Dec 7, 2012

Calling a spade a spade

I have always been one to speak my mind. If I like it, I will say I like it. If I don't I will mention so. And if it seems way out of line to speak my mind, I will just keep quiet.

But not so surprisingly, I have always had people tell me I am doing the wrong thing. That, especially when it comes to matters of the heart, I should play hard to get. I should be coy. I should say no, but mean yes and so on. Not to say I didn't try. I mean, it does get tempting something when you see how loads of those who practice it have mastered it. That it works for them really well. But I could never really do it. It's not me. I'd end up being frustrated of the games and just speaking my mind.

Whether the result was in my favour or not, I didn't care. What mattered more to me was that I have been honest. That I have the burden off my head. And that the other person has decided AFTER knowing the truth. And they judged me for being straightforward, I could happily shrug and walk off.

I do like the chase. It builds excitement. It has mystery. But at times, you can get so lost in the chase that you miss the actual stop signs along the road.

Today, I came across this article posted on Facebook. About saying it like it is. About how playing hard to get can lead to assumptions, impositions and so much more. I agree.

Maybe you don't. Maybe hard to get is what works for you. That is good. Still, read the article. Another point of view always helps. Right?

http://feminspire.com/why-i-never-play-hard-to-get/

The article ends in these words:
"No, I don’t play hard to get. If I like you, you’ll know it. If I don’t like you, you’ll really know it. And if you decide to cross a line despite my big, hand-painted “No Trespassing” sign, we’ve got a problem."

My point of view? Play hard to get if it works for you, and if you can. It can be thrilling and totally exciting. But make sure that when needed, the Stop sign is big, loud and clear. And that the other person knows you mean a big fat NO.

Dec 5, 2012

Interviewing the tree people

Hello readers!

This is my first interview for the blog... and I think an awesome first.

You may have heard of Project 35 trees. No? Shame shame! Here, read this (I insist!) - https://www.facebook.com/35trees?fref=ts

Hari and Anthony - two guys who are travelling the country and not just planting saplings in every state, but talking to students, locals and more, to spread the green culture. Now, naturally, I had a lot of questions for them... and so I wrote to Hari, who was kind enough to reply to ALL of them without scowling at me. *phew*.


PAITEES PED, DO MAALI! (don't you love me for the title?)
An interview with one of the men behind Project 35 trees – Hari Chakyar.

ME: Hari… Hara… you were born to do this! Do you have some weird story where you were found under a tree by your parents and always dreamt of going back?
HARI: Ae! I am not Mowgli!

ME: If you were a tree, which one would you be and why?
HARI: I would love to be a coconut tree. That way every part of me would be used. Not that I want to feel used but imagine doing something extraordinary with every part of your body and that’ll feel like an unbeatable record.
ME (snidely): Hmm... so you want more coconuts?

ME: Are you Tarzan’s long lost sibling, with more clothes of course?
HARI: Statutory Warning: Swinging on trees is not good for health. Of the trees. Kindly refrain from doing so. Having said that, I would love to live in a forest and gather my own food just like Tarzan. Then I wouldn’t have to shave either. How awesome is that?!

ME: You have a partner in this. You have already claimed green. So what colour is he?
HARI: Anthony Karbhari. Mostly, he’s the blues. He’s the mulling type. He thinks his shots over. You should see the face he makes while at work!
Oh and he also has a few blue t-shirts.

ME: Did you eat a certain type of grass to come up with this idea? I mean, nature inspiring nature of course. What did you think?
HARI: If eating grass and stuff gave you ideas, I should’ve won the Nobel Prize for being a vegetarian by now! But nature did inspire me – all the nature in Sanjay Gandhi National Park and around Karnala Fort. Oh and the Wilson College Nature Club!

ME: How are you funding this? Don’t tell me money plants actually work!
HARI: Oh they do, you should try the Mahua tree. But my funds don’t come from that or any other trees. This India tour is sponsored by many well-meaning people who have contributed small amounts of money in cash or by directly sending money to my account. A lot of them have also funded it through this crowd-funding page - http://www.wishberry.in/users/wishlistview/14320
ME (to all the readers): Click the link already. The only virus it will spread is green and makes oxygen.

ME: You started in Mumbai and have already travelled a bit. Where all have you sown your seeds?
HARI: No seeds, only saplings...planted in *takes a deep breath* Daman, Silvassa, Baroda, Indore, Jaipur, Delhi, Gurgaon, Amritsar, Jammu, Chandigarh, Manali, Dehradun, Agra, Patna, Gangtok, Guwahati, Shillong, Nagaland and Imphal. Phew!
ME (to myself): Dammit! Sowing seeds joke totally lost on him :(

ME: So, we will find little Haris in those places soon? (I mean, saplings you know) :D
HARI: Of course! You’ll find my baby trees in all of these places already but give them a few years and they’ll be taller than you!
ME: Aye! No short jokes. I am the one interviewing you!

ME: How are you travelling from point to point? And where are you staying?
HARI: Public transport – bus, train, autorickshaws, cycle rickshaws, tumtums (called Vikram in Dehradun) and so on. On the list but yet to be ticked off are trucks, boats and hitchhiking.
In every state, we try and live with a host family to give us free lodging and free food. In most places they have also been kind enough to take us around themselves. This part of the project is very interesting because we reach there as strangers but by the time we have to leave, we’re family.
In some places, we’ve had to live in hotels but even in those places, we now have friends for life!

ME: You mean, people actually let you enter their homes with soil on your shoes? So kind!
HARI: Surprise no? In some places, we get there looking like monsters – hairy, dishevelled and untidy but we make sure we tidy up soon.

ME: Have you encountered any tree people yet? Did anyone mistake you for a vegetable and eat you?
HARI: No tree people but I did spot this guy at a railway station on the way from Indore to Jaipur. I would love to dress colour-coded like an evergreen tree! He looks uncannily like a guy from my office! Here is a picture -

ME: Are you going to dance around trees? Is there going to be a video? Can people who contribute get exclusive access to it?
HARI: I am developing a pole-dance version of the Chipko movement where you hug a tree and dance around it to the tune of Gangnam Style. But for that we’ll have to wait till the saplings I’ve planted have grown. You okay with that? Access kya, people who contribute can dance with me. Chipko is a group activity anyway.
ME (to readers): Interested dancers may apply

ME: Your moustache seems to grow with every city. Are you hiding the saplings in there?
HARI: Haha, how did you notice that? My handlebar looks awesome now. I haven’t touched them since I left. I’ve however been trimming my muttonchops beard only because I don’t want school students to be scared of me.
(I run out scared and screaming)

ME: You are just doing this so that you can have a tree-house in every state no? Sach sach bolo!
HARI: You caught me there! With real estate prices going the way they are, it’ll help no? Plus, imagine having a toilet in every state in India!

ME: After swinging all ways (I mean, literally) when are you going to be back to the city?
HARI: *Narrows eyes and stares* We should be back in Mumbai in the third week of January that’ll give us one week to chill before we start our normal work days. I’ve been craving for some vada pao but!

ME: Vada pao on me when you return!
...................................................................
...................................................................


I ALSO made a poster (pardon my art skills).
(P.S.: A shout out to those with good art skills - if you can and wish to make a better poster, you shall be rewarded with pappis from our very own Hari Chakyar)

Disclaimer: Creative representation of Project '35 trees'. Hari interjects passionately pointing out that they are not planting 'only 35' trees. On last count, they were close to 100 in 19 states, and they still have a long way to go.


Nov 29, 2012

Jhaank kar dekho...

An extension of what I had written on twitter, in a lovely poetic conversation with @urm1 and @talli_redux. (Go follow them! And I'm @haemlet if you guys didn't know).
................
Jhaank kar dekho zara,
Surkhiyon mein jo baithi hai kahin,
Mitti si hai khurduri,
Sardi ki dhup si makhmali,
Karkaraati hui,
Khankhanaati hui,
Satrangi pagchinh chode,
Mann mein mandraye chankaati hui.
Dhuein si faile,
Palkon par pighle,
kabhi roshni si aa jaaye chupke se,
Kabhi shararati bachche sa dhindhora peete.
Jhaank kar dekho zara,
Surkhiyon mein jo baithi hai kahin,
Sab jaane, tumhari rooh ko basera maane,
Shayad woh mohabbat ki hi surat toh nahin?



- © Haem Roy
29 Nov, 2012.

Oct 30, 2012

WITHIN YOU...

Inspired by someone I know, this one is about taking chances. About believing in the golden road ahead, and following it, just for the journey, without fear of the destination.

Within you lies what could set you free,
The will to calm the demons,
The dreams of what freedom could be.

Trapped by the chains of history,
Bound by the ties of the past,
Blind to your powers that could melt the mountains,
Unwilling to be free, to break the fragile cast.

Within you lies what you may need,
To start believing in magic,
To find the elusive golden steed.

You could charm the beasts,
And the fairies too you could lure,
If only you heard the voices that beckon,
You could open the doors to fairyland for sure.

Within you lies what you most fear,
The whispers of desire,
The longing that hums right by your ear.

You try to hide the fire,
You try to drown the sounds,
They may not be the screams you imagine,
Because under your fears, music may just be found.

- © HAEM ROY
30th Oct, 2012.

Oct 18, 2012

...


Hawa ne achanak hi mod diya rukh,
Baantkar sapne, neend hi le gayi apne saath,
Jhul rahe the hum uske aanchal mein,
Ke zameen se na jaane kab mil gaye haath.

Sep 20, 2012

Sarakte Pal

Sarakte pal nishaan chhod gaye,
Mitti mein lakeerein,
Hawa mein paigaam chhod gaye.
In palon ki kahaani bhi kya bataaun tumhe,
Mutthi mein band saara jahaan chhod gaye.


Simatkar baithi hain woh ankahi baatein,
Cheekhe kaise dekho yeh chugalkhor saansein,
Dabe paon andar aaye,
Phir bhi saari khamoshi tod gaye.


Sarakte pal nishaan chhod gaye,
Mitti mein lakeerein,
Hawa mein paigaam chhod gaye.


Baatuni palkein chup rehna na jaane,
Machalti rahein badal ke sirhaane,
Hansi ki chitthiyan laaye,
Pannon se shabd hi saare daud gaye.


Sarakte pal nishaan chhod gaye,
Mitti mein lakeerein,
Hawa mein paigaam chhod gaye.


- © Haem Roy

Sep 11, 2012

Tumhare khayaal

Sehmi sehmi saansein,
pallu se bandhi tanhaayi,
sannate ki muslaadhar baarish,
aur tumhaare khayaalon ki razai.

Maayusi ki oas boondein,
badan par geeli sari,
darr se thithurta man,
aur tumhari chaahat ki dhoop.

Aahein bhare ye mann,
siskiyon se bayaan kare apna haal,
bhatakti raah mein gumraah hum,
aur tumhaari aawaz ki mashaal.

- © Haem Roy

Jul 13, 2012

Why TV shows think I am evil...

So, I've recently been ranting on twitter about regressive tv shows. And I thought this topic deserved its very own blog post.

Now where do I begin? Maybe from the time when I switch to any hindi GEC. Pick any show at random, and under the guise of all the recent fad of 'modernity', you will find some regressive idea being plugged and pushed into people's minds.


I'll give the most recent example that irked me. Boy and girl in some tv show fall in love. Turns out boy was just using girl for some 'revenge'. He impregnated her and then refused to accept the affair. And left the girl 'regretting not agreeing to an arranged marriage'. Regretting love.

There is so much that is wrong with this. Firstly, it's not the first time tv shows have used this plot. It's so common, I am willing to believe that a lot of parents now think that love can only have this outcome and boys are only looking at impregnating and abandoning women. Nothing else. Also, I'd like to believe that women today are much smarter than this. They know about the existence of birth control, they know how to handle a guy and they know how to take care of themselves.

Also, this just leads to reinforce all that Satyameva Jayate with its 'no more honour killings' episode was trying to advise against. It just gets more people to think 'love' is forbidden. And those of you who think this is just fiction are unaware of the power this medium has on a majority of the populace. There could be a bunch of parents locking up their girl for wanting to marry a guy of her choice. And citing the tv show as an example of why love is a bad idea.

That was about love. There is also the issue of working women. What exactly is wrong with independence? What is wrong with wanting to live on your own, with not knowing how to cook and hiring a cook, and so on? Yet, working women are the evil forces wanting to break up homes, only looking for money and so on. If they want a career and money, they are bad. They have to know how to sweep your feet, soak your bullshit, feed you nods of agreement, etc. This is not a thing of the past. Look closely, and you'll see how the shows even today, subtlely reinforce these mindsets.

They will 'allow' the main lead to have a career, but the situations will finally all focus on her either having to balance her home and work, or her being the ultimate woman because she sacrificed career for home. That is just propaganda. Constantly being drilled into the viewers' heads. Slowly. Steadily. Watch them nod at every situation, mumble their approval, take mental notes to use in their life, and form opinions.

Every time a character does something rebellious or different, why does the plot always have to take a bad turn?

We were taught the power of pop culture in literature class. It influences the majority mindset. It is strong enough to bring change. And it is strong enough, as in this case, to reinforce regressive beliefs and thoughts. What the majority likes needn't always be good. But why can't we create only the good, so that the majority can like just what is good?

Where are the shows reflecting an actual teenager's life? Where are the shows that talk about a girl and her real ambitions, lusts, feelings? Maybe not a radical change all at once, for the sake of acceptance. But we can at least begin by Stopping this silliness. Then we can slowly introduce new thinking, and the changing India. Use this medium wisely.

Just one show 'shocking' everyone on Sunday will not bring that much change. Spread it across shows, across channels. Practice the preach in your daily soap story lines.

We feel angry that there are people who blame a woman's dressing choices for her being eve teased. But tell me, how many leading ladies on tv have ventured towards dressing more like urban women today? Those who do wear short skirts, Jeans, halter blouses, are vamps, house breakers, or foreign returns. Why?

I wear skirts, I wear halter blouses and short skirts. I strongly believe in independence and a career. Even though cooking is a hobby, I don't think of it as a necessary skill. I will willingly employ a cook so that I can go to work daily. I prefer a nuclear family, and I do believe that if love happens, one should follow the heart. I know wonderful couples who have fallen in love, and are perfectly happy.

So, if I were to believe these shows, I'm an uncaring, disrespectful vamp who won't ever live happily.
I am evil! Then so be it.

Jul 6, 2012

Walking in the rain

I like walking in the rain because it hides my tears.
I like walking in the rain because it soaks my fears.

The rain drowns my doubts,
The rain washes my worries,
It keeps me in the moment,
The past, the future, packed away and sent.

I like walking in the rain because it makes me forget.
I like walking in the rain because it tunes my mind to reset.

The rain brings me romance,
The rain makes me dream,
I build my world within those droplets,
I imagine conversations, moments and the life I expect.

I like walking in the rain because it makes me smile,
Let me walk in the rain for another mile.

- © Haem Roy

Jul 2, 2012

Kya maanga?

Titli ke rang nahin maange,
Na chand, na taare, na aasmaa,
Bas itna hi toh maanga tumse humne,
Jatao zara apni chaahat ka nazraana.

Phoolon ke baag nahin maange,
Na moti, na heere, na jevraat,
Kuch bada nahin maange tumse,
Kyun mann tumhara phir hichkicha raha?

Satrangi indradhanush na maanga,
Na zid ki, ke kadmon tale ho jahaa,
Duniya bhulaane nahin kahaa tumse,
Lekin tumne meri guzaarish ko bhula diya.

Sang e marmar ka mahal na maanga,
Na sone ki chaadar, na chaandi ka bistra,
Na lutne na lootaane ki baatein hui tumse,
Aakhir kiss baat ne tumhe itna darra diya?

Pyaar ka vaada kataihi nahin maanga,
Na koi kasam, na saath janmon ka,
Abhi toh shuruvaat hai, kya hoga inse?
Bas thoda apnapan jataane ko kahaa.

Na hum tum jaane, na jaane yeh jaahaan,
Jo kal hoga woh kal dekha jaayega,
Aaj itna hi toh maanga tumse humne,
Jatao zara apni chaahat ka nazraana.

- © Haem Roy

Jun 27, 2012

Wedding blurs

UPDATE: This post was picked as a weekend must read by blogadda. Thank you for the support guys - http://blog.blogadda.com/2012/06/30/indian-bloggers-queries-conversations-best-blog-posts

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The drone of the shehnai music was filling the background.


I could see him standing right before me. The tall, lean physique. Smiling as he always did. With a glint of mischief in his eyes, the sparkle visible even from a distance. My tears instantly dried up at his sight. His smile had always had that effect on me. I had started believing that crying around him was impossible.


My mother pulled me away and I lost sight of him among the throngs of women. They were applying make up on my face and draping my sari. It was all a blur really. I just followed all instructions like a puppet, always keeping a lookout for him. Where did he disappear?


He would always do that. Disappear without notice. Back in college, we had just become friends. His sister was my classmate, and that's how we met. We'd hang out in the canteen, and his resounding laughter would just draw everyone in. He left every girl giggling. The way he imitated the teachers, but never disrespected them. The way he would immediately pull a chair for me when I arrived, as if it was a reflex. I was the quiet one, but he never let me get lost in the crowd. He would pull me into the conversation with a question directed at me. And all so nonchalantly. So effortlessly.


They were pulling at my hair now. Ouch! It hurt. Some pins and flowers being poked in, and the fake bun was too heavy. But I didn't really care much to object. The parlour lady asked me if I wanted something specific, and I just pointed to my mum, who was much to eager to provide inputs. Then all I had to do was sit and let them fiddle with me.


Now that I think about it, I always tried to escape making a decision, or forming an opinion. Only he could catch me. He sensed it early on, and never let my sly attempts succeed. He would ask me, "Where do you want to go for dinner tonight?" And my response would always be, "Anywhere is good." But he was relentless, and would bombard me with questions, till he understood what my mood was. "You feel like having Chinese? How about some Bamboo rice? Or you want some parathas? Pasta?" He knew every expression. He was quite different from most guys that way. All my girlfriends would complain how their boyfriends never paid enough attention to the little things, or how they never caught the moods and gestures. With him, he never missed a thing! Maybe it was because he was the only man in the house, with three women.


The women around me were getting noisier. They wanted to sing. I hated all this drama, and singing and dancing.

He loved it. He'd sing to me, and never paid heed to my objections.


Someone knocked on the door to beckon the 'bride'. They ushered me out and towards the mandap. My eyes wandered, and found him. Locked on him. I could sense a smile on my face. How could anyone be so charming?


The pandit began to chant mantras. The fire was too hot. I could feel the burning on my face. I just turned it away and faced him. Nothing mattered when I could see him, and that smile of his.


The way his thick lips gave way to reveal those slightly crooked teeth. The way his eyes turned really small, and his left cheek caved in to form a dimple. When we had first kissed, his thick lips were such a surprise for me. He was a good kisser yes. A really good one. And those hands. It's like they had a mind of his own. Playing with my hair, a finger down my cheeks, fondling my neck, tightly holding my back - so caring and yet so strong. Gentle, yet never clumsy.


My hand was now above the fire. Rice being thrown, and so much of commotion. They asked me to get up for the pheras. I was getting dizzy.


I had never wanted a big wedding. I always told him that I would prefer a court marriage any day. But he would argue, that our parents would be unhappy if we didn't marry according to customs. "A wedding is more for the parents sometimes, than the bride and groom", he would tell me. And the way he coaxed me, how could I ever disagree?


I sat back down. Sindoor was being applied to my forehead. I closed my eyes to avoid getting it in my eyes.
You know, if something ever got into my eye, he'd come real close and softly blow into the eye. Whether the dust particle left the eye or not I don't know, but his hot breath on my face always sent shivers down my spine. He always made me feel like a teenager with a crush. I'd go weak kneed when he'd whisper in my ears. I'd almost let out a giggle when he held my hand on the road. Not that he didn't notice. He knew the effect he had on me very well. And he was pretty happy with himself for that! And just to make me feel better, he'd tell me how much he adored me. I loved his stories of "When I saw you the first time..." and "You look so beautiful when...". He indulged me.


The magalsutra was in my neck now. I was married. And there he was, grinning from ear to ear. I touched the mangalsutra, looked at him, and his smile made me smile too.


They made me get up and sit on a chair. I looked around. I was surrounded by relatives. As I turned back in his direction, he was gone! I looked about frantically, but he was nowhere to be seen. That is when the blood rushed back to my head. He couldn't have been here. It was impossible. It was an illusion. That is when one tear finally escaped my eye and rolled down my cheek.


I remembered. He was gone. And, here I was, married to someone else. But I didn't care. I could live all my life with just a memory of those two beautiful years. Live with the pain of the fact that I had lost him. On that fateful day. That he was gone. 


Forever. 

Jun 17, 2012

Flailing arms, quiet surrender

Her game was finally over.
She was not the kind of person who'd let people in. She'd pretend, she'd smile and she'd put on a show of strength to hide every emotion. But for the first time, she had opened up her heart - to him. For the first time she had let someone into her mind.
Around him, all her facade was futile. He saw right through her smile, and caught her moist eyes. He never said a word, he never offered help, but he always stood by, playing along as she tried hard to hide. almost like an adult indulging a child with a game of peek a boo.
I can manage on my own, she'd say. Of course you can, he'd answer. But I'm here just in case. And that made her heart rise. That made her trust him. Trust him enough to even show her tears.
It just flowed. Her past. Her struggles. how she had made it through and how she had withstood those who tried taking advantage of her. She was a strong woman, this one.
But he was no fool.
He knew that the world had made her lock up her gentleness. There was a soft spoken maiden under those determined eyes. And he resolved to set her free.
He heard her stories of betrayal. Her stories of abuse. No wonder she had lost trust.
And all through, he just held her. No words were needed. Words would only make it frivolous. Words would only bring sympathy. She didn't need sympathy. She deserved care. Trust. Love.
And he'd give her that. Even if she fought him off. Even if she pushed him away. Because those were just her reflexes. Her battle scars.
He was determined to heal them. And his determination was what she needed more than anything. Ever.

May 14, 2012

Stupid, silly me

I met him at a party,
We got along like wild fire,
Spoke for hours and laughed for hours,
With a promise to meet the next day
We said goodbye under the stars.
And promptly he called,
There was a smile in his voice
Asking to meet, rather dying to meet,
He said to me he could hardly wait,
His enthusiasm nothing could beat.

How could I not see?
That he had a thing for me
Oh stupid silly me.

He'd bring me flowers,
He pampered me like crazy,
Took me to the best places in the city,
I was the queen for him
And he was smitten completely.

How could I not see?
That he was in love with me
Oh stupid silly me.

But then came the time,
When the fights slowly began,
He called me names and locked me up,
my every word annoyed him
And I just seemed to mess up.

How could I not see?
This wasn't supposed to be
Oh stupid silly me.

He'd return home late,
He would not even kiss me,
I wondered why he never spoke to me,
Till I found a picture hidden,
and it wasn't a picture of me.

How could I not see?
That he was betraying me
How could I not see?
That we were no longer 'we'
Oh stupid silly me.

- © Haem Roy

Apr 30, 2012

My music and nature soaked weekend

I had heard about it through a friend, but I wasn't really sure what The Great Gig in the Sky really was. I read up the page, I asked around, I tried to figure it out, but in my head, there were still a load of doubts. I can get pretty introverted in social situations, and I wondered, would I feel lost here. Add the fact that my musical inclination is sporadic and very mood-induced.

But my love for the outdoors, hikes, treks, open air and more got me going for it. And let me begin with - I am glad I did.

To introduce the concept, The Great Gig in the Sky is something started by a group called Jumpstart India. They travel with a band / singer-songwriter to a location that is nestled amidst nature, and that is where the gig is. No frills, no equipment, no fancy lights or speakers, no set-up or stage. Just a small selected audience, and the performer. This is usually an overnight camping trip, and the best part is that you get to travel, interact and get to know the musicians you are listening to. Music is better appreciated when you appreciate the people creating it. Isn't it?

Now that I have explained it, about the one I went for.

We travelled with a band called Dischordian. Here emerged my second hesitation. I had never heard the. Or heard of them either. They describe their music in these words: Spanning multiple genres, but primarily grounded in folk, punk, and blues, Dischordian’s sound is difficult to categorise or describe. 


But would I like it? Would they be a bunch of snooty band members who just stomped around?
Fast forward to the bus ride. Hot as hell, and sweaty, it was where we awkwardly smiled at each other. A courteous hi, and a basic ice breaker round of introductions. We arrived at Kondivane, gasping for something cool, a breeze, a gush of air, something. Heading for a local hut, the fan turned into the second ice breaker, as everyone plopped under it.
Lunch and lazy bonding, some talk and getting to know each other was followed by impromptu jamming as a Ukulele was discovered. Cut to looking for a decent spot to swim, in the parched stream. As one of the band members put it, Dhiren from Jumpstart tricked us into a mini hike by guiding us to a spot a little further ahead, before we decided it wasn't large enough and walked back to the main stream. Loads of fun followed, splashing about, and even recreating 'We will rock you' with water splashes (yes, I am not kidding!) To my utter delight, the band members turned out to be total fun, with no airs, and a great sense of humour.

We learnt how to pitch tents and pitched our own tents in an open field. The band was working with us, clearing ground, pitching tents, moving stones and more. Then we headed to a 'chowk' sort of area, under a tree, for the main event of the trip - the gig. There were just a few of us on this trip, and that transformed into a more intimate setting and performance. The band played some really nice songs from their latest album, and I discovered a new sound. I was also fascinated by the number of different instruments they could play and used for their music. They had us jamming along, as everyone drowned in the general mood of the night. And it was even better, when all the lights were turned completely off.

We were told that this gig that lasted over two hours was one of the longest Great Gigs. Did not feel that long if you asked the audience. Tired and sleepy, everyone headed back to the freshly pitched tents, and decided to sleep under the stars! I was still hungover on music, so it was my headphones, my phone playlist and me gazing up making shapes out of the stars for a long time. I even got to use my brand new sleeping bag, but that is just a personal landmark! :)



The next day was pretty hot (still!) and lazy. Some decided to go back for a swim, while the rest just lazed around chatting, sketching, writing (only I did that!) and generally vegging out. More random jamming ensued.

If I had to, I could point out things to dislike. But the best part about this little trip was that it made me not want to point those out. Except the heat of course. You cannot ignore that. Nor can you do something about it. I dived in expecting no luxury, nothing big, and returned with some good friends and fond memories. A cooler time of the year would have helped a lot, but that did not stop us from having fun.

Jumpstart is a company that is new, young and has just kickstarted. They have a brilliant concept in this, and over time, they shall probably make it more professional. But I do hope that does not happen. Because, for me, the charm was in doing things together, in figuring out solutions to a glitch together, in a joint recce to decide on the location of the performance, and in the exchange of ideas that actually brings a group together.  I would definitely recommend something like this, but I will also throw in a warning. Do not sign up if you are used to luxuries everywhere you go, if you expect a prim and proper world around you and if you cannot bear the thought of roughing it out. That is not the purpose of these gigs. Sign up with an open mind, no huge expectations and a drive to have fun no matter what, and you shall have an experience you will be proud of.

Also, if you are travelling in the summer, carry shorts!
__________________________________________

You can find Dischordian on Facebook here or check out their website.
Check out what Jumpstart is and does here.

Photos Clicked by Manish Usapkar and Vilas Chavan. All copyrights with Jumpstart India.

Drunk on Music

So, I spent the weekend on a musical-nature trip with a band (more on this in another post). Nature has always inspired me to write. Words flow in like the rain, and peace just drowns me. I can sit quietly and watch the sky full of stars for hours. And this time, we had music to lift the mood a notch higher. Obviously then, my pen could not be left alone. I scribbled some things and here is one of them:

DRUNK ON MUSIC

Rhythms that fill, the streams and the hills,
The strings hum tunes, singing with the wind,
The stars blink, drunk on the music,
Nature moves, rejoicing in sync.

We've carried backpacks of joy,
We've brought along smiles,
All we need is our music,
And we can carry on for miles.

Miles turn to minutes, and minutes just dash by,
When you're drunk on music, the world all passes by.
Let the birds chirp with you, for they too want in,
No one's left out, even the trees are jamming.

- © Haem Roy
29th April, 2012.


I also wrote another one in Hindi. But I don't have a title for it yet. Here it is. If you have any suggestions, let me know:


Chuppi si chaayi hai, aankhon mein dhundhlaahat,
Saans dheemi dheemi, bas dhunon ki aahat.

Yaadon ke palchinnhon ko hum sang liye,
Jholi mein lamhon ko sanjooye,
Apni dhunki mein sabko sang liye,
Sab sunn liya hamne kuch na kehte hue.

Chuppi si chaayi hai, aankhon mein dhundhlaahat,
Saans dheemi dheemi, bas dhunon ki aahat.

Palkon ke neeche chipe manmauji khayaal,
Chaahein woh fal latke jo taaron ki daal,
Jhoomte gaate hue khushi se behaal,
Phool bhi chale dekho tumhari hi chaal.

Chuppi si chaayi hai, aankhon mein dhundhlaahat,
Saans dheemi dheemi, bas dhunon ki aahat.

- © Haem Roy
29th April, 2012.


Apr 19, 2012

The butterflies

All is calm as you walk ahead,
On the road your gaze is set,
Bam! Wham! You spot him then
Forget the who, what, where, when.

Within you they start to rise…
Don't you love the butterflies?
I do. I do.
Don't you love the butterflies?
Don't you?

You look at him, he smiles back
Sparkly eyes and you lose your track
Clouds of a dream floating in
On your face a nervous silly grin.

They follow his little bright eyes....
Don't you love the butterflies?
I do. I do.
Don't you love the butterflies?
Don't you?

Your oyster is the world
Headlong you are hurled
Dizzy at the ride yet wanting more
You love the rush. encore! Encore!

They discovered where happiness lies...
Don't you love the butterflies?
I do. I do.
Don't you love the butterflies?
Don't you?

You think of him, the voice, the hair,
You love yourself, sniff the air,
The tingles, excitement, sober highs,
Leaving you with a bundle of sighs.

You just can't control the smiles...
Don't you love the butterflies?
I do. I do.
Don't you love the butterflies?
Don't you?

- © Haem Roy
19th April, 2012.

Apr 11, 2012

The story of my dreams

Just a blink and it's gone
It didn't wait too long
And now I try to remember, the dream that's left in embers.

It started black and white
A glimmer, some shapes, a little light,
People I know, people I don't,
The star cast sometimes totally unknown.
Thats my voice I hear
And me I follow
I see love and romance
Smiles, laughter and all that hey-ho!

But just a blink and it's gone
It didn't wait too long
And now I try to remember, the dream that's left in embers.

Colours are filling in,
A movie in my head.
If I was on a seat I'd grab it
In anticipation of what's ahead.
Suspense and thrills, chase sequences,
Location switch, even surreal experiences.
Some people lost but I cling on
The heart racing like a marathon.

But just a blink and it's gone
It didn't wait too long
And now I try to remember, the dream that's left in embers.

I jump off cliffs, escape into tunnels,
A spy, crook, lover, so many role reversals.
I try to keep up with my REM cycle,
The deeper I sleep, the more my dream tangles.
Carried away into a strange world every night,
I wake with a start, a smile or a fright.
Without a goodbye, I forget and we part,
Good morning to a world I know by heart.

Just a blink and it's gone
It didn't wait too long
And now I try to remember, the dream that's left in embers.

- © Haem Roy
11th April, 2012.

Apr 3, 2012

Circles

A little road goes winding down,
A little turn, comes all the way around,
Before you know it, you are back,
Among those same familiar sounds.
Square one they call it, the rigmarole,
The trapdoor, the hidden hole.
No matter what journey you make,
You come back and land at the same place?
It's no coincidence, it can't be fate!
It's just that your eyes can't see a new way.

May be you need to look under the bushes,
Over the trees? A little nudge to the left, or blindly follow the breeze.
Stumble and fall, and lose your way, no breadcrumbs, no milestones,
No guide to find your way back.
Then you may be on the right track,
Never look back at old horizons,
Then you may break the circles.

- © Haem Roy
3rd April, 2012.

Apr 1, 2012

Why the seasons change?

A few people have that effect on you, where even the hottest day will seem breezy, or you will feel the joy of a rainy day in the dead of winter...

Smiles start pouring as you walk in,
Like rainy droplets,
Like leaves in autumn,
Like colours at sunset,
Like the summer sun.

The world starts shining with your eyes,
Like the sparkling dew drops,
Like the little snow flakes,
Like the colour on flowers,
Like the shimmering lakes.

Music is in the air that breathes your scent,
Like the morning chirps,
Like the first thunders,
Like the pitter patter on tin roofs,
Like wind whistling in the ear.

You bring warmth in winter,
With you comes the the rain,
The summer breeze follows you,
You, my love, make the seasons change.

- © Haem Roy
1st April, 2012.

Ek taar

Ever think of how, when you strum a guitar, the tune doesn't leave the string for some time. It clings on, it fills the air, and it lingers around for a while.That's where this verse started for me...

Ek taar pe dhun jo chid jaaye,
Itni jaldi chhod ke na jaa paaye,
Dhun koi mann ko bhaaye,
Toh mann mein basera kar jaaye.

Hawa mein mehek jab saje,
ghanton woh leher bhatakti rahe,
Khushboo se koi kheencha chala aaye,
Duur jaakar bhi woh bichad na paaye.

Saaya toh kuch hi pal rehta,
Par pair mitti mein ishaare rakh jaaye.

Khayaalon mein chori se koi aa toh hai gaya,
Mushkil yeh hai ki kahin woh kaid hi na reh jaye.

- © Haem Roy
1st April, 2012.

Feb 27, 2012

Review: The Chocolate Room


Name: THE CHOCOLATE ROOM
Location: Panchsheel Heights, Mahavir Nagar, Kandivli West.

What I thought:

A little chocolate cafe tucked away in the Northern suburbs of Mumbai, one would not have imagined something in such an area in the first place. But there it was, right opposite where I live, and as I watched it spring up, the name caught my interest.

I must mention here, that I do not have a sweet tooth, and am not particularly fond of chocolate. But I had to try this place. So, when I managed to get a few other people excited about it (I would never be able to eat more than a bite of any chocolate dish, let alone finish it), we walked in.

Simple chairs, a couple of tables, not much space, no eye-catching decor to talk about. What does grab some attention though, is a display shelf, that is called the Chocolate Shop. Stacked there are chocolate gift boxes, and what looks like a wine bottle made of chocolate. It was exactly what it looked like! On asking, we found out that the bottle did not come filled (sad!), but was hollow and could be filled with any beverage of one's choice (yay!) and re-sealed.

The counter display had some chocolate figurines, a Taj Mahal in both white and dark chocolate and some pastries.

Moving on to the edible stuff on the menu.

The menu was short and sweet (no pun intended), yet covered everything from choco shakes and coffees, to some munchies, mocktails, and even a chocolate pizza. A chocolate pizza you say? That sounds interesting. Let us try it.

We tried the Rocky Road Pizza, and some cold Irish Coffee. The coffee was pretty regular. It was the pizza that surprised us. We did not know what to expect and were told that the pizza would take about 15-20 minutes.

What arrived, was a brown pizza base, with a load of chocolate toppings, something sprinkled, something splashed and something pink on it. Initially I thought the base itself was made of chocolate, and that put me off. But it was a pleasant surprise to find out that it was chocolate flavoured bread - not too sweet and just right. The toppings on the Rocky Road had some nuts, melted marshmallows and loads of chocolate of course. It was quite heavy, and for the price we paid, definitely worth the value. We were speculating the Chilli hot chocolate pizza (yes, you read right!) for the next time.

Service:
The service was smooth. Since the outlet has just opened, the management was sweet and gave personal attention to customers. They came and asked for feedback in person, after we finished eating. We spotted a bunch of kids on a sugar high inside, licking off a bowl of something chocolatey, and it definitely is a place the kids would love!

Moral of the story:
All in all, a decent place, some good innovative things on the menu, worth one try, especially for chocoholics. So all ye with the sweet tooth, head to Kandivali!

Feb 24, 2012

Sometimes...

I had the chorus of 'sometimes...its just a matter of time' playing in my head for a long time. Finally got down to penning a version.


Sometimes...it's just a matter of time


I walk along and stumble on
trying for a lift, path forlorn
I wave, I call, beckon and shout,
No one halts, they just carry on.


they may not see me today,
They may not care for who I am
but someday, they will look back on this day,
Someday they will regret what they say.
Today, they may have their way.


But tomorrow shall be mine
Cos sometimes...it's just a matter of time.


I tell them my dreams they laugh,
They try and cut my hopes into half,
They cannot see beyond a mile,
But the future has been in my eyes for a while.
Today, they may tell me I can't.


But tomorrow my dreams shall be mine,
Cos sometimes...its just a matter of time.


I don't need you to halt you see,
I for walk not alone but with my castles of sand,
And as you drive on you'll know eventually,
someday these very roads will all lead to me.


Tomorrow will be mine,
Cos sometimes...its just a matter of time.


- Haem Roy
Feb 24, 2012.

Jan 19, 2012

My Vagabond Wishlist

I am finally getting a holiday, after ages.

2 friends, and a trip to Rajasthan. The golden sand, the majestic forts, the royal glow reflecting from the chandeliers, the mirage of colours around us, jingling of bells on cows, steaming chai in kulhads, cool winds and a small fire to warm us - there is so much we are looking forward to.

I want to meet new people, locals and tourists, see the cities from both their eyes. I want to dance with the folk dancers, and I want to walk the streets just observing and not saying a word.

However small the trip, the idea of going to a new place just gets the blood pumping in our systems. What will we discover there? What new experiences will we gain? Will we return wiser... or sillier?

As I tick off one from the bucketload in my Travel Wishlist, here is to hoping this year brings some more ticks and trips.

But I still seek my mountain peak
Momentary posts may refuel me
But my eyes are set on a destination I cant yet see
Till then I try to be happy with breeze that whistles by.

Jan 6, 2012

WOH DIN


Halak mein atke hain kuch beete hue pal,
Saans le chale phir ussi kal.
Jahaan sardi ki dhoop si thi khushiyon ki garmaahat,
Jahaan koi na ho, phir bhi hamesha thi aahat.
Bas baithe baithe khud par hans lete zara,
Chaahe aasman gir jaaye, kisse thi parvaah?

Par phir aaya ek din, jab aahat na koi,
Neend mein achaanak uth padoon,
Koi hai? Lagta hai koi aawaz suni!
Har taraf dhoondha, kahin yeh meri kalpana toh nahi?
Sapnon ko pukaarte,
Khudko dhakela neend ki galli.

Subah hui aur aankhein dhoondein wohi dhoop,
Par thand ne thithur di meri rooh.
Mann se ki dua ki yeh sirf ho ek maaya,
Palak jhukaayi aur kuch mehsoos hua.
Lagta hai sirhaane aakhir koi aaya?
Kaun aaya? Kaun aaya?
Bas Khaalipan ka saaya.

- © HAEM ROY

6 Jan 2011.