i could, but i isn't. stories of a constantly-pained individual.

11/03/2013 07:54:00 PM

view master

Posted by phish

I bought my first view master today with 
eBay Sniper

6/18/2013 11:02:00 AM

mausoleum of smells

Posted by phish

Inside your head there is a small room full of cabinets. Row upon row of classified memories, archived by smell, sound and time.

Their owners are long gone. But their remnant molecules lay trapped in the still air like empty perfume bottles. 

Leaving you only with a faint dull ache and fragmented visions that are as captivatingly real and factual at the same time. 

Image by Phish. 

6/17/2013 12:15:00 PM


Posted by phish

Always break the silence with a bang.

3/26/2011 01:35:00 AM

don't look back in anger

Posted by phish

Originally published on on 6 December, 2010. Republished.

It is December. And I do not have a plan. In 24 days time, the year will melt. That's when you will probably be doing something stupid, romantic, nostalgic or pathetic. With or without your loved ones. In a new city or a house party in some stranger's log cabin that you will never go back to.

If you are lucky you will get stoned, attacked by lesbians and win a lottery the next day. And also have a fantastic new year's story to share with nervous colleagues in hushed voices. Perhaps you will tweet through the ordeal. Maybe you will even write a book, sell the rights and make a killing. Everyone is in on the intellectual rights business these days. (Don’t believe me? Hell, I just got a buyout quote from a not-that-big music director for a 30 second strumming of the guitar. And it stands at 10 lakh.)
I digress. The point is it is time to wrap up the year. And everyone is in a mood to do the damn job as quickly and painlessly as possible. You know, sum up all the good parts of the year in a line or two, swallow the heartbreaks and the bad parts with a hurried grimace and move on. To another 365 days of trying and stumbling while doing the same things and pretending that they are different. And I shall attempt to do the same. I have been more than decent at my job. Setting up an advertising agency is no joke really. And apart from all the real problems to solve – like who gets the better computer, there is also a genuine, burning desire to do good work and build a great culture.
We are getting there I think. I have been an average photographer. Though I don’t walk around with the camera any more I am investing a lot of time and energy in learning a lot more. Trying to understand myself is also a significant part of the process. And not a very pleasant one, if I might add. But having said that, I also managed to shoot three major campaigns this year. Add to that one book cover for Penguin and three more in the pipeline sort of makes it liveable.
I have been a hopeless son. I don’t call my mother as regularly as I would like to. And when I do call I am usually in a hurry to hang up. I am making up for this one even as you read this. #ashamed I have almost given up squash because of my very rare and debilitating condition called procrastination. I am back on twitter. I have a larger shoe size. I have a smaller head. I went to London (and Scotland) and often start stories with, "When I was in Scotland..." I haven’t saved a penny. I have made a new friend.
Thus, I have decided basis my own pretzel logic that my last few days of the year must be spent in sheer joy. Hence, I officially refuse to take stress. I refuse to let other people tie me down. I have decided I will follow what I am good at and only do that. I will not let dumb people irritate me. I will give in easy if that means I escape unhurt. I will cook more often. I will lose more weight. I will not harm you. And just in case, I have hurt you in the past one year, I am truly and deeply sorry.
Blame it on the drugs.

3/26/2011 01:32:00 AM

the physics of happiness

Posted by phish

Originally posted on on Sep 13, 2010. Republished.

He walks with his camera. Plodding the negro streets from dusk till dawn. Waiting for a smell. A mere whiff. Of black and white. He walks for an answer. Or perhaps a question. The last piece. His hands are unsteady from the cigarettes. His feet torn by science. But a heart lifted by every new sight and sound that periodically and infrequently assaults him from every corner.

By the tube station he stands. Mumbling the names of almost every station on every line. Slowly and repeatedly to strangle time. Scanning the faces around him. Waiting for one to leap out and enter his camera. And maybe even his life.
By the theatre door he stands. Half-cigarette dangling. Half-missing home and yet not. The impatient crowd wouldn't give him a second look but for the intrusive and protruding long lens. Held precariously at half-mast. Waiting.
By the supermarket exit he stands. iPod, check. Brand new five pound shoes on sale, check. Tired backpack, check. Camera with freshly charged battery, check. The city smells of fabric softener.
Notes are being made. Copious and detailed. Images drawn, erased and redrawn in the head for a future sense of deja-vu. The tape rolls on. The faces merge. The songs confuse. The feet plead. The batteries drain out. But the hungry mind lunges on. Taking in both the trash and the graphically new. And every blink of the eye is a picture taken. Click. Click. Click. The mind is a gigantic memory card.
Three hundred thousand steps and 136.789 pictures later a story emerges. Woven by the nameless faces frozen in time. A collage of personalities looking in our faces and telling us about who the one behind the camera is. The one that spells it out however is the most imperfect. Perhaps because he was grossly unprepared for it. Or by the trembling fingers from years of smoking. Or nervousness. Or all of the above. He doesn't even remember where he was when he took it. It is but a blur. Technically and like a fading memory.
Brittle and disintegrating with every recall.
There are more pictures. Not all of them are nice. Click here if you want to see them.

5/04/2010 11:13:00 AM


Posted by phish

And in the morning all is forgiven. The monsters that danced around your sleepless bed at night have retreated to the dark and dank corners. Lest a stray beam from the sun reflects upon an invisible shiny surface and destroys them. And they wait. Their hideous formless bodies breathing in and out the noxious gases they inhale to stay rotten. For you, the unconsoled to return. They wait. Just so the vicious assault of insomnia and sweaty sheets may continue. Night after night. They wait.

In the solitude of darkness.

4/21/2010 11:39:00 AM

full frontal

Posted by phish

The promises to self have been broken. The self-afflicted wounds have turned to scabs. The saturation is at it's velvety wettest. The days pass by swift and uneasy with every move of the celestial cog. The restless mind still seek the comforts of a past routine. Lungs collapse and then rise again in habituated boredom. The heart pumps relentless.

The machine has been turned on for thirty years. And it continues to grind through space and time. Producing nothing but a continuous deep and mournful grating sound.

1/04/2010 08:15:00 PM wishes?

Posted by phish

Four days into the new year. And things have changed. A lot. More for better than worse. My job is more fun. My mind is clearer. I am fitter and healthier. Heck, I even like someone. And I am addicted to my camera more than ever before (perhaps, that is one of the major reasons for me being away from this place).

My apologies for neglecting this space (and boy, when I ignore something I really do). It's just that I have been very hesitant to put finger to keyboard. So I decided to let things be. Till the right time i.e.

I promise to take out more time. Though I am sure I have lost all my loyal readers by now. And like most things in my life, my fault entirely.

Catch me on flickr and my tumblr for more regular updates on life, love, the universe and other habits of highly asocial (but very lovable) people.

6/20/2009 08:48:00 PM


Posted by phish

No, it was of no use - I had not changed, and never would.
There was a soft spot in my nature, a strain of weakness, a
sensitivity that would never harden. All that I longed, and
had striven, to be - cool and stoical, detached and aloof, a
true Spartan - was beyond me. Marked ineradicably by my
singular childhood, by an upbringing in which too many women
had participated, I was, and always would be, the victim of
every sentient mood, the unwilling slave of my own emotions.

The last few lines of A Song of Sixpence by AJ Cronin, my most favourite writer in the whole world. Possibly because of these lines itself. It rains today. And I sit here trying very hard to shrug it all off and slowly, calmly collect the scattered pieces.

5/18/2009 08:29:00 AM


Posted by phish

Monday mornings can be made fresh and crisp with notes from long-lost friends, a dead cellular phone, a cup of freshly brewed Darjeeling and the brittle remnants of a dream at dawn. The mind suddenly lifts above the obvious, the smoke and the haze of a big city and finds itself transported to a winter morning, ten years ago. Wrapped in the comforting smell of a woolen pullover and freshly washed hair.

5/12/2009 11:10:00 AM

of movement

Posted by phish

Just because I have been away from this place doesn't mean I haven't been doing. I have. Terribly big things. Part of the evolution process. And I am only getting better. Sharper. Smoother. Shinier. Longer lasting. With extra additives for more power. Home delivered occasionally (on request). With great discounts for early birds.

Now there are a few things that I have been ignoring as well. Littler things. Invisible to the naked eye. Things that require complicated math. And round-shouldered, bald-headed, musty accountants to reprimand you mildly on occasion.

It's the last thing I need to do before I can label myself 'new and improved'. For your collective benefit. And perhaps even, mine.

5/06/2009 12:10:00 PM


Posted by phish

And these are the last lines I will write for her.

2/28/2009 08:43:00 AM


Posted by phish

One morning as you wake up you suddenly realise that the best parts about your life exist only in your head. As little videos running at varying frame rates. Yellowing memories with smiling faces of people who are not part of your world anymore.

1/06/2009 11:38:00 PM


Posted by phish

This is a time when all are hopeful. When everyone is obsessed with shedding the old and looking forward to newer things. To stronger relationships. To better investments. To tastier diet plans. To faster, more fulfilling gratifications. To functional governments. To hair-fall products that actually work. To new-fangled substitutes for loneliness. Towards betterment. And in my quest for a future, enhanced me, I too will be abandoning a lot of my possessions. My intangible accumulations of more than two decades that I will give up, perhaps forever. An eclectic mix of habits, traits, mannerisms, fears and anxieties collected from a variety of sources. Gun-toting heroes of Spaghetti Westerns, hand-me downs from not-so perfect gene pools and dated, fictional idols from books.

And as I carefully pull each one out from deep within me, I remember a former self from a few years back. Comfortable, irreplaceable and invincible. And if only I could get back, to have a little chat with myself and exhibit the most pathetic specimen of my casual recklessness. Also known as, Me.

Above: Calvin and Hobbes travel time in a cardboard box. I think Bill Watterson could see the future.

1/03/2009 10:23:00 AM


Posted by phish

Like every other new year, this too slipped in. Cunningly amidst much fanfare and drunken revelry so that no one would be alert enough to notice the large, rather inconspicuous bag of red days. Days that will start like any other. Days with leaky faucets and elevators that refuse to budge. Days with irate phone calls and the apparent stench of defeat. Days that will suddenly change gears mid-way and present you with the opportunity to change your life forever.

If only you notice.

Trust Mark Stivers to come up with this. Through this New Year I am determined to change a lot of things. A part of my evolution towards Phish 2.0. As a small step, I started with the template of my blog, an experiment that has been received well. The next step is towards being a better listener. Hopefully and completely. Happy New Year. May you find love.

Image courtesy Mark Stivers. He is a very funny cartoonist and a piano tuner from Sacramento, CA. I am a huge fan.

12/27/2008 03:51:00 PM

in my life

Posted by phish

Approximately 2000 kms away from the shiny, happy people of Bombay I have a little vault. In which rests the collected paraphernalia of a now hazy life. The vault lies patiently in wait. For me to come by occasionally and turn the contents over, slowly and meticulously. Like a collector of fine china, taking in each piece to quietly marvel at it and yet be terribly careful not to chip it. It is where I stumble upon faded smiles, doodled notepads, dog-eared comic books and smudged photographs of happy dogs, all of who are probably in heaven now.

Even before I landed here, I had decided to walk the city. To plod heavy on the grey pavements that have nourished thousands of the starving souls that needless youth over the world seem to acquire at some point before adulthood. To give in to the unique sights and smells of every serpentine lane that vein across the grimy, sweat-stained heart of the metropolis. Hence, armed with a heavy sense of motivation (and brand new saintly-white Adidas shoes) I started walking. And with each dusty step, I found a little note. Left behind by a younger, former me.

I found the little cafe that we could never walk into fearing it to be expensive. The shuffling old ushers, bent with consumption, at the local cinema, now as derelict and run-down as its light bearers. Our bumpy (and very dangerous) pitch at the cricket field which the kids from the other neighbourhood never dared to step on. The corner newsstand where we flipped through trembling girlie magazines. The dusky, winter evenings spent on park benches huddling and coughing as we struggled with perfecting smoke rings. The window that became the cynosure of our lives because of the unseen, pretty girl who lived behind it.

In varying degrees of intensity they came back. The bits and pieces. Broken and in parts. Shrapnels of memory that are impossible to remove surgically. Lodged deep inside, destined to cause pain for as long as I live.

12/19/2008 01:26:00 PM

inertia; a short but moving story

Posted by phish

30 days of leave lie in front of me. 30 (apparently, very expensive) days that the company that I work for granted me. 30 terribly short days that I have to get maximum purchase out of. 30 days of potentially life-altering circs. 30 days of uppishness. 30 days of colour. 30 days of blank pages.

And I just wasted the last 45 minutes to find an appropriate cartoon.

I don't know who drew the cartoon. But I think I understand what he's trying to say.

12/16/2008 09:16:00 AM


Posted by phish

You can always tell a rich girl by the way she does her hair.

10/22/2008 03:57:00 PM

me, two

Posted by phish

Someone once told me that man, intrinsically, does not change. The very core of us remains the same. Irrespective of time, environment and experience. So if you were a procrastinating, lazy, run-of-the-mill, average, vanilla advertising writer with no remarkable skill sets, chances are you still are. And will forever remain to be. People don't change that fast.

But the efforts are exemplary. To learn more. To know more. To grow exponentially and without limit. Academically, financially, socially. To seek out and grip that invisible rung that's keeping us from reaching the top and the world beyond it. Every few seconds the auto mechanism kicks in. Tweaking itself a little to adjust, recoil and take yet another frog leap into space. Recording the data of every unsuccessful attempt with absolute precision. Only to repeat them. Over and over again.

Which is why the decision to upgrade myself is not so bad. To quit is harder than I thought. To change altogether, excruciating.

But evolution is a good idea. That's what they all say, anyway.

When in doubt, get Gary Larson. And sure enough. The image is copyrighted. I used it because I am a fan. Not a pirate. Or a scumbag. Though, sometimes I can be both. With utmost efficiency.

10/14/2008 03:23:00 PM

butt, seriously.

Posted by phish

Been close to two months ago that I visited this place. Armed with a middling philosophical treatise about loneliness and an abstract justification of an addiction. Fifty soot-slimed, grueling and acidic days of work later, I am here again. With an entirely different self and purpose. And a little surprise (worth one cm displacement of either eyebrow, either way) of a announcement.

I quit smoking.

It's not a resolution. I am not in love with a non-smoker. And I am not playing out a silly macho bet with anyone. I just quit. One sultry evening inside a taxicab I decided to just give up. I have been smoking for 14 years. It has been a good, loyal friend holding me up in the empty hours between good and bad times. Providing me with a warm, crackling glow and a temporary haze. Just when I needed it.

Been ten days now and I am still surviving. The first three days were horrible though. I don't really know what or how long the detox process is. But I am willing to go through with it. After a long time I am doing something for myself. And it feels good.


That's from Gaping Void. With just the kind of words that were forming in my head. Forty seconds ago.

8/13/2008 12:32:00 AM


Posted by phish

All I really need now is a lazy cigarette. To create a cloud bank of suspended blue smoke coils over my head. Much like a speech blurb in a comic book that the artist forgot to letter in. Condemning the character to eternal silence. And you never know if his facial expression is contorted in laughter or in pain.

There are days that last a thousand hours. And all you need is a warm, safe smell to crawl into at the end of them

Life in Hell is a weekly comic strip by Matt Groening. The strip features anthropomorphic rabbits and a pair of gay lovers called Akbar and Jeff. Groening uses these characters to explore a wide range of topics about love, sex, work, and death. His drawings are full of expressions of angst, alienation, self-loathing, and fear of inevitable doom. And I can see why some of you are smiling.