Saturday, March 10, 2012

Beauty around me

Beauty came to visit me yesterday as a sweet maiden,
We talked for a while, without need of words...

We talked of long ago when we often spent time together,
And I felt alive again, recounting those wonderful days...

I told her that I often wondered how life would be,
If I would have chosen to be with her instead...

She smiled her disarming smile, and said
"You chose security over adventure and left me for wealth,
But I never let go of you...."

And she shone with a brilliance of a hundred moons,
And transformed into a thousand dazzling butterflies...

They flew in each direction and lit up my world,
And I saw beauty, scattered all around me...

In things, that were in front of me,
day and night...

(C) Copyright Neel Bhatt
25-Feb-2012, 10:50pm

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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Each one has something unique to give.

In response to post

The above mentioned post states that we need not give something specific to people/society, we can give a smile, some time, hope etc. and that making others happy is what makes us truly happy.

I do agree that making others happy makes us happy.
It applies more when others are strangers rather than our near and dear ones.

But everyone is not happy doing the same kind of giving. Nor can everyone give in the same way.

Can desert give us water, even if it really wants to? Can a river give people heat in a cold night if it wants to?

But river can give water, and it can give it very well, and that is the only thing which will truly make it happy.

In the same way, each one of us has a unique thing to give, and we will be truly happy only when we recognize and give that.

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Happy Woman's Day.

Happy woman's day.


I don't know what it is like to be a woman, more so about being a good woman. But I guess its not something easy.

In my life so far I have come across many women, some modern, some traditional, some fun loving, some serious & matured, some elder, some younger & some of my age. And all of them have contributed to me in some way. My interactions with them have helped me evolve & become a better person.

And one of them is you. So I am taking this opportunity to let you know that what you are and have been, has helped me be what I am. In your own ways you have given me hope & inspiration, maybe without even knowing it. It may be by just being a good friend, sister or mother, being really dedicated to your work, being excellent in your field, proving that you are no less capable than any man, or simply that you don't need to compete with men, but your thoughts & actions have made me respect you, and other women.

I just want you to know that you are a special person, a special woman, who makes many like me believe that women are something to respect, to look up to also, not just to look at.

Love yourself, believe that you are beautiful & never think that no one notices who you are. Who you are is always going to be noticed, and remembered, maybe just not told.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Poem: Tired

Lying on the couch with your eyes closed,
Looking tired as if for days you haven't dozed,
Your body lax, legs stretched out,
Seeming that you will nod off to sleep without doubt,
Just stretch your arm and reach for me dear,
I'll understand you are tired and expect nothing more,
So have no fear,

Take away, all your tiredness I would,
Make you feel new and fresh if I could,
But with a little regret,
Because you look the cutest this way,
My little starlet...
(C) Copyright Neel Bhatt.

(Written on 31-Aug-2007, 19:53, Sundowner Bar, Holiday Inn, Goa)

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Short Story: Murder at Times Square

Willie was on time for his work, as usual, sporting a tie and a suit. Even though, he worked independently, he had cultivated the habit of reaching his work place on time.

He had learnt from experience that he could not work with a laid back attitude. Discipline was the first requirement. He was short, as compared to what people imagine a black person to be. He wasn't muscular either. That's why he didn't work with his brothers, because they never took him seriously. Some of his pals had asked him to join him in their work in New York's Central Park, but he had refused, because he hated guns. And he did not want to become a mugger. He wanted to do something he could be proud of. Something that required skill & quick thinking.

He worked quite near the busiest square in the world, the 'Times Square'. Soon he saw his first 'client' approaching him. He was in a hurry, dressed in a black suit and a matching, expensive tie. Willie matched his pace and walked in his direction. They scrubbed past each other. Willie turned and mumbled a quick apology, his client just ignored it and continued on his way. It was a good catch. Willie had picked up the wallet from the top pocket of the hapless victim without him realizing it. Willie examined its contents in a shady alley nearby. Hundred and twenty bucks and 3 gold credit cards and some change. Willie pocketed the contents and disposed the empty wallet in the dustbin near by. He headed to meet his agent to sell off the credit cards as soon as he could.

He reached the Times Square. The stop signal was on. He waited with hordes of people for the walking sign to turn off. He noticed Deshawn standing at the opposite side of the road. Deshawn was in school with him. Was taller than him, wider than him and had made full use of his physique torturing him in school years. To say Willie hated him would be a gross understatement. For Willie, Deshawn was hatred personified. More so because Deshawn had suddenly come into a lot of money recently. He had bullied one of local musicians and sold off his tunes to some big music star. And to show off, he was wearing a gold necklace atop his dirty black jacket. He looked as poor as Willie was, and Willie took pride in the fact that he looked richer than Deshawn actually was. The signal turned off. Willie stepped down from the pavement and started walking, still watching Deshawn. He suddenly noticed a bulge in Deshwan's jacket's breast pocket. It looked like a roll of hundred dollar bills. Willie's eyes flashed. He made up his mind quickly and changed his direction to meet Deshawn mid way.

He brushed into Deshawn from side and skillfully retrieved the bundle of bills. He kept walking straight to get out of there, but Deshawn pulled his coat collar and stopped him. "Hey!", Willie heard him shout. Deshawn pulled his collar and turned him towards himself. He recognized Willie. "You asshole, picking my Money...!!!???". Willie gulped. He could have peed in his pants, but luckily he didn't. He knew what would come next. And as he had guessed, Deshawn pulled him closer and raised his hand to punch. Willie wished he had never seen Deshawn. Deshawn punched and nearly broke his two front teeth and raised his hand to punch again, shouting, "Give me the money!". Just then a cop standing on the pavement shouted "Hey!". Willie had a bright spark. He quickly bent towards Deshawn and inserted the stolen credit cards in his pocket. Then struggling to free himself from Deshawn, he shouted "Mugger! Help!" People around turned and looked, moving away fro them, scared. A cop at the edge of the road jumped in action. Deshwan suddenly saw the picture changing, the crowd staring at him. His lips were sealed, he looked around and saw the cop rushing towards him. He knew Willie had dropped something in his pocket. He knew he would go to jail if the cop got to him. He let off Willie and ran in the opposite direction of the cop. The cop ran after him. Willie didn't wait there either. He quietly slipped away in the crowd.

Willie didn't go to work the next day. He knew that Deshawn would get him if he did. He was lying on the couch, hiding under a thin blanket watching TV, when his school-going cousin, Winner stepped in. "Yo Willie, what are you doing Home?" Willie returned his Yo with a gesture and ignored his question, pretending to be interested in the TV. "Did you hear?", his cousin seemed more excited than usual. "What?", Willie asked, annoyed. "Deshawn...", his cousin said. "What?". Willie asked, startled. He sat up from his lying down posture.

"What about Deshawn?”

"He is dead."


"A cop shot him in a chase yesterday."

"What?” Willie couldn't believe his ears.

"Yeah, the shot went right through his heart", Winner said.

Willie removed the blanket and put his feet down on the ground.

"You know when?” he asked.

"Yeah, yesterday morning 9:30. You know Junior's brother saw him being shot. He was bragging about it at the school..."

Willie didn't hear rest of it. He was too shocked to hear anything. He just sat there, his face as grave as a whole graveyard.

Winner turned his face towards himself. "You listening?"

Willie somehow regained his senses.

"Ya... tell me what happened."

"Junior's brother saw a cop chasing Deshawn. You know the alley behind my school?", Winner paused for an answer.

"Ya, ya", Willie said and gestured for him to go on.

"Deshawn ran through that, but a garbage truck was blocking the other end. Junior's brother was on the garbage truck, from there he saw the whole thing."

"Ok, ok, what happened to Deshawn?"

"That’s what I'm telling man, what’s wrong with you?", Junior didn't like being interrupted.

"Ok. Tell me.", Willie said slowly, trying to keep himself calm.

"Deshawn was kind of scared that he won't be able to run away. He is kinda fat to dodge a cop you know."

Willie nodded, trying hard to keep himself from squeezing Winner's neck and making him talk straight.

"So he pulled out a gun and asked the cop to let him go."

"What? Deshawn had a gun?"

"Ya, all gang people keep one. Don't you know?", Winner asked disappointedly.

"Ok.", Willie said, taking a deep breath. He could have been shot with that gun.

"So then the cop took out his gun and asked Deshawn to put his gun down and lie down on the ground. Cops always ask suspects to lie down on the ground when they arrest them."

Willie nodded again.

"Deshawn moved forward instead of lying down, and the cop got scared that Deshawn would shoot him. Junior's brother could see the cop straight, from the garbage truck."

"Ok", Willie dutifully nodded again.

"So the cop got scared and he warned Deshawn to put his gun down, and Deshawn shouted back to let him go else he would shoot the cop. The cop got real scared and shot at Deshawn. Deshawn shot back but he missed the cop by a couple of inches. Then Deshawn fell down and cop stood there pointing the gun at him. After some time he went and checked Deshawn's neck and relaxed. That's when Junior's brother got to know that Deshawn's dead. You know Deshawn was lying like this", Winner lied down on the floor and spread his arms and legs around and id an imitation of a dead person with his tongue sticking out.

Willie pictured Deshawn lying like that with a bullet hole in his heart and he turned his face away from the sickly sight.

Winner got up, a bit dejected, "What happened?"

"Nothing, I'm just feeling sick.", Willie said, then added, "You better stay away from me, or you'll get sick too.", to get rid of Winner.

"Show me your tongue, doctors check your tongue if you are sick.", Willie's plan backfired.

"No, go check, there are chocolates in the fridge."

This worked. Winner exclaimed, "Chocolates, wow!" and instantly went running to the kitchen.

Willie took a deep breath and closed his eyes. His head was hurting like crazy. Did he kill Deshawn? He hated Deshawn. He was relieved that he wasn't going to get back at him and torture him. But would he have killed him with a gun? Would he have done what he did had he known this would happen?

He realized that no one can find out what is going to happen. He slowly opened his eyes. Did Deshawn die accidentally? Was it more of an accident? Yes, it did seem so. Or did Deshawn invite his own death? By pulling the gun at the cop, by evading arrest? Even this was possible. If he had not pulled his gun at the cop, the cop would have never shot him. He did invite his own death by pulling a gun at the cop. Or did he invite his own death by torturing Willie in school? The thought startled him. Did he? Well, if he hadn't tortured Willie than all this would have never happened either. So was it all Deshawn's fault? Maybe it was.

Willie shook his head. He did not want to think about this anymore. He got up and washed his face in the washbasin.

Winner came running out of the kitchen. "There are no chocolates in the fridge."

"Here, get yourself some", Willie threw Winner a dime from his wallet and then went in to get ready and go to work.

(C) Copyright Neel Bhatt.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Flash Fiction: HELP!

She stared at the water flowing below. How it flowed, murmuring meaninglessly, unceasing, indifferent to everything around it.
She looked up at the horizons. Soil was arrid as far as the eyes could see. The sand spread in the riverbed reflected the Sun, hurting the eyes. There was a lone tree at the edge of the hill on the opposite bank.
A lone white bird circled it, perhaps to protect its nest.

She decided to not to wait any longer, afraid that any more thinking would provoke her to retreat, to seek someone's help. an she had decided to not to seek any help. Nobody's. Not from her friends, not from her family, not from her psychiatrist. She was tired of living on help.

She flung herself in the fast flowing river.

She closed her eyes and awaited to be engulfed by death as cold water surrounded her.
She swallowed some water, and in that discomfort she opened her eyes. She was not drowning, she was being carried away by the current.
She waited a while, but nothing happened. She just swallowed a little more water and surfaced again to breath normally.
She was disappointed.

She looked around and saw something dark, like a log of wood coming towards her opposite the flow. It seemed the log was stuck there because it did not seem to move with the current. She had half a mind of banging her head against it, when she realized what it was and gave a shrieking cry!
Crocodiles were her greatest fears from childhood. She knew that they chew down their victim while it was still alive.

She opened her mouth, but voice did not come out. she splashed the water with her hands to get around and tried again.
With great effort finally voices came out of her mouth "HELP! HELP! HELP!".

(C) Copyright Neel Bhatt.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Book Review: Maximum City Bombay lost & found

Author: Suketu Mehta
Genre: Non-fiction.

Maximum City is a first person account of the largest metropolis of India: Mumbai (formerly called Bombay) and people that give the city its unique character.

Book stands out because of the thorough research done by the author and the first eprson narrative which takes the readers to its locations and brings them face to face with its characters.

Author starts with an autobiographical chapter, tracing his family history and how they came to Bombay and then presents his own journey as a young boy from Bombay to New York and his experience of muted alienation there. He briefly takes the readers through his reasons to come back to India and Bombay as an adult, with his wife and two kids.
With this starts the exciting, involving struggle of the new settlers in the giant metropolis - struggle for finding space, struggle for resources and struggle for acceptance.
The first chapter ends on a positive note, leaving a sweet taste in the mouth of the reader, perphaps as sugar coting of the next chapter which describes the 1992-93's Bombay riots with all its gruesome details.
I skipped this chapter and read it right at the end and I would recommend readers without a taste for gore to do the same.

Author then covers the physical Bombay - the buildings and the laws governing them to explain some, or most of the problems facing Mumbai's inhabitants and possible solutions. He then moves on to the law's uphelder's - the Mumbai Police force, by detailing his interactions and observations with one of the comissioners of Mumbai police, various crime reports and criminals.
After scripting the lives of the law's uphelders, the author moves on to the other side of the fence and gives the reader a close look in the lives of the law breakers - the criminals and people from the Mumbai's notorious underworld called 'bhai's (meaning big brother). The chapter has some gory parts, but is enjoyable, like a gangster movie.
Then author takes a short detour and acquaints the reader with famous food joints of Mumbai - not the swankiest, but the ones loved by its people.
And then he moves on to detailing more voyeuristic pleasures the India's city of sin has to offer - the dance bars and its girls. The author details the life journey of some of the top bar dancers he met in an interesting way, sharing the sad and joyous parts of their lives, making them human and understandable.
Then comes the most glorious part of Mumbai - the part which forces thousands of people to run away from their homes, their jobs to Mumbai - to be a part of its Film City fondly called Bollywood. The reader is taken through the film world by the eyes of the stars that make it shine. Successful actors, directors, their dreams, fears and frustrations. And another view of the same world is presented by wannabe actors, aptly called strugglers.

Author takes care to cover a story of a family living in the slums of the city and of a youth who has run away from his home and come to Mumbai to complete the kleidoscope.

He ends the book with a story of a Jain family renouncing the world and becoming monks, their thoughts and reaction of the society and their extended family.

This book, gives a rounded view of the multi-faceted city of Mumbai, touching upon many of the different hues it offers to its visitors and its residents.

All in a ll a highly readable book.

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