Quill, Write Ups

THE ANGER THAT SEETHES WITHIN

Gunshots rake through Chatanpally, Telangana. The four accused in the gruesome rape and murder case of Disha are killed. There is a celebration all around and closure for families of other rape victims. This is the victory of good, this is justice

But what baffles me is the meaning of law and justice. Does it entail retaliation and revenge? Does it encompass taking the reigns in your own hands? Or does it mean a systematic and organized process of punishment and deterrence?

These questions swirl in my head while reading the various perspectives regarding this incident that seems to have been the final straw in the history of appalling crimes against women. While some hail this act, others condemn it as an extra-judicial killing. And still, others feel this to be the awakening of a new dawn, a safer world, a brighter future. But this incident is a grim reminder of the eroding faith of citizens in the state institutions of courts. It shows how the years of wait in the courtrooms, hoping for justice have led to the reduction of its legitimacy. Courts are perceived not as harbingers of justice but as a mechanism of enhancing the victim’s suffering by delaying redressal of grievances. The pendency of cases, reformative punishments and an exhaustive list of remedies for the accused, evident from the mercy petition filed by an accused in the Nirbhaya rape case a few days back, have marred the fabric of trust and belief of citizens in justice. This, in turn, has unleashed unbridled rage. It has been aroused all those times the charred bodies and torn identities were displayed in media, girls were ripped apart and killed for daring to dream big. The tolerance has given way to hellbent rage, a longing to right the wrong, to take an eye for an eye and restore order in the society.

It is a sad state of affairs that the inadequacies of the state institutions have brought us to this cusp where we all now become our own masters and rebel against order and balance. But who decides this order and balance, the state and its mongering mouthpieces, the opposition parties with garlands of onions adorning their necks or the academia which does publish reports and articles but is then gagged and underfunded? Or is it decided by commoners, who ride their pillions towards their offices every morning and try to maintain a facade of normalcy in the face of the breaking news they read which threw their age-old ideals and ethics out the window?

While answers may not be plenty, I can say that the present state of affairs is not welcome. It only heralds a darker age of brute force and fury which will burn our existence to the ground.

Quill, Write Ups

But I Became The Change I Wished to See

You surely would have heard of this phrase before at least once if not often. And honestly irrespective of the resistance you showed towards its genuineness and credibility in the ‘modern world’ yet, just like me, just like us, you too accepted it.

And just like me, you too had nothing to answer back when your parents slammed this rhetoric straight into your face, “saari duniya shudaaran da theka tu lita hoya hai?”

Just like me, you too accepted it. But, I did become the change I wished to see in this world, and maybe so did you.

From targeting the most subtle forms that stemmed this plight of the modern woman to directly addressing them, I did it all.

“Teri maa ka”

“Teri behan ki”

Sounds like just another day at school, that is how firmly these slurs (now adjective cum fillers) have inculcated into our language and hence our lives. I eliminated them completely from my vocabulary for I realised nothing would change, surely not the nation until we, the intellectual millennials, keep on promoting raping our own sisters and mothers after every couple of words we speak, in every joke we crack, in every sentence we form. I realised that it wasn’t funny and surely not casual when even my best friend used this filler for me. And I stood my ground firmly irrespective of how many times I’ve been told that I am overreacting upon this ‘just friendly cussing.’ Yet the only thing I felt was a feeling of alienation whenever I stood among/in the groups, my friends, for I didn’t ‘behave’ as normal teen friends do, as I did. “You have changed” that is what I got, because I changed?

Do you feel the same? Have you changed yet?

I put forward stats of how there were only 280 rapes in 30 years when mutilation, stoning to death, or hanging were the three options to chose from when caught guilty of raping in medieval English midlands. How only 63 rapes, all martial, were recorded in 5 years in Viking Scandinavia when beheading was the only punishment.

And I don’t need to prove anything, for now when the punishment begins at 2 years along with the imposition of fine, the stats go to somewhere over 106 rapes per day in India.  

I also tried telling people the problems, I questioned, I studied this predicament, I wrote articles on men, women, and their duties. I fulfilled mine. I became the change I wished to see. Yet, my phone flashes Priyanka’s burned body. Why? Who shall answer me at this juncture? I changed myself for Gandhiji, for ‘mentors’, for ‘well-wishers,’ for those wise ones who told me that doing so would change the society too. Yet, my phone flashes Priyanka’s burned body.

Hey… Knock knock… I know you’re there. You told me to first be the change I wished to see. But I already did that… I don’t see no difference… Hey, I’m talking to you. Have you become the change you wished for? Did anything change?

Am I all by myself, are you still there? When will not me, not you, but we change?

Quill, Write Ups

Peter Pan

Dear peter pan,

Whenever a small version of me woke up in the middle of the night, scared of demons in her dreams, my mum would be right there, ready with a story book and an aura of comfort only she could provide to fill the void of the dark night.

As I lay on my favorite storyteller’s lap, which would always be more homely than my bed, she would read out the title nice and loud:

“Peter Pan, the boy could not grow up.”

And soon I found myself floating in the adventures of a boy too cocky for his own good, a self-centered, bumptious boy who seeks the extremities of his fantasies.

As days passed, there was a constant clash between the beasts who reveled in keeping me awake in the middle of the night and the sweet voice of my mum who lulled a so very pleasant tale of a not so very pleasant boy.

And I started believing in you, started in the Kensington Gardens, started believing in flying, in the wonders of being audacious, in evil and in just a little bit of tinker.

But, above all, I believed in staying young till the very end of eternity.

‘Children have minds that run at speeds; adults could never pace up to.’ Mum used to smile and tell, with a chest filled with pride, to others, to me, to herself.

‘Everything has a price, honey’ she’d say cautiously at times. ‘For Peter must forget all about his adventures and what he learns about the world to stay childlike.’

But as my feet grew, my hands bittered, my tongue dried up and my height rose, so did the expectations of this world.

I remember sitting on the window and waiting for a perpetual sight, bright eyes shining with a hopeful future, a smirk that won’t go away, a sharp red nose, rosy cheeks, viciously pink lips with a melodious voice that would be so pompous that I’d be inspired to leave this worldy mess within seconds.

But, alas, my only company in those lonesome nights would be the scars of the moon; praised by all for it’s beauty.

Have I failed you or you me?

Was I banished to nowhereland without even existing in your team of lost boys?

Why did you give up on me and my escapade before even understanding me?

Maybe I deserved it because of the ridiculous aspirations I had from a boy who could not love for the sake of this undying youth.

When I stand in front of the mirror, I see a lady, a lady in distress, her eyes bloodshot, she waves a bottle of alcohol so as to hypnotize herself to be happy perhaps, she’s covered up in wounds of the past; cleverly hidden underneath tons of makeup.

What has become of the lively adolescent that once stood in her place, the one who was crazy enough to imagine her life as a tiny bud forever, who was moronic enough to imagine that creations lasted and quiet.

My uncanny truth has indeed damaged the very essence of my childhood.

I’ve lost my belief, my dear pan.

Glittery tears, where’s my fairy dust?

Yours truly,

A lost girl you never found.

Quill, Write Ups

Last Words


“The love that moves the Sun and other Stars….” is how Dante Alighieri ends his 100 canto epic, which has rekindled itself throughout history, again and again…and again. Mortality is a “cloud” for Dante, an obscure haze that prevents the truth from being fully seen. Little by little, the Divine Comedy’s events remove the cloud from his vision, preparing him for ever more direct insights into God.

Quill, Write Ups

Walking on Water

Allow me tell you all a little, simple, bed-time, teeny story, although I know I have been writing and delivering poorly these days, unlike I once did. Seems the Gods are angry at me, Odin has taken away from me the power of poetry for my inefficient use. But I can’t stop without even giving a fight maybe this would please Odin and you all, maybe this would revive me.

Let’s go by the traditional start.

Once upon a time, during the rule of King Eirik in the petty kingdom of Vestfold there was a beggar. The beggar -he was not a very tall man, thin as a stick, and always carried a frown upon his face despite the love in his pocket. Aah… but the world doesn’t peep into pockets it just picks pockets. (Look at the desperateness of the writer to engage his audience by throwing punches, look how bad he is failing at it) But this was never what made him distinct, there were already a lot of emaciated beggars and the world was pretty much the same with each of them. What made him different was his ambition, his insanity beyond limits yet all ethical and true, his weird arrogance and haughtiness not of some title but of being himself- what beggar calls himself King after all?

He used to speak often of his desire of being influential, powerful, and important and more than he spoke, he worked for it, grind for it. He lost a lot of friends on his way to power, he lost all those playing and drinking hours, he lost family hours, rock bottom became his home, but kept on moving until one day he challenged King Eirik to a duel and familiarized him with his fate. As per the law, the man who beats King becomes King and this case was no different.

Finally, all his efforts, his walk on this lonely road in pelting cold, it all seemed to end. It was now the time to rejoice and celebrate his victory, reminiscent and cheer skol to his ambition and passion that made him King today, that made a beggar King today. Well, but a man can’t change his soul, can he? A beggar stays a beggar and he seemed to forget that. Being King sounded the most beautiful thing ever, being King was a bit different.

Kings walk in grace but stand in pain. You must be an extremely good observer that stands behind a veil. And while you stand there you just listen, unseen and unhear, you just listen to all. Also, what you listen should be important to you but it also must not affect you too for you might (not might) you will hear people hate you just because they ain’t you.

Dying, as in going back to normal and dying in minds of people as if you never existed, it becomes a dream you dream day and night long. You don’t talk of your pain but once you do, still no one relates to it. And you just wonder to yourself while you reminiscence as to how did you even make it in the first place. You wonder, you rather wish you haven’t had left the farm in the first place.

You think, is this what you envisioned, is it really what you wanted?

Fame to the point of imprisonment. You feel like incredible hulk, your back is broken yet you walk. When they see you down, they say they’ll pray for you and you wonder to yourself why would someone who doesn’t even know you pray for you. No one never prayed a couple of years back, was I not the same man then?

And repeat to yourself, “Be careful what you wish for, you might get what you want. And once you get it, it might get back on you ten fold.”

“Kings never die.”

You turn yourself oblivious again and sing,

“I know some shits so hard to swallow
And I just can’t sit back and wallow
In my own sorrow, but I know one fact
I’ll be one tough act to follow
One tough act to follow, copy, one tough act to follow
Here today, gone tomorrow
But you have to walk a thousand miles

In my shoes, just to see
What it’d be like, to be me
I’ll be you, let’s trade shoes
Just to see what I’d be like to
Feel your pain, you feel mine
Go inside each other’s mind
Just to see what we find
Look at shit through each other’s eyes

But don’t let ’em say you ain’t beautiful oh
They can all get f*&^$% Just stay true to you.”

Quill, Write Ups

Happy Birthday to Us



Aah… So we’re here, to our own surprise too.

So, just the way each one of us dies in wait of our birthdays to arrive even when we are brutally exposed to the truth summoner- the calendar which says with utmost inhumanity and emotionless gestures in the gravest possible voice, “Still over three months to go, daft.” We were no exception either.

And poor, teary-eyed, us- are left with no other option but to stare at the slipping sand just as nonchalant and graceless as its motion.

While the weirdest part is even after realizing our actions, the moment the hour strikes, we all jounce as if we were oblivious all this time, and the moment had occurred spontaneously.

Now, since I’ve clarified that the fundamental was but the same, allow me to proceed.

Well, it doesn’t really seem like twelve months already. And if I were to reminiscent, The Pocket Diaries was just another idea scribbled down on a random page of a random notebook, claiming itself to be the greatest concept ever.

And to be very honest, even I felt that it was just another blog that I’d put up run for a month or two and abandon. As if it was destined to face the same fate that former members of ‘attempt to be the greatest poet ever’ faced (a bit too realistic ;P). The good part, being, I realized that this dream wasn’t to be achieved alone.

Having access to wisest company- Nitesh Gaba- the one who gave form to this random scribble of mine, it didn’t take us long to manifest our dream – adrenaline rush is quite a thing.

Me, the ‘randomest’ guy, texts another ‘random poet’ on Instagram if she wishes to collaborate. Actually no, Puja Vardhan, isn’t a random poet, she has a distinctness of her own. Getting back, we have a good chat, doubts are cleared, the webpage is ready, posts are up and exactly at 10:52 p.m. of 31st of October, my birthday, I spread the links out.

Honestly, there is nothing special in the day- 1st of November, I just thought it would be cool, to get to celebrate and party for two consecutive days.

Now, the weird thing happens. The webpage actually starts to get some good responses. Suddenly, AdSense approves the account, Analytics shows a count of over 5K webpage views in a mere span of 53 days. And me, a boy who was 15 a couple of days back, starts to feel super important. I start building a proper team, I start taking seminars in local schools, I am coaching over 150 kids roughly of the same age, whoa… a proper fairytale, rather a Viking dream. Efforts and results.

Well, since everything was going as if scripted by a Bollywood writer, it was certain that I create a bubble around me. A bubble in which stood the mighty master. The weirdest part was, no one could prick my bubble. The wisest arrows carrying the lesson of humility shot at me- I cut each of them with my swords of pride. Failed, yet victorious, experience glared at me in sympathy and disgust as well, let’s call it my conscience as if saying “Beta, non-med lete time bhi meri baat nahi maani thi na, khud sochle ab.”

Well, guess what, I lost. And certainly, I was the happiest when it happened. The bubble, the invincible bubble was never pricked. That victory was my loss. I grew tired of it, tired of not being myself. Humility started dawning, the sense was coming back, the wisdom rose back, and conscience, my split personality said, “Lautke buddhu gharko aae.”

The bubble was never pricked, it was dissolved in its own toxicity.

If you try to live too early, you don’t live too well.

I launched my book later, T.P.D crossed 10K views, its audience was now over 20 countries wide, and watching myself in the newspapers became normal for a couple of days. I was happy…

I was just happy.

An underrated, yet an invincible statement.

A year of The Pocket Diaries, made me realize, it was never me. I am just a messenger. I don’t own TPD, it is in fact well above the possession of any single person. And what else could I have wished for? For me, and for probably all of us, T.P.D means love. And well, how could anyone possess love… After all,

Possession is the opposite of love.

An artist is the happiest when his art surpasses his own self.

I was wrong all this time, it was never Manan Verma- founder of the Pocket Diaries, it was always the opposite, The Pocket Diaries helped me find me.

Now, well since it was such a good script, you can find me sitting on the last bench, smiling like a stupid, writing poetry in the structures of benzene, reading, and cracking jokes. Naah… of course I haven’t turned into a ‘Sant’ retired from all the worldly desires… of course not, the passion burns like never before, the ‘josh’ is on its high. Backed with experience, a catalog of mistakes, I am proud of, and a sense of relief by improving on each.

Cheers to this amazing journey, the team, Kriti, Puja, Artman, Armaan, Nandini, Ehshaan, Sanya, Tanishq, Shria and a lot lot more.

Having all of you, your talents represented and showcased, nothing makes an artist happier.

I love you all…



Quill, Write Ups

About Reading And Books

To be very honest my reading style is a little (read: very) complex. Although I read almost every book I come across, only a few stay with me for a long time. I love to read fictions first of all, fictions that are set in indian contexts are perfect but in that too I can’t stand Chetan Bhagat novels (although I am guilty of reading them too). I guess I like books that have a certain connect in them, that are relatable to the real life. I completely adore the writing style of Ruskin Bond, the way he describes a situation or a context is like you can imagine the scene right in front of you. I have ‘Ruskin Bond Children Omnibus’ which I got in class 5th and I have read and re-read it. ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ is another one that is so simple yet so beautiful. How can I forget R.K Narayan, I have his ‘Swami And Friends’ by heart now and the Malgudi Days (though I lost the hard copy of this one) too. Then Short Stories by Gulzar, ‘Lamb To My Slaughter’ by Roald Dahl are a few of others that I enjoyed reading. Overall I think if you describe the Indian streets and bazaars beautifully and are able to paint a scene with your words, you’ll be my favorite author/book.

Brevity, Write Ups

Piano

Every now and then, I brush off the dust that tenderly settles on the keys of the piano. Impressions of your fingers tips are still printed on them. It seems as if the dust particles have been caressing them much longer than I have.  I am standing in front of our piano right now, its weak legs are almost on the verge of giving up but not just yet. Its teak frame reminds me of your collarbones that were deliciously highlighted every time you wore your red satin dress. The creaking sounds of the chair you sat on for hours reminds me of the first time you decided against what was wise and held my hand firmly, like you were never not gonna hold it in the warmth of your hands. I lay down on the floor, feeling the surface of the hard marble floor underneath the table. I press my face flat on the floor where your feet continuously tapped on as you played rhythms of your heart. My hands roam in circles around the shiny floor just like they wandered around your chubby body discovering the  insecurities that stained your smile everyday. I sit upright and rest my face on the foamy cushion of your piano chair. The way I’m sitting hurts me to the limit where numb becomes a trait that is used to describe my body.I believe that a little more would help me succeed in silencing my aching heart. I do selfishly hope though, that the tunes of ‘Claire de Lune’, that you played the last summer night we were together hits my ears, one last time.

Quill, Write Ups

Unanswered Questions

Unlike the questions which have a definite, set answer, you my dear, are a mix of uncertainty, unpredictability. And of course, the guts I require to face you…phewww….. The questions left unanswered, on my blank answer sheet, on my text to him, in the eyes of my bestfriend, you always, always invoke a sense of guilt and repentance. A ‘what if?’  A never ending quest to find a answer, and running away from it at the same time. My dear, unanswered questions, you are a source of constant turmoil and an answer in yourself!!!

IDK if this makes sense or not