Books, Walk, Photographs, India Gate

Been tied up for last few days. So much so that I dint have time for myself. Please don’t ask what I was doing. So when Radhika invited me to her birthday picnic (yes, a picnic, with a picnic basket, sandwiches, a bed spread to sit on et al), I accepted immediately. Her idea was to meet at India Gate, spend some time there and head to some place for lunch. Sounded interesting. And since it was a Sunday, I decided I shall goto Darya Ganj before the picnic, buy few books, click some pictures and then meet the gang for the picnic.

And since I dint have an camera, borrowed Kunal's Nikon D40.

I took the Metro and a bus to reach Red Fort. I wanted to go inside and revisit the museum. I dont even remember when was the last time I went inside. May be some other Sunday. I walked from Red Fort till Ramlila Ground. Google maps tell me that it was about 3 KMs but it seemed longer. Took me well over couple of hours to do the entire routine - walk, stop, bargain, buy, click, walk, stop, walk.

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I passed through the Sunday market opposite Red Fort. Apart from regular paraphernalia, shoes - Nike, Converse even Vans were being sold for 300 bucks apiece. I mean imagine a Vans pair in India for 300. I wanted to click pictures, talk to the hawkers about it but the crowd was maddening. I was not moving, I was being literally pushed in the direction of the crowd. With prices so cheap and so genuine fakes, who would not want to buy those shoes?

Reached Asaf Ali Road somehow and then starting clicking. More than clicking pictures, I was interested in books. Thing with Darya Ganj is that you dont know what is on sale. And you dont know if you are going to get what you are looking for. You have to be in the exploratory mode. You need to sift through mountains and rows of books. You need to be patient and you should be willing to come back disappointed. This time I was lucky. I ended up buying some 9 books for all of 350 bucks. Most of them are cheap fictions. The kinds that you read in one sitting and get over with. The ones that help you keep boredom away. And the funny bit is that I bought most of the books for their interesting covers and titles.

Am thinking if someone could create a small barcode scan device, make an inventory of all the books on the Darya Ganj market, put them on a website, make it searchable, you would be solving such a huge problem. Of course this needs to be fleshed out. But this is an opportunity begging for attention.

There is something about printed word. I have no clue how Kindles and iPads are going to replace books. Need some technology that integrates the feel of a book and benefits of Kindle/iPad.

Anyways once I was done with the books, nagging, talking, buying I moved to India Gate. I took an auto. Met with friends. Had good food. Did the picnic bit (finding a clean enough spot, discovering whats inside the picnic basket, had that mandatory sandwich, played some football and freezebee etc.), clicked tons of pictures (here) and drove home. Damn I love driving. Wish I could become a driver ;P

Need to talk about India Gate before I wrap this. India Gate was erected in honour of the soldiers who died in the First World War. Its very very grand. Everytime I go there, I am proud. At times, its depressing. That on one hand there are people who have done so much for the country. And on the other, there is me.

Anyways, the strange thing is that the lawns were filthy. Wonder why/how. The cops, security men around it dint allow anyone to touch the monument and yet they were fine with all those hawkers and sellers and people to leave all the trash in the lawns. Even the grass was cut uneven and the waters were stinking. Guys this is India Gate. Delhi's most famous landmark. Someone needs to talk to the agency that manages India Gate. Too preachy?

All in all one of the rare days when I dint think much. Indulged in random acts and thoroughly enjoyed. Wish there were more such days. Gave me another idea. Weekend Wanderings. Next post!


If ever, I finish that book that I have always wanted to write and have been working on and off for about two year now (last time I worked on it, it was July 2009 and I called it "Living Out of the Suitcase"), following text would appear in it for sure.

I am in a bad mood. This is going to be yet another long rant. I am likely to crib like I have never cribbed before. I am likely to be unreasonable and sarcastic. I am likely to make a few chauvinist statements that might make most of you hate me till I am dead. I am going to make sweeping statements. I might stereotype people and their behaviors. I might even make racist comments. You might want to distance yourself from me. I might allegations against certain friends and acquaintances that will make them run for cover. My parents might want to disown me if they read this. Thank god they are not on social networks yet. I might fling accusations at people who fall under one of more of these categories: power-hungry, self-proclaimed-celebs, wannabe-socialites, and attention-seeking-whores. And at the end of all this, I might even deny that I ever made any of the comments I made.

Funny bit is that I like what I write. I like the process of writing. I like staring at the screen, and the way characters appear on the screen while my fingers are doing their tribal dance on the keyboard. I like the vertical line (is there a name for it? cursor?) that blinks when I am thinking what to write next. Its mesmerizing. Its magical. At times, I dont even think. The words and the narrative just seems to flow.They just pop up and somehow my fingers know where to tap and make them appear on the screen.

Haan, to funny bit is that I like what I write. I am not sure how many people like what I write. I am not even sure if I make sense. I am just betting on the law of averages and hoping that the infinite monkey theorem is true. In fact, this looks like a good title. Infinite Monkeys at Play. And imagine a disclaimer that states that this piece of text is produced by infinite monkeys in my backyard. I take no moral responsibility of whatever they have churned out.

So, yet again, coming back to the point, my writing. What about it? I forgot...

WTF !!

Agneepath Agneepath Agneepath

My fandom for Harivansh Rai Bachchan does not seem to

After Madhushala, Jo Beet Gayi So Baat Gayi , Koshish (Karne Wale Hi Haar Nahin Hoti), I am now hooked onto Agneepth.

Here goes ...
वृक्ष हो भले खड़े,
हो घने, हो बड़े,
एक पत्र-छाह भी,
मांग मत, मांग मत, मांग मत,
अग्निपथ, अग्निपथ, अग्निपथ।

तू न थकेगा कभी,
तू न थमेगा कभी,
तू न मुड़ेगा कभी,
कर शपथ, कर शपथ, कर शपथ!
अग्निपथ, अग्निपथ, अग्निपथ।

यह महान दृश्य है,
चल रहा मनुष्य है,
अश्रु, श्वेत, रक्त से,
लथपथ, लथपथ, लथपथ,
अग्निपथ, अग्निपथ, अग्निपथ।
copied from Sreeyesh's blog

And here is a comprehensive list of work by Harivansh Rai Bahchchan.

Year # 6, Post # 740

Its been six years. Since I started writing War of Words (first post). It has been an awesome experience. Learnt lots of lessons. Bumped into hazaar people. Made quite a few friends. Improved the way I write.

Best part about writing a blog is that you can go back and read what you thought at a point in time. In fact I am surprised how consistent I have been been with my thoughts. I am confused, frivolous, random, impractical as I was in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.

Hope to continue writing. Hope you continue reading :)

You and I

Faster than my fingers flying on the keyboard to write that long email,
Yet slower than it takes you to read it,

Brighter than the most convincing reason I ever came up with for doing what I did,
Yet dafter than me who actually thought that you would buy that reason,

Taller than the claims of heroics I made after one of those weekend binges,
Yet smaller than my ego when you asked me to say sorry for the gaffe,

Harsher than the decree you passed upon me for being what I am,
Yet milder than the heartburn when I knew the inevitable was about to happen,

You and I are so close,
Yet so far.

To Agra and Back

No, I dint click this pic. Image credits: Stuck in Customs on Flickr

Just came back from Agra. This was my second (or maybe third) trip to Agra. And no, I did not see Taj Mahal or Fatehpur Sikri. However, I did did crib about bad traffic, fog, corrupt cops etc. And like all other visitors to Agra, I bought Panchhi Petha (for a friend) and stopped at a highway for lunch.

If I could have my way, I would make traveling my profession and become a highway-food-inspector cum real-life-landscape-photographer cum driver-of-those-trucks-without-bodies. There is something about sitting out there in open, on make-shift furniture, being served with assorted utensils and yet charged as if you were Dhirubhai Ambani himself. The food, by the way, is strictly average and service, mediocre at best. The surroundings are hardly clean and you are not sure of the ingredients that they put in. And yet you are drawn to highway dhabas as if the key to your salvation lies within.

Everytime you pass a building, staccato houses, farms, people working in distance, you wonder what their lives would be like. If they were as interesting (or mundane) as yours is? If they realized that there is life beyond their fields and little colonies? If they are content and happy with what they have and do? And since they live on a highway, what do they think of people and generations that passed through the highway? After all, all the emperors, kings, entrepreneurs, travelers, sages, adventurers, would have taken these very roads to expand their empires, see the unknown, conquer unseen lands, spread their religion, learn from new things, seek adventure. Do they realize that they are living (and going to die, in most cases) next to the roads?

Every time I am out on the highways, that lead to places of historic importance, I wonder how would life be back then. Would they have those trifle things to worry about that we have? Would they chase money? happiness? hobbies? What would they be doing to kill time? What kind of opportunities were available to them? How did they manage to build such huge buildings without modern tools and machines? What motivated them? Why is that they lived for long without healthcare? They didnt even have Internet (and Google). There are a million questions and no answers are forthcoming.

Anyways, it took us about 5 hours to cover just 200 odd KMs. It was a scratch-free ride for a change (my Santro would be happy :D) . And since I was trapped inside a vehicle for these hours (with few sutta and pee breaks), there were tons of things to think about and realize. For starters, I realized Samsung Corby sucks. Please do NOT buy it even if it is offered for free. BTW, anyone wants to buy mine? Willing to sell it for anything more than INR 5500. I paid 6500. I have the original bill and the phone is not even ten days old. Second, I discovered Pavarotti. I loved the music, the incomprehensible words and the power in his voice. I could draw vivid images of murders in saloons, bank robberies, an old godfather sitting on the top floor in a tall building and steering his vast business empire with a gusto of a young man indulging in sex. I never thought I was the opera listening kinds. But then I was never the red shoe kinds. Its ok to change. Its ok to experiment. Reinvent. The journey like every other journey was full of boring moments and exciting moments. There were times when monotony of being in a car got better of us and we dint speak at all. And then there were those few moments where I sang screamed out the music. Realized how true these lines from Bitter Sweet Symphony are
'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony this life
Trying to make ends meet, you're a slave to the money then you die

Every moment we live, every action is for money. Every opportunity to travel is like a break from the routine. Look forward to more such breaks. Planning to drive to Haridwar during this Kumbh. This time, I may want to take @sgElectra for a spin.

Was reviewing this and I figured I suck when it comes to ending the blogposts. Need to do something about it!

Dil to Bachcha Hai Ji

Who else but Gulzar could have penned down words like Dil To Kachcha Ha Ji. Its been long since I saw this awesome a play of words. My new fav song!

Movie: Ishqiya (wiki, IMDB)
Lyrics: Gulzar
Music: Vishal Bhardwaj

Aisi ulji nazar unse hatt ti nahi
Daant se reshmi dor katt ti nahi
Umar kab ki baras ke safaid ho gayi
Kaari badari jawani ki chatt ti nahi
Walla ye dhadkan bhadne lagi hai
Chehre ki rangat udne lagi hai
Darr lagta hai tanha sone mein ji

Dil to bachcha hai ji
Dil to bachcha hai ji
Thoda kaccha hai ji
Haan dil to baccha hai ji
Aisi ulji nazar unse hatt ti nahi
Daant se reshmi dor katt ti nahi
Umar kab ki baras ke safaid ho gayi
Kaari badari jawani ki chatt ti nahi
Ra ra ra ..

Kisko pata tha pehlu mein rakha
Dil aisa baaji bhi hoga
Hum to hamesha samajhte the koi
Hum jaisa haaji hi hoga
Hai zor karein, kitna shor karein
Bewaja baatein pe ainwe gaur karein
Dilsa koi kameena nahi
Koi to rokey, koi to tokey
Iss umar mein ab khaogey dhokhe
Darr lagta hai ishq karne mein ji

Dil to bachcha hai ji
Dil to bachcha hai ji
Thoda kaccha hai ji
Haan dil to baccha hai ji

Aisi udhaasi baithi hai dil pe
Hassne se ghabra rahe hain
Saari jawani katra ke kaati
Piri mein takra gaye hain
Dil dhadakta hai to aise lagta hai woh
Aa raha hai yahin dekhta hi na woh
Prem ki maarein kataar re
Taubah ye lamhe katt te nahi kyun
Aankhein se meri hatt te nahi kyun
Darr lagta hai mujhse kehne mein ji

Dil toh bachcha hai ji
Dil toh bachcha hai ji
Thoda kaccha hai ji
Haan dil toh baccha hai ji

The music reminds me of the glorious times of Hindi music when instruments were simple and artists were masters of their craft. Must hear for any Hindi music fan.

I dint type the lyrics. I copied em from here.

Random Ramblings on a Runday

Its been some time now that I have abused one of my fundamental rights. The right to freedom of speech. And since I am bored right now with nothing at all to do, here I am.

What do we talk about today? Number of trips to Shipra Mall? Amount of oil/ghee I am consuming with food? My new favorite song? Or the fact that I finally figured where my guitar was? Or about the National flag on my desk? Or that Ganesha statue? Or the gullak that I bought day before? Or about that friend who apparently knows everyone?

Nah not interesting. Should we talk about sugar prices? Or about Amar Singh? Or about Indian hockey team? Who still fail to get to the front page of any national daily? Or about Amitabh Bachchan who manages to become a lead story even if he catches cold?

Or should we talk about all the gyaan that I have accumulated? All those funny ways people abuse emails? Or all the self doubt that has shrouded me in last few days?

Nopes. Not interesting. Damn this post is so not happening.

Ads on War of Words

I know I had said that I would never put ads on this blog. But then, as they say, never say never, Akshay (@akshaysurve) told me about his awesome startup - Ads4Good (@ads4good, FB). And it was so compelling, I had to put a banner.

Please click on the ads on the right.

And please spread the goodness. Its totally worth it. It takes one minute to sign up, another minute to complete the profile and few clicks to embed.

This page has all the details. And no, I am not being paid for this. Though Akshay and I do help each other from time to time on things.

The Nidhi Kapoor Story

Did you like this post? May be you want to read my first book - The Nidhi Kapoor Story.

Check it out on Amazon or Flipkart?