Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Phoenix and the Bug

The Phoenix lives for a thousand years,
And then jumps into the fire to be born again.

The bug molts, discards its old unfitting ugly skin
And wears a new garb.

Why does the Phoenix immolate himself ?
What is it that he wants to wipe away
From the memory of four hundred thousand days?
What does it want to forget ?
And what is the point of being born again,
If you cannot use your experiences ?
If you have to learn all lessons all over again ?
Maybe he will learn them better this time,
But he will never know that.

Why does the bug shed its skin ?
What blemish does it have on his body, what scar,
That he wants to remove, what new avatar
Does he want to adopt?
And what is the point of changing the garb,
If you cannot change your memories?
For they have the deepest wounds.
Maybe he will look like someone else
But he will never be so.

The Bug is real.
The Phoenix is only fantastic.

(I am a bug)

P.S. The last line should not have been there. But it sounded so funny in my head that I had to put it. I put a parenthesis to reduce the comic effect. But this is supposed to be a serious poem ok ? If it makes you laugh, feel free to :P 


I thank you, for the gifts you give
I forget to thank, for what you do not,
I thank you, for the sunlit days,
For the cloudy ones, I thank not.
I thank you, for the times you stand by me,
I forget to thank, for the lonely seasons.
I thank you, for giving me, a life to live,
I forget to thank, for all the reasons.
I thank you for being the God I pray,
I forget to thank you, almost always,
For being me, at the end of the day.


I pushed it out of my belly,
Almost breathless,
I picked it up, a bloodied mass,
Turned it over, looked at it from all sides
I twisted it, stretched it, crushed it,
Does it grow ? Does it shrink,
Is it warm, is it cold, soft, hard?
Then I tossed it out in to the sea,
It was my child,
Fathered by Love,
I called it Pain.

An Ode to Autumn Leaves

This is the ode, I have been so wanting to write all these days. I have done a really bad job i am sure, and it is not even a proper ode. I wanted it to sound a little archaic, so that is intentional. Though originally I had planned to write it with Thee's and Thou's, but discarded the idea.

Beautiful they are, but vain and evanescent.
The expensive accessories of the spring,
Are lost soon, when the windy harbinger
News of the approaching winter brings,
You stand tall and watch as the grass
Turns brown and barren, on the ground below
The dead flowers shall soon be covered,
With a cold and frozen shroud of snow.
But before the winter can obliterate
All colors, all cheer, you try once last
To mellow the acceptance of impending fate,
To remind of the beauty of the spring gone past,
You change your hues, as if on fire, yet mild,
And you surpass the spring in so many ways,
For soon you shall fall, be crumpled, stepped on
But yet you set yourself ablaze.


I have left my door ajar this night,
For you.
Let me dance this last time,
And then you can thrust your icy dagger
In the hollow of my chest.
No red shall stain your white garb
I promise
And as I die in your arms,
Do sing me a song,
For Love,
Have you not lived,
In my heart for long ?

Chili Peppers and Moonlight

I like the days,
Not because they are bright and sunny,
But because they are all different.
I like the wind in the trees, and how it makes them sway
Appears to me, like they are sharing some joke
Falling over each other laughing.
Sometimes I can even hear them play a symphony
Or dance a ballet,
Even when I am on the other side of the glass.
My apartment has a little patio,
There is a little potted plant, at the base of the steps
Not mine.
It bears red hot chili peppers, really red!
I see it everyday when I leave for work, 
It looks like a big red flower, makes me smile.

I like the nights,
Not because they are dark,
But because they are all so enchanting
I like the crickets of the night as much
As I like the butterflies of the day
There is a lot of screaming in the night,
Screams of neon signs, screams of car headlights
Screams of light bulbs from glass windows.
But the night steals behind me and whispers,
"Don't scream, just... dissolve!"
And then when I go under the covers
The moonlight streams in through my drawn down blinds
And gives me a kiss.
Well, it's only the light from the adjacent apartment
But under the covers, it feels the same.

This is my world.
Where colors are not the monopoly of flowers,
Where music is not necessarily heard,
Where moonlight is not the prerogative of the moon.
I can share it with you, a bit
Only as long, you don't come by and say
"This ain't the real thing".

Mad Winds

Mad winds, what do you say ?
Mad winds, on a wintry day.
Mad winds, what do you sing?
How do you make the wind chimes ring?
Mad winds, what do you play ?
Stop doing that, it's just my hair.
Mad winds, you are getting too bold,
Don't blow off my jacket, it's a trifle cold.
Mad winds, it's overcast,
You bring the smell of rains from past,
Mad winds, I like to fly,
Let me get my wings and try,
Mad winds, I love you so,
Mad winds, don't play any more,
Mad winds, around the world you roam,
Mad winds, will you carry me home?


Give me a dream,
For the night is long.
Give me a tune,
To thread back my song.
Give me a heartbeat,
So I know, that I belong. 


I wish we,
Me and you,
Would sit up late into the night,
Tell some tales, some stories old,
Whisper in the dark, some secrets true.

I wish we,
Me and you,
Would race up the hill, in frenzied rave,
Would fall panting on the glowing grass,
And watch the heavens blissfully blue.

I wish we,
Me and you,
Would make a snowman, out of the storm,
Catch flakes of wantonly drifting mirth,
In a winter cold, but an ardor new.

I wish we,
Me and you,
Would talk of homes and homelessness,
Would walk on nowhere leading paths,
Would heal some scars, some pains accrued.

But do we,
Me and you,
Exist at all ?  Maybe we do.
Somewhere behind the looking glass,
Where we, you and me, can never be, alas!
But I will have us no closer no far,
I will have you just where you are,
A place where there is no sunbeam, no frost,
A place where I am just the air,
And you are a whisper often lost.


You thought, with one blow,
You can take away my innocence.
I thought, with one dream,
I can build my defense.
You thought, with another,
You can take away my dreams,
I thought, that my faith,
Shall mute their dying screams.
You thought, You can stab
At the heart of my faith,
I thought, that in living,
I shall not see its death.
You thought, You can be
As God, as You wanted to,
I thought, I shall forever,
Be more human than You.


Why did you think
That the one behind the mirror
Is the real you ?
Trapped in an inverted world
Behind a wall that is both a barrier
And your only hope for an identity.

Why did you think
That the one on the other side
Is only a ghost
Trapped in a living world
Yearning for a cocoon to sleep
And dream of a new life.

It only needed a splash
For you to see, it was not a mirror
But just water, that had stopped flowing.


And I have seen the waves
And laid myself dead within dark caves
And I have walked the dark miles
Peeling off my lonely smiles, 
And I have fallen on my knees
And begged and begged to be free
And yet today I see, a horizon still tied
To a sea of tears not yet dried 
And I wonder if I will not
Surrender to what I fought
Not walk willingly in a mesh
And bleed all over afresh
And I wonder why, when I know,
That the lights, the songs are all just show
Why would I drink in from the glass
That cut me deep sometime, alas.
And yet I know there it flows
The river that life is, there it goes
And as I stand at the shore,
I wonder again, how much more
Shall I watch it ripple away,
And I wonder, if I may
Jump in that river of joys and pain
To live again, to die again
Again and again. 

Helpless Adultery

The night yawns away
Waiting for me,
From the corner of his eyes
Looks mischievously
He has drawn his covers
And is ready for the game
Impatient yet calm
He calls me by my name
I say, "You must wait"
For my day is not yet done,
I have chores to finish,
Before the rising sun".

The night smiles back at me,
And in an alluring voice,
Tells me "Come oh dear,
There is not a gasp nor noise,
Let this quietude make,
You heart so light and pure,
And then I'll gift you Love
Dreams that burdens cure".
I say, "Oh sweetheart wait,
For voices speak in my heart,
Such Dreams that you promise me,
Make me shudder and start."

The night turns away to fake,
An anger he does not feel,
Looks from under the covers,
If glances any I steal,
He finds me hard at work,
With a zeal of indifference
Seeming heartless as steel,
Not to stand interference.
My diligence, he reads as arrogance
In my silence he hears disdain,
And it's long before he closes,
His eyes to shroud the pain.

The night has fallen asleep
And I still stare out in the dark,
His arms still open for me,
Hush! his heartbeats hark!
I wish I could lie by him,
And listen to his misty voice 
But alas it's a love, I must refuse 
For I have no other choice,
How do I tell him Lord,
That in the darkness of its grave
My heart sits up for another,
The one whose love I crave.

The walk

The day is done,
The lights are down,
The shutters are closed,
In the sleepy town.
A wind-chime chimes
As the night wind blows,
Over a sea of darkness,
Gusts of snow.
The street lights bend,
Over the quiet of the air
Like the little Gods,
That from the heavens stare.
The traffic lights play,
A symphony strange,
Unawares of their futility,
As in unison change.
I say, Oh dance away,
At the wind's behest,
My day was endless as my wait,
But it's still a night long walk to rest.
And I smell slumber not too far, 
On my long night's walk to rest.

The Works

Oh Softness, dear, if you will be a whisper,
I will press my ears close to your bosom,
Only to hear your heart beat soft.

Oh Happiness, new, if you will be a flower,
I will wait up the night to see you bloom,
And water your roots with my blood so oft.

Oh Calmness, low, if you will be a star,
I will leave my footprints on the snow,
For an angel to shine your light on my way.

Oh Dulceness, sweet, if you will be a kiss,
I will close my eyes, in your anticipation,
And feel you on my lips, not a word say.

Oh Humanness, kind, if you will be a hand,
I will stretch out mine to hold you tight.
And walk with you, with a matchless grace.

Oh Darkness, lone, you are my child,
You shall stay in the deepest pit of my heart,
But heart, I shall never look on your face.

Bad Poetry about Me

I can wear an attitude, I can wear a grace,
I can spell DUMB and stamp it across my face,
I can be a Mac Book Pro, I can be a PC,
I can be a Linux too, but I don't really find it easy,  (Ok I am not a geek :P)
I can be the party-pooper, I can be it's soul,
I can bring things to stop, I can make them roll,
I can sing the saddest songs, and make the worst jokes,
Either way, people cry, at my masterstrokes,
I can be the outspoken one, I can be so shy,
I can go red in the face, at the sight of a handsome guy, (or girl ?)
I can be the lazy bone, I can be the sprinter,
I can be a pacifier, I can be the splinter,
I can talk to reveal myself, I can talk to fake,
I can talk, like I am now, just for narcissism's sake.
I can go on an on, about all that I can be,
Or I can stop right now and ask , really
No, I mean.. REALLY,
Which one of these is ME ?

Behind the glass

Last night it rained
I heard the spatter on my window pane,
I woke up late, after the sun,
When its seven colored, rainbow was gone,

Behind the glass...

Behind the glass I lure a dream,
Wandering away on a sun beam.

Papers, pens, paraphernalia,
Piled on my desk...a silly memorabilia,
I stare hard at the computer screen,
Wondering how long has it been
Since last night's rain,
Behind the glass...

Behind the glass, the sky is bleak,
A jet plane leaves a cloudy streak.

The music fills in for the sun,
The sky wears a robe, a purple one,
It must be cold, I presume,
I wait for the love song to resume.
Still behind the glass...

Behind the glass, I wish a charm,
May it rain tonight again,
On my thirsty open palm...

On the other side of the glass.

Conjoined Twins

Found this poem, I had written when I was interning in Delhi, in the summer of 2005, the first time I ever lived in a big city. These were my impressions 

Too fast it moves,
Past waiting trees, past sleeping dust,
Past electric posts, aging with rust,
Past billboards, past green traffic lights,
Too fast it moves, past days and nights.
No stopping to breathe, to see, to feel,
No stopping to rest, to touch, to heal, 
No stopping to dream, to fathom, to hear, 
No stopping to shed a pointless tear.

What if one day,
Like the drops of wax from the candle, say,
That rush down in a hurry, but stop midway,
Congealed in time, the city stops
Like mannequins staring from lighted shops?

Or is it all too great, too fast,
That the inertia forces it out of its cast,
And nothing can arrest the mad motion,
Brutally demanding a sacrilegious devotion,
The hungry infant cries at the pavement,
The woman fumes at the lecher's depravement,
The old man like an animal draws,
Life in a cart, into death's very jaws,
Nothing stops the bleeding of the scars,
Unseen by wealth-tinted windows of cars,
The city lies helpless, like Siamese twins,
Painfully conjoined, with a shared skin. 

LED man

Where do you go, in such a hurry,
O little white LED man,
If I stop long enough this side,
You'll extend your red LED hand,
And then we'll high five and strike a bond,
And we can be best of friends,
And I can tell you stories such,
That no one else comprehends.

O white LED man, there are,
O there are, so many, just like you,
They come in a hurry, they walk right by
They often even do a big high five,
They stop briefly as their clocks tick away,
And then they are gone with the blink of an eye.

I must walk too, white LED man,
Before the clock ticks, and time runs out,
It's a busy street, you bet it is,
And I must certainly be out and about. 

We'll meet again, at the next block,
And high five with your red LED hand,
So long, lets keep walking our way,
O little white LED man.

[Meme]: Untitled

My blogger friend, Himanshu Koshe tagged me to this extremely interesting meme, in which you are supposed to write an untitled abstract poem.
Before I write the poem, maybe I could use this opportunity to talk a little about poetry and what it means to me. I don't even know if I should call myself a poet, as I hardly read poetry myself. I would assume that a painter does not just paint, but also finds pleasure in appreciating other painters, and likewise in other forms of art. In that case I will call myself a dabbler in poetry and hence humbly acknowledge that I am no master on the subject. That said I do take great pleasure in reading the works of other poets and/or dabblers like me on the blogosphere.

In the words of Robert Frost, "A poem is never a thought to begin with. It is at its best when it is a tantalizing vagueness. It finds its thought and succeeds or it doesn't find it and comes to nothing". Hence abstraction, is at the heart of poetry. My own belief about poetry is that, poetry is not written, all poems exist in the cosmos, they just need to be discovered. It might sound a little romantic and far fetched. But I am sure a few people would agree with me. That of course does not mean that poetry comes as a divination and you have no voluntary contribution to writing a poem. A poetry as Frost said tries to find the thought in a "tantalizing vagueness". And language is just a trickster's tool to find that thought, which has to be used skillfully.

As far as titles are concerned, I often find it extremely difficult to title my poems, so the titles end up being rather bizarre, I stick to using a single word as a title in most cases. I recently started reading Emily Dickinson, courtesy Cosma, and found that most of her poems were untitled. My own thoughts about titles are that, it is as much an art as writing poetry itself, unfortunately an art I don't consider myself possessing.
So I guess this meme is perfect for me, and also for other aspiring/amateur/accomplished poets.

I wonder what would be my abstract poetry ? Will it be a vagueness that does not find a thought ? Let's see :)

Trees on the side walk,
Electric posts,
Traffic signals,
Christmas lights past their time,
Do you think they will laugh,
At the jaggedness of my rhyme ?

Clock ticking,
Water flowing,
Clouds floating,
Cars snaking down the road,
Motion gives a false sense of rhythm,
It can fool the heart that it's beating.

An echo from the other side,
Is what I need, to not slip away,
Gravity is not enough to be rooted.
An echo,
A voice not mine, I can call my own,
A vice not mine, I cannot disown,
A specter of myself, but alive.
You keep saying it's hard to die.
I would say, it's harder to stay dead.
Wait a little longer before you go,
But only if you have the time,
The jaggedness of my rhyme.

It's quite predictable, who I will tag. It will be blasphemous to not tag Senor Ramirez, not just because we are blogging partners, but also because he is a veritable master of abstraction :).
I would also want to tag Agila. (Don't give me any bu****** excuses), and Meenu.
And rest, please feel free to take this up and spread the meme.

On Death

Today let me believe, I am better off than you are,
My world is better than yours,
My friends are better than yours.
I can hide myself in the embrace of my darkness,
I can wear him on my eyes,
You my friend, cannot even stare into your lights.
I traded your music for my silence,
She lulls me to an eternity of sleeplessness,
You chatter yourself to sleep and fear nightmares.
You have your keepsakes framed and displayed for the world,
I have my scars, so dear to me, I don't need to flaunt.
Today let me believe I was saved from living your life,
As you leave me flowers, and sigh, that I never had any,
As you mourn my death and walk away.

Sorry for the spooky title and spooky poem :D

To Melancholy

Some tell me to bury you deep,
Some tell me to drown you in sleep,
Some tell me to give you away,
They always go back in dismay.

They ask me perplexed, "Why,
But why do you keep it nigh,
When it leaves you bleeding and sore?
Like the day, that the night, does devour."

I say nothing but stare, with empty eyes,
Where the rivulets of dreams now run dry,
And I fear, that if you shall depart,
With you, shall leave forever,
The vestige of my soul, my art.

I was thinking about this poem on the bus on my way back from lab. Came home and saw that my new camera has arrived. And boom! all melancholy out of the window. Was barely able to salvage the poem :D

Don't make friends

"Don't make friends with the Wind"
The Earth would tell the Tree,
"He will bring you fragrance from far off lands,
He will tickle you with his invisible hands,
And when you are drunk in his tender charms,
He will unleash the most impetuous storms,
He will strip you and try to bring you down,
Before you have the time to frown,
Heed my friend, if you want to be free."

I tell the Tree,
"You were born, not in an arid land,
Where you would bury your head in the sand,
You talk to the sky, you face the wind,
Though your roots, the Earth does bind,
You are meant to have your head held high,
Though thunders may rip apart the sky,
Mellifluous whispers or ravaging roars,
As a friend or a foe, the Wind is yours."

"Don't make friends with the bank"
The ripples would tell the River.
"A tranquil life the bank avails
What does it know of your travails?
Your journey downhill, the precipice steep
The cold mountains, the valleys deep,
Never such perils the bank has seen,
Sedentary all his life he's been,
The sea is where you must proceed,
It is your destiny to succeed.

I tell the River,
"Your destiny shall take you far away,
A moment more you may not stay,
But the bank has walked with you forever,
In the face of perils, he did not waver,
You may not have noticed him untill now,
But he has fulfilled his eternal vow,
You have often, in an impassioned rage,
Brought on it, unspeakable ravage,
Yet silent he has let you have your way,
Never given you a reason to dismay,
The sea is the destiny you must attain,
But the bank is your compatriot in sun or rain.

"Don't make friends with passing Time"
So the clock tells me,
"No one has ever been able to stop,
The relentlessness of his steady gallop,
He is the craftiest of them all,
At once he would deceive you that he has stalled,
The next moment you would think,
He's hurrying away in a blink,
And then he will make you live a life,
That is yet to come, or has long gone by. "

I say, "I know I am a gullible prey,
I have often lost count of nights and days,
But, yet I dare to befriend Time,
To reach for him, and make him mine.


Some times I wonder if there are peas under my bed,
That grow spines in the dead of the night,
And sap out slumber from my overworked veins,
And even if sleep deigns to be my bed partner,
The peas would make sure he grows fangs of nightmares,
Digging deep into the flesh of my mind.

But then, if there really are peas under my bed,
I must be a real princess.

Tree with rust colored leaves

Have you been standing all winter long,
Tree with rust colored leaves ?
The spring is almost peeping out
From the mortification of snow.
Chirping birds, insects rubbing their sleepy eyes,
Your compatriots still stand needle bare,
Waiting for their new garments.
But you amaze me,
You have been standing all winter,
With your rust colored leaves !
Such resilience, such strength
To thwart a winter so long.

But tell me Tree with rust colored leaves,
Would you stand thus through spring ?
Or would you finally relent,
Let those rust colored leaves die ?
To die in spring is such an anticlimax!*
You know Tree with rust colored leaves,
You almost remind me,
Of my congealed cacophony,
Masquerading as a zest for life.

* I was wondering what that line sounds like and then I remembered:
"Goodbye my friend, its hard to die, when all the birds are singing in the sky"
One of my mostest favoritest songs
So I am posting it here, enjoy!

If you are going to San Francisco

If you are going to San Francisco,
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair"

I wore a flower,
I thought the fragrance will bring you to me
But the night withered,
As the last petal fell,
As skeletons walked about,
As smiles poured into shinny glass,
Overflowed with a shameful grace.
As laughter rose from hollow hallways,
Of applause unabashed,
In celebration
Of you and me,

Never together.

I wore a flower,
In San Francisco.


I hang on to the tortuosity of your smile,
A furtive glance, a moment, and it's gone.
You look at me, in a language incomprehensible,
And I wonder if you said, you are mine.

(title unknown)

मेरी इबादत तेरे जन्नत की ख्वाहिश नहीं,
सुन सके गर मुझे,
एक सुबह से लपेटी, चन्द रातों की खुशबू,
तोहफे में दे जा |

My invocation is not to ask for Your heaven,
If You can hear me,
Send the fragrance of a few nights, wrapped in a morning,
As a gift.


I have nothing against you
I don't want to fight you, or pull you down.
I am a feminist, but I am also feminine
If you come to my womb, I will nurse you,
If you burn in my passion, I will burn with you,
If you inspire me, I will learn from you,
You play as many roles to me, as I play to you.

It is true that most of my scars are because of you,
But it is you who I hope will cure me,
Unlock that shrine of happiness, I believe, rests within me.
Though I don't aspire for your approval,
I do adorn myself for your eyes,
Worry myself on your big and small problems,
And laugh with you, when you think you are funny,
I show you in every possible way that you are important to me.

What I don't understand is,
Why is it still so difficult to make you accept me ?
You don't like me if I am like you,
You are not happy when I am myself,
The easiest way you can hurt me
Is by attacking me as a woman rather than a person.
And I keep wondering, what is so terribly wrong about my womanhood,
That it not only leaves you perennially confused,
But also leaves me, with an all pervasive feeling,
Of being so totally a woman. 

Title Unknown

मैंने लफ़्ज़ों की गर्दिश से ये ग़ज़ल लिखा है
जो हकीक़त भूली न जाये, वो ख्वाब में देखा है |

My whirling words, become my song,
To a dream, my unforgettable realities belong.


Today it suddenly struck me how I have always believed in my extra-ordinariness. I was upset about it in the morning, but now it sounds very funny as I recount the circumstances that imprinted this belief in me slowly through the years.
Pre school  : The big girl and the small boy who sit beside me, snatch away my notebook and scribble on it and the teacher thinks I did it. One day they would know, I am better. 
Kg 1 : Yeah the big girl told me to leave my seat for her and get another seat on the other row, but no one gave me another seat on the other row, so here I am standing in the middle of the class, not able to explain to my teacher why I am 'loitering about'. One day they would know, I am better than them.
Kg 1 again : My best friend wins a fancy dress competition. She gets a red plastic chariot as a prize. She shows it to the entire class and tells me she won't show it to me. I am clueless why. One day she would know, I am better than her.
Kg 2 maybe : I also want to win a fancy dress competition. Gather the courage to participate. My mother stitches me a long flowery skirt. She also teaches me a song to sing on the stage. I go up on stage, stick my tongue out and freeze. I had to be carried away. One day they would know, I am good at fancy dress too.
Std 1 : Moral Science exam (yes Moral Science Exam!). I had 5 marks deducted because I had my eraser in my hand, which somehow implied that I did not want to share it with my partner, when she did NOT ask me if she could borrow it. At that age you are supposed to be psychic. One day they would know I am not a mean girl.
Std 2 : I write in my exam paper that paddy is a food grain. My teacher thinks it should be rice. I am fine with a mark less. My mother is confused. She thinks she must talk to my teacher. She comes to school and talks way more respectfully than she should have considering the scatter brained-ness of the teacher. After lunch break, I get lashed out at in front of the whole class for sending my mother to 'beg' for marks. One day they would know, I did not want any more marks.
Std 3 : Up until now, I never got elected as monitor. I wished someone would propose my name. No one  ever did :|. One day they will all know, I can be monitor too.
Kg 1 - Std 3 : Hiding behind trees during lunch breaks so that no one spots that I don't have friends to have lunch with. I sometimes try to tag along with other groups, but I am afraid of swings and I really don't get what they all chatter about. One day they would all know what a great friend they missed out on.
Std 4 : Senior section. I try to feel all big and grown up. Seniors don't think so. They condescend me, call me cute and ask my name as if I am a five year old. One day they will know I am NOT cute.
Std 5 : I cannot remember anything ! That must have been the best year of my life !
Std 6 : Until now, I was the homework supplier of the class, at least that made people stick to me... for sometime. There is a new girl in class, she is tall, sporty, funny and SMART. My friends flock around her. No one needs me any more. One day they will know... whatever same old story.
Std 6 : My teacher asks if anyone wants to participate in elocution competition. I volunteer. She ignores me and asks her favorite students to pick poems and come prepared. On the designated day, I prepare a poem to class, her favorite students do not really give a damn. I go up to speak in front of the class. I am reciting "The Highwayman". I start "The wind was a torrent of darkness, upon the purple moor ...". She cuts me short. Tells me "Beggars are not choosers, what can I do, you don't have to go on". I am hurt. I go on stage with my teacher not having heard me even once. I am nervous. I don't freeze on stage any more. But I do forget midway. Another teacher prompts me. I finish the poem, but like the few other contests I had participated in, I again do not win anything. One day they would know, what a great public speaker I am ... blah blah ...
Std 7 : ok now I am tired and I guess you are too. I will stop.

So by the time I finished school, I was pretty certain I am super extra ordinary.
In some respects I was, I got there where I could say "I am better than them". But the problem is, those issues have been rendered irrelevant. They all went on to have great lives (at least from my side of the lawn, it seems so), or greatly ordinary lives, both of which roughly translate to more happy face pictures on facebook and orkut. And it is funny how even now, I keep convincing myself that I am extra-ordinary, turning my nose up at a world that is at most times unreal to me.
The good news is, statistically speaking, I will always be incredibly ordinary. At least I don't have to have a beef with Statistics.
(Pretty scarred childhood eh? I agree :P)


I wonder if it was
In the infamous alleys of my dreams,
Or was it just one of the streets,
I wander on, to escape their dying screams.
But there I saw you ,
On a heap of torn up journals,
What stories lay hidden in the layers of the night,
Set ablaze for eternity, by a fire infernal.
Your face aglow in their rage,
Like the embers fanned by the wrathful wind,
Its song unheeded by the rhythms of your countenance,
Reverberating with the sonority of your mind.
And as they changed from a beatific smile,
To hatred, malice, unfettered woe,
Your mouth at once an urn of love,
Hurling sputum of vileness, not known before.
I begged you to stop,
Your madness, made me cry,
So cold even among the blazing riot,
I asked you one earnest "Why?"
And then you started pulling them off ,
Masks covering your visage,
One after another, with each mask, you shed
A part of yourself, on that terrific stage.
Oh how much pain did it cause,
I could see your face twist and crumble,
The bellowing of your throaty voice,
And blood flowing down the temples,
But only till you tore it off, pain,
Another mask, bloody contortions replaced.
So, one by one they went, each emotion,
Each nuance, displayed indecently and effaced.
And when the last one came off,
The ground below my feet slipped away,
I stood there in shock, the horror of the sight,
Took away, what of life, in me remained,
And who was it that stared back?
The soul of a phantom , but a face so familiar,
Why, it was like a mirror standing up to me!
It was me, when there were no more masks to tear!
O the farce, the agony of the knowledge,
I buried my bleary eyes in my palms,
My cheeks flushed red from the blazing flames,
And I reached out with an almost paralyzed arm,
One mask and then another and the next,
The blood, the tears, the raw flesh touched my own,
And I stood upon the ashes of those stories of the night,
The masks are on, and the show has now begun.

Courting the lights

The most satisfying experience I had in a long long time was the production of this years Yoni Ki Baat. Both as a director and as an actor, this was possibly the best I have ever done. But let me cut the "I" out for a moment (I will come back to the "I" in more details later). Let me say, it was possibly the best "WE" did together. With standing ovations on both nights of the show, I guess I do not really need to emphasize more on the quality of the performance we put up. We includes everyone who was in any way involved with the production - Co directors Ayeshah and Amberine; cast members Sarah, Nicole, Zahra, Swati, Florence, Shagun, Kahaema, Nathalie, Ayeshah, Amberine and me; Lights and sound directors Kelly and Arun; Jacqui Scott for her creative inputs. (Pardon me if I am missing someone). I cannot thank all of you enough for giving me a memory I will cherish for life :). It was a humbling experience to know you all and work with such immensely talented and strong individuals. I only wish that there were words better than cliches to express this feeling.

Now coming back to the "I" part. Needless to say, I am satisfied. And I am still basking in the afterglow of those two nights of the show. Saturday's finale show was awesome, not just because the show was great, which it obviously was, but also because I had friends present in the audience to hug and gush about with, after the performance. Trust me, for someone who has spent two years in Madison, without cultivating attachments like regular "friendship" outside of the workplace, this is a big thing. Of course the fault or deficiency lies with me. I have taken to this life of isolation, and now I am too comfortable with it. So I must also thank all those friends who came for the show and made my day on Saturday. Friday however was different.

So on Friday, the show was over, the arc lights were turned off, the bows were taken, compliments received, the crowds ultimately dispersed, and it was time for me to walk back home, of course alone. The blood in my veins was still rushing feverishly; in my mind, I saw again and again the audience rising on their feet to the accompaniment of the unstoppable applause (i might be totally exaggerating here :P). And as I walked on the dimly illumined side walk, suddenly the lights- the street lamps, the red green traffic lights, the shop windows, seemed to be wooing me. I stood under the lights, I performed, the leaves rustled in applause, I took a bow, I moved on, from light to light, from stage to stage. It was exhilarating, this romance with the lights, this performance on this ephemeral stage.
A stage where every man must play a part
And mine not a sad one... for I chose this part, this illumined stage, this narcissistic romance. 


Coarse like the grains of sand
On a misty evening shore,
Coarse like the wizened hand
Chafed in living an endless chore,
Coarse like the broken song,
Playing on a record old,
Coarse like the rusty long,
Iron bars the windows hold,
Coarse like the plastered walls,
Of a childhood built of hardened clay,
Coarse like the written over scrawls,
On a slate not cleaned in many days,

Coarse is the voice I speak,
Coarse is the real unreal spite,
Coarse is my unspoken love,
Coarse is the unasked respite.
And cloaked in this coarseness, I try,
To tell you, to let go off me,
But of course it is a coarse lie,
As coarse as a lie can ever be.

To my mother, to tell her I am a bad daughter.. something both of us will never accept.

Quarter life crisis !!

Looking into a mirror and asking "Who am I?" is sort of cliché. (Remember the countless "Main kaun hoon?"'s in Hindi cinema?) I tried hard for ages, not to do that. But now here I am standing in front of a mirror and asking who am I ? Tricky question, I tell you, not an easy one to answer. I don't get the staring into the mirror part though. I mean, I look hard, peer into my own eyes until my pupils are dilated enough so that I could see the back wall of my eyes (not really). As if I would uncover some huge mystery only if I stared hard enough. Instead what I really end up doing is exclaim, "Man ! you have one of the most beautiful pair of eyes I have seen". I do.
Bingo! here I come to the quarter life crisis part. My crisis is not that I don't have a career yet (and neither a clue). Neither is it the fact that there is no "settling down" in sight for me. Though they are very pertinent companion issues. The crux of the whole problem is this "Main kaun hoon". Don't believe me ? Ask yourself. And worse, there is this timer beeping away in your entorhinal cortex (I don't really know much about this guy, just wanted to use a cool brain part name) and you got to answer this question before the alarm sets off. Damn! I am (almost) 26 and I don't know ki main kaun hoon ? That sucks more than you think. You see the problem is that at the 25 threshold, if you don't know ki main kaun hoon, the chances are pretty solid that at 50 you would not know that either, and then you will be in a mid-life crisis. Well,you will have a mid-life crisis anyway, but at 25 you believe you can avoid that if you do the right things. NOW. That is the problem with quarter life crisis. At 50 you can't do much, at 25 you gotta keep running. It is funny how you try to run away from 50 and yet are actually running towards it.
So coming back to my quarter life crisis. Some days I can laugh about it. Some days it sucks. Staring at the mirror helps, if you look at the right things (yeah dirty minds!). I have learned not to look at my waistline, or my hair on bad hair days, and pimples. I look at the eyes, they are nice. They will see me through.

Whose God ?

I am your fear, 
No more no less, 
I flow through your soul filling in,
Those unholy vile crevices. 
I am the cowardice of your gun, 
The trigger of which, in your hand, 
Makes you my master, my slave, my instrument of pride, 
Makes you more powerful,
Than thousand prayers on the other side.
I am the animal you keep in a cage, 
A cage, sometimes, an edifice that weathers ages, 
Sometimes only your eyes, red and full of hate.
I feed each day on a fantasy, 
To be released from captivity, 
Pacing up and down the enclosure, hungered by the wait. 
I am the weakness that lurks in the corners, 
And one ominous day, in a platter glinting like mad eyes,
Brings in the keys that will set the animal free.
I am the writhing, crying blood, flowing,
That becomes your victory song, as it turns a putrid brown,
I am the oblivion of each pore in your festering soul, 
As you take my name when the sword is coming down. 
I am the desire to own, 
Every inch of soil, every speck of fire,
Every soul of man, every mannequin of desire, 
I am your wars, I am the spoils of those wars too
I am the 'I', so humongous, that I am the 'you', 
I am not God, 
Of course not! Preposterous !
Who would want to be God in this world ? 
But when you kneel there feeble in your legs,
Bowed head, closed eyes, wholly overawed,
I am then, most certainly, without a doubt,
Your God.

Blue Sky if you could talk

Blue sky, if you could talk,
Will you call that wisp of cloud,
At the horizon bearing my name,
Will you just once, call him out loud ?
Will you tell him, I need a rainbow,
Blue sky, will you, ask him to rain ?
Will you tell him at the horizon,
He does not know, but he bears my name.