. Somehow, it just doesn’t feel quite right.

When I finally decide to sit down and write down about my feelings, I realize that my passion is draining as fast as I’m aging. I write down a few lines but somehow it just doesn’t feel quite ri…

It’s a rock and roll world!

This is the story of a normal Music lover. A person who loves music not just like anything else but like something that could turn his world around. This is about the life of a person with that ecstatic moment and the colorful sky he envisages as he enters his new world of euphoria. This is what he calls paradise.

I am an avid music lover. And like most of the people I cram myself with wonderful heart touching music. When I am not doing anything, I am sandwiched between two bulgy cushions which feed beautiful blues into my brain. I paint my world with rhythmic notes and dance my soul off to some heavy rock music. I like to hear the glass shatter as I whack my arms across the room hitting objects as I sink into the beauty of the music.

But rock and roll is not complete without being a part of the thousand-fan club waving their hands up in excitement, getting off the ground to touch the sky and singing their hearts out to their favorite songs. To booze out and bang your head to the perfect rhythm of the bass. That’s right! Rock and roll isn’t just about the headphone thingy. It’s about being there when your favorite guitarist is performing on the stage and you’re somewhere in the rubble struggling to make your voice heard. You want to be that one person who wants to kiss the beauty of music and shout loudly in madness. You want to be that one person whose life circumscribes the aura of music. Your life oscillates between the ethereal mystery the music imbibes and your colorful life that you contemplate. Either way it is a wonder!

So what is it like to see your favorite guitarist rock through some mind boggling solos? Electrifying? Exhilarating? Intoxicating? The truth is, it is none of these words. It’s not about the thrill, it’s about the love for music that you experience and the respect for life that you understand. But above all this is the epiphany of being a tiny spark in the world of firecrackers. The little spark that ignites your soul and which galvanizes you to become lively and colorful. When I was a part of huge crowd chanting to hymns of Slash and the Conspirators, little did I realize it would change my life to this extent! Life has found a new meaning and a respect for itself. I don’t look at life the same way I used to before and I don’t think anyone will after such a revitalizing experience.

We were a small group of 3 who had registered for one of the most amazing concerts of the decade, along with a thousand others. We left from Pune listening to the whole of their new album the entire way to Mumbai. And when we reached there, we saw a huge crowd of rock fans, some with crazy hair and some even dressed like Slash, waiting eagerly for the gates to open. Never have I seen so much colors all crammed up together: there were some crazy skateboarders showing off their skills, the hot chicks with their flaunting attire, some air guitar masters.

When the gates finally opened, all the crazy rock fans scattered like tiny termites; some running towards the main stage in full enthusiasm (What now reminds me of the line from their song – Bent to fly: I won’t stop running and I’m only getting closer, to getting off the ground this time), some hogging over the expensive beers, some just lying on the ground waiting for the concert to begin (Seriously, you call yourself rock fans?). But for the ones near the stage, it was like a celebration. The show began with three opening bands performing sequentially. We all jumped and sang along to the amateur music, while the VIP crowd stood on the podium far away from the stage. Ginger Feet, Them clones and Thermal and a Quarter were the opening bands which began the night of extreme craziness. And when it was time for Slash to finally arrive, thousands of people crowded near the stage, shouting out loud in total darkness, waiting for the moment which will change their lives.

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Thousands of hearts were pounding in complete excitement, young hands waving up in the air and all eyes on the screen which projected the countdown to the ultimate night. In no time Slash was bang on along with Myles Kennedy whose voice kept us mesmerizing all through the night. Slash was exactly like in the poster at your local Rock Cafe: His long curly hair hanging down till his shoulder, his legendary hat with those golden coins, and the way he stood holding his guitar. All through the night, Slash kept picking his strings like a world on fire. When he raged through his intricate solos (which had a 10 minute extension of the Rocket queen solo), you could only try to imagine the unanimous crowd soaring high as if there was no ground. When he played classics from the Guns n’ Roses’ album, a thousand musical hearts were raised as high as their feet were off the ground. While the crowd sang louder than the band, Slash was still as mesmerizing as we all had hoped.

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The 2 hours of the music gala was not just a rock night, but a life changing experience. Something which every rock fan must have, something which life must give you and something which will redefine music – to the most amazing night!

Back from the future

“But ten thousand years ago man made himself happy because he thought that was the sole purpose of life”, replied little and curious Margaret who would turn 12 years old the next month. “That’s true, dear. But that was a long time ago. Back then Homo sapiens existed who lived on earth. They had a lot of free time and found happiness in petite things of life. Man would become happy for small surprises and little moments that gave him pleasure. He would get excited about going out and playing with his companions. But gradually he took to the materialistic life and happiness receded it way out to the space”, replied her mom.
“So isn’t happiness coming back again ever?” asked the troubled young girl.
“We’re are Martians. We can’t afford to be happy again. Not after the people on earth took to the worldly life”, came the reply. “Now if you let me go, I have to start preparing for Uncle John’s appeasing ceremony. That’s the only time you get to be happy in your life. You’ll have yours when you grow up, dear. Now go decorate the arena”.
Uncle John was a diligent psychologist and a virtuoso scientist who put in great efforts to study and conclude what mankind is lacking. He was just finished repairing his time machine and was about to share his success with his companions. He went out to the hall to find his wife relishing over the new make-up bot she had bought.
“Sarah! It’s done. I will soon be travelling faster than the speed of light, orbiting earth like a swirling falcon!” he exclaimed and hopped to one side in excitement.
Sarah was still busy luxuriating over the little bot that did wonders to her face. She sat there fondling her tablet controlling the restaurant service she owned. She replied with a lackadaisical nod. John’s daughter was busy checking her new neon dress that changed colour according to her mood. At the moment John saw her, it was brightly green and cheerful as she always seemed to be. She never took any interest in her dad’s work and she always thought it was expendable. John moved to the side and looked out of the window to see a bunch of egocentric people walking into their own world of fantasy. ‘What is up with this world?’ he thought.
“I’m going! When I come back, it will be the day of my appeasement. I want you to be with me at least then”, he screamed into the lifeless hall filled with languid people.
Uncle John pressed a few buttons on his machine and he disappeared into the smoke. Within moments he landed on the mystical land he had been fantasizing about for a long time. He entered in the 250th century A.D where man moved with a grin on his face and strutted along his way to work.
‘A lot of evolution has indeed happened in thousand years’, tickled his thought.
Margaret was in her room still trying to figure out the sole purpose of the life in the Martian era when her mom came dashing in through the foamy walls.
Margaret’s mom yelled in a stern voice, “Didn’t I ask you to decorate the arena? How many times do I have to tell you to stop playing with that silly thing projecting on your wall? It’s a waste of money”.
“What are you going to use all the money for, Mama?’
“To buy stuff and food”.
“And why do we buy stuff?”
“That’s how life goes. We need stuff to live and entertain ourselves in our leisure time.”
“Why don’t we just stop buying stuff that marks us being avaricious and do something that can make us happy?”
“How will you make yourself happy? By going out and playing a game of ping pong? Or by dancing to some stupid music that you keep mumbling all the time?”
“When was the last time you laughed, Mama?”
“13 years ago. At my appeasing ceremony. Are you trying to relate happiness to laughter?”
“Perhaps?”
“Enough of your rationalism, Marga. I want the arena ready by today! Get your ass off and work.” Her mom yelled again as she passed through the foamy walls like a night ghost.
Margaret sighed after her mom had left. She wasn’t affected much by her mom’s words (Maybe that’s how the kids in the future are). She took her food capsules and prepared to lie down. She tapped a few tiles on the projection on the wall and soon she was levitating. ‘This is sure enough helpful to put myself to rest but not enough to drown my curiosity of the whole idea of life’, she thought to herself. She spoke to the spiritless wall, “Call Uncle John” and soon the wall started flashing Uncle John’s face which added some liveliness to the whole situation.
“Hello, dear! How is my curious Marga doing? Anything up for your birthday?” asked Uncle John.
“Nah! Not much. All that cakes and gift stuff. Nothing interesting”.
Uncle John looked closely at the people on the earth. They sure seemed happy for every damn thing they would do. And the best part about that was that they never bought it. It came to them as an achievement of his successes. But one thing that bothered Uncle John had the answer to the existing life in the Martian era and which could answer all the questions hounding little Margaret. He took himself backward in time progressively to study how the happiness had dwindled its way in such a long time. He explained as he spoke to Margaret.
“Uncle, what is the past of human life on earth like?” questioned Margaret.
“I have seen man in the 20th Century and I have seen him in the 250th century and I must say that man was ten times happier in the latter time than we are now. And a hundred times more in the past”.
“Marga”, he said in a sulky voice, “I will be returning tomorrow for my appeasing ceremony. But all I learned from the people on earth is that I want the ceremony every day. I want man to be happy every day and at every moment”.
“Uncle, isn’t that analogous to going on a trip around the solar system every now and then. Isn’t it unaffordable? That’s what mommy says”, came the reply.
Uncle John was by now very busy studying the human behaviour scrupulously. He saw that people gathered for small occasions and danced together. They greeted each other and wished them good luck. Out of all these what surprised Uncle John was that they were happy for everything they did. He realized that people found happiness so commonly as the number of number of cars they found flying in the air on their planet. Then one question startled him. What happened to mankind?
“Man didn’t need to strive to be happy in his olden days. But he also didn’t realize that it wasn’t becoming any auspicious when he started giving more importance to money and deceit”.
He studied man further in his past and he was blutterbunged to notice that people actually found time to unite and celebrate each other’s happiness together. The very thought made him sad as he recalled his wife calling on him earlier saying that she couldn’t attend his ceremony as she had an important client meeting. The only time he could be happy in his entire life was after all not as rollicking as it was advertised. He feared happiness was taken for granted and it was just as materialistic as the human life. He sighed as he thought and continued his mysterious study. He saw birds flying freely in the sky and water flowing freely through narrow streams. He looked up and found clear skies as opposed to the skies on their planet filled with flying cars and colourful smog.
“Why don’t you take me with you to this mysterious land you are flattering about?” asked Margaret.
“It’s like black hole only more powerful. You wouldn’t want to leave this place after you breathe in its air. Do you still want to put your feet on this ground?” questioned Uncle John.
“I am sure, Uncle. Take me with you”.
A few tap on the time machine and zoom. Margaret was now in a cryptic state of mind. She had never fathomed that humans could have been so happy.
Far away on planet Mars, John’s daughter had already disabled his time machine so that he could never return to the planet again. That was a good way to get rid of her dogmatic father, she thought. It was a cold planet indeed. A place where emotions freeze mid-air and greed flows like a giant sack of helium.
On the contrary, Uncle John and Margaret back on earth thought of never returning back to their planet. They instead decided to live on earth because that is the place to live. Where rivers flow in perfect streams, the sun rises perfectly and man is happy when he has to be. They thought of teaching the Homo sapiens about how beautiful their world is and make them realize that the future is so feeble-minded and indolent. The idea is to live in the present and be happy for little things. Mankind is very selfish and he doesn’t know what’s in store for him in the future.

Addiction

At first, you’re curious.
You try it out. It’s weird.
And then you decide it’s not for you.
But it’s there, at the back of your mind.
That first taste of forbidden fruit.

That moment then comes again,
You’re backed into a corner,
And you convince yourself it’s not you.
But that ghost of a memory beckons,
And you succumb to its wiles.

And now it’s made a home.
A rented apartment in your head,
Still a guest, but now you’re used to it.
And you convince yourself,
“This can’t be so bad.”

But then comes the need.
The desperate, self-loathing want,
That makes you crave.
And the ghost marks it’s territory in your mind,
Becoming more and more tangible, day by day.

And the number of cigarettes increase,
The number of pills increase,
The shots of alcohol increase,
As your body develops a tolerance,
Feeding your addiction.

As others murmur their concerns,
You wave them away.
“It’s just on occasions and stressful events,”
You casually say.
But the truth makes your stomach churn.

So you try to quit,
But withdrawal saps your will,
Shivers rack your body,
In cold sweats are you drenched.
And the call for “just one more” begins.

So you have “just one more”,
And another,
And another,
Till you’re back in the tiger’s cage.
And there’s no escaping now.