Thursday, December 22, 2016

Significant

It's unpredictable,
sneaks up on you,
this feeling of
insignificance.
It comes out of nowhere
and hits you hard.
Crashing into you,
cracking your ribs and
crushing your heart.
You'd think,
it must set you free,
this insignificance of being.
But that's not so.
It's in fact,
the heaviest burden of all.
A casket of unfulfillment
that you must carry alone
on your ordinary shoulders.
And so you must look.
For a person or a purpose,
who will help you carry it.
And help you find the reason
for your existence.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Starved

Sometimes,
your only purpose,
the only thing
you're useful for,
seems to be
to make coins clink.
What is this you have?
Art?
But does it sell?
Catharsis never fed anybody.
No stomach.
No vanity.
No greed.
No fancy. 
No fetish.
No hunger 
to show the world
how happy you are
was ever satisfied by it.
No, it only feeds the soul.
But that's the thing
about souls.
They can starve
and still give you
the impression that
you are in fact alive.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Me


Sometimes you must
feel nothing.
No touch.
No sight.
No voice. 
No sound.  
You must sit
still and quiet
and feel 
yourself existing.
Just being alive.
And with it feel the
pain and remorse,
joy and elation,
love and anger,
fear and boredom,
ambition and emptiness.
You must feel
yourself breathing.
A speck, insignificant,
in this universe.
And yet, a universe
unto itself. 

Mine
























The lamb sits snug
on this winter day,
your strong arms
wrapped warm and
gentle around him.
And if you could,
you'd wrap them
around your
beloved hills too,
wouldn't you?
But just as the wrinkles
form wise creases on
your weather-beaten face
so do the roads now furrow.
Grey through the green.


Inspired from a photograph by Nasar Husami

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Escape

We escape to
new lands and oceans.
From the mangled, 
broken children of 
our childhoods, we escape.
We escape into books,
philosophy, songs, poems. 
Into beguiling bodies, 
we escape.
We escape into stupors 
and we escape into hazes;
God found and lost.
All the while we run, we run
from the deep set gazes, 
of the children from our past.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Lemon Lime





















In quick slurps
and clumsy drips
the grasshopper green
Popsicle disappears.
But it leaves behind
a bright green, 
tangy ghost on an
emerald tongue.
Just like the colour
of vivid wonder
left behind
by childhood.
The colour that
we too often
let grow faint
and forgotten.


Inspired from a photograph by Nasar Husami

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Cursive

The earliest memory
of a poem that I have is
from when I didn't know
too many words.
And so, I wrote
in meticulous cursive
what I could about
life and death and people.
It made me feel better
than a evening full of
unhindered play.
Not much has changed.
Except that I now know
a few more words.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

The Hunchback of Bohri Mohalla
























His back is bent.
Stooped perhaps 
from the burden of age?
Or the heaviness of a heart
witnessing the world
changing around it?
Or from the weight of a life 
lived long and hard?
Or is it a love 
lost that he 
shoulders even today?
Or maybe what he carries,
unseen by those rushing past,
is a sack full of
 stories,
some sweet, some savoury,
just waiting to be opened up
for those willing to stop,
but for a moment, 
and listen.



Inspired from a photograph by Nasar Husami 


Handed out

We are dancing
in a trance, a frenzy.
Thoughts are
abandoning us.
There is nothing 
we cannot do.
Nothing that 
we cannot have.
For we are deaf now
to all but the music
of tinkling coins 
falling on to 
stone cold pavements
like alms handed out
with derision
to our begging beings.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Glass Factory


In the middle of the desert
the furnace burns steady.
Globs of molten glass
fall like drops of gold.
Hissing and spinning
they take the shapes of
the moulds they are fed to.
Skylights let the sun in
through the corrugated roof,
beams bouncing off
the rivers of white opal
flowing through the factory.
He sits at the shore where
one such river finds its end.
Another cog in the machinery.
Every single day he wakes up,
ties a cloth around his head,
packs a lunch, takes a bus,
sits on a high-stool in the heat,
and looks for small flaws,
chips and chinks and bubbles,
in the glass, fragile and white.
His hands never stop,
picking a plate off the belt,
and then another and another.
His eyes, now accustomed,
scan them quickly for faults.
The good ones go into a stack.
The bad ones are discarded,
shattering at his feet, in a heap.
I wonder, if he takes any pleasure
in throwing them away?
The sound of breaking glass,
breaking the monotony of his days.

Friday, May 13, 2016

At the Chowpatty













It reminds me of the time
when I had a dog.
And a disobedient one at that. 
He'd pull on his leash,
taking me wherever he wanted.
Through mud and muck.
Through puddles and slush. 
Through grass and flower beds
nonchalant he would tread. 
And he'd also pull me  through 
bad days and tough times. 
May be that's how 
they ended up here this morning.
Into the grey water across a sandy beach.
A wagging tail, a hanging tongue,
four wet paws and two wet feet. 


Inspired from a photograph by Nasar Husami

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Play along.

We are
falling now
in the kind of loves
that allow us
to like ourselves.
Just a little.
And all our dreams
are being dreamt by
wakeful, watchful eyes.
And so,
what we are living now
are mere travesties
of what could've been
our lives. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Miracle





















Motherhood. It must know
no shame, no hesitation.
Mothers must not bite their lips and 
clench their fists to clamp down 
their screams as our children are born.
They must let the world know 
that life wondrous has come into it. 
They must love, nurture, protect 
fiercely, freely, openly, unabashedly.
For Motherhood must mean,
what nature meant it to be.
A miracle.


Inspired from a photograph by Nasar Husami
                                                                                                        

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

This life and that

They said 
a few good things
and lay her 
to rest.
It's not easy to 
forgive the living.
But it's simple enough
to make peace
with the dead. 

Saturday, April 02, 2016

The Girl from Istanbul


















A girl, not too old,
sits musing,
by the side of this road.
And I see that she oscillates.
She oscillates between
the quiet emptiness of stark whites &
the deep blues of cacophonous nights.
And this girl, not too young,
she tries on different shoes for size.
Just like she tries on maybe, probably
different loves, perspectives, lives.


Inspired from a photograph by Nasar Husami
                                                                                                        

Friday, March 25, 2016

That day




















It was the kind of day
when you’d want to
walk alone on a beach
and fill your pockets with
conch shells and pebbles.
And even if you were to
throw them away later,
for a moment you’d feel
knee-high and invincible.
It was the kind of day
when the sea sang
and the sand danced
and the crabs scuttled
and the wind whistled
and the waves broke
on that wondrous beach of
broken toothed smiles.
It was that kind of a day.

Inspired from a photograph by Nasar Husami 


Friday, March 18, 2016

Mumbai

In the darkness
of the skyline
eyes stared at me.
Eyes in which
roamed silhouettes
of struggling lives.
Eyes hunted
and hungry.
Eyes stalking
and starving.
Eyes lethal
and longing.
The eyes of my city,
they light up every night.
Afraid to sleep. 

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Free

I saw them dancing,
with abandon and
without embarrassment,
to a song tainted popular.
I thought to myself,
Oh how silly they are.
And it made me think
how small we are.
Satisfied and pompous
in our small worlds,
looking inwards,
cool and all-knowing.
We build around ourselves
brick by judgmental brick
walls of prejudice.
And not once
does it occur to us
that usually it is those
who are outside of walls
that are called free. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Hush

In the cracks between

wasted todays
and dreaded tomorrows
you find a dusk
that belongs to no one
but you.
For a moment
the cacophony
of living is shushed.
And it is quiet.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Bleak

It's so much easier
to write
when you aren't
worrying about
putting together
a certain kind of
Life.

Life.
It can dissolve
the poetry in you
and leave you
for dead. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Airport

We wait around
the carousel.
Craning necks.
Shoving shoulders.
Our straining eyes
give away
our impatience.
And they give away
our refusal
to understand that
what has to come
will come
only when it is time.
Even if it
belongs to us.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Summer Teacher.

That summer,
when I was as high as
my grandma's knee,
she decided to send me
to an art class.
Early in the morning
I was woken up.
My sketch book, 
pencils, paints
and brushes packed. 
My teacher had 
a grey beard, 
thick glasses,
a penchant for
clean, crisp shirts
and a smile
which made
his eyes crinkle.
He looked us over.
A large group
of barely awake kids
forced out of beds 
early on a
summer holidays
morning. 
He had two rules,
he said.
We hated rules.
You all need to 
take a bath before 
you come to class.
We hated baths. 
And the second rule?
When you paint,
break all the rules
there are.
A blue sun.
Red grass.
Yellow crows.
Pink elephants.
And purple people
were perfectly acceptable.
We stared at him
trying to fathom
a world where 
no one was telling us 
to colour within the lines. 
And just like that
we started taking baths
at 6 AM every day.
Without a single complaint.