Tag Archives: time

Awaiting the judgment day

It has been raining embers.
Men collect the burning drops
To make garlands
To offer to their Gods.
The angry sky spits fire.
The burning roof
Reminds the older children
Of bonfire, and Christmas.
The blood red sky is unforgiving.
No one remembers who committed the sins
That Gods counted and collected
In their silver cauldrons.
Earth hurtles towards the Sun
Eager for a fiery embrace.
Painted men dance with glee
Celebrating their misery.
Children have stopped crying-
They are born numb.
The birds too have learnt
To crow and screech.
The seas are boiling hot
The fish jump out in agony
And call the fishermen
For redemption.
The rust brown leaves
Have swiveled into thorns.
The land, where once grass grew,
Is being dug for making the graves.
Hope and wishes and prayers
Are for happy times.
For now, keep your smiles and tears hidden-
In wooden boxes.

The underachievers: Top five contenders

Nobody knows why The Time chose Dr Manmohan Singh as the Underachiever of the year. True to our US-loving psyche, our very own Outlook magazine has paid back the compliment, most graciously, by featuring President Obama on its cover with a similar title.

Now there is so much heartburn in the country that one wonders whether it was an American ploy to sow seeds of disunity with this move. The opposition parties like BJP and CPM say that their record of the last few years speaks for itself, and that it is not the business of ‘outsiders’ to decide who is the underachiever-est of us all. Meanwhile the leaders of these parties sulk and plan a counter offensive that would prove, conclusively, that the tag rightfully belongs to them. Ms Mamata Bannerjee has, it is widely believed, a natural talent and a head-start in the race.

But I seriously feel that the true under-achievers are to be found elsewhere, and that they must be recognized. Generally, we all know that the common man in India is the rightful owner of this coveted title, but to be more specific, I would submit my top five contenders for your kind consideration.


  1. The Indian corporate: Taking manufacturing growth into negative territory at a time when there is a growing demand from the middle classes – can only be the work of a hard-working underachiever. Moreover, the image and political management of the Corporates is in tatters, and they have lost their grip over the polity. What sort of an aspiring capitalist society is this where the propaganda machine of the private sector cannot rule the mindscape?
  2. The Indian Voter: With a catchment area of over a billion people, the Indian voter is unable to choose a handful of good leaders for the Parliament and Assemblies! Their sheer dedication in choosing some of worst odd-balls from the society must be recognized as the handiwork of a dedicated underachiever.
  3. The Indian cricket team: At a time when the Indian captain M S Dhoni has the probably the most talented set of players in his team, it must have taken special strategy to lose series after series since our World Cup victory. For the consistency shown in under-performance, the team needs to be recognized.
  4. The Indian Geek: Blessed with brains and an IIT degree, the Geek has disappointed by being always the follower, never the leader, in the field of big ideas; an ideal worker rather than a conceptualizer, or a brand creator.
  5. The Indian Media: So much freedom, so little result. All the ideal settings going to waste, like the grains that are rotting in Indian go-downs. The pathetic performance of Indian media is recognized and commented-on by all, and they are definitely the top contenders for the title.


The competition is tough, and it is not likely that there will be a consensus. Therefore the lucky Dr Singh will continue to rule – and that is as it should be. If I missed out on a contender who is more worthy than the above five, do to submit the name/category, at least for the record. I have no doubt that history will judge them better.



I have been keeping a watch
On my friend, Time, for some time now.
He is a sly customer; he is not
As straightforward as he seems.
The last time I was in trouble,
He stood by me, posing as a friend.
He hung around, and stopped all his work,
His drooping head added to the gloom.
It is when I am happy, I notice,
That he flies away. He is always busy
With his work, and before I know it,
The good times are past.
I made enquires about time, and
As I said, observed him quietly.
He is the one who rules the world
From behind the shadows.
The defeated Pharaohs and the Czars
Vouch for the power of his armies.
Do not get taken in by his friendly smiles
His rule is merciless, his authority supreme.
Time, the judge, is a great leveler,
The tyrants, the emperors, the masters
Grovel before him like commoners.
Even the sun and the moon obey his rule.
Time is a strict disciplinarian –
He regiments all life, and doles out
Happiness and grief, success and loss
At his whim, at his pleasure.
Time is a thief, a kleptomaniac!
I make this serious charge responsibly.
He steals anything that he likes –
Our dreams, memories and innocence.
He can be unfeeling, cruel –
He has no remorse for the beggar
The rag-picker, or the old man,
Who wishes to see his son, one last time.
Do not judge Time, looking
At the grandfather clock or the Rolex.
We can never measure Time
With our watches and our clocks.

Time, the tyrant

With mindless cruelty he snatches away
All feelings, all joy. Relentlessly
He turns the cities into wastelands.
Mercilessly, he turns lovers into strangers.
He rules over the fate of men-
Only Gods can escape his tyranny.
Corrosive and constant, he allows
Only darkness, despair and decay.
No victory is possible over the tyrant.
It is only the foolish, or the saints
That rebel. They proudly wear the scars
Of his terrible revenge.
No victory is possible – steal some moments
And hide them away. Guard your memories well.
Be aware of the traps he lays – and never doubt
Your love, your feelings or your soul.

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