So what keeps you awake?

Is it the radiant light that drips through the corners of your naked window or is it the buzz of traffic drifting across the road?

Is it the bird that mourns to validate her existence or is it your neighbor who stands a risk of being persecuted every single night?

Is it the Air Con that ebbs your room temperature below that of Himalayas? or is it it your cat that cuffs your doors with her puffy claws to announce love?

Is it the fact that you’re thousand’s of miles away from home? or is it thought of comprehending why you’re so distant at the first place?

Is it the thought of your fellow country men that haven’t eaten an inch of bread in days or is it the idea of you not doing anything about it?

Is it the thought of love that was always yours and you blew it up? or is it the thought of love that wishes to ingress your heart this very moment?

Is it the thought of your next travel that sparks excitement? or is it the memories of the past that enchant you with their very occurrence?

Is it the choice you’re going to make today or is it the decision you made yesterday?

Is it a nightmare that wakes you up in the middle of your sleep? or is it a dream that does not let you sleep?

An Evening Grass Dew

As I slogged my way out from our rusty elevator of the west lobby
The aroma of ‘an evening grass dew’ enchanted my senses
It threw me into a flashback of Assam
Where my evenings were spent playing Cricket or at the bench with geeky girls on lenses

The dusk were almost antiquated in winters
Not that it stopped us from desperately frisking for a cricket ball lost in the mighty woods
The sunny days were spent dreaming at school
While the moon light nights walking around in hoods

I was part of a dancing troop formed at the local community club
Swaying to the tunes of Bollywood in an open ground, even in rain
I also did try to transcend myself to a literature communion
No matter how hard I tried, the teacher pronounced me useless, “all in vain”

Now that I’m lost in the corporate forest of a connected world
I recall I always planted my way in the woods
Whether it be biking around, acting as if engaged in extreme sports
Or trekking the hill behind the C-11 apartment where the zebra patched dog always stood

I’m not in touch with any of my friends or the geeky girls I flirted with
but I remember, I had a precious few
with Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Twitter to connect
I really miss that aroma of an evening grass dew

There is an unknown reason why I’m still here not raising my voice,
nor am I standing up for the fight
perhaps, because I think I’m savvy, I get the gist of life
But I never understood why these thoughts only hit you at 11pm on a random weekday night.

One Tree Hill – Define Life.

They say we leave this world just the way we came into it — naked and alone.
So if we do leave with nothing, what then is the measure of a life?
Is it defined by the people we choose to love? Or is it simply measured by our accomplishments?
And what if we fail or are never truly loved? What then? Can we ever measure up?
Or will the quiet desperation of a life gone wanting, drive us mad?

38th Parallel

Father! I Killed them all.
It was the metal bullet; they fell like leaves of an eucalyptus tree
Tell me if this is a treason?
Only if I knew they were mothers, they had husbands and she had a son

Father! I Killed them all.
with a gun and a grenade, they fell like a Wooden doll.

Why are they enemies?
On a Maru they all lay dead, they had a Hanok too, just like ours
In her house, I found a partially consumed bibimbap
Encapsulated within a layer of blood, probably from my never ending bullet trap

Father! I Killed them all.
with a gun and a grenade, they fell like a Wooden doll.

I want to fight them, like you did against the men from the East
I do not understand why we need freedom from our own people
They speak my language and sing my song
Like our city Busan, isn’t that similar to where they are from?

Father! I Killed them all.
with a gun and a grenade, they fell like a Wooden doll.

When I threw the metal ball
I was awe-struck on the magnitude of honor I had achieved
a mother broke into pieces while holding her son in her arm
while his father lay dead with my bullet on his rice farm

Father! I Killed them all.
with a gun and a grenade, they fell like a Wooden doll.

Am’I to burn to hell
Am’I to play the winning drum
Those eyes are haunting me, they remind me of jamaeui
I think it’s time, the water drops from the leafy dewy

I’m not as brave as you nor am’I strong
Before I give up, please pray for me, so God accepts my song

Father! I Killed them all.
with a gun and a grenade, they fell like a Wooden doll.

Yet another Valentines Day

It’s 11:19 PM; I just concluded a con call with our Global Connectivity Team
Not that I dread these night calls, I don’t savor them either
I need that shot of Jack, few rocks; refute this heart to take a breather
He’s going to pulp again; soon stirring up
to an evil scheme.

He’s getting old, pardon him – impatient he may be
Only once could he celebrate this auspicious day with an awe-inspiring glow
but since that April – astray the charm, altered his flow
Now he encores once in a blue, either in the streets of Bu Vien
or Clarke Quay

Countless times have I not tried to distract him from this philein
Countless times have I not asked him to take a leap of faith
But wait!
“…it’s the right thing to do”, once said
the One Tree Hill Quinn

Not that his piece of literature will alter the course of the day,
Nor will it make him feel he’s not alone
They say only the heart knows the unknown
and rest will remain unaltered on the
streets of Bombay

This is yet another piece tray, Yet another Friday night blue
Yet another Valentines Day, Yet another one
Without You!

Korea: You held me spellbound – The Green Light Girl

South Korea (henceforth referred as Unified, Korea – This is not a propaganda story or is it?)

Korea sure does know how to keep a traveler spellbound.

To a tourist Korea is just like any other developed country with skyscrapers, shopping orchards, induced alcohol hangouts and dazzling street lights; To a traveler, Korea is more than that. The people, culture, history, traditions, mindsets, stereotypes will enchant a travel’s soul to every threshold.

Since I’m back, I have started giving monologues that have even lasted hours simply praising the enchanted land(s) of Korea. I have even dispensed them as  mono’chats’ to my Tinder matches. Yes, Korea is that ‘awe-inspiring’. It would be only apt if I share these memories, moments as stories or travel logs.

I shall dispense my first story now: The Green Light Girl

Clubbing scene in Korea is underrated, people there sure know how to party. Whether it be the classy streets of Itaewon or the ‘young’ back allies of Hongdae, they are killer cool everywhere. A group of few, all backpackers, seated at the common room of a hostel (Kimchee Sinchon 1) were relishing the warmth of an antic heater which had a visual portrait of burning logs. None of us realized it was the 1st Friday of the year until someone quizzed, “What’s the day today, my flights on Sunday?”, I think it was the French American guy (I forget his name) who was traveling to Japan next.

Suddenly, a storm of conversations erupted and within seconds we realized, “We gotta club tonight”. As a backpacker, you don’t really feel the need to dress up for any occasion but Korea is different, you need to look sharp, we needed to be sharp. It took us almost an hour and we were ready to drag ourselves to a Korean Club called ‘Mama’.

Now let’s not judge the book by it’s cover, though the contents were quite illustrious, let me finish narrating this unique experience.

There’s a lot that happened within minutes of us being at the club but let’s focus on this girl with a green light. It only took me a few shots of Soju and a couple of beers to start pole dancing, specially at Club Mama where it’s a desired skill.(Read as “Assumed desired skill”) plus with my bollywood skills, it didn’t take me long to have ‘followers’.

Dancing is a funny art, you just know you want to dance with someone when you see them doing a step that you almost were about to do and then either they follow you or you follow them. You dance with a unified rhythm. It wasn’t any different in our case, we started dancing together, in symmetry and suddenly we made our moves viral to an entire crowd standing near the elevated pole dance area.

After almost an hour of showing off our moves, we took a break from floor and reached out to our drinks. I had to follow her, I had to know her name before I never saw her again.

“Hey, what’s your name?”

She said something in Korean which I obviously didn’t really understand, after a minute of her looking around for something, she took out this green light from her pocket, it was one of those clubbing accessories you wear on your fingers while you rave. She displayed it like jewel and said, “Green…Green”, pointed at herself and then at the light, “Green”. I still do not precisely know what she meant by that but I assume either her name was green or her name meant something closely related to green.

Before I could ask anything else, she said “No English” with crossing her hands like a multiplication cross over her chest. “No English…No English”, and then she walked away with a polite smile which could mean almost anything in the world. At first I wasn’t really sure what had just happened, had I offended the girl or had I scared her, it was only after my conversation with my Brazilian backpacker that enlightened me that Korean girls who want to meet foreigners but cannot speak English are really shy and are embarrassed of themselves.

I took another 5000 WON beer from the bar and started enjoying the music again. You know sometimes, we need to stop thinking, to start living.

It was almost 4:00AM and we were almost set to go back to our hostel, suddenly a hand came across my shoulder, it was her, Green; without any words in any language and without any surprise looks we both submersed ourselves to the music.

It is the most predictable story hence forth, we danced till the gang was set to leave, she gave me the green light as a partying gift and I received it with bowing my head down indicating a big thank you. We hadn’t spoken a single word in our second interaction, she walked with me towards the lookers; where she hugged me a goodbye hug and asked where I was from, I said, “India”.

She crossed her hand again, with a multiplication sign on her chest, “No English…” after a pause, she surprised me with a “Namaste” in a very very Korean accent and it sounded like “Namasteooo”

The “Namasteoooo” might just have been the alcohol but the Green was very real.

It’s with me right now and it will always be.