May 29, 2010



Not many are unaware of the legend of Mahabharata. But individuals like Arjun, Krishna and Duryodhan have taken much of the prehistoric limelight. A character that played a pivotal role in shaping the end of Mahabharata was Ashwathama. Ashwathama was the Son of Krupi (Mother) and Dronacharya(Father), the great teacher who taught archery and weaponry to all Pandavas (remember the forgotten Hero Eklavya?) and Kaurvas. Ashwathama fought in the epic battle of Mahabharata as the commander of the forces from the camp of Kauravas (the antagonists) against the Pandavas (the protagonists), as did his father, Dronacharya. Quite an intriguing fact about Ashwathama is that since his birth, Ashwathama had a jewel (mani) embedded in his forehead which saved him from demons, Gods, snakes and from worldly botheration of hunger and thirst. So here goes the legend of Ashwathama
Towards the end of the battle when Duryodhan was killed by Bheema, the left over Kaurav warriors (including Ashwathama) made a treacherous attempt to kill Pandava brothers. They hideously attacked Pandava’s cantonment at night and beheaded the five warriors sleeping in one of the kiosks. Hours later on Sunrise, they realised they have instead of 5 Pandava brothers they killed the 5 sons of Pandavas. Naturally, Pandavas also discovered 5 headless bodies and strode in agony and anger towards the rival camp (accompanied by ‘mortal-Lord’ Krishna, the Friend-Philosopher-Guide and charioteer of Arjuna).

Seeing the extent of approaching Pandava’s fury, Ashwatthama realised the extent of his mistake and feared his life (though he was immortal!). In his dread, Ashwathama used a blade of grass and using his knowledge of Vedas, made the deadly weapon called Brahmastra (erstwhile version of Nuclear Weapon conferred to supreme warriors by Lord Brahma). He threw this weapon at Pandavas articulating the curse “May all the Pandavas be Destroyed”. To counter this weapon and its curse, Arjun withdrew his bow and released another deadly weapon called Pashupatiastra (another version of Nuclear Weapon, named after and conferred by Lord Shiva).
Now both these weapons had apocalyptic capacities. So seeing the potential danger to Mankind, Lord Vishnu (The most supreme God) descended from heavens and commanded both the warriors to withdraw or take back their weapons. While Arjun took the Pashupatiastra back, Ashwatthama din’t know how to do so. Vishnu then asked Ashwathama to decide a single target of this weapon. Still under wrath and binded by His promise to deceased Duryodhana, Ashwathama chose the womb of the pregnant ‘Uttara’ (wife of martyr Abhimanyu- the great archer and son of Arjuna) in sense that on her delivery she will have a dead child and Pandavas will be destroyed.
As a penitence for Ashwatthama, Lord Krishna pulled out his forehead’s jewel and commanded that he will not lose his immortality and will roam around till the end of the world. And worst of all, the hollow made on his forehead by digging the jewel out will never heal and will always seep blood and Puss, thus arousing a foul smell.
So months later Uttara did begot a male child who was dead. This brought a wave of Sadness to Pandav Kingdom as they were left without an heir to their prodigal dynasty. Seeing the sentiment, Lord Krishna took the child in his lap and said something close to this “If I have never favoured the evil, If I have never lied and have never did a deed, but towards just and truth, MAY THE CHILD COME TO LIFE” and as expected, the hitherto dead boy started crying. The buy was nomenclatured on this incident. His name was ‘Parikshit’ (The Tested: through a test of God) and he ruled the Pandav Dynasty after the 5 brothers left for heaven.

So coming back to Ashwatthama, his blessing of immortality turned into a curse and he joined the league of Chiranjeevis (The timeless or extremely long live, but not necessarily immortals-other examples are Hanumana, Narada and Parshurama). Since then Ashwatthama is roaming around on earth with a bleeding forehead.
Now comes the most incredible part, Ashwatthama is claimed to be seen by some people. Here are the two instances:
a) A renowned Vaidhya (Ayurvedic Doctor) in Madhya Pradesh had a tough patient with a septic forehead. After several applications of a fail-proof potion, the wound was still afresh and bleeding. Amazed at his potions inability, the doctor wittingly said: “Your forehead’s wound seems ageless and cureless. I wonder, are you Ashwatthama.. hahaha”. At the third ha, he turned around to apply the next doze and found that the seat was empty. The patient just disappeared into thin air, sealing Vaidya’s wit with reality”
b) Legend says that in an Indian village near Burhanpur, there is an old dilapidated fort called Asirgarh,, ancient tomb in India where Ashwathama supposedly offers flowers to a Shiva-ling (pneumonic of Lord Shiva) each day.
While incidence a) was reported in Kalyan Magazine, incident b) was briefly on News channels too. Some yogis like Pilot Baba have gone as far in mentioning their encounter and conversation with Ashwathama, who was living among tribes of Bheels at Himalayan Foothills. In all such incidences, the narrators mentioned the height of Ashwathama around 12 feet.
Even if you don’t believe in mythology and religion, the idea of a 12 feet tall, 6000 year old man, witnessing history’s biggest bloodshed and living with God, is still intriguing. I really wonder, if there is a real Ashwathama or any other Chiranjeevi, can’t he come to public eye and narrate us the magnanimous battle-story of our past or is Ashwathama purely legendary?


Apr 19, 2010

I am still wandering...

Why can’t beautiful women behave nicely to their carnal and visual opposites- murmured Vyas as he de-boarded the bus, the old bus with an older conductor whose hands always smelled of rusted, peopled iron। Vyas never gave him more than the ticket amount as he always avoided the rusty-ironed-hand’s change.

So Vyas, the eclipsed sun of our story and son of a late Army official and a typically illiterate sweaterknitting, two-saree-owner mother works at a bank to only earn his bread as there’s hardly anything left for butter.

A 5’7” shabby 26 year old boy or man, he knows best, Vyas is elbow-complexioned with red lips and facial skin like a tanned buffalo’s! His hair puff was the only visible feature of his façade that whispered of his youth. His textured hair kept him seeing a mirror each morning, being shamelessly oblivious to his premature ageing!

All these miraculous features with a life of struggles at pinnacles and the not-to-miss banker’s job barred his masculinity to mid-bathing masturbation sessions and occasional cleavage peeps in the bus.

Today was supposed to be like any other sans-energy, sans-smile day when for the first half he opens his mouth for customering and Gold-flaking and second half for customering, Gold-flaking and burping, adding foul-odour yawns in the siesta hours.

But the evening had unexpected waiting for Vyas. Enough to kill the yawning and stir him!

Vyas while dealing with the customers usually kept his head low for two reasons. 1) He doesn’t want futile socialization as he calls it atrophy and 2) he doesn’t want people to see his face and make unwanted gestures with their.

But today there was a head lifting voice after the lunch that made him alter the angle of his neck. This was Vyas’ friend- a college pal- Surojit. His sight made Vyas’ lips flicker in a welcoming gesture for it was after 6 years of college that he saw a known face. After opening his new account, vyas opened the conversation as he replaced a hesitant colleague at his desk.

The conversation, ought to be loud and hearty was low and short. Both talked of college, life after college and job. On Vyas’ question about livelihood, Surojit’s answer was-“I am still wandering”. Vyas, not to embarrass him, carpeted the topic. After some Gold-flaking, both bid farewell to each other with the promise to meet monthly in the bank.

With this promise they parted and Vyas replaced the replacement. As Vyas enveloped himself in monotonous, single-syllable routine, he was still brooding college times which used to be umpteen times better (he even used to be fairer than this in the college). He started smoking on 3rd day of college. He loved Bindra, who loved Krishnan, who loved Padmaja and Padmaja ran with her domestic help Mutur, a bihari. Bindra consoled Krishnan and today they are happily married with two kids, darker than their parents, perhaps a shade darker than Vyas even. Had Padmaja not ran with her domestic help, Vyas would have a Social and biological outlets to enjoy. But college was not that bad after all. He watched his first porn film in college, a Srilankan porn movie with 1 hour of foreplay and 10 minutes of action.

Vyas attributes his virginity to such a gory exposure first then to his social circle and finally to his facade. The only women he knows other than his mother is Mrs Lakshmi a co-worker. Vyas thinks Mrs Lakhsmi met her menopause at least a decade ago and her husband could gather the courage to fornicate with her only twice, for they have two children.

His Virginity was a celibacy which always left Vyas in the purgatory of pride and prejudice.

All these and more thoughts, as fast they travel, steered him to Surojit, for this flashback was an upshot of his arrival. Surojit never attended mathematics class, the professor was his father. His Bengali sister was far better than any other girl in the college. He and Vyas became friends at the end of first year. Vyas took his Bajaj Vespa when he went to Bindra’s house (in his best shirt-RED) to say her happy birthday.

And suddenly, Vyas froze in his chair. The floor slipped from under. With wide eyes and sweat drops forming on his forehead Vyas recalled a haunting memory… Surojit died in the final year of college. It was an accident. A bus ran over him while he was driving his Vespa.

Thick sputum formed in his throat. And like the sputum, Vyas could not digest he met with a dead person or-what froze his spine-a ghost.

It took him three minutes and a customer’s meddling to regain mundane consciousness. As he finished the work till evening, he decided to check his records for he address Surojit gave him. It seemed that the spree of surprises was not over.

The form bore the address of their college.

Vyas held his scalp into hands to grab all that happened to him. Did that mean Surojit was still living in college? Is surojit, the now metaphysical, still attached to college memoirs? How long will he be like this? Will he come again? Then Surojit’s righteous words echoed deafeningly in his head

“I am still wandering”

His spirit was wandering in the college compound and it came to see an old friend six years after they parted.

Mar 15, 2010

It was always late

Each morning, 30 minutes after leaving the bed, I am usually found in one of those DMRC beasts either fantasizing a seat, a women, sulking with an IPod plugged in to my ears or most commonly... reading. Finally out of existent stock and wary of going somewhere to purchase newer books, I finally picked up a Novel called "Zero Percentile" and started reading it today. This novel, written by a quassi-chetan bhagat author in a sami-chetan bhagat style with a fully chetan bhagat marketing plan was nowhere comparable to (at least) best selling Bhagat. The narrative was unorganised, unplanned, unedited and unthoughtful. It was like a news article done by the cameraperson because the journalist was on leave. However, the 40 pages of this novel resurrected in me something that even Ayn Rand, Lawrence and Rushdie failed to... my own dream of writing a Novel.
I kept 'Zero Percentile' down after reading 40 pages to enjoy the trance and nostalgia that it gave me, trance of my own first novel. Starting 3 years ago on this unplanned voyage of writing a novel, I (immature and unexposed) played safe and romantic by picking up a Delhi based love story as my plot. With my limited knowledge of vocabulary, art of expression and usage of words to their true potential, I wrote about 150 pages in MS Word(I still remember that old Sahara laptop). Those standards of yesteryear are but a source of mockery now. Those plane expressions, underutilized idioms, pointless sarcasms, careless satires, disparaging euphemisms and short vocabulary were anything but tamed and timid. But today, when I have made a career out of writing and I'm by my standards a decently read man with viable knowledge of language and its usage as a tool... today, when my pen is, if not sword, at least a sickle of verbiage, I am too messed up in my grooming to pen out my aspirations. The madness has died and the magic could never grow. All dreams of boundless creativity are broken each morning by the alarm clock. The trance of imagination is broken by the assaults of deadlines. The ship has met it's fate even before its first journey. It will soon be sunk in the white-collar-whirlwind. The death has already happened in me much longer, but I realized it today after reading another budding author, who at least wrote. Zero Percentile will continue to be my most-haunting and disparaging novel for long. But I never-the-less-never-the-more need to start from page 41 tomorrow...

Mar 3, 2010

Training for taming

Post placement-the wetting dream of all management students-life has been spiralling, twisting and intimidating. The society and civility are no more like before. The blood-brotherhood promises are growing stale. The commitments to oneself, the oath of disciplines, the fantasies of luxury and the utopian perfection have ceased even before their creation. Let alone eclectic growth, some of us are probably diminishing from inside.

How so ever occupied I be or pretend to be, some fragments of past do visit me each day. Remembering my first year in that obscenely built lavish triangular dwelling, I recall the emotional voyage of absurdity, aloofness, confusion, numbness, friendship, politics, bacchanalianism, mockery, bigotry, accidents, nudity, extremity, incapability and atrophy. While yet, another side of me contemporarily recalls freshness, rejuvenation, attachment, charm, belongingness and insecurity. Till the speciality of pursuing higher education became a necessity: a socio-emotional dose, we were through with the confused half of our MBA.

Following the 3 month break in our redeeming Sabbath I, with some chosen and imposed friends moved to another accommodation. Now this one reminds me of laughter, potpourri, happy high, sad high, only high, high-high, neighbour nagging, pre dawn whacking, perverseness, madness, fear, frolic, frenzy, fame, sense, logic, untangling and relief. Correspondingly, the not so egoist alter ego remembers mirth, bliss, strife, derelicts, homecoming, extrapolation, vision, pacification, belief, humour, commitment and oneness.

Having said all this, I must mention that it is not merely the spasms of nostalgia or fits of chagrin that haunt us, it is the crowded and rowdy outside world that upsets us by not being as we shaped it inside. You might not like to pardon my frankness, but the vainness of MBA is more intense than its best reminiscence. Even if you see that the road to future is bright and sunny, prepare for a rain or sunburn, and for some of us, even for an eclipse.