Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Oh, Your Magical Ways...

Dear PACH,

This is my second letter to you, in a series of many more to come, God willing. But this time, I write to you with a very heavy heart. Not sad, just a heavy heart. If I understand you right, you endorse words as a therapy for setting ease to all aches. Isn't that precisely what you demonstrated yesterday? You did, and I trust you, each day a little more. So words, aah, not that they are easy to find. But I will try. For you, for all who make you, and for myself. By the way, did you hear, they called you a 'healer' from behind foggy eyes yesterday? You're too grand to register it sometimes, I thought I will tell you once.

Aastha's art  and Aaqib's artistry 

They then called you magical. It did not seem enough. So they simply began calling you magic. You know I agree with them, and you know what I think about you. I think you are crazy. You are doing crazy stuff which my mortal experiences put in doubt. How, no tell me, how can you have an entire gamut of people come together from distant corners of human diversity and share details of love and life which are feared, which are locked, and which are seldom retrieved from those painful musty corners? Do you believe what happened? I have to, you see, because I was present there, and was listening and absorbing and hugging and absorbing a bit more. Please don't laugh at me when I tell you this, but I think, I have absorbed a fragment of each heart which beats for you. I honestly, genuinely feel so. And carrying those many hearts in my heart, it makes me heavy. It makes me float for a while, too, but it leaves me full, and pleasant, and heavy, all at once.

As I said, literally and figuratively, leaning on each other. 

Tell me, do you know magic? You have to, you are just too mean and too smart to give it away. Or you're just secretive, in a nice way. You keep your magic under wraps, you make me nervous before each meet, you put my excitement to test, but you do it so I may never have any idea what kind of spells your wand will cast on those many hearts looking at you in innocent anticipation. Oh, you playful thing. You make it rain too, which pushes me to assure others while I am shivering with panic deep within. But now I know - you did it to take us to the place where we began. And of course, you take us there to help us realise how far we have come in how little time. We did dwell on it - from a cosy group of nine, we became a cosier group of some forty odd people, all taken together. So cosy in fact, that the warmth drew in people from other tables, stopped some more in their paths to other destinations. Was it because our coffee smelt better than their coffee? Okay, now I am being crazy. It was our mad laughter, our visible happiness, our lovely verses and then, this unmistakable love and trust we shared. That invited them. That invited everyone. That is also what keeps us together. Trust, before love. 

It was another of those days when people cried, and I again, could not. I never cried in your midst, did you notice? You know why? Because I was taught to carry hearts with care. I was also taught to care for emotions laid bare. And there, in that gathering spreading out person by person on the floor, all veils had been voluntarily abandoned, as I looked around in absolute disbelief. Only pure and honest expressions came out, some via exquisite pens, some via gleaming eyes. You did this. I do not even understand what you are made of, or how did you become a living, breathing entity, but I do know you did this. You don't just know magic. You are magic. 
That is what my last letter to you looked like - In Your Nascent Days 

There is this little girl among us, who called you a gift. The best she has gotten in her life. You crazy PACH, I hope you realize you are just two months old, and here are your admirers, calling you a gift and a blessing in the same breath. I am sorry, I should not call them admirers. If I call you a living, breathing entity, it is they who infuse life and breaths in you. They are a part of you. They lean on each other, they lean on you. It is positively insane the way you make them come up with pristine thoughts, gem-like words and majestic verses. You took us on a journey from Agha Shahid Ali, to squirrels and suicides, to schizophrenic delusions, pausing for sometime at Eliot too - all the while perched high on the wings of love, being flapped gently by that demure, yet vivacious girl. You taught us of hope and hopelessness, of love and its silences, of strangers exchanging mute glances, of inhibitions and their overcoming, of bantering in love, of break-ups and break-up humour, and of poetry and its essence. Pardon my extra-liberal usage of the word 'love' in these musings, but, excuse me, is it really my fault?!

Aastha di's creativity - oh, she gave life to the Panda!
Mist. In my eyes. Has to be, right? You are crazy, PACH. I maintain. Last time I spoke to you publicly (for personally, I seldom stop chattering away with you), I was apprehensive about you losing the innocence with which you were born. Today, I have to tell you, that if it were possible in the world to gain in innocence with time, you have accomplished that impossible feat with grace. You're growing, alright, but you're still the toddler whose chuckles give life to the despairing. People are exposing their softest sides, flowing with you in gay abandon, and while you might get used to all this unbelievable attachment, I will still look at you with goofy disbelief. 

You wash away my cynicism, you filter me off all the bad energies I acquire on the way to meet you, and leave me nascent and beaming to face a new week. Trust me when I say this, I feel a little newer after each tryst with you. It is akin to how finding love makes you feel new. This, you already know - finding you was like finding love, in more ways than one. 

You're poetry. You're stories. You're trust. You're love. You're magic. You're enough. 

Talking about you is not, but then, there are tales still waiting to be woven into the regal velvet of your fabric. I will wait for the tapestry to develop a little more before I get down to describing it again. 

You're now called PACH and more. 
All this, still, in your nascent days. 
All this, in your inimitable magical ways. 

PS - I now have one. Aditya Mani Jha, our master storyteller, left me a message which touched me beyond imaginations. He sent us blessings, exquisitely worded. And while reading it, all I could think of was the person where it all began - Anup. However much PACH grows and branches out, it will remain on the first page of our fact book that he gave birth to this idea which is has now acquired a life of its own. Each day PACH makes me happy, I never forget to thank him for it all. I call him the superboss, as do many now, and he is the nicest one could ask for. A genius poet, an outstanding human being, he merits an entire, lengthy post, but that, later. For now, I just want to thank him for being bored in life, because in that boredom lay the seeds of PACH, and of a grand vision for poets and poetry. PACH looks up to him, as do all those who are a part of it. 

Oh, and for PACH to be this crazy, Anup has to be crazier, which he conveniently is. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Aspiring Civil Servant? Read On!

Are you as perplexed as most others when you pick up the brand new UPSC Mains syllabus and hop from topic to topic? Like me, are you too jittery when you evaluate your prospects in CS(M) 2013 because you have no clue regarding the depth and extent of topics? Are you too vexed about finding the correct place which can give you both, guidance and knowledge to put you in a favourable position to crack UPSC Mains? Well, I just might be able to introduce you to something which takes care of a large chunk of the above worries.

In a pioneering effort, students have teamed up with determination and dedication to create a programme which is going to be extremely beneficial for those appearing for CS(M) 2013 examination. Called the "QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME" (QIP for short), this initiative comprises of a fortnight of rigorous classes which will cover important topics included in the fresh Mains syllabus, including
1. World Geography
2. Biodiversity and Environment
3. Disaster Management
4. Indian Geography (Paper I and III)
5. Other topics related to or studied in relation with the above.

If looked at carefully, you will realize that the above mentioned headings cover almost 400 out of 1000 marks reserved for General Studies papers, which, obviously, are the game changers this year. All of these will be squeezed into a fortnight of classes conducted by best faculty members with proven credentials, complete with interactive sessions and answer writing practice. Not just this, the group of students commited to making this course successful, are also working hard to get,  topics of Indian Economy and Ethics and Integrity incorporated in the programme.

The mentioned topics would be taken up by Mr. K Siddhartha who is real authority in Geography. Having contributed more than 20 quality and internationally acclaimed books and mentored hundreds of successful civil services candidates he does not need an introduction. The best part is that he has agreed upon taking the classes and thus one thing is assured of i.e. quality. In case of any further query concerning Mr. K siddharth you can visit his website:

This programme will commence on September 15th, 2013 and is open to students from all over. You may call numbers provided at the end of this post for queries and registration. What I find extremely amazing about this entire initiative is how it has resulted from proactive efforts of a student community dedicated towards cracking Civil Services examination, not in isolation, but by studying in tandem with the most sincere and deserving candidates. Classroom lectures aside, students, in return for a nominal fee, will also be given study material beyond which he/she will not be expected to refer anything else, also focussing on 100 model answers. Need I even mention that since all, from the planning to the final execution is in the hands of students, it is a profitless model aimed solely at creating a conducive academic environment to make the journey towards LBS easier.

Details of QIP can be sought by dropping me a mail ( or by getting in touch with my good friend Vivek (, or by calling any of the following numbers - 011-42430022, 42430033, 42430044, 9811506926

I am sure you will find many answers to problems related to Civil Services Preparation in QIP. Make sure you at least contact the afore-mentioned numbers to get a sense of this wonderful proactive step in the right direction.

Dholpur House 

Sunday, August 11, 2013


That morning was weird and nice
For then stars sparkled in clear, blue sky
When water ripples resembled smiles
And rushing winds in ecstasy cried

I felt a prickly chill somewhere
Looked and smiled at arms left bare
Palms outstretched still catching rain
Collecting pearls to lose them fain

And then his words echoed and shined
Like lashing on the shores of my mind
The mind left numb to chill of dew
The mind dancing to a gay heart’s cue

I picked and sifted past night’s memories
Meandering through that bag of stories
I let his laugh ring high and pierce
The morning calm on which I perched

A voice not deep, but rich, and foul
A moment grave, then shrill and loud
But that did cast exquisite spells
By uttering words which made hearts melt

That morning, stars watched me over
Invisible, yet, in sleepy eyes they shimmered
They lay in my lap, I still looked up
I looked up and guessed, I fell in love.

I fell in love sans self or pride
I fell in love with eyes open wide
I fell in love not thinking of gains
I fell in love while shivering in rains

I fell in love with the mirth he gave
I fell in love with the anger I hate
I fell, and fell, sans fear of hurt
I fell in love with him, his words


I fell in love, like it’s here to stay
I fell in love, but it’ll go someday

Postscript 2 – I have come to realize in life, that love should never begin at admiration. However, observe that this caution is coming from a girl who uses dawn as her blanket for dreamy slumber. The idea behind stating this fact is to let you all know that when it comes to emotional adventures, I have always thrown caution to the wind. I wrote this poem under the starriest skies of imagination, only wondering, if true, will I be as giddy and happy? Some things in life are best left confined to the canvass of imagination, for those thoughts are pretty, precious and fragile. Reality is the spoiler always, isn’t it? And so, the Bard, in Midsummer Night’s Dream, has this to say about ‘Love’ –

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,

And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”

Thursday, August 1, 2013

In Your Nascent Days

Dear PACH, 

You know, luck lies in the availability of someone to love, someone to care for, someone to nurture, and someone to bask happily in the memories of. Luck lies in creating memories even when you are in the nascent stage of developing a relationship. Luck lies in being so content with the present that future can hold no disappointments; if anything, it can only tell you how smiles can be stretched beyond their extremes. 

Luck lies in knowing you, in being a part of you. In your nascent days, of course. You are not even a month old, but you are that cheerful infant whose chuckles reverberate day and night in my head. Like a lovely background score, to all my commitments in life.
At the last PACH, lost between hands which churn out most deft verses. 

You are not a commitment, you must always know. I ask myself, as much as others ask me - why do I spend so much time and energy into helping you grow, what is the incentive for being a PACH-pagal? The answer lies in the realm of intangible infinites. With you, incentives are such which will last me a lifetime. I commit myself to pecuniary incentives, so that they may fetch me comforts and happiness as a next step. With you, dear PACH, I leap straight into the arms of unadulterated bliss. I hence endeavour to stretch you ahead, while hoping you always sustain the innocence with which it all began. 

If anyone, it is this girl writing this rather gay letter, who is unaware of your trajectory, or your scope. All this girl wants to do is to chronicle all this overflowing mirth, before she gets used to it. These musings should have been given a vent on 14th July - the best PACH day ever - but there was an inertia of inaction, of just sitting down and running a montage of best moments, with nothing but absolute equanimity on my face. Oh, did you notice? In your nascent days, I already have a forever favourite tryst. You must be crazy, for you remind of the month I fell in love for the first time. Things were as sudden as now, I was as overwhelmed as now. Does it sound like an exaggeration? Well, it is after some six years that I have seen myself so simply, overwhelmingly happy. Try putting yourself in my shoes, and you will know what I am saying. If you can't, let me tell you, it is like falling in love again. 

So, why not poetry to express these thoughts, you ask? It is, because, about expression more than the form. I work well with prose, but someday, I will set you in verse, I promise. For now, I will let you know, how awesome you have been. Or wait, wasn't scintillating our word? It was. It is. You are. All shaky steps have culminated into fantastic dates with incredible people. It is the people who make you what you are - but you are scintillating, because you bring all those people together. You made me bring so many of diverse worlds together, and you gave me the privilege seeing these seemingly incongruous pieces fit together into a iridescent mosaic. You do know it is a personal account of my association with you, and nothing else, right? So this is me, talking from my vantage point, letting you know things as honestly as I can. There is a need for this honesty to pour out, for I know it makes me happy, and I reckon it will make some others happy too, especially in the moment they see me uncannily steal their thoughts. 

You, PACH, gave me the chance to see a silent, but ebullient girl dazzle people with her sophisticated oration. You introduced me to a girl whose pen flows with powerful might, but dwells on delicate sensibilities. She made me envious at first, but her words gave me the strength to love and appreciate that which is genuinely brilliant. You lured in a confessedly (and credibly) proud man, who could not save his soft side from surfacing. It was humbling, but enjoyable too, to see him shed a tear or two when PACH reached one of its crescendo moments. You showed me the subtlety of love between two people who are on the threshold of a life long nuptial agreement (God bless them). You gave fillip to the verses of someone who is perpetually hidden behind the lens, capturing others in their weird and cute states. You exposed the master of laughter - whose humour reflects on important learnings of life. He guffaws at his heaviness, only to make others feel so light. You drew many more people, who will soon creep into these musings, but not before I understand them well. 

You beguiled people who were not even poets, but came along to share songs, stories and smiles. Age no bar, profession no bar, you have not stopped causing a child-like zeal in many more who are awaiting your future manifestations, in and around Delhi. Will the PACH charisma work again? I don't know, and I don't care. I love you, but I have gained enough. All this, in your nascent, formative days. 
"My dear, we make new memories no more"

You know the most awesome thing you did? You made me trust myself to trust others. When I had secretly given up the thought of sharing my poems with this group of superlative poets, you gave me the confidence to take the plunge. I am glad, so glad I got the knowing nods and a tear in prize. Encouragement is secondary. My precious thoughts, I felt, had got their due. Oh, and you made me sing too, details of which are best left to kid around in all that playful space within me. 

You did not just bring the enchantment of poems with you, you brought the magic of stories, and the promise of mirth. You gave me a chance to let out secrets, and to mean something where I desired to feel important. You gave me new friends, who've made travelling in Delhi a slightly tougher task. You're aware that desires have no limits, but I'm so full that one extra smile, and it bounces off me to light up someone else's face. You know I can't stop talking about you to people, right?

And here you are, still a week away from being a month old. You must be crazy.

And to think, these are still your nascent days...
Still brewing...

PS - There has to be a postscript. I can't quite figure out what, but I know I am shutting up too soon. May be, keep up with this space for that one more priceless confession?