Jun 5, 2011

An unsung eulogy

As the mighty rain has settled in her town
Creel on head, she’s out without frown
The fish are fresh, and if streets are dry
She’ll sell them to every passer by

The catch is small as wave was fierce
and her rotten net needed repairs
But those young drooling eyes don’t realise
that waiting and hoping will never suffice

For she too waited, fancying it’s a sham
that tsunami to which she lost her man
But hunger and misery broke her trance
For survival, she seized another chance

Her growing kids, her ageing face
her placebo of memories, her totem of rage
the potent gaze of her weary eyes
that was real beauty, now I realise

But the minced words of that enchanting sorceress
Who worked for them in her cramped fortress
When heard were full of chagrin and fears
If her young ones could tell trickery from tears

She wept noiselessly and never complained
The living-for dead- should not be refrained
Happiness, though fatherless, was their right
So widowed & vowed, she remarried her plight

That woman utopian on a stage dystopian
Performing her role, banal & vaudevillian
That shapeshifting figure doing her duty
Is my human version of real beauty...


You just read an unexaggerated account of a young fisherwoman I met on Andaman Archipelago in 2008. Having never forgotten her face and her story, I decided it was time she gets her tribute. Brooding as I wrote this, I can still imagine her with her creel, looking around with those unforgettable eyes, just as when I asked her which way to taxi, and our conversation began.

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Apr 4, 2011

Ramacharitmanas: The lesser known facts

We all have somewhere heard of 'Ramcharitmanas', the epic story of Ramayana written by Tulsidas. Ramcharitmanas was adapted from ‘Ramayana’, the book with same story written in Sanskrit by Maharshi Valmiki. Valmiki (once a robber) is the sage in whose hermitage (Ashram) Ram’s wife Sita lived with her two children Lava and Kusha, after her husband (Lord Ram) abandoned her. Before I begin throwing light on the lesser known facts of Ramcharitmanas, let us understand how the story—whether fictional or real—was conceived and written, flanked with some more trivia.

Feb 9, 2011

Prayag: The land that calls millions, but why?

The Prologue

Even in that chilling cold, I am sure I saw a trickle of sweat on my Friend’s neck, as I heard that Saadhu screaming at me “Kya kar raha hai”. While he was pacing towards us, I couldn’t decide if we should pack the camera first or simply run away. Clad in his saffron dhoti, a blanket and bhasma (ash made by burning bones) on his forehead, the Sadhu paced a long walk from Sangam ghat to our position, which diminished some of his Anguish. “Kya karoge iska” he scowled at my friend. Amit meekly answered. “Kuch nahi, mujhey accha lagta hai bas.”

The Sadhu, moments before he saw us and got agitated.

Jan 28, 2011

Two people at a time

It was fine spring, a Saturday afternoon. Yet it was different than other holidays: without movies, without friends, without novels, without home. I was not in my room, not in a shopping mall, not in a movie seat, but in the waiting lounge of Saroj Hospital. Appearing marginally excited from outside, I knew I was severely overawed and praying within. On the other side of that hard stared door, a hoard of careful hands was working on a small womb to bring out a yet genderless child. Bhabhi was undergoing a Caesarean operation. Mom, dad, Bhaiya, his 3 friends, Bhabhi’s parents and I had two things in common: we were terrified, we were praying.
Shifting positions on same couch since last night, I was hungry, thirsty and sleep-deprived, yet attentive and praying. I stole a glance at mom and saw the same fear in her eyes that was in mine. There shouldn’t be another miscarriage. For better, she will deliver a living baby. For worse, this will be my second stillborn nephew/niece and probably the last attempted.

Jan 27, 2011

The Ghost on the moon

On my cosy cushion, moon in my vision

The world moves in circles, then your ghost encircles

Tips of my hair, my skin so fair

They rise in fear, it’s white from despair

This moon has a face, a legend of disgrace

That silhouette on window, I wish I could undo

Your eyes lurk and stare, to that mantle where

I’ve buried those links, my diary your cufflinks

But I’ve travelled too far, on feet and in my car

Those trees are rotten, those pillars forgotten

But where’s morning, why isn’t it dawning?

Oh moon deface, and return my sham grace


Dec 17, 2010

As I Die...

In flames I lie, resting staring at sky
while around me, my kin squint & cry
the harbour away confers light and sun
but skin of my eyes is already burnt

These tears around, these sighs profound
as my wooden pyre nears the ground
These sorrows ripple waves of moans
as fire and oil melt my bones

These wooden logs might deceive my age
my people believe, I was young for this stage
As these unfulfilled pledges yell
my roasted spine burns to dust & fell

My family & my love have emotions arose
as my thighs dissolve and logs depose
A son, a brother, a lover burns
along, the pyre of hope succumbs

And finally my head bursts open
seeing sockets of my eye, others would have frozen
but Sun is off harbour and no one’s present
and I burn, to dust of my reminiscent


Nov 16, 2010

Death on Paper

The surreal words that never were
from eloquent ink that never was
were read by moving misty eyes,
those salty beads wetting skin & glass

Minced with spices of adjectives
soaked in gravy of passives & actives,
Garnished with metaphors of fragrances,
went unserved - those aromatic sentences

The dawn of reality torched the plot,
chagrin of dreams drenched the page
weight of promises broke the tip,
prowess & rage died with age

Angels that used to whisper in ears
Manticores roaring in sandy towns
Wizards that peeped in glowing goblets
marooned the mind, throwing curse & frowns

And as death of creator draws nearer
hovers the futility of that sinful hope
to might of reality, fantasies succumb
words hang dead-unread on destiny’s rope


Nov 7, 2010

The Gang of Enchanters

It’s 3:50 am, a cold November morning. Yet the well lit large room is already packed. On the colourful stage sits a Mr Greyhaired with checkered shirt and jaw-cart resembling early Neanderthals. The other old man sitting nearest to the stage must be in his late 70s. He is wearing a black fake fur ear cap above his fragile shoulders where a marigold garland hangs. The third contemporary, sandwiched between the stage and the side wall is older and thinner with a visible jaw-less jawline. He is wearing a Nehru cap above a white kurta. The remaining three comrades complete the bandwagon of enchanters. Around them is a room full of people: old, young, men, women, kids, eloquent, sluggish, mirthless and chirpy.
Notice the fake fur among marigold garland and moving chimtaa

Oct 30, 2010

The right time

Beep.Beep.Beep. The low key sound seemed to hammer in my medulla. Because that was the only sound I could hear, or the most crucial one, I didn’t know then. Having stood it for what seemed eternity, my mind finally came back to life and I tried feeling my body of which I knew nothing since I don’t know when. Not much later I felt, like I felt never before, the power and credibility of the Hindu concept of Inner eye. Even with my carnal eyesight failed (bandaged or banned, I couldn’t realise), I could create animations to be seen & felt by my anima. As I patrolled my body, I found that my skin was rough, worn out, anointed, draped, sewed and even open at various points. It was impossible - and later I realised - unimportant to try finding out what happened. So I moved inwards...

Oct 17, 2010

Another life ... another waste

As Chagrin paves way & fancies don’t weigh
your wings of ice melt when burning sun is felt
when surreal succumbs and real triumphs
the wound deepens, the belief steepens

Visions are miraculous, reality ferocious
your world is a mime, a dozen a dime
absent is withal and obligations fatal
the energy subsides, the fate decides

As betrothal shapes & melancholy craves
your persona begets as anima regrets
When wings are severed, limbs butchered
the interior drools, the exterior rules

Then epilogue nears, an ode to fears
Your carnal erodes and platonic reloads
the frame collapses, the gravestone relaxes
you visit often, but see yourself forgotten ...