It’s night.

Everyone is asleep.

I am awake.

So are you.

The world moves, slowly.

There’s nobody else,

in our observable universe.

No signs of life, no sense of time.

Just us.

And the world moves slowly,

towards the morning light.

Right now, this.

This is so romantic.






Doodles I make

I doodle and more often than I like people relate them to mehandi.

This tells me that appreciation of abstract art at least abstract forms is present (esp. when it’s rhythmic) in my society, among the people I meet and work with. Art appreciation is mildly contagious, so I infer, by extension, that a wider demographic in my country appreciates abstract art – at least when its rhythmic and dense and looks like mehandi that is drawn on hands and feet on weddings, festivals and other special occasions.

Art is best appreciated by a society when it’s successfully baked into the culture, and forms a symbiotic relationship – feeding the culture and feeding off of the culture. This is where the Afghani gabbeh succeed, where the french band ‘A Filetta’ singing Corsican polyphony succeed and our current cultural attempts fail.

No one listens to our classical music anymore because it’s not baked into any cultural aspect.  All cinema is forgettable because it has no aspirations of becoming a part of our culture (like the marvel movies that try real hard to be a culture in themselves – an empty culture but a qualified culture nonetheless) – it assumes that the outcome of a publicity blitz will be an automatic assimilation into the nation’s culture – this is just grandstanding at best and illusory at worst.

The art forms of music and now even film are baked into our culture, but one must pay some attention to how a piece of music or film or any art can feed off of the culture and how, if done sincerely, it can feed the culture.

Now, if we could only define “culture” accurately.


It’s been raining all morning.
I have ordered food.
It’ll be cooked in really good oil.
It’ll be healthy.
Then I’ll eat it.
As the rain pours.
There are blue coloured cars.
Parked below my house.
From my fourth floor window.
I can see that.
The rainy sky reflects in their windshields.
All shiny due to the rain.
I’ll watch the blue and I’ll eat the food.
And I’ll feel happy.
And this is how I’ll pass.
The rest of my days.
Then I’ll be old.
And I’ll be wise.
Learning that I.
Should not have done.
What I did.
And I will breathe.
That last wisp with difficulty.
Wishing I had another one.
I’ll go bravely.
Accepting my fate.
And the world will.
Still have rain.
And the colour blue.
And it’ll all be pretty.
Long after am gone.
Organic Chemistry.
And Maths.

Bad Mysteries

1. The detective is a “Sherlock Holmes”
2. The detective is “told” the solution
3. The detective finds out what other characters already knew
4. Luck plays a crucial role in the crime or the solve
5. The detective is the villain
6. “Sherlock Holmes” did it

7. The story is “constructed” and not organic because you were thinking of #s 1 to 6

Conversations with dad, who died many years ago

When I go to the potty, I take my phone with me. On it, I either scroll mindlessly through facebook and instagram or read a book I’ve been trying to read for like two years. This is not a fact that you need to know but it might be important later, if you stick around reading this.

Neutral Milk Hotel is playing in the house. I am alone, so it echoes.

Two headed boy. You should listen to that song. It’s nice.

I was watching the Godfather this morning. It’s the first thing I did this morning when I woke at 4:30 AM. Then I watched The Godfather Part II. Only my dad would’ve understood such an act of absolute anarchy. I remember watching films with him at absolutely any time of the day. He liked The Godfather a lot! And Brooke Shields was his favorite actress (because my grandfather liked The Blue Lagoon a lot, thinking that it was a soft porn film. I guess my father, like all other fathers before him, couldn’t help but be influenced by his father, even if their fathers made everything beautiful into something cheap. I really should rewrite this last sentence.) Anyway, that’s not what I want to talk about.

Brooke Shields had nothing to do with The Godfather, at least nothing that I know of. It’s just a fact that I remember about my dad and my dad’s dad.

I couldn’t help but think of my father while watching The Godfather. He would make sounds of approval on great dialogue (“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse”), he would point out when he thought a scene was rather well shot, he would recount life-lessons that he’d thought the film related (this is my father I am talking about here, The Godfather couldn’t’ve pointed out scenes in The Godfather). He (again, my dad) really thought of himself as a hybrid of Vito and Michael Corleone. Sometimes he would look at me as if I was turning into Fredo – this is a reference that only the ones who remember the film would get. And having looked at me, he’d shake his head. I remember his constant disapproval and his constant pride in my existence. I hadn’t done anything to earn either, I had just existed.

I was in sixth grade when I saw the boobies of the heroine in The Godfather. It’s the sex scene when Michael gets married in Sicily. I am told that a George Clooney picture called The American shows the boobies of the daughter of the girl whose boobies we see in The Godfather. My father could not see The American, he wasn’t around. It would’ve been a very weird, very pervy, full circle otherwise. I have.

While watching The Godfather this morning, I was struck by several nuances that Francis Coppola thought of while making the film. The minutiae, like hundreds of extras at a party, so the party feels real, or the man who jumps thrice in the streets as they mock celebrate Cuba’s revolution or Kay’s fight for her freedom and everyone’s disgusting disregard for all the women in the films, or all the scenes where Michael talks to his mother.

When I notice these things, I feel like I want to talk to someone about them. Who better than a die hard fan of the film? Who better than my father?

But he is dead. It’s been six years. He and I used to fight a lot. I was always right, like Kay. He was always wrong, like, I don’t know, Fredo? or like the guy who thought that The Godfather video game was a good idea. Point is I don’t have a good candidate to talk to and point out all the things I found worth pointing out today. And just for this reason, I miss him. He was such an asshole to me and I honestly miss him.

So now I go for a walk in the evening, thinking I have wasted the entire day watching films that I first saw when I was reading Asterix and watching He-Man cartoons. Afterwards, my tummy decides, as it happens with all men who have walked for an hour having eaten a big lunch and have also seen The Godfather, that I must take a shit.

This is where I was for the last 20 minutes. I did not take my phone with me this time. For the first three-ish minutes, my fat ass deplorably trumpeted my lack of dignity, but after that my brain took over.

I have realized, as an outcome of the last approximately sixteen and a half minutes of closed room introspection, that The Godfather is a great film, Part II as well, and that I have not addressed my father’s death, I have denied myself proper grief, mourning, and have brain-blocked all versions of sorrow that such facts ensue. Sometime, I really should deal with it – the dad bit, not The Godfather.

Lost in my thought I forgot to skip Oh Comely, which is such lazy songwriting and I really despise it. Ghost is just done and Untitled is going to start in a second. Untitled is my favorite track in Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. Despite Oh Comely, it’s a great album. You should listen to it, sometime.

My Irrational Bond

Rational thought, rational thought, rational, rational.

I keep telling myself this. These are just molecules, atoms dissolving away. Covalent bonds, ionic bonds, forces that pull each other finally letting go. This is chemistry and physics. It’s okay, it’s fine. Let it be, let go. It’s the ultimate metaphor for freedom. The grand ascension.

There’s a force in my heart that does not want to let go. The irrational bond. The square root of minus Pi upon 2.

I dread the moment of unhappiness. I don’t think I can face it. I will be forced to face it. The unholy cruelty of it. I think my heart will break. Not shatter like glass or break like wood splinters but break like steel with too much carbon in it, it develops a crack and the crystal lattice shifts so that steel can never be used for load bearing tasks again. Too many cracks and the steel might as well be salad, no load bearing capacity. I dread that with each crack I’ll have to bear more load unless I can break that irrational bond.

I was able to avoid the occasion of his death. I never faced it. Some days, even though I hated the man in the latter half of my existence, I think of him and a sob escapes me. Now they say there will be another passing. And then another. And then another before there’s a lull.

One day finally, either I’ll see my sweetheart depart or she’ll see me go. I cannot picture this ultimate fate, no image looks happy to me from where I stand. My heart is already giving up from the anticipation of the impending heaviness.

Our tragic universe.


I cannot find a rational way to break my bond.

Not 10 minutes before I started writing this, Yann Tiersen was playing a solo piano concert, live on Facebook. I think he was playing a wistful tune, before finishing up. People in the audience were smiling. It was such a perfect moment to be alive. Life. Fucking chemistry and physics.

I want my rational mind to consider all irrational explanations. That this is a beginning not the end. That they live in our thoughts. That it’s the circle of life. That there’s a heaven. That they are happy after all was said and done. Collective consciousness. My rational brain rejects it all as imagination.

The only thing that I know and can understand is that the bond remains. The irrational bond, is an entity of it’s own. It will break of it’s own accord. When one day it finds seven consecutive prime numbers. What will be lost is other molecules participating in the bond.

And I can’t make excuses. I can’t make rational or irrational rationalizations. I have to face it head on. Let my heart bear the heaviness, let it break but not be broken because of it.

I have to acknowledge the cracks, then mend my heart like those Japanese people mend their pots with gold and silver. Keep mending it till the day my heart will be nothing but gold and silver, the day I’ll discover seven consecutive prime numbers, and after that day, it would not matter.

Over exposed sky

Once upon a time, my dad gave me a black, boxy camera. My first.

We were in Dehradun. Amaranthus (Amaranth?) flowers in the garden, sun and the clouds in the sky. It was winters, I guess, but I can’t remember anymore.

My Dad loved photography. That day he gave me the old camera and told me its mine. He even got me a ‘cut roll’ – a roll of film made by cobbling together the leftover frames of other unexposed films – of black and white film wound up in a green ORWO casing. ‘Go out, try to click a photo’ he told me.

The camera had no focus mechanism, no aperture control, just a ring to advance the flim by a frame…trrk, trrk, trrk, trrk…and then a button to take a photo…click.

Dad had come out to click photos as well. I now know that he was using a Nikon F5 with a 50mm lens and Kodacolor Gold film to make photos in those days.

Back then the cut roll would cost 45 rupees. A fortune for a kid who was just learning long division and couldn’t yet imagine unimaginable numbers. Probably a fortune for the kid’s dad too. Photography was an expensive hobby! Over the next few years, once every now and then, he would give me money, tell me to go to the photo shop, get a roll of Kodacolor Gold (he began with 200 but grew a preference for 400 over time) and get myself a cut roll as well.

This happened right till the time he stopped clicking pictures – when I was in middle school – and locked the camera away, never to pick it up again. I do not remember the photos I made with the other cut-rolls, but I can recall the Dehradun morning.

The first photo.

I was mesmerized by the blue sky and the white clouds. So I pointed my camera skyward and clicked.

My first photo.

Later, when the cut roll was exposed, it was white. ‘Over exposed’ Dad had said.

I saw the white photo and was fascinated and disappointed at the same time.

When all the photos were printed, of the 12 (or 16?) frames in that first cut roll, 5 photos came out right. The Amaranthus in the garden was one. I was a bit let down by the fact that I could not capture the color, the deep magenta-purple-pink, of the flower in the sun.

My dad thought it was a good photo and put it up as a part of the exhibition of photos shot by kids two even three years older at my school! He wrote ‘Shaurya Agarwal II-A’ in the margins of the  Amaranthus photo with a black marker before putting it up on the cord board in the space assigned to me. I felt very proud. ‘The corners of a photo are very important’ he told me. I remember nodding, as if I really understood the importance of that advice.

At the exhibition, I remember him talking to Bro. John Bosco, then the principal of my school, himself a photographer. I remember them discussing how the photograph had captured the shadows just right, how it had ‘potential’. I remember them telling me that I shouldn’t worry about who is praised in the exhibition. That the other photos were clicked by the parents and were being passed around as clicked by the kids.

Next to my photo, a kid had put a color photo of his coloring pens, he was in class III-A. I did not know yet what a cliché was, so I simply smiled at the photo. All I could think of was that my black and white photo was not as beautiful as the Amaranthus I had seen.

Years have passed, I click photos of the sky, clouds, sunset, clouds, sunset, sky, clouds, sunset. Too many landscapes. The photos don’t over expose anymore.

I have not seen Dad in over 5 years, may his soul rest in peace. I have not seen an Amaranthus flower in over 20 years. I have not seen Bro. John Bosco in over 30 years. I have never clicked a photo that was as beautiful as the thing I saw when clicking it.

But I look at the sky a lot and I want to show that white photo to Dad again and see if he says ‘It has potential’.