Wednesday, December 19, 2012

भूल

ईटों के पत्थरों के 
बना लिए तूने मकां
भूल गया खिड़कियाँ 
और झरोकों के निशां 

अब रौशनी
झाकेगी कहाँ से 
कैसे रातें हटेंगी 
अंधराए जहां से 

दीवारे उठेंगी 
जब हर दिशा में 
खो जायेगा तब तू 
इस काली निशा में 

सोने की जगमग 
काफ़ी न होगी 
पैसों की खनखन 
काफी न होगी 
इन अंधेरों में 
जो तू ढूँढेगा राहें  
तेरी ये दौलत 
काफी न होगी 

ईटों, पत्थरों के क्या
संगेमरमर के भी
बना लिए तूने मकां
पर भूल गया उजाले 
नासमझ ये इन्सां  

Friday, December 07, 2012

Calendar

A bookshelf
full of books.
And friends
of every kind.
For she panics
when the room
is empty and
full is her mind. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mango crates

I can't afford them yet.
Whims and fancies
and crazy plans
made at the spur
of a moment.
Pretty things
picked off shelves
just because I want them
doesn't yet figure
in the scheme of things.
And a string of numbers
added, subtracted, divided
usually litter the back pages
of my notebooks. 
Change is counted
and funds inspected
and budgets are
pieced together carefully.
I can't afford them yet.
Whims and fancies
and carefree spontaneity.
I look around my room 
and I see its sparse. 
Abundant is the sun
shining through
the big windows.
Or the shimmering starlight
or the shivering breeze
filling the empty spaces. 
An indulgence perhaps.
A chink in the numbers. 
There is a mattress
and a desk and a lamp.  
An old rug and a steel 
cupboard wardrobe.
And my most
prized possessions
have no bookshelf either.
I got a couple of mango crates
and painted them
to keep my books.
But they don't seem to care.
They seem to be doing just fine,
like you,
in makeshift mango crates
painted with love. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Good people

They were good people.
His friends.
The kind who went home
for holidays.
And bought gifts,
wrapped in more than
just brown paper or
newsprint.
The kind who celebrated
festivals and visited family.
They were good people.
His friends.
With jobs and salaries
and savings and targets
and banks and bosses.
And weekend plans.
That fell through often.
Like the plans they constantly
chalked out on the notepad
in their organized
file cabinet minds.
They were good people.
His friends.
Who spoke over a round
of drinks about jobs
as if they were dreams
pieced together over
a lifetime.
And broken relationships
as if they were
broken hearts.
He didn't tell them then.
That it takes more than
just ambition to dream.
More than just a girl or
a boy to break a heart.
And more than just
whiskey and icecream
and old, sad songs
to mend it.
He didn't tell them then.
How sleepless are the nights
when you are dreaming.
And how broken hearts
keep beating in their
broken clockwork way.
And how though he may too
look like them and
laugh like them.
And drink and sing
and regret like them.
He was different.
With wakeful eyes and
tuneless chiming
in his chest.
He didn't tell them.
Because they were
good people, his friends.
And so thought
each one of them
of the others.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Faith

That day the mountain
gave away and he fell
into the waiting arms
of gravity.
Landing with a gentle thud
into the pit of a ravine.
He lay there,
surrounded by others
just like him,
covered with moss
and brooding wild flowers.
He lay there,
still and quiet,
through summers and
winters and storms.
Till you came along.
What was it about him?
Perhaps he was more
striking than the others.
Perhaps, as you slowly
brushed off the moss,
you saw something in him
that no one else could.
And so you brought him
back with you.
A round grey rock
with a few chips, chinks
and dents.
Cradled like a child
in the crook of your
hard working, sinewy arm.
And now I wonder what
made you see what you saw.
And what makes you do
what you do.
Is it the hopelessness
oozing out of the wounds
of a world scarred by men.
Or is it the hope
burning bright in your
relentless heart that
things might yet change.
What is it that makes you
wake up each new morning
and adorn him, now sitting
silently under the neem tree,
with a dot of vermilion,
a shower of flowers and
a drizzle of faith.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

At sea

What will I be to you?
A treasure at sea.
Buried deep under
the vault of the ocean.
Out of sight.
At the bottom of
a liquid blue heart.
Camouflaged by
anemone and shoals
of bright neon fish
and scar tissue.
The dive to find me
will be too risky, too hard.
Riding the waves on the
surface of normality
will be easier perhaps.
I'll be plotted on a map.
A map you can no more,
or rather not, read.
Sure, maybe you'll
always remember me.
Love me even.
But what solace is that?
Yes, I'll be
a memory unforgotten.
But that's all I'll be.
Just that.
Nothing more.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The dusk coloured child

Why is it, he asked me,
that my stories
sometimes fall silent.
Why, he asked me, 
do they go unheard.
Why is it that sometimes
my hand is left unclenched,
unnoticed. 
And my questions are left 
unheeded, unanswered.
There are no waves rippling
on the surface.
No flowers dancing,
no carefree pebbles skipping,
no playful winds whistling
through the reeds dotting
the mucky, messy shores.
There is a quietness so deep 
that my feet quiver
when I decide to dive in.
There is a stillness so sad
that my hands shiver
when I decide to touch it.
Why is it that
every time I look in
I am confronted by eyes
staring back defiantly
like they have seen,
and understood, more
than they should have.
Why is it, 
he wanted to know.
So I looked him in the eye
and gave him the answer.
You can take the child
out of the shadows of dusk.
But it isn't so easy
to take the dusk 
out of the child. 


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Knowing. Unknowing.

If all you had seen
was a sky
blotted with smoke.
With the canvas of blue
merely existing in pictures
on a few walls.
And in fables
construed in a few minds.
Would you know
how to clear up the smog
and bring light to a morning
that belonged not to you?
And would a fatherless child
be a better father to his son
because his childhood
was shortchanged
by the hand of God
or destiny or chance.
Would he know
what to give better
because it was the better
that he lacked?
Would he know
for instance
that a child 
needs to be pushed
into the first rain?
If  you had had bars
on your windows
and the rain
had never caressed
the dust off your face.
If you had merely wondered
from behind the closed shutters
how it would be
to feel the drops and rivulets
running down your sooty cheeks.
I wonder, would you know?
Is it easier to give happiness
when you haven't had it
because you know
what you have missed?
Or is it easier to give it
when you  know
what needs to be given
for it to be called happiness?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Steady

I am running.
Whirrr whirr
go my feet
and I am running.
The landscapes
are changing
all around me.
And seasons,
they are passing.
Leaves are changing colours
and they are falling.
Tumbling out of the sky
like sparrows carried
on the wing of an
intoxicated, directionless wind.
The land is drying, soaking
freezing, cracking, baking,
shaking, sighing.
And yet I am running.
Running at a steady pace.
Whirrr whirr go my feet.
In an eternal wheel
just fighting to keep my place. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Children of whispers

God,
if you were to gift me a child,
don't let her be born 
from the quiet of the sea.
Don't make her 
run deep and silent
with the crash of waves 
only coming in a passing storm.
Make her a brook, a stream.
Running and gurgling under
dancing sun rays golden.
Make her sing with abandon.
Make her noise, make her din.
Make her foolish, let her sin.
Make not the purity of reason
run incessantly through
her peacock blue veins.
Don't make her quiet dew drops
that fall unnoticed into the night
and lie like silent pearls
on the world's naked body.
Make her rain and thunder.
And wind and tempest.
Raging through the sky with
freedom as stark as lightning bolts.
Let her speak her mind.
Put no chains, build no walls
around my child.
For the children of whispers
might find their place in a poem.
But they never become a song.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Of poets

No rhymes, no verses.
I could write in words
plain and simple.
In words that
don't hide in themselves
any unseen meanings.

I could still call it poetry, perhaps.
Even without the cloaks of metaphors
unfurling in the blizzard of feelings.
All expressions would lay bare
and letters would shiver naked
on pages white as a stark bulb.
And the words they formed
would define, not allude.

Yes, sure I could do that.
Like you say,
what is the need for
layers upon layers
of unnecessary veils?

But then I could nothing deny.
And behind the duality of
undecipherable meaning
I could not hide, could I?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Habit

Among the spidery trees of the
forest of wants and needs
I roam in the shadows of habit.
And sometimes maybe you wonder
if you ever wanted me at all.
Or was it just the lonlinesses of
a dark forest's smothering silence
that needed my presence.
Just so that my feet could
make a crisp, crackling music
as they trampled over a few old twigs
and a few brittle hearts.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

माचिस


बंद-बंद डिब्बों में
बहोत हमने जी लिया
सटी-सटी रखी हुई
माचिसों की तीलियां

ख्वाबों  की  हैं  बंदिशें
ख्वाहिशों  कि  बेड़ियाँ 
बुझी-बुझी  खामोश  सी
माचिसों की तीलियाँ

कभी  जला  के  तो देख
दबी -दबी  ये  लौ  तेरी
उड़ने  दे  चिंगारियां
आज़ाद, पागल, सरफिरी

 मिलने दे तू राख में
हर  चाह जो  तेरी  नहीं
धुन्द्लाने दे  ये आसमां
तपने दे  तू ये ज़मीन

 नाचने दे इस आग को
उठने दे तू अब  धुआं
याद  कर तेरा अहम्
और आज ये जहां भुला

 बंद-बंद डिब्बों में
बहोत हमने जी लिया
सटी-सटी थी कभी रखी
माचिसों की तीलियां 

Friday, May 11, 2012

वर्षा

गरजता है जब बादल
और बारिशों का कलश
जब यूँ उलटता है,
तब बोल आसमां
धरती पर
किन कहानियों का
वृक्ष पनपता है?

क्या मिट्टी की
खुशबुओं से
यादों का कोई
भवर सा उठता है?
या बेहेते पानी में
अतीत हर किसी का
आज मिटता है?
बोल आसमां
तेरी बूंदों में
आखिर आज
क्या बरसता है?

इन अश्रुओं में तेरे
क्या बसता है आज
धरती का सुकूं?
या फिर शिरा में तेरी
बेहेता है क्रोध का
सुर्ख लहू?
है तू आंधी
या फिर वो जीवन
जिसके लिए इन्सान
अब तरसता है.
बोल आसमां
तेरी बूंदों में 
आखिर आज
क्या बरसता है?

Friday, May 04, 2012

Fall in line.


Why do you look unlike you?
Why is your pallor grey?
Is it because of the ashes
that are falling from the sky today?

Is the fine dust of charred men
covering your body too?
Are you now of the many
and not of the few?

Cogs are turning, things are changing.
Beauty is vainer, ambitions plainer.
Rhyme is singing its last songs
while reason is getting saner.

So don't dust off that ash, I advice.
Don't be the exception to the rule.
For the simple man today
is being rechristened the fool.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

अचिंत्य

कभी-कभी 
चाहे ढूंडो कितना ही 
मेरी कविताओं में तुम्हें 
कोई अर्थ न मिलेगा.

जब तक ना देखोगे तुम
जो देखा है मैनेँ,
तब तक तुम्हें हर शब्द
व्यर्थ ही लगेगा.

चुपचाप सी रहेगी
सोच मेरी
ना ही मेरा ख्याल
तुमसे कुछ कहेगा 

स्वप्न सी  लगेगी तुम्हें
मेरी रची ये दुनिया.
और हर सत्य कल्पना 
सा बस बहेगा.

ढूंडो चाहे कितना ही 
कभी-कभी
मेरी कविताओं में
तुम्हें कोई अर्थ न मिलेगा.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On a string

Yesterday,
he flew.
A grey-brown
speck in the
open sky.
Today,
as we walk
we see
that the trees
along the way
are blooming
with beautiful
kite flowers.
Red-orange,
purple-yellow,
green-blue.
We pluck them
one by one.
And there
among them
we spot a flower
grey-brown.
We pick him too
and try to
hold together
his sliced wings.
.