Saturday, December 21, 2013

The lone walker

He said
what he wanted most
was to see
what the world
looked like
as he stood on
the mountain high
against the howling wind.
He said he wanted all.
He wanted more.
But many a times
on his lonely climb
he found himself thinking
of the dust settling in
like an unwelcome tenant
and the gentle wind knocking
on his now locked door.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Shoppers

It was crowded.
And there were 
thermocol snowflakes
hanging from
the domed ceiling.
There were 
glass windows,
mannequins, 
ice cream cups,
coffee smells, 
paper bags,
reindeers, 
ringing bells,
polished floors 
and bright lights
like stars captured 
and shut away 
in chandelier prisons.
And there were people.
Some gloating exhibits.
Others gaping onlookers.
They were holding hands 
with their own mirror selves
and leading them on
through a magical mystical 
material mist.
And as they tried on
their self worth
in mood-lit trial rooms
they looked optimistic
and a manic gleam
shone in their eyes.
Like stars captured
and shut away
in ribbon tied
gift wrapped prisons.
More things could make
things better they felt.
I too turned over a tag
and thought to myself.
Oh look!
They are giving away
happiness at a discount.
And frankly,
at that moment,
it seemed affordable. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Untitled

They say, a strong mind
knows no yesterday.
It sees only tomorrow.
For bygones are bygones,
not the midwives of
weak, helpless sorrow.
It lives not survives,
they say, in the
secure knowledge
of its own strength.
No shadows on it
by cruel words are cast.
No scars remain,
no wounds last
And they say too,
that a strong mind
dwells not on
the follies, the losses,
the unfinished endings
of the forgettable past.
They say it moves forward.
Plays the part.
And they say a strong mind,
it turns around and calmly,
very calmly says - Be quiet
to the damned heart.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Evening Games

Could there
have been perhaps
a game of hopscotch
made of smiling circles
sitting together like guests
at a pretend party of toys
instead of these rigid
square blocks chalked out
and numbered and smudged
by skipping childish feet.
And could the swing perhaps
have sailed effortlessly
over the trees into
a star spangled sky
without a tiny body having
to rock backwards and
forward, straining bony arms
on metal chains hung on hooks
as the dusk gathered like
the rush of a hushed wind
gathering in wild unbraided hair
masquerading as a gentle ruffle.
Perhaps.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Of poets

Dizzying heights. Last flights.
The rush. Shush. Hush. 
They think there is poetry in death.
But there isn't.
There is only the indignity and tragedy
of a human being gone to pieces.
In life perhaps,
there is still some hope of finding a poem. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Millstone

He said the arms around
his neck were stifling him.
The heels digging into his ribs.
And he said that the burden
was too much, too great.
It was holding him back,
pulling him down slowly.
But he knew not that
what he called a millstone
was in fact the anchor
keeping him from drifting away,
falling apart and sinking into
the turbulence of his own mind.

Friday, August 02, 2013

The Barefoot Monk


How do you get up every time?
However hard the fall.
How do you dust yourself off
and wince at your bruises
for not more than a moment?
You look onward, forward
and look back only with
a faint fondness or squinting eyes
of recollection that look
not for anything but learning.
You fall but don't fail.
You fail but don't falter.
You falter but don't forgo
the purpose you set out for.
You charge against the wind
as if someone is holding you
steadfast, solid, to the ground.
You head against the current
as if the horizon were a ship
sailing silently towards you.
You walk knowing that
the earth will stop quaking
and hold its breath still one day
while you tremble in the joy
of glorious, irrefutable victory.
In your eyes swim no questions
of doubt or answers of illusions.
There is a resilient belief there.
Sustained by your unrelenting faith.
Always, always ringing true.
That neither the beginning
nor the end of you is only you.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Untitled

There is happiness
to be found in
the eye of the storm.
Tornadoes
spinning like tops
in the palm of your hand
as you mold them slowly
this way and that.
And happiness is there
in the gentle breeze too.
Filled full with the smells of
roses in a balcony garden,
freshly done laundry
and satisfaction.
There is joy hidden in the
the beat of a drum
and the thunder of feet
as countless follow
the path you tread.
The marches you started,
the journeys you led.
And there is joy too
in the tuneless whistle
that escapes you on a
particularly flawless day.
Happiness. It's there.
For some it's in the world
they hope to make.
And for others in the one
that's already their's to take. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Chalked out

You test the water
and feel the thrill of
the biting, acid,
electric, primal cold
run up your leg
like a vine gorging
quickly, hungrily
on spring's fullness.
You back away
and bury
your restless feet
in warm, inert sand.
There, you are still again.
Steady.
You wake yourself up
from dreams.
The ones that show you
exactly, precisely
what you want.
The nightmares of true
desire you dream.
And from them you
wake up in cold sweat,
choking on a scream.
You clench your fists.
Around time, life, fate,
people, coincidences
and consequences.
The stars form for you
constellations that you have
painstakingly dictated.
You have many fears
and very few
unanswered questions.
Don't you?
For not even to yourself
the reins you seem to give.
Just from one day to another
you reluctantly live.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Dinner table

He was remembering,
sitting alone at the table,
the taste of pepper in
hot soup.
And the feel of starch
as his hand brushed over
the ornate futility of
the white lace tablecloth.
The ornate futility that
had slipped quietly
into the conversation
hanging heavy in the air.
He was remembering
the day when he had seen,
with looking back eyes,
the crunch of fresh apples
and the shine of a knife.
The gleam of polished,
naked mahogany.
The glint of a sun ray
from a time before
the table was laid with
glittering, superfluous
silverware.
He was remembering,
sitting alone at the table,
the voice that flew across it.
What was for lunch?
How was work?
Was the traffic bad?
Just yesterday
she had wanted to know
even about the most
mundane things.
And today
while he was dying alone
she was living on in oblivion.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

मत सुनना रैना की बातें कभी

ये रौशनी के झूटे राज़ तुम्हें बताएगी 

चमचमाती चांदनी में भी फिर 

इसकी मैली सी आवाज़ ही सताएगी 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Untitled

That night you asked me
to sing to you.
And I knew that if I did
the wind would carry my notes 
without feeling the burden 
of a tuneless voice.
And I knew that if I could
just coax the sound out
you'd like the song I'd sing.
But yet, try as I might I couldn't.
The songs and the tunes and
the notes and the lyric would
just not come to me.
It didn't seem difficult and
my incessant no sounded
ridiculous even to me.
But something held my voice
in a vice like grip and I kept
choking from inside out.
There was no explanation.
And every wasted moment and
weak excuse seemed to only
anger my waiting audience.
I eventually did sing I think.
I don't remember now.
But even if I did, it didn't matter.
Because you were already disappointed.
What I do remember is that
through my window the moon 
was full and wire-meshed
and the night purple.
And I remember thinking that
more than the big failures
it's the little disappoints you cause
that eventually fill you up
and leave you empty. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Untitled

अधूरी सी उस रात में 
कोयला यूँ जल रहा था 
मानो सूरज का एक टुकड़ा
जमीं पर पिघल रहा था 
पता नहीं क्यूँ उस रात में 
खामोशी यूँ बस गयी थी 
मानो समझ के गले पर
उम्मीदों की डोर कस गयी थी 
अब इस सन्नाटे में
कुछ कहा न जाएगा  
कल बीता था जैसे, 
वैसे आज भी बीत जाएगा 
और जैसे जैसे कोयले की
रौशनी होगी मद्धम 
वैसे वैसे ये कारवां उठ कर 
कहीं और मुड़ जाएगा 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

बेघर

मोहोल्लों के मैदानों में
हम खेला तो करते थे।

आँगन के झूले पर हम
झूला भी करते थे।

पर खेलों में हमारे
शायद एक खामोश सा
खालीपन था।

बड़ा होने की जल्दी में
शायद हमारा वो
बचपन था।

अब उस बात को
कई साल हैं हो चुके।

यादों के भवर भी तो
अब जा कर ही हैं रुके।

शुक्र है, मुझे नहीं पता
अब हम रेहेते हैं कहाँ।

था हमारा वो अधुरा सा मकां जहाँ,
किसी और का घर अब है वहाँ।

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Company

They sat
in the old bar.
Cold bottles, 
with sodden labels 
quietly peeling away
like the daylight outside, 
sat waiting
in front of them.
They smiled and cheered.
The glass clinked,
the bulb blinked 
as the night slinked
upon them . 
They ate the peanuts.
Their hands reaching
out for them with just 
the right rhythm.
Just like their
conversation where
words never collided.
It came from familiarity.
This old leather bar booth
cold bottle salted peanut
new stories old jokes 
reruns of matches comfort.
They always met like this
when they did.
In the old bar.
Cold bottles 
with sodden labels, 
like turgid busy days, 
waiting in front of them.
They drank from them
something mellow,
something quiet.
That let him tell the other 
all that he kept bottled inside.
And let the other pour
tolerant happiness over his
insufferable company.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Of poets

Memory,
can I feed you to my words
like a corpse to a hearth
till you are no more than
ashes and charred bones?

Memory,
can I write you out?
Not on the pages of a book
but off the pages of my mind.
Can I? 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sparrows in the Sun

I don't go there anymore.
Where sparrows fly to the sun
and then sing their dusk songs
in beautiful pain sharp voices
as on singed wings they soar.
I don't go there anymore.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

No thank you.

No, no thank you. She said.
No disenchanting light of
conversation for me please.
I'd rather have today,
the brazen blinding brightness
of foolish laughter instead. 
Laughter, light and airy and
tinkling like the bottomless
glass of warm wine in my hand.
I crave indifference, she said.
And I crave company that
I couldn't care less for.
People who matter little to me
or to whom I matter little.
Yes, that's what I crave.
You should be glad, she said,
that I haven't chosen to speak
to you but that we've met today
only by the whim of chance.
For that means, perhaps, I think
of you as a friend after all.
Someone who would ask ,
how have you been?,
and in a moment ruin it all.
All semblance, all pretense.
No, no thank you. She said.
And so I did it, I left her alone
and walked away quietly,
wondering whether she was
being wise or utterly foolish.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

मकां

इन मकानों में लोग
कुछ ऐसे रेहेते हैं,
कि इंसानों से ज़्यादा जां 
वो ईटों, पत्थरों में भरते हैं।
इन मकानों में लोग 
कुछ ऐसे रेहेते हैं।

इन मकानों की खिड़कियाँ 
हमेशा बंद ही हैं रेहेती।
बाहर मौसम तो
कई गुज़रते हैं,
पर इन खिडकियों पर
परदे यादों के, 
बस बे इन्तहां बेहेते हैं। 
इन मकानों में लोग 
कुछ ऐसे रेहेते हैं। 

दिवारों पर शायद उन्हें 
कल के हसीं लम्हें 
आज भी दिखते हैं।
इसलिये शायद, 
खाली कमरों में गूंज रहे 
अपने ही अलफ़ाज़ों को 
बातें वो अब केहेते हैं।  
भूले से उन दिनों के 
इन मकानों में 
लोग कुछ ऐसे रेहेते हैं।

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Of poets

In bushels of bramble thorns
lies captured the stench
of scarlet roses. 
Bound with no escape
in sight the heavy 
breath of these scarlet roses.
Of hearts beating their
last beat they speak 
these darkened winds
on a starless night.
They are all choking 
on crashing waves of
submerged oceans and
drowning seas under the sky
of these starless nights.
It's time the poets 
abandoned it.
Banished it, burned it
and scattered its ashes.
Smeared it with ink and
rubbed it off every paper.
It's smudged, stained, tainted. 
It's a dirty word, this love.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

रंग


रातों में हर तरफ़ बिछा 
कोयले का कारा 

या जलते हुए सूरज सा  
चढ़ता सुर्ख पारा 

इस स्याही का रंग क्या
इस अक्षर का अर्थ क्या 

टूटे इस कलम से लिखी 
कहानी का इस अंत क्या 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Drowners

No, you are wrong,
he told me.
People don't always
leave their lives behind
because they are weak
or afraid of a fight.
Don't call them all
cowards.
Unless you want to be
called a fool.
For sometimes they
are just drowning.
Men and women
drowning in pure,
unadulterated sadness.
Sometimes
it's locked away.
This pitch black sea.
Plugged up by some
things or someone
they love.
But those things can
often turn out to be
round pegs
in square holes.
Just not the right fit,
they let the sadness
leak in.
And the someones?
There are lives to
be led, aren't there?
Lives without leaky
sadness faucets?
And so it fills up
the rooms of the mind,
flowing incessantly
through gashes, slashes.
Thrashing
like helpless limbs
without air.
Filling up, up, up.
Like a black sea
on a dreamless, infinite,
poison purple night.