Monday, October 11, 2010

Conversations with the Mirror

[Image from - ]
I washed my face and looked up
Whats worrying you I asked ??
But, you already know - said the reflection
Its been long since I have heard you speak
Speak please and help me now.

Questions - it said - I have questions on my mind
I braced myself and gave a nod

How long since we've seen home?
How long since you last laughed ?
Time has flown fast
And the shadows of worry 
Have faded the ambers of your heart.

You are tied now
Tied with chains of responsibilities
You have travelled far and are walking still
But the journey has long stopped

Where is the spark that once shone these eyes 
Where is the hope that eclipsed all in flight 
Where is the boy - bright and fiery
Sure as an arrow on its mark 

I know all that needs to be done
And I know all that you must
But you can not go further on this path
Green pastures and certain meals
Are not for the wolves at heart

Act now and change the course
Or life will flow as it has flown 
And we will yet speak once more
And many years would have passed
The journey will in deed draw to its end
And you will have only this mirror
Mourning the regrets of your past

- Sanket


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Sunday, October 03, 2010

The skies above

A few days ago, NASA announced that we were going to get to see a 'Harvest Moon'. A 'Harvest Moon', comes only once every four years and a 'Super Harvest Moon' comes only once in a decade. Filled with excitement, I took out my little telescope and aimed it at our bright satellite - It took my breath away! I have seen the moon through a telescope - many times, I have even sat down observing, for hours the moon's contours and compared them with the maps I had. But till that night, I had never seen the moon so bright and so gorgeously luminous. The harvest moon revived, two of my dormant passions in a single night - that for star gazing and that for photography. The former more rewarding than the latter. 

[Image used under license agreements from -]

As I sat on the floor of my balcony, blackening my peripherals and breathing evenly to calibrate my instrument, I realized just how much I loved my little telescope. At the time I'd bought it, I had just finished my 10th grade exams, and had saved that entire year's pocket money in the hopes of buying myself a telescope. Finally when the money brimmed enough, I emptied the deposits and bought myself a starter refracting telescope. With the money left, I bought myself tickets to an astronomy show at the Nehru Planetarium and as always, astronomy mesmerized me and lifted my imagination to soaring heights.  

There is something so marvelous and so magical about watching celestial objects through a telescope - that in all honesty, I can not hope to capture it in words. If you have never seen the craters of the moon, or the rings of Saturn through a telescope - I beg you to take the time out and try it - just once, it will not fail to enthrall you! 

The first time I saw our Moon through my new telescope, it was the monsoon of '98. I had camped for the better part of an hour on the sheltered stairs of our building's terrace in the hope that the rains would stop - and I would get a chance to try out my new toy. Every now and then, I ventured out into the open and impatiently gazed at the sky to check if the cloud cover was dispersing. I hadn't been able to see the Moon - except find a bright spot in the sky veiling the shiny ball. 

At last when the rains stopped, I dashed out and dried myself a patch of ground and began to set up my telescope. My sister - a covert optimist - who had been waiting for my word, had already ran up the stairs many times trying to asses the success of my experiment - and along the way - had communicated as many reprimands from my parents for staying up that late.  I tried to ignore her while focussing my line of sight on the brightest spot I could find. Every now and then an edge would appear - giving me hopes that I might be able to get a clear window in the clouds  - just long enough to fine tune my focal length and render a sharp image. 

After a few persevering minutes, the wind finally picked up and the clouds started to dart faster. Every time I got a peek at the moon, I would adjust my telescope a bit more. My sister  - realizing that I hadn't heard a word she said, sensed that I was onto something and decided to wait until I erupted with shouts of success. 

And then  - at last the skies heard my prayers and I found a clearing in the clouds - long enough to follow the moon and explore its surface. It was a crescent moon. While a full moon has its own beauty, it is the crescent moon that gives the best opportunity to see its craters.  The view through my eye piece was quite simply magnificent! I played with all the lenses available to me and finally settled on the one giving me the sharpest image. I hurriedly called my sister to take a peek. She was suitably impressed. Then, adopting a big brotherly, knowing tone, I told her to hold steady and study every crater she could feast her eyes on. "Never forget what an amazing site you are getting to see, it was that shadow on the moon that taught us that the world was round" 

The night of the Harvest Moon, I realized just how much of that passion had been eroded in the course of normal life! I had forgotten how - just a tiny glimpse of the night sky had the capacity to tell profound stories. 

A simple glimpse of the moon has the power to take us millions of years backward in time - and show us how it accumulated the craters on its face. It is also the single most practical image that can give us an appreciation of how big the earth is and it also serves to remind us that while our feet may be planted strongly on the ground - the planet on which we stand - is itself suspended in space like all other heavenly bodies we see. 

[Image used from -]

The night sky has, for thousands of years - inspired us to dream, it has compelled us to face who we are and judge our place in the Universe. It has led our ancestors to associate stellar patterns with the events of our lives. It has guided lost travelers across vast deserts to their destinations - as surely as it has guided human destiny toward science. In a world so twisted with deliberations over GOD and marred with whose GOD is right , it is actually the closest one can get to the divine. 

It reminds us just how infinitesimal we are - and how short-lived are our lives. It reminds us to be grateful for the home we are given and implores us to own our planet.  Our little blue planet, our beloved Earth, precious and fragile, beautiful and one of a kind. A marble of dream in a rather violent sky!

- Sanket


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Monday, July 05, 2010


I woke up and looked out the window. I looked out the window through half shut eyes and I sighed. It was going to be a difficult day. It was raining outside! As I slowly claimed my conscious, I could hear the faint rumble of clouds and a familiar drizzle outside. Ribbons of liquid stained the glass - twisting the images and distorting my reality. I woke up and stepped out to the patio and let myself be soaked - soaked with wave after wave of cold water. And against my will the water washed away my numbness bringing afresh the longing, love and lust - I had so carefully buried away. 

[Image used in accordance of copyright regulations -]

Rains have a way with me. I was born and raised in Bombay - where rains are the life of music and music is the life of our bodies. The bond between rains and our rhythms is deeper, more mysterious and more intricate than anyone can fathom. It reflects - in part India's dependence on monsoons and in part its need to create art. Art to express that which we wish but we can't. Over thousands of years of evolution the rain drops have absorbed themselves into our culture. They fuel the breaths of our soul as much as our blood fuels the beats of our heart. 

In the west as the countries industrialized and reduced their dependence on seasons so did they lose their connect with nature. In India, that connect survives as a faint but distinct hue in our identity. Hence while people in the west have lost their fascination with rains - in India - they still hold sway. 

Years ago the farmers from barren villages gathered and prayed to the skies. They begged and pleaded - they scolded and cajoled the clouds above. To this day the first rains are celebrated with the same relief and joy  as those parched voices did upon a barren soil. The rains are an innate part of our films and our songs. Even today they behold and move us - a whispered reminder of a time when masters like Tansen would sing Malhar and command the heavens to cry. 

I stand drenched and wet and cold and let myself go. The rains have a mind of their own ....

Rains, Rains - 
These rains carry with them many memories and times. 
They have  a way of entering your hearts
They thrill you and play with your thoughts
Drop per drop they symbolize and encapsulate the elixir of life.
They fall from the sky and unite on the earth.
They are precious they are dear.
They are transient they are immortal. 
Some drip as scented pearls from a girl's hair. 
Some glisten as beads of sweat in passion. 
Some trickle as salted rivulets of sorrow 
Some remain untold and veiled behind silent eyes
Some relish, as drinks of pleasure from a lover's lips 
While some are drunk as poison in anger, anguish and hurt 

Rains, Rains these rains, they have a mind of their own
I am swept clean now, I stand exhausted, spent 
The rains have brought me back to life 
They are my repent, and they have let me absolve
A part of my past ....

 - Sanket


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Sunday, June 27, 2010

How are you ??

The phone has messages says the blinking red light
I should probably check - they keep gathering
The laundry is past due - clothes overflowing the basket
Strewn wrinkled worn but not touched

Hunger knocks but I'd rather make coffee
I head to the kitchen and then withdraw hastily
The sink is filled - when was the last time I cooked ?
Oh yeah! That dinner with friends …… a faint memory

I head out to get food
They stare at the world outside
These bugs on my windshield 
staring at the world 
This world - moving changing 
moving on till everythings changed 

it is night now - a sunday night 
work is tomorrow - I should sleep
yet I am fascinated with the clock
4:05 AM tick tick tick …..

I get into the shower - the water is cold 
I shiver and yet, wish to feel it more
Oh it has been so long 
The numbness has begin to hurt 
I run the water harder 
Hoping it drowns the sobs 

Monday afternoon and I take a break ..
"Hey! How are you?" says a friend
I didn't notice or may be I refuse to
"Are you ok ?"
"I am fine" -  I say 

I am staring at the coffee 
It is going cold ..

 - Sanket


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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Don't you know!

Too long have I searched for you

And now there aren't more places to look
Yet I will hold strong, 
I remember the promise I made
The promise you took

Through the words of a poem
The colors of a canvas
Through the works of art
And the notes of music
I have sought you

It is all a charade 
The anger, the apathy
The laughter and smiles of pain
The ice cold exterior
And the nerves of steel 

Though honest I am 
I have lied to myself
'Make it through one more day'
Did I not say that yesterday ?

I have lost myself amidst friends
And worked sleepless nights in vain
I have drowned intoxicated 
And found myself alone in a crowd
All over again

I remember what I said
Do you not know I lied ?
The wait is unbearable, 
The anguish intense
I may not hold strong 

Did it never cross your mind
That I might break ?
Too long, it has been too long
I want you to come
I want you to come now 

 - Sanket


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Sunday, May 09, 2010


I was walking within my apartment complex the other day - the hour was late and most of the world around me had already retired. The designers of my residence were thoughtful enough to include a long walking trail on the perimeter of our premises. It is aesthetic and wild with many a turn - winding through gorgeous tall trees and surrounded by beautiful foliage. In the day it thrives in the balmy summer air and bird songs while during the night it cultivates a cool breeze and the gentle rustle of tree leaves. A singular section of this trail goes through an open grass land - and on this particular night the sky was so clear that the stars above took my breath away!!! It caused me to pause my walk and lie down - and to think and reflect ....

[Image used in conformation of copy rights -]

I was distracted initially and I had a million things on my mind mostly revolving around my career, responsibilities and personal life - but after a while those thoughts settled and I felt anew a sense of calm - and in the silence of that moment - there was no one  and nothing between me and the stars. My breaths deepened and I felt myself intoxicated with awareness, for a brief period of time, we were breathing in complete harmony - me and the night around me. 

I have always loved stars, back in school I had managed to save up enough pocket money to buy a little telescope. This tube of lenses was my portal to the universe. Every week, I used to squeeze out some time - and away from the prying eyes of the world, I would escape to a tryst with these diamonds in the sky. 

Stars have a unique way of inspiring and humbling the human mind. They have been for centuries. Thousands of years ago, people of almost every civilization looked at the heavens above - at the same very patterns we see today - and tried to connect these revolving lights with the events of their lives. Almost anyone who has held an audience with the stars quickly comes to realize how minuscule human life really is. The sheer scale of the universe is staggering and quite beyond the realms of the most gifted of imaginations. Science itself has been trying mightily to encapsulate and explain the entire universe through one unified theory - from ether to the big bang - from string theory to the membrane, each time we thought we've found the answers - we've discovered - that we couldn't be more wrong. Even though I am a deep rooted and honest to GOD student of science - I find this human urge - 'to explain everything around them' - quite amusing, futile and of late unnecessary. 

What we do know is that a long time ago, our Sun and it surrounding planets evolved from the gasses and elements of this universe - first the star and then the planets around it ...... and eventually at one point - Life. Our comprehension and view of the universe has often times been too narrow and revolving only around the time the human species came into prominence on life upon Earth. Too often do we forget - that before us there was another species which ruled - that after us there still might be another creation to flourish and that before any of it we all really were just bubbles of elements boiling in hot lava. 

The intervention of that night's silence and its probe into my mind made me realize that often times we choose to dwell solely upon human life - and only our lives at that.  We surround ourselves with news and gossip - we argue and laugh amongst our friends - we fall in love and we fight - we hate and we fall in love all over again - we live and we die within and only within this tiny slice of time. While important, I find this view of life rather limited and sorely incomplete. 

I believe - failing to realize how minute and inconsequential our existence is - prevents us from understanding the true significance of life - and from admiring the true beauty of creation. Right before my conversation with the stars - I was stuck in a hard place in my life, one where I was perpetually worried that I might live my entire existence without making any significant contribution to the world. The dialogue helped me put all of my anxiety into perspective. 

The truth is we were all born out of this universe and when we die - we will all be part of this universe again. This concept was proven by Einstein but very few people choose to see it this way. There was a time in my life when I felt all living creatures were infinitely superior to dead things - like rocks and sand - where as the truth in fact is that the same elements that make all of our planets, make the rock and the same elements make us. We worry about causing the planet damage. Yes, its bad - and we shouldn't pollute - but its bad only for all life on earth - which - in the scheme of things is just a blip in the universe. I guess the point I am trying to drive home is that we make too much of ourselves. We have invested so much time and energy in trying to keep us alive for as long as possible - believing that a human life - rather a human's consciousness of life is the all essential thing to preserve - all the time failing to realize that it is the shortness and unpredictability of life that makes it so beautiful. 

As I lay on that cold earth - in total peace  - I felt for the first time as being one with the universe. All the problems and uncertainty of my life still remained - but I could  clearly hear what the starlight had whispered to me - That millions of years from now, when I would be no more - when Earth might be no more - we will all still, be a part of this universe - and perhaps some day a small boy on the top of a roof on some remote planet will see me as a speck of light - and be delighted once again as I was - this beautiful night. 

The only true meaning of life - I have come to believe is in enjoying our existence and feel - in each breath what our senses tell us. To find peace and happiness rooted in the certainty of our mortality and to enjoy this transient bijou we call life. We are after all - simply Starlight!!

- Sanket


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Friday, March 05, 2010

Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust!!

As the evening grows dark I come to rest at a small pool of water... its character muddied by circumstances. I hold it in my hands, the shifting surface refusing to reflect a pale moon ... and so I seek in the darker depths ........ a glimpse ......... a hint of the moon that once shined so clear ........ a light now  missing.  I sit down and try to  wash the stains of tire the day has brought.... the stains refuse to fade away ..... and I smile at the fact that it wouldn't matter even if they did. To the water I say ... here is laughter - here is love - the flowers once so beautiful - I now offer you withered.


On and on I walk through the night and I reach an old abandoned fort .... I roam its insides ... now dreary quiet ... I chase those empty shadows of silence for the hint of laughter that once echoed and I ask - where did he go? the boy that once capered and galloped, and ran merry in halls of gold.

I walk and stumble till noon past morn .... now seeking again - a drink of water ... a humble drop. I  reach an endless barren ... surrounded by a scalded land ... I fall on my  knees and dig with bare hands .... in that dry parched earth - I forsake my soul -  I bury its grey fabric - a satin once white as snow.

Ashes to  ashes - Dust to dust. Behold in its quite sombre - the death of  Hope.

- Sanket


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