Wednesday, 28 September 2016

तू आई

हल्कीसी पुहार पड़ी
इंद्रधनुष प्रकट हुआ
चमेली की महक उठी
एहसास हुआ तू आई।

दांतो में ऊँगली दबाये
होंठों पर मुस्कान छिपाये
आँखों में शरारत उठाये
मेरे क़रीब तू आई।

हिरन ने नज़र चुराई
कोयल पर चुप्पी छायी
हंस की चाल लड़खड़ाई
जब दबे पांव लेकर तू आई।

अंगूठेसे रंगोली बनाते
आँखों से इश्क़ झलकाते
इशारों में इज़हार करते
मेरी आगोश में तू आई।

बाँहों के झूले में मुझे झुलाने
बेरंग दुनिया को रंगीन बनाने
कड़वी ज़िन्दगी में मिठास घोलने
मुझमें विलीन होने तू आई ।


Monday, 26 September 2016

तेरी बज़्म

अब वो तू कहाँ जो तेरी बज़्म सजे, और
वो बज़्म कहाँ जिस से तेरा दीवाना चला जाये?

अब वो शम्मा कहाँ जो महफ़िल में जले, और
वो परवाना कहाँ जो शम्मा में मिटे?

तेरी बेवक़्त रुखसत से सब कुछ तबाह हो गया, बस

रहगए तेरा आशिक़ दीवाना, और जलने को तरसता वो परवाना ।


Friday, 23 September 2016

समझौता (डोंट एक्सप्रेस)

पैसों के हिसाब किताब में रुपया छूट गया।
आटा दाल का मोल तोलते रोटी छूट गयी।
तू तू मैं मैं की अहं बहस में शादी छूट गयी।
जीवन के तथ्यों के चलते सपने छूट गए
मुद्दों से समझौता करते असूल छूट गए।
जीने के तर्कों को समझते जीवन छूट गया।
ज़िन्दगी से समझौता करते आप छूट गया।
इन "पहले आप" के समझौतों में गाड़ी छूट गयी।


Wednesday, 21 September 2016


Three of my novels viz. “Dance of life”, “Intersections”, and “Soul Mate” have been published as one book under one title, “Dance of life”. The reception that the book had is quite another story.

What I am asking is …

Is it the end-all? Have I achieved it?

Has my much-trumpeted journey into the world of writing ended by that single accomplishment?



Knowledge-seeking and learning are endless processes.

In that sense, my journey has not ended but it has barely begun … and I still have three fully-ready novels to publish (heh … heh …)

The last one was in a lighter vein, folks (sigh … for a little more sense of humour).

I continue to write.

I continue to learn.

I write better.

I stated, ‘I continue to learn.’

What do I mean by ‘learn’? Do I learn the alphabets, the words, the sentence, the syntax, the grammar (oh, those sadists, Wren & Martin), the figures of speech, the paraphrasing, the writing of poetry, or the writing of stories?


The answer is, ‘Everything.’


The phrase “Writing (or some other creative form of expression) is my passion” is much bandied about, in a casual and nonchalant manner.

English lexicon says, passion means, inter alia,

  • Boundless enthusiasm: e.g. His skills as a player don't quite match his passion for the game.
  • The object of such enthusiasm: e.g. Soccer is her passion.

Mere wanting to write cannot be dubbed passion. Mere enthusiasm to write cannot be dubbed passion. There must exist, boundless enthusiasm for writing, boundless because any passion worth its salt is based upon endless learning.

Passion makes you hone your skills at writing, improve upon your vocabulary and expression, delve deep into the chosen topic, espouse uncharted subject matters, live alongside the dramatis personae laughing, crying, rejoicing, grieving with them. (To understand the emotions at play and my feelings at the conclusion of a story, read MY JOURNEY INTO THE WORLD OF WRITING – IV .)

Passion exposes you to the myriad writing stars bedecking the literature sky. It lets you enjoy and imbibe their skills. This is an essential and unavoidable aspect of the learning process. An aspiring writer would avoid this aspect at his or her own peril.


One who has taken to writing would be doing so in a language, which may or may not be one’s mother tongue. Let us take my example. I was always interested in learning languages and the thirst and thrust continued into and beyond my post-graduation. I’ll let you in on one of my secrets.

My mother tongue is Telugu. Despite being born and brought up in then Madras, my reading and writing abilities in the language were next to none, while my comprehension and speaking abilities were excellent. I was a movie lover and used to watch all the posters pasted on the walls enthusiastically. One poster intrigued me no end. The title of the Tamil movie had four characters in it, it seemed. However, the pronunciation of the title gave sound of only three letters! I was hell bent on unravelling the mystery of the title.

I pestered all those in my family who had some knowledge of Tamil language. An elder sister of mine educated me on the mystery.

The intriguing title was மாதவி, MADHAVI, मादवि:

In English - MADHAVI. This, divided into possible syllables would be MA-DHA-VI (only three although number of alphabets is seven.)

In Tamil – மாதவி. Again, divided into possible syllables, this would be மா-த-வி (only three although number of seeming alphabets is four, மா counted as two by innocent me, whereas it was one. The second half of the letter gives length to the sound ம.)

Thus began my peregrination into a beautiful Indian language, called Tamil, தமிழ். I began my journey through movie wall posters!

Now, don’t ask me why there are only three letters when written in Tamil, while there are five alphabets when written in English. If you are really interested, really have a passion, delve deep into it.


Phew … that was quite something, wasn’t it?

Let me go to secret #2!

My first job posting was at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, in March 1974 (most of you weren’t even born then!) It was my first crossing of the Tropic of Cancer! Again, my knowledge of the spoken language, Hindi, was zero. Other than humming popular Hindi songs, most of the time not knowing the meaning of the lyrics, I had never spoken or written a single sentence outside of my compulsory school subject of Hindi. (Pssst … a secret within a secret! I failed in Hindi in my SSLC board examination, but passed in the board examination. You see, only the subject of Hindi was compulsory not passing in the exams!)

When I set foot on UP soil, I was completely unaware of the intricacies of the language and the chaos wreaked upon my unsuspecting mind by the missing neuter gender of the language!

Those days, there was a popular song, which goes thus, गाडी बुला रही है…” from the film “दोस्त”, soulfully rendered by none other than the inimitable किशोर कुमार.

I understood that it meant, “The train beckons you…” My innovative spirit started working overtime and went into overdrive.

One day, when food was ready, I called my bachelor roommate to come and have lunch, thus.

खाना बुला रही है.”

It does not require a PG degree in rocket science to imagine that I was skinned alive, well almost, that is.

Another of my gems was,

क्या कर रही हो?”

There was nothing wrong with the sentence – the syntax, the punctuation, etc., if I had posed the question to a girl friend (by the way, I never had any). What was wrong was the context. I posed this question to my friend and roommate who was a ‘he’! (There wasn’t any skin left for him to peel away!)

I learnt the hard way that I should have asked, क्या कर रहे हो?”

I had huge problem in understanding the अपना. It is used universally! मैं अपना, तुम अपना, आप अपना.

The essence of my verbal diarrhoea is that I knew next to nothing about genders in Hindi. However, within a year, the story was entirely different. I strove and struggled so hard to improve my Hindi prowess that my colleague in the office happily gave up and donated his Hind-English dictionary to me, even if only to escape my torture. (I used to bombard him with a deluge of linguistic and etymological doubts. I still cherish it, the dictionary I mean. Can’t say the same about the perceived torture.)

My passion made me progress rapidly and, within the next decade, a Hindi-speaking office colleague at Nagpur declared to other Hindi-speaking office colleagues that they should be ashamed that I, despite being a south Indian, was proficient enough to teach them intricacies of Hindi!

Well, so much for passion.

Most of us have opted for writing, seriously at that, in a language that is not our mother tongue. That makes it even more difficult to pursue our passion. It becomes important and imperative that we do it properly and correctly, well, as properly and as correctly as humanly possible.

If we were writing for our own journal, it would be all right, but when our target (pardon the unavoidable pun) is international, multi-culture, multi-lingual readers, we must be very careful in the whats and hows of our writings.

There is no gainsaying that the subject matter (be it a story, a news report, or a poem) is writer’s prerogative. So is the style of narration. One can choose the topic one wants to write about. One can create one’s own style of narration. There is no set of international or local rules binding these aspects.

However, one has to follow the rules of the language one has chosen to tell one’s story in - the grammar, the syntax, the figures of speech, etc. There is no escaping from it. A shoddy writing begets a bad response. Faulty language, with flawed grammar and syntax, incorrect spellings, erroneous expressions, will only elicit the disgust of the reader resulting in bad reviews and plummeting sales.


In conclusion, I would like to add that, with the support systems available on the Net – the dictionaries, the thesauruses, the translating software, the search and research engines – the writer’s task is rendered that much easy. Let us make full use of these facilities to produce better works.


I dedicate this sixth lap of my journey to all writers, aspiring or established, and to all readers, without whose appreciation my writings, nay, scribbling would be confined to my personal nocturnal journals that will never see the light of the day.

Adieu until the next lap …


Teaser-trailer …

Writer’s pitfalls …

Oops, I didn’t see that …

Et tu, Pit! Then fall, Shyam.

aaah …


Monday, 19 September 2016

YOU, I, and LOVE

We are made for each other
We are mad for each other
I realise it now
Let’s go where there’s nobody but we!

You have tried to tell me
That you deeply loved me
I realise it now
Lets’ go where the sky meets the earth!

The sky is our only bower
No meaning for the hour
I realise it now
Let’s go where it’s all silent serenity!

Let us, Adam and Eve, not sin
Perish ye, the apple forbidden
I realise it now
Let’s go where it’s all garden of Eden!

Your gentle voice would whisper
Myriad sweet nothings in my ear
I realise it now
Let’s go where it’s only sweet sound of love!

I can’t live a day without seeing you
I’m a petal, you a drop of fresh dew
I realise it now
Let’s be lost in Mother Nature resplendent!

When I walk the long street at night
Trudging to empty home is a plight
I realise now
Let’s go where there’s only you, I, and love!


Sunday, 11 September 2016

मैं चला

कश्मकश-ए-ज़िन्दगी से कौन जूझे
हक़ीक़त-ए-हयात को कौन बूझे
दांव-ओ-पेंच-ए-जीवन को कौन समझे
नावाकिफ हूँ राज़-ए-हयात से, मैं चला ।

मोहब्बत का खतरा कौन लेले
जीवन के पापड़ को कौन बेले
फुरक़त--महबूब को कौन झेले
नावाकिफ हूँ राज़--हयात से, मैं चला

शरीक़-ए-हयात को खोने का ग़म
ता ज़िन्दगी न होगा यह कम
दिल के अंदर है यह एटम बम
नावाकिफ हूँ राज़-ए-हयात से, मैं चला ।

जीवन के सफर को जाना
मुश्किल--राह को पहचाना
दुनिया की भीड़ में रहा अनजाना
नावाकिफ हूँ राज़--हयात से, मैं चला


Thursday, 8 September 2016


Conscience and conscientiousness make one feel, ‘I haven’t done enough.’

It may be the case of a person or a given situation, when one is required to help. This feeling or response heightens, especially if the person or situation is irretrievably lost.

How much of truth or justification may be there in such a feeling or emotional response? Will the accompanying guilt be justified?


What is “enough”? How much is “enough”? “Enough” for whom? These are some of the relevant questions that spring in the mind immediately. These, and other related questions, are similar. Therefore, I take the liberty of combining them.

The required succour is, simply, what and as much as the person or situation demands. The help required could be monetary or service-based in nature.

Let us, for discussion’s sake, assume that I am the person who is required to help a needy person.

Resources, financial or otherwise, are hard to come by. They cannot and must not be squandered on an unworthy person or cause.

This gives rise to the question, “to whom”.

Do I know the person well enough for rendering assistance? Is the need genuine? What is his/her repaying capacity? Is the person so close to me that I do not want repayment?

There is a catch here. The succour may be beyond my capacity and capability although there is no doubt about my intent to help. Should I, then, “do” whatever I can even if it is insufficient, even if it does not meet the demand of the needy person or situation completely? I would unhesitatingly say, “Yes, of course.” The logic is that, at least, part of the needs are met with, providing that much of respite. Further, the needy person is assured of my solidarity with him/her even if the succour is insufficient. However, if I can render complete help, I must. In such matters, my conscience and conscientiousness must guide me.

Should the succour rendered be insufficient and the person or situation is irretrievably lost, will I be justified in feeling “guilty”, at least partially? The word “guilt” has more legal than emotional connotation. If I had rendered the succour, albeit insufficient, ungrudgingly and stood by the person or situation through hard times, then I would unhesitatingly say that the feeling of guilt would be completely unfounded; maybe a sense of sorrow at the inability to have rendered sufficient help, but guilt, no.

I think it feels great to have someone who stands by during hard times.


Monday, 5 September 2016


होड़ लगी है साथ छोड़नेवालों की ।
हमनवां तक ने दगा दिया है,
तेरा क्या यक़ीन, ओ मेरा साया,
अँधेरा तो अँधेरा, उजाले में भी साथ दे,
मेरा साथ छोड़नेवालों का !

Saturday, 3 September 2016

एक नाचीज़ का तारुफ़

मैं वह रंग हूँ जिसकी कोई कूंची नहीं
मैं वह कूंची हूँ जिसकी कोई तस्वीर नहीं
मैं वह तस्वीर हूँ जिसका कोई रूप नहीं
नाचीज़ हूँ, मेरा कोई तारुफ़ नहीं।

मैं वह सुर हूँ जिसका कोई राग नहीं
मैं वह राग हूँ जिसकी कोई आवाज़ नहीं
मैं वह आवाज़ हूँ जिसकी कोई क़द्र नहीं
नाचीज़ हूँ, मेरा कोई तारुफ़ नहीं।

मैं वह स्याही हूँ जिसकी कोई कलम नहीं
मैं वह कलम हूँ जिसका कोई अल्फ़ाज़ नहीं
मैं वह अल्फ़ाज़ हूँ जिसकी कोई कहानी नहीं
नाचीज़ हूँ, मेरा कोई तारुफ़ नहीं।

मैं वह जज़्बा हूँ जिसका कोई नग़मा नहीं
मैं वह नग़मा हूँ जिसकी कोई गायकी नहीं
मैं वह गायकी हूँ जिसकी कोई रूह नहीं
नाचीज़ हूँ, मेरा कोई तारुफ़ नहीं।

मैं वह कदम हूँ जिसका कोई सफ़र नहीं
मैं वह सफ़र हूँ जिसका कोई रास्ता नहीं
मैं वह रास्ता हूँ जिसकी कोई मंज़िल नहीं
नाचीज़ हूँ, मेरा कोई तारुफ़ नहीं।

मैं वह आँख हूँ जिसकी कोई नींद नहीं
मैं वह नींद हूँ जिसका कोई ख़्वाब नहीं
मैं वह ख़्वाब हूँ जिसका कोई हक़दार नहीं
नाचीज़ हूँ, मेरा कोई तारुफ़ नहीं।

मैं वह अंग हूँ जिसका कोई जिस्म नहीं
मैं वह जिस्म हूँ जिसकी कोई शख़्सियत नहीं
मैं वह शख़्सियत हूँ जिसका कोई रूह नहीं
नाचीज़ हूँ, मेरा कोई तारुफ़ नहीं।


Thursday, 1 September 2016


Pssst … guys, I’ll let you in on a couple of my closely-guarded secrets.

किसीसे कहना।

I spoke my first full-length sentence in English during my … please DO NOT gawk … SSLC, acronym for Secondary School Leaving Certificate i.e. Matriculation of yore!

It went like this.

The scene was in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. The year was 1963-64. The time was evening. A visitor to my sister’s place inquired if she and my brother-in-law were home, which they were not. I informed him accordingly and he probed further to know when they would return. Then followed my tryst with the फिरंगी language.

I replied, They will be coming.

This sentence is etched in my memory and on my liver as well, forever.

P.S.: It is of no importance that I tom-tommed my achievement with great fanfare to all my relatives, who returned a short while later.


Actually, the problem had its roots in the past. You see, up to high school, the medium of instruction for me was Telugu, my mother tongue. Suddenly, from Standard VIII, all subjects, except the second language, Telugu, were taught in English.

A problem, wasn’t it? No, it was not a simple problem; it was a HUGE problem, for me. My knowledge and practice of English was limited to learning by rote and reproducing from textbooks and teachers’ notes. The lectures and explanations were in Telugu up to Standard VII and I suddenly found myself in the unfamiliar English waters. I used to have difficulty in following, leave alone understanding, the flow of the lecture. A majority of the words of the lecturer could have been Greek or Latin to me, for all that mattered.

To illustrate my frustration, here is a sample.

I used to note down as “go inside” when the science teacher said, “coincide”. I cannot blame his accent for my linguistic and etymological woes. Simply, the boundaries of my vocabulary did not coincide with “coincide”, then.


My general reading of English books?

Again, please DO NOT gape. It began during my COLLEGE days!

It strictly ended with the compulsory and prescribed textbooks of the curriculum. Still, within that limited ambit, I could read two of the greatest works ever in English literature viz. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens and Tom Brown’s School Days by Thomas Hughes, during my school days.

In college, while doing my Bachelor’s in Maths, the scope of the first language, English, widened. It encompassed immortal works of Shakespeare (Antony and Cleopatra and Twelfth Night …), Thomas Malory (Le Morté d’Arthur), Oliver Goldsmith (The Vicar of Wakefield), John Milton (Paradise Lost Pt.), Charles Dickens (David Copperfield), et al. However, these, too, were compulsory.

Those days, one of my elder brothers and his family were at Madras (now, Chennai). We used to meet frequently. I observed that he was a good reader of modern English fiction – thrillers, mysteries, romantic novels, etc. I picked up my first general reading, “Dr. No”, an Ian Fleming novel, from my brother’s collection … and never looked back.

I went on to read modern writers such as Agatha Christie, Alistair Maclean, Frederick Forsyth, Erle Stanley Gardner, Leon Uris, Arthur Conan Doyle, Michael Crichton, Irving Wallace, Arthur Hailey, Robert Ludlum, James Hadley Chase, et al. Of all these, my personal idols and icons were, are, and will always be Agatha Christie, Alistair Maclean, and Frederick Forsyth. None influenced my English language repertoire and writing skills more than these three writers did. I am Ekalavya to these three Dronacharyas. (Please do not remind them, for they could ask for my right thumb as guru dakshina, and I have but one.)

I learnt quite a lot from the other writers, too, legal systems from Gardner, storytelling techniques from the master Wallace, and so forth.


I cannot say, “Well, that concludes …” whatever it is I started with, for learning is an endless journey. To make a pithy statement, “THE JOURNEY IS THE DESTINATION.”

My tryst with English continues. My journey into the world of writing continues. My search for a/the purpose of life continues.

Thanks for travelling with me, albeit for the short duration of the length of my writings.