Out of the shadows.

Dark night, dark moon.

An impossible journey begins,

The last full measure of strength,

I muster, to survive long enough till it ends.

 

Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid.

 

Resurrection is what I seek,

Determination, my faithful staff,

Sure, time has made them limbs weak,

Yet, my will brings them back to life.

 

Resolute will. Resolute will.

 

A mountain awaits.

It’s summit taunting me, yet again.

Mocking me, oh that intolerable insult.

That audacity. That arrogance.

 

Keep faith. Keep faith.

 

No, I don’t ever pray.

But tonight, I’m on my knees.

Knocking, on His door, His paradise,

On my torched soul, to blow a gentle breeze. 

 

Gentle breeze. Gentle breeze.

 

Such a beautiful life, rich in desire,

Deep inside, a raging fire.

No, I won’t change my mold,

No matter the consequences are dire.

 

Won’t change. Won’t change.

 

 

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From rags to riches. Well, almost.

What i post: Having a lavish dinner at the Taj Mahal hotel.

What i actually do: Just have a cup of tea at the hotel and then head out to Bade Miyan’s later.

 

What i post: Telling my juniors at work how awesome their work has been and how much i appreciate their contribution to the company.

What i actually do: Give them a raise which doesn’t even beat the inflation rate.

 

what i post: My brand new Apple gizmo.

What i actually do: Buy an apple (the fruit), take a bite off and then put a photo-shopped picture of that apple.

 

What i post: Enjoying the good life in the business class lounge at the airport.

What i actually do: Buy an economy ticket and then shamelessly ask for an upgrade at check-in.

 

What i post: A critique of the airline food and blame the airline for cutting costs and serving horrible food in flight.

What i actually do: Order a vada pav from the tapri nearby during lunch time.

 

What i post: Partying hard with friends to celebrate my 30th birthday.

What i actually do: Take my friends for a walk on the beach and treat them to street food.

 

What i post: Pictures of awesome recipes that I make getting inspired by Master-chef.

What i actually do: Make insta-noodles in the microwave and order those recipes from nearby restaurants.

 

What i post: a gym-selfie showing what a gym-rat i am.

What i actually do: 10 minute warm-up on the treadmill and then a 30 minute break.

 

What i post:  Riding down a mountain road on a sports bike tagging it with some cocky punch line like “me and the open road”.

What i actually do: Get off the bike, return it to the real rider and then get back on to the bus.

 

What i post: Picture of the new guitar bought to impress girls in college during camp/beach trips.

What i actually do: Never pay for a tutor to learn how to even play the guitar and lock it up in the attic.

Art of War

Lie still, very still.

Await their steps, as they draw near

Pretend to be under their spell,

Consumed by their fear.

 

Awake you must stay, as the night goes on,

The doors firmly locked, any escape clearly blocked.

Remember your desperation, the broken bond

For this is your time, keep your ammunition stocked.

 

Draw them very close, make them feel so bold,

Submit to their will, pretend yours to be the one which fell

And as they are about to take your soul,

Make them regret the day they left hell.

 

Show no mercy, bend every rule,

Look perfectly calm, hit with all your strength.

They must know what it is to be cruel,

They must know, of revenge’s sweet scent.

 

Once you’re done, clean up the mess.

Put on a suit or that non-pure dress.

Try to look perfectly nice

& they won’t notice the rage inside.

Your eyes will show insanity

They shall, by your rules, forever hide.

 

Choosing between Excellence & Success

“Strive for Excellence, Success shall, inevitably, follow” so speaks the protagonist. His ways surprise (often alienate) his peers, while he keeps reinforcing his own belief through his actions. In his world where success (in any form or manner) transcends all the wise words of the past, it is indeed a pleasure to watch the protagonist revive the forgotten adages in modern times.

So how does one differentiate (or at least attempt to discern) between the two? While success today (& indeed since the times of our forefathers) has always been associated with more money or power, the value of excellence has, sadly, deteriorated with time. Success has metamorphosed from a self-fulfilling prophecy of the past to a widely accepted dream of modern society, often vindicated by the successful (& just as forgettable) leaders themselves. Often, one is conditioned to “succeed” in life; & any other thought is considered no less than sacrilege. But what becomes of such men? How do they fare in life? Would they be men of honor? Or simply some sanctimonious windbags clad hypocritically in armani-esque business suits who can only spout leadership & visionary rhetoric while amassing uncountable (& sometimes unaccountable) riches. While such men invariably do achieve “success” but, in reality, they are enslaved by their own obsession of it.

Too often the quest for success has less to do with principle than with opportunism. One such quest of success in the modern world can be found deeply embedded (& artistically disguised) in the business landscape. Characterized by the over-arching (almost sacred) mantra of performance driven success, countless men are toiling away day & night to meet their objectives. To wait for pay-day more anxiously than a 1st time father outside the maternity room. Such men are like hawks, always looking for that better salary, not necessarily worried about the work. They have already made a compromise. Of course, they would argue that position (or power of influence) is equally important in the job. But fundamentally, the goal is the same. Seldom does one realize that in his zeal to achieve his aspirations (mostly materialistic), the path he chooses invariably sends him on a wild goose chase behind money. Excellence, thus, only becomes a mute spectator on the company’s vision plaque.

But excellence, on the other hand, implies an implicit acceptance of certain higher objectives; that job objectives can be opposed, but not one’s own vision of the future. Problem is, of course, that often it is the former that defines the boundary between the two. The seeds of change needed to instil an unwavering & invigorating passion for excellence. It must come through close association with people who have chosen the path less travelled; quite opposite to the self-aggrandizing successful. While success cannot be undermined as an inextricable aspiration; its means to achieve can surely be.

Emphasis on excellence in the area sought should precede any sense of opportunism. Only then, can one truly achieve the pinnacle of success without ever bothering about it. Patience would determine the resolve one has to pursue excellence. Even the great Mahatma Gandhi had to wait decades before he could fulfil his dream of independent India. Ditto for Nelson Mandela who spent 27 years in jail. One shudders to think how the world would have been today, had these men succumbed to the grandeur of success.

Drawing upon the business landscape again, how does one truly (& consciously) resolve towards adherence to the pursuit of excellence? And is it really worth the effort? With the fruits of labor long replaced by the seeds of greed; excellence has only become the occasional visitor to the rants of senior leadership, seldom making any meaningful impact. So is excellence achieved through corporate directive alone? And would that really be, in any form, as pure as the thought itself? Surely, excellence in any task is an individual’s prerogative. But more importantly, it is his self-realization of the vision of his own future that will act as the guiding light in his work efforts. Friction between his own vision & corporate expectations would undoubtedly exist, but not in perpetuity. Ultimately, his work would bear upon the world & shall be revered in the same vein as the great (& true) leaders of the past. But only if he chooses to.

Like I said, the problem is choice. I have made mine. Your turn.

So grave the con of MAN

So grave the con of man

For HIS angels seek him in the alleys of the DARK,
and he hides himself in HIS light…

For he wages a war in HIS name,
he yearns to gain a martyr’s fame

That man shall be in peace, was HIS dream
In the shadows of the DARK, in the glow of the light, whatever the realm

But he raged a war so old, of HIS holiness behold,
Of good against evil, of man against devil.

But who is the devil now ? Does he truly know ?
For HE is watching & has seen him fall this low.

But HIS mercy knows no bound,
Only if he could hear HIS sound…

he forgets this is HIS world & he is but a passing guest,
On Judgement day, he will face HIS ultimate test.

No sooner than he speaks he killed in HIS name,
Shall the doors of hell open & throw him in HIS flame.

Thanks Grandpa for being from Jabalpur :)

Suddenly, I get a notification of a “Friend Invite” on FB. I wondered who it is this time!! Is it some old friend from school (whom I have lost touch with for more than a decade!) or some desperate soul asking me for job opportunities (Yes, I have recd many such requests, but shall not take names to save them the embarrassment). Or maybe someone who knows a friend of a friend of mine on FB and wants to know if I can introduce him/her to another friend of a friend of mine (I know, it’s complicated) so that they can get together (and probably make babies one day?? or not!!!).

But this invite was different. (“Maggie tomato sauce” type different). It did not fall in any of the categories listed above. It was an invite from a complete stranger. My usual instinct is to first check if there is any remote connection betn us (Even if the person knew the ice-cream vendor outside my school or something as weird!!). But, despite my sincerest efforts to establish some connection, there existed none!! Naturally, suspicion was my first instinct. To add to the confusion, Lo Behold!! the invite was from a gal!!!

So I check her profile out. Hmm… a gal from Hyderabad working in the IT industry who is a fan of some English football club and loves heavy metal music. (In short, the exact opposite of me). I also checked some of her album pictures. That she wasn’t someone who could make anybody take a 2nd look at herself would be a definite lie 🙂 (Socrates sayz – The cure for ‘luv @ 1st sight’ is a closer 2nd look 😛 ).

After my initial screening et al of her profile, I decide to investigate further. (Can’t take anything on face value, occupational hazard I guess). I write her a message – to check whether we do know each other or was she looking for some other guy named Najmuddin (what are the odds of that!!!!) and landed up on my profile instead. Her reply was of the kind of stuff that history is made of!!! (ok, maybe that was a little exaggerated, but ya’ll know me 😀 )

She replied – We got nothing in common. Though, she was still looking for me. (well, not exactly, but till I reveal the secret, let me be in this illusion 🙂 ). She reasoned, that her grandfather was from a city called JABALPUR & that she has a “special” place in her heart for that city (& the ppl too :P). Based on this reason, she thought that WE could be friends. (I kid you not!! Trust me… that’s what she said). Initially, I found that reason rather absurd. I wrote back clarifying that I din’t belong to that city as such (the last time I went there, I was still in kindergarten!!). Just that my grandpa was from that city and hence my surname.

So, as crazy as it sounds, she & I are friends today because of a city. Because of 2 people who belonged to the same city at some point in history (maybe they were friends themselves… who knows!!!). Because 2 generations down the line, they would have probably liked their grandchildren to find each other on FB (well, they wouldn’t have known about FB then, but wht the heck!!). Because no matter how much u try to do rational/logical things, life has this incorrigible way to amaze you with such completely irrational events. Because there still are ppl in the world (thank GOD for that) who believe that you can be friends….. for reasons that don’t make sense.

Here is a free tip to everybody who thinks that making friends is tough…. Go check where your grandpa came from… As for me, I thank mine for being from JABALPUR 🙂

Glad to be a “JABALPUR” WALA !!!
Cheers.

Miles to go before the end….

I once thought love wasn’t for real,
Since it was only meant to make u feel,
Like nothing else really mattered,
& without love, ur life was completely shattered…

Having grown up with this thought –
Life mattered more, its goals what I sought…
Never realized what I was missing along…
Never paid heed to life’s real song…

Along came an angel, white drape et al,
Told me – listen to these wise words, don’t be afraid to fall
In love, it is a world in its own,
Where the true meaning of life is shown…

It was she who opened my eyes,
And took me to a world where human spirit flies…
In search of not life’s goal…
But seek the one who can touch your soul…

When she was gone, I felt torn apart,
Distraught, meaningless, almost becoming a tart,
But she left behind her legacy,
She filled my heart with love & ecstasy

I forever changed, & began to believe in love
In search for that perfect soul-mate,
I travelled far n wide…
Leaving, sometimes, life itself aside…

Then one day, luck shone upon me,
Along came someone, whom, I thought, I could relate to me…
I felt like opening up my heart to her…
To show her what love meant to me, & see what it meant to her

But when we met, I felt like a stranger…
Words dried up, I wondered what to tell her!!
She came from a world different than mine
Was true love going to be left behind?

I am sure I could have known better…
Where I come from and the same about her…
But then I wondered, were we so different, she & I?
Could she be the one? I wondered all the time that went by…

Alas, she aint the one, whom I could call my own,
To whom I could submit selflessly, the one who would never leave me alone.
Guess she felt the same about me,
& yet another disappointment, maybe it was not meant to be.

So as I put this incident behind,
In search of my soul mate I yet again begin to find…
But it’s kinda hard (dunno why) to let this memory go…
Shall wonder for sometime, what made us to forego?

Now, my heart filled with love, I see not who will know,
Before it’s too late, the love inside me will just blow…
There is so much I wanna offer,
No takers, too bad, I gotta keep searching for her…

In hope & in despair, I find true inner strength,
Dunno, in my search, shall I go to what length!!!
But not all is lost, I am told by a loyal friend
This is just the beginning, miles to go before the end…

Miles to go before the end….