Ode to Mumbai – 2 – मुंबई के दीवाने

सुन सुन के तेरी महफ़िलों के फ़साने
आ गए दीवाने, साहिल को पाने!
किस्मतों की दलीलें धुएं में उड़ाने
फिर आज़माने ये रास्ते पुराने!

आशिकों में तेरे इंतज़ार का फ़ितूर है
जो आज तेरी हालत है, इन्ही का कुसूर है।
शायद मैं तुझसे मोहब्बत ना कर सकूँ, पर
नफ़रत की ताकत का अपना सुरूर है।

[Brainstorm:

किश्तों में बाँटती है तू प्यार के तराने
मेरे खून से लैस हैं तेरे वादों के फ़साने
क्या छोड़ आया हूँ, क्या कुछ पाने की आस में
ढूंढ रहा हूँ तेरी महफ़िल में आने के बहाने.

मेरे जूनून-ए-करम, मेरी शराफत से डर,
मेरे जज़्बे से डर, मेरी इंसानियत से डर
दो कौड़ी का तेरा वजूद न होता –
जो जलते ना तेरी लॉ में परवाने अगर!

इंतज़ार की आदत तेरे आशिकों को होगी
मैं तो तुझपे फतह करने आया हूँ
अपनी किस्मत की दलीलें तो कायरों को मुबारक
मैं तो तेरी किस्मत बनाने आया हूँ

तेरी इजाज़त न तेरी सहमति की ज़रुरत है
मुझे तेरी नहीं, तुझे मेरी ज़रुरत है
तेरी दलाली का आखरी चाँद चढ़ चूका
कल से इस शहर पे शायरों की हुकूमत है।]

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The Good, the Bad and the Sholay – 2015

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The Good, the Bad and the Sholay‘s Kalaa Utsavam run just ended two days ago. I wrote the play at an emotionally tumultuous time in college, when very little was making sense and I was still grappling with what I want to do with myself. Writing was cathartic and rewarding, and it became my refuge.

Unexpectedly, I seem to still have some of the same fears and insecurities I had back then, and it was only when we were finally in the theatre that I allowed myself to confront those devils. In rehearsal, you focus on the details, on the creation of drama, on characters and blocking – all the things that make a great show. But when you’re finally in the theatre, with an audience, breathing with you, anticipating, expecting, joyous – there is nothing more to create. All that’s left is to give up your defences and watch. I cried at very unexpected times, surprising myself with how affected I (still) am.

I am really drained now. I have to be honest with myself – my whole body is overwhelmingly tired from the mental, emotional, physical exhaustion of the past few weeks. When friends have asked me how I feel – tired has been my only, helpless reply.

But it’s now two days since, and I’ve had some redeeming sleep. I finally have energy enough to reflect a little.

It’s been good. It was good to have an unmoving document of who I used to be when I was 19, and to be forced to reinvestigate it. I found myself understanding myself better because of it. I’ve grown up so much in many ways, and in many ways I’m more unabashedly childish than I was then. Both have been good to understand. Both are important because I can be more knowingly comfortable in my own skin – as an artist and collaborator.

My notebook details times when I have managed to get the better of myself. Never before have I managed to be so boundless in patience, energy and optimism. Even when my whole being was terrified, or angry, or just plain dumbfounded, I somehow managed to keep calm and composed, somehow kept putting one foot in front of the other. At the end of it all, knowing that I pulled through is giving me a lot of contentment.

And confidence too. Confidence that I have it in me to keep plugging away. Bua said once, casually – “What do you mean you have no energy? One always has energy.” That’s been very true. I really have had infinite energy (which I’m paying for now, with infinite sleepiness).

The team of 8 wonderful actors who gave the play so much – looking back, I can’t believe my luck. So many random, fortunate things had to happen for that particular group of people to join forces in the rehearsal room, and it’s been such a particularly special process because of it. I haven’t had it in me to convey properly how grateful, indebted I am for their love and labor. This was a huge project for me – my (inner?) life is at a crucial crossroads – and it meant the world to me to be able to depend on their talent, their generosity, and their sense of humour. Poo-rub. Julie, Deborah, Chanel, Xin Xuan, Ghafir, Thomas, Pavan, Kubhaer – thank you all so very much.

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A lot of my life was on stage this past weekend. I’m very grateful that my family was able to come and watch. Maanavi was there, missing classes. (the beautiful photos in this post were taken by her). Ragini was there, missing an exam! I’m also so thankful for the wonderful friends I am fortunate to have, who came and watched and were there, smiling and with hugs at the ready when it ended. It’s a strange thing – because it is in the nature of this work that it is only worth it if friends and family can watch it, and enjoy it. Which is why I so sorely missed family in Delhi and Mumbai who weren’t able to come, and who might not end up reading this either. In person, I will probably not be able to tell them how much I wished they were here. Just like I wasn’t able to tell my friends who didn’t come how much I missed them…

At the moment – I’m just really, really happy. Happy to have worked on this play, worked with people I respect, admire and love, and worked so so hard. And happy also that the work was received well by friends, family and audiences in general.

Meanwhile, the world will keep spinning, and I will move on to another project too soon. I just hope that when the next thing I do comes out, I am able to say the same things – that I made no compromises, that I worked myself to the ground, that I worked with wonderful people, that I was able to share it with my loved ones, and that I am happy.

Onwards.

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Jaden’s Tweets Make Mind-Blowing Sense – in the Right Order #Jupiter

You thought his tweets are nonsensical? THINK AGAIN, MORTAL. Jaden’s Tweets Defy Time and Space. Their sense comes in no chronological order. Understanding transcends Humanity.  Can’t get enough of this.

Ok –

Enough. i can’t Jaden. I English.

Everything here is from one of Jaden Smith’s tweets. I’ve just added punctuation and a word here and there in italics.

Somehow, in this order, they make a damn fine story. Enjoy. Get your weird hat on!

I’m thinking. #neuroscientification

“It’s your birthday” Mateo said. “Are you not excited to be fifteen?” He asked.
People tell me to smile I tell them the lack of emotion in my face doesn’t mean i am unhappy.
Reading my book I uttered “I turned 15 long ago.”
People used to ask me, what do you wanna be when you get older? And I would say what a stupid question. The real question is What Am I Right Now.
I’m 13, this is ridiculous.
Did we die yet?
Nope. Once you go in, you always come out alive.
Since we’re alive, Hey @noahcyrus me you and willow should look at trees together.
I watch twilight every night.
Trees are never sad. Look at them. Every once in a while, they are quite beautiful.
Why is always t(h)ree? WHY IS IT ALWAYS T(H)REE?
Most trees are blue.
Green white and blue make dreams come true.
If a cup cake falls from a tree, how far away will it be from down? #Jupiter
Anyone born on this planet should have a planetary citizenship enabling them to freely explore their home.
UFOs.
Don’t worry Bae I’ll talk to you about SpaceTime over FaceTime.
All the rules in this world, including SpaceTime, were made by someone no smarter than you.
So make your own.
I don’t want you guys to think because I was born in America that I speak and abide by English grammar. I speak Jaden, indefinitely.
Anyway, School is the tool to brainwash the youth.
If everybody in the world would drop out of school, we would have a much more intelligent society.
If newborn babies could speak, they would be the most intelligent beings on planet earth.
You can discover everything you need to know about everything by looking at your hands.
For example –
If a bookstore never runs out of a certain book, does that mean that nobody reads it, or everybody reads it?
If you think you get it YOU DON’T YOU DON’T YOU DON’T
I scare people away.
Lately people call me scoop life.
I just like showing pretty girls a good time. Whether I’m physically there or not doesn’t matter.
That’s why I build pyramids constantly. (get it? hehe)
The head of the sphynx will fall off in the near future.
But dude, please. Stop gossiping, reflect internally.
How can mirrors be real, if our eyes aren’t real?
You will find yourself a neglected part of your self.
People hate what they don’t understand.
When I die you will realize.
Dying is mainstream. #Money
When the first animal went extinct, that should’ve bin a sign.
I hope it doesn’t take for me to die for you to see what I do for you.
Either I lie to you or we cry together.


Umm who has the floss.

Aaj Sab Theek Hai – New Song About Blaming it on the Ooparwaala

Here’s a little song I wrote,
You might want to sing it note for note,
Don’t worry,
And blame it on,
The ooparwaala.

Lyrics

Verse:
Mandir ho ya Masjid,
Church ya gurudwara,
Ya phir sheesh mahal mein baitha
Dashing boss tumhaara
Ooparwaala hai har kaheen
Aasmaan woh, hum zameen.
Toh baadal kaheen bhi chhaayein
Baarish humi pe girti hai
Kyonki aakhir mein toh bas
Ooparwaale ki chalti hai!

Chorus:
Toh,
Aaj sab theek hai
Shukar ooparwaale ka!
Kal jo bigad gaya toh
Galti bhi ooparwaale ki!

Kavita:
Jiya jo pal pal zindagi ki
Saari rasmein nibhaayi,
Time pe padhaai, davaai,
Lugaai aur duhaai.
Ooparwaala sadistic hai,
Kucch aisi duniya banaayi
Ke har ek jeete pal pe daali
Kabr ki hai parchhaai.

English Translation

Verse:
Whether it’s in a temple, a mosque,
A church or a gurudwara,
Or, sitting in a beautiful house of glass,
It’s your dashing boss,
The “ooparwaala” is everywhere
They are the sky, and we are the dust
So nomatter where the clouds end up
We will have to bear the rain
Because nomatter what, eventually,
“Ooparwaala” gets his way.

Chorus:
So,
Today if everything is fine,
Thank the “ooparwaala”!
An if tomorrow everything goes wrong,
It’s also the fault of “ooparwaala”!

Poem:
As I lived the moments of my life,
I followed all the unspoken rules,
I studied, kept my health,
Married and mourned, all at the right times.
But this “ooparwaala” is sadistic,
He’s put us in such a world –
That every living moment is darkened
By the shadow of the grave.

Baudelaire, In an ode to the Painter of Modern Life

The crowd is his domain, just as the air is the bird’s and the water is that of the fish. His passion and his profession is to merge with the crowd. For the perfect idler, for the passionate observer it becomes an immense source of enjoyment to establish his dwelling in the throng, in the ebb and flow, the bustle, the fleeting and the infinite. To be away from home and yet to feel at home everywhere; to see the world, to be at the very centre of the world, and yet to be unseen of the world, such are the minor pleasures of those independent and impartial spirits, who do not lend themselves to definitions. He is a prime enjoying is incognito wherever he goes. The lover of life makes his whole world into a family, just as the picture lover lives in dreams painted on canvas. Thus the lover of universal life moves into the crowd as into a vast reservoir of electricity. He the lover of life may also be compared to a mirror as vast as his crowd; to a kaleidoscope endowed with consciousness, which with every one of his movements presents a pattern of life, in all its multiplicity, and the flowing grace of all its elements that go to compose life. It is an ego athirst for the non-ego, and reflecting it at every moment in energies more vivid than life itself, always inconstant and fleeting.