Most of you who know me personally or follow me on social media would know my love for films.

I have thrived on watching films over the 4 decades of my being. This love affair that started with Hindi Films aka Bollywood and has taken me to Hollywood to Regional Cinema and to World Cinema thanks to the advent of sub-titles.

Hindi Films i.e. Bollywood shall forever remain my first love. For they have made me happy and sad, made me question and also made me hate, all with equal measures. Their music is the only one that I can comprehend for they tap into each emotion and occasion.

Besides the movies the people that light up the silver screen and those who enable them have been inspired entire generations. They have been there to serve the nation: the case in point being actors who have gone to the frontiers to boast the morale of our Jawans amongst others.

However my heart pains when some sections of the media goes on to paint the entire industry as the den of all vices. The industry has some issues but isn’t these matters that plague our society irrespective of the industry. The film industry is an easy target and scapegoat, for there is too much money and lives at stake. One bad weekend can be death knell for a film. Targeting films and their actors makes for good politics and that’s what we are seeing these days.

Sensationalising news on Film Industry makes for good TRP’s. Look what has happened to a particular news network that have been garnering substantial eyeballs and thus filling in their coffers. Like in all other matters they are the Prosectutor, Judge and Jury all rolled in to one.

Well sorry for using the “roll” word, for Rhea has been put in jail for rolling things she shouldn’t have and for that matter no middle-class person should have, after all these are things only the rich and famous do and not us.

For the Film Industry I hope this crisis gives you time to put your house in order or what the hell, Wait !!

People have very–very short memories they are going to come back to watch movies of the very people who are now being shamed and disliked. Till that short time work on good scripts and take us back to the magic of a dark Cinema Halls and lit-up Silver Screens !!

रुक जाना नहीं तू कहीं हार के, काँटों पे चलके मिलेंगे साये बहार के…..

Pedalling Up


As I was attending a social function in the morning an acquaintance walked up to me and joked about the Cycling pictures that I regularly post on the social media since the time I took on to cycling. I bought my cycle on 5 months back, the last time I had purchased one was during my school days at Mayo College, Ajmer from M/s. Hiralal & Sons way back in 1989 with my name and Roll No. engraved on the Handle Bar.

Cycling was something that I thought was beyond me, well I thought the same about all sort of physical activity, but a regular feature in the newspaper about cycling motivated me to venture inside a cycle showroom to have a peek of what I was getting into. They looked fancy and friendly (I mean the cycles) and so with a second visit with my wife and kids in the evening to finalise the colour, I was a proud owner of a Red and Black UT Cycle. Now came the time to buy accessories, I wanted to load my machine with them but I was coolly told off that first start riding regularly then eventually have all the accessories. I guess my reputation of a completely non-physical/outdoor kind of person was no secret. Neither the Shop Owner nor my family and for that even I wasn’t confident that this enthusiasm would continue for long.2017-23-08-18-07-55

The very next day I took off on my new cycle and soon I realised what a pain in the ass it was, literally!! Because how on earth does a small seat fit a 100+ Kgs man comfortably?? Even the slightest bump in the road was painful, but I had a point to prove and the morning motivation to look forward to and so with an constant pain at unmentionable places I was went along gradually increasing my distance and decreasing the pain.

And I took off to exploring Udaipur visiting places I had never been before from the Hanuman Ghat to Ambrai Ghat; From Vaijnath Mandir, Sisarma to the Madar Lakes; From Eklingji to Chandpole Ghats!! From cycling in the bylanes of Udaipur to finding my way up to Bada Madar Lake in ankle deep water. From getting jittery riding up the pitch dark Chirwa Tunnel to coming downhill the Badi Lake, mornings had never been so adventurous.

The solitude and the ‘me’ time that I had was something that made me get out of my bed even before the Sun rose on Sunday mornings something that was never me. I looked forward to getting drenched in the rains; to the wind blowing on my face and falling in love with Udaipur all over again.

I don’t know if I have managed to shed any weight but one thing that certainly has happened is that I feel less guilty when I binge. After all the pounds accumulated over last 4 decades would take time to go !!

So yes I would continue to use the social media to bore most of you with my cycling trips pictures and hoping this love for my cycles continues till the time we both outgrow each other (Sincerely hope this love story is for keeps).

Unrequited Love


आज १४ फ़रवरी को वैलेंटाइन डे बनाने वालों में से मैं खुद तो बिलकुल नहीं हूँ, लेकिन जो मानते हैं या मानते थे या मनाने का सोचते है व् उन सब के लिए जिनका इश्क क़ामिल न हो पाया उनके लिए मशहूर शायर साहिर लुधयानवी की नज़्म – ‘मता-ए-ग़ैर’ शेयर कर रहा हूँ.

जैसा की शाहरुख खान ने – ऐ दिल है मुश्किल में कहा है, “एक तरफ़ा पयार की ताक़त ही कुछ और होती है ….. औरों के रिश्तों के तरह यह दो लोगों में नहीं बटती….. सिर्फ मेरा हक है इस्पे”



मेरे ख़्वाबों के झरोकों को सजाने वाली, तेरे ख़्वाबों में कहीं मेरा गुज़र है कि नहीं,

पूछ कर अपनी निगाहों से बता दे मुझ को, मेरी रातों के मुक़द्दर में सहर है कि नहीं..

चार दिन की ये रिफ़ाक़त जो रिफ़ाक़त भी नहीं,  उम्र भर के लिए आज़ार हुई जाती है,

ज़िंदगी यूँ तो हमेशा से परेशान सी थी,  अब तो हर साँस गिराँ-बार हुई जाती है….

मेरी उजड़ी हुई नींदों के शबिस्तानों में,  तू किसी ख़्वाब के पैकर की तरह आई है,

कभी अपनी सी कभी ग़ैर नज़र आई है,  कभी इख़्लास की मूरत कभी हरजाई है…

प्यार पर बस तो नहीं है मिरा लेकिन फिर भी,  तू बता दे कि तुझे प्यार करूँ या न करूँ,

तू ने ख़ुद अपने तबस्सुम से जगाया है जिन्हें,  उन तमन्नाओं का इज़हार करूँ या न करूँ…

तू किसी और के दामन की कली है लेकिन,  मेरी रातें तिरी ख़ुश्बू से बसी रहती हैं,

तू कहीं भी हो तिरे फूल से आरिज़ की क़सम,  तेरी पलकें मिरी आँखों पे झुकी रहती हैं….

तेरे हाथों की हरारत तिरे साँसों की महक,  तैरती रहती है एहसास की पहनाई में,

ढूँडती रहती हैं तख़्ईल की बाँहें तुझ को,  सर्द रातों की सुलगती हुई तन्हाई में….

तेरा अंदाज़-ए-करम एक हक़ीक़त है मगर, ये हक़ीक़त भी हक़ीक़त में फ़साना ही न हो,

तेरी मानूस निगाहों का ये मोहतात पयाम, दिल के ख़ूँ करने का एक और बहाना ही न हो ….

कौन जाने मिरे इमरोज़ का फ़र्दा क्या है, क़ुर्बतें बढ़ के पशेमान भी हो जाती हैं,

दिल के दामन से लिपटती हुई रंगीं नज़रें, देखते देखते अंजान भी हो जाती हैं…

मेरी दरमांदा जवानी की तमन्नाओं के, मुज़्महिल ख़्वाब की ताबीर बता दे मुझ को,

मेरा हासिल मेरी तक़दीर बता दे मुझ को……

Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with me or any resemblance to any person dead or alive that I may have known or know, so no post-mortems required.

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Disclaimer: This is pure fiction and imaginary, resemblance to any person dead or alive is purely coincidental. No post-mortems required.

I knew she was lying , for social media/ messengers app always makes sure the footprints of her being online is marked all over my timelines in terms of each like/comment/tweet. And yet she had no time for me, she had been busy. Busy my foot!! For what was more important than me, the least I was expecting was a message, a reply was that too much to ask for? A phone call was something I had given up all hopes of ever

Yes we were in love, at least I still was!! It is another thing that she was the one who made all the moves. But now I was head over heels for her and was she over me?? There was no shortage of professing our love for each other but when doubt sets in what is the remedy. Maybe I was expecting too much but what is love with boundaries?? It was difficult to contain the emotions I had for her, my reservoir of love what up to the brim.

I longed to hold her hand and longed to listen to her talk inane stuff. I wanted to be called upon, I wanted her to come meet me. I wanted her to make an effort to do all the above. For weren’t we always meant to be together.

I just wanted our picture as her dp, wanted her to profess our love in her status, we did that and much more but I didn’t know when to draw the line. I wanted more, I wanted her, and I wanted her like now, in my each waking moment.

And like all love story ours would also have a closure and I wanted it to be for the better and not for worse.

Love Jihad ????

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Syed and GayatrI didn’t mean to fall in love. But love happens when you least expect It. It creeps up suddenly. When someone needs attention, care, conversation, laughter and maybe even Intimacy. Love doesn’t look at logic, or at backgrounds and least of all, religion.

Gayatri was from a very conservative South Indian family that went to a temple every Saturday. Syed bought goats for his family every EId. That saId it all. Their paths would never have crossed If It hadn’t been for that fateful day. That day when he walked into the coffee shop. GayatrI wondered if destiny chose our loved ones for us. Did we have any role to play at all?

She looked at her watch. Syed was late. They met every Thursday at five pm to catch up. Their conversation lasted for hours. Sometimes at the cafe, sometimes in his car, sometimes in places that she could never tell her friends about. They would never understand. And yet Syed made her happy.

Suddenly her phone beeped. He had sent a message. “On my way. Have somethIng Important to tell you.”

GayatrI stared at It and realIsed she had knots In her stomach. Thoughts flooded her mInd. What dId he want to tell her?

Syed the geek whose company no one wanted to have in school for he was just goofy messed up and weird. And here she was having these crazy rendezvous with the same person the one she most looked forward to more than meeting Anshuman – her steady date and more than her girl gang. He was her little dirty secret one that she wasn’t willing to share with any one not as yet.

So a few months back on a chilly January morning nursing her latest break up and seeking solace in an empty CCD at NarIman Point a young man came and stood next to her.
“GayatrI It Is, right?? I am Syed well wouldn’t be surprised If you don’t recollect, we were in school together till the 8th Standard.”

GayatrI had a proper look at him and she still wasn’t sure, The Syed she knew was no where remotely close to this well groomed boy standing In front of her. Well that is what age does to people either It turns them into a better versions or the versions that had seen better times. He definitely belonged to the former category.

“Oh yes Syed, I do remember you, but definitely not the way you look like now, and please take that as a compliment!! Have a seat, I was just here for a coffee and whiling away my time, didn’t want to go to college today, so where have you been all these years??”

“Thank you, I had to move out of Mumbai then as my father made our family move In with him to Jeddah where he had taken up a job, so finished my schooling there and now In college In Mumbai and working. That is the long and short of my life story.”

So over a cup of coffee they exchanged the latest notes on each other’s lives and on their long lost acquaintances and bid each other good bye. Till GayatrI received a Friend Request from Syed that was promptly accepted and the journey started from liking and commenting on each other’s post to general conversation on FB Messenger. He was witty, polite and polished and she enjoyed what they had on FB!!

“GayatrI, lets meet up for coffee, I will get free after 5 pm from office and Friday Is my weekly off ,that Is of you don’t have any plans.”

“Sure lets meet up, after all we haven’t interacted other than thru our phones. So let’s meet at the same place where we met the first time” said Gayatri.

So the CCD became a witness to their friendship, oblivious to the people around them they continued to meet once a week. The acquaintance grew to friendship and then to something more. They both didn’t want to give their relationship a name but it was something that was palpable and could ignore for long. With the growing friendship with Syed her affair with Anshuman had receded to the background and the sparks had fizzled out. They were close physically but the emotional connect was missing.

imagesThe monsoons hit Mumbai like crazy and besides the other things she shared with Syed; it was their love for rains. After one of their weekly coffee dates they walked up to Marine Drive and started walking towards the Churchgate station. The drizzle, the weather, the company and their conversations was such a heady a mix that had intoxicated them both, so before they realised they had crossed the turn for the station and were way beyond the gymkhanas lost in each other.

They reached Charni Road station and here GayatrI boarded her train for her home, but she couldn’t let go of Syed and kept looking till the he was no longer visible. She knew she was in love with this man and wasn’t sure what he thought of her. She knew there was something but was she misreading a genuine friendship as love??

Ironically the very next day Syed had to go for leave town for medical emergency to his native place of Raigad. The distance and lack of communication was taking its toll on her. Every beep and ring on her phone was looked forward to in the hope it was him, he did keep in touch but not as much as she had hoped for.

So here she was waiting for him and filled with anxiety about was that he wanted to tell her.

As he walked In the Cafe she was weak kneed, he came forward and enveloped her in his warmth, “God, I missed you, missed seeing your face, missed our conversations, missed us” saId Syed. Gayatri, I had to go as my Granny suffered an attack and had to be there for her. While I was there waiting and attending to her, I couldn’t help but think about us. Look I may be Imagining things and know about you and Anshuman but I feel too strongly for you and It Is beyond friendship for me it’s nothing but absolute, crazy love. I didn’t expect you to love me In return or to even continue to meet me after this. We are religiously, culturally and socially poles apart, but I had to get this out of my system, I can’t live in denial and not accept that I Love You Gayatri!!”

She looked up at him and got up from her seat and hugged and kissed him, “Syed, I have been dying to hear those magical words and I do love you too, don’t care how different we are but I want to shout out to the world and tell them about US. I want to update my relationship status” She was jumping with joy for she was happy to be with her man.

She broke up with Anshuman soon after and was glad to be seen with Syed at her college socials, hangouts irrespective of the snares warnings from her close friends. Syed was still a pariah as far they were concerned, they had given up on her, and she would not hear anything against her man. Syed on his apart remained aloof, he could not fit in and the cold vibes from her friends didn’t make matter any easier for him. They continued their emotional and physical relationships in getaways, hotels: places that Mumbai offered in abundance with the advantage of anonymity.

“GayatrI, I have to go to Dubai for some office work and may take a week, will try being in touch but ply don’t get worked up if I am not able to, and network is going to be an Issue In that area. I will call on my own and do take care of you and miss me” saying this Syed hugged her and planted a kiss on her forehead.

Since he left the calls had been sporadic and that too with too much background noise, she missed him and made It a point to visit their favourite coffee shop just to soak with whatever remissness of him were there at the place.

GayatrI got up from her slumber by the Incessant ringing of her phone, she was hoping it was him but it was Anshuman she checked her watch and it was 5 AM. She was all set to blast him off “what Is It?? Anshuman It Is 5 AM and that also Sunday!!”

“I know all that and I had no Intention of calling you up after the way you left me, but you need to switch on the TV as your latest fling Is all over the news” and he slammed down the phone.

images (1)She was blank and didn’t know what to except, she checked her phone for any unread messages / notification or missed calls, there were none. Switching on the TV and flipped through the News Channels and then she saw him, her man, the love of her life SYED!! He was killed while trying to enter Syria to join In the ISIS and his Identity was established from his passport.

Things became clear in some days when the police came knocking on her door. The police Informed her that she wasn’t the only one who he was Involved with. They had verifiable Information that he had been radicalised when he was living In Jeddah and was sent to India to recruit members and also explore opportunity recruit women not belonging to his faith. He had no family and none whatsoever In Raigad; they had abandoned him for his radical views.

Police made a little headway as far as GayatrI was concerned for whatever she knew about him has now proving to be blatant lies and stories that were nowhere close to the truth. On hindsight she now realised she had never visited his office, now had ever been to his college. She couldn’t find out on her own either for she was grounded at home by her conservative family that had now got the whiff of her affair and its aftermath.

She was left without friends who had forewarned her, family who until now were in the dark and Syed: the man she was kind to her, who made her laugh, who listened to her and the one who was in love with her or she thought was in love with her.

Only time will tell the real story and till that time she will continue to feel for him for he was her SYED!!

Taj Mahal

Taj_2816675gThe Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, who were on a week-long tour of India and Bhutan, visited the Taj Mahal on the final leg of their tour on the 16th April 2016.

The royal couple posed in front of the monument and this visit to Agra generated much excitement and it was cleared of tourists so as to facilitate their visit .

We have been told and retold that Taj Mahal is the ultimate declaration and symbol of eternal love but what about the Love of the ordinary mortals who don’t have the wherewithal to spend lavishly in memory of their loved ones ??

This reminded me of a poem i recently heard / read by Sahir Ludhianwi ( on Taj Mahal , where he raises concerns and questions Taj Mahal as the symbol of love in this iconic poem :

ताज तेरे लिए एक मज़हर ऐ उल्फत ही सही,

तुझ को इस वादी ऐ रंगीन से अकीदत ही सही,

मेरी मेह्बोब कहीं और मिला कर मुझ से ..

The Taj, mayhap, to you may seem, a mark of love supreme

You may hold this beauteous vale in great esteem;

Yet, my love, meet me hence at some other place!

बज़्म ऐ शाही में गरीबों का गुज़र क्या मानी,

सब्त जिस राह में हों सतवत ऐ शाही के निशाँ,

उस पे उल्फत भरी रुहूँ का सफ़र क्या मानी

How odd for the poor folk to frequent royal resorts;

‘Tis strange that the amorous souls should tread the regal paths

Trodden once by mighty kings and their proud consorts.

मेरी महबूब पास-ऐ-पर्दा-ऐ-तश-हीर-ऐ-वफ़ा,

तू ने सतवत के निशानों को तो देखा होता,

मुर्दा शाहों के मक़ाबिर से बहलने वाली,

अपने तारीक़ मकानों को तो देखा होता

Behind the facade of love my dear, you had better seen,

The marks of imperial might that herein lie screen’d

You who take delight in tombs of kings deceased,

Should have seen the hutments dark where you and I did wean.

अनगिनत लोगों ने दुनिया में मोहब्बत की है,

कौन कहता है की सादिक़ न थे जज़्बे उन के,

लेकिन उन के लिए तश्हीर का सामान नहीं

क्यों की वो लोग भी अपनी तरह मुफलिस थे,

Countless men in this world must have loved and gone,

Who would say their loves weren’t truthful or strong?

But in the name of their loves, no memorial is raised

For they too, like you and me, belonged to the common throng.

ये इमारत-ओ-मक़ाबिर, ये फ़सीलें, ये हिसार,

मुतलक़-उल-हुक्म शहंशाहों की अजमत के सुतून

दामन-ऐ-दहर पे उस रंग की गुलकारी है ,

जिस में शामिल है तेरे और मेरे अजदाद का खून,

These structures and sepulchres, these ramparts and forts,

These relics of the mighty dead are, in fact, no more

Than the cancerous tumours on the face of earth,

Fattened on our ancestor’s very blood and bones.

मेरी महबूब!! उन्हें भी तो मोहब्बत होगी

जिनका सन्नाई ने बख्शी है इसे शक्ल-ऐ-जामील

उन के प्यारों में मक़ाबिर रहे बेनाम-ओ-नामूद

आज तक उन पे जलाई न किसी ने कंदील

They too must have loved, my love, whose hands had made,

This marble monument, nicely chiselled and shaped

But their dear ones lived and died, unhonoured, unknown,

None burnt even a taper on their lowly graves.

ये चमनज़ार, ये जमुना का किनारा, ये महल

ये मुनक्क़श दर-ओ-दीवार, ये मेहराब , ये ताक़

एक शहंशाह ने दौलत का सहारा ले कर,

हम गरीबों की मोहब्बत का उड़ाया है मज़ाक

मेरी महबूब कहीं और मिला कर मुझ से ….

This bank of Jamuna, this edifice, these groves and lawns,

These carved walls and doors, arches and alcoves,

An emperor on the strength of wealth,

Has played with us a cruel joke.

Meet me hence, my love, at some other place. This is the link to the above quoted poem and do listen to the excellent rendition of this nazm by Hamida Banu ji whose Audio CD is the reason I first came across this beautiful Gem.