Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Will someone tell me
If life’s institutions
Indeed our very lives
Can be compressed
To a neat clockwork
That there is
Such a wide divide?

Some get so much and are
Scarce worth their lot
The worthy get the crumbs
That would hardly
Lace their pots

You speak
By the measure of a world
That’s alien to my mind
For I cannot
Confine myself
To smug and pious acres
Worshipping faceless art
And miscellaneous
Jealous Gods

One here for pelf
Another here for reign

I would rather
I followed my vein
Come sunshine
Come pain

Than conform
To your sly measure
And be made a soulless

Persuade me not
To toe
Your narrow, domestic line
I cannot walk in
Your sun
Your stars
Do not shine for me

Give me a little leeway
Let me go a free
Come, bid me
To my limelight
That I may be
Just me


There’s no where to run
No place to hide
There’s no one about
With arms open wide

Pondering over
The burden I’ve borne
I can but wring
My hands and mourn

Why o’ why did I
Not think twice?
Looking back now,
I see it was unwise

I let myself
By my naiveté be ruled
And as a consequence
Let myself be fooled

Though I did see
The black from the white
To deal with the same,
I was short of insight

Prudence ‘n’ Patience
Reads the writing on the wall
I’ll have to bide my time
I’ll have to wait my call

But I need not run
And I need not hide
I’m only asked to put
All my fears aside

I only need do
What is good and sound
Soon I’ll see that
My millennium I’ve found


I fail
To meet myself
In thought and deed today
I’d like to scream
And shout and keep
The wolves at bay

Each day
Brilliantly masquerades
Its promises unknown
And slips right by
With a chuckle
The dog has lost his bone

The pall of gloom
A shade thicker,
Is preying on my fear
A smudge over my hopes,
My cherished dreams
And all that I hold dear

I must have lost
My imagination, I can scarce
Discern with ardour
Drunk with
Deep despair, I just can’t
Face the candour

Merry claps of thunder
I’d savoured snug in bed
Those very claps of thunder
Now fill me up with dread

I sulk at the chirpy
Birds in the trees
I curse the cats
And the dancing breeze

I’ve lost my beat
And my go-go rhythm
And have penned in here
This soulful anthem

Great God!
I know I’ve lost my way
I’m simply lost to my self
My word!
This must be ennui at play
This must be death itself

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Closed Doors

Closed doors
Give me that coffin-feeling
Colder than death itself

Let in the warm sunshine
And the mellow air
Let the cat walk in
Without a thought or care

Don’t wait to knock
I know you’re here
Come in, do
You need not fear

Closed doors
Are not for me
Let in the sweet odour
Let in the breeze
I’ve thrown out the
Along with the keys

Closed doors
No. They’re not for me
Unfasten my shackles
That I embrace light
That I celebrate life
It’s now
Handsome and bright

For a Burp

Steaming, sticky idillis
Four tiny ones
On my plate;
Laced misty thin
With chutney
And a hint of pungent mint

The supper
Of an apprentice
Is food enough for thought
You’re served
But token appeasement
The flatulence
Not the burp

Yet you choose
To skip the gravy
And save
On tea and coffee
You indulge
In salt and pepper
To stretch your serving
To a fill

Ah! For a spread
Of dinner…
For a full,
Delicious burp

You sink into
Your lumpy bed
And hear the bugs
Deep sigh
You shut your eyes
You dream your dreams
And tuck in idillis
In your sleep


She arranged
The broken bangles
To make them whole again
The blue glass bangles
Her eyes,
They filled with pain

Her life lay bleak
Ahead of her
A life bereft of gain
For the only joy
She ever had
Is here before her lain

Up in the cold mountain pass
His brave, young blood
He did drain
Up in that lonely, craggy pass
That his motherland he could hain

His mother sat huddled
Besides him, with a yearning
Fistful of grain
Her son, he was her boon
His calling
Now their bane

Here he lay,
Her darling, her
Once-naughty eigne
No! She’ll shed tears no more!
But call herself
To refrain

He’s a martyr twice over
And it shall not be
In vain
She must think now
Of his widow, who, with
Grief, has gone insane

She sat there
Arranging her bangles
To make them whole again
Her broken glass bangles
And her eyes
They filled with pain

He was her darling ‘junglee’
He’d said
“Me Tarzan, you Jane”
Alas! My darling junglee
You’ve left me
Alone in the rain

Ruins of Vanity

And here I stand
In conscious stupor
Discarded humanity
One among them
With their minds askance
Pining for dreams
Denying reality

I chanced on him
On whom the Gods had
Lavished their affection
He had drunk
In copious, hungry gulps
Off Venus, sans reflection

And when Cupid did string
His little bow
They came in pile
Row after row
Wine, wench
And the choicest venison
They bade him forget
His approaching pension

Now, his wife was
Excess baggage, he was loath
To take in tow
Yes. His wife
And their children too
They simply had to go

More wine and wench
And rare venison
He cared a fig
For his Pelagian pension

Then… the Gods,
They spat on his face
Indeed they did
And how!
He realised then
It was only the sands
And not the fields
That he did plough

Him, whom the Gods had,
Loved to a fault
Him, they now left
Without bread or salt
Him, on whom they had,
Lavished affection
Him, they condemned to
Eternal damnation

Between laughter and tears
He recalls his days
When cold of reason
He had gone about his ways

He had scoffed to the ground
The necessity of choice
He had turned a deaf ear
To his chiding inner voice

Set to a definite
Rhythm, the wheels
Of fortune turn
Good for good
Or bad for bad
As our deeds we earn

And so it was
With him as well
He’d paved his way to
His own private hell

He repents today
His brief spell of sin
He knows for his lifetime
He’d have to stay in

He now finds comfort
In mutual sorrow
And dreams, like the rest
Of a benign tomorrow

Would that his wait
Weren’t just a dream
He’d sealed his fate
Long ago, it does seem

Turning back in stupor
I cling on to my sanity
And walk away in haste
From this ruin of human vanity

Lead on Refraining Hand

My ordained world
All about me crumbles
Across the placid skies
A mighty thunder rumbles

I find myself a sudden
In stagnant confines
Sharing my wretched space
With wild vermin and wines

I watch in desolation
The fair seasons pass me by
Painting their sacred colours
Across the stretch of sky

They bring with them in measure
The subtle joys of growth
A stinging reminder
Of my own barren worth

A Rude Hand keeps me fenced in
Restraining me tight
I huff and I puff… but
I just can’t put things right

It does indeed seem
That I’ve run out of steam
How can I now dare?
Ever dare to dream?

(You can, you can, and you must
To keep you sane
You ought to know you’re
Being kept off eternal pain)

So I fold my helpless hands
Now in fervid prayer
I put my lofty burden
In His trust and care

I shall yet soar away
From this inert wilderness
I shall yet find my place
My domain of happiness

The hand that keeps me tied in
Shall lead me to my niche
There, songs unsung I’ll sing
In my fullest, hearty pitch

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Touch My Piece of Sky

I look
Into my looking glass and
See in there another.
We stand
In strange companionship
As one sizes up the other.
“There’s no bile
But piss in your liver” says he.
Oh! My skin and bones
Are on fire.
Where’s my self-respect,
My indignation
That I can slap him with in the face?
He stares at me
Like I’m a glaring misfit,
I just can’t stand his gaze.
Who does he tally me with
That I’m held
So very low?
How has it come about
That I’ve let him
Tread on my toe?
Need I ape the current flavour
Just to get him to smile,
When I know
It’s only to find him
Back to smirking in a while?
Let him know
That I wish to toe no line,
But my very own.
Let him know,
I must possess myself
And not be made his pawn.
I must illumine
My own piece of sky.
I did bide my time
And I know it’s now nigh.
I only wait
With my wings a-flapping,
For that wind to carry me high.
“Won’t you wait with me,
With a smiling face?
Together, we’ll touch the sky.”

Sunday, December 12, 2004


Again, with
Pen poised over paper,
He sits to deliver
Like a pregnant woman,
Now in pain,
Now stifling a
Words fall about him
Haphazard and
Now he perms,
Now he slashes, then,
Confines them to the
For it just isn’t so
He can’t get a go,
Hanging there high-strung,
He’s left for the
His child cries for
Her mother,
Who’s left him for another.
He knows not how he’ll
Feed her,
He knows not how he’ll
His landlord stands
His debts aren’t getting
Any smaller.
Yet, he waits
In vain, over paper,
To catch the eluding
He waits
Like a man in haste
Now expectant,
Now mouthing a
Poetry my man, springs
From honest thought,
Spontaneously begot.
It cannot be
Curried together,
You see, just
To feed a lazy

Friday, December 10, 2004

Romancing a Bhelpuri

There went that metallic wail yet again. ‘Don’t
They grease their water pumps?’ I had mused.
Next time it sounded right below my window,
I looked down and got me confused.

Hee Haw! Hee Haw!
A wet donkey brayed.
Was he saying, “Come and join the fray”?!
There beyond, in the slush, the pigs were a-lolling,
While the piglets ran about them at play.

Five million years ago, I was thus horrified.
Five brief years hence, I just love what I then saw.
Sure, I learnt my Torts and I learnt my Contract.
But inspite of my method, I didn’t learn the law.

My education lay elsewhere about this quaint town.
On it’s streets, at the stalls, at the temples, at the store.
In this place of festivity, I found a whole new world.
A world so unaffected, of which I wanted more.

The enticing bazaars, bade indulgence over again.
With its ever joyous smells, shorn of all pretense.
Hot kachoris and bujjiyas and tangy bhelpuris,
And their divine aroma amid burning incense.

Then there’s Janmashtami and a riotous Chaturthi
Decked idols of Ganesha, pure delight for the eye.
Rakhi and Guddi Padva and a boisterous play of Hoil.
The zest for life here never did run dry!

In this mélange of roisterous humanity,
Each moment was pregnant with mystery.
Each new day dawned afresh in revelry.
Seemed, I was making my very own history.

Do tell, could a place so alive and seductive
Not have weaned me away from the Law?
Was a whole new feel, new insights, new beliefs.
Now I gather why he cried ‘Hee Haw’.