pouring rain in pachod?

I am sitting in the darkened office of Shivraj travels, outside the Aurangabad bus stop, my open laptop casting an eerie glow in the interior of the shack. A sputtering candle lights up the front desk where the passive faced (ostensibly) Mr Shivraj pronounces gloomy judgement on the fate of Pune-bound buses. His desk is simple and neat, and the small shelf on the table is a willing pagoda for a surprisingly feminine pantheon, the bald-headed and tired-grinned face of Sai Baba being the only splash of testosterone in the Devi-congested crew on the wall of the desk. The Gods are visible only to Shivraj, who can see the world beyond his shop, and the traffic passing by.

The reason for the sputteringly illuminative candle is the power cut that grips all of Aurangabad for eight hours every day. Four-in-the-morning, four-in-the-evening, ding-dong, khattam shudh and more mosquitoes than you can shake a bug-repellant doused stick at. Marathwada is reeling under the effect of no rains for well nigh on one-and-a-half months since they were expected to visit, and the highway to Beed from Aurangabad reveals cracked dry parched earth, leathery skin-and-white boned cattle, and hard, wiry men in brilliant turbans, their nut-brown faces a mass of wrinkles as they squint their summer-weary eyes to the cheerfully blue sky. Every day is another agony of waiting, a familiar dance of painful anticipation as the sky darkens for a while in a mock show of cumulo-nimbic enthusiasm, the winds sweeping across the fields carrying with them the faintest whiff of moisture. Before long, however, the clouds are scattered, and the wind once again down to faint puffs of dry-as-dust air. The animals are all starved and listless, the tall bony cattle that gnaw at the dessicated roots and grass looking hungry and thirsty, their troughs containing small puddles of slushy mud by way of aitch-two-oh.

Yesterday, however, was a change, a shift from this constant cycle of dearth and rebirth. In an awesome display of open-skied exuberance, the clouds over Aurangabad and Beed, heavily pregnant with water vapour, opened up and inundated the land with their deluge.

Small rivulets were formed on the roadside, and parched cattle arched their leathery backs in open-mouthed exultation.

Everywhere was the smell of freshness, and the promise of greenery beyond.



meanwhile, a postcript:

It is official now. “The met department has declared a heat wave in Poona”, the newspaper headlines screamed in my face on Friday. Well, not really in my face. As I rushed out of my house, my hair still wet from the shower, my ear still warm from the ambient heat of the mobile fone, I glanced over at my neighbours, where Obama had been thrown down on the mat. My neighbours are a strange nocturnal bunch. plugged into the time schedule of some random western European or eastern American time zone, they toil at odd times in the night, to apparate in their houses in the wee hours of the AM, when it is too late to sleep and too early to break fast. When finally they wake up to meet the world, the newspaper boy would have already come in, tossing presidents and heads of state with careless nonchalance onto the floor. The milk bottles hold Hillary Clinton to the ground, her smiling face held to the cold mosaic by a hard firm grip to her neck. but the paper today could not be mistaken. It was heat wave all the way. 

– blog penned on 26 Apr, 2008


the nature of male groups

i have often wondered at the unique chemistry of male groups. there are many differing themes, but lemme list out a few that i know and recognise

  • there are groups that operate in desultory politeness, disbursing niceties to each other over glasses of hugely-overpriced alcohol or a plate of heaped-high offerings on a long white topped table. the men usually discuss their jobs, and the conversation is brilliantly one-sided, where men stand around like stuffy water herons, fluffing their plumage, and obsessed with their own reflection, and themovement of small fish in the deep.

        to gobble.


  • then there are the groups that have one man who is a top dog. the alpha male, the head monkey, the young lion, the wat-have-you. the other men curry favour with him, and fawn and sycophant, even though in more subtle ways than we may suspect. there is the kowtowing to one male, the pecking order among the acolytes, the way the hero’s private life is sacrosanct, as also his calm and unruffled calm in the midst of (seemingly powerful) friends.


  • then u have the group with more than one assertive alpha male. so there is a tacit understanding, a sharing of power between them, when the powerful men all respect each other’s space, and jostle and banter with the strictest of operational boundaries, choosing to sound insipid or non confrontationist than insulting (or worse, condescending), or the final insult, for which daggers are drawn, the propping up of self at the expense of others. the terms i wud use in conversation would be to ‘fuck his trip’. so how does all the excess aggression get let off. how does the steam bloww off in the presence of foibles you cannot attack? there is always a couple of weak guys in the group, a bunch, maybe just one, fall guy. it is the sole purpose of fuckin’ his trip that keeps the group entertained, and bonds them in predatory bonhomie. the fall guy, meanwhile, is the butt of jokes and the source of non stop entertainment. it helps if he is compromised in his actions and reactions, like a guy who’s effeminate, a bit stupid, just plain unlucky, and so forth. and there are other members within the group, who cower behind the smoke screen created by the constant trip-fucking, laughing heartily but also a lil nervously because they know that one wrong move, and they could be the object of the alpha males’ attentions.

         and that is NOT exciting.






On Desolation

    I was the alonest man

in the world

                        – Jack Kerouac

…and back

i think this is it, then. i think i have decided to come back. the prodigal, return and share of the fatted calf. tho i must not rejoice too soon

and while most of you reading this would probably be wincing in anticipation of the refernce to deceased donkeys (as opposed to homicidal ones ergo “my ass is killing me!”), i shall spare u the suspense and announce with grave condolence that no such merriment shall countenance this post.

i am in chastisement.

not in the chains-and-whips-and-unsexy mistresses type, but in the embarassment of estrangement. from this space that everyone calls my own.

it is true, i had made a random post a few weeks back, in the enthusisasm of sudden emotion (about fathers who are in competition with their children for the wife/mother’s breast, but that’s an unfinished thot, and an incomplete portrait), but that post no longer exists, incinerated by the happy hobgoblins at wordpress.

so here i am, almost a half year ahead, turning my leaves in july, and looking forward at a bright new world.brilliant colours painted across a furiously blushing sky, the sun exploding up ahead across the horizon.

its good to be out, and to be free.

and to think.

and know.




a yellow witch chewing

 a cigarette,

Those Autumn leaves

                  – Haiku by Jack Kerouac