एक इशारा तो दो
कि उम्मीद जगे बाकी के इंतज़ार के लिए.
बातें कर के दिल नहीं भरता अब
कि बातें करने वालों की फेहरिस्त बड़ी लंबी है.
हम तो फ़ेसबुक, मेस्सेंजर, वॉट’स ऐप से आगे जा पहुँचे हैं
और एक तुम हो
जो अभी भी हमें sms से खुश करना चाहती हो.
काश तुम्हारे भी थोड़े बाल सफेद होते
और तुम्हें भी जल्दी होती मेरी तरह
फ़ासले तय करने की.


Volunteering – Illusion of separateness

Today was my third weekend of volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. On previous two occasions, I had worked at ReStore. The proceeds from sale of donated furniture and other household goods at this store go towards building affordable housing for the needy.

Today I decided to do something different and hence, went to participate in this housing project where we helped the crew build four houses. There were around 25 volunteers reporting around 8 am on a Saturday morning – most of them school and college kids. I worked on removing the planks from driveway of one of the houses. While doing this and other things like marking the measurement on site according to the floor plan, I suddenly had this thought – someday a family will live there without knowing that I had worked on their driveway or on their floor. If at all we were to come across each other on the street, we would think there was nothing that connected us and that we were two separate entities. But, therein lies the illusion of separateness (title of a book I read recently) because we are connected after all. Interesting, isn’t it?

I felt good after doing this. Shall we call it moral? I would like to think so.

2014 Book List

1. Reading Lolita in Tehran – Azar Nafisi

The writer recounts her experience of living in Iran after the Islamic Revolution. She secretly gathers a group of seven students and together they read and discuss the forbidden Western Classics by authors like Nabokov, Henry James, Jane Austen, Fitzgerald. It’s an amazing book. It made me look at Nabokov’s Lolita in a totally different light. I got James’ Washington Square from library. In addition, I’m going to revisit Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. This is what this book does. It makes you revisit those great pieces of literature.

2. Fifty Shades of Grey – E. L. James

This book topped the bestseller list in US and UK. Seriously?

Erotica. BDSM. Easy read. YES.

But being awarded “Book of the year”? For what exactly? Great work of fiction?!?!

3. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

4. The Illusion of Separateness – Simon Van Booy

5. Daisy Miller – Henry James

Jagjit Singh, tape recorder and those cassettes

अपने हाथों की लकीरों में बसा ले मुझको
मैं हूँ तेरा तो नसीब अपना बना ले मुझको
another timeless classic from Jagjit Singh. Isn’t he one of the main reasons why most of us started listening to gazals? In an earlier life, we had a small tape recorder and used to buy Jagjit Singh cassettes. Wonder who got those cassettes in the end! I guess it never ended.

Some of those cassette covers –



Completed two treks recently. One to Visapur Fort and the other to Rajgad. Yet to lay my hands on the photos. Rajgad was difficult and treacherous due to non-stop rain and mist. Visapur was made difficult because we chose a non-conventional route – through the waterfall:)