Sunday, March 16, 2014

Powder Blue

She was singing by
the open door of the train.
A raspy, husky voice
well within the boundaries
of melodies and tunes
flowed out of her
scarlet painted lips.
The shining silver hoops
in her ears were swinging
to the rhythm of the train.
The single bead on them,
like a single high note,
catching all the light.
The powder blue of the bead
matched the sky and also
her well cut dress.
The dress matched
the style of that worn by
that famous actress
in that blockbuster movie.
The bangles on her arms tinkled.
Arms, sinewy and strong.
Bangles, brittle and bright.
She caught me looking.
Perhaps she saw that
my stare bore no malice.
She flashed me a smile
and then continued to sing,
standing at the door of the train.
Standing somewhere between
the male and the female.
Between ridicule and sympathy.
Between strength and vulnerability.
Defiance and destiny.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Blessed Dog

When I was a child.
May be I was
six years old?
I don't really remember.
I had a dog.
He wasn't a good dog.
Not in the dog show sense.
He wasn't disciplined,
heeded no commands.
He knew no tricks.
Didn't  play dead
or shake hands.
Neither did he
come, heel or stay.
May be he would have,
had I asked him to,
but I never did.
He hated people who
covered their heads.
We had a few incidents
where he jumped onto
these suspicious visitors
teeth bared, eyes rolling.
I don't know what demons
he imagined under those
caps, hats and scarves.
Once, he bit to bits
the small wooden gate
that led to my grandma's
house on the first floor
when we left him alone.
Blood, spit and chips of wood
greeted us instead of
a happily bounding dog.
Who knew what nightmares
were chasing him.
But he was a good dog
in having a dog sense.
He licked my tears off
if I cried. Even if I was
just pretending to.
I never liked performing
that particular trick for people.
What joy was there in
making a show of the sorrow
he hoped to share with me?
The only time he growled at me
I felt betrayal like no other.
But that was the only time.
And even that came with a
shredded tennis ball apology.
He growled often
at my mother though.
Some unspoken grievance
that he had with her
expressed sometimes in
a low guttural growl
and at times with
a ferocious bark.
But still he was a good dog.
In having a dog sense.
He liked long walks,
warm food and cold water,
a good belly rub
and sleeping on my feet.
One day he woke me up
at the break of dawn
with a more than usual
show of affection.
That was the morning
I found him still, stiff
and glassy eyed
a few hours after.
Later, when I calmed down,
my mother told me that
he had come to her too.
His eyes no more menacing.
His guttural growl now silent.
An alien warmth filling up
his liquid brown eyes.
He looked at her as if
he would lick her tears off too
if she happened to cry.
He was a good dog.
A blessed dog.
Who had the chance
to lay to rest
his unspoken grievance
before we laid him to rest
under the guava tree.
A small mound of earth
and a small red eyed child,
who had to dry her tears now
with small, tightly clenched fists,
left behind.

Monday, March 03, 2014


थोड़े बंजारों से
थोड़े फ़कीरों से
तो हम भी हैं

परे दहलीज़ कि
लकीरों से तो
थोड़े हम भी हैं

बारिशों में
बेह गए तिनके जो
थोड़ा उनका गम भी है

पर उड़ानों को हमारी
ये आसमान पड़ता
थोड़ा कम भी है