Friday, July 27, 2007


A storm was brewing in the distance and it seemed to be fast approaching Charleston. It was dark outside but the lightening set everything aglow every now and then. Nothing else could be heard above the din and rumble of the thunder. It appeared as if it wouldn’t be long before it started to pour. Another storm had been raging in Neeti’s mind for a while now. She couldn’t take it anymore….She couldn’t live on two planes at the same time and was tired, tired of lying and pretending…. She stared blankly at the computer screen that sat on a desk in the study. Then, as if having resolved the quandary in her mind, she came back to her senses and signed into her gmail account. There was an email from Ajeya, her husband; the man her parents had chosen for her 10 years ago.
Nee, deal through. Will be home by dinner tomorrow.
Curt and crisp, that was Ajeya. He was a good man and had been a good husband to Neeti. Yet there was something that was missing…
Neeti opened up the email that had been tucked away in the Drafts folder for days now. She glanced over it one last time.
I met Sujoy during one of my poetry reading sessions. Sujoy is a painter and also has his own art school. We have been seeing each other for a year now. I thought it was time you knew…
She took a deep breath and hit the Send button. An eerie calm came over her with this exhalation…


The hot, arid summer was taking its toll on both man and beast. Short tempered Prithvi was unusually irritable this time of the year. The slightest remark served to vex Prithvi just like the spark that was sufficient to start a fire in the dry woods. Aasma, Prithvi's best friend, was well aware of his tantrums, but could hardly be of any help due to the distance that separated them. One such sultry afternoon, words and tones trundled in the wrong direction. That was the spark. A silent war began raging between the two…Prithvi seethed and Aasma rumbled in her own abode….this continued for almost a week. At the end of the week dark clouds gathered and a gentle pitter-patter commenced…at last there was a truce!

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Every year multitudes of warkaris undertake the holy trek to Pandharpur to meet their Lord; Lord Vitthal. They brave rain and shine and travel on foot in groups called Dindis. On Ashadhi Ekadashi, these warkaris and other devotees gather at Pandharpur and immerse themselves in the sea of devotion and Love of their beloved Vithoba.

The sandals of Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram are also carried to Pandharpur from Pune. The chariot carrying the sandals is preceeded and followed by warkaris who have assembled in Pune to make the trek to Pandharpur. Some devotees esp. those residing in cities take up only a part of the trek. Others like my uncle, contribute by providing food or some other essential item to the warkaris.

I was drawn at the opportunity to experience the atmosphere of the wari this year around. The experience was beyond words - Emotional, philosophical and energizing. We were stationed at a spot before Saswad and for the 4-5 hrs that we were there, the flow of the warkaris seemed to never end. Their walk had a rhythm. Most of them sang bhajans as they made their way ahead while the rest just kept moving to an internal soulful rhythm. Amongst the traditionally clad men and women, I spotted the jeans clad youth and also noticed the occasional urban warkaris; sneakers-backpacks-sunglasses!

While I had discounted this sect so far, the experience led me to see them in a new light. Here were men and women with an undying faith and a sole mission; to meet their Vithoba. Every true warkari abstains from meat, liquor and other vices. Moreover, in this world of insatiable wants, restlessness and insecurity...they came across as happy people, totally at peace with life...

I fall short of words to express my feelings for the day..and I am only too glad to have taken time off for experiencing the wari atmosphere..I think the warkaris rubbed off some of their faith, belief and peace into me...

Here are some snapshots taken during the day..

The chariot carrying St. Dnyaneshwar's paduka (sandals)

A Dindi making its way

Catch 'em early...catch them young!

Everyone wanted to be in my picture frame!

This Warkari sure likes to stay connected

Friday, July 20, 2007


After some initial slow rotations, the merry-go-round gradually gained speed and very soon was at its peak. Trusha, impatient and restless as she was, hated the sluggish start and end phases of the ride. She loved to see the world buzz past when the ride was in full swing. Everything; people, places and even seemingly inert objects seemed to have a heady momentum then. Her life these days was just like the ride in full swing. She regretted it at times….no it didn’t feel like the merry-go-round, instead, it felt like being on a roller coaster that was ready to take a nose-dive. Her days were a blur…how she had yearned for them to be like that! But now, she wanted time to pause, just briefly, so she could collect herself and smell the roses one last time…before her life was launched into a different orbit….