18 Oct 2017

Poem: Arrival

The feeling of arrival is but a fleeting one
Till the time it sinks in deep, it's time to return
Look around, my friend
They are all travellers like you
Happily believing they'll be at their destination
The feeling of arrival is fleeting, my friend
One day, all travellers must return home



-  The Last Nomad

17 Oct 2017

The Namesake | You Haven't Heard The Best Tales

As I was watching Mira Nair's The Namesake (2006) this weekend, there was one particular scene which struck me and is haunting me since then. I'll tell you why but before that, here's the scene.

It's where young Gogol and his father, Ashoke (Irrfan Khan), are on the stone walk at the Cape Cod beach and Ashima (Tabu) is watching them from a distance, standing near the car with her young daughter.

She says, "Don't go so far that I cannot see you! He is too little."

When Ashoke reaches near the end of the stone walk with Gogol, he's disappointed after realizing that he has forgotten the camera in the car. He says something like, "We forgot the camera. Now you will have to remember that we came here."

"How long do I have to remember?" asks Gogol.

"We will have to remember it, then." He tells Gogol, "Try to remember it always... remember that you and I made this journey, that we went together to a place where there was nowhere left to go."

So, on the last day of my trip, 6000+ miles away from home, as I am walking down the street which was cloudy until now suddenly I see spring arrive in its true sense. The street and trees which were all grey and dry are suddenly blooming and the sky is shining deep blue with sparse clouds.

I, the shutterbug, don't have a camera with me and the mobile phone is unable to capture the scale of the scene.

And then this dialogue from The Namesake starts in my head. Yes, it's true, the deep beautiful experiences we have will always go unrecorded.

We will have to remember them always, like Gogol.

The best tales haven't been told yet. They are the ones we all must live.


- The Last Nomad

3 Oct 2017

Poem: You are an Old Tree


You are but an old true
With roots gone deep and far
Breathing through every pore
Giving this earth fresh air

Don't deny it and be unfair
For hundeds of your sons and daughter
Are living on your arms in despair
But you assume you are a stupid human

Humans who drive axes on their own feet
No matter many a times you speak
Their mistakes they repeat
You'll come down to the ground if you pay no heed

Why do you horde so many fruits
And breathe heavy under their burden?
When you could give them all
And see your children dance with joy

But you'll succumb to your wants
As that's every miser's fate
Before you go at least once listen
You are but an old tree

- The Last Nomad

15 Sep 2017

...and the Journey is Becoming Beautiful Every Day!

...and the Journey is Becoming Beautiful Every Day!


Here's another excerpt from The Last Nomad
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It turned out to be the first night he spent with a girl.
‘What do you want me to play?’ asked Rebecca, opening the violin case.

Being a street musician, she was used to a variety of responses from the passersby: catcalls, claps, and nasty suggestive looks. But she was surprised by Ryan’s strange demand: he wanted her to play solely for him all through the night. And her first thought while secretly hiding the pepper spray under the pillow was, he must either be a psychopath or a heartbroken lover.

‘Sometimes, I get unwelcome touches while being engrossed in playing. But I know, these men are more scared and broken than me,’ she said, talking about her daily life.

‘Crazy thoughts don’t allow me to play. Why don’t these men come up and frankly say things to me? At least I will have company for the night,’ she added.
---------------------------

It's been 2 years since the book was published and the journey is becoming beautiful every day.

To receive your copy, get in touch on +91 9594 5453 51.


- The Last Nomad

4 Sep 2017

Reading at Katha Kathan's Open Mic

Nothing could have made this weekend more special than discovering Jameel Gulrays sir's Katha Kathan.

After having planned for several months to attend at least one of their events, I finally happened to be at their Baithak on Teacher.

Katha Kathan is an initiative by Jameel Gulrays sir and his team to revive the Indian language literature.

Here's the poem I read along with the translation.

तूच तुझा गुरू हो

कोण शिष्य कोण गुरू
आभासाच्या बाजारी मांडलेले
तू आणि मी, मातीची फक्त बोलके घट
घडवणारा, विकणारा आणि विकत घेणारा एकच
सर्वत्र तूच आहेस हे जाण आणि तूच तुझा गुरू हो

पण त्या आधी
या बाजारात वावरताना थोडा सावध हो
जी रिकामी मडकी शेंदूर फासून देव झालीयेत
ती फुटून जाऊ देत स्वतःच, पोकळ असण्याच्या जाणिवेने
मग उरेल फक्त माती आणि ती पुन्हा एकच सत्य सांगेल
सर्वत्र तूच आहेस हे जाण आणि तूच तुझा गुरू हो

पण अखंडाच्या जाणिवेत विरघळण्याधी जरा थांब
त्या फुटलेल्या घटातून ध्वनित होणारा नाद नीट ऐक
त्या नादातही तुझ्याच असण्याचं गाणं आहे
तुला सतत पडणाऱ्या सुखाच्या भुकेच्या प्रश्नांना उत्तराची गरजच काय?
हे प्रश्न तुझ्या त्याच विस्मरणातून निर्माण होतायत
सर्वत्र तू आणि फक्त तूच आहेस हे जाण आणि तूच तुझा गुरू हो

मला वाटलंच होतं, तू अजून इथेच रेंगाळणार
पण पुन्हा नवीन घट होण्याची आस कशाला?
आणि माती होण्याची भीतीही का?
तुला एक क्षणही नासण्याचं पुसटसं स्मरण तरी आहे का?
तू आणि फक्त तूच आहेस, हे आता तरी जाण आणि तूच तुझा गुरू हो

[Translation]

Be your own teacher

Who can tell the difference between a student and a teacher?
Arranged in the market of illusion
You and me, are speaking pots of clay
The maker, seller, and buyer are the same
Realise that you are everywhere and be your own guru

But wait
Be careful when treading the streets of this market
Let the empty pots, coloured in vermilion, which have become gods
Break after realising their own emptiness
And all that will be left is the soil, speaking the only truth
Realise that you are everywhere and be your own guru

Wait a moment before dissolving in the realisation of the unbound
Listen carefully to the sound coming from the broken pots
In that sound is the song of your being
What is the need to find solutions to the questions of hunger for happiness, that hound you all the time?
These questions are born from your same forgetfulness
Realise that you are everywhere and be your own guru

I was certain, that you'll still be loitering here
Why the desire to become a new pot?
And why dread of becoming the soil?
Do you even have a faint memory of non-existence?
It's time you realise that it's only you who are everywhere and be your own guru



- The Last Nomad

30 Aug 2017

Excerpt #2 from The Last Nomad

The recent event (Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh being convicted for rape and sentenced to 20 years in jail) is a tip of the iceberg.

Here's an excerpt #2 from The Last Nomad, written last year, which delves deeper into why we humans fall prey to such beastly tendencies.

This post is in no way directed towards publicizing the book.

"Shyamsundar Baba’s Durbar gave them as an easy opportunity. It would soon become the first option they would turn to, be it problems conceiving a child, praying that their husbands find a good job or relief from constant quarrels, and a chain of diseases. But more than miraculous solutions, they had found a space to let out all their angst, fears and insecurities at the feet of this godman.

Seeing the success of this new business model, a numbers of such godmen were already in the making. People from all faiths were more drawn towards these underground places of redemption than well established places of worship. Who wouldn’t choose a god in flesh and bone, promising instant life change, over praying for years and waiting for grace?

Betrayed by the politicians, time and again, the masses saw in these godmen a new ground to invest their faith. Seeing their victims gathered in huge numbers, the vote-hungry vultures could no longer ignore the godmen. After repeated failed promises of electricity, water, and better roads, appeasing the godmen and their followers was now an easy way to ensure victory in the upcoming municipal corporation elections. And the SOS party’s candidate, Purushottam Joshi, was at the forefront in serving Shyamsundar Baba. The alchemy of faith is indeed strange."

- The Last Nomad

26 Aug 2017

An excerpt from The Last Nomad



Festivals transformed Shantinagar although only for some days. Be it Onam, Pongal, Eid or Diwali, all the residents of Shantinagar enjoyed every bit of it. These were the only moments they could escape into a world more colourful than the one they were surviving in. Stronger than the uniting power of religious diversity and brotherhood, as many assumed, it was the struggle for basic necessities which held all the residents together.
It was the night before Ganesh Chaturthi. The air was already enchanting crimson with gulaal. Popular film tunes were being rehearsed by the banjo party and the pandal was all set, ready for Shantinagar ka Raja’s arrival, early next morning.
Laxmi’s mother had come home for the delivery which was expected a week later. Close to midnight, when it started raining heavily, Laxmi’s convulsions and moaning woke up her mother and Shankar, who were sleeping down on the floor beside her cot. The only option was to immediately admit her to the municipal maternity hospital situated at the other end of Shantinagar. With no other means of transport available, one of the neighbours immediately made available a plastic-covered handcart, which had just brought in the Ganpati idol at his home. With the neighbour’s help, Shankar finally managed to drive the cart to the hospital.

The following morning, on 25 September 1985, at forty five minutes past six, Rahul Shankar Gite, another descendent of Adam and Eve, arrived in this world to discover and bear the struggle of his share.



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- The Last Nomad

25 Aug 2017

अंतर फक्त एक मैल

एअरपोर्टवरचं एक दृश्य...

एक परदेशी पर्यटक जोडपं, प्रीपेड टॅक्सी च्या शोधात.

त्यातील नवरा एअरपोर्ट एम्प्लॉयी ची मदत घेत टॅक्सी काउंटर च्या दिशेने जातो. बायको त्याच्या मागे मागे, बऱ्याच पाठी चाललेय...

आणि आम्हाला आपलं वाटत शेजारचे काकाच काकू ला असे  मैलभर मागे सोडून बाजारात हिंडतात!


- The Last Nomad