Monday, 13 August 2018

new one shot : deal

"the deal's off, gentlemen! akash, let's go."

the voice rang out sharp and precise, its decibel remained low.

there was a tremor on the surface of the water in the glasses on the long conference room table, and as the three men sitting across watched nonplussed, the man who had just uttered those words got up smoothly from the leather upholstered chair and strode toward the exit. behind him shuffled a pleasant looking young man, with a slightly myopic air, his amiable face filling with bewilderment.

the man he followed had not a trace of amiability or bewilderment on his visage. he looked straight ahead, his profile immobile. his jawline was rigid, his lips had thinned to a steely contour, his eyes were opaque. he breathed swiftly, the air he exhaled was searing. anger was apparent in every line and movement of his taut, lithe frame. he walked fast and didn't look back as one of the men, the large one with a flamboyant lavender velvet jacket, called out plaintively, "mr raizada! but, mr raizada...!"

the youngest of the three men, the only one in shirtsleeves, ran after the man who was now almost at the stern of the yacht, where a smart sunseeker predator in white and polished black waited. in front, the elegant arc of mandovi stretched and touched the horizon, it was a warm day in june, sunlight glittered on the undulating ripples, an eagle banked gracefully overhead.

"arnav! arnav! don't worry about what daddy is saying, i'll find a way..." the young man stuttered in his haste, obviously distressed.

the man walking ahead didn't break his stride. at the edge of the stern he leapt neatly across to the other yacht, then he turned and stood still for a moment facing the young man who shifted awkwardly on his feet, looking perturbed.

"it's okay, we agree to your terms!" the young man blurted out, unable to bear the pressure of that long point blank stare.

there was a lick of fire in the inscrutable eyes; though one couldn't be sure. wind blew back thick jet black hair off the man's high forehead, a sharply etched widow's peak at the centre. his precisely cut charcoal grey jacket fluttered in the breeze, the slim trouser legs wrapped around legs firmly planted about a foot apart, the yacht swayed gently.

"good," said the man.

relief washed over the young man's face, he gave a helpless smile and began, "thanks, arnav, you don't know..."

"akash!" the man cut in, "take the deed and let's go!"

he turned around once more and walked off.

the young man was too flabbergasted to say anything. akash singh raizada walked up to him and with his habitual gentle smile held out his hand for the deed of sheesh mahal.


sheesh mahal.

he exhaled slowly and closed his eyes. the river was all reflections, the sky closed in, the yacht increased speed. a shrill call cut through the air and hovered over images intent on entering his mind. it was the eagle. he swallowed and an indecipherable expression glanced across the planes and angles of his face, he seemed to start. suddenly his face looked tired, drawn.

sheesh mahal... the house of glass, of shattered mirrors, in which every image must get tainted, must bleed, must die. the eagle called again. his eyes opened and he stared straight into the sun, which was getting brighter just before setting.

dark irises glinted. you could tell now they were brown, a deep startling shade of earth and cognac, a transparency in them which you'd never have imagined only an instant before.

"bhai!" akash was standing behind him, he sounded elated, "how did you manage to swing that! those guys! poor chaps!"

arnav singh raizada gave a tight smile and drawled, "akash. money. it's all about that. and yes -"
he turned deliberately toward his cousin, and reaching out with a languid arm dusted an imaginary speck off his shoulder with long fingers that were, as always, perfectly manicured.

"-don't let anyone get away with a 'no'. remember, you don't win some and lose some, you win them all."

akash grinned nervously. he hoped his cousin was saying this in jest.
he knew for certain, he wasn't.


the helicopter's staccato whir sent ripples through the silent air of the night. lights began to dot the land below. first just a handful, then more. and the twinkling grew, beckoning. they had reached lucknow.

arnav sat staring ahead in the passenger's seat behind the pilot. the robinson r66 five seater craft had started to arc toward the destination, they were beginning to descend.

a pair of remote eyes looked down. was there a flash of lightning caught and stilled somewhere, in some inaccessible depth or haunted recess?

the man in the passengers' seat threw back his shoulders and took a deep long breath. it had been a while. yes, a long while. was sheesh mahal ready for him? was he...?

arnav singh raizada cut the thought short.

the flight from goa had been delayed, they'd reached delhi as evening fell. he was determined to reach sheesh mahal that very day. there would be no waiting, enough time had been wasted, been taken away.

he was out of the helicopter the instant it landed. as his feet touched the ground, he breathed in again, this time sharply. it was done. he had returned. he had wrested from the pretenders what was his. the night air touched his face, and seemed to greet him.

darkness lay all around, he let his eyes adjust to it. the grounds stretched into woods at the back, he could hear the sound of water to his right... the river. the helipad was where it had always been, in the far right corner of the property. he pivoted slowly in the direction of the house, it was to the left he knew, even if the night wouldn't let him see anything clearly.

the first silhouetted spire came into view, a rush in his throat made him draw in his breath. the muscles in his gut clenched, his diaphragm was taut, as if anticipating an attack. he let his eyes travel further over the barely visible curves and arches. the massive shadowy structure coalesced into view, memory filled in the details.

there was the front door below the main arch at the centre, a series of windows with stained glass ornate tops flanked it on either side. a pathway led to the door through the manicured lawn.

sheesh mahal.

his steps quickened. he could feel the crunch of gravel under his feet.

clouds shifted in the sky, a bright ivory moon lit the night.


he pushed open the heavy mahogany door and stepped into the hallway. it cut the night air out, he was enclosed in a cocoon of silence. arnav walked briskly to the wide pavilion ahead, which ran all around the four sides of the central courtyard. he could see the row of pillars along it in the moonlight. there were twenty four in all, six on each side.

he went out onto the mosaic paved courtyard and stood there for a moment. then he inhaled deeply, remembering. trying not to remember.

why had he not reached in time? why had he not started running the moment he felt something was not right? why had he waited? had he not... had he not- his breath became short, constricted, laboured. even after so many years, he couldn't think of that moment without feeling his breath slowly die.

maa had died. he had been too late.

the night was mute and unmoving around him, an indictment in its stubborn quiet. he had known it would be difficult to return, but he hadn't known just how difficult. arnav looking up at the star studded sky above. he willed himself to take control; he would counter the pain, he would not brook it. maa would never come back, his father would always be the weak philanderer he was, and his uncle a charlatan, a thief.

but his sister was innocent. she was a mere child of four when their parents died that treacherous night. later their uncle cheated them out of everything they had. he had promised himself then, he'd get sheesh mahal back for her. it would be her eighteenth birthday present.

arnav exhaled slowly. anjali had no real memory of their home. or maa, or pita ji. to her, arnav was her elder brother, mother and father. she called him badey... elder. she'd be eighteen in a couple of weeks. unbelievable.

a tiny smile played on his lips as he thought of his sibling. the right corner of his lips dipped a little more than the left. an asymmetry his mirror reflected without any kindness, a part of him. his eyes glinted. he swallowed hard, his adam's apple jutted out, an ache in his throat. he had been only fourteen at the time. his maternal grandmother, nani ji, had stepped in and taken over. they had gone to delhi with her and lived there ever since, along with their mother's brother and his wife, their uncle and aunt–mama ji and mami ji– and their son, akash. anjali bullied akash shamelessly. poor akash.
arnav was about to reach for his phone to call anjali when he heard the noise.

he started. what was that?

a sweep of fluttering wings overhead. he looked up involuntarily and saw the pigeons flying out of the eaves.


there was the noise again.

a tinkling, bell like. bells? here? arnav frowned.

was he imagining it? how could anyone be here? the main door had been locked. besides no one lived in sheesh mahal. his uncle's agents had assured him of that. he shook his head, it must have been the pigeons.

a shadow moved somewhere. he looked around swiftly, his eyes darted toward the upper floor. the covered balcony with the ornate balustrade and stucco decorations on the ceiling and arches loomed above, with its curiously watchful air. darkness crowded its hollows, moonbeams streamed in at places illuminating a baluster here, a lamp shade or stained glass elsewhere. but all seemed still up there.

arnav craned his neck, peering. right behind his head there was the sound again. arnav didn't turn this time. his head cocked at an angle, eyes narrowed, a feral alertness in him, he tried to gauge what the noise might be, what was its source.

bells, yes, they were bells... he was sure now. he had heard bells like that before. here, in this house...
maa. his mother's anklets used to have a clear happy sound, a jingle of tiny gently swaying round bells, like the pitter patter of raindrops.

his eyes closed at the reminder of that sound, pain shot through him. he swallowed involuntarily, feeling the tightness in his throat. the bells could be heard again, now a longer spell. who was running around the house wearing anklets?

arnav opened his eyes. no, this wasn't his imagination.

he swung on his heels and dashed back into the pavilion, taking care not to make any noise. he let his instincts lead him to the stairs and raced up, two steps at a time.


reaching the balcony above, arnav turned blindly to the left, that's where the noise had come from he was quite certain.

something beat furiously close to his ears. wings. a pigeon flew by brushing his cheeks and eyes with its rushing wings. he ran on down the balcony, intent on finding the intruder.

as he turned at the far end of the long marbled stretch, he felt the hit on his chest, it knocked the wind out of him, he almost fell but managed to stay on his feet. his arms shot out and caught hold of whatever it was that had made such violent contact with him. he stood there gasping for breath, his eyes closed.

an instant went by, grabbed by the night and locked away in its opaque embrace.

just an instant, or maybe a fraction of it, a tiny endless piece of an infinitesimal sliver of time.

then the frantic threshing registered. arnav realised the thing he was holding was moving constantly and with considerable force. what was it?

he opened his eyes and frowned darkly at it, his anger mounting. his lips had already tightened as he glared at the object. he wasn't sure what he noticed first though, the eyes or the volley of breaths.
large iridescent irises were looking at him angrily. or were they terrified?

it was a girl.

a woman, in fact.

arnav stared at her dumbfounded.

a woman? what was she doing here?

he felt her breath on him; on his neck and chin; warm, stirred up. she was breathing fast and she was pushing hard against him. arnav was still trying to collect his thoughts. who could she possibly be? why was she here?

he noticed his hands were grasping her tightly, he could feel her bones through the fabric of her clothes. his left hand was on the small of her back, his right hand was clamped on her left arm and was twisting it behind her.

she made an incoherent, vicious sound and tried to jerk away from him.

he caught hold of her shoulders none too gently and shook her as he bit out through clenched teeth, "who the hell are you?!"

she didn't answer. instead she wriggled desperately and tried to wrench herself free, but he was not letting go.

"i said who... are... you?!" arnav repeated in a guttural voice, pausing menacingly between each word.

a thought struck him and he could feel a surge of anger ricochet through him. his uncle. was this woman part of some game his uncle was playing? a plant? here to sabotage his possession of sheesh mahal? arnav's anger and instinct came to a decision.

he tightened his grip on her shoulders and thrust his face close to her, his lips drawn back in a sinister grimace, eyes glowing with chilling fury.

she drew back and strained against him, trying to get away. he pushed his face further toward hers, his rage scalding.

"who... sent... you? ANSWER ME DAMMIT!" his hoarse voice rang out and echoed off the bare walls and  surfaces of the empty mansion clothed in darkness.

the girl flinched. her eyes widened and grew more opalescent. her body began to tremble. he could feel her shoulders shake; she has such fragile, small bones, he thought taken aback. and what was that pounding he could hear? it was getting louder, almost deafening. he felt his mouth go slightly dry. what was he sensing? danger?

he saw her open her lips... why were they shimmering?... she took a slow breath, tilting her head up till it went all the way back, till he could see the arch of her dark eyebrows in the moonlight, the bridge of her sharp nose, the curve of her upper lip... her quivering chin... the long column of her neck...

arnav waited. the pounding was louder now. what was it?

suddenly he knew what it was. his eyes were wary as he looked down. he saw their bodies touching, almost fused near the chest; the pounding was coming from there. it was heart beats.
how could heart beats be so loud?

he could feel them racing against his sternum, striking the inner walls of his chest cavity, riding up his throat. whose heart beats were these? his? or were they hers? he had the strangest sensation of drowning for a moment. running... he was running... but he knew he wouldn't reach in time.
he felt a jolt... it was her. the girl. the woman.

she was pushing him back with all her might. as the force with which she resisted scaled and overcame his hold, she lost balance and surged toward him, her face coming up close to him, her breath on his eyelids and cheeks.

then she heaved and thrust him back with both her hands, and kicked him on the shin. the pain made him wince and her shoulders slipped out of his grip. a cascade of shimmery fabric; a skirmish of anger, surprise, and velocity... and she was gone. he turned swiftly and lunged to catch her, but she was quicker. his feet moved of their own accord, giving chase. he could hear the sound again of those wretched bells as she fled. by the time he reached the main door, she had disappeared.

he stood there, dazed and furious. the woman had sensed his distraction and taken advantage of the moment. his opponent had got the better of him. arnav didn't like that. he didn't like that at all. he looked out into the night and up at the starlit sky.

"dammit!" he hurled at his invisible opponent under his breath.

arnav turned and went back into sheesh mahal.

he had to know who this woman was. she couldn't get away so easily. he retraced his steps all the way back to where she had bounded into him. he squinted at the balustrade, the floor, searching for what he wasn't sure. he took a step, what was that under his foot? he prodded with his shoe.
there was the noise again.

arnav bent down and touched the object. he lifted it up slowly, wondering what it was. it was a delicate strand of silver he saw, there were tiny clusters of round bells hanging from it. it was an anklet. he raised it further up to examine it more closely in the moonlight. a frown creased his forehead.

such a small insignificant little thing. but that's all that was needed. it wasn't easy to defeat arnav singh raizada; a smile began to tilt his lips; an almost meditative malevolence entered his eyes. his adversary would have to return. and this time, she wouldn't get away.
he felt the thrill of a win in his gut. his heart beat accelerated.


the girl was pelting down the path leading to her house. it wasn't too far. she had climbed in through the window at the back as usual to feed the pigeons. she'd gotten late because they'd gone to the fair today. she shivered at the thought of the intruder. no one lived in sheesh mahal... so, who was that man? or maybe he wasn't a man at all. he was... he was... she almost screamed at the thought. was he a ghost? was he a... m... m... monster??

she folded her hands together in supplication as she ran.

"hey devi maiyya" she prayed fervently to her goddess, "save me! save me!"

but what was that? something was not right. she stopped and looked down at her feet. where was the anklet on her left leg?!!! was it lying somewhere on the road... or perhaps it had fallen off in sheesh mahal??

the girl could hear her heart beat thudding against her rib cage, speeding up.

a cataclysmic meeting. i just felt like intruding upon that. arnav singh raizada and khushi kumari gupta were on my mind. started writing this one shot months ago, but only the other day it all started coming together. so i decided to give myself a birthday treat. hope you had fun reading it. i have no idea if this is the preamble to a longer story. for now, it's this... the meeting. the collision. the cessation of all normalcy.



Wednesday, 6 June 2018

6 june 2018

seventh anniversary today.

i'm not looking up to see if a helicopter's up there in the sky, arcing away, its sound mingling with the rush of longing in my mind.

pink dupatta, green lehenga, gota shimmer, helmet on her head, sneakers on her feet, wobbly swing of a scooter that belongs to whom, to her or the kaka ji she almost ran over in that crowded lucknow galli, i still wonder.

i still wonder how i got there. to that ramp, to that look in dark eyes with its particular weariness, its preternatural awareness, to that breath caught in the night as a girl fell. i hadn't meant to be there.

who were these people? why was the man in a grey suit walking purposefully toward that girl in a red saree? why was she stepping back, fear and something else emanating from her, filling up the evening, the whole universe. he had the gait of a nocturnal creature, a dangerous one. yet he looked hypnotised, he was vulnerable. reflections shimmered all around, water and fire played in the night. her lips were glistening, pink, light innocent, craving the darkness. his eyes wouldn't leave her lips, their tremble. he seemed to have stopped breathing. i seemed to have stopped breathing.

when everything else stops mattering is a single undefinable yet specific moment. it came out of nowhere, or perhaps it was hidden in the pool, or in asr's wardrobe, or in khushi's tiny glittering bindi, or was it in the pompom? it came and i felt myself give in, there was no option.

now she is on a scooter again. this time i know it's bedi ji's. and she's banged into a big white car. what are you to do when a monster tells you how much it costs to fix a mirror. really, these monsters.

let me go, let me go, she pleads. but he will not. she is a spy. she must tell him why she's here. jiji's wedding can't take place if she doesn't return. let it not, girls like her can find other men. no... how could he. badtameezi. a hiss of anger, a vicious gleam, eyes burn with rage. two people locked in a gaze. snap. an echo of what? horror? the pearls scatter.

hello hi bye bye, aap toh suttupei kar leo. hai re nand kissore, sanka debi, chatori, titaliya. hum nani hain. tumhari saansey ruk jaaygi... raanisahiba... yeh bhi na. tum thik ho? shut up. get out. get ooouuut. di! diii! chhotey. what the! how dare you! kyun, hum daring kyun nahin kar sakte... daring par sirf aapka naam likha hai kya? aap daring khareed li hai kya?!! what nonsense. aap non-

words tumble in and out. music plays. every peak and trough and tremor and pause is etched somewhere. could it be in hamesha? must ask nk, he has good answers, after all he's from kidney.

what is love? what tells you it is, it is indeed love, and nothing else. i hate you. yes, that must be it. hum nafrat karte hain aap se, yes, yes... more nafrat please.

toh kya woh sach taarey ban jaatey hain?

the girl is walking out of his office. tears glitter in her eyes. he looks at her, he can't look away, something is cutting into him... she doesn't matter to him. a door is sliding she on one side, he on the other, a conversation has ended, a conversation has begun.

there was a girl friend. yes, a real one. and she was lovely. there was a villain, a nasty one, i never could forgive the director for giving him khushi's best palat.

the goat was a goat and perhaps a metaphor but nani ji really loved her. she was lakshmi ji, and khushi spoke to her from time to time. the goat didn't mind.

it's okay. biwi ho tum meri. huq hai tumhara... the voice gets smooth, playful, a crack in it... mujh pe.

i'm getting lost. hey hey heyheyhey heyheyhey enters my gut and lingers, calling jo pehle hua na... kyun, dard hai itna... jadoo hai nasha hai... tu hi bata mere maula, tu hi bata mere... rabba vey

rabba vey...

piano notes trill. a girl in a plain red chiffon, earrings brilliant and sparkling dangle, her hair flies, her eyes plead and accuse. a man in a suit, transfixed. maula maula, maula mere maula...

where are we? where are we going. i'll go anywhere with you. the temple is deserted and he is dragging her up the steps. how will i ever like him after this. i must hate him. why do i feel his pain? what trickery is this? don't tell me this is acting. don't tell me he is an actor. i am sitting up in bed. it's the middle of the night. he's just seen khushi in the arms of his brother in law. he is staring at them, stupefied. the expression begins to shift, concentrate...

she is standing on the table in a light green churidar, hands joined over her head, telling the story of janmashtami. why is her voice so lovely? why am i getting as enamoured of the tale as nani ji and di. thank h for la, anaconda. but wait, kans has arrived.

has it been seven years already? five and a half of them without the weekday half hour of dhakdhak starting midnight, here in singapore. no mahaepisodes, no episodes, no telecast, but iss pyaar ko kya naam doon? still plays, the media is different. it's our dil, our dimaag, our dhadkane. hai na... chacha ji? aaargh that first palat.

okay, forget it.. main chahta hoon ki tum mujhe, abhi, kiss karo.

as i type out the words, i begin to imagine a kissing scene between the two, i am beginning to choke, but aman has a mission. he calls. i often think hp was his plant in shantivan. had he not knocked on the door that day...

 sanaya irani on instagram today. 

n i s h a n a   e p i s o d e s
fan fiction

Thursday, 22 March 2018

what's in a...

and his name is samar.

and, of course, there’s no connection with the fact that for a long time today i read and thought about a poem called samar shesh hai by dinkar. samar? i thought, when i read a quote on a twitter profile. that’s a name... what does samar shesh hai mean? so i found the poem. does samar shesh hai mean the fight isn’t over? does samar mean fight? samar... warrior... battle... life... those last lines of the poem so beautiful. samar shesh hai, nahin paap ka bhagi keval vyadh / jo tatasth hai, samay likhega unka bhi aparadh... the fight’s not done, not just the hunter will bear the sins / those that remain silent, time will write of their wrongdoing too. samar... i know that name. do i know a samar though?

news is, barun is back soon in an altbalaji web series. i worry about that balaji thing, most productions are, well, awful. and the web series format seems to have something tinny about it, like hbo movies... something wrong with the structure itself. but i hear kay kay menon is in the show, which apparently is called, the great indian dysfunctional family; doesn't inspire confidence; a me too thing in it, like a mishmash of several hollywood film names that have left traces in the mind, coined by someone not too good with words.
i am happy.
and i do like the name samar.

 an edit from holi. 

that first time

i was looking for the date when i first saw barun, in a tv soap, and the very first time i felt a funny kind of pull, a recognition almost. i had wondered then what was wrong with me, was i finally regressing? a soap boy who is introduced in the 31st episode, dropped out of several episodes, and me watching this weird thing with searching eyes, where is the boy. no real sign of the acting at that time and a fairly corny story. a soap called shraddha. i really thought i was more ridiculous than i thought i was and my "crush" days from school were here.
it was 9 november 2009, that's when i first saw him. in april 2010, my world rocked in a way i had never ever thought it would. for a year and more i floated around not quite registering reality... going through the motions... my first and only visit to the united states during that time... i lived on the surface without even knowing that's what i was doing... till one day i turned my head and saw a promo of this show.
i turned away and said, huh, rubbish. a few months later i was caught. it was as though this fellow was not going to be denied... i was dragged back into intense feeling and just simple joy, silly joy, sparkling attraction, things i'd forgotten.
through this show came so much back to me, and all of you, and writing... and just being a part of this huge humanity. yes, even that. i go from thread to thread, i chat with people from everywhere... i feel a strong blessing.
the wretched feeling, the rocked world remains and perhaps will always be there, but there are many feelings back in me. my daughter worries that first thing in the morning i run to the comp... i do... my tie back to life is here.
wrote this on 12 april 2012. for some reason am ready to post it now.
ps: just realised i never wrote the name of the show, teehee, do i really have to?


Tuesday, 20 March 2018

an incredible man this asr

what made him exciting and precious was not his tortured past and the jagged edges thanks to it. there are many characters in all sorts of literature and arts who have the appeal of the cut and torn. heathcliff. othello. my little obsession, don draper. oh there are many and all of us i'm sure have a favourite or two.

what made asr beautiful to me, was the way he dealt with his share of rain, his terrible difficulties at a very young age. he faced it, fair and square. he never ran away into fantasy or try to make it better with stories and platitudes. it is true, people say they can understand what you feel, but no one can ever feel the emotions you go through when you cremate both your parents, touching them with the fire that will annihilate, end it all.

his entire sense of trust was badly shaken. his father had betrayed his mother, him and his sister too. the father is a place of trust, respect, solidity. none of that for this boy of fourteen. gone in a moment.

along with it, his haven of love, shelter, growth: his mother.

how terrible that his mother had killed herself because of his father's actions. his beloved mother who tried to teach her taciturn, angry, little chhotey the meaning of life, the value of conscience, of examining things, of giving the rose a chance.

he could have easily become incredibly bitter, harsh, cold. and rich and materially successful, while being drop dead good looking. oh yes, even that would have made him an exciting man, especially watching a woman break through layers of this darkness to matter like mad would be delicious.

but asr went much further than that. he did it his way.

(ok me sucker for individualistic people, do their own thing, prepared to face the consequences, but think and act according to what they feel is right, sounds familiar?)

he held the pain by its horn and charged right back at it, with all of himself, not some cut and lacerated bits of him, everything that's him, the good, the bad, the scared, the broken, the laughing, everything. he promised himself he'd make it ok for all those he loved. that trust, that respect, that solidity, he would restore all of it. he will be nothing like his father (though interestingly the writers gave him his dad's anger issues, wish they had dome something with it), he was nothing like him. he would be honest, clean, hard working, dependable.

and he would not depend on anyone else, i feel this came from the extreme sense of betrayal he felt re one person, the one he depended on, perhaps at some point even his hero: his father.

no god, kismet, fate. asr would make his own destiny himself. no problem if his di and whole family needed their bhagwan to make things happen. he wouldn't try to change them, another sign of strength in my eyes. but he would go it alone. if power and money were what mattered, he'd create enough never to have to look back. of course, there was much about life the boy had to learn, and go way beyond power and money, but his way of dealing with tragedy and his clear eyed courage in taking it all on... breathtaking. my feeling, there was lots of asr's mother and her essential positivity and integrity in his basic character. so even when he seemed harsh and terrible, some part in him always breathed and felt human. ah the guest house scene. dead.

only one concession to the turmoil, and maybe only because a part of him just ached and cried within (for which child would not want their dad to be who they thought he was), maybe that's why the closing down of his heart in one matter. women and love. arnav singh raizada ko kissi ladki se koi faraq nahin padta. a boy was keeping his hurt inside and away, while somehow trying to make amends to his mom. don't worry, i won't ever fall like that, i will always love you and di and my family with all of me. i will be there. i will not fall and become like him, your husband. no place for women inside me, no allowing them in. no getting carried away to saansey ruk jaygi moments. di, you're becoming like nirupa roy every day. a fabulous defence put up by one shattered within and trying to stay calm and strong. (all my conjectures, all may be wrong.)

by giving himself a real job to do in crisis i feel he saved himself. anger brought intensity, but he let his intelligence bring guidance.

his primary reason for going forward was not hate, it became love. for his sister. he anchored himself there, and went into the future, as its maker. this indomitable spirit and not the tortured soul is what made him so very dear to me. not just another troubled, good looker, i wanted to hold in my arms and nurse back to love and such stuff. but a man i admired and wanted to learn from, thrilled me to hear his views on life, love, god, work, and more.

sorry, just coming out of asr deprivation tank, had to write an essay on the man. a bit all over the place, but you know this character deserves as deep a delve as any macbeth othello gora karna heathcliff. 

today is exactly 19 months (wrote this 30 june 2014) since the last episode of ipk and asr... yet he continues unfettered in many minds and hearts, discussions, chats, arguments, edits, vms, everywhere. i wrote this a while ago, made the edit today... wanted to share. please do leave your thoughts and opinions here... looking forward to a cool and happy thread, maybe a little chaotically dhakdhak but hopefully no nastiness. that is reserved only for the incredible one.

as i post this again, it's end of march 2018, more than five years and four months since the last episode of the show. i still feel my breath slowing and a slight choking as i write this. i still speak of asr like he's right there, i still want to see what he might do in a difficult moment, in a lighthearted moment, in a moment with a girl who makes him go "unbelievable".

episode rambles 

a man and a girl who was a woman

a part of a conversation with a friend on india forums.

you had to fall for him, rhea. there was no choice. i too tried hard not to notice. even before seeing the first episode i'd decided, he'd be just a gauche, trying hard to be tycoon actor, and not me, i was not watching all this, i am not into hindi serials anyway.

he'll never look this young again. but he'll look different, older, something else in his eyes. and i hope i will always get that little oh no i'm about to fall feeling when i see him.

breaking my heart that he'll be on tv and i won't be watching.

that womanly thing in khushi... how sanaya portrayed it. smashing. that's what asr did perhaps for khushi, let her reach into herself and find out everything that she was, could be... i loved the way the girl woman was played... so real. i so wish they had given this a chance instead of constantly caging her up. and really, one can theorise and write stories but till actors get it and portray it like that... how how how... serial after serial i am seeing so called better written female leads, supposed chemistry, much delved into concepts of love, but not one gives me a moment like that. when in fact... saansey ruk jaaygi happens. these two... really something else together. i will always hope to see them together again. even when they are as old as nani ji and nana ji.



an edit wrapped in memory

everything in life can't be planned. i hadn't planned on falling for a serial, but when something gets you, it just does. the first episode and the last, something ties them together, is it a pearl dori that doesn't snap? and yet, i hear the pearls scattering, their sound against an unguarded valve of my heart. 


Monday, 26 February 2018

episode 43 gadbad thoughts

two clear and distinct layers in this episode. one takes us through the twists and turns of the outer, evident story. the other loses its way in memory, in yearning, in feelings not yet described and given a name to. as mami ji says, "arnav... kaahe itna laast lagat ho?" why are you looking so lost, arnav? why indeed. 
a song came to mind as i watched two people helplessly veering into thoughts of each other, without volition, without premeditation. as if the memories called out to them.

credit: tips music

khushi was not quite herself when payal said, it looked like lavanya had kept a fast for asr, she saw him opening it for her. uh huh, something about this did not gel with khushi. though all she could think of apparently was eating aloo poori the next day, the fast having spiked her need for food a notch higher. khushi and her constant food talk. a cover for something? like that incessant chatter of hers? maybe a little girl is lost permanently inside trying to find her way home, and to keep the thoughts at bay a defensive layer of noise and filling spaces that are empty inside? despite her stars and her upbeat demeanour, some things in her begged resolution. but sp and ph decided women were bahurias and super human, so that never got looked at. pity. if there was ever a man on television who could have had a meaningful relationship with a real woman, it was arnav singh raizada.

this was impossible. every time she closed her eyes, a scene from that day played in her mind. teej... she would have fallen if he hadn't caught her... then she walked away and again felt dizzy, he caught her in time again, jerked her close to! her eyes flew open. again she tried and again an image of the man. she could even hear his voice, "pehle do kadam chalna seekho, phir mooh kholna." she leapt up and sat upright, desperate.

"gadbad ho gayi, jiji... tumne uska naam le liya. ab saari raat humey neend nahin aayegi... baar baar ussika khayal aata rahega." ah mr gadbad was creating problems again. thanks ami, for that name and there goes another word, becoming forever ipk. gadbad. mistake, something gone wrong. jiji, mistake that was... you took his name, now the whole night i won't get sleep... again and again his thoughts will keep on coming. why khushi? why is mr gadbad so in your thoughts? rakshas that he is, why can't you just dismiss him?

"hey devi maiyya... humari raksha karna."

next morning, busy khushi gets making mounds of poori, but as is wont to happen these days, again gadbad. bua ji in foul mood hands her the sindoor box to keep properly. out it flies from her hand and falls on the table top. blood red vermilion. 

and a memory triggers.

she's dashing into him at ber sarai, sindoor from her platter all over him,

he's holding her hand to steady her, she feels his touch, his warmth, his strength,

he looks at her hand in his, something in his eyes, they're both touched by sindoor.

no. she can't think of him. dm, please don't let that rakshas's thoughts ruin her happiness. khushi, what if those thoughts are your happiness? noticed yesterday? for a short while they made you forget food?

segue to rm, a contented asr who has just seen his family relaxed and happy around the magical bonhomie of shyam, picks up a glass of water and drinks from it. and before you can say what the, he's transported to another world. (doesn't take much it seems for his thoughts to just run away and be with someone.) 

where a girl drinks water...

 from the glass he holds tenderly to her lips...

ah, to dream of such beauty... he's putting her arms around his neck, she is snug against his body, he lifts her up,

and there is her face, lovely, serene, he doesn't want to stop the thoughts.

but reality calls, hello hi bye bye has cleverly noticed her favourite nephew is looking distracted. talk continues and all would have gone well if anjali hadn't mentioned khushi and her sister and how they were at the temple.  


he goes still hearing her name. in that very instant, the plate of jalebis in shyam's hand tips and crashes to the floor.

this quiet meandering layer touched me and stayed. khushi in her crazy talkative way, and asr in his own reticent, intense way go to the same place in their minds. their meetings, their takkars if you will. their constant ebb and flow toward and away from each other. unbidden come the irresistible thoughts, and tell them something they don't understand.

lovely. she has breached his fortress faraq nahin padta. and he has touched her sanaka mind.

while this entrancing thought flow traversed the inner emotion layer, the outer layer showed us how shyam charmed the family. 

first nani ji, then lakshmi, then the rest... "kaahe itna laad karat hai sabko" nani ji asked, smiling in delight. anjali beamed right through. if last night shyam had wiggled out of a tight spot regarding the delhi papers in his bag with a lie, today he turned evasive and philosophical to explain how he learnt to make jalebis. apparently, such things just happen.

oh well. the way the raizadas are willing to believe anything he says, why should he bother to be coherent or remotely logical. there was talk of anjali and shyam buying a house and moving out. asr looked worried, nani ji vetoed the idea saying she ought not hang around alone at home. obviously, anjali's disability makes her family over protective. and shyam is happy to take advantage of that. now all talk of moving out is over, he can relax and keep switching between gh and rm. living off his in laws.

on the other side bua ji was irritated with khushi, maybe because she was not showing any interest in shyam, in fact laughing it off and teasing bua ji about her interest in babua, "kya baat hai, bua ji... aapko shyam ji ki badi yaad aa rahi hai?" babu ji called the girls and hearing their giggly happy chatter, couldn't bring himself to say that they were in financial difficulties. khushi made loads of poori. but when payal said the rations were depleted and money wasn't plentiful either, khushi decided not to gorge, saving the pooris for lunch.

some dialogues that said more:

"arre tum kari jayi ho manage aur hoi jaihe damage." oh you keep managing but damage is what gets done.
mama ji, that was a little mean, and looks like you have a gentle sense of humour and very much in lau with your mano.

"ap toh suttupai karlo. humri boli bolne ki kosis na karo." you shut up, don't try to speak in my language.  
aw, such cute love talk from mami ji. i am serious. if mama ji doesn't get a dose or two from mami ji regularly, i bet he doesn't feel quite like himself.

"bhai ek baat toh hai, damad ji ke yahaan aate hi poora ghar badal jawat hai."  

one must say, the moment damad ji comes, the whole home seems to change.
yes, mama ji, everything changes with shyam's entry, but not in the way you think. deceit and destruction comes with him. that's the change he brings.

"tum humko pehle ee batao, tumko kitne prakaar ki sanak hai?"
first you tell me, how many kinds of craziness do you have?
bua ji was hilarious today. she can't take khushi's sanak no more. tell me, how many kinds of crazinesses have ya got, chatori number one.

"hai re nand kissore, ye kahabat ka bhi istemal naahi kar sakat hai, kaise ke sasoori ko anaj ke elava jindagi mein kuch chahiye bhi nahin," oh lord nand kisore, one can't even use ths saying, because apart from food this one wants nothing else in life.

very telling, bua ji. really why is khushi so fixated on food?

"di toh aap hi ki hai," di is yours... poor asr, no idea what vile intent lurks in that dark heart. if only he'd caught it, if only.


some people look good in blue and some other people can't help but make caps when they see some people in blue.



those teej episodes
episode rambles