‘Karma Happens’ my first paperback

This book is my collection of short stories, memoirs etc. I have been writing and blogging since 2006. So I had a fairly large collection. Out of 34 stories, at least 6 or 7 have Gautam as the protagonist. This Gautam does not mean the Gautam Buddha at all. But yes he has qualities of a calm person. He does not shout or gets angry or aggressive. In ‘Immortal Side of Life’, there are flashbacks supporting the story that’s running in the present. Story’s end happens with help of spirituality, particle physics and super natural drama. Ringing ears’ is about a person over thinking or even deep thinking.
‘In Myth of freedom’ I have analyzed lives of people and whether anyone is really free in various sense of the word. ‘Karma Happens’; the title story is most lengthy. It is like a regular pot boiler with all commercial elements for a hit film.
‘Hope what hope?’ is set in kind of future. It shows that life has become difficult on earth, due to various problems like Ozone layer, climate change etc. ‘24 hrs. love story’ is based on an incidence that did happen. In ‘Just Think’ I try to tell how badly we are treating this earth and nature generally.
‘Leopard in my dream’ is an interesting experiment that takes off from my own experience of getting bitten by a local dog and then how it merges into a very real sounding story that happens to be a flash-forward. In ‘Soothing night’ I have used emotions that are usually shown on urban populace. So I tried it in a village, a hut with a hole in the roof. ‘Enlightenment of the day’ is my take on a regular morning while I would leave for my Yoga class. On similar lines is ‘Power of letting go’.
‘Absence of presence’ is another one of my experiment. Entire court room scene is only through Gautam’s dialogues, while judge’s dialogues are absent but understood.
‘A mosaic of gloom’ is what I wrote when I had stopped writing after Mumbai terror attacks in late 2008. And then my niece told me if I can’t write then I should write about ‘why I can’t write! That worked.
‘Red eye effect’ is a mad idea. I let them take their own course and go where ever they want to go. My science and cinema background helped me with this short story. ‘That he’ and ‘Escape to death’ is also similar genre. It just flows like my mad thoughts.

‘Sushmanjali’ – an initiative by ‘Nation First Collective’

I remember around 4 years back Akashaditya Lama had called me and 7-8 others for a meeting in Oshiwara. It was to figure out if like minded ‘nationalists’ belonging to cinema or any other art form would be interested in forming a group. For me it was a big opportunity, because it was the first time my nationalism was a qualification and requirement. I felt very excited, and soon we all met regularly (every month). We would talk about various incidences in news and discuss how some vested interests twist the colour of what happened. We thought people need to see it from the right perspective and why ‘what was in news was not right’. Our meetings would end singing full version of ‘Vande Mataram’…
We named the group “Nation First Collective”. We realised we all should contribute little amounts to cover-up for the cost of tea and samosas. Then we willingly started annual contributions…
On the way we did some projects, like supporting Major Leetul Gogoi, who had tied a Kashmiri ‘stone thrower’ in front of his Jeep… We got noticed for that ”. We were firm on ” Indian Army!…
Well, we have a come a long way, putting together, ” a major online event in memory of Late Sushma Swaraj on her first death anniversary (6 Aug 2020). It has an unbelievable list of dignitories from various arts and cinema fields; heading the list is Shri Prakash Javdekar, Minister of Information and Broadcasting.


This show is the culmination of hard work, coordination, dedication and technical excellence of Nation First Collective, Sanskar Bharati Poorvottar and Sanskriti Ganga Nyas.

My Enemies

In today’s time I can’t imagine any country more uncivilized than China. She has always been so uncouth and unpredictable. In late 50s, as school students we used to shout slogan coined by our PM, Pandit Nehru, ‘hindi chini bhai bhai’ (Indians and Chinese are brothers). Then we would be happy seeing the B&W pictures of a chinky guy hugging and pumping Panditji’s right hand. Panditji had convinced entire country that how good our friendship with China was. And what China did in 1962?

China broke that trust by attacking us unprovoked. They occupied thousands of kilometers of our territory! That attack sent Nehru in a state of shock. His face must have fallen badly and his image of a statesman taken a huge beating. I used to sit near my Philips radio and hear the news of how deep Chinese army had invaded inside the Indian Territory. Although I had no idea how far that was. I had no sense of geography then. But I would be very scared in my dreams… chinky men in Khaki shot at me. I would be depressed hearing the voice of radio news reader, Lothika Ratnam on All India Radio, ‘Indian soldiers have lost yet another post to the surging Chinese army.’ And get a little happy if any of those posts were won back next week.

During the 2008 Olympic Torch’s Indian chapter, I heard a new Chinese version of that war. A Chinese foreign affairs person said that India had instigated us by accumulating troupes along the border way back in 1961. So now it means that I had started that war! China is sitting on thousands of square kilometers of my land and tells me that I started the war! If I started then I should be on her land not the other way round. Then Chinese violence inside Tibet also had upset me very badly. And this is the time I decided to take revenge on that fat brag of a country for hurting those world’s most peaceful monks. Khaki Chinkies had grabbed the land and now they wanted to change the life style of the only entirely spiritual country in the world.

China and Burma are the countries who do not reveal anything to either its own people or to outsiders. Citizen there live in darkness and no one knows where their country is headed.
Few years back China has changed its track and has started doing very well financially. All the philosophies and knowledge of Confucius have been buried under the mountains of money. They have never handled this kind of money, ever. That is why they cannot control their wagging tongue and attitude. They are also not used to speaking to press, because saying anything goes on record for keeps sake. They have always been hiding a million things for a single revelation.
Well I have been very upset with China’s current attitude, especially since I met Dalai Lama in Mcleodganj. I came to know many horror stories of Chinese army action in Tibet.
So, finally I decided that I was not going sit and watch all this injustice forever. I started planning how to punish both these bad pennies, China and Myanmar.

I had no option but to seek help from natural-powers. It wasn’t possible without the nature ‘hits’ I wanted to send messages like, ‘This is for saying I started the 1961 war’, ‘This is for killing the Tibetan monks’, ‘This is for calling Arunachal Pradesh a disputed territory’, ‘This is for pushing cheap goods in India’… See these nature nissiles do not operate pishing a button. They just know when to fire.
On May 6, 2008, much before I had imagined a huge wind cyclone called, ‘Nargis Myanmar’ landed there. It carried unwritten but logical messages, ‘This is for the military junta for keeping Aung San Suu Kyi in prison for so many years’, ‘This is for not allowing democratic elections in the nation’, ‘This is for keeping Buddhist monks and press under constant suppression’ and finally ‘This is for not allowing foreign donation to reach the needy after you got hit with Nargis’.
Just six days later, on May 12, 2008, a massive earthquake, 7.9 on Richter scale hit Sichuan, China. All the TV news channels were showing the same ‘Breaking News’. On final count there were huge losses of property and life (almost 88,000 died, 374,643 injured, 18,392 missing). Though I was sad for those 900 school kids. But it can’t be helped, can it? Colateral damage. Point is how would they know that why they both got hit and was there someone wishing for it?

Weapons didn’t even carry any messages with them! Damn!


Mere Mehboob Studios

Mehboob studios has been my second home between 1972-1985! It was a bustling place with film shootings in all its 3 large stages by biggest producers of Bombay then. Stage #3 was the largest in Asia during those days. Its grand wooden wall at the entry still looks gorgeous due to the old world charm.

Write first think later

Right now I am at a loss – of a subject or a topic to write on. I don’t know why I wonder why do we always need a subject to start hitting the keys on the keyboard.
“Stop thinking and start punching the keys. Punch the keys, for God’s sake!”, thundered Sean Connery (William Forrester) to Rob Brown (Jamal Wallace) in the movie ‘Finding Forrester’. Jamal wants to be a writer and has approached Forrester (a pulitzer winner in movie) to learn the art of writing from him. Jamal is in the same fix I am right now. The only difference is that I am real and my problem too is similar – real; while he was following a script given to him. Seeing my own plight I do agree with the scene. I admit I do like to write, but again I admit, it has been mostly on various mundane subjects, like terrorism, relationships, festivals, movies, events or reality like my own travels… I need to learn how to stop being ‘slave of subjects’ to write on and become independent to ‘just write’! If I can do that, then only perhaps I will be able to move to the next level.

In different context, if you are an adventurous type then I guess it is a good idea, to just get up and start walking; rather than fussing in wasting time planning your trip. If you just walk out you will end up reaching somewhere. Somewhere you had not imagined. And that somewhere which may even surprise you. That is if you are the kind who likes surprises. There are many who hate them, but not me. I absolutely love them. Not only surprises I love shocks and jolts too. I am not the kind who only likes pleasantness and calmness or ‘love and peace’ in life. I would love my life to be a full course meal; concoction of all the available tastes for my pallet. The tongue has to stay in touch with all kinds, sweet, salt, sour, even bitter and bland. And thankfully so far it (life) has been that way.

Another line that film script gave Forrester, “No thinking – that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is… to write, not to think!”

Wow what a gem! And finally I acknowledged that this could be a way to deal with my kind of writer’s block. It is quite pathetic to feel blocked just because I have nothing to write on!

11.07.06

Time 6.24pm, date July 11, 2006, Western Railway trains and stations, Mumbai’s test in tolerance, patience, resilience and helpfulness, duration 11 min.

The first blast ripped the first class compartment of Churchgate-Borivli 6.00pm train at 6.24pm, near Khar station. About 15 people initially were reported to be admitted in hospitals. Soon the news of more blasts started pouring in and the death toll started moving up dramatically. In 11 minutes Mumbai’s life line endured 7 such massive explosions, on its trains and the stations. Other places where blasts occurred are Bandra, Jogeshwari, Mahim, Mira Road, Matunga and the last one Borivali at 6.35 pm. They say Borivali had two charges, out of which cops were able to defuse one. What it means is no mean thing. It means that in the sprawling platforms at the Borivali station the unsuspecting bag was noticed and identified by the cops, the bomb disposal squad called, explosives confirmed and then defused. In fact when I heard about this, I got a little hopeful of culprits getting caught soon. Because the cops could get some lead by finding the way the bomb was assembled, technology used and also if lucky they may be able to dust some finger prints off it. Sure enough the latest from the police is that they ‘may have some lead’. Mumbai Police is ‘one of the best in the world’, was observed by the famous Scotland Yard, many years back.

Any way the bad boys had done their home work well and chose the best time to do their black deeds. The time chosen was when the trains are so tightly packed that people like me would think of taking the next train. It has been understood that all the parcels fitted with explosive devices were placed in at the starting point, Churchgate itself.

It is not difficult to imagine how easy it is to leave a brief case or a gift with time-bombs on the top shelf and just wait outside casually, till the signal turns ‘go’. As the train starts to move, try to catch it but miss it, then walk out calmly and get dissolved into the streams of unsuspecting public.

My family’s brush with high voltage tension happened with my wife’s brother took the Churchgate-Borivli train from around the same ill fated time. His office confirmed that he left at 5.50pm. We were looking at the news channels all the time. He normally reaches home by 7.30pm; but he did not until 9.30pm. No telephone call from him made the situation very bad at home. As the time passed the tension multiplied many fold. To make it worse someone noticed a dead body resembling him. We were ready to go out to find him if he did not call, when he finally did a little after 9.30pm. He ultimately reached home safely around 10.30pm. He spent more than 4 hrs on his fateful return journey. And yes he was in the train that was just behind the blasted train at Matunga! All the passengers were asked to evacuate on the track, walk back to Dadar and head for the exit immediately. He had to walk from Dadar to Mahim (about 6KM) and from there finally someone gave him a lift in a traffic snarl, moving slower than a train of snails.

Next day he called us at 9.30am today to tell his powerful story. Can you believe he was calling from his office? That means he again got his usual 7.53 train from Andheri – just ‘the day after’! This is the spirit of a common Mumbaikar!

According to current reports, the death toll in the serial blasts has reached 190 plus with more than 700 injured.

Actually July 11, started with the blasts in Kashmir. Nearly 10 people lost their lives. The attack was aimed at the children and tourists. But when something happens far away from you, it does not affect you that strongly. It is like you don’t get the heat from a fire that may be blazing far away. Not for the reason of non-concern; but because there are no emotional strings with the location, environment or even people. Emotional concern and scare flares up as the people close to you, people of your city, your fellow travelers, trains or buses that you travel in are affected.

It is rather sad that most of us are not sensitive enough to get affected by the destructions else where; like in Gaza, Iraq, Serbia… but it can’t be helped, can it?

Imaginary Us

I finished my arguments silently

She had heard me patiently

Looked hard at my face

Lowered her eyes and slowly… turned away

She walked a few steps towards the setting sun

Sun was red in the face

Was it angry red?

Or hopeless red

She stopped after a few steps

Sun sank a little lower

Her lengthening shadow had crawled towards me

Then it waited

Soon sun lowered even more

Her shadow was at my feet now

Gradually it started climbing on me

That made me uneasy

I turned away from it

I saw my own shadow going away from me

Her shadow was missing here

It was on me, on myself

That froze me

Soon shadows started getting weak

Thankfully

I turned back and saw red rim of sun

I turned again towards my shadow

I saw it dissolving into the darkness

I waited till it was no more

My body also had no shadow

I looked to find rim of the sun

But couldn’t…

Shockingly

The space between me and the sun

… Was blank