Short Story

He was about to leave for his office when it suddenly came to him that he had to make that call.

It was around 9 AM and it was the time.

But he could not proceed in that melee of the metropolitan crowd that had engulfed his life – and life of everyone whom he knew – people like him who had left their roots behind to make a life for them.

Now it is a borrowed life at best.

This ‘important call’ was just one of many prices he was paying for a piece of land in the sky of this big city that he called him home – a home that had started confusing him now.

He could not make it then – the call.

And he was not sure whether it would stay with him to remind him later that he had something important pending to do – a call that was from his personal relations.

When it would happen with him initially, he would feel greatly disturbed.

But with time, that feeling of restlessness gave way to a nonchalant but passable attitude.

He didn’t intend for it. He didn’t ask for it. But he didn’t found himself in the position to say no. It was the life that he had made in this city that forced this attitude in his lifestyle.

He had not come to this big city with dreams of making it big.

And it is the story of millions who are forced to migrate to big cities looking for their threads of life that they fail to get where they are born.

Yes, all they want is a life – not a big pie in the social circles of Metro cities that is both, welcoming and hostile.

All they want is a way to earn their living – that they cannot have where they came from.

They are accepted as they add to the economic spokes of the city but they also become the easy targets whenever the big city faces some human crisis. Millions, who rent out their lives, while living in rented accommodations, are forced to get so much absorbed in their borrowed lives that the feeling of permanence becomes a fleeting expectation that they even do not want to think of.

He used to think deeply on these lines.

But not anymore!

Not because he doesn’t want to.

Because he doesn’t get time to think such things that take many hours away from his daily routine – a routine that gives him sustenance – but doesn’t show him any purpose.

Yes, he knew that he had left thinking on those themes a long ago. ‘Aim of life’, ‘objective’, ‘purpose’, these used to be realistic words when he had come to this city. When they became ‘big’ words he didn’t realise.

To continue..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Now is the time to see Social Blogging as a separate category within the realm of the overall larger social activity that blogging is.

Having said that, the Social Blogging content should involve socially relevant and concerned expressions – whether it for activism – or – it is being in solidarity with – in opposing the unjust.

Bloggers have helped shaping the Arab Spring. They have started speaking for those who can’t speak. Blogging is becoming more and more socially responsible.

Bloggers have lost lives in dictatorial regimes, in restive countries and in orthodox societies. The most recent case in point is Bangladesh.

Social Blogging, in fact, is quite strong in oppressive societies where it gets amplified attention and the process that has begun will only intensify further.

Its next big leap is going to be in societies like India. India is a country that is the world’s largest democracy – a country with a robust democracy – but a country where the democracy has still a long way to go.

And the process will be business-driven, even if we scoff at capitalism! Business will lead communication technology penetration that in turn would arm more and more people with information access. Creating a blog or having an online identity to connect with the world had never been this easy.

Long live social media!

And India, the world’s second most populous country, with projections to have the world’s largest share of middle class in a decade or so, just rejected the initiatives of internet and social media giants like India’s Airtel or Facebook to dominate internet/social media by introducing differential pricing through their networks.

Long live net neutrality!

But its sustainability has to be perennial!

Let’s start a debate first and then a discourse to spread the word about Social Blogging and it’s increasing role and need in societies.


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Yesterday, I posted 2000th post on ‘Beyond This Life, my first blogging platform.

In over six years, since I started writing in organized way – since then, I have diversified my content platforms – starting other blogs and a complete website last year – but so far, ‘Beyond This Life’ has been the only omnibus place.

And though, I had not planned it, it came on October 2, on birth anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi or Mahatma Gandhi or Bapu.

I see my writing endeavors as an ongoing journey. I write extensively and as people say – quite prolifically – and completing a milestone point on this journey on the day I was writing on my best ideal from the contemporary political world – from the modern political history of the world – was a pleasant chance event.

I have learnt to celebrate myself – I enjoy going within – and I do so all the time. I feel it’s the best remedy to coexist with life. But on some days, with reasons like this, you feel special about yourself – and no doubt, my ‘celebration’ was charmed by this chance occurrence.

I started with first post on ‘Beyond This Life’ on July 1, 2009 and completed six years on July 1 this year – the day that I celebrate with ‘myself’ as my ‘blogging day’. In these six years, I have shaped three more blogs and one professional looking website that is my personal web journal.

I write on and about everything that clicks me. My posts include analytical write-ups, research based write-ups, social writings, life experiences, satires, fiction, poetry and photography.

The good thing about it is – that I feel after six years – that my flow is free of targets and goalposts. I had not thought of what I would write about next when I had started ‘Beyond This Life’, and I still don’t plan what I would post next. I just try to maintain the continuity with a ‘daily rhythm’ to satisfy my urge.

Yes, when you walk on a journey, you have different stages when you reflect back on to take stock to look further. For me, the correlating wavelength is the body of writing that I have been able to put together – some of it online and most of it offline.

I do not have plans on what I would write next – beyond my thought process hinged on this ‘beautiful coincidence – my 2000 posts on 2nd October – the day that now the world observes as the ‘International Day of Non-Violence’ – in a rightful spirit to pay tribute to the great who became ‘the universal conscience of humanity’.

It was indeed a day of doubled up joy for me.

Beyond This Life

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


You can’t debate satire. Either you get it or you don’t.
Michael Moore
(According to the Brainy Quote)

And I got it….but in my own way.

A book in your language with an interesting subject matter, now that hasn’t happened with me in a long time.

Until this book happened.

Last year, from the Delhi International Book Fair, I purchased many Hindi language satires but I couldn’t read beyond a few short stories and Srilal Shukla’s ‘Raag Darbari’. But when I had my hands on this book, I could not resist the temptation of reading it and writing on it.

Because I knew the person as a human-being, as an author and above all, as a senior.

‘Kos Kok Shabdkosh’ by Rakesh Kayasth ji or Rakesh sir that I address him is an aptly worded book of thick proportions and is hilariously stinging with its satire and the thing about it is, it touches aspects of our day-to-day lives, intrinsically a part of us, whether we care for, or we don’t care for, or we have to care for. It speaks volumes for it.

Situations in the book are from real life and characters have their presence in our routine thus. Accordingly, the expressions are real life. In a thought-provoking way that we may think, that we may not think, that we have to think.

I have spent time with him and I know a bit about him. I also try to write and I know one has to live the experiences, in a possible way, in any possible way – thinking, feeling, living, observing – to write about them.

And Rakesh sir did it with an élan that made me sit with his book and finish it once I got free. It was thoughtful, the way I look back on after reading it. And it basically arises of the fact that I can correlate with the themes deliberated upon in the book.

Satire is a beautifully meticulous art where we say everything, where we see every one naked metaphorically, where we write about everyone in a similar vein. It may be subtle or it may direct. But it hits hardest, with a thought-provoking theme that runs along.

It is an art form – a very serious art. I knew Rakesh sir had a fine grip over it and therefore, I was waiting for this book.

It talks about our day to day lives the way we experience. His 43 themes are events in our lives that we always notice, that we cannot run away from, if we have the grey-matter. They are situational reports impregnated with dose of satire that locks you with a smile. And while smiling, you also start thinking – a way to go for a work of satire.

He writes with a blend that is natural, that is every day, taking us from the high of a laugher to a high of smile to the high of thinking.

The book includes varied experiences that we live every day, days that make for our weeks – personal and professional – the many lives we live.

He starts from the ubiquitous trait in every one’s life. He begins saying ‘execrating someone and finding to execrate someone and eating’ are essential to humanity – a work that everyone is engaged in. These are so basic and evergreen activities that we do it naturally – day after day – and seldom think about.

Going by the human nature – it is so perfectly said here – a perfect beginning for a satire setting the tone. And it goes on well and it ends well.

On storytelling front, he begins with the perfectionism of bosses, that is all acceptable. Questioning them is like questioning the ethos of the day. He talks about regularity and daily chores of meetings, eternity and universality of foolishness, versatility of having alternatives, ephemeral relevance of a parliament in a democracy of the day in the times we are living in, secularity and non-partisan methodology of a Lokpal that is yet to be institutionalized, linguistic formations of the mother-tongue, Gangetic flow of riots, amenability of employability, usability of the common-man and the wealth that generated commonly for uncommon people and purposes.

Every day routine with elements that happen in our professional lives, shaping or messing with our personal lives. Irrespective of we think or we do not think, we constantly meet with such elements.

I smile and I think.

On the way, he picks up the thread of life in a liquor bottle that is never to be lent out. His words give us the everlasting wisdom of a black & white life that is always grey and tries to find its meaning in any possible way, on any possible platform – in different activities, in different attachments, on different stages and in different phases of life – in life’s intricacies, in life’s simplicities, in its etiquettes, in its methods – in life’s compromises, in life’s sacrifices, in life’s attitude towards living it and in life’s derelictions.

Smiles, laughter – these are boons for life and Rakesh sir reiterates it in his own style contracted to the blessings of life outwitting the effects of a low life and of bad days.

His to-the-pointedness is immaculate when he writes about utility and futility of the likes of Tejpal and their presence and absence in social parlance. Yes, the magnetism of being relevant is always on the lips, like it is being locked there, never to dissolve.

Reaching out to someone to making someone reach out to us may be seen from any perspective. It may have similar or opposing connotations based on life itself. Universality of someone’s greatness is judged by it and is not judged by it – again based on the living the person has.

Like written in a related post, I used to discuss Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption agitation with Rakesh sir and once visited the Ramlila Ground with him after the work. I personally feel betrayed by Arvind Kejriwal now and I loved the way he has written about him, though the book is written well before his second term in Delhi. He is a living example of fall from grace, losing the essentiality of the element of doubt that was there, giving him an upper hand over the others.

His touch in his words is natural, coming from the experiences on developments in life. He reflects on elements happening in lives of Indians – forming the society, forming its polity and forming this country.

If we have to live, we need to relieve ourselves. Yes, we would laugh on this basic observation, but we would accept that it is basic to the living. Like darning someone, eating and relieving oneself is basic to human existence and so satire that runs through these lines, pinched us. It is refreshing to read how politics is one of these basic needs of life and how politics believes in giving us a reflection rather than the real thing – much like the reflection of brand commoditised politically and the viability of a commercially brand.

It’s the matter of baseline and a baseline is always subjective, based on individual preference. People may see it in the mindset because it so individualist, so what if it is almost universal in India. Rakesh sir believes (and most of us believe) that politicians know the art of levitating people’s hopes to win elections, to win the war of sentiments. Being an affluent or being a poor, being a commoner, or even being a terrorist – the baseline is always there – open to individual interpretations – interpretations that are manipulated most of the time.

When he raises the point of playing the national anthem in cinema halls before a movie, he finds many friends there, unlike the ones who are proposing the whole country to get cleaned. This is a mindset problem and requires long and ‘honest’ efforts. These are basically about thoughts first and no ‘photoshop’ is permitted there. After all, commoners usually have not the mercurial temperament like a politician that is adept in stabilizing quickly – based on circumstances.

So far, I have already seen many elements of the book in my day to day life, beautifully (and stingingly) given words.

And to end the book, Rakesh sir chooses the subjects, that are again relevant and are happening in real time. He writes on the ‘selfie fad’ in one of the world’s most rapidly developing mobile and mobile-internet market and his satire deliberates on its socio-political implications. Dussehra inspires him to write on a universal malaise inside, that how we see ourselves sacrosanct, that how we refuse to see the bad inside us accordingly. For us (or most of us), evil is not in us. We find a way to say that ‘we are all good.

kos Kos Shabdkosh_1

It’s not about the subject matter that differentiates an author. It’s about the treatment that places him in a separate league. And Rakesh sir’s book is an example of it. He has shaped this book from his experiences and observations of day to day life. Routine can become a source of joy as well he shows us once again, provided we try to go the extra mile beyond the routine.

Yes, it’s been some years that I spoke with him, yet he is one of the few persons I admire. And like I always do, like many things, I am thinking over Rakesh sir’s work, carrying a self-assessment of it to debate it, even if Michael Moore says that ‘satire cannot be debated’.

What I think a piece of satire or a whole work on it is debatable. A good work is basically about introspection and observation and the subsequent correlation and there are ample takeaways from this book.

It is like visiting him personally while reading the book because I know him as a human-being. I know about the goodness of Hindi as it is my mother-tongue. And of all genres of Hindi, I like satire the most. And I place this book in my league.

What I think he has given us a refreshing book on a subject so basic to us. It is in human nature – criticizing others. Sometime, it becomes a necessity. Sometime, it is all about entertaining our strained souls. Sometime, it is driven by a reason. Sometime, it is self-inflicted. Sometime, it is for fun simply.

Like most of the things in life, it is not without reasons. We imprecate/execrate/darn something or someone all the time.

But we seldom think of a book, something that Rakesh sir thought. And moreover, he went beyond thinking. He wrote a book about it.

For me, reading ‘Kos Kos Shabdkosh’ is like building a vocabulary of related Hindi terms and I enjoyed the exercise.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



I am a regular reader – and of what not.

And I love good books.

Someone once asked me how I selected my books.

Now, various facets may be to this – that how I select my books. But the direct one is – I go through some of the pages, scan it, read a few and make my decision on whether to pick one.

Most of my books of the lot, my personal library, have entered my life like this. And I have a healthy library.

Then there are books that I know about – like about the author and the quality of the work – and the subject matter.

These books are always a ‘decision-making’ proposition for me.

And the book by Rakesh Kayasth ji (or Rakesh Sir – that is how I know him), ‘Kos Kos Shabdhosh’ comes in this category.

The days with Rakesh Sir at Videocon Tower, Delhi, were really good days of sitting around, talking on some issue, and discussing a thing or two, whenever we got time, or whenever we got mood. And with him came some good friends.

Rakesh Sir had been given a seat with us and our conversation began like that only – a senior who was willing to listen to his junior – who believed his junior could talk sense. And we would discuss things – from Manoj Kumar’s Clerk to the anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare. The visit to the Ramlila Ground after the office hours during the agitation led by Anna Hazare was one such product of our sitting hours. Sometimes, he would drop me to my place at IP Extension, Patparganj while en-route to his home in Ghaziabad.

Our discussions would not have a definite purpose mostly and that was for good. He was famous as the writer of our network. He was famous as crispy script writer who was called to deal in with complex subject matters. He would always look in a thoughtful mood, like thinking about his subject(s) or character(s) at hand.

He is a sensitive human being and a writer in that garb.

My time spent in that office led me to wait for the day he would write his book. Though he left the city some three years ago for better options in Mumbai, and we could not spoken with after that, our Facebook pages kept me in touch with him, even if irregularly because I am not a regular Facebook user.

And through his Facebook posts and columns, I came to know about his book ‘Kos Kos Shabdkosh’. And it was the one book I was waiting to read because I knew the author personally.

And Flipkart delivered it in lightning fast time, within 24 hours of placing the order.

Yes, I could not read it then, due to my long engagement with the AIIMS and winding hours of visit.

But now it is here. And I am writing about it.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


For the love of writing
With the thrill of ride
For the joy of thinking
With a canvas so wide

To nature’s hallways
To its rhythmic slopes
To nature’s galleries
Through its sky ropes

For the love of writing
In the mood of romantics
For the pull of reflecting
In the league of semantics

My story in 365 days
My stories of 365 days
A life rejoiced every day
A though lived on its way

Writing it on my days
Riding it on my ways
Aiming high all it says
Thinking right all it prays

That is what is to be
It was what set me free
A life in own company
A thought in its harmony

Reflecting on as a year comes
Writing on as its day beckons
So far, the trip has been fine
And the pleasure is all mine..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


October 16: My Third Blogging Milestone Day

Yesterday, I completed three years of posting something, on a day to day rhythm, a work of mine – an article, a photograph, a quote, a poem or digital experiments on images – at least one of them every day, on this blog here, Beyond This Life*, my first blog that I created on July 1, 2009.

On October 16 in 2011, it was now some days that I had been thinking of making it a routine, a discipline, to look for ‘meaningful’ meanings in life after a series of huge emotional setbacks that had left me almost devastated, emotionally as well as existentially.

I was continuing with life, yet I was not living it. Throughout my whole life till then, I had arrived at meanings of events and elements of life on my own, with my identity firmly in place. And I bought what I spoke. I lived for what I was, for what my thoughts were.

But, the series of setbacks left me rushing for to call the meanings that had been pivotal so far. They had stopped responding. There was a nagging element of deepening mutual irrelevance. And my devastation was so acute that I was not able even to track down the meaning of the ‘meanings’ with the energy I was left with, even if I could. Something was killing ‘a person’ in me. My honestly cultivated life of ‘living severally alone’ was taking a severe beating, by detractors, by time, by moments, and by the people I cared for.

But like it is said the absolute hopelessness has elements of hope in-built; that there comes the lowest point on fall beyond which the journey goes always up.

I am yet to dissect on ‘what led to’, or probably I am not willing to look into at this moment, but I could see that ray of hope, I could identify those elements to pick up to enable me to be on the journey up.

And one of those major elements was this discipline with writing and posting something daily on my blog, something that was my own creation. Before it, my blog did have entries of others, though very few in numbers, but after it, it was all mine.

It was first on October 14 that year when I decided to begin but somehow could not post the October 15 entry in time. By the time I hit the ‘publish’ button, it was already October 16. But that was it. I posted another one on October 16, 2011 and it has been continued since then.

Yes, I had no idea on how long to go with, some future roadmap on it, a timeframe for which I would like to continue doing so. To sum up, it had no ultimate goal.

It built on day after day, week after week, month after, and then, year after year. There were small ‘scales’ to scale. There were small goals to achieve. There were randomly made thoughts to work on. And the events followed the continuity on the chain. With the central theme being maintaining the continuity, to have the chain remain unbroken.

It was a gradual healing, in stages, from one benchmark to next. The element chosen here pushed me to think more, think diverse and helped me think away. Here is how I have lived up these years so far on ‘Beyond This Life’.

October 16, 2011 to October 15, 2014 – 1096 days
October 16, 2011 to October 15, 2014 – 1352 posts
October 16, 2011 to October 15, 2012 – 374 posts
October 16, 2012 to October 15, 2013 – 439 posts
October 16, 2013 to October 15, 2014 – 539 posts

These figures are what define my journey on ‘Beyond This Life’ so far, scaling up gradually, like the healing.

What began as an urge to explore and write something day after day is now an urge that comes with a joy of creating every day, writing on range of issues, writing on life, clicking life, experimenting with words and images.

And the satisfying part of it is I still feel the same urge, a call that helps me to remain focused on exploring more and learning more – learning on the journey to life.

And like October 16, 2011, still, I do not have set goals to achieve or ‘scales’ to scale, but the motivation to feel the joy of having created something of my own at the end of the day.

*Beyond This Life –

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Some simple pointers first:

October 16, 2011 to July 11, 2014 – 1000 days
October 16, 2011 to December 31, 2011 – 77 days – 79 posts
January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012 – 366 days – 400 posts
January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013 – 365 days – 430 posts
January 1, 2013 – July 11, 2014 – 192 days – 319 posts

October 16, 2011 to July 11, 2014 – 1000 days – 1228 posts (excluding this one) —

It’s been long that writing became my favourite activity, my trusted companion and my disciplined release from the life of the day, of the moments, and completing 1000 days without any break is the moment to look back again on this recent past, to reflect on what has become one of the mainstay journeys of my life – today is a milestone event on this journey – a day to retrospect – a day to go retrospective on my life and on my life through my written works – obviously the whole work doesn’t get to my blogs now (four, with different specifications) – even if 25% of it, blogging is still the primary tool for me to be disciplined with writing – and completing a period of 1000 days without a break tells me the discipline has been able to follow its course so far – and reminds me of the need to continue with it – for this – this is a Milestone Day for my blogging – and for my writing discipline.

It is not that I began blogging on October 16, 2011. That was in July 2009.

October 16, 2011 was a random event when my life was exploring ways to overcome one of the biggest setbacks of my life that had happened some months ago.

I always felt good after writing but it was probably different and liberating of the moments that day that motivated me to write one more the same day and another one the next day.

And the feeling sustained.

And thus, my writing continued – from one week to other – from one month to the next – and then year-on-year was there – the feel of reflecting on life and on life around me – the sense of going Beyond This Life – the urge to speak my mind on events catching my attention and pushing me to think – the pleasure to go inside and create moments through my words, through the photographs clicked by me – the bliss that was taken away had a way to come back – with the joy of writing – with the joy of creating.

And July 11, my first Blogging Milestone Day with my first blog, Beyond This Life*, is a day for me to reflect on, to think over, with this sense of satisfaction.


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –