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Imran Abbas - Thank You For Being Part Of My DNA

A river. It spans a great magnitude. The waters are clear, and have been rather still most of the times. For that reason people are not able to ascertain its true depth. Folklore states that it is unfeasible for one to cross over to the other side for the fright of being engulfed by the uncertain. On the other side sits my brother’s cottage. I notice the pale smoke flee the chimney and I imagine the absorbing fragrance of food blooming around them inside, and their warmth making memories with each other.

One day the river roused. It spread its wrath far and wide. Tired of witnessing changed hues on the faces he thought he knew, my brother went away despite the river being rough. He was able to make it safely to the other side.

I have existed peacefully on my side and I would not trade it for anything else in the world, but my heart pines for my brother. I begin to comprehend what John Donne had said when he had said that no man is an island, entire of itself, and that every man is a piece of a continent. I crave for the day I can see him before me. I crave for the day when I can curl my hand around his neck and share a moment with him. Overcome by that feeling of wanting to be around him, I resolve to jump into the river. It has been more than a decade that I have gone swimming, but that does not deter me. My goal is my brother, and my mind is set on my purpose. People, their eyes aghast, exclaim, “You are betraying us!” Those are the last words that resonate in my ears as I leap into the water and begin to count my forward strokes aloud. When I reach the middle I become afraid. My heart sinks. I think of the monsters and the creatures lurking in the deepness of the dark water, of them surfacing and swallowing me in a sweep. My head hurts, and I begin to perspire profusely. I feel this is my end when I hear a voice I have been longing to hear. A voice lost to the space between the two sides. It is misty, but I faintly observe a hand is stretched out. I wonder whether I am dreaming. “You are only inches away,” says the gentle voice, love radiating from every syllable. Surmounted by a renewed swell of strength, I swim in the direction of the hand, counting once again loudly every frontward stroke I take as my hands tightly grab onto the forearms of my brother, “But wasn’t he protecting me?” I murmur as I collapse onto the bank. My face buried in the silt I realise that the mud here smells just the same as the mud there, and even then an inner voice tells me that to breathe the same air that my brother breathes, and to renounce the people who cared any less for me, I have done right by exchanging my uncertainty for certainty.

I awaken with a start at the racket of the alarm. I swipe to slay the stir whilst I click on the profile of my brother Imran Abbas Naqvi who is shooting in Houston, Texas for his series Khuda Aur Muhabbat. In the state of semi-wakefulness I key the words:

Their eyes said, “You are betraying us!”
But wasn’t he protecting them?

I press ‘send’ as my head finds comfort in the warmth of my pillow again.

People consider that staying on the same side of the fence as them is a sign of loyalty. It may be, but I say that you should do as your spirit says. If someone says you cannot owe your allegiance to such and such, and due to such and such reasons, stop and think awhile, and if your conscience says that you should do what your mind is telling you to do, then abide by your conscience.

Each one of us have encountered moments in each of our lives where some people have evoked in us emotions that we had not hitherto felt before. With these people, one does not question why we feel what we feel, and how we feel what we feel, we absorb the feelings they evoke in us and make certain that they become an irreplaceable segment in the string of our DNA. In my case it was remarkable how in REM such feelings happened to take germination in my heart, while at the same time those words began to take shape in my head, and, once awake, I let them flow without any internal opposition for my brother Imran.

I understand that the above will make sense only to some, and some may not want to subscribe to my manner of thought, however, to those who can recognise the nuances, it would be trivialising it if I were to tell you what I exactly meant by what I meant above. Some things, like they say, are to be understood and not explained, although I would like to end with saying that I am glad I live in a time where brotherhood needs no publicity, for it is as common as getting up each morning and thanking the creator for giving us another lungful when someone is breathing their last.

Thank you, Eemu for making me feel so.


Manish Ranka - Two Decades And Many More To Go!

To the regular ‘strong 2 by 3 without sugar coffee’ spells amongst Rahul, you and me at Airlines. To sitting peacefully in each other’s company and yet being rapt in our own worlds on weekends at Shiro. To the magnificent years of swapping notes on workouts, and working out together. To jointly dividing a square of seventy-five per cent dark chocolate every so often. To ambling in plush hotel lobbies and trying port wine at places with plastic chairs and odd glasses. On consulting each other on the cars to buy from the art to procure. To agreements and disagreements. To the philosophical ruminating whilst trading a single cigarette, to cheering each other in the highs and lows, and most of all to the comfort of unwavering brotherhood, we have indeed come a long way, bro.

Remember how you would raise your eyebrows and say, “Enough, bro, how much will you work. Come now with me for a coffee!” I adored that ‘apnapan’ then, and I adore it even today, especially when you demand what you want, and have it your way, because you know it is your birthright. Unrequited rights to one’s soul barely some get. It is something one cannot give, and you know that. However, you also know that you get it as your right, and I am pleased that you have that right in my life my bro.

Oh, yes, how can one forget the daily omelette sessions at the café, eh? Eggs, which I loathed from the depth of my heart, but still clawed into only because of you. How torturous those days were! To planning trips to places around the world, and smiling at each other knowingly when people before us made buffoons of themselves since propriety provided us no permission to make them feel awkward about their odd behaviour.

Two decades. Time does fly.

So here’s wishing my bestie and brother Manish the happiest birthday. What would I do without you? What would Shruti, Dharmesh, your sister, your folks and Rahul do without you?

Was delighted that Shruti, Rahul, you and I, spent the entire evening together. Would have certainly come home with you as you had desired, but you know you were terribly tired and needed to get some rest and some sleep as well. The weekend sounds fine over a movie and dinner at your place, as you had wanted.  

You are our lifeline!

Love you bro!


Orlando’s Penis With Some Tits Served On The Side!

Frédéric Bazille, Fisherman With A Net

The present peppery tittle-tattle I have heard enough at clubs and drawing room discussions are about the full-frontal images of Orlando Bloom’s penis as he was vacationing at a Sardinian beach in Italy with his singer girlfriend Katy Perry. Bear in mind that this is something being quite devoured by the very men who claim to be magnificent wielders of masculinity, and those who fiercely refrain from murmuring anything ‘penis’ with the dread of making them sound sexually devious. Yet, the same men appear fascinated by the shade of skin, the size, the girth, the length, and can be seen debating on how Bloom is uncircumcised when around sixty per cent of the world’s males have their foreskin sacrificed by their parents, without their permission obviously, soon after birth.

I would commence by drawing a quote from Orlando Bloom in the Nude that was published in The New Yorker, August 11, 2016 by Naomi Fry, a writer and the copy chief at T: The New York Times Style Magazine, “Seeing Bloom’s penis was exciting. (And I should say, too, so as not to seem fully shady, that while I have no proof Bloom knew of the photographers, it seems to me that if you’re a celebrity getting naked in a public place, you probably know that having your picture taken is a strong possibility; and these were no telephoto lens pictures.) First, there was the obvious thing of full-frontal male nudity, which is still relatively rare to see—the cock, in our culture, too often playing the role of that mysterious, precious prize behind a curtain. (And as Adorno and Horkheimer once wrote, “only one girl can draw the lucky ticket”!) Then, also, there was the fact that the grinning Bloom seemed to be having a great time. More than this, his penis itself seemed … happy? Both man and member appeared to reside in a relaxed nether-region, somewhere between “casual” and “ready for action,” not hard but also not entirely soft, as if saying, “I know you’re looking at me so I’ll be presentable, but I’m still, for all intents and purposes, on a break, so I’m going to feign unawareness of your gaze.” The whole thing felt offhandedly generous.”

While we are on the subject that is keeping the world excited with its exposure, I would like to rewind a little and throw light on how menfolk at our fitness clubs are rather inherently obsessed about men walking undressed in our locker rooms. To provide you a quick outline, I workout at the Marriott Whitefield and Oakwood at UB City. While the Marriott has people largely from Germany, Britain, France, Belgium and New Zealand frequenting it, Oakwood sports a predominantly Indian set of patrons with those from the Caucasian race showing up rather rarely. In order to make one best understand things, I shall, therefore, endeavour to recount an episode that happened with me earlier this year.

I was over with my workout at Oakwood and entered the locker area. A gentleman who regularly visits the club scurried up to me. “Have you seen that guy?” he uttered in an undertone. I turned in the direction of that guy he was referring to and spotted a well-shaped man, about six feet in height, reading something on his iPhone. “Do you see what I see,” asked the gentleman, his voice still low. My vision intact, I failed to unearth his motive and thus arched my eyebrows probingly. “He walks naked, that bloke from Berlin.” I studied my gym mate with scepticism. “And he does this daily.”
“I see,” I said without any emotion.
“I so want to tell him to cover his package.” He stopped short as the man passed us by and bid us a good evening. I wished him a good evening and opened my locker. The gentleman came closer, “It’s so wrong,” he went on. “What is?” I asked, retrieving my box of dry fruits from my gym bag. “It’s so wrong to walk like that in India,” said the gentleman in hushed tones, eyeballing to make sure nobody was within earshot. “I walk about like that at the gym in Marriott,” I said nonchalantly, plummeting my teeth into a kernel of almond. The gentleman instantly wore a flabbergasted expression, “You strip completely?” he enquired.
“I do, yes, when I am changing into my underpants after I have unwrapped my towel, or when I am on my way to the steam or sauna.
“It doesn’t embarrass you?”
What’s to be embarrassed about, it is not like I am putting on a show?”
What about the Jacuzzi. You sit naked in it too?
“You don’t feel embarrassed?”
“I thought you asked me that a few seconds ago.”
He swallowed as his face turned a shade of red, “You are creepy,” he said with an uncomfortable grin, grabbed a Turkish towel and made away to the steam room. I shut my locker, and enroute to the shower I thought to myself, how bewildering was human nature; I could not bring myself to decipher the conundrum around why Indian men were horrified at the sight of something that was such a central chunk of our culture – the male genitals are worshipped in our country, and yet they behaved like it was blasphemy to set eyes on the nether regions of another man.

The temperament of that exchange got me thinking about the fuss. What was it really? Aren’t we habituated to seeing men bare-butt in our excessively skin-centric society? Haven’t these men who feign to be outraged by nudity, not set their eyes any pornography at all? Or do they possess mystical powers to mist out the men and watch only the women while watching such films? You have a child in India scampering naked, and that is acceptable? Aren’t we grown-up enough to look at our penises maturely, or are we that naïve and childlike that the vista of someone else’s member should evoke in us peculiar reactions when it is an accepted appendage – an ordinary portion of their body like our penis is on our own? 

Methinks nakedness must be associated with naturalness. It ought to be treated with a confident rather than a conservative spirit. Methinks that we need to move beyond our caddish behaviour. Methinks that a rational adult will not squirm on seeing another man’s penis. And if it worries him, then there are graver issues that he might have to scrutinise regarding why it is disturbing him more than what is required, considering that the men who are changing, or walking about naked, aren’t doing it for anyone’s titillation, but merely as an extension of their upbringing, culture and habit.

As a heterosexual man, secure in his masculinity, I would like to clear the dust on three things, first, that when people have no problem with their nakedness, then you ought not to have a problem with people, and this is just about the healthiest unsolicited advise I can offer at this point to anybody who finds themselves confused about such matters. Second, I am okay with it in so far as it does not disrupt the standards of what is permissible. If I were to stroll on the street, or make a spectacle of my nakedness for the sake of seeking pleasure in spaces other than say the sports club, then that would entail that I have my head examined. Third, the fact remains that every one of us gazes at it for that one dot of a second when we see it uncovered and in front of us. It is normal human tendency. It has nothing to do with curiosity; has more to do with men wanting to size the person up, mainly to ascertain who is better endowed. It is about the survival of the fittest in order to propagate one’s progeny. And when our breeding instinct kicks in, we are not consciously at fault; it is just that biology makes us behave in such a manner.

I must confess that it has been a long time since I have found myself in a relationship with a woman. Not that I am deprived of the company of the opposite sex, it is purely that I find it distressing to make any conversation with them. They are either too taken in by embellishing their superficial appearances, or too engaged in scheming what type of man to seize within the manufactured net of deceit they have spread far afield in order to ensure a catch suitable of providing them a life of luxury and material contentment. Due to that culture, that very strongly rules the roost, I have tussled with a magnifying glass in order to discover a woman who could talk to me, and have come away finding those ordained in wasting time on inconsequential rambling. I don’t know, perhaps I am a bigger fool when I am aware that it shouldn’t surprise me that when they are accustomed to such a pattern, to then expect them to think when they are preoccupied with such inanities is simply asking for too much.

I would like to conclude with an experience I had with a date somewhat recently. In less than five minutes of our meeting, I understood that not a strand of our wavelengths matched. It was the most tedious two hours where I struggled to make up sentences that made no sense to me, and yet I found her delighting in my unimaginative way of communication. Let me give you an example. I told her that Winston Churchill and Charles Dickens were imaginary characters, whereas Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes had really existed, and much to my dismay, she bought it, and most genuinely. The irony of our digitally distracted era I told myself – people are dumber than ever before when information actually exists at their fingertips. Sitting before her, I imagined what people some years from now would think of those names. I guess they’ll probably ask if those are names of amusement parks or older names of mountains. When we were done with our luncheon, I walked her to her car at the parking of the restaurant. She leaned her back on her car and we kissed, something that I felt was obligatory. I know what you are thinking and I’ll let you think what you are thinking. I soon observed her opening the first two buttons of the shirt she was wearing. Her cleavage now in full view, we remained facing each other without speaking a word. Deeming my silence as a mark of approval, she undid another button and reached for my hand. I resisted. “Sweetheart,” she said seductively, “don’t you want to see my naked tits?” I hesitated and gulped, “To be perfectly honest I would much prefer a cup of coffee,” I answered gently. She buttoned her shirt, sat in the car and drove away quietly. The instant she was out of my vision, I rang my mate who had set this silly ‘meet up’ as he described it and told him that he would have no testicles left to flaunt about to anyone the next time he even tries to fix me up with someone I am least interested in. “I don’t know what to do with you,” he exclaimed, “how am I to help you get laid if you only want a cerebral connection.”
“Have I ever reached out for assistance in order to get laid?” I asked curtly.
“Fuck the brains, my fella,” thundered my friend, “for once let your cock talk directly to her cunt. That’s the connection you should be looking for and not some mental shit you speak!”
“What makes you feel I am deprived of what I need?” I asked.
“Dude,” he said with some irritation, “if you had only married on time we wouldn’t have to break our heads on you.”
“How very considerate,” I shot back.
“Don’t mock me!”
I laughed heartily.
“No, man,” his voice assumed an air of someone trying to convince a child, “if you had married when you were twenty-five or twenty-seven, you would have found yourself happy, and you would have adjusted to her ways too. The problem is that time is far spent, and you are so fucking unyielding now that you give no scope for someone to find some space in your heart.”
“I was particular even back then.”
“Yes, you have always been a pig.”
I laughed even louder and told him that as much as I appreciated his concern, marriage was not the ticket to permanent and unparalleled joy, and that the person one needed to be with, would put in an appearance with the timely assistance of the forces of nature, and to organise for dates like he had done was not only unmerited, but made one look like a buffoon. “I tried my best, dude,” my friend said, “but you are way too stubbornly old-fashioned to budge so I am resting my case.”

Care and concern radiated from what my friend wanted for me, but bluntly put, ‘I’ did not want for ‘me’ what ‘he’ wanted for ‘me’ and this is where people do not realise that they have to let people be. Initially, I attempted to explain what was on my mind, but after a while I stopped expecting people to understand me, or sensibilities like mine, because ignorance was all around me, and often arrogant and proud, so my second slice of unsolicited advise is – we each have our own life sciences that we draw from, our own insight and our independent emotional receptivity, and if you happen to fall into the similar bracket of a free mind like me that is also changing, fragile, self-doubting, then I reckon it is time you do the same too with your life: stop worrying about the ignorant and about what they think. It may hurt some, and it may annoy many more, and it may be the sternest indication of individualistic thinking, but let ‘you’ be your ‘own’ paramount, because at the end of the day it is you who will be living with yourself, and the people who’ve articulated their judgments will be found nowhere around you since that is how the world is, ready to dissect, but on the run when you truly need them.

I know the gentleman at the gym would go back speculating what the heck was on my mind to be strutting my member in public. For him it was a violation of decency, exhibitionism of sorts, for me nothing but the luxury of the coolest comfort level and confidence that I had attained a sense of enlightenment where to be in union with my own body and soul brought me unparalleled euphoria, and it was not threatening in the least, to see the nude, or be in the nude. The woman would possibly quote me to her friends at her next kitty party, and they would probably have a hearty laugh wondering what a waste I was not to have embraced her bosom, or dunked my staff between her legs, but alas, if it were naked tits I were looking for then there is no dearth of them to find near me, and this is exactly where I go back to where I began: I don’t quite care if people understand me or they don’t understand me, and this is not because I think of myself as somebody above-board, but because me, once again thinks, that people have stopped to think, and people who do not examine all things intensely and relentlessly have no room in my head or heart. Anything that is nourishing and sustainable matters to me the most, and I revere connections and conversations with those whom I want to be conjoined with, because in my fibre of life, great connections begin with great conversations, and the more naked we each are, the better it is.


Home Sweet Home

Your style is your identity. 


Vista Alegre 1824 Cherub Cornucopia Candlesticks

Cherub best describes a winged angelic being in biblical tradition as attending on God. In art it is depicted as a chubby, healthy-looking beautiful child with wings.

I found this charming pair of Cherub Cornucopia Candlesticks, hand made in Ílhavo, Portugal by porcelain maker Vista Alegre created in the year 1824. By the feet of the cherubs is a basket full of grapes. They are both 8 inches in height. A large band of pure gold gilds the base of each of them.

Such rare pieces in porcelain are greatly coveted by collectors globally. If you chance upon spotting a pair on your travels, check to see if they are free of any cracks or chips, and if the artistry appeals to your senses, simply do yourself a favour by adding them to your collection. 

Images are shot by me at home. Use of them without prior permission is violation of copyright.