The blonde on webcam

Sitting in a coffee shop, I am reading up some news items that might be deemed serious. At a table at the far end, she sits. Her blonde hair tousled with gel. I can smell the spray that holds it. There is a bright light before her eyes as she talks in a language I do not understand. She speaks loud, then laughs, her little girl voice now throaty, and then it drops to a whisper. She is on webcam and I cannot see the monitor but I watch as she winds her fingers into her curls and bends a little to reveal some cleavage.

It is obvious that she is talking to a known person. Maybe a husband, a boyfriend, but most certainly someone with whom she is intimate. There did not appear to be any obvious intimacy. She would not have chosen so public a place and there would be people who’d understand her language. I understood her language, in an unspoken manner – the language of distance, of pain, of pining, of sexual tension. It was evident as she inadvertently pulled out the headset and the male voice could be heard on the speakers; she plugged it in quickly, as though it were a cigarette butt left burning.

She did not say any goodbye. I only heard a sigh as she snapped close the laptop. She wore a skirt with a misaligned hemline and stilettos; her blouse clung to her tiny frame and her hair suddenly seemed too much, too big for her frame, for her face, for her body. It was like a camouflage for her person, since for a long time that is all I saw of her.

She went to the cash counter to pay and the jerkiness of her hand movements as she fidgeted in her purse and insisted that she did not need a bill even as she grabbed it and then ran her fingers through her hair, pulling out the tangles, almost straightening it, those curls now needing to be tamed into relaxation…she might go out for a drink and let the slight headiness weaken her senses or she might retire to her room somewhere and recreate the conversation. I can hear her voice in the breeze as it blows gently and then creeps in between the fronds with a whoosh sound that falls silent as maybe a leaf falls into a whisper.

She’ll find that breeze echoing in her room and envelope her body.


Obama's hawk policy in India

The most telling aspect of President Barack Obama's trip to India in early November is his planned visit to all the sites targeted in the Mumbai attacks of November 28, 2008. He will also stay at the Taj Hotel. Commentators have been quick to gloat that this move will corroborate American support to India's battle against terror.

This is the vile game the US is so adept at. Its one major encounter with terrorism has been transformed into a metaphor for world militancy. It is a myopic and inadequate example if we take note of the different kinds of terrorism being unleashed in various parts of the world, including by the American establishment under the garb of ‘support for democracy’. This has often translated in ruining thriving societies or pushing them into ‘backward’ mode as a reaction to the US standard McDonald idea of franchising its version of liberty.

-->More here at the Op-ed, Khaleej Times...



Booth capturing? Lauren goes Islamic...ho-hum

There is something about Tony Blair and his extended family that has an obsession with religion and these sudden flashes of light. His wife Cherie chose to wear crystals and do reiki to get her energy all up. Tony became a Catholic and maybe that inspired him to write a version of the Confession in his memoirs. Now his sister-in-law, Lauren Booth, has converted to Islam because of some “holy experience” in Iran.

"It was a Tuesday evening and I sat down and felt this shot of spiritual morphine, just absolute bliss and joy.”

Oh dear. She should tell this to the ayatollahs instead of giving interviews about it. They’d kick her peaches and cream English ass for such blasphemy. I know many people see religion as some sort of ‘kick’ and being lost in a sublime experience, but what about the rituals? Our Lauren has no problems. Her morphine shot has given her a headache fit enough for her to follow the regimen. As a report states:

(She) now wears a hijab whenever she leaves her home, prays five times a day and visits her local mosque whenever she can.

Funny. Which mosques do women visit? Does the media not have any knowledge? I assume she leaves home often, so what’s the need to state that she covers her head whenever she steps out?

I don’t know about Lauren’s motives, but her timing is perfect. She is now dissing Tony for his book, saying that he is not a human being. I suppose she would have to study her new religion and figure out how not to address male members of the family in this manner and what qualifies as a human.

Before her spiritual awakening in Iran, she had been "sympathetic" to Islam and has spent considerable time working in Palestine, she said, adding that she hoped her conversion would help Blair change his presumptions about Islam.

Pother! Keep your sympathy to yourself. There are several Christians in Palestine and the media is unnecessarily clubbing her being “stuck in the Gaza strip” along with this news. Besides, you do not have to be a Muslim to change people’s perceptions. You just need to keep your eyes open. It is time for her to shut up and go beyond page 60 of the Quran she is currently at. Why are these minutiae of such importance? She could just as well read War and Peace for all we care.


Kasab's Call

The Indian courts are spending huge amounts of money on Ajmal Kasab. That is not his problem. There appears to be no reason for his case to be delayed if all evidence was available to deem it fit for him to get the death sentence. So, why is this charade on?

Is Kasab in fact helping the Indian legal system by insisting that his case be heard in an international court? Isn’t India complaining about the constant terrorist threat? Does it not want world attention? Is it not being co-opted by the western idea of Dirty Harry?

It is interesting that Kasab’s demand for an international hearing coincides with the government counsel Ujwal Nikam’s sudden discovery that Malabar Hill was to be one of the targets. Why is such information seeping out slowly like water from dry taps? Did this not show up in any of the hearings and the thousands of pages in the dossiers? The mention of another elite locality – that too which houses the governor, the chief minister and other high-flying celebrities is well-timed. The American President is to come visiting and he will need to see how our progress is being hampered by a man in cargo pants who eats dates.

It all works out well. Kasab is the showpiece and will remain so. Denying him newspapers and books makes no sense. If he is to go to the gallows he may as well be well-read. Solitary confinement is supposedly making him lose his mental balance; this argument could well have been used earlier when he displayed far worse manic symptoms. His lawyers are instead merely going the route of his restlessness, which makes him spit into the webcam during a video conference. This incident was seen as contempt of court.

There is such black humour here. A man is to die. What is he expected to feel towards the court but contempt?

For those who believe that this case will be sorted out soon, it is time to lie back and wait for an endless saga. Kasab’s drama is not a one-act play and he is not the only actor much less the director. It is now indeed a production fit for an international market – a bilingual production, one may add.


Bricks: Eentein

Kuchch eenton ki aisi fitrat hoti hai
Ke jo makaan banaane mein khoye hue hote hai
Unko hi kamzor kar dete hai
Nasoor ki tarah
Gharoun ke jism mein phailkar
Eik-eik hissa aadha sa lagta hai
Oonchi imaaratoun ko dekhkar
Unke zakhm ka ehsaas nahin hota
Door se noor mein nehlaye hue lagte hai
Baadalon ke tauliye poch lete hai geelapan
Agar aansoon hai tau pehchanta nahin koi

Makaanoun ko door se hi dekhna chahiye
Kareeb aane par
Hari seelein aur dhoondhlate rang nazar aa jaayenge
Patthar sadte nahin
Woh kasak ki tarah chubh jaate hai
Deewaron mein daraar aur farsh par chhoti qabrein eenton ki mil jaayegi

Unko dosh bhi kya de
Jo maar kar khud marte hai
Kuchle hue phool se jo khushboo ki mehek niklegi
Uss band kitaab ke qissoun se hum ghar banayenge
Warna neend yateem ho jaayegi
Aankhoun ki aaghosh se
Parde nahin lehrayenge
Khidki kholkar chidiya ka ghausla dekhna padega
Choch mein shaakh liye
Ussey kuchch tootne ka khauf nahin

Hum bhi pattoun ka bistar zameen par bichcha lenge
Eenton ka jawaab dena laazmi hai
Aisa na ho ke khwaaboun ka khwaaboun se hi yaqeen uth jaaye




I blink
The eyes lose sight
Of a second's vision

~ ~

No one walks in the lane I live in
Yet footprints make claims
Over my street

~ ~

The moment
Lights are switched on
The moon hides its silver lining

~ ~

Feet dig
Into wet sand
Desert wind tears seep into soles

~ ~

Ocean tides ebb
Salt gathers on the shore
The storm retreats heavy with salinity

~ ~

Clock strikes midnight hour
Night turns its face away
From day stripped nude

~ ~

Hair pulled out in clumps
Form spider's web on the floor
Jasmine fragrant tales are crushed

~ ~

Mirror drips with water
I see myself swimming
In a dry riverbed

~ ~

Noises knock
On silent doors
Whispers sneak out of the windows

~ ~

Don't ask me about old wounds
A cold stone is freezing
Even new seas