Stories From A Yellow Room

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Purple haze
Red light daze.
Italian food…too cheesy?
Try govinda’s movies for a change.
Confused about the boy ?
Get along with another one for a while .
Prevent yourself from drowning ,
By staying on the surface .
Drown to get over the illusion of the surface !1
Work till u can’t breathe,
Work to block ur view
Give ur mind a window, to ur inner self .
Stand alone and pause !
Think the thought .
Walk the talk .
Stand still and move fast,
Immobility kills the cause.
Be the best u’l ever know..
Stick to ur guts
Eat an ic-cream, blow the candles on your cake
Learn how to make a movie.
Drag the queen out of her chair ,
Reign, reside, accomplish,
Surprise yourself!!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Then there was word…the word was spoken and soon followed man’s desire to write. I write this to celebrate all the writers who put thought to paper and all those readers who revel in the beauty of our writing…
“If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I’d type a little faster.”
Isaac Asimov
This is the spirit of a writer, the need of a writer, the soul of a writer.
I often read closely, works of famous writers and watch words change into actions produced out of an uncanny thought, bringing alive all that remains buried in that page. For Horace, a Roman scholar the purpose of writing was to teach and delight…centuries later we continue doing the same. The beauty of thought is best expressed in writing. Writing is therapeutic, leading to purgation of myriad thoughts that our mind is capable of producing. It’s not only subjective thoughts that one needs to vent out but sharing of information imparted through writing enhances communication.
In today’s world as time shrinks, words are shortened, language in dissected, meanings are converged, visual communication takes over, a fresh piece of holistic writing is much needed.
Thus there rests a great responsibility on the shoulder of a committed writer. As the great 20th century writer and philosopher, Albert Camus states “the purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself” this statement contrary to it’s brevity is weighty in thought, setting forth the responsibility and role of a writer and emphasizing a writers role as a sort of saviour, guardian of the society helping in preserving the truth.
Man’s freedom of expression has a long and turbulent history attached to it. Descending to some centuries back, when writing was the main effective tool to communicate and reach out to people. Revolutions and protests have borne witness to the importance of this act. Be it Elizabethan England where people protested against the church via means of blasphemous and controversial writings or our very own struggle for independence with eminent journalists like Gandhi, Annie Besant, and Bal Gangadhar Tilak who took to writing. All used a common medium of expression, of bringing about that much needed change, they wrote, they criticized, they awoke the sleeping consciousness of people and they succeeded.
Yet one’s freedom of expression has been vulnerable to external threats. There is always an opposing party that will make it difficult for a pro social writer to exist in its chaotic strata. Writers have been executed, out-casted, punished for their act of putting down what is to be hidden. I talk about an effective medium of writing, one that has rebelled against the authorities, against prevailing unjust social order, one that has been often smothered or oppressed and one that no matter what, will still continue to exist.
In our testing times such events continue to prevail. With the society preaching notions of individualism thereby granting an added liberty to one’s speech and expression, such a freedom becomes a hoax as Salman Rushdie gets a Fatwa or more recently Tasleema Nasreen becomes this iconic figure for all that is immoral and unjustified. These writers on their part take bold steps, they tread paths not ventured before, they lay open what since centuries has been forcefully imprisoned, they speak out, they write and they move the readers.That my dear readers, is the beauty of writing, the power of a pen, the ability to propagate thought.
Be it a poet who has divine power of interpreting life in his\her works, playwright who gives life to characters , fiction writer who creates the imaginary world where Harry Porter can fly on the magic broom, journalists, script writers, amateurs or anyone else who lives to write would find the act intrinsic.
I could go on endlessly about the sheer joy of writing but I remind myself that there will be a reader who might scorn my writing on writing. So I pause and stop writing.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ravana Makers:

Prior to the much awaited, yearly festivities of Dusshera and the symbolic burning of the ravana effigies is a 2 month long period of hard work, which goes behind preparing the 40 feet tall ravana structures. This seasonal production of the effigies is replete with preparing basic structures, followed by colorful decorations, including painting and bejeweling them alike. It's a craft, not known by many but picked up by a few who till date continue to make a living off it.Off the Tagore Garden Metro station, thrives the ravana making trade.
Rows of crafted workers and shop owners are stationed among heaps of wooden sticks, wires and partially prepared structures. It's a site hard to miss and when observed closely it even has a story to tell."Sanjay Ravana Wala", employs 7 workers who in totality produce 20-25 ravanas yearly. Sanjay the shop owner , has been running this trade for the past 25 years. "While still at school I would assist Sultan Singh also known as Ravan Wale Baba, the originator of this craft. After my 12th, I started my own work and continue even today". He is also runs the New India Ravana's Society as an addition to his business.
The basic material used in preparing the structures comprises of wood, dhoti, wires, colorful paper and paints. A 40 ft structure sells anywhere between Rs. 4000-7000. The prices do go higher depending on the size of the effigy. Sanjay says while relating the facts of the business.
One of his workers Ranjit, hailing from Bihar, has been making ravanas for the past 5 years. He picked up the skill on the job and is now a pro at it. Their work hours are not fixed, as they proclaim to work around the clock. "We work all day long and late into the night, sometimes it stretches onto the next day, but it's just two months of such work". He states, as he works on the wooden sticks.
Another such producer of Ravana structures is Mahendra Singh of "Mahendra and Subhash Ravan Wale" who's been around for almost 40 years. He claims to be the oldest of the lot and boosts of producing 51 pieces yearly. He does have much to say about the dire state of the market despite good sales. "When I started out I would produce 100 such ravana all by myself, in those days the shops were scanty, competition was non-existent and raw material also came cheap. Now things have changed, the demand is there but the competition has increased manifold, there are many shops in the area doing the same business. Also, the prices of wood, wires and decorative pieces have gone up." He states pondering on the supply and demand situations.On being inquired about his clientele he utters names of foreign lands. "My work is quite famous; I have clients in America, South Africa and Canada. They even shot a movie once of my shop and told me to act. They were Indians and foreigners both and they were very excited to see the work we do in India." He adds with a sense of pride.
A little away from the main road, few workers concentrate below the scorching sun. Workers of "Naresh Kumar Ravana Wala" work effortlessly. They tie and untie pieces of wood and listen to instructions from Prem Kumar, the owner's brother. Knowing, that these structures will burn away to ashes in a few weeks, representing the destruction of evil, they ceaselessly aim to produce sturdy and fancy Ravanas, Kumbhkarans, and Meghdoot. Meeting deadlines and cultivating a profession for themselves.


"Achieve something", are the key words I try and pay attention to, my prime intent behind writing this down is because someone somewhere once shook my idea and meaning of ambition. "Tell me how much money you see yourself earning and I will tell you how ambitious you are?"Startled not only by the question , but also by the fact that I'd never really seen myself in monetary terms but rather a position. Now what that position would cost by the time I acquired it, was something I hadn't given a thought to. So, yes the question surprised me, I tried to catch hold of a rough figure running in my head and handed it out as the answer. I don't know how much I scored on the "ambition scoreboard", but the question still reverberates in my head. After almost a year I go back to it.

Now some concrete examples to debunk the statement that has revoked me to write this down. So a person running an N.G.O, extremely passionate about a cause and doing the world hell lotta good is obviously not more ambitious than say a ramp model , who barely finished graduation but yes is earning plenty of money. Also a girl I know of, who presently happens to be a coveted Rhode Scholar at the Oxford University doing her PH.D on Gujarat riots is the most ambitious I know till now. She wanted to be in that university since 10th std and she made it. She makes extra money by giving tuitions on campus, but she loves what she is doing and fulfilling her very rich dream. I am sure there are many, earning more than her but finding no satisfaction in what they do. Let me stretch it a bit further, Mahatma Gandhi, according to the new monetary trend was then obviously the most un-ambitious of the lot and so was Nelson Mandela, since they lived a life of penury.

My point being, in today's world, yes wealth is important. But how can one take that as the only barometer for Ambition, how can one decide who wishes to achieve what only by knowing how much one is earning.

Yes money = power, but sometimes even your work which evaluates to no wealth can make you ambitious. I can give countless examples of people doing fascinating things, driven by passion and ambition they are succeeding in their own right and bringing about a change far greater than what money can buy.

So yes, I would want my dear friend who made that statement to re-think the clause. Ambition isn't solely about how much money you will make, it's about how driven you are, it's about not caring about the money on certain occasions and just going with great impetus, it's about leaving a mark and doing something .

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Navaratra Musicals

Billy Holiday plays on my laptop as at the neighbourly temple, navratra beats resonate. They are banned an entry into my room. I close tightly all doors and windows which act as the possible routes for the sound to escape and enter my space. The sound I talk of is actually noise, literally, bollywood music with “Jai Mata Di” lyrics jammed in it, sung by singers who my father claims drink before going on stage. They are interesting these songs, aping latest Bollywood numbers from Mera Piya Ghar Aaya ( not so latest) and many more. How they transfigure spontaneously as religious songs is indeed a work of sheer genius!!
The charm is over now, of the navaratra days, when these colony musicals were the meeting spot at night and the Temple with its underground water cave was the place to be. It needed to be paid visit to at least 3 times in a day, gufa became a substitute for the park, the dark dingy path leading us to the little statue of goddess, was the eventual find of the pilgrim’s progress. On our exit we’d be given the Prasad, that of groun-nuts with mishri. We’d hold on to it till we got home, our hands sticky and sweaty.

It’s an annual event now, during school days these “musicals” would clash with my exams, thus causing a very dramatic intervention by my family with the temple authority. The “pulls” would be used to lower down the volume or maybe end the event since we kids were trying to study, to build a better future. Years later with a unsatisfied present and still yearning a better future, I find my own mechanisms to divert the noise. Bob Dylan takes over now, its 12, time for the goddess to sleep, time for the music to end, time for the singers to rest. Time for me to wake up and start work.