"Whatever has happened once, will not happen again..but what has happened twice is bound to happen for the third time..." - Paulo Coelho from "The Alchemist"


I contemplated smoking a cigarette before I start doing my job, but lighting a match would have ruined all the night vision I had and on a night like this I needed all of it so that I could work effectively and efficiently. The road was deserted and I could see no lights in the windows of the house. I put on my mask as I silently crossed over to the other side and reached the wall.

The voice of the Major from my training days invaded my mind as it does every time I start doing my work. Old habits die hard. Besides the recollections kept me cool under pressure and the training was coming in handy in another field where you didn't had to die in the line of duty.
"Very good jokers, go up and come down silently. Remember in combat it can decide whether you'll live or die"

The wall was about 12 feet in height. Piece of cake. 15 seconds at the max.
I was on the other side in 14. Out of practice I guess will do good as my excuse.

I observed the manicured lawn, the gleaming cars in the driveway and the white cat who had been silently observing my every moment since I don't know when. I said a silent prayer that there were no dogs. Dogs can be tricky and cause a problem and I usually have to resort to killing them to save my skin. Even in my line of work I abhor killing animals, Human however are an exception as a species.

It was a two storied house and I observed that all the windows on both the floors were shut except the one on the top floor. I decided that window would be my ticket to the house. It wouldn't had taken me more then 4 minutes to open a window but there is always a chance of tripping a burglar alarm and I was not in a mood to waste more time trying to find it & disconnecting it when such a window of opportunity was open to me, besides a little exercise would always come handy in old age.

I reached the drainpipe and did a double check to ascertain my midnight stroll hasn't caught anyones undue attention. I pulled myself up with an agility and quietness and completed the vertical distance that would have had made my major proud. Once a uniformed figure always in the army.

I reached the open window, reached out, caught the ledge and peered inside.

I saw a man tied and gagged to a chair, struggling fanatically to open his knots, failing miserably with tears streaming down his face.
A man was on the bed on top of another struggling figure while another burly man was standing at one side holding a gleaming hunting knife in one hand and threatening the figure on the bed who was crying silent tears.

I was in a very uncomfortable position so I thought it would be understandable if I take refuge in the room inspite of the scene unfolding inside.
As I came inside everyone grasped and went silent for a moment as would you if a well built, masked figure leapt into your room in the middle of the night.
"Hi there, nice knife you got there" said I in a voice that failed to mask the instant hatred and the feeling of violence building up inside me towards the two men.

The one with the knife recovered before his partner and threw himself at me.

Major's faced piped in.
"No guns, no knives and no bombs. Your hands are the ultimate weapons lads. Use them properly and even you jokers can kill an elephant bare handed"

45 seconds after taking a leap at me, the man with the knife lay on the floor, back broken in three places and head rotated to an impossible angle.
I grabbed the knife that had fascinated me from the moment I had entered the room as the man on the bed recovered from the spectacle that was going horribly wrong, atleast for him. I reached him before his feet had touched the floor and had him spitting blood from his slit throat 10 seconds later.

The pretty thing on the bed looked at me silently, with alarm and fear in her eyes and suddenly dashed to her spouses side crying fanatically as she hugged him.

"This is a robbery guys" I said flashing my best gentlemanly smile at both of them.

I have killed many when I was in the Special commando unit of the army and robbed many after I was dishonourably discharged from it, but never before I had robbed anyone who was smiling amidst the tears, that usually come when one is looting there hard or not so hard earned money and showing them the end of the barrel of a gun, and was actually thankful and glad to have me there.
Till that moment.

7 Days & 18 Hours

7 Days & 18 hours.
7 days of backpacking across India and 18 hours of total sleep I got in between.
7 days of total ecstasy and euphoria & 18 hours of the realisation that a soft bed comes only third to sex and vodka.

I travelled to the City of Nawabs-Lucknow, My home & the capital of this country-New Delhi, the financial capital-Mumbai and in the end the oxford of India-Pune. And in between I squeezed a lil village called Taregaon near Pune.

I travelled in the luxury of Rajdhani's coach, in total comfort in Shatabdi's chair car, travelled in the cramped environment of the Mumbai local, sat idly in the Mumbai-Pune Volvo & watched a mindless flick called 'Partner', travelled in an inter city local, almost got duped by the local Auto wallahs and finally slept through the cacophony of a sleeper class.

I ate Aloo vada, batata vada, idli, biryani, matar paneer for lunch and dinner. I smoked hashish with a big hearted and breasted Austrian lady, drank two bottles of vodka with my elder brother cum best friend and almost missed my 5 fucking 30 A.M local and gave my ice cream to a lil beggar girl.

I met a kayastha family from Delhi settled in Mumbai for the last 25 years who treated me coldly at first cause they thought I was Muslim because of the long kurta I was wearing, eyed their beautiful, young, married but not happy daughter, met a confused railway clerk who had just been offered a job as a manager in some hot shot company and also has gotten a call from Bihar police, met a girl doing her biotech from Bangalore a city of which she was sick of, totally blasted the interview panel I was facing in Pune, met a CRPF officer who went out of the way to make my stay comfortable.

And in the end presented a sight to 50 dumbstruck people who'll never forget it as long as they will live.
I entered the sleeper coach's waiting room attired fully in a two piece suit wearing a crisp shirt, a great tie and shining black shoes. 15 minutes later I departed from the room wearing shabby clothes and nondescript sleepers in feet leaving everyone wide eyed and giggling.

7 days & 18 hours.
I've just tasted life with no wings attached.

Dev ME

What sort of person must Sarat Chandra be to write something like Devdas in the first place?
J K Rowling may be responsible for spreading Pottermania around the globe and J R R Tolkein's Rings trilogy might have won the most Oscars in the history of academy awards but I guess there is still to come a piece of fiction that had inspired 10 different film versions of it.

I saw Anurag Kashyap's version of Devdas yesterday with my own 'Paro' & the similarities between me and the protagonist were striking. The self destructive streak, the helplessness of love, the pendulum swinging between self pity & despair, the carelessness about his own self, the unnecessary indulgence in cigarettes, hashish and ganja, the inevitable search for happiness and love, my own Paro whom I can not hurt, my Chanda whom I had to see after watching this flick, the two Chunnilal's of my own life giving me a shoulder to rely on from time to time, the dark void sucking in my sanity every night and last but the most important similarity- the worshiping of the brand name 'Smirnoff', I could relate everything with myself.

The novel can be considered as the convergence of the tragic Hamlet and the classic Romeo & Juliet but is in fact bigger then both of them. Every human has an evident dark, uncaring & self destructive side to himself and the way it has been shown in the novel as well as the films, specially in Dev D, will make look both Kafka and Edgar Allen poe as amateurs.

The whole kaleidoscope of emotions running through the reels, the bizarre colours splashed across the canvas, the first shot of our protagonist making a joint, the open sexuality of Paro and the coming of age of Chanda, every second of the next 3 hours is engrossing. Unless until you are the happiest soul in this world you won't relate an iota to it but for the rest of the majority there will be at least one moment in there where you would sit up and take notice.
The leads are naturals and actually brilliant in their portrayals. Never once will you will be reminded of Abhay Deol from his earlier works he is totally convincing as the new age Devdas, Mahi Gill as the bindass punjabi lass who transforms into a mature lady is completely believable, Kalki as Chanda the teen-lady prostitute struggling with her own ghosts has that innocence and vulnerability on her face that makes you want to reach out to her and in the end Dibyendu as the practical Chunnilal who makes you wish for a resourceful tout like him in your own life's script.

The music is brilliantly awesome but am sure will sound just like a raucous cacophony to most purists. It's a healthy blend of Rock, Lounge and a little folk thrown in for the extra flavour. As with the whole film nothing here is formula driven and the songs just take the movie forward and disclose the turmoils of the leads. The rock version of Emotional Atyachaar, The peppy Duniya number, soulful Nayan Tarse and Aankh Michonni are THE tracks to listen in this quarter of the year.
The cinematography, camerawork, lighting and all other technical details are done quite well. My only complaint is the second half that could've been a little more sleek if edited properly.
As all the columnists in the newspapers are rejoicing this is a coming of age film for Indian cinema but as a warning watch out with whom you are going out with. Your family might want to get out of the hall in the first ten minutes (and maybe later individually book the next show for themselves alone).
Saratchandra considered Devdas to be his worst book but it became his most celebrated work. I guess this proves the point that we people are addicted to self pity and love to brood over our sorrows.
Last point. This is the best version of Devdas to come out. Dileep Kumar's version is the second best.

Yours Truly.

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Like a true gemini i've got a multifaceted personality. can't write about each of them so one will have to discover through the layers