I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us. That is my belief. – Kafka
I always wanted to know
What you get when you reach the end,
The proverbial end of the proverbial rainbow,
Is it the proverbial pot or just more snow.
Curiosity killed the cat they say,
I’m curious, who’s the cat and who are they?
Now my curiosity is visible as plain as day,
Let’s let the proverbs and idioms and clichés stay.
Curiosity led me to run my first 21.097,
Or half marathon as some might prefer,
Though I don’t know what led me
To run the next 5 thereafter.
I ran to know how it felt, running
more than you ever thought you could.
I found the end easy but the journey cunning,
And I got hooked, like a wannabe to dude.
I wanted to know what it feels like,
To go higher than you thought you would climb,
Climb using your legs, not a mountain bike,
So I took a journey through snow and grime,
To try and reach a summit in the Himalayas,
Which was just one of my numerous gurus,
None better than the people around me,
Without whom I would’ve made a lot of booboos.
I was once told, even a flower can be
Your guru, every thing or person,
Teaches you something for free,
All it costs you is just your vision.
It means every journey one takes
Teaches one more than one paid for it.
So travel and some sense try to make,
And you’ll be richer when you’re done with it.
Saranbir taught me that a leader does not have an age,
Umesh, that you need to keep up to keep an eye,
Satvik that you need a leap of faith to turn the page,
Jayanthi, that positive attitude can bid a doctor g’bye,
Aviraj’s determination lay expectations flat,
Prithvi taught me to be a mom to your mommy,
Sharanya, to smile no matter what,
And others taught me more for me to carry.
The mountains taught me there
Always will be someone taller than you,
You don’t need to fret and care,
Just stand tall and be true.
The stars taught me to look up above.
Look up and believe,
Even if you don’t see them, love,
They never actually leave.
I always thought a beach person I am,
The sound of the waves, the sun on my face,
Having now seen the Himalayas in all its glam,
Doubts I have in my mind more than a trace.
Never will I forget the moment I stood
On the roof of our planet, our home,
Above me I saw another roof just as good,
Standing between roofs felt like reading a never-ending tome.
You show up as you please,
No matter how hard we squeeze.
In fact, that gives you speed
Like you’ve a mind of your own.
You come when you’re most unwelcome,
You don’t when we want you to run,
You sure seem to have a lot of fun
Like you’ve a mind of your own.
All it takes is a stifled yawn,
Or a scene in a stupid movie,
You be a bitch then and show up
You do have a mind of your own.
I wish you didn’t exist, were never born,
Especially when you’re not mine,
You ensure no one’s deceived,
Maybe it’s good you’ve a mind of your own.
This store exists here for 50 years now. He has nothing essential that you would need. No groceries, no staples. Near a school and a church, his shop stocks the same things all year round. Indian flags, brown paper to cover school books, Christmas decorations, Diwali decorations, calendars, a few chocolates and some stationary. Most of it is unsold for months. He says ‘I keep them because one never knows who might need to buy a calendar in September. They’ll come to me then’. He hardly gets customers, but he keeps the shop open till about midnight. He has seen the small town of Thane accommodating the spillover of Mumbai over the last 6 decades. But he has this smile stuck on his face which seems almost nonsensical to us, the all knowing people of today.
My dad graduated from the school nearby 45 years ago. That’s my dad taking to the 78 year old shop keeper about old teachers who’s names they still remember. That, is eventually what life is all about.
As a metropolis, there is never enough space in Mumbai. The city of dreams. Everyone wants to buy a house in this city. As a result, a lot of old buildings are brought down to be ‘redeveloped’ into large swanky skyscrapers. The flat owners love it as they make a neat sum and get a larger home. The developer makes a large bundle of money. This is one such building that awaits demolition. None of the residents who called this their home are inside. I wonder what these walls, now on death row, that once kept them and their kids safe would say. The memories the families shared outside their doors as they greeted each other when they met on the stairs. The festivals they celebrated within these compounds. The things they did that defines this city – helped each other. Well, they’ll all be back in a couple of years, with big smiles. There will be new walls then, they’ll keep them safe too.
They trades their homes for a bigger house. Then they move into the reconstructed building, and piece by piece reconstruct their home inside the new walls using old and new memories as the brick and mortar. The house becomes a home again. And hopefully as good as the old one.