March 31, 2009

Thirty on Thirty

What do you plan to do when you turn 30? Travel to someplace you've never been before, buy that diamond ring you've been eyeing for months altogether or just ignore it as if it were just another birthday?

Well, my friend Prashant who turns 30 this month, wishes to do something really significant. He has initiated project 30on30. The idea is on raising 30,000 INR for a cause - For Child Education and Rights - by selling 30 photographs taken by him. 100% of the funds raised through 30on30 would go to Sankalp, a project of ASK , which is based out of Moradabad.

Gift a smile. Support 30on30.

'Falling in Love' - one of my favourite pics taken by Prashant

You too can contribute towards a child's education. All you need to do is go to 30on30 and buy one of the many beautiful pictures displayed there. The details of the print size, shipping cost, receipt, etc.are mentioned on the site. You can also help us spread the word - write about it on your blog or simply mail a couple of friends. A little gesture by you will go a long way to brighten up someone's life!

Thanks Prashant for including me in the 'team' and to Swati and Subhadip for making this come together :)

March 23, 2009

On killing a tree

Today, while returning home, I saw a tree being brutally cut down at the University Road. I had to stop and ask them why they were doing so. 'Yeh jhaad sadh gaya hai,' came the reply. I couldn't have done anything; the tree was dead.

All those years of greenery and shade had come down with a chop. The huge tree lay there, helpless - being cut from every nook and corner. The sight was so deadly, it could only be compared to a brutal 'killing'. I had read 'On killing a tree' by Gieve Patel long time back, but as I read it today, I well know what he might have witnessed to have written such a powerful poem.


It takes much time to kill a tree,
Not a simple jab of the knife
Will do it.

It has grown
Slowly consuming the earth,
Rising out if it, feeding
Upon its crust, absorbing
Years of sunlight, air, water,
And out of its leprous hide
Sprouting leaves.
So hack and chop

But this alone won't do it.
Not so much pain will do it.
The bleeding bark will heal
And from close to the ground
Will rise curled green twigs,
Miniature boughs
Which if unchecked will expand again
To former size.

The root is to be pulled out
Out of the anchoring earth;
It is to be roped, tied,
And pulled out-snapped out
Or pulled out entirely,
Out from the earth-cave,
And the strength of the tree exposed,
The source, white and wet,
The most sensitive, hidden
For years inside the earth.

Then the matter
Of scorching and choking
In sun and air,

Browning, hardening,
Twisting, withering,
And then it is done.

March 03, 2009

Emotional Atyachaar

She picks up the cigarette in her hand. Rolls it between her fingers. Back and forth...slowly...very slowly, as if trying to derive at the exact measure of its diameter. Her mind, still clouded with indecisiveness, she observes the little white stick in great detail. The symbol, the text, the fine lines running across the brown filter. The rolling makes the tobacco pop up on the surface. The coarse curled insides look like wood shavings to her. I musn't be doing this, she says to herself. But her hands are not ready to let it go. She draws it closer to her nose. The stick running just beneath her nostils in a smooth fashion - the kinds she'd seen in movies umpteen number of times. The smell is familiar - nothing more than a faint memory though. But she knows it well, it doesnt take long for the faint to become clearer. She puts the cigarette in her mouth and lights a match. The light touches the tip; she takes a drag and sees the edges glow in a fiery orange.

She inhales, only to let the fumes swirl in her mouth for a couple of seconds. Then, slowly she lets it out. The white smoke makes its way up but the smell of the nicotine teases her palate. She takes another drag and then another - inhaling a bit of smoke each time. Finally, the cylindrical stick reaches its safety end. The last drag is long, as if trying to make the end the most rewarding.

The euphoria ends. She looks at the stub, the intoxicating smell still surrounding her. She sighs in disbelief.

Things she does to feel close to him.