Saturday, October 6, 2012


Around that time, writing left me. Every night I tried, sat there with bloodshot eyes waiting for the morning, me and the empty paper. Mornings were unbearable in a way. The brightness was too blinding. The paper would still be empty. And the fucking birds would start chirping. That still annoys me. Birds chirping early in the morning. You are lucky if you can go to sleep when it is still night. Once it is morning, sleep comes almost shamefully, like a rape victim. Mornings came with cottonmouth and hunger and futility and the fucking chirping of the fucking birds. I would just smother my head with the pillow and make it as dark as I could. And every morning, as I drifted to sleep, I would think about those bands they use to cover their eyes while sleeping. Sleeping masks. That's what they're called. Sleeping masks. Every morning, I would think about sleeping masks.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

One point five...?

I reached the bus stand at around noon. That was the job. To go around Panjim and sketch. Bus stands were good. Railway stations too. Just a huge congregation of people not wanting to give a fuck. I would stay there for around four hours sketching people. Then go to Daily Bread around the corner and get an espresso and sketch some more. So many people. Tourists and vendors and clerks and misfits. Some with hidden agendas like mine. Most just waiting for the bus to take them home. Eventually. Snoring on the benches with their children in their arms, Spitting, yawning, selling, women in their sixties with tobacco stained teeth smoking beedis. You don't find that everywhere. All of this speckled with grotesque beggars who would caress your head and bless you if you spared them change. Two in the afternoon, the cleaning ladies wearing bright fluorescent yellow vests over their sarees would sweep all the dirt and all the spit and all the dogs away into designated corners. The spit would soon come back. So would the dogs. And the women would squat in their designated corners watching it all pile up again. People moved about, dodging mice as big as cats, towards the conductors who furiously, almost forcefully beckoned them towards their respective rides.  The whole setup was a careful pandemonium. And nobody gave a fuck.
"Excuse me, Sir, will you please lend me twenty rupees? I have to go to Mhapusa urgently and I don't have money."
He was small. Almost insignificant. He was wearing a dirty, frayed shirt and dark shorts which exposed his thin legs which ended in tattered slippers, holding a dilapidated little briefcase. He stood almost cowering in front of me, his round unshaven head bobbing up and down. You don't get to hear English like that from a person like this. The small man looked at me, summoning his sadness, his urgency.
"No change." I said and walked away.
I walked towards the other side of the bus stand. A little girl holding her mother's hand stared at me. I turned around. The small man was still there, looking for a pair of sympathetic eyes. I went to him and gave the money. I bought twenty rupees worth of satisfaction. He smiled. I smiled. For the next half hour. Nothing boosts your ego like charity.
I roamed around a bit more until I found a good spot to sketch. My model was a dog, lying seemingly dead except for the occasional whisk of his tail for the benefit of the flies around him. He was a Goan dog. No one could dare disturb his siesta. People sat around me, sneaking peeks into my sketchbook. I would get on with my work, pretending not to notice. Two minutes later, they would get on with theirs. People are like dogs that way.
A little boy wearing his school uniform came and sat next to me. Kids are fun. They don't know how to do small talk. Or mask their expressions. But then they grow up and start talking about the weather and the rain and the JanLokpal Bill and don't laugh anymore when someone farts. This one was stick thin and wore glasses too big for his face which made him look like ET. He sat with his schoolbag on his lap. His feet didn't even touch the ground. So he swung them in the air, left-right-left-right his thin legs went. I went back to my dog, who by now was too stoned to even flick its tail.
The kid got up as a lottery wallah approached. They knew each other, for the old man smiled and nodded.
"Abba kaise hain?" How is your father, he asked.
"Aaram hai."
"Aur ammi?"
I sat looking at the both of them. The old man was carrying the metal case slung over his shoulders like all lottery ticket vendors do. His silver beard struck a sharp contrast against his dark wrinkled face. The little kid opened his bag and took out his stainless steel geometry set. Opened it. I remembered it from my school days. A compass, a divider, a ruler, two set squares which we used to shine beams of sunlight on the ceiling and on the teacher's back as she wrote on the blackboard and a protractor. All enclosed in specific plastic compartments. The kid took out the plastic compartment to produce a neatly folded lottery ticket which he handed over to the old man. They had my attention. The dog didn't seem like he was going to leave anytime soon anyway. The old man proceeded to check the numbers against his list. His eyes moved with his fingers.
All three of us waited. Could this be the one? The kid tried to tiptoe his way into the list. I craned my neck. The old man whispered the lucky numbers under his breath..."Do, paanch, teen.."
"Nahi laga." Didn't win, he told us. Sigh. Tell you mother, he said. "Ammi ko bolo nahi laga."
The kid nodded. Took out a twenty rupee note from his little stainless steel safe and bought twenty rupees worth of luck. The lottery wallah left, his metal case bouncing with every step.
The kid neatly folded the tickets, worthless and priceless both, and put them back into the geometry case. I asked him his name. Yusuf, he said, as he packed. And then, before the grown up in me could think of any conversation starter, he swung his bag over his shoulder and ran behind his crawling bus, his slippers pittering behind him.
The dog was still there. It had to be dead.
Two hours later, the small, almost insignificant man with the little briefcase was still roaming around looking for a pair of sympathetic eyes.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


...The next day I left the studio and got into the last bus for the wharf. The driver was drunk. Music was playing. I got a seat. They rarely play music in these things. Sweet soft saxophone sang a lullaby. Cars honked outside. People got in. People got out. Fished for seats. Fished for change. Quarreled. The driver swore. It was beautiful. I sat there, listening, thinking, isn’t this fucking beautiful? A Konkani crooner overtook the sax now. Someone hummed with. Behind me a mother told her kid to stay up for just a bit more. The bus will stop now. Then home, dinner and then sleep! The little boy looked out of the window.  
The ferry was late again. I sat at the edge of the water, waiting. The river was dark, speckled with ships. The bridge was dim, distant, wet. Huge ships renovated into casinos stood docked in front of me. Shiny multicoloured lights, moving, shimmering, hypnotizing. One of them had a big electronic billboard. Casino Pride, it advertised. Then the C in Casino turned into a roulette wheel and went round and round. Round and round until it vanished and there was a dealer wearing a red vest doing card tricks. He vanished and there was a busty woman at the table screaming with joy. Now a fat man with a goatee kissing a card before he played it. Now another fat man ordering a drink. Now a bunch of cakes. Now a brunette in a bikini, winking, pouting. Now a smiling bartender. Now two blondes clinking glasses. Now a roulette wheel going round and round and round again until it turned into the huge C of Casino Pride. Now the busty woman again. And everyone was so motherfucking happy. The fat hairy men were happy. The women were happy. The dealers were grinning like the end of the world. The doorman was fucking ecstatic. The waiter gave you an impression that he would lay his life for a twenty percent tip. The tourists behaved as if the whole world was trying to sell them something. I kept on looking at the bizarre hypnotic show, smoking. Waiting for the brunette. All the lights were there but there was no sound. Just smoke. Just a constant hum of some distant yacht. The fat man ordered another drink. Someone spat at my feet. Everyone was waiting for the brunette now. More lights. Flickering lights, shimmering lights, mad wondrous dancing lights. And no sound. The water lapped softly at my feet. The fat man won his hand. And then, as the brunette finally winked again, the tired dark rusty blue ferry came to take me and my tired rusted people home.   


I was a lost young man when I found this city. It wasn’t much of a city really. More of a town. The streets were cleaner and the cops smiled at you and you could smoke anywhere you wanted. It even had a river. And a ferry boat across it. Casinos on the water. Hookers on the street. Bars everywhere you look. Bars next to schools. Bars next to petrol pumps. Welcome to Panjim, sponsored by Kingfisher. I had to catch a ferry everyday to go to the other side of town. Everyday I would pile into the blue rusty monster, like a little kid getting on a boat for the first time, amongst fifty odd people, bikes, scooters and the occasional car. Tired, sweaty and wet at the same time, inching closer towards the exit as the shore came in sights like a tired old army bound to attack a beach. Thick horizontal rain would then pour down, soaking your underwear, rocking the boat. I would pass my time imagining an accident. The monstrous boat suddenly would seem tiny. How windy must it be for a boat full of fifty people to upturn? I would look around me and wonder if the others were thinking the same things. People, clutching everything they could reach, turning their heads against the rain, holding out communal umbrellas, waiting for the little blue boat to stop moving. Waiting waiting waiting. Checks to clear, weddings to attend, offices to reach, memos to read, cigarettes to smoke, prices to haggle, bosses to kill, waiting. All that while periodically sneaking a look at that wet ass in the taut white skirt in the corner. Thank God for that ass. The incoming shore would vanish in a spray of mist and rain. And someone deep inside the heart of the suffering boat would calmly light up a joint.
I was staying out of a small apartment which belonged to the artist I was working under. A Three rooms and a terrace with an open kitchen. Sparse old furniture. A drawer which looked like a chocolate bar. I felt lonely at night. I had some whiskey Krithika had left me, but I didn’t feel like drinking. My only friend here was an eighteen year old Nepalese kid called Vinod. He had never seen Nepal though. And yet he still had the accent. I found that funny. He worked at the coffee shop next to my place and taught me pool after dinner every night. The first night after we were done and I was picking up my jacket, a step out of the door, he said, “Goodnight, Boss.” And he said that to me every night since then. I would come back home and smoke a lot of cigarettes, try to play the guitar, try to write. I couldn’t. In the end I would just stay up smoking in the dark, looking at the godforsaken furniture around me till I was so tired that I slept. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012


.... He writes about being young and wild and free and out of your fucking mind. Out of your fucking mind jumping and talking and writing delirious poetry and smoking up and making love and getting drunk and passing out and laughing so hard and  singing wild incoherent inebriated anthems huddled around a guitar and weeping silently and never never never sleeping.
Oh I feel so INSUFFICIENT! I feel so little. Everyone around me is old and wise and grey. They’re getting jobs. Making money. But you and I? No. Let’s dream a bit more. Let’s sit and stare at the water a bit more. Cause maybe, just maybe, somewhere in there we’ll find this most brilliantmotherfucking idea! Maybe. Just maybe,  we’ll find satisfaction.  Let’s write another poem. I think I’m getting pretty good at it. I don’t hate them as much the next morning. Let’s keep writing and writing and writing till we finish all the words and then invent new ones and write some more. Let’s be maniacal for once. Y’know, kill-someone-with-your-bare-hands maniacal. Let’s rip apart furniture with frustration. No. Let’s write with frustration. Eh?  Write till we stop feeling INSUFFICIENT so much or atleast fall asleep.
Look outside your window. No. LOOK OUTSIDE YOUR WINDOW. This room doesn’t even have fucking windows. But if it did I wish it would show me city lights. Look outside your window. Now tell me, what are you afraid of?
I am afraid of being..ordinary. I am afraid of not being loved. I am afraid that my dreams are wrong. I am afraid of insignificance. I am afraid of expectations. I am afraid of being poor. I am afraid of wasting my talents. Fuck. I am afraid that I might have an utterly dissatisfied booze addled worthless shitpile of a future.
We live life like we are going to live forever and we know that we might die any second now. I love that about life. She told me yesterday, you’ll end up running after the exact opposite things you’re running after today, thirty years from now. Aah. Seems so futile an exercise. I’d rather not sleep and write like this- something totally pukelike and inexplicably liberating- like this. Fuck fear, man. I am too fucking lazy to be afraid. To fear, we say mañana. Mañana. Not today. Mañana. Mañana. Mañana. Mañana...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

eh, well.

They got it right man. Fuck. Dylan and Keruac and Bukowski and fucking Radiohead. They got it right. They lived the same shit a million others like them did and they fell off staircases and got into bar fights and puked their asses off and read the newspapers and cried in public washrooms and shat blood and missed breakfast and got bad trips.
And God they whined. About the politics and the corruption and that photograph of the malnourished Ethiopian kid and that head splitting hangover and the blood they shat that morning.
The waitress pours you a coffee and you light up your morning cigarette. You don’t give a fuck about the corruption. You kinda like it, infact. It’s convenient. You don’t give a fuck about the war either. It doesn't bother you. It’s like global warming. Your second cousin was on the railway station when they blew up the train but he was okay except the fact that he crapped his pants but you didn't like him much anyway. The hangover bothers you. And that’s what you end up writing about. That’s what you end up whining about. Fucking hangover. You give a fuck about getting laid and you end up writing about it. You show what you wrote that night to people and they use words like ‘honest’ and ‘passionate’ and ‘uninhibited’ and ‘I see Bukowski influence’ and some pseudo-intellectual crap like that because, well, they give a fuck about getting laid too. It’s just that they hit on chicks instead of writing about it. Or jack off. Fuck.
And deep down, at the end of the day, when you’re making apt arrangements for the next morning’s hangover, you know, in your heart of hearts that you are one sleepless night closer to your greatest fear- to wake up the next day and realize that you have nothing to write about except shitting blood.  
Long time, no see. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

This one

Talks. And tries to make me
About my creative process as an artist and a writer
and my influences and my inspirations
and other bullshit people talk about.

I tell her that I write because
when it is 3 o'clock in the morning
and its a power cut and you're suffering
from chronic insomnia and you're drunk
and you've just
puked half your guts out
and you have a spare
there is nothing better to do.
Except make scary faces in the mirror I guess.
But that gets boring, eventually.

And she whines. Oh so much.
She tells me how she hates
Bengalis and Porcupine Tree and shallow people.
Makes plans about the future. For me too, which
slightly annoys me.
Makes the most amazing brownies. 
Writes poems.
Reads more than most. Then gets whinier.
Disappears. For days.
Because she can.

Makes me heart wrenchingly curious about
what she is doing right now.

Some chicks
just brighten up your day.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fish curry and rice.

Four car pileup. He says. The car crashed into the truck
Then the Tempo whammed into the car. Then the bus
hit the Tempo.
No one died though. Well, a dog did.
But that doesn't count.
Oh, a dumpster skidded on the broken glass and
collided with the divider
half an hour later.

I was there, he says, gnawing off the head of a fried fish
with his front teeth.
He had helped them
take out the bodies.
Seen a real live amputated leg
up close
for the first time in his life,
He smiles impatiently as he tells me.
Oh fun.

They serve good fish curry and rice here,
in this vermin infested, scavenger prone shithole
of a chai shop.
I often end up here in the evenings because there is
nothing else to do.
And their samosa paav is an commendable effort.
And it is right across the road from my favourite bar.
And because my only worry when I end up here
is how to balance the scalding teacup in one hand
and the cigarette in the other without burning myself
with either object.

I guess, there is no good fish or bad fish.
There is just, fish.
Unless you want to eat it.
Or it wants to eat you.

Wonder if they've moved the dead dog off the road yet.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Dear Blog,

Sometimes, when I write, I don't know who I am talking to. I never questioned my purpose to write when I started writing. It seemed worthless. I guess it was just that there was so much bile and shit and strangled words and almost-cliched thoughts which needed a secret box for safekeeping. If you were a notebook, you would be three and you would be lying between the broken table-lamp and the empty bottle of rum in my cupboard. I guess why I chose you over the notebooks was because I took a certain twisted pride in the fact that you were out in the open for everyone to see and yet, no one did. 'I need people around me to prove that I am a loner'. That I could purge myself of all unsaid, unfinished utterly useless bile and that you could take it, you inanimate object, you.

All said and done, you're just a trash can for me to dump dried remnants of washed up memories. But you're there, and that's a relief.

Thankyou, and belated happy birthday.


Thursday, January 26, 2012


Backspace. Broken, twisted fingers as blood trickles downwards from the left arm and falls down on the already wet floor with a resounding, ominous plop.


Red has the maximum wavelength in all visible light. Things which we perceive to be red, blood, for example, absorb all other colours in white light and reflect red. Red of blood. Red of the panic button. Red of your full lips which, what with all their priceless little imperfections, I assure you, are still inviting. Red of the big red panic button.

I remember my Grandmother's hands. Long thin aged fingers covered with paper skin. Arms tanned so much that they looked like snakeskin in sunlight. And the small vitiligo patch near her right elbow which looked like a star on a dark horse's forehead. Her hands shook so much when she held a teacup that the rhythmic rattle of the teacup against the saucer echoed in the room. The rough papery warmth as she would hold my face in her hands and how they enveloped my entire universe and how she smelt of parsley and sandalwood and home.

I do not wish to write to be remembered. I have no story to tell. I have no wars to wage. No fight to win. My words do not have strength enough to propagate ideologies. Or overthrow them. My will is not patient enough to defend them. I am not an orphan. I am not a criminal. I have not seen the inside of a prison cell. I have not killed. I have not seen the night sky illuminated with the soft ethereal brilliance of the aurora among the millions of clear radiant stars so that it looks like the last remnants of a million of God's own Roman Candles. I have never experienced that infinite moment in time and space as I fall down from the sky with nothing but the earth below me and watch it accelerate towards me as I scramble for breath just as I scrambled for my first ever breath. I have never looked into a pair of eyes and in them realised my purpose in life. I have not lived enough. Leave me be. Leave me be. I do not wish to write to be remembered. I wish to write, to remember.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Panjim in the rain.

The last dregs of my coffee cup
and the water in my shoes.
Small change in my wallet
but a pocketful of blues.
What business do you have here?
I wish I could explain.
I guess I'm here, just to look
at Panjim in the rain.

The road is like broken glass
fallen from the sky.
And poetry is nothing but a better way to lie.
The moths drink up the street lights
and I drink all that remains.
Swig by swig, under the stars,
in Panjim in the rain.

The mice and men are in their holes
hiding from the Gods.
The empty street and the empty pier
can't stand an empty glass.
Everybody is a sinner in this town,
searching for a saint.
All they find is alcohol
and Panjim in the rain.

Water water everywhere,
but not a drop to drink.
Laughter laughter everywhere,
but not a thought to think.
My bartender is as nonchalant as they come.
"When it rains, it pours", He says.
Then pour me another one, and let me drink
to Panjim in the rain.

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