Saturday, April 30, 2011

About Me

Writing happens to me, like love, like the weather. It makes me a million things more, it gives me an adrenaline rush, and at times it induces an enveloping, nurturing calm. Sometimes, I write for myself, and sometimes, just to be read. I love words. Words that are soft and simple and still magnificent in their implication, and the way they are pronounced. I would not be me but for this congenital love for words, and stories. I love everything simple, and everything old and classy. I love the scent of old yellow pages of books, and the scent of the earth satiated by rain. I love beautiful Rajasthani ornaments, Victorian buildings, old, heavy metal boxes that contain secrets, and stories, of lives lived long ago. May be that's why I love all things old, the story part - stories that are hidden in a smile in a black and white picture, in the wrinkles at the back of hands, in the silver of the hair, in large dusty, sound-echoing rooms, in the widespread roots of age-old trees that still stand with enviable dignity; which reminds me, I love trees, and flowers, and mountains, valleys, rivers, deserts, and oceans. They overwhelm me, they whisper to me in the language of the universe,and they love me too, I think. I love having leisure, like now, to sit and write about all things I love, or to stop and smile at a child, to click pictures, to hold an old man's hand and listen to his stories, to stare at the star studded night sky, and relive the fairytales of childhood. I love the distant sound of the namaaz. I laugh, pray and cry a lot. I love being foolish. I love to narrate, if you'll listen.

P.S. The picture was taken by me near the Holsten Gate, Lubeck, Germany.

Friday, April 29, 2011


He found love in gold
sheer glitter and glory
that made him take risks
and place all he once had
Integrity, Innocence, Identity
in shiny chain-links
until they were all smothered
or sold

Gold, for her
was his curly hair
that she drew circles in
on golden evenings
amidst golden sunflowers and
mustard; when all was fair
like his promise
to grow old

He watched them silently
returning from a long day
on the fields
and wiped
the golden beads of sweat
that trickled down his cheek
as his body ached
and children starved
for a few golden grains
of wheat

Inspired by In The Moment. The cue was 'Golden' :)

Linked to Poets United. Visit them and read a lot of inspiring poems. Savour art! :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

You are not all I want

I wish to feel the morning breeze

and taste the morning dew

I wish to smell the lilies
and watch the sunset hue

I want to tread on unknown lands
and form friendships all along
To wake up on a boat
To be the subject of a song

To see the lights of a far off village
that glisten on an evening still
to pour my love in the glass of the universe
until it fills and spills

I wouldn't say you're all I want
for that would be untrue
I am just a gypsy, and life my dance
that I want to share with you

Linked to Poets United. Visit them and read a lot of inspiring poems. Savour art! :) 

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

She is a child, after all

The smell of cigarettes and shoes, the noise of ‘chai’, and a predominant feeling of dust all over me; I’m drowsy; and I force myself to look out of the train window as someone mentions ‘Bandra’. I get down, uncertain, fast heart-beat, heavy steps; I’m thinking of the orphanage I ran away from, I’m tired of running, my breath is heavy, hot, difficult; its hot, very hot, and suffocating, too many people, there’s sweat, and stink, and shove, and I’m too small; I wish I could be taller, soon. Someone shouts, “You! Boy!” I turn. I see khaki. I run. Again. Fast. Very fast. Till I am far far away. But I keep running. Because I can’t stop. I try to stop. I can’t. Why am I so small? Why am I running? Oh the ditch! I need to stop running!
It was a dream. I need to wake up. I can’t open my eyes. There is still noise. And wailing. Numbers. Lots of numbers.
“What about 143?”
“85% burns. Still unconscious”
“Hmmm, Observe for some more time. We need beds. There’s a fucking queue outside.”
I still can’t open my eyes.
“Glucose!” “We can’t do anything” “No”, Wailing, “Sorry”, “Get the injection!” “Fast!” “Who the fuck left it here” “Burns” “We are out of bandages” “Number 21”
Why can’t I open my eyes? I feel pain. It boils. Overflows. I should sleep. I’m slipping. There’s a thud. In my chest. It’s the scent! Oh God!
I run and run for a long time. I stop there. The chai shop. I run no more. I breathe. Chacha Jaan. The saucepan. Brown masala chai. Ilaichi. Hot. Money. Labor. Tears. The tea boils. Overflows. Like something else that I can’t remember now. It stains the slab. I clean it with the cloth on my shoulder. For a very long time. “Ek chai”. I pour it through the filter. I get tipped. One rupee. Gandhi on the coin. I wonder why.
They order it from the house today. I carry the metal stand. 6 cups. Daddu on the khaat. He smiles. He talks cricket. He talks of his days, years ago. It was a better world. Cheap. Good. He laughs. She laughs. I look at her. She smells of lilac and jasmine oil, or something like that. She runs behind her brother, and laughs. Adjusts her anklet, and laughs. Teases her mother, and laughs. Her eyes water. She smudges all her soorma with her dupatta. I smile. She is a child after all. I feel much taller, stronger. She is a delicate little girl. God bless her.
The scent fills the air. I see nothing else. Just her small feet and her green dupatta tangled in her anklet.
They are coming! I see them, coming towards Mohammad Ali Road. I see swords. And sticks. And a lot of saffron. Fire. Shouts. They are at her gate. They are banging. I hide and watch. Jumman comes out, and the other brothers and cousins. The gate is locked quickly. They are fighting. They are hurt. I know one of ‘them’. He plays cricket with Jumman and me. He is not himself. No one is themselves. It makes no sense. My heart will pound out. I need to hide. I am ashamed. Why can’t I fight? But I don’t. I am scared. For life. For her. I can’t run. Anymore. I peep out the back window. She is outside the back door. With the other women of the house. And her small brother. She clutches his hand. She stares back. With her big, black eyes. Will she ever smudge her soorma again? They are already there. I squat. I press my head between my knees and squat. I wait for them. They kick me. “Hindu ya Musalman?” I wish I knew. I can’t speak. The boy I know sprinkles the kerosene oil. They step out. Everything burns. Instantly. For a long time.
She is critical.
Hmmm..We observe for a few minutes
I inhale her scent. I shut my eyes hard. I won’t try to open them anymore. Give her a chance. She is a child after all.