Collapse of flyover or faith?

I was in the vacation mode when suddenly my smart phone blinked. I swiped it open to see a TOI  notification saying ’28 dead and more than  70 injured in The Flyover Collapse in Kolkata, In’. Unaware and fazed, I resorted to Google News to find out what has happened. There it was, an under construction flyover had collapsed in Kolkata.

The entire incident got me thinking. The flyover was under construction since 2009. And seven years down the line, it was still under construction? Apparently, the flyover had already missed several deadlines. Maybe, we need to reconsider the meaning and relevance of the word ‘deadline’. We would probably let it go this time as well if the incident wouldn’t have claimed around 24 lives and wouldn’t have left many more injured. Now, human life counts or doesn’t it? And the irony is, this horrific man made tragedy is ‘Act of God’, at least that’s what the builders of the flyover have to say.

Amidst the dust and debris, the big question is what led to the disaster? Who is to be blamed? Is it the sub-standard materials used? Or does it have a direct linkage to corruption? How can we disregard carelessness on part of the builders? Or could it be some foul play?

India is acclaimed for its ancient architecture but are modern Indian standards tarnishing its world image? There are a host of reasons why public structures tend to either collapse or have a short shelf life. The material used is substandard with builders being notorious for cutting corners. In many building collapses, the foundations have been found to be not well laid and the materials used unable to withstand either the vagaries of the weather or the sheer weight of the construction.And invariably, an element of political brinkmanship enters the picture. In the Kolkata case, political grandstanding has been heightened as the state is poll-bound. Even as rescue workers are battling to save those trapped and who might still be alive, the political blame game is afoot. All this is to detract from the task at hand which is succour to the victims in the form of compensation for the dead and injured.

The blame game would continue for months or maybe a few years. And eventually, this would become another incident and would be added to the list of ‘Flyovers that collapsed under construction’. In due course, it would fade from people’s memory, except for those who lost their near and dear ones. Every mis-happening should be treated as a learning lesson. Contracts for constructions like flyovers should contain clauses to ensure that builders stick to a timeline. This way there will be fewer cost overruns and minimal chances of wear and tear on the building materials. This is something the political class can ensure rather than engage in verbal fisticuffs after the event.




Scars Are Beautiful.

“Dark is nothing to be afraid of”, as a kid, I seldom heard dad screaming, when the lights were turned off, and the grip of my hand to his became firmer. Little had I known then, dark would be the ally, while the lights would become the darker shade of my life.
I spent my nights sitting, suspended in a hazy daze on left side of my bed. The side that touched the wall. And the side that was farthest from the mirror. Usually all I did was recalling every word the other person said at the school, or on the road, each day.
In the day, I usually covered my face, I refrained from exchanging the glances, because it hurt. It killed me a little inside to look at myself in the mirror. I was afraid that my unbeautiful truth would somehow show through my skin- that like everyone, I had flaws too. They would know that I had been abused, and broken. They would know that my life was clinging to a thread. I was afraid of nothing, but… myself.
I was a paradox. I thought of myself as a fighter. I wanted to fight but did not know how to. I loved people who had their opinions, but I felt devastated when they put their opinions on mine. I had scars- inside and out.
I remember, I wanted to grow beautiful, but, they manifested. Now that I’m older, nothing seems to be same. I realise, I can no longer pour out oceans to make way for relief. I want to be intelligent and burn hearts with brilliance. My pain can no longer engulf me, but it is me who wants to engulf souls with compassion.
Beauty is a concept I struggled with- what it means, why it matters, and why do we spend first half of our lives to attain it, and the second half worrying at why it is no more. I struggled because huge chunks of my life were not beautiful, they were unrevealed, painful, marred by trauma, frustration and anger.
Now, I think, each scar of mine reveals a story. The story of a survivor, who has lived, and has depth. I don’t take beauty as something superficial, that can be measured or weighed or scaled, that pleases the aesthetic senses. I take it as something that flows within, and glows with a smile.
Now, I am beautiful. Not because I made it to a surgeon or a psychologist or a gym instructor, but because that is what I feel. I find beauty in my scars.
Sometimes, all you need to turn the frown upside down is to shift your perspective of life.
Life is that ‘awkward moment’ between the day you were born and the day you die, that despite of its tragedies, is beautiful. It’s beautiful because you make it beautiful.

When I be the listener.

(2 a.m. scribbles. 1.0)  

You are like an acoustic cover of my favourite ninety’s song. Favourite, yet incomplete, where yodels are lost somewhere in the high reverberations, lyrics in the heavy bass, and well, emotions in the technicalities. And then, you’re like its unplugged cover someone has just come up with. Plucking the best combination of six strings, creating the most pleasurable twang; vocals that complete the melodious harmony, echoes in my head; drumbeats, as rhythmic as my heartbeats; and the touch of the highest note, that whistles through the air and touches my soul. Too mild. Too beautiful. You’re not something I groove upon, but listen to, that reflects on my face when the moon shines. You are not something I shake my head upon, but something that makes me shiver down my spine.
It’s beautiful because it’s intangible, yet touches me, every minute. every hour, But sometimes, it scares me because you’re too beautiful and simple, and I don’t think I can go back to the complexities of the real world.

-Anip Mittal

I’m like a cup of coffee.

I’m like a cup of coffee. Dark. bitter. Real.

There are days, when nothing seems to be working. Days, darker than the nights. Coffee darker than usual. People, whom I’m poured out to, would sense me differently. A taste a time. I might delight some with just the aroma while I might taste bitter to most.

At times, I go through the wintery evenings, when you completely forget me and move on to someone else, more spicy, more gingery, more relishing. But soon, you realise that the 2AMs and the starry nights, are best accompanied by me.

I’ve my good days of sunshine too, when you wake up and start your day off with me and her. Then there are times when you realise that sugarcoating might have turned me sweeter, but somewhere, you had lost the real essence.

Worst still, there would come a day when I’m filled up up to the brim, and I know I’ll refrain to pour myself out to me. Because if I do, you get a stain, I still make my way.

The Metaphor


I put the pen on the paper,

Few words,


With the freezing night.

Light of lamp,

So bright,

Melts something,

That dribbles,

Out of my eyes.

The scent,

I inhale,

Lingers upon the myriad thoughts,

That marks the presence,

Of you.

Like the uncountable stars,

Over millions of years,


So close,

Yet so far.

In the darker shade,

I hear,

The silence,

Breaking me,

Like the ends,

Of this poem,

Looking for rhymes,

Some similes,

And metaphors,

To let the life,


On the rhythm,

Of your heartbeats.





He made her eyes, a bit more sparkling.

Her cheeks, bloomer.

Her smile, wider.

Just a slight hitch, life spill the water upon his ‘painting’. 


“….but dad, I love singing”

“science has the best career options”


70 years later, his soul ‘sang’ the dirge, as they took the unborn artist’s body to the grave. 

And again, she just smiled while he told her that he loves her.

Tears rolled down his cheeks, but she kept smiling.

And then, he embraced the photo-frame.
‘A picture says a thousand words.’


She wished it to be a baby girl, 

He, to be a baby boy. 

Months later, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn”, she advertised.

As I walk down the lane, her fragrance still lingers upon the myriad thoughts, that have her existence.

I wonder, because she never wore a ‘perfume’.