>> Thursday, November 1, 2007

I’ll wrap you in my blanket
Kiss your blushing cheeks
Worship your tiny fingers

My tears stain
my tainted face.

I tiptoe to the river
to the reeds.

My weak hands
release you
The stifled wailing
with strangled bubbles.


>> Friday, September 21, 2007

Swirling hair with style unmatched
A dark canvas with twinkling bends
Breaking hearts as they unfurl

Slender legs that scorch where they stand
They never walked more than a mile
Worth a glass shoe of a fairytale.

Death defying contours
That every girl would starve for.

A dazzle in her eyes and sparkle in her smile
Serene Forehead, no worries to bear
They talk of a life- pampered and loved

What they don’t know is that smiles can be faked
And those blessed eyes have bidden many a tear
That those slender arms have held someone departed and dear.

That those feet have shuddered
At a childhood iced with fear
That those hips once held
A tiny life and many a broken dreams.

Behind that creaseless forehead
Lies a cryptic maze
Of sorrows untold
And a beautiful face.


Wishing to Lose

>> Thursday, July 19, 2007

I count to ten and begin to search
whether you are hiding dear.
I hear the cow moo and rush near,
to see your prints near the birch.

My roving eye catches the rustles
of the bush near the fence.
I walk over in the sense,
as I hear you struggle
with the thorns on the path nearby,

As you free yourself from that momentary gyve,
I hear the sound of a goat's cry,
moments later, their herd passes by.

I hear a faint giggle
and slide through the trees,
The forest now seems demonic
blowing without a breeze
I hear you anklets tinkle
and comb the foliage.

The river has silenced the sun's rage
I hear nor see any signs of you
My wrinkles begin to catalyse my age
Tears won't dry and the lamp goes dim
and the fishermen come with a tale.

The men tell me that you were found
entangled in their net
I know you were trying to find
A better place; to win.

I wish I had never played
that silly game of hide and seek, for fun,
Papa would have accepted defeat
As I see your wraith saying you have won.



>> Friday, July 13, 2007

Dad takes out some colours. I begin to paint the newspaper.
Why do newspapers seem so Gothic? The phone rings. The colours simply emerge out of your pencil. They stream forth and make patterns so alive and wild they seem to have a life of their own, going straight, meandering, laughing, stumbling, thinking, resting. Flawless as they skim above the surface and life blooms at the contact point. Indecisive, impulsive; the crayon manipulates the fingers, the hand, the Body to movement and acts as Controller. The throbbing veins and webs of nerves tangle but seem sick and lifeless as you view them from afar- nothing but a doodle on dead wood.
Mom stares at me. I notice the spider web on the clock. Spinning the web of time. It's 5:30. I wear my shoes and walk out of the door. Dad follows me and we go for the Long Drive. The wind escapes my fingers. They always do that so I taught my mind to do the same, but we do it together at night in the comfort of my bedroom. We're at the park.
Seasoned sun setting on the tired grass. Meghna looks at me. Her eyebrows jump, her eyes go wide and her lips turn upwards.
Lips upward="Smile".
So I should do the same. I manage to "smile" back. Dad moves away while she takes my arm and we stroll around the park.
She speaks. Collage of words. Govind, work, plane, tired, Sakshi, paper, blue, dress... paper? Paper! I tell her all about my colouring spree at dawn, about life in crayons, their incessant laughter, their thoughts...Enough. She's looking at me. There's a tiny pimple on her left cheek. A dry leaf falls on my shoulder. She asks me to say more. But the chunk of slowly rotting wood on the tree is too alluring. The wood has ridges and signs; wrinkles of ages seen but unspoken. History in gnarls and knots. Unshared wisdom.
I can see her lips moving, and then it begins to loop downwards. Her eyes glisten and her mouth continues to move. She gesticulates with her hands and rubs her eyes blotching the black eyelids.
Ok... um...
upside down smile="Unhappy".
So she must be unhappy or sad. That means I must try to pay attention to what she's saying. Say something nice. Umm...she looks at me. I say, “You’ve made my life miserable Adi!" She stares and her eyes open wide as her mouth forms an "O". She blinks, kisses me on the cheek and leads me back to Dad.
Mouth open wide as an "O"+eyes wide open=?
We get into the car. The question remains, I raise my eyebrows and shape my mouth into an "O" then call Dad. He looks at me, then at the road. He does it quite a few times. Then he says, “Surprise. That means the person found something suddenly or unexpectedly." I hope she understood what I said.
We're back at the house. I get my medication and listen to the walkman.
Its 9.30. Bed-time.
I hop on one leg and tell Mom, “I think its time for you to go to bed."
I crawl into the covers and the warm ocean engulfs my thoughts and muffles my movements from the dark hours of the night.
Dad comes, kisses me, says he has some emergency work and leaves in a hurry. No. He has to read 'Lord of the Flies' for me. No.
I get up and yell. My throat resonates the house. I can hear the door slam. Mom comes and looks at me. She holds my hands in an excruciating grip. I start my trance movement.
My head bobs- front, behind, front, behind, front, behind. My brain seems motionless like it has managed to vaporize and escape from its cranial tormentor. She lets go my hand and holds my head. I start flapping my hands like a wild bird. I hit the bed hoping it would hurt and bleed.
No. Dad must be here. He must read. This must happen. I don't go to sleep without him reading. It must be him and no one else. He must sit on a chair, wear his spectacles and read from the book.
No. This wont do. I stand up and go to the living room. I run around in little circle. The circle moves faster and so do I. I yell again. Yell, run. Run, yell. It's the same. Dad must read. Chair, book, spectacles.
No. My foot stumbles and the floor becomes more vivid. My chin oozes blood. So what. But I'm feeling tired now.
Mom takes me back to my bed. She neatly tucks the covers. I look at her face. Eyes glistening, smile upside down. I've done this. Before I can calculate, Mom cries, “You’ve made my life miserable Adi!"



>> Sunday, July 1, 2007

A dry leaf falls
On the weathered carpet of corpses
The pale sun dries any sign of life
And the cruel wind tears all webs of connection
A little child skips
Among skeletons
A dreamy poet remarks
The soft colors of grey death.



>> Friday, June 1, 2007


Every time a vehicle sped past, a pair of weak and old eyes would stare out at the dust-stained, ancient windows. The flickering hope died the moment it was born. She sighed and resumed her work; if staring at a dilapidated room could be called work. She had worked tirelessly for 20 years to keep up her reputation of being a wicked tyrant and an enormous bank account fuelled Megha's reckless behaviour.

Vimla glanced at her list and shuddered involuntarily, "Not the old crone!" A pall of gloom swept over her dark eyes. Her hair was held in a somewhat awkward bun by a net at the back of her head and her tiny face beheld fear. A visit to sweet lil'ol Megha wasn’t exactly a planned picnic; rather it was devious murder; the manager of the store Megha worked for being the sadistic butcher. The manager DR- real name Dharmesh Roy (infamously known as Devil Reborn) - considered it a fitting punishment to allow the "mid-night bulb burners" to do the honours of the late deliveries.
It was Vimla's Honour today.
Vimla sighed, took a long breath, as if it were her last, and rang the door bell with a face as if the bell tolled for her. Megha's ugly little face peered through the semi-open door and gave a huge wicked grin; she had found the perfect feast for the night.
As Vimla unburdened the groceries off herself, she was conscious of a pair of cataract eyes leering at her.
"Vimla, isn't it?"Megha mocked, “My memory and eyes are not the same anymore dear. “She lied and gave a fake sigh. Vimla was was not to be fooled by her game of cat-and -mouse but she kept mum. "Isn't your brother still in the 9th standard? Is it his third or fourth time?"Megha enquired.
"It's only his second time!" Vimla retorted.
Wrong move.
"Only his second time! Eh? Is he planning an encore? A seasoned player, an 'outstanding' student, isn’t he?"
"That bloody ruffian! Vikram, isn’t it?"
Megha had selective amnesia; she only had a difficulty in remembering people's virtues; their names and failures never escaped her.
"Yes." mumbled Vimla.
"Speak louder!" she barked “You and that damned old lady of yours earn peanuts while that scoundrel...”
"Vikram's a good boy!" she interjected.
Vikram was a good boy. Good at stealing change from his mother's and sister's purses, good at wolfing tobacco, good at leering at girls, good at staying away from school; in fact he was good at all no good things.
"A good boy." Megha muttered under her breath, she knew of all his good deeds and her repulsive smirk pledged so.
Vimla handed over the receipt, received her due, turned at the door and was saying, “Good night and please don't insult my family..." when she got a wet and loud "PHA!" in reply.
"Witch, crone...”Vimla kept uttering despicable all the way to the store.

"You are the most wicked person I've ever seen DR!" Vimla complained. The four of them Vimla, DR, Irene and Samir were squatted on the floor of the store the next day. The fan creaked lazily and uselessly above and the din of traffic had become a tad bit more bearable. "C'mon, let's on the AC for a while, it's steaming in here!" Vimla pleaded.
The store owner Prakash had ordered the AC to be switched off during their lunch breaks and since he was presently on the roads surveying his other stores, Vimla and her friends felt the need for the extravaganza.
"Would you have done it if you were in my place?"DR asked patiently.
"Of course I would, anything for a friend!"
"That's why I'm the store manager and you're not."
Touché, thought Vimla, but she wasn't ready to give up that easy, “I thought Mr. Store Manager was our friend!", and she made a mock angry cum aghast face.
DR merely gave a wicked grin and turned to leave when Irene, who had been silent for so long said,"What's more important to you, friends or money?"
He smiled and said slowly, “If only friends could erase those orphaned scraps of paper called 'bills' that land up on my doorstep every month." He was leaving and Irene opened her mouth to say something when Samir cut in,"Oh, please shut up! He IS our friend out of the store but inside it he's our manager. Why do you have to end every conversation with 'love' or 'friends'?"
Vimla followed DR in the store and grumbled behind him, “That crone Megha managed make my whole life flash before my eyes, kept saying things 'bout mom and Vikram. Her fat bank account doesn't give her the license to insult others."
"Well, she doesn't lie about anything," DR said, “She just presents facts...well...a little bluntly. “he added slowly.
"A little bluntly!"Vimla repeated, “A little! She called my brother an 'outstanding' student, a bloody ruffian..."
"Well, he is 'outstanding'; literally!"DR said unsuccessfully trying to stifle a grin.
"That's not the point!"Vimla said angrily, her voice rising to a shout trying to hide her embaressment,"Why did you send me to her house when you know she loves to pick on me?"
"She doesn't love to pick on ‘you’; she loves to pick on everybody. And anyway, what was I supposed to do, ask or order her to drop by the store and pick all the stuff by herself? Kind ol' Megha and Lord Prakash would eat my head off...raw!"
"There were others in the store you could have asked; no, you don't 'ask' people, you only order them around!"
"Listen,"DR said a bit wearily, “you take your own sweet time to get to work...get the cartons from the warehouse. “He stiffened suddenly and had attained the Mr-Store-Manager look. Vimla couldn't understand; she opened her mouth to say something but DR just waved her away and turned her back to him. She fumed, swore at him silently and turned to go when she saw Prakash, the store owner looking at her with faint interest. She froze but managed to shake it off and walked past him wondering how long he had been listening.
She hid behind a rack and tried to grasp their conversation.
"What was she cribbing about?"Enquired Lord Prakash with his newly attained un-Guajarati accent.
"Nothin', we were just discussing where to display the diapers, “replied DR.
"Heard she was late yesterday, is it often?"
"Yes, she was late, and excuse me." DR walked away giving Vimla a stern look from the corner of his eye. She fumbled and set back to work knowing Prakash hardly needed the scent of a reason to fire anyone.

The sun had retired for the day and all four of them were making their way to the bus-stop with Vimla narrating her encounter with Prakash as if she had grabbed her heart from a lion's mouth.
"So DR didn't say that this is the third time you're late this month! Cool!" said Irene, “cause if he had..."and she rolled her eyes.
"So, what gives Mr. Store Manager?" asked Vimla.
They cracked jokes all the way but a smile lingered on DR's lips. Buses roared by and a slight breeze tickled the backs of their necks.
Samir dreamily mumbled, “I guess DR's our friend in AND out the store."


Of Red and White roses

Of Red and White roses
Stare not at my white and frozen face
at my upturned nose
still stubborn.
Iron hair.

Don't let him read from a book
that an unfortunate bachelor scripted
in his mid-life crisis.

Don't ask an unknown entity
secure a place in never land.

Stop praising my wretched parents

She who never forgot to remind
I was the mistake of a blotched expiry date.
Tell them I spat on her grave
with a dumbfounded crowd suspecting me Possessed.
He tried to devote every moment of his life
To protect, love and understand.
he was snatched when I was nine.
The only man I prayed to and for.

Pause at the names of schools and colleges

And then swear.
How they made my life miserable
'cause knowledge comes at a cost.

Talk about the bitch Rachel
stripped me with words in front of the college
Confiscated my I-card, Degree and esteem.
Reminded the Cost of Life.

Don't reside on the urchins I fed
Tell them how I gnawed on leftovers in my teens
When you say I donated clothes,
remind them I had two pairs of shirts for years.

'Magic numbers' they called me at work
Cause I never had paper to practise.
Super-memory, you say
Because I remember every scar I bore.

Enough about my present bosses,
Mishra is the name to cry out
Stole my work, recognition and salary
for 5 whole years.

Dedicate an ode to Sheela
A black-and-gold thread around her neck
bound her to me
through every Indian Tragedy and nightmare.
She was there.
The dimple on my chin.
And remains.

Yes, my children are big and strong
Hari and Neeta(Bless you!)
They loved, fought, loved.
But I never forgot Sandesh
In my arms, when he was
6 months old.
My arms thence weak
with the burden of a child I couldn't save.

Yes, I have money and cash!
All earned through sweat and blood
so don't you dare bless Destiny!
None of it came through charity
or smashed through my once-tin roof.

The millions of creases on my forehead
Each have a story to tell.
Patience, Wit and Stubbornness
not Wagging, Lies or Bribe.

A Life well Deserved
A Death well Lived.



>> Monday, May 28, 2007

The dazzling stars winked and played illuminating the little form lay shapelessly huddled on the ground in a tiny lump with a large hound sniffing at its contents. A lesser informed mortal would have attempted to 'rescue' the contents in the wrapped cloth and merited the wrath of the hairy animal as it guarded the bundle voraciously from predators and protectors alike. The beast kept guard until the sun began to profess his bountiful wealth waking the thing in the bundle as it wriggled to life and gave a shrill cry making the hound prick its ears and become more watchful. The hound yawned wide, displaying two rows of sharp, white teeth that looked incredibly ferocious as they glinted in the morning sun.
The forest swelled as they passed by and every movement they made echoed through the emptiness making the hair on the back of the animal stand ever so often.
The beast stopped in a clearing and placed the bundle on the ground as it paused to catch its breath and hung its huge tongue making strange noises. It dragged the bundle to the nearby lake and turned to lap up some water for the long way ahead. It turned its head sharply and looked at the bundle. The cloth remained empty and its contents had vanished. With a hyperactive muzzle it prepared for an arduous hunt; its nostrils flared and its eyes glanced sharply in all directions as it scoured the area for miniscule noises. The trouble was spared as the troublemaker had just crawled to the beast's side attempting to mimic its action of lapping the waters; the bundle proved more trouble than anticipated.
As the beast hobbled along, the trees suddenly cleared away to reveal a cobbled street that showed no traces of end or beginning as it stretched endlessly winding at irregular intervals to avoid embracing an occasional oak or thicket that protruded lazily with a cloud of shadow around it. The animal wearily placed the bundle on the ground and paused as it waited for something to happen, when suddenly, a faint jingling of wheels could be made out in the distance. The hound dragged the parcel into a nearby thicket, but none too gently as the bundle, surprised by the sudden asperity, broke into a wail. Taken aback, the beast glanced around for a solution but managed, nonetheless, by gently nudging the bundle with its muzzle. The thing inside seemed satisfied by this token of affection and halted its wail mid-sentence in gratitude.
The cart that came along carried a hayrick and a cheery driver whistling a broken tune against the sylvan sunset, unaware of the hound that stealthily clambered into the cart behind him and rested motionlessly. A couple of passing children giggled noisily rousing the animal from its comatose slumber as it craned its neck to discover the infant sources of noise. Its neck moved slowly as it followed the road they travelled, to discover that the green thicket and forlorn path had long been abandoned for a little hamlet dotted with stone houses generously smothered with moss that presently shone dully with the dying rays of the sun as weary farmers laughed and clapped each other noisily on the backs slowly making their way back home.
The hound had become more aware of its surroundings and waited patiently before crouching and suddenly jumping off the cart with the tiny bundle swaying from between its teeth. Presently, it landed on the cobbled street before making its way along a path. The animal slowed down and sniffed the surroundings to ensure its destination.
Laughter and noises emerged from the house as shadows swam across the curtains with the flickering candle teasing the forms even more. The animal watched motionlessly for a few moments before he heard the gentle ringing laughter of a woman inside. As if on cue, the beast made its way to the door and nudged the door with its muzzle.
A deep timbre came from inside, “Sonya, get the back door!" A fair haired woman opened the door and looked at the hound in shock as she mouthed "Fyodor". The voice from inside asked, “Who is it Sonya?" She didn't answer, instead she kneeled and took the bundle out of the hound's mouth and she literally jumped out of her skin to find a baby gently sucking its thumb with a crumpled piece of paper on the cloth beside it. She opened the letter with trembling fingers. It read-
"Infidel Sonya,
If you assumed I would never catch your brazen affair with Mikhail, you give very little credit to an unpoetic simple housewife and you must be very happy to have wrenched what little joy I have in life with you verses and rhythm. Mikhail, Natasha and Fyodor were the only joy of my life, two of whom are beside you(with God's kind blessings)...."
Sonya raised her head and stared at the duo as her eyes gleamed with fear then slowly reverted her gaze to the paper.
"...and the third whose blood stains my hands. You horrible ingrate! You must be ecstatic with to have ruined the lives of three families and, heaven knows, innumerable lives that were joined.
I may be simple but I'm not an idiot, Sonya. I cannot live with myself after what has surpassed so Mama shall take care of my sweetheart Natasha; and as for Fyodor, he will do just as his mistress has ordered him to.
And you, you worthless wretch, shall face the wrath of an honest woman…"
The words shook her like a tempest as realization dawned upon her but no sooner had she lifted her head to stare at the hound, than Fyodor lunged at her throat with a deep growl as blood oozed from her fair neck without giving the maiden a chance to scream for help in her dying moments. The hound merged with the darkness just as Sonya’s family realized the gruesome murder and abandoned baby at their doorstep. Her father, brother and neighbors scoured the villain in the darkness armed with pitchforks and sticks, but to no avail.
As Sonya’s mother wailed beside her pale body, the blood from her neck meandered and smudged the ink of the letter with mischievous shadows dancing on the sheet, whose last words echoed-“…One life for another, Sonya…you will pay with yours…
Your dearest sister,
Marie. ”