Category Archives: writing


Perils of Inspiration

Inspiration comes in many forms, the degree of which varies. When a person inspires us, there is a want to become like that. Also, there is a doubt that we may not be as inspirational.

This sets a bar. We constantly compare. Out of those who try, few persist, fewer succeed. The focus is driven by wanting to do something. The result is means everything. People get restless with slow progress and seek instant accomplishment.

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It is a chilling winter evening. The wedding reception is in an open ground. A small tent covers the stage and a few chairs kept in front of it. Food is being served on tables arranged along the perimeter the ground.

Kids are stuffed with enough woolen that they may roll without getting hurt. Old men are wearing just as much but they put on a jacket. They set themselves apart by sporting a cap, some have a monkey cap. They look prepared to survive if were to stay here for the night.

Women are confused. They sit in the covered area unable to decide whether to let that thin shawl cover their elaborate jewelry or not. They may stand a chance to get a compliment from at least one of their husband’s subordinate or his wife. “Oh, that is a lovely necklace!” the wife will say. It means that she is looking forward to the day when she can afford it. Definitely, she would buy something better just like her taste.

An espresso machine stands in a corner. It makes a swoosh sound as it spews coffee in a cup. The cups are thick and save your hands from the heat. They are designed to look big and have less capacity.

You stand in a queue, get yourself a cup. You take a sip and all you get is the taste of cocoa powder and froth. But you are a born explorer who lives life dangerously. You venture into the unknown. You have let yourself be surrounded by strangers. Strangers who, when they question, make you wish they are struck by lightning. Twice. So, you quickly take another sip of that extremely hot coffee that destroys all taste buds. All the taste that ever was and will be.

You feel angry and embarrassed like a kid who is just old enough to realize that bed-wetting is shameful. You have now acquired the power to taste all the food irrespective of its taste.

The food will be declared terrible eventually by the guests. The worst thing that can happen to coffee is that it will run out. The cold is here to stay while everyone waits for the bride and groom. Till then most of the guests would have finished dinner and declared that only the coffee saved them.


Grown up

It is a pleasant summer evening, the car is steadily heading home. In the backseat, a young boy is sitting by the window, cool wind flowing through his hair. Songs from the 60’s are playing on a cassette. He knew the order in which the tracks would play. Right now, side B is playing which means they’ll reach home soon.

Lyrics weave images in his mind. Some new unexpected ones, others from videos he had seen on TV. The current song’s video had a group of villagers singing and dancing. When the hero or heroine steps forward, rest of the group dances behind them in celebration. The boy wonders why these songs, when played on TV have no colors. Is it because of the weather in old times? Does the weather change so drastically? What would it change to when he grows up?

The next song would be about a traveler comparing himself to a wandering cloud. He looks up at the clouds and wishes the drive lasts longer. He wants to grow up so he can do what he likes.

The bus is getting colder and traffic isn’t moving. One of the two employees in the bus is sitting at a single window seat. He dozed off several times in last hour and woke up feeling a numbness in his cheeks. He takes a deep breathe as runs his hands through the hair, joining them in front of his mouth. He looks at the traffic countdown display. The bus may not be able to cross the signal before it turns red. A bus beside them revs up its engine. It spews a dark smoke that hits the window and fades like the gaze of people closely packed inside. He closes his eyes and reclines the seat. The iPod is playing this season’s top charts. Every week he replaces all the songs. He wants to get out of the bus and break the routine, now and for ever. But he is a grown up who has chosen what to do.



Sitting in the crowd, watching people perform, you wonder how it would feel to be onstage. Backstage, you shake uncontrollably as you peep through the edges and a million eyes are glued onto the performers. The fear of making mistakes, appearing silly or going blank overwhelms. You have seen it happen to people. At the height of it all, you don’t dream of applause but wish for a magic wand that can skip time.

Once you step onstage, you see nothing. The bright lights blind you. You say the lines as if no one else is there. Beyond the glow there are no faces or dreaded opinions. Your lines are the truth. You let them go where they belong; in the open. They set you free as they part.

As an introvert, sometimes, I feel uneasy around people. It feels like any moment, I may be invited onstage and the spotlight of attention will be flooded. Perhaps, I fear they will know what I am thinking. Not that I think evil but it is private. It can be hard to open up. It demands trust that the other person will at least listen if not understand.

Try for once to ignore that spotlight of attention. See that you’re uncomfortable and not escape from it. Say what you’re thinking. It is bound to make you feel better, lighter.



“Who makes clouds?”
“Where does he live?”
“In a cave by the river.”
“How does he make clouds?”
“With the help of Wind.”
“Have you seen him?”
“Then how do you know this?”
“Nobody has seen him. He only talks to the Earth.”
“Tell me more …”
The Earth was barren and upset with the ghastly silence that stalked her. Trees kept to themselves and wolves spared no one. A Cloudsmith sensed her plight but lent no words. His words, like his friends, were few but chosen.

So, to the Wind he went and spoke about solitude. What he said made little sense but the wind waited till the end. “What do you want to do?” asked Wind. “I want to make clouds, some white as joy and other dark like a doubt. They will be known as hope flying across the sky. When they bring rain, the Earth might smile.”

So, it was done as agreed. First, raindrops tickled the trees till they burst into laughter. When the dust washed away from them, leaves rejoiced. After lightning slaughtered the silence, it scared off the wolves. Wind, with all its might, shook Earth out of its sleep. As the Cloudsmith awaited his reward, a smile shied at him. He vanished into the clouds and drew a silver lining.