Narayan… Narayan…

October 30, 2008

Remember… remember…

As I hear news about the serial blasts in Assam, I am reminded about something similar that happened in Hyderabad… yes, serial blasts…

I am publishing the words of a good friend, Parnab Mukherjee.

CHORUS: I took the shortest route through Belief’s sad country

where archangels. on the Word’s command, slew my word

Aga Shahid Ali


Please don’t slice the sky

Dip your dissenting finger in this pock-marked landscape

Make Che a little more than your T-shirt


it is secular list

so said a political leader in Rabindra Bhawan

after the Hyderabad blasts

yes, one of the many in politics

who feasts on that old rhetoric of “our” and “their” divide

for heaven’s sake let’s not dig this scrutiny and surveillance trenches anymore

somewhere cowards who have programmed

a Prince quartz clock

to let go at 7.40pm at Lumbini Park and 7.50pm in Koti

must have drawn up their private secular lists



I am looking at the list

and feeling ashamed

you must have a self-congratulatory smile on your face

CHORUS: I don’t think artists can avoid being political. Artists are proverbial canaries in the coalmine.

When we stop singing, it’s a sure sign of repressive times ahead

Theresa Bayer

And looking at the images of photographers shooting the lonely shoe

and also the passerby who keeps flower at Gokul Chat


the list is out approximately 45 killed

or rather between 42 and 45

approximate lists for approximate human beings

about 60 injured

numbers do matter in preparation of secular lists

don’t they?

I know how the stake knife is sharpened

and how the little blood clot forms at the tip of this knife

I know how blasts rip apart our consciousness

how bodies fall like nine-pins

how dead bodies roll on the floor

gets collected in a heap

before you throw a white sheet over them

I know how we die

how we eat splinters

as they explode and implode

how bombs enter and change the nature of our gullet

I know

that’s why I bleed

We all know

that’s why we all bleed

Gokul Chat in Koti

Lumbini Park overlooking Hussainsagar lake

series of blue benches

headless bodies, legless bodies, lonely shoe, pool of blood, buckets of blood,

new blood, old blood, stale blood, trickle, downpour, drops…

all kinds of blood make dying look so easy

dying was never difficult

as bombs ripped apart our consciousness

claiming, reclaiming, declaiming

at the end of it all add a “y” to make the word blood


I mean add a “why”


mangled real

mangled surreal

Time kills. Time heals. Gaping old scars. And the eyes that grow inside the scars.

I know now why cold blood is called cold blood

hot blood is hot blood

I know that beyond redemption



there lies a zone called

burning ghat

burial ground


and out there somebodies become some bodies



stone tablets that proclaim that you once lived

I know so I bleed

We all know so we all bleed

I can see that you see my wounds

And you can see that you don’t see yours

Small doses of blood

that turns into experimental playground of dynamite sticks

Neogel 90 with ammonium nitrate

I know how the stake knife is sharpened

how the edge drips with blood

how blood takes it’s own shape

how we realise that we bleed

that I bleed

why hot blood is hot and cold blood is cold


there’s still this bomb that never went off in the Dilkhushnagar area

then the saga


half-burnt bodies,

half-baked hands,

half roasted legs,

half-barbecued upper parts,

half-fried lower

would have had more names

Names do matter to those who draw up secular list


A secret turning in us

makes the universe turn

Head unaware of the feet,

and feet head. Neither cares.

They keep turning

Jalal-uddin Rumi

blood bandage

bandage blood

What do i do as a theatre person?

sentences after this are never straight

they become curved, crooked, grammatically incorrect with disorienting imageries

sentences that float mid-air

sentences with lost alphabets,

missing vowels

sentences that rebel

each phrase slugging it out with another

sentences fight

sentences meander

sentences tell me

about the sentence that I cannot write

at the relative anonymity of the drawing room and chat rooms

we still shed crocodile tears

smile crocodile smiles

and write crocodile small cheques for solidarity fund


I can see a pile of solo heads becoming the neck of the Necklace Road

headless, neckless, limbless, bodiless spectre

visit me

in my insomnia

I can see death in conversation with dead

deliverance in conversation with hellish redemption

And life re-asserting itself amongst the mounting stockpile of private sorrows

a pool of dried tears

an art gallery installation of small wine goblets filled with red-ink to signify blood

and as artistic tributes flow in

Buddha laughs

Buddha smiles

at the Hussainsagar lake

dead people grapple with the memories of dying

the lonely shoe on the road

the lonely pair of glasses

red stains amongst the white sheets used in the morgue

all add upto the jigsaw








why so much blood

as whys multiply

poem becomes a cliche, death becomes numbers

the lonely shoe is packed up as evidence

it will remain as one

till the time

it withers

fall apart

flying comments

fly like papers all over

typically out of a Guru Dutt frame


The fences have grown to a jungle

now how can I tell my children

where we came from

Tenzin Tsundue

raw skin brushes against the sky

open wounds

does not want to be covered

Hello Hyderabad

the new and the old

the one with three colour-halftone-zinc

and the one with digital

the hi-tech

and the sepia

the liberalised new distancing

from the old

the new trekkers and the old

ones who lost way on the zigzagbad

all of you

all of us

and most importantly all of them

It’s time for another a play

we have to invoke Cherabandaraju

and talk about the otherness of the body

locate Buddha smiles, lonely shoe, dead sentences, dead captions, dead lines

please don’t talk about secular lists


death is a death

ashes are ashes

tombstones are tombstones

crocodile tears are crocodile tears

lop-sided development between the old and the new parts exist

any death is a death

any loss of life orchestrated by those who bulldoze humanity

must be condemned

and in our extreme nowhereness

let’s just raise a silent toast to

our shamelessness

And be ashamed


And be ashamed

I have been associated with Parnab during my theatre experience. An excellent orator, an artiste and a great person. I had done a play “The Otherness of the body” – a performance based on a series of poems by Cherabandaraju and other Telugu writers interspersed with some of his texts

This was a piece of his production “Finding Hamlet”, and was written immediately after the August 2007 Hyderabad serial blasts.

October 29, 2008

The Crisis of Identity continues…

I will take a step back to do some thinking on the “Sons of the Soil” concept.

AD 1947 – The great Indian nation stretching from the Karakoram ranges to the Arakan Yoma ranges was being divided. Religion formed the major criteria for partition – Hindu or Muslim. Muslims in the sub-continent had acquired an identity – being a Pakistani, which was different from being one amongst the few million Indians.

AD 1952 to AD 1961 – Potti Sriramulu dies in a hunger strike. He wanted a separate state for the Telugu speaking community, free from Tamil hegemony. Nehru assures of separate statehood. The Indian nation is divided into states based on Language. Every Indian had one more criteria to identify oneself with –Language.

AD 1979 – A commission headed under Parliamentarian Bindheshwari Prasad Mandal was established to identify the socially and educationally backward, and finally ends up suggesting affirmative action practice under Indian constitution to backward communities. Mandal Commision ends up giving us one more characteristic to identify ourselves – Caste.

One should not forget that we are already born with 2 characteristics the whole world recognizes – Color and Sex.

Nature divided us on the basis of sex; the world divided itself based on race, and color. We then divided ourselves on the basis of religion, language and now caste. How further can I go, to identify myself uniquely?

But hey… as I ask myself this question, one cranky guy has opened up a can of worms – Son of the Soil.

Now what is that? How do I identify myself with a particular soil?

I just reached a point of frustration.

Can’t I just lead my own life? Can’t every common man live a life without being bothered to prove his identity & his loyalties?

Why do you need to classify me as a Southie or Northie? Why do I need to identify my loyalties to a particular state, a Bihar or a Maharashtra?

Is it hard being just an INDIAN?

The Crisis of Identity

Filed under: A pinch of salt,General discussion,India,Politics — Narayan @ 2:39 pm
Tags: ,

My Origin – Tamil Hindu Brahmin, My Parents are from Kerala. I Speak Tamil, Malayalam, Oriya, Hindi and English. My Passport says “Republic of India”.

Born in Lucknow (U.P.). Studied in Rourkela (Orissa). Studied in Trichur (Kerala). Studied in Bhubaneswar (Orissa). Worked in Cochin & Calicut (Kerala), and all other places around here. Worked in Bangalore (Karnataka). Worked in Kolkata (West Bengal). Worked in Hyderabad (A.P.). Worked in Chicago (IL, USA) & Santa Clara (CA, USA).

Well, does this look like a resume of some sort?

Hell… NO – This is not a CV or Resume. I am just trying to figure out my nativity. I am trying to answer the question – I am the son of which soil?

After the rhetoric being drummed up by politicians about the “son of the soil” concept, I have had a few more questions.

What does the term citizenship refer to?

What does the term Nation mean?

Will I have to specify the State Nativity whenever I introduce myself?

Will I need a visa to travel from one state to another, in my own nation?

I am going through an identity crisis. Who am I?

October 10, 2008

The Last Mail…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Narayan @ 1:47 pm

Well, I just happened to get a forward from a friend of mine. The subject was “My last batchmail… truly the last”.

It was my last batch-mail in XIMB. From, Now that’s one email id I can never forget…

It was really nostalgic to read the stuff that I wrote… and it felt good that this mail was archived by someone, and not dumped into the trash. So here it is:


Subject: My Last Batchmail – truly the last…
From: “Narayan” <>
Date: Fri, February 25, 2005 2:50 am


Friends, XIMBians & Bhaktgan…..

I shall try not keep this too senti, but still…keep your tissues/hankies beside you.

The journey that started a couple of years back has finally come to an end. A new path begins… Life has been both rewarding & punishing during this period.

The memories go back to the day when I stepped into this college expecting the unknown. But what I saw during these two years will forever be etched in my heart. Whether it be people trying their best to get the best out of an event, or people trying to “patao” the opposite sex by walking up and down the road at 3AM, I was heartened to see the best coming outta people at the worst of times.

As Narayan (or Naru as I am better known), I have been the hooligan on pop, a “nauseating and disgusting” guy when it comes to screwing up the happiness of other people…but…I must assure you people that the sole intention was to have fun and enjoyment. Life & the big bad world is much more sadistic. This is the time when you get your time to enjoy, smile and laugh. God gave you a gift, your smile.. use that as often as you can…the worst problems in the world can be overcome with a smile. Smile at your woes…your shortcomings…your mistakes, and you would find the world around you more fun to live by.Naru never meant to hurt you. All I wanted was to make you smile.

Without Bhaktprahlad, or Winpop, or “SPICE”, or Yahoo, or the uncanny paparrazzi, life would have been the same for some people. My intention was to bring into your life an everlasting smile…one which you might always remember and cherish.

We have seen enough of trials and tribulations, what our batchmates have undergone, but then the one thing that kept alive our spirits was “Hope”. Hope has kept us together through the victories and tragedies we have experienced here. Our gains might outdo our losses, but what is more important is the camaraderie that saw us through the toughest of times.

My two year vacation comes to an end and I go back to the point, where I left life a couple of years ago…back to reality and the gruelling pace of life & work. There comes a moment in life when characters tend to fall, men falter & courage fails. What keeps you up is the Hope to survive and succeed, and keep smiling through the toughest of times. Life always comes in bits & patches, It’s upto you to combine it into the whole big picture.

The individuals in XIMB have been different, but the collage has been the best ever created.

The world would have been a different place without you, It is you who have to make THAT difference count.

Narayan (aka Naru)
A mere mortal

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