Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Grimm Tale [Temptations]

The lights go out. Mary Cole shouts "places". Matt turns the music on. Lights on. A pair of limbs sneak out of the wing. Then the rest of the little girl. She seems to be from pre-historic Germany and is seen amusing herself with a shirt. Enter a boy about the same age, looking for something. He takes his shirt, they see each other. Years pass by and the two are seen having the time of their life. Building sand castles..studying together.. stealing their first cigarette..playing cricket.. getting drunk.. dancing in the rain.. A sweeper passes, in a twitched hat, sweeping the stage in front of them from left to right.

Next scene: Boy and girl look hungry and in search of something.They split as they are looking and go different ways on stage. At different instants of time they find separately what they seem to be looking for. A look of greed and filling dawns on them and they exit on opposite sides of the stage, reaching for it.

Next scene: They are both seen bound, entangled, struggling to free themselves. Minutes of struggle after, the "sweeper" passes by again from the right to left. A huge trash-can occupies the left of the stage. Boy and girl appear to scream for help. Sweeper is unaffected, comes to the can, looks at them, then at the audience. Flashes a wicked toothless smile, picks broom, thrusts it in the can upside down, and starts mixing. Lights go out.

Next scene: Stage is clear. Only boy and girl still struggling to be free. No bounds this time. Lights snap out.

Next scene: Stage clear. A video pops up on the left of the screen downstage. Irregularly torn snaps of their happy times flash up and zoom out to lie on a winding road, one after another. On the right side of the screen a video starts halfway through the first. It shows ropes falling down in circles.

Will they pick crumbs of happy memories and head back home...? Will they continue to be bound...?

Lights fade out.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Out of my sight
Far beyond my reach
Looms in my mind
beckoning me to unleash

A dream-the dream of a young heart
There for as long as I remember
Defeated oft, back with a new start
to find the same end as ever

Just an idea, a thought
surviving the worst in me
Neither planted nor sought
stands guard my integrity

Hear, follow, keep it burning
There is no other way
When I walk far without returning
It shall still stay in its place

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Michigan turning a new leaf

It has been a year of toil and bitterness and khali pet. An all engulfing cold that entered deeper that it should. A nightmare even when deprived of sleep. They say company defines a place. Here it wasn't quite like that. The only company you saw day in and day out was the people who you were a team with. The hang out was one of the CAEN labs in EECS building. We lived-in together, got high on fixing bugs, proposed only project plans and did it over and over. The fact that I came out with more pounds than I ever ate can only be attributed to our dear vending machine that spit out pastries and coke. I say dear because even on the gigantic campus of a world-class university only vending machines served you anything after midnight. There would be times when I walked back home alone at 4 am pulling myself in the ankle-deep snow with only a jacket sometimes. It would seem scary if I for once stopped thinking about the design problem and saw where I was going. I couldnt dare to think of a world after. It stretched forever. Was there any salvation?
Seems like there was. It came in many ways. Two recognition awards for killing ourselves in the projects was one. Another was being swept off my feet to a dream summer for internship. The third was what lay in store when I came back.
Another semester at school. With the freedom to choose the courses I want there seems to be a ray of light. Even the approaching winter it feels like a warm place when I am doing theatre and dance. I dont believe I want to stay on in this place I called "God - forsaken" ;) Thats what following one's heart translates to I guess. I am glad I followed mine.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Finding Neverland

Little had I foreseen such a day
across seas in unknown land
crippled by work, deprived of play
time slipping by like grains of sand
removed from kin, estranged from friends
blessed, yet not, in undying love
spirit shaken, unwilling to bend
ghost-like.. struggling to rise above

Losing oneself, losing the mind
little else to lose made let go
give in to new "friends" in time
and set out on a journey for more
arriving clueless on new shores
in the land of dreams, the wonderland
in a city of angels, magic galore
as if just touched with a wand
that colour infused pale cheeks
sparks lit up in sleepy eyes
alive first time in several weeks
yearning again for just one slice
knew in a second purpose and passion
beyond pressures, pretence and prayer
feeling the elusive love and vision
clear as a ghost, fresh as fear

demons dead, angels overhead
was it just that? neverland?
not there to touch, feel or tread
only a trace of life left behind

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Behind the scenes

It was exactly a year ago. I had resigned from my job at Infineon...to "chill out" before I went for my PG ; one way - the Indian School of Business or the other - the university of Michigan.
Chill out I did. If you can call a landslide-cyclone packed trek in Sikkim + a weekend out in pristine Agumbe + a vacation in Singapore, Malaysia and Kashmir, that ;)

In between setting off on this tangent (:)) I had been to Texas Instruments[TI], Bangalore for an audition for a short film they were making. I very well knew I would be gone soon and that the film would take some time (considering it was an unconventionally creative venture by ..umm engineers). Yet the idea of acting kept me mum (I did not lie, mind you) so I could relish a few rehearsals atleast if I could.
So I walked in sheepishly that evening into the TI studio. I had not acted for more than 3 years then. Som, Neeraj and Prashant (my friend from RVCE who had called me for auditions) were all there. No smiles, no sweet-nothings. It was so silent I almost heard their thoughts. Just another outsider desperate to get on camera. Everybody else was from TI. "Relax" I told myself. "Be humble. Just do your best".
They had a piece from a Jack Nicholson movie that they handed us all to act out by turns. The first rendition was the conventional one, as had to be. I went over it as did 3-4 other people. I could sense the jury (Som and Neeraj) already handing the role to their colleague who I felt I did better than (you must take my word that I was objective). It was then that Neeraj , I think, had this brilliant idea of doing the scene - CRAZILY. Believe me, only he could think of it. I was thankful that they were actually interested in digging out talent and not just looking for someone who could only do one role (that they had in mind) well.
Cameras rolled, and I, for one, couldn't wait to do it.
"You are the same character. But show villainy". They told me. The plot, let me explain, was a woman talking a detective into proving her husband unfaithful.
I jumped into it. Thankfully all the years had not curbed the spontaneity. I felt I was getting back to being myself. I felt alive.

It went okay-ish. Maybe I overacted. They gave me some feedback and I did it again. I could tell I got their attention what with reminding the detective his lines too and helping him pronounce my 'husband's' name...

Next they could have been throwing a meteor at me. They asked me if a certain Ms Sawant was to be the woman, how would she do it? I pleaded for some mercy but got none. "Alright, bring it on." Only once when I was doing it did I catch Som's eye. I did not stop to analyse the look. When I was done, something told me I had gotten the role. Suddenly I felt like I had known them for so long. Som and Neeraj and I - it felt like - we were online friends meeting for the first time. We spoke the same language. Prashanth stood behind, beaming. It was one of the happiest days of my life. Thanks Prashanth, for making that call!

They were rehearsals every week and the thought of my post-graduation went out the window. Neeraj's antics with the dialogues, the kidnapping scenes, our improvisations...ooo I didn't have enough.
I did have some time before I had to take a call. I asked myself if I couldn't stay on and do this all my life..? Had these guys been regular film makers, or had I been in TI, maybe I would have done that. Really.
The next morning I called Som and told him of my PG admit. He was cool about it. It was so easy to tell him, as it was to tell Neeraj. Only Vibhor, the third juror :P (Prashanth told me later) complained that I should have not come for auditions if I didnt mean to see it through. As for Prashanth, he was in it all the time :) A true friend.
Whatever Vibhor thought and whatever anyone else said, I know I was guilty on that account, but that one 'crime' won me happy moments and 2 invaluable friends who I truly adore for their creativity. They reinstated the faith in me that even among engineers can be people like them. Som, Neeraj, Prashanth this one's for you guys.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

To sir, with .... :)

Like silver lining in a cloud
You showed up out of BLUE

Turning something I dread
to what I can endure

Your power subdues all noise,
a spike here and a glitch there -
so easily you leak them away
and make it seem all fair.

Everything falls in place
When I hear from your mouth,
Accolades and honours have passed
Yet there is no sign of wear out :)

I cant help smile as you go on
oh yes, about process variation
No wonder you are good at it,
I can sense that in my system ;)

I care not about threatening glares
When I vote for you to go on
Sometimes the only hand up
That you so adoringly reckon

But for your charm and wit,
it would all go for a toss
Anybody else would have made it
a mere VLSI class ;)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring... finally..!

The chill recedes little by little
Still hard to know, its so subtle
The 'fair' world that was
Turns over a new leaf..

Fingers turn back alive
In the dead of the night
You wonder suddenly
why you care less for coffee

People step out
Healthy joggers or stout
Kids come out of nowhere
Happy to be on their feet

Ducks fly back to melted lakes
Squirrels jump out from their hiding place
The sun flashes an endless smile
And you realize it is spring indeed!