Sunday, 14 January 2018

Just another day in just another year

Novelty matters when it happens once in a while. A new dress, a new cuisine- the charm in their 'newness' would disappear if one were to get a 'new dress' every week, or try an exotic dish every next day. And that is why 'New Years' don't seem to hold as much charm as they did once. The very fast pace of our lives gobbles down 365 days in a jiffy, making us wonder if it really takes a whole year to reach the next year.

We are already into a fortnight of 2018. Everything is as it was. Nothing seems to have changed. I am as confused as ever. H is out walking coz he is getting tired of staying indoors. He's been here for almost ten days now.

I was thinking about my blog today and of the first time I made an entry here. It was at the internet cafe near TDMC. It feels as if millions of years have passed between then and now. 
Time is amusing.

A decade feels like a lifetime. A year feels like a week. Yet the most elusive is a moment..every moment. And how we feel about our decades and weeks is based on how we had felt for those moments ... those moments that made up our decade... our year...

I want to sleep. 

Monday, 14 August 2017

Memories of a life: Fireworks!

It is hard to believe that twenty years have passed since that beautiful evening which makes one of my richest memories. It is also hard to believe that I have changed so much from my almost-ten-year-old version.
It was the evening of 15th Aug 1997- India was celebrating 50 years of Independence- Golden Jubilee of Freedom for the Golden Bird. Port Blair, my little hometown, far away from the hustle and bustle of mainland India, was very different from what it is today. There were fewer people, fewer buildings, fewer shops, fewer cars, and a lot more rain. I remember being torn between watching “Gandhi” on television and watching celebratory fireworks by the Defence near the seafront. After much prodding by my mother, I chose the latter. Wearing a pretty peach frock I rode behind my Abbu on his old scooter, the two minute distance to the ‘Hospital Road’- from where we could see a snapshot of my whole world… well, at least my most favourite spots in this world. To our right we could see Aberdeen Bazaar commencing and just round the corner from there is my home. To our front was Gymkhana ground. To our left- our beautiful Andaman Sea with the Ross floating on it- as our friend, our neighbour, and as were to realize after the 2004 Tsunami, also our guardian.
That night, as on all important nights, Ross was splendidly decked with lights. Naval ships too lit up the dark sea with their decorative lights. Soon the sun would set, there’d be a black out- and in the pitch darkness would begin the fireworks for which I was waiting impatiently.
Pumped up with patriotism, we were soon staring wide eyed at the night sky adorned with flickering lights of all colours, in all shapes, making patterns from this world and beyond. If this man made beauty was falling short in any way, divinity intervened and blessed us with a rain that drenched us to the bone. And that- THAT vision of fireworks rising up to meet the night sky and the night sky pouring down its love as rain to  meet us on the ground, as man and nature joined hands to celebrate “India”- remains one of my most vivid, most spectacular and most favourite memories. Few things can compare to what I felt then- there on the road to the Hospital, with my Abbu, next to his old scooter, soaked in skin-ripping rain.
Both India and I have changed so much in the past 20 years. I have gone through both enchantment as well as disenchantment with Nationalism- India too should have, by now… I hope!
What remains is a memory of celebrating freedom- beautiful, plain, simple ‘Freedom’ in the very land where some forefather, long long ago, had lost his.

That pride, that happiness, that love- how I miss it! How terribly I miss it!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Nights such as these...

On nights such as these,
When the heart is as careworn
As it is carefree,
I sit down to think
Of you.

 I then
Let my mind run free,
While it delves into demons
That recklessly build
A life that is not
With you.

 Who would
Ever, So love me,
Guide the rest of my life and
Be able to fill
The holes left gaping
By you.

 I would
Trade my soul with it
That would carry me to you,
And seal up my being
Until forever
In you.

 None know
What soulmates we’ve been.
No death could part us, And in
All new lives we’ll live
Am always coming
To you.

On nights such as these……  

~Almas Kiran Shamim

Monday, 27 March 2017


An iconic picture this one is…. Has always reminded us of how dangerous extremism could be. How perfectly normal lives could turn upside down, without their choice, without their consent. At some point, this picture must have made quite a many atheists- what with a so-assumed ‘SkyGod’ demanding control over women’s bodies, attire, whole lives! Unfortunately for them, as it stands today, there appears no requirement of such a role- that of a SkyGod- for History to repeat and for the same situation to occur elsewhere, all in the name of an international border- as man-made as this laptop on which I am typing my head out.  

It is saddening to see the same picture which only years ago represented the nostalgia of a war-torn-brought-down-to-shambles neighbour, now be used to represent the India of today, used to represent, in an ever so subtle way, our future.

I remember, as a school kid, I maintained a notebook where I noted down new words and phrases that I read- their meanings- and sometimes also sentences, showing the usage of the words. I also remember learning the meaning of ‘Impending Doom’ and noting it down in my notebook.
This picture, today, ceases to speak a tale of Afghan misery…. It now reeks of India’s ‘impending doom’.

Meanwhile, I ate Chicken Manchurian today.

Considering India’s current situation, who needs to go all the way to Spain? A trip to Kerala and a sumptuous dose of porotta and beef curry should be daring enough!! Taste it while it lasts...

Now, am a veggie lover all the way, but given that India is anyway going down the Afghan path (of Talibanization), we never know kya kya band ho jaaye. Kal thha beef, aaj hai buffalo aur kal kya hoga...chicken?? Andaaaa???? Pura mulk Saravana Bhavan??

Isliye, Happy Chicken Manchurian for today.....

Tuesday, 21 February 2017



दूरी- ना जाने कितने रूप, कितने रंग में ये आती है
कभी अपने होने से , और कभी ना होने से, क्या दर्द ये दे जाती है...

ना मांगी थी वह दूरी जो पैदाइश के तोहफे में मिली
माँ का साया छूटा, यतीमी के बाहों में पली।
सात समुन्दर पार जो ससुराल बना मेरा,
रहे कुचे अपनों का भी साथ छूटा मेरा ।

और एक मैं हूँ जिसने अपने अब्बा को देखा तक नहीं
टूट के चाहा जिस माँ को, बिछड़ गयी वो ज़िन्दगी में कहीं।
धीरे धीरे कर भाई बेहेन भी छोड़ गए,
रंजिश ऐसी पड़ी के दिल के सुकून, सितमगर हो गए ।

इन दूरियों में उलझे ही बीत गयी पूरी हयात
अपनों को कर पराये, परायों से हुए हमनवाज़।
कुछ से मिली ख़ुशी तोह ज़्यादा दे गए ग़म
वक़्त और फास्लो की दूरियों में अकेले रह गए हम ।

चाँद तारे हमारे अब पिघलने लगे हैं
आखरी मोड़ पर खड़े अलविदा कहने लगे हैं,
मौत से लाई दूरियां हर दिल चाहे मिट जाएँ
ज़िंदा दिलों की दूरियों को कौन मिटाये? कौन मिटाये? 

~अलमास किरन शमीम 

Saturday, 11 June 2016

A Smile That Could Shred Your Heart to Pieces...

It had been scorching hot just minutes ago and now, suddenly, there was an eerie coolness all around. Fayrouza sat motionless on the rock, her elbows resting on her folded knees, hugging her own self, as if caressing away the pain of life,… or maybe death. The gentle breeze blowing from the sea was playing with some loose strands of her coarse black hair- the remaining were neatly tied up in a bun at the back of her head. She wore a pale pink dress up to her knees. Her eyes were fixed at some invisible point in the misty water- some place close to the horizon, some place close to that tiny island far away- the one with a lone tree standing.

“Do you know why is that island called the ‘Snake Island’?”

The question broke her reverie and Fayorouza looked straight into the eye of the handsome man who had been sitting next to her for some time now- the one who had asked her the question.

“Snake Island,” Fayrouza repeated and her voice sounded strange to her own ears, not because of any change in the frequency or tone, but because she had half expected she wouldn’t hear it.

“Yes, do you know why it is called that?” he asked again. She shook her head in a ‘no’.

“Well, me neither!” he chirped with an obvious amusement lighting up his eyes, his face breaking into a smile that could shred your heart to pieces.

“He gets dimples!” Fayrouza thought.

His smile widened before he broke into a laugh- not a loud one but the kind of laugh you expect from men who were trying to please you, from men who could read your mind.

“How old are you?” Fayrouza blurted out. It was hard to tell whether she was only curious to know or irritated by the fact that she was actually attracted to him.

He sighed, his smile never leaving his face, and tilted his head ever so slightly before answering, “Much older than you.”

 Then he turned away from her and stared into the space far away. Fayrouza followed his vision and went back to staring at the invisible point in the sea. That is when she noticed, from the side of her eye, a photograph floating towards her. When it was within reach, she bent down to pick it up. It was the picture of a cat sitting on the edge of a door. She remembered the picture well. It was from when she was way younger-during her school days, at her home. She loved the cat dearly.

“You love your cats, don’t you?” he asked.

She looked up at him. She loved the way his eyes crinkled at the corners when he smiled- and smile he did continuously. The golden of the setting sun shone on his face making him look magnificent. 
She couldn’t take her eyes away.

 “Ehmm, ehmm…” he coughed before giving his flirtatious laugh.

Fayrouza had been so lost in the beauty of the man that she wasn’t able to recall the question.

He reminded her the question by pointing to the photograph with a tilt of his head and a look by his eyes.

“Yes” she finally replied. Looking back at the photograph she told, “He died”.

“I know” was his simple reply.

Fayrouza turned and looked at the sea again…. Hundreds and thousands of floating photographs now dotted the sea, she bent down to lift another one.

“Ohh!” she exclaimed with a little laugh and looked up at him. He was still smiling his mesmerizing smile. She held up the photograph to show him and he nodded.

It showed a young man with a bearded face and thick specs holding a little girl- both of them smiling widely.

“That’s me when I was a kid and he…he was my …uncle…friend maybe….my neighbour…my family’s tenant actually…do you know him?” she asked.

“Of course I do”, he told plainly, “I met him a few years ago”.

Fayrouza was by now kneeling on the rock, bending down to look for another photograph when he held out one for her.

“Maybe this is an important photograph for you”, he cocked his head and raised his eyebrows as he gave her an old, monochrome picture of a beautiful lady. Beautiful in an exotic way. She was dressed in a traditional Burmese sarong.

Fayrouza stared at the picture for a while and without taking her eyes off she asked him, “You surely know her.”

“Yes, I do. I’ve met her too”, she heard him reply softly.

She looked up to talk to him about the lady in the picture but he had already stood up, ready to go.

“You know how they change dates based on the moon!” he told rolling his eyes. We better reach on the same date.

Fayrouza stood up. The rocks were wet and slippery with the sea waves crashing on them every now and then. She remembered being scared of slipping on the rocks a few hours ago…well, she even remembered slipping… and falling down. She looked down at where she had fallen and saw a girl sleeping. The girl had some loose strands of coarse black hair- the remaining were neatly tied up in a bun at the back of her head. She wore a pale pink dress up to her knees.

She looked up at him and told, “I had a fall”.

“I took care of you”, he smiled back.

Fayrouza looked around for the photographs…she couldn’t find any…. They had vanished from her and from the sea- which now was slowly losing the golden shimmer of the sun and beginning to authorize the darkness of the night.

He called out her name.

“You know my name”, she exclaimed.

“And you know mine”, he laughed his half-amused-half-flirting laughter and gave his hand to her.

She took his hand and climbed down the slippery rock. His hands were warm against the coldness all around. That felt good. They started walking.

“Don’t you dislike your name?” she piped.

“Not at all…why would I?” he asked.

She simply shrugged at him.

He narrowed his eyes at her. She was thinking of wars. He laughed out…loudly this time….

“You people!!” he shook his head in disbelief. “Of all the things you could ask me, you ask me this!!”

Izraeel rolled his eyes and laughed. Fayrouza laughed back.

She could hear the echo of their laughter come back to knock on her ears.

They walked down the beach … heading back to where everything came from.

~Almas Kiran Shamim

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Half an hour

In half an hour's time, I will leave this beautiful, pleasant and calm town to go back to that bustling city with its haughty people.
To those who have loved me and cared for me, I share my heart and prayers. May the power that sustains this world shower upon you all beneficence.
Another night spent travelling. Voices that speak of love even in words so casual. Mountains. And a hollow in your heart. The not knowing what happens. That out of body feeling.
And warmth.


Now reading ... "Crime and Punishment" by 'Fyodor Dostoyevsky'.



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