Marijuana Dreams

8:26 PM

It's kind of weird...I never knew relationships can have such an impact..its like a shot of unadulterated vodka...you never know when would it start hitting you...certainly not when u have it...and by the time it hits...you are beyond repair...puking on the floor...so high you don't even have the brains or wits to regret having that last shot when the entire humanity was crying for you to stop...its a weird feeling...like a really heavy hangover...only the part where you get sober after drinking three and a half cup of coffee is missing...its like your mind gets attuned to the world moving slowly...time increasingly going into a spiral...and you are at the centre of it...watching it approach you...but ever so slowly with constantly increasing speed...like its teasing you...I will be there before you know it...and so you wait...and its like one of those early 70s pop music videos with disco lights running berseck in every direction, or like those crazy depictions of marijuana dreams where the protagonist falls through an endless spectrum of light...Music is like a distant drumming on the souls...like a background score for the popular cult movie for which you are not the antagonist...but the paper currency which gets burned by the star...in search of the true calling for himself...you feel the thread burning slowly...its attached to you..you just know where to...and when would the fire reach you and consume you...so you walk the road most travelled by...and you skip the passages where people take a leap of faith and discover artistic imaginations...because that is too much to take for a sedated mind...and a misplaced heart...I never knew relationships could have such an impact
- Ashk


क्या समंदर भी कभी रोता होगा

12:11 AM

क्या समंदर भी कभी रोता होगा, किसी किनारे 
जब रेत बाँहों से फिसलती है उसकी... 
क्या समंदर भी कभी रोता होगा, किसी किनारे 
जब सूरज हर रोज़ उसके सीने में पिघलता होगा,
क्या समंदर भी कभी रोता होगा 

यु तो बेहद मजबूर से है तेवर उसके,
पर क्या वो भी कभी टूटता होगा,
जैसे पिघलती है मोम आईने पे धीरे से 
हर कदम को सँभालते हुए,
जैसे हार रही हो हर चाल के साथ,
क्या समंदर भी कभी रोता होगा, किसी किनारे 
अपनी लहरों को मचलते देख 
क्या समंदर भी कभी रोता होगा

किसी शायर की ग़ज़ल के जैसे जब कोई उसकी गहराई को छुटा है,
अपनी तन्हाई पे क्या समंदर भी कभी रोता होगा, किसी किनारे... 
जैसे रुक गई हों ख्वाहिशें किसी मासूम की,
वो तक़दीर के खेल पे 
क्या समंदर भी कभी रोता होगा, किसी किनारे 

कभी शाम को मैंने भी अपने गम समंदर में बहाएं हैं 
क्या उनको अपने पलकों में समेत के 
क्या समंदर भी कभी रोता होगा, किसी किनारे 
सोचता होगा मेरी गहराई में दफन हैं राज़ कितने... 
क्या उन कहानियों को दोहरा के अपने जेहेन में 
क्या समंदर भी कभी रोता होगा, किसी किनारे

- Ashk


Scotch and Words

3:29 PM

She used to chide me often...I need to tell her how much I love her...express...get her gifts..give her hugs...steal kisses when she least expected...where would u find a girl who comes with a manual on how to be a perfect and caring lover...her friends used to tell me..I'm lucky..
And stupid me..I often told her to be real...just like my love was...expressions I said need not be words..kisses need not always be stolen...smiles need not always be shared...for love does not come with a manual...love comes with a set of wild hearts...bent on taming the other...and its not the ones who win this battle who flourish in love...but its those who learn to loose these battles who live happily ever after...
I still remember our fights...they were somehow different than the fights I had 6 months ago...did we change so much in 6 months...or did our love somberly hijacked logic in our brains...the debate was not if I should tell her how much I love her...the debate was whether it was good to be logical or was it a drag...and a more humane way was to live illogical...
I still remember our first fight...I would certainly remember our last...both left me with the same feeling...someone had finally defeated my words...someone had finally broken free...and now I stand on a moral high ground deciding if I was right or if it was she....does love really come with a user manual...even if it does....I don't think I could ever read one...

- An untamed heart (Ashk)


I shall live to Garner Experiences

5:25 PM

A Sunday spent lazing around…literally doing nothing…. Perfect….Life cannot be better !!
But then the night draws near and I start thinking, what is that which I fear the most. There is this feeling that keep nagging somewhere in the heart. That feeling of another day gone by.

This is not the fear of death. This is not the fear of growing old. This is the fear of loosing out on time. This is the fear of not having enough experiences in life to feel good about. This is about not having made enough mistakes in life to feel healed of, from the corrective paths you take. It’s the fear of knowing exactly how the next day looks like.

The realization that you need to be excited about something which will happen the next day, something which you are not aware of. You may meet someone you have never met before, you may read a new book, you may have a dialogue on atheism with another enlightened soul, or you may end up writing a note to the you 30 years from now. That is what makes life a journey to cherish.

The desire to do things which the world may not agree to, actions that do not adhere to the so called norms of the society, is something that must drive men and women to stretch their goals, their limits and their desires to experience. What these experiences would bring would define the personalities that we create for ourselves.

When I look back at myself, I should not feel sorry of the fact that I did not write this page, however, trivial this may sound. I should not have the regret that I did not fall. I should not have the regret that I did not experiment. I should not have the regret that I could not breathe the energy that was around, rather I survived merely on the air that was around.

- -          Ashk 


The Opera Lights

10:45 PM
In the background of opera lights,
I had seen her cry...
Those delicate pearls upon her satin handkerchief,
she had so gracefully plucked them away..
Her profile,the demeanour that she held as she sat,
did it ever flicker in composure,
even if; i could not perceive...

The muscles abound her beauty bones,
were they taut,
the streak of golden string of her evening gown
upon her bare shoulder,
sheepishly shone the single bead of perspiration besides...

Her eyes did not follow
the subtle movements of the violinist
for the first time that night..
they shielded the window to her thoughts,
like opaque mirror they stood...

"Are you fine, young lady?"
that pristine smile never betrayed her lie...

The satin touched her crystal eyes a few more times,
the opera dimmed for the last lines,
as the romeo died,
I still think I saw her cry...



An essay on Self & Beyond ...

10:33 PM

The distinction of 'self' and 'beyond' has been the sole marker that has helped humans rise above the level of plain animal instinct claim the protagonist; the sole bane- the reason for the segregation of the society,claims the antagonist, on the other hand. Like a motion picture flowing in its rhythm the story has its ups and downs and both the central characters have their time - "I told you so" moments. So first, the preface.

Science, in modern time is not limited to one domain, and the sapient have been burning the night oil, to bring about an integration of the various aspects of human learning. And the debate of the supremacy, or at times, even the legitimacy, of philosophy or Science has been raging for ages now. There have been proponents of the theory that neither of these can exist sans other. While most still adhere to the notion of a valley between the two poles. Where I'm getting to is this distinction and how to treat this in the coming discussions. Should I accept the inevitable integration of the two as a presumed assumption or should I flow with the current and treat them as two separate sane birds. As far as I can, I would leave the distinction to the reader. What I present is a mirror of personal opinion on the backdrop of the preface mentioned.

Physiology,Anatomy, Endocrinology, and to come extent Biochemistry have all ceaselessly worked towards unravelling the mystery of the complex processes that govern human interactions, the distinguishing patterns of the 'supreme species', some call; each branch diverging into its own domain of expertise and travelling to varying depths. While Anatomy restricts itself to the physical distinctions of the race, Physiology and biochemistry go to the atomic- the cellular levels. Club this with Genetics and you have the perfect mixture of what Science can provide you to solve the intricate puzzle of human appearance,behaviour,interacting and the existence of human ecosystem(talking more in the metaphorical sense).The efforts put in by James D. Watson in the field of human understanding of what controls our behaviour, our traits - the DNA are magnanimous. The Human Genome Project has had promising reviews and the ardent supporters of Genetics are calling it the single biggest boon to the advancement of human knowledge and its understanding of self.

The companion of Science in its search for the 'inner-self' has been Philosophy. It has chosen its own path and its own tools based on logic, reasoning and deductive knowledge, to bring upon us the light of wisdom. From Plato and Aristotle to Ayn Rand, Kafka and many others, the philosophers have pooled their acumen at various times and at various levels to put forward their own claims upon the elixir of wisdom. Some of these have explained in well defined rules, what forces govern human interaction ; while others have taken a more conservative route, by highlighting the general guidelines and leaving the enactment under these principles to the interpreter to his liking and will.

But one point that all claim is the distinction that humans have from the other animal creatures on this planet, and how this distinction has or has not elevated us to a superior level in the cosmic scheme.

It is this that I propose to debate on. The distinction of 'Self' and 'Beyond'. What demarcates the boundary of self, and what provides cadence to the scheme of the self segregated by the beyond; where's the connecting link, if the distinction is a reality? If you talk to me as a proponent of Science, I would have to rely upon the logical deduction methodology used by the Philosophers to counter you, for your claim of providing definitive evidence is too strong to be refuted. Certainly there exists physical boundaries that separate the living creatures, not only in terms of their mental stature, but also their position in the pecking order of the cosmic scheme. And if you talk to me as a proponent of Philosophy, I would have to refute your claim with the Scientific facts that I have, for your deductive reasoning is a self confined spiral.

The society, today however, has satisfied itself with the claims of Science, and lives in a world governed by well defined demarcations, at every level. And the philosophy of demarcating has penetrated our system to such an extent that we have started to define different set of rules for 'Self' and 'Beyond'....Yes, certainly the bane of humans. To comment on any situation where an individuals decision might have been prejudiced by the theory of demarcation has the limitation of defining other structures and situations that might be influencing his decision. To present a more acceptable study, one must create a model where other factors are considered null and void, or at least for the duration of the experiment considered as ineffective.

So, assuming myself at the center of the experiment, I must create an environment around me where no other factor- circumstantial or otherwise, influences the decision that I take for 'Self' and 'Beyond'. Now assuming I have to take a decision where in a 'Yes' would mean accepting  that whatever I did in the past was a mistake( A particular thing in question ). While a 'No' would mean that I hold good my decision in the past and have no regrets. Now if I have to take the call for my'Self' , I would only be considering the effects that the answer would have on me, keeping in mind that I have reserved all other circumstantial or individualistic influences. But I certainly cannot remove the mental faculty that takes the decision for me. So I would be compelled to think of the effect of my answer on self - "The seed for Self-respect and selfishness alike".

But if I have to take the same decision for the 'Beyond' world, say a person belonging to the circle of 'Beyond' in the Venn diagram of my life, I would be in a fix. Approaching the problem, categorically helps us understand why. I am the center of the experiment. And now I have to take a decision for someone else. That is I have been asked to 'judge'. For an effective and impartial result, I must be presented with all the facts. But the pre-condition of the experiment demands that no circumstantial or individualistic influence must govern me or my decision. So, the facts that I have with me are nil. I have a question, i have a person, and I have a decision to make. Now to come to a fair decision, I must interact with the foreign entity. And interaction brings influence. But such influence would be synergistic with the experiment and hence would not break the pre-condition rule. And so, invariably the subject is compelled to interact with the foreign entity(guiding simply by the desire to make a fair judgement). And now when the subject makes a decision, its through a coloured eye.

The second problem with this being that the decision is a judgement proclaimed about the life of some other entity.And so the person's view as to how the decision effects the subject himself becomes important. Because if the decision effects him adversely, he would be tempted to choose the path that is good for himself. Again this tilt came while in the process of decision making and not before that, so completely out of the purview of our pre-condition. And this 'Selfishness', if you may like to call it, is a principle trait of humans, and a part of the faculty that has been deciding for the subject.

This creates the distinction of Rules that governs one's decision, when faced with the same question regarding 'Self' and 'Beyond'.... The elimination of this distinction from the thoughts and philosophy of the human and the integration with the oneness,is what every religion teaches - the transcendental theme. Till then, we need to keep checking the premise...

- Ashk


Because he knew he could..

11:51 PM

He did not leave his soul and body to become one with the universe..because he knew he could do that..any day...he may just decide to not wake up one day...become another foggy light in the memory of those he knew knew of his existence...he was aware of the pain he would cause those who really cared for him...in the eerie silence before the final act when his mind and heart dueled to decide whether to be a 'was' or to remain a non-existant 'is'..he could hear in that moment of silence the screams of disbelief of his friends...and the triumphant 'I always thought he would end up that way' of his true friends...just before his vision was smeared..clogged...with that single drop of tear in his eyes while the air around him mysteriously disappeared as if giving him a feel of what life would be after life...in that moment he saw her smiling,crying,laughing,not believing what she was hearing..still holding him in an embrace..still respecting his decision and chiding him at the same time...proud for the courage he finally mustered and sad for the shades of honour he had just lost...that unexplained emotion that held all of these expressions in one..he saw her..and he did not leave..not yet...coz he knew he could...

Only if he knew that he could not...if he had a choice...maybe he would..not yet...for tonight he knew he could...



Drawing Parallels !!

9:38 PM

I am a big fan of Manchester United – the Red Devils. And being such a fanatic, it pains me severely to see how much we have suffered in the last 2 years. Previous season was a complete disaster with a
dismal 7th position in the league, and no qualification for the much aspired Champions League.

Now, it’s a fact that Sir Alex stepped down as the manager after 27 years of thick and thin. Add to that the fact that we had a manager (David Moyes) who had a starkly different style of operation tactically,  and an altogether different way of dealing with his players.

So what went wrong?

- Lack of Transition Management – From a 4-4-2 attacking, fluid play style of play, suddenly MANU shifted to a 4-4-2 contain, pass-and-play kind of mentality. Of course, the players would have known what is coming their way. After all Everton (Moyes’ previous team) had been constantly rising over the last 2 years and would have been thoroughly analysed. However, the key question to ask is that whether the players were sensitized of how the transition in philosophy would unfold? Had they accepted mentally that the manager had changed and so would the style?

- Does the team change with a change of Manager? – Is it the manager who defines the team, or is it the team which defines its own style of play? Isn’t it similar to an organization setting up its vision and philosophy and then letting the teams to play within the boundary of the same and tweak it and change it to suit their requirements within the limits defined. What Moyes was trying to do, many believe is to keep the structures same (the formation, the coaching staff, the flow of command), but change the philosophy by which the team as a whole plays and evolves.

If it were the opposite, where the overall guiding rails remained the same, but the flow of thestructure and processes were tweaked to evolve the team gradually, maybe we would still be having Moyes at the helm at MANU

- Key stakeholders : was there a buy-in? – We have seen Rooney sacrifice his forward position to
play as a winger or as a play maker under Sir Alex as well. Then what was it under Moyes that
was not clicking? Was it the fact that Rooney was not confident of a forward combination of Janujaz and Van Persie, which was mostly Van Persie and Chicarito under Alex? Or was it the lack of fluidity in the midfield whose mindset was stymied by a play which required more of possession football?

- Was it too early to judge? - How do you define what is the appropriate time to judge if a transition has succeeded tor pulled the system down? Even Sir Alex had a very tough time when he took over as Manchester United Manager for the first time with equally, if not worse results in the first 3 seasons. Then why did the fans and management be so hasty in crucifying Moyes?

Was it because we were still living in the halo of the team that was under Sir Alex? It should have been the Glazer’s (owners of MANU) to stand behind Moyes, in the first year and judge his intent to change the philosophy, the merit in such change and the process he was outlining, more than the immediate results. Or was it social pressure – the fans who crucified Moyes?

As I reach the end of this write up, I find it amusing that how certain themes – “Transition Management”, “Evolving the Organisational philosophy without sacrificing on results and faith”,
“Stakeholder Buy-in”, “Criteria Contamination when defining parameters to assess performance”and similar principles stand fundamental to the success of teams, whether units small in size or multinational organisations. The most important teaching that such scenarios give us is to recognize and pick up such themes from our day to day situations, and draw parallels, for we never know where the solution to our biggest problem may come from – sports, politics, or theater.

As a closing note, one particular theme which binds all the discussions we would have on any such parallels, and the possibility of finding a solution to our problems, would be derived from answering one question honestly – “To what extent am I observing this scenario to critique and judge, against observing to absorb and assimilate what I see?”

- Anurag Shrivastava

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