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Diary of a recluse (5): Be damned!


How does it feel to be cooped at home in year of undying isolation? A reclusive life battling the second wave of a pandemic that doesn’t seem to wane and coming to terms is the only solution. The virus is taking a huge toll on everyone, believe it or not, wondering on the missed plans or opportunities, be it travel, prospective dates or a choice to cut off from every single thing.

It’s a decision that we make as ordinary mortals as the danger lurks right in front of us. I have drenched myself in work, by being a stay-at-home person to the exception of occasional trips for grocery. Work is the boon. It prevents mulling too much about negativity. Sometimes, mundane thoughts can act as the trigger.

As a friend once told, the world has changed and impacted our lives making it an attitudinal shift. We will derive momentary happiness and bout of anger. Today was such a day with anger and fulfilment coming in equal measure. Going with the flow is such a classic thought process. Let the storm pass. I would argue about it in the past. Should I go for confrontation? It doesn’t seem to be worth the effort in destroying the inner peace.

I wouldn’t deny that shopping works for me and so does alcohol in soothing the spirit and mind. There are so much to do. Today, it all started on a roll with some work stuff falling into place and breeding positivity. But, why feeding on negativity? Plain human reaction, one would argue and the reason for doing this post. Perhaps. the aim is to let off and release excess energy! How do you do that when there is none to speak with and perhaps anger finding its way to find a release in this sea of storms.

Catching up with my creative writing and e-book would be the perfect answer to the lockdown but it’s ain’t happening in this order. Take one thing at one time seems to be the only the solution for the recluse lying dormant in my soul and believe it or not, I do miss cooking. It’s been long that I haven’t concocted the favorite Indian dish and got some mutton. Ready for experimental cooking!

The pandemic moving beyond time can affect us in more than ways we could ever fathom. First, there is the scare hinging on anxiety and second, when we think we have become immune, it hits us on the face and third, we become unaffected. There is very less than we can do about it and try to make sense in the face of a new situation. Find fulfilment in the things that we love be it music, arts or writing. So many unanswered questions.

With Love

V

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Soul’s tiny whispers


Emptiness,

fill your heart with hope,

seamless stars in the sky,

colorful, tinkled marbles

celebrate the You with joy,

be the child you were,

collect the shred of joy,

fill the basket with sand,

build the castle,

laugh many moons,

swaying to the shining sun,

kiss the fluttering wind,

open this bank account of happiness,

smile not for the crowd,

for the soul’s tiny whispers,

ringing an echo,

faraway oceans,

and stillness,

the bucket shall always be empty,

tears,

sea water,

floating at the cusp of lip.

With Love

V

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Choked whispers


Who stole my voice?

I express nought!

fight raging inside,

you tell am unexpressive,

have you ever wonder why?

I walk in silence,

straddling in the big cities,

speaking unabashedly to seas and towering buildings,

creating stories inside my head,

i shall never tell you,

closely guarded secrets,

choked whispers,

perhaps i long for solace,

for you not to hear,

for dunno what am looking into this life time.

guarding my vault’s identity,

hiding love,

and emotional scars.

Love

V

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Heart knows no reason!


I long for you!

Is it a sin?

I have no right to love,

an unchartered territory,

the heart is lost,

you are a lost soul,

I have no right to tell you what’s right!

I am holding on to the unexpressed,

Our hearts beat in opposite directions,

love is but a fallacy,

we shall not reach our destinations,

why the heart has stopped making sense,

censored expression,

i was in my cocoon,

separated by distance,

till you melted my heart,

i cannot comprehend what is happening,

we shall reach elixir,

in opposite directions,

for the heart knows no reason.

With Love

V

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Love is caramel without conditions


Caramellized love,

mushy whispers,

countless tales,

shedding bucket of tears,

obsessed love,

ain’t silly,

calf love,

we owe it to literature czars,

a pound of flesh,

dear love,

why do you test my blood,

when can our eyes meet,

mind wandering,

longing for you,

in the times of corona,

date is the price to pay,

coffee is our liability,

chocolate romance,

who whipped this flavor of heart?

melancholy is thy name,

never fall to heart bears

for blindness is rare,

loving without conditions,

for only hearts matter.

Love

V

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Diary of a recluse (4): Lockdown is back


The most feared and dreaded lockdown is back. We are in March 2021. I am based and live in a place that was declared COVID Safe and ironically the locals confused it for being COVID free during the past 6-8 months with hardly few cases surfacing. That’s the biggest problem when people cannot make the distinction between COVID safe and COVID free. But, the pandemic is not going anywhere, anytime soon. It came back haunting and rising.

I turned into a recluse but it’s only in February, a conscious decision was made to visit the coffee shop to sit and work. Just imagine, adopting a lifestyle of self-isolation that started getting to me and didn’t have time to mull over things when the second wave hit back. The most interesting aspect is though the second wave is looking far worse than the first one in this part of the world, I am better prepared mentally, emotionally and psychologically.

You may ask why? The hitch is during all the time there was hardly any case, I didn’t abandon the good habits cultivated in the new normal times. There is a quarantined corner in the house where two carton boxes are kept aside under a table for stuff and grocery bought from the supermarket to be kept for three days. I have two bags, one executive backpack for office meetings or going out and the other that I use for jogging or brief outings such as grocery shops and supermarkets where both have sanitizers.

I didn’t alter the habits and today it serves as a blessing in disguise. For some people, the new lockdown may take a toll on the way of doing things but it has not affected me in a drastic fashion and there is a certain stability in the way things stand.

Handshakes are kept at a minimum level. I’ve been called crazy or hyper for refusing to shake hands but the recent events proved that I am right. Not being pompous at all but sanitary habits matter. In case, someone shakes hands, I keep it unoccupied till sanitized. I don’t step out of the house without wearing a mask even to the shop outside home and the small habits nurtured over time made sure that things take minimum toll on me.

Just imagine behaving as if the worse is behind us and mingling with others like the good old days is a recipe for disaster and suddenly getting sucked into the lockdown. It becomes a kinda culture shock since kicking bad habits is as hard as fuck. The trick lies in keeping the ‘new habits’ intact for the only way for us in the world is to be healthy and protect ourselves in adhering to social distancing and norms.

There are a few minor hitches and glitches making life a tad difficult. Since the area we live has been declared high-risk zone with cases getting out of hands, it is what we call in India ‘bandh’, curfew or in common parlance closed and under police surveillance where people from other areas are not allowed in, we cannot even order from the regular online delivery shop making things a bit hard. Hope things get better soon. I respect the decision to keep people safe and am sure it’s done in the better interest of everyone.

How I am living this second lockdown? Like I told, it didn’t affect me so much for the time being like the first one where my anxiety soared. This time, despite the cases allegedly looking more serious, I am in a better space having experienced Lockdown 1.0 that was new for everyone and quite a scary experience. Hope I am able to sustain myself throughout the second phase. There is simply no ground for excuses and as it is, the pandemic will become an important part of life. I am not obsessed with the rising cases knowing well that there is nothing in my hand to prevent them but what matters that as humans across the globe is how we react to things by signing on precautionary measures such as masks, sanitizer and isolating ourselves. Of course, vaccination is important and hopefully, I shall do it, together with Mom in the coming weeks.

It’s not the time to shift the blame on someone else and let’s not give lame excuses. I think we need to take it on ourselves as the fault line for not wearing masks and violating social distancing. Worried I am about the cases swelling whether in the home and ancestral land India, Europe, or the island I am currently based and any other global place in the world. Let’s make a circle of possibilities save ourselves and our loved ones.

Wear a mask and stay healthy.

Cheerio

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Hot on Wheels (12)


Chapter 12:

The beautiful night glittered with fleeting stars and encapsulating silence in the Pune outskirt lending an old world charm, far away from the humdrum of noise and vehicles jarring in the main city.  Smoke curled in a circle and disappearing with the wind past the spacious balcony, buildings, hills and lake makes for a serene atmosphere.

Geet looked like a divine saintly woman in her white Kurti and bhindi on the forehead that she could easily pass for a religious woman doling blessings. Hardik stood at a distance, admiring the scenery and watching her in awe taking a drag. “Come close, “she nudged. “I won’t bite, promise baba.”

He made a guilt face. She laughed over it as if saying that’s alright. She took another puff and passed the cigarette to him, rubbing her hand on his palm and the male finger made round circle inside the flesh between her thumb and index.  She laughed, “Shocked about the ex-fiancée?”

He chuckled, “Are you asking me this question? I mean, it’s not that you cheated on me or some shit like that babe. Both of us wanted some action.”

Geet turned her face away towards him and sported a wry smile, “I just wanted to vent things in my own way and found in you, the perfect bakra.”

“Except that, I am a willing bakra and always looking for some swing,” he completed her sentence. He was hiding something but was too apparent to her.  Geet knew about Hardik’s jealousy pang when he tries to act all chilled out.

A single glass of dark wine stood on the cement slab which she tendered to him, “Except that we gotta share this one glass left pretty like our meaningless and emotionless sex.” He didn’t say anything and gulped without complaining. Sip by sip. No cheating. One sip for her and the next for him. Poor wine feeling like a joint playing musical chair conjuring drowsiness for both of them in a single glass.

“How does it feel to screw things up for me dude?” Geet asks nonchalantly. There was no anger but a lovelorn smile on her face and playing with her curls. She burst into an uninterrupted laugh and the next moment rollicking on the floor.

“Dude! That shit was embarrassing. Not me! Poor Ginni took over on air for me. I am smart that way, once you called and I passed the mike to her. She had no option but to entertain you. What fucking shit went into your head to profess love on air as in like L-O-V-E. Felt light kya?

Hardik was embarrassed at this remark and on spur of the moment was caught off guard for his back-to-back stupid acts and a sense of hurt. He couldn’t help it seeing her laughing at his feeling. How he hates being vulnerable. But Geet was hiding her shortcomings by indulging in this antic and warding off her emotions. She was tired of a quick bang with only one man. She is not the type of getting laid with many but only one giving her the immense joy and experience of scoring with different men. He was different men in one, a wholesome package to her. It scared her that both are in the same situation, same college and longing for each other. How to tell him that she is looking for something serious with him? She rolled a joint and took a long drag, almost passing out.

Hardik leaned on the floor and pressed her hands as she sprawled the head on the reclining chair. She tossed her eyes and was enjoying this massage. Better than sex, she thought.

She went into a slumber. The wine was playing havoc on his head and he splattered, “You asked how does it feel to screw things up? I didn’t! Yes, I am jealous. Perhaps, you are not listening and enjoying maharani nap. Should I tell how much I became restless, doing the running around, chasing you on campus, frantic heartbeat, fear of losing you and behaving like a mad person on the road? Perhaps, I am selfish and so used to you when I sat inside CCD, thinking you would miraculously pop inside.  I heard your voice on the radio. I didn’t know what went inside my head and called to declare my love for you if that’s what you wanna know. No! I am unapologetic and not sorry for doing that.”

She didn’t react and feigned sleep, taking long breaths, wondering the what and hows of facing each other next.  He wanted to ask about Jim, feeling a tinge of jealousy, trying hard to hide the expression on his face and wanting to run away. A strange sensation ran deep inside him about the other guy. Who was him? Did they have sex? Should he ask her or not?

Geet slowly got up and sat in a relaxing position.  “In case you wondering, this guy was my fiancée for a couple of months fixed by Mom. I hated him and was suffocated in this relationship. One day, I ran away from home after a fight for there was no interest in marrying him. I sneaked out. You were a random guy. You looked decent. We fucked because I wanted to get back at my parents. But, you were not just anyone. I sensed a deep connection with you, believe it or not.”

He felt as if she heard his confession and didn’t sleep at all. He lied, “I never asked you about him. If you don’t feel like speaking, no need to justify.” “I am not justifying but just telling. I wouldn’t give a fuck even if you think I am a slut,” she told. Her words shocked him, ‘How on earth she can be so direct and casual about things.’

Lying naked in the morning, they didn’t penetrate each other. Hardik got up from the bed. She woke up from her sleep and drowsy eyes furtively followed his steps to the kitchen. He opened the fridge and removed a bottle of icy, cold water. A cold sensation dripped on his chest. A pair of hands pressed onto his skin, swiftly down till the stomach up and down, bodies pressed together. The water gulped ran deep inside and human touch stirring at speed of waterfall, making a contrast of hot and cold.

“I hate saying this…Oh my! Holy crap,” Geet’s voice slurred. “I mean, I love you. Tomorrow morning, I may deny saying it. I know I will deny saying,” she choked. A sense of heaviness lifted off her chest in a shrilled voice and soared with emotions hitting an octane. There was complete silence. Hardik heaved. He didn’t know what to say.

It felt like a snippet piercing his chest. A silence killed him and lunged on his flesh. He didn’t know how to respond to the love confession. They lay still, stuck to each other and her lip cupped on his neck. He slowly moved his hand and holding tight to her palm, like statues for minutes felt longer than an entire night spent awake. The lovers drenched in the silence and no words were needed to experience the feeling passing through the minds.

Love

V

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Do you miss long walks?


I miss the long walks, sweating out in the sun, and experiencing skin burning sensation. There is something immensely joyful straddling in the city, braving the heat and surrounding by the sea breeze ringing in seamless happiness. By long and elongated walks, I don’t mean running or jogging in the park but exploring places in a big or small city. It brought so much joy to me and left wondering how many among us do still do that.

There is something therapeutic and immensely joyful on walking at length. It brings us close to who we are as individuals and breeding positive thoughts inside the mind, channeling energy or for that matter, baking stories inside the head. I discovered long walks in Pune where often would straddle from Fergusson College towards the end at JM Road, taking turns towards the direction of Karve Road and Prabhat Road. I love the latter because of the shades offered by the trees making it something delightful to do and such places call you regularly. But, looking back, I feel the long steps are such a cakewalk and nothing strenuous about it.

The many later years shifted to Mumbai making Churchgate, most precisely hostel my new home and found bliss in the elongated walks. It became a daily routine. Who needs to shed calories in the gym when you can walk limitlessly without complaining? It makes quite a tale. There is this Facebook Group, Oh! Bombay where unique pictures of Amchi Mumbai are posted and last time I posted a pic on Oval Maidan, the pathway jutting across Rajabhai Tower. I got some interesting comments from people saying how they walked all the way from that point to their workplace at Nariman Point. Of course, the picture was shot many years back but got me thinking about how we walk very little in today’s times.

I remember exploring the city and in particular South Bombay, from Churchgate to Fort, Nariman Point relishing on food in the afternoon, fresh juice and sheera early morning at the array of stalls making it blissful. Not stopping at anything where I could walk from Churchgate to Colaba and VT, viceversa not to forget my favorite Marine Drive towards the end at Nariman Point, trudging on the boulders and watching the city, or to the other end at Chowpatty, crossing the road to Lamington Road and even reached Mumbai Central by foot. Sheer walking madness.

Somehow, I feel that many of us have lost this sheer art of walking which makes us identify with our home or adopted town, Guilty as charged, I have become relatively lazy over time. It’s another tale that I am quite a regular at the park. But, plodding steps aimlessly in a city is quite distinct in an absolutely delectable manner, exploring places that would never probably knew or escaped the mind. It always brought me closer to the vibrant city identity and cultures, be it in Mumbai or Pune.

The many decades have perhaps changed us sitting in the comfort of our homes and in the company of smartphones in lives further complicated by the virus. Perhaps, the time is right to reclaim our space by taking long steps without complaining about tiredness or heat. I never did in those days and there was certain energy drawing me in beating all ailments to death, helping to combat the mental stress or otherwise. We need to reclaim this joy and passion for everything walking to bring not only awareness but a hobby removing the pressure. Just let off everything off our heads and walk the roads, admire the scenery and vehicles. Sadly so, straddling on roads is equal to pressure and a routine blithely ignoring beauty in surroundings. Who knows a novel or stories may manifest on roads in your city or town!

Love

V

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Not just a woman


Not just a woman,

 You are strength,

an extraordinary force,

independent in choices,

some lack this privilege,

still you are a force,

city women,

home maker,

in far flung villages,

sinking in this womb of invisibility,

suffering bruises,

conquering fear every single day,

migrant laborer,

single woman with a child,

married or separated,

nobody can take away your thunder,

facing wrath of patriarchy and inequality,

undergoing turmoil and mental stress,

yet you shine,

being You,

don’t need tokenism,

a fight to respect your identity,

not usurping your past or present,

i honor the power you hold within,

 Goddess fighting everyday,

 warrior ignored for her sacrifice,

Happy Women Day

V

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Hot on Wheels (11)


Chapter 11

“I am done with this mental ejaculation of you silly women,” Hardik calmly says. Both turned towards him with mouths gaped open as if someone has injected a jab on their jaws. Jimmy’s level of confusion just hit a peak and threw himself on the couch, “OK! Women! I don’t know who is faking what but I just want my CD prize and date. Sort it out among yourselves on who will be my Date.”

“It’s me. No question about it, “RJ Ginny repeated herself as if she suddenly turned into an actor repeating well-rehearsed lines.  “Except that we don’t fake orgasm,” Geet let off. Hardik walked towards the coffee machine and pressed the button. He held the hot plastic cup and walked towards the trio. Geet jerked herself towards the coffee holder in a swift movement and he lost control trying to save both damsels in distress and coffee. The plastic cup volleyed in the direction of two legs spread open on the couch showing his asset, zipped tight in the denim. Jimmy yelped, “Dude! What is fucking wrong with you?” He looked like a mess with the hot liquid spurting and covering his denim and flowing, unable to save his inside.

Ginni couldn’t stop laughing at the shell-shocked guest at the radio station. “Dude, did you just coffee pee all over the place in the radio studio. Gotta be breaking news had Arnab Goswani spotted you.” He jemmied towards Hardik but couldn’t move with the slim-fit jeans getting stickier. 

He strutted with difficulty and moving away from the couch and shouted, “Ok! I am off from this asylum and weird shit hole called radio station in the company of monkeys. Fuck you! Fuck your date! Fuck your hamper! Fuck you guys.” The emasculated guy trotted slowly as if somebody hit him in his private. Geet winked at Hardik. He knew she faked the tripping on him and on the spur of the money Ginni had to call out, “Jimmy dude! A promise is a promise, 98261******.”

The lovers couldn’t believe what she just did. Geet was ready to pounce on her friend and break her face after she turned all her efforts into waste. “Woman! Have you gone off and so fucking desperate that you want to be on a date with that weirdo? Are you some Lara Croft trapped into the body of Ekta Kapoor’s Nagin character? Or wait! I have a better idea and you aspiring to join politics? Smriti Irani is your idol. You are Tulsi Virani, except you are tired of getting laid and you fancy the spilled coffee for his liquid. Craving for ice cream scoop.”

A middle finger flung at the flustered hero, declaring self-love on radio for his honey. “You, yes you, I am speaking to,” Geet turned into a wounded tigress. He turned around to see if there was another male inside the station. “I am speaking to you. What’s up with this hero giri of declaring love to me on air?” What was the need for you to dash into the radio station? You’ve messed the whole thing.” Hardik made an apologetic face at both women and drooled over Ginni, giving her sos look. “This man in distress wants to ask about your virginity,” Geet teased her friend.

Ginni lit a cigarette and asked him, “Wanna smoke?” He lifted his finger to take a stick from her pack and she wrestled it away, “Cigarettes are like condom. You should always bring yours… Arre I’m just kidding.” She lit the smoke for him. Geet was amused watching them.

 “Dude! Are you in love with me?,” the RJ asked. “Oh! No! Somebody please fuck me. I am meeting you for the first time.” She winked, “Obviously you are cuckoo and ladoo for her,” pointing fingers at Geet. He didn’t know where to look. “Dude, you actually called not her but me on radio…”

He blabbered, “What? She is you. I mean you are not her…I mean it was Geet I spoke on radio. It’s her voice na.”

“Arre dakkan. I am Ginni. She is Geet.” The latter chipped in, “Even if I was her, what’s the need for you to land in this studio. You have no fucking idea how things would get so horrible,” She was in no mood to hide the ex-fiance and started shouting at him. He tried to protest.

“Dude, you just shut the fuck up? You have no fucking idea how you actually royally screwed my ass on radio…almost.  I was called to do an audition with her. The radio was looking for someone and after giving the exam papers, I drove here in the mad Pune traffic, almost hitting someone dead. Yes! It was me on air but just like a cunt you had to blow things up. Who are you? Some fucking Jesus Christ! Saint Valentine or what…majnu ke aulaad that you had to call on radio. Some Mother Theresa or Anna Hazare that you were worried that someone would kidnap me.”

“What? What did I do?”, he made a doe-eyed face.

“Yeah, right you are Babe Amte…I do all the fucking and you sit and watch, asshole,” Geet was furious. Ginni tried to calm her down and stood between both of us. The last thing she wanted is her friend hitting him. Angry woman wouldn’t relent and ignored the human woman, “Yaa dude! You just screwed my fucking audition and the first thing pretending all hero calling on the radio declaring your flame…dude in front of everyone,” she was incensed.

“Are we playing Kabutar jaa jaa? What next do you plan to do? Clip the wings of a random pigeon with a love letter and send it to my home?”

“Why would I do that?” he replied in monosyllable.

“Yeah! You couldn’t hold yourself to spread some raita so much that you had to follow me all the way to the radio station. You expect me to be so happy and showering you with arati…Sardani bohot khush hogi na and shabhashi degi. What are you thinking? I was a damsel in distress…akeli ladki khulli tijori and you have to play superman saving me. No! Actually not superman but Shaktimaan.”

He muttered apologies. “Dude! What sorry! You have no idea of this screw-up of declaring flame for me on antenna. Btw, do you know the entire story,” she calmed.

Ginni says, “Dude! I am the RJ and not her.”

“What…it’s getting spooky, this radio station,” he lost his voice.

“Because, baby, when you confessed love, I took over, “Ginni was seductively playing around, flirting and caressing her hair.  “You kept saying I love you to me. I was wondering whether you are human or an elephant. I was feeling hard inside listening to a man so desperate.” Geet’s stomach churned, by breaking into concatenate laughter by listening to her friend.

“Just look at her,” Geet protested against her friend for laughing and at Hardik, “Don’t look at her and buy into her flirty flirty games. There is no cock confusion for Madam RJ keeps getting laid like protein milkshake.” The man and Miss Protein Milkshake choked. “Shocked,” she asked.  

“Except Jim Beam is no aphrodisiac for my liquid. He’s Geet’s ex-fiance and she banged you immediately after breaking it off,” RJ G turned into a rocket and hit an arrow swelling straight into Hardik’s heart.

Love

V