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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Personal Journey - Bhelpuri Thoughts, A story - Ambition

The preface to my book titled "Bhelpuri Thoughts" - its being written continuously - and some day will get published I think - but till then preface should be good start on the blog. Send me an email ( to get a soft copy of the book - written so far !



Navneet Bhushan

Bhelpuri is a true reflection of India. It is a serving of puffed rice in a spicy sauce with onion, peanuts, coriander and other condiments, served typically on the roadsides in major cities of India - especially in Mumbai.

Bhelpuri has another dimension - the collective taste that gets generated by the mixing of multiple ingredients by the Bhelpuri vendor reflects the life of India. The emergence of India is not in the ingredients but the way these get enmeshed in the history, culture, colors and social life that makes something that leaves a continuous taste for the outsider who visits here, just like the bhelpuri.

Thoughts that arise inside my mind are so diverse and are influenced by so many triggers that it is impossible to capture them all. But it is a surprise that they get manifested in stories, poems, essays, articles and dialogs over a period of time in my life. Some of this articulation happened through a definitive process of writing something on a specific topic. This required reading, research and analysis. On the other hand some of the thoughts occurred without much knowledge or effort – the small poems that I call thought snippets are windows to my mind over multiple years of passing through life. The stories – some of them happened because of specific events, some I deliberately created.

But the question is why these thoughts occur and why I expressed them in these multiple articulations? It is a mystery and a personal journey to understand myself. Who am I? Why am I? What am I? Why do we exist? Why does the universe exist? The questions remained unanswered to me. However there is a mixture of thoughts coming from multiple directions, from multiple events, triggers and experiences. The thoughts were manifested into multiple artifacts – the articulation form took poems, thought experiments, stories, articles, analytical insights, etc. Looking back at these, it gives a mixture of multiple thought streams flowing from my mind in different dimensions. Is it a thought Bhelpuri or Bhelpuri Thoughts - I really dont know!


AMBITION ( A Story from the Book) (1991)

Slowly, I opened my eyes. The sun has come up and it is shining straight into my eyes. Now my daily routine will start. I will get up now, pull the curtains and will get ready for my office. “Oh! Hell, I had to write that dull story about the foolish politician who was my Boss’s mate”. I had written something last night and I know it had not come up well. My boss will say today, in his raised eyebrow style, “Girlie, you should concentrate more on the guy’s personality rather than his work – you know no politician works – so why give more importance to his work, why not to the man himself, his charisma, his following”. I will listen to him and will meekly say `Aye sir’. I was not such a meek reporter in the beginning; I was full of fire and jest and had a sense of justice. I use to think that my pen had a power that must be used for the right cause. All that has changed now… How? I don’t know- there were compromises….

The sun was hurting my eyes now. I got up and put water on the gas for making my morning tea. It is 7 o’clock in the morning; I have to report at 8.30. So there is still some time…

I looked myself in the mirror – the face that I saw still had life – eyes still had some sparks though there were some indications of initial lines of age under the eyes. I am – what – twenty eight years old – a good reporter in a national news paper – doing my job – you can cal me beautiful – people still turn around to look at me twice – I am happy, easy going but somehow my writings do not have life in them. That is what my literary guru Tony Guha told me. He said “Your life has too much goodness in it, you had lived in `rich environment’, you don’t know what is suffering, you don’t understand poverty – you simply can’t comprehend – you don’t even had any personal sufferings – you got whatever you wanted in your life. You can’t write until you yourself suffered a big blow in life”.

I had differed strongly from Tony that day, but now I am feeling that may be he is right. I do need a big blow in my life – something like a lover suddenly killed – so that I could write in the loneliness afterwards – a great tragedy writer….

Already it was 7.30 a.m. I got up and drank my tea. I dressed up and boarded 8.15 bus – there I met him – Sameer Sharma – we used to call him SS in our college – He was a tall, lanky guy, with very sad eyes, yet his lips were always smiling, irrespective of where he is – they were smiling now. He looked at me “Hi! Nisha, how are you?”

“What a surprise SS, how the hell are you? Where have you been all these years – no news yaar” I said. He smiled “I wasn’t well”. “Well! What happened to our young philosopher, who dreamt of changing’ the bloody, Hippocratic, lying, decaying society”? I asked. His smile deepened “you still remember my words – I have completely forgotten them – life was not fun al these years, Nisha…”

Then my bus stop came. I gave SS my card telling him to come to my office or flat at any time, and got down from the bus.

For the next three days I was busy reporting a murder of an elderly couple by some robbers. I didn’t get any time to think. On the fourth morning I suddenly remembered SS – I used to like him in the college – he was a shy lankiest boy – he didn’t use to talk much – but when discussing a point on which he head some knowledge he used to argue with such confidence that it was hard to think that this was the same shy guy. These inconsistencies I used to like. That day I didn’t even get his address. I was in such a hurry. Now I wanted to talk to him about our college mates, teachers and the incidents which looked so useless then but were so useful now. The memories have their own importance. The mind keeps track of its own history and brings out more and more of the beautiful incidents from its hidden recesses when some part of the same environment is generated in the form of person, place or thing of that time.

The ringing of the doorbell broke my thoughts – my doorbell has a shrill voice that jars you out of even the soundest of your sleeps. Reminding myself to replace the doorbell, I opened the door and found Sameer – he was smiling as always…’

“What a pleasant surprise, I was just thinking about you”. “You won’t change Nisha. Why do you continue to lie”, he said. “Honestly Sameer, I was thinking about you, that day I didn’t even ask your address” I said. “Forget it. I have come to you for some help. I need five thousand rupees in cash today – I have to pay to the hospital then only I will be admitted. My draft will come in two or three days. Then I will pay you back”, he said.

I said, “don’t worry. I have the money, but what is the matter with you. Why do you want to get into a hospital bed”? He smiled with slight widening of eyes “you don’t know – I am a cancer patient – lung cancer – doctors say that there is a fifty percent chance if they operate me within four weeks else I will go and honestly Nisha, I was not meant for this world – the bloody, Hippocratic, lying, decaying society” He Laughed – his eyes were dancing but only for a moment then again that sad gloom.

I felt God knows what? I wanted to put my hand on his head and wanted to tell him that he will be O.K. Then an idea came to me “any how SS will die in four to five weeks – his face had that look of death – can I simulate love in my heart and then feel the pain that is missing in my writings. My writings will have that missing ingredient and I will get the best – will become the top tragedy writer – the best”.

The idea appealed to my mind. I started molding my mind to love SS. I started looking for all his mannerisms that I liked and stared ignoring all those features that I didn’t like. I convinced my mind that I should actually love him then only I can feel the pain of his loss.

Three weeks before his operation, I told him that I loved him. He was startled and laughed at me “Why are you making fun of me, you know that I may die – rather there is a strong likelihood that I won’t live longer than three weeks”. I told him that he won’t die and my love will bring him back to me from the approaching clutches of death, but in my heart I was happy that he would die – I wanted him to die but told him that he will live. He thought about it and feeling my seriousness told me to get away from him, “Why do you want to suffer because of me – go – take yourself away from me.”

I looked in his sad eyes and told him that he will come back to me and together we will create a much better society – a true beautiful world full of love and peace.

He nodded his head and looked down. Slowly I raised his chin; his lined cheeks had two streams of tear coming down from his beautiful black eyes. I held him in my hands and looked at him, hoping that I won’t overdo my love act and light a will to live in his heart.

As the day of his operation was coming nearer, my excitement was increasing. For all those days I went to the hospital after my office. I showered my love over SS. I wouldn’t even talk about his coming operation but I would talk about the life that we would be sharing after three weeks – a life of love, understanding, peace and good fun. Whenever I entered his room, SS face would light up and his smile would generate a pinkish glow on his otherwise pale face. I prayed to God to take away his life so that I could suffer in his memory and pour my heart in my stories.

SS died exactly after five days of his operation. The death was quick. The doctors told me that there was no pain – the cancerous tissue had come over the heart and had stopped the blood supply completely.

I came straight to my room after his funeral. I was completely exhausted so I couldn’t write any thing that day. Next day I woke up with a slight headache, so I took leave from my office. I spent whole of the afternoon sleeping. At night I made up my mind to write – to write about things that would stir the emotions of the hardest hearts.

It was about nine o’clock, I took my pen and started writing – I wrote for the next three or four hours – I don’t know when sleep took over my consciousness and when I fell on my bed.

Next morning I went to my writing table to find out what emotional outbursts my heart had poured on the paper. There were about two hundred pages – but I had written only one word all over them. I had written Sameer – from the beginning till the end – there was nothing else, no extra word not even an extra comma – my heart had used all the space available to pour the only thought that it wanted my brain to think – I started crying, slowly at first and suddenly I was shouting – shouting – so loud that all my inner feelings were pouring out – “I love you Sameer” – “Sameer Oh! God I have killed you” – Oh Sameer, Sameer oh…

…And I knew that I won’t be able to write anything anymore – it was all over for me – I had lost – my heart has revolted against my ambition – oh Sameer…


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