Tag Archives: Delhi

Elon Musk, Ramjas Jan Sunvayi, and, Alexander Pope.

I was watching an Elon Musk interview yesterday, and he said several things, that I believe, all of us, as the human civilisation need to think about. I take the liberty, here, of paraphrasing him, and using his argument to further my own interests. He says, that we need to think of ways to wonder, to continue looking forward to the future, with happiness, and with gaiety. In between the larger disarray of the modern times, there remain only a few moments that present themselves adorned with potential, and I strongly believe, that, in science, as in the regular lives of our political selves, these moments all contribute towards building of the future of the human civilisation. Such an event was the Ramjas Jan Sunvaayi, on the ninth of February, this year. There had to be a larger irony in play, for the date to be the same as that of the Jawaharlal Nehru University event, two years before. I entered late, as the meeting was already underway, because I wasn’t expecting much. Not to say, that I didn’t look forward to it. I did, just not ‘much.’ The turn from the Ramjas canteen, took me by shock because the usual dotted appearance of the Amphitheater, and its surrounding area, was not to be seen.

And instead, for the first time, in a long time, the architecture was being put to use, in its proper sense. As students, sat, curved into a circle, crowding towards the center, as the eye of a hurricane, or the froth, on the surface of a colding tea, unmoved by the stillness of a summer day.  Ab- was talking, and so were the people around, and the people within, the circle, that stood out. A strange return to the images of Athenian democracies, and images of Socrates, and men, of greater self hoods, painted in the varied colours of a, superficially, consumer-oriented economy. All was well, and in several ways, the national melancholy that hung over my vision, like eyelids heavy for the want to sleep, dissipated into nothingness. A strange sense of activity, tremors from a disturbed repose, instead, took its place. The problems that were being discussed were problems associated with a long and timely culture that had somehow been allowed to creep into the pipes and veins of Ramjas, and this country, invisible but ubiquitous. Invisible, hence ubiquitous. In the sole expression, the culture was called out, and to the expunging of any sewage, to recognise the scent and call it out, is the first step. Only years and years of democratic despondency, sewage, will, of course, take years and years of, first, calling out.

The merriment of democratic discussion lasted for a while, before a lady, M-, from the crowd, got up and mentioned, that A-, who then was boldly talking, of ladies and their right to pee, in equality with men, that A-, who was voicing opinions of noble spirit, dressed in subtle politics of his own self-interest, painting those in power, in negative shades, to further his own brand of the same colour, had at once, messaged the lady’s friend, on Instagram. And on Instagram he had, asked the friend about a wound on her nose, or something other. To imagine that men, of the modern day, would pass their while, in staring at girls, is a strong comment, on the manner in which women are made aware, of their appearance, the superficial, the visible, and in that pursuit, pushed beyond the precepts of reasonable creation. But simultaneously understand, how the human has fallen into considerations of such sorts, while the mind has been forcefully pushed into decay, into animal-like behavior, removed from civic virtue and order. Anyway, A-, then felt attacked, and pounced back, and slowly the froth, dissipated away, the cloud of national melancholy, returned with its placid acidity: a hurricane dead, a mist again . I didn’t stay for long after that, because I had a debate to go to, at Kirori Mal, and I could do without a larger share of that common disposition, the doleful haze. I had enough of my own.

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The slight trouble, though, revealed a larger question to me.

We often find ourselves in the critical position of being able to question our hard-held beliefs, and the manners we have impersonated off of the general social structures, in the course of education, and often with that understanding, comes the responsibility to utilise that reason towards the betterment of the united whole. But any questioning of the same, results in recoil, in retaliatory violence, and doubt. The human and the humane resist change, but change also happens to be the core tenet of humanity. In this situation, how do we pursue change, without being disturbed or destroyed? In this situation, if there happen to be errors of the graver, and the slighter kind, how do we pursue change, without one at the cost of the other? These are questions that came to me when the M-’s questioning urged further progress, and deeper reason, but for the cost of which, the established sense of calm and peace, at the Ramjas Jan Sunvayi, against the crept in culture of a corrupt and sleazy administration, against the authoritarianism of the (Officiating) Principal,  had to be, momentarily, sacrificed.

I haven’t found the answer yet, but I did happen to come about a few lines of verse, in Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Criticism, that can aid us in understanding the nature of knowledge disparity, and dispensation. I do not claim to make any sense out of them, and I do not know if the current times allow for Pope’s privileged position, but regardless, his discussion, in the 1700s, of the questions that haunt me now, becomes a source of comfort that has stood the test of time; looks into the past, for answers to questions that build the future.

“ ‘Tis not enough your counsel still be true;

Blunt truths more mischief than nice falsehoods do;

Men must be taught as if you taught them not,

And things unknown proposed as things forgot.

Without good breeding truth is disapproved;

That only makes superior sense beloved.”

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North Campus and his Flowers.

Delhi was overflowing with broken flowers; flowers crushed under the feet of pertinent dreams; flowers plucked to death by promises of adolescent love; flowers betrayed by dishonest poems. Flowers, languishing under the fluorescent Moons that line the city streets, waiting for the Sun and the man who would sweep them to their destinies. The man would more-often-than-not be an old NDMC/MCD worker, too tired to take a minute and appreciate the crashing beauty of these casual bystanders to the vicissitudes of a metropolis lifestyle, and the flowers in their own way had accepted the banality of their existence.

But the ones that bloomed in North Campus were different.
Walking around North Campus, for my after-college reveries, I’d often see flowers lying idly in the corners of the sandstone pavements. There was something extremely self-aware about them. Their shades of red and yellow exuded a sense of finality, unlike the usual despair; a subtle declaration of a conclusion reached, and a purpose fulfilled. The way their petals wilted, into themselves, or onto the streets, reminded me of my first conscious rebellion, against the supposed tyrannies of life.
I had painted three beautiful canvases, with all the colors I could find, and then I had set them on fire, aided by gasoline and a decade-old metal vase.
It was as if the flowers were conscious of their sojourn on this planet, and did not want to stop asserting their beauty, asserting that for several students who walked up and down those roads every day they were the only respite from homesickness and the sheepish realization of the monotony that awaits them. They were confident of their shades and hues and the brilliance with which they shone through against the whites and blues of political propaganda posters, and litter from the Ridge, and on the days of my afternoon walks, they would lie just a tad-bit too unperturbed, just a tad-bit too suggestive of an underlying smirk at my humanity.

If they had to bend down to the whims and fancy of some evolution theory, they weren’t going to do it smooth and easy. They were going to burn, and with them, they were going to burn beauty.

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The Confounding Nature of Infinite Spaces.


walls, doors, window frames,

cordoned graves,

humayun’s tomb

grand, untamed,

extends out to the edges

of Delhi’s constrained


sandstone bathed

in blood and pain;

columns that seek to break

out from in between the teeth

the Sky keeps clenched

to not let the renegades

escape into his infinities.


Infinities within infinities—

histories within histories—

and I hide several within

which tremble at the strain

of those larger than themselves

whenever I visit

did I say where

Humayun’s tomb.


A testament to the reign

of the second in command

of those that had

the World prostrating in their trail;

a testament to the failed

grandeur of the name

that now lies crumpled on

pages of rewritten history;

a testament to dragged—


she—paved irony.

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Love, Old And New.

The monuments that were so crafted to stand as witnesses to the beneficence 
and magnificence of the rulers that ruled over Delhi, for however long, have
become the favorite playgrounds of the young lovers of the city. If you walk
through Lodi Gardens, or Humayun's Tomb, at any time, even in the scorching 
heat of April, you're more likely to run into a couple whispering sweet 
nothings to each other, under the shade of a tree, than a tourist appreciating 
the meticulousness of the architectural wonders. This poem is in regard to 
the same idea and is, in parts, inspired from Ravish Kumar's absolutely 
delightful collection of nano-tales, 'Ishq mein Sheher Hona'.

I don’t understand Delhi.

Why do we come to buildings

The walls of which, reflect

The Sun, with a funerary gaze

And allow Amaltas to bloom

in their shades, like only

Planted to be displayed

On biers of glory

That doesn’t remain.

Leave the tombs

To the dead, and let us

Craft our own infinities

In squalid alleys that

Reek of sweat, spit and

Alcohol-laden morning breaths

That went to sleep, very late.

Come, let us build our own

Shrines of love, in between

The corporate rubble of

Gurgaon, and on the glass

And concrete inscribe our

Tales of gentle caresses

Stolen from this city

Of callous denizens,

And dreary dreams

[verses to match Khusrau’s]

somewhere under the

Moolchand Flyover.

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Kailash Colony, languidly reflecting the Sun on a Sunday morning.


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