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Showing posts from September, 2009

Upgrade - the Godawful version

Last week I am travelling
by railway train
from Bengaluru to Mumbai.
I am having one ticket
sleeper class S7 berth 5.
In compartment there are present
some Gujarati students going home.
They are studying engineering I am thinking.
Then one lady is there
With so many luggages.

Seat is near bogie toilet
and there is smell.
I am thinking to myself
that I am deserving of better.
Like one minister is saying recently
(and getting into trouble with Madam)
this is cattle-class
and I am certainly higher-class.

Why I am doing this?
That is because I am
well-educated (M.Sc. 1st Class)
and having well-paying job also.
Besides I am reading Amartya Sen
and I am seeking company of
like-minded people for
intellectual discussions.
Here they are only reading Filmfare.

So I am asking the TTE
who is checking my ticket
that I will pay the difference of fare
and purchase 3rd AC ticket.
I am able to afford the ticket
so why to be foregoing opportunity?
Why to travel with the masses?
Cattle-class is for them.

So I am paying Rs. 635/-
for upper…


take those dandiya sticks
saw them into little bits
dissolve them in sulphuric acid
and pulp them into paper
you'll hear the sweet sound of october

take those humongous speakers
and those amplifiers
microphones record-players
run a road-engine over them
you'll hear the sweet sound of october

take those lorries on the highway
smash their axles burst their horns
stamp on every car stereo you can find
till the night road is a smooth stretch of silence
you'll hear the sweet sound of october

drag out those cacophonous tvs
from homes of insensitive neighbours
smash them bash them hammer them
till your hands are wet with blood
you'll hear the sweet sound of october

shut every gossipping mouth
stuff it with cotton seal it with tape
knock the ones who resist unconscious
till the paralysing quietness of fear prevails
you'll hear the sweet sound of october

now calm your nerves your mind
sharpen your ears your eyes
and locate among the moonlit leaves
the steady stridulation of the bush-cricket
you'll …


I bought myself
an upgrade today.
I had a ticket
- Bengaluru to Mumbai -
railway sleeper class.
Berth no. 5,
in a compartment
shared with some
students returning home,
and sundry others.
Whom I considered
below my class.
As a minister
recently put it,

I'm well-educated,
and have a well-paying job.
I'm certainly above
the great numbers of
whom we call the 'masses'.
Cattle-class is for them.

I walked over to the
A/C 3-tier coach,
and there
begged the TTE
to give me an upgrade.
He did.

Rs. 635/- I paid,
for an upper berth.
The money got me
and some bed-linen.
What I hoped it
was buying me,
was the company of
refined people
who read Goethe and Aurobindo,
and listen to Aerosmith.

What I got,
was a group of twelve
returning from Puttaparthi
- who saw nothing amiss
in keeping everyone awake
all night with their
loud chattering,
and littering the floor
with the remains of their lunch.

I could not fight them -
they had paid for their tickets
as I had for mine.

सम्भालकर रखना इन टुकड़ों को

टूटकर भी धड़कते रहेंगे, महफ़ूज़ रखना दिल के टुकड़ों को
किसी दिन तो देखकर रोओगी, सम्भालकर रखना इन टुकड़ों को

चान्दी के बक्से में छुपाकर रखना इन्हें, दिलासा देंगे
जब हुस्न ओ माशूक़ को खोओगी, सम्भालकर रखना इन टुकड़ों को

हँसी हँसी में ठुकरा दिया तुमने इकरार ए इश्क़ ह्मारा
किसी दिन दर्द का बोझ ढोओगी, सम्भालकर रखना इन टुकड़ों को

किसी की बददुआ न लगे तुमको, वरना कहाँ कहाँ तुम
बेवफ़ाई का दाग़ धोओगी, सम्भालकर रखना इन टुकड़ों को

यह हज़ारों आशिक़ तुम्हारे, क़यामत तक कितने साथ देंगे
तब किन सपनों के बीज बोओगी, सम्भालकर रखना इन टुकड़ों को

जब अकेली पड़ जाओगी, याद करोगी तुम 'ख़ाना बदोश' को
तब न जागोगी न सोओगी, सम्भालकर रखना इन टुकड़ों को