Monday, December 26, 2011

2012


This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper. - T.S.Eliot

Even the bleak
prophecies of the end
don't alter us for better
life goes on
as we play cruel jokes
on love
and everything
traditional

the soulessness
of human relationships
covered by the bedazzling
festive lighting
party noise
killing the small
little voice inside us.

now we do
what we do best
make online causes
and sell even
impending death

the apocalypse
is already inside us
we are merely
waiting to give it a date.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

BARTENDER


Go make me a drink
as bitter as memory
as pungent as hurt
as smooth as fantasy
and as intoxicating as love !

Only you have one
for every taste -
Bartender life ,
find it an exotic name
fill it in a modest glass
but please,
Go make me a drink !

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Soul Cauliflower

soul cauliflower
dissected on
the chopping board
of love

there it is
the once wriggly worm
of some sin
a dirty secret
dead now
so not there
but there still

ruining the
perfect purity
of whatever it touched

the puerile white,
like a bride's veil
now abhorred
like a shroud.

Monday, December 19, 2011

THE WITCH-HUNT


Accuse,accuse,accuse
stone the devil
let us bury her deep
in the rubble of our sinlessness

She can allure the good men
curse and kill your children
steal away your riches
she is sin incarnate !

lets smile victoriously together
at defeating the potential evil
whatever doesn't fit our norm
must be wicked !

A witch-hunt is a search for witches or evidence of witchcraft, often involving moral panic, mass hysteria and lynching, but in historical instances also legally sanctioned and involving official witchcraft trials.In India, labeling a woman as a witch is a common ploy to grab land, settle scores or even to punish her for turning down sexual advances. In a majority of the cases, it is difficult for the accused woman to reach out for help and she is forced to either abandon her home and family or driven to commit suicide.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

PRIYAMVADA- 3

You were the
subtle sudden flutter
of an anticipated joy
when I first felt you

blurry-eyed
when my shaking hands
held you for the first time
I was all pulp inside

Time melted
and everything that was
or could ever be
became you

Today I see you
a warm,happy kid
at another milestone

I am thankful
that you chose me !

Sunday, December 11, 2011

From one poet to another......


A word is dead
When it is said,
      Some say,
I say it just
Begins to live
      That day.

      - Emily Dickinson (December 10,1830- 1886)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

DECEMBER


The reluctant rain
like the jilted lover
scared of revealing
too much too soon

The furious ligtening
like an old spark
there and yet not there,
sometimes only sound
ocassionally only light

Dear December
with companions so weird
it must be a tough
to always be the last
full of closures
and pending pain

mere memories
of spring
to warm the heart !

Monday, December 5, 2011

RELIGION



Several vague perceptions
each coloured
in its own prejudice
held dear as
our history versus theirs

Brick and mortar
soaked in human blood
amassed to make
the figmental gateway
to an unseen heaven
while the living dread
the gods they worship
and kill those who
worship another god

fabricate a shrine
preaching bloodshed
invent a fanatic God
who endorses violence
annihilate that weakness
called forgiveness
demolish every evidence of
tolerance,love or philanthropy

In a new fierce,
conscienceless
brutal religion
let no Ayodhya
ever hurt again !


The Ayodhya dispute is a political, historical and socio-religious debate in India, centred on a plot of land in the city of Ayodhya, located in Faizabad district, Uttar Pradesh . The main issues revolve around access to a site traditionally regarded as the birthplace of the Hindu god Rama, the history and location of the Babri Mosque at the site, and whether a previous Hindu temple was demolished or modified to create the mosque.
The Babri Mosque was destroyed by hardline Hindu activists during a political rally which turned into a riot on December 6, 1992.Hundreds of people were killed in the riots following the demolition.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bhopal - 27


The planet beneath us
has marched on
drowning covertly
27 years in its
collective consciousness,
but for Bhopal that night
never ended.

the lethal veil of smoke
blinded reason and feeling,,,
the foul smell of
impending death
dancing naked
in every corner
still fills the
distorted nostrils

the muffled cries of
the unborn,almost humans
unheard,unacknowledged
the dead only numbers
the living only statistics

the cameras reappear
the headlines return
for the 'anniversary'
but the pain stays,
the rotten lungs
spit up globs of misery,
there is only a stink now
of indifference

The civilised world
doesn't tolerate
a politician slapped
or a businessman jailed

the armchair activists
only avoid looking
at an ugly haggard
called suffering

please tell them
that it is not fiction
an experiment gone wrong
the city of lakes
is a multitude of tragedies !

The Bhopal Gas Tragedy,considered one of the world's worst industrial catastrophes,occurred on the night of December 2–3, 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. A leak of methyl isocyanate gas and other chemicals from the plant resulted in the exposure of thousands of people.The initial effects of exposure were coughing, vomiting, severe eye irritation and a feeling of suffocation. Thousands of people had succumbed by the morning hours. There were mass funerals and mass cremations as well as disposal of bodies in the Narmada river. The stillbirth rate increased by up to 300% and neonatal mortality rate by 200%.It is estimated 100,000 to 200,000 people have permanent injuries. Reported symptoms are eye problems, respiratory difficulties, immune and neurological disorders, cardiac failure secondary to lung injury, female reproductive difficulties and birth defects among children born to affected women.The contamination and suffering continues. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

30TH NOVEMBER


Indigent hands collecting
shards discarded
from other lives
to make a bonfire


Wafting aroma of
peanuts warming
from the heat of a
mud pot of 
simmering coals


Grandmother evening
ambling along
hiding the naughty sun
as he runs snubbed 
from cloud to cloud


The warm rivers of
human lives
flowing eagerly on the roads
back towards their sources


Homes preparing
hot meals,warm couches
and fireplaces of love
anticipating the cold hands
arriving soon


Its the terminal dusk
of my sweet November 
till tireless time
runs another full course
of a year !

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

LAUREATE


Living normed lives
churning constant
fodder for the frivolities
of life...

feeding the cliches
so that they
fatten the facts
each of us
a sub-plot
in someone else's epic

stories merging
characters emerging
words,scenes,events
all in a race to
reach the climax

the incessant
debit/credit of memories
a vague picture
in an album
or a portrait in the heart
a love letter never sent
or a eulogy to
an unrequited dream

Some shining through
others falling apart
Some adding real colour
others being mere props
the dialogue,wit and humour
the smiles and the tear drops

all of us poets
ghostwriters for
the laureate called life
self-awarding the masterpieces !

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

SMOKING


I roll deftly
the memories
of many decades
in the paper of
a lost hope

I ignite it
with the
spark of love
life glowworm

 life warning
'smoking is....'
spiraling with every breath
as I smoke myself !

Sunday, November 27, 2011

THE DIRTY PICTURE


She sits right next to
a busy city road
oblivious to its
vulgar noise and gaze
-the invisible destitute

the dead lump of tatters
that she cradles so delicately
could have been a baby once

the small pieces of
soiled glitter on her skirt
still ocassionally reflect
a love lost long ago

she digs the sod
probably trying to
reconstruct a timeline
her grimy nails
shedding murky milestones

The boys from the car
ogle at the oblivion
of her bosom
pushing aside
the hypocrisy
of the blouse called civilisation

the lights turn green
they speed up
getting late for
the dirty picture !

Friday, November 25, 2011

SCAVENGERS


Most of us don't 
hunt for prey any more 


We sit in the 
coliseum of civilisation
eagerly awaiting
the tearing apart
of the gladiator
celebrating not his heroism
but our own covert sadism


we sympathise 
with the victims of
our systems
enjoying our place 
in the unending 
chain of
opressor/opressed


they say we were
primates once
I doubt
we could even have been
scavengers.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

NUDE



A poem is a naked person... Some people say that I am a poet.- Bob Dylan

An unsure inhibition
must have
made 'nude'
a bad word
disrobing a new idea
- revolt.

Why must have Michelangelo said,
'...the foot is nobler than the shoe'

Isn't the body just a sheath
covering the
stark nakedness
of our vulnerable souls

some modesty
and good shame
should be acceptable
only to admit that
naked truths
are imperatives
to justify
bare imagination

To lay unclad
your emotions
is the most extreme nude !

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

POLTROON


He sits alone
every evening
to savor
the heady feeling
of her sitting miles away
thinking about him
her imagination
amplifying her heartbeat

In his dreams
they are the
eternal secret lovers
relishing a cryptic love

Their eyes would never
meet across
time and space
as if under a sacred oath
not to reveal

He is only scared of
his poltroon heart
implicating itself  !

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Green Bindi

Who were you?
what was your name?
what did you look like?
how often did you
admire yourself in that mirror,
the love and the anguish
the bliss and the woes
how much did you share with it?

I often imagine you
wherever I am
in this house
happy,sad,lonely,ecstatic !

I don't use this mirror often
but when I need someone
I come here
to share a secret of womanhood
I look at that
green-glittery bindi
in a corner of the frame
and I know why
for the last one year
I have let it be.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

UNCOMPLICATE


It must be bad
having her little body
cough and tremble
no sleep,no appetite
due to what we call an
infection !
Despite her way with words
the name is difficult
for her to grasp,
still unlike us
she doesn't
complicate or theorise
blame destiny
or fade in self-pity or guilt
suffers....
plays,tries to eat,smiles
wonders why
the doctor doesn't .
after a particular bad bout
she tells me,'mumma smile !'
I hear UNCOMPLICATE.


Friday, November 18, 2011

A PHONE CALL FROM DAD


The coldness of the
hospital chair
on which he sits
sends a shiver down my spine

My hands shake
as he takes out
his reading glasses
from his blazer
to read out the
clinical parameters
of 'the patient'

He feigns cough
to camouflage the
tremors in my voice
the lump in his throat
lets blame the network
we agree

A warm wetness
fills my heart and eyes
as I hear a tear
flood the furrows of his face
the tear he wipes
wets my shoulder

Grief is a secret
we seldom share
we don't allow
each other
the luxury called
vulnerability

He waits alone
in the corridor
between now and
.....nothing
I close my eyes
to remember him smile.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

WORDS


"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." 
- Kahlil Gibran

Carved on the walls
of the ancient caves
we call them symbols ,only
because we don't understand.

Calligraphed,imprinted
written,typed
said,whisphered
shouted
heard,unheard

poetry,prose
religious discourse
blank verses,perfect rhymes
said straight or
between the lines

bitter,sweet
status or tweet
strong,frail
sms or mail

whether they succeed
or they fail to convey
they do always say

hired by thoughts
lent to feelings
words always
don't have meanings

yet they exist
living a life of their own
words are the mind's
combat zone !

MEN WITH MOTIVES


I guess it is
not just the echo
but also the content
of their speeches
which is confused

their minds clogged
like the traffic
they manage to snarl
into a mindless maze

leader and followers
men with motives
proclaiming to redeem
the masses they exploit
rape,use and kill.

what do they seek?
where do they lead?

The country should
care more for
the rickshaw-wallahs
losing half their day's earning
to the 'YATRA' !

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

ROCKSTAR....


In a country where every one is either a cricket expert or a movie critic and a majority is comfortably both, I confess I am neither.My knowledge of technicalities of both these forms is amtaeur,yet there are instances /people which force even someone as uninitiated as me to write about them.Not with any intent to evaluate them or judge them for their merits /demerits but just see them through the limited range of vision of a commoner.

Ever since the promos of ROCKSTAR went on air on TV I was glued for A.R .Rahman's soulful music and the angst of our times so written all over Ranbir Kapoor.He looked every bit real,of our times and fit for apathy in these alienating times.In both his avatars in the movie -the simpleton music genius Janardhan Jakhar or the immensely popular Jordan he represents two prototypes -the dreams brewing in every nook and corner of young India and the futility of it all once it actually happens.

I am no Ranbir Kapoor Fan but him sitting with his guitar in the courtyard of the Nizamuddin dargah singing  'kun faya kun' in Mohit Chauhan's deeply impassioned voice is a moment that will be etched in my heart and soul for long.Rahman's  "nadaan parinde ghar aa ja" is one melody which can stir any soul for its sheer evoking of nostalgia for all things long lost- innocence,childhood,first love.The dangerous self-consuming love story in the film which claims to be"beyond all sense of right-doing/wrong-doing" is a huge pointer on where we are heading as a society. Maybe we are letting go of some of the old school morality and letting each be to his/her own.
So what makes ROCKSTAR iconic for me then? its pain and its passion , its perfect blend of Morrison and sufi  and the rockstar the one who in these mad times of constantly saying,commenting and updating croons "jo bhi main kehna chahoon barbad karein alfaaz mere".

Monday, November 14, 2011

CHILDREN'S DAY


Small hands
bereft of any
lines that
indicate destiny

small eyes
without any
dreams
of happiness
or family

A small world
languishing
in a small corner
where no day
is ever
children's day !

Saturday, November 12, 2011

LEFTOVERS


One day he wants
to have a real name
not the'whatever'
with which he is addressed often

he often looks
for the softness
of his mother's hug in
the folds of his torn blanket

he wishes destiny
was a cheap tin plate
that he could scrub clean
and catch his reflection in it

its children's day
in the school
across the road
his share would
only be the leftovers.

(This is for all the children who are made to work so that our society and economy run smoothly.Why celebrate children's day if we can't celebrate children ?)

A NOTE FROM A FRIEND

Friday, November 11, 2011

BITTER CHOCOLATE


He was always
a known face
in school,at home
a library or a park

whether it was a bruise
a forced kiss
or a gashing scar

she never slept
to dream a dream
the shroud of shame
the conspiracy of silence
never let her scream

this is the last
to herself she would lie
but that it was
always a lie

his smell would never
leave the room
the chocolate
he left was always bitter.

She had noticed
long back that
that there it sat
in a dictionary
-'trust' the pseudo word
interceded between
'truth' and 'tragedy.'


(This is inspired by Pinky Virani's book by the same title about child abuse.We celebrate children's day,its time we celebrate childhood only when we are ready as individuals,families and societies to speak up against our children being exploited and abused.)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

HER DAD'S MOM

I run my fingers delicately
through his sparse snowy hair
murmuring a blessing.

He sits there
eyes closed
wondering what,
I wonder.

As I rub
luke warm oil
into his pale
old ,wrinkled skin,

the daughter in me 
fades into an oblivion,
the woman liquifies,
a little girl
becomes her dad's mom.

DIFFICULT DELHI GOODBYES


Almost a year ago
Neatly stacked
and packed
in lifeless ugly boxes
life was moving
to another city

love , pain
anguish
lay jostling
with salt,pepper
and crockery
in lack
of suitable containers
to confine them.

memories
autographed the walls
and dreams clung like cobwebs

Delhi - a part of me stayed behind
the rest now has a new address !

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

SOUK

In the sacred 
souk of matrimony
I barter my soul
for a few pennies
of pseudo solace

The meeting is brief
and the elation
short lived

in the few
and far between
monosyllables

some beautiful
four-letter words
become just abuses

partners in life
commit love.

Monday, November 7, 2011

ALBINO



They had appeased all elders
prayed to all deities
and followed all rules.
- her parents wanted
a normal baby.

She was perfect
ten perfect little toes
two warm tiny palms
a warm baby smell
only the colour was missing

only the colour
the colour of her life
stigma,enigma
surprise,shock
curse,sympathise.

Two decades later
shielding herself from
more than just sunlight
she has got
all the terms and stats right

only the gazes still
bruise the pale inside
Why don't they stare at Him
who forgot to colour her right !

Friday, November 4, 2011

LADY FOG


The summer lover
seems to have left
in haste

leaving her
icy cold
her pearl string
scattered all over
the flower bed

the drape of
her achromatic saree
haphazard

she sways
all night
as if still in
the trance
of the brief
autumn warmth.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

QUESTION


A.
Chronicles of what
was passed on
to me as fact

B.
My perception of the
fact I received

C.
What actually happened
but was never recorded

D.
what never happened
but was recorded

I am on the hot seat
no lifelines
and life in its
Bachchanesque
baritone asks
what is HISTORY ?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WE

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/haryana-ifs-officer-decides-to-marry-outside-caste-family-faces-threats/869274/0


She has broken
many ceilings
including the famous glass one

The family and the city
proud of her
all basking in their piece
of her success story

yet they want from her
only confirmation
to their norms
and nothing else

How dare she ?
her success,love
and destiny
should be
what they allow it to be.

so much of we the people
WE.
A woman still
has to dare to be.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

EXTINCT




cloned cities,
flyovers,roads,
markets,multiplexes

the monstrous monotone
of modern cities

the rustling of
the golden jewels
of autumn
strewn lavishly
on a hill path.

the chirpers of the dawn
uninterrupted by waves
in the air.

the small bazars
with small shops
selling a little
bit of everything.

the meaningless small talk
just to renew
the connect
every day.

the single screens
of anticipation
of stardom and failures.


lives untouched
by the uniformity of brands
or the convenience
of home delivery.


Extinct then
are not just dinosaurs
the cloning is on !

a contest where this entry of mine won a prize

Monday, October 31, 2011

F1 in Kasauli

The rubber burning
on the tracks
ash-money,
power is the real game
so called 'history being created'

The pictures and the headlines
stare at me from papers
HISTORY written
large all over
the hills,the buildings and the people

The only race
is between the jostling thoughts
in my mind
one elbowing the other

memories burning
on the muddled tracks of mind.



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

LIGHT

The light is often within
whether its a humble diya
an imported candle
a Chinese string of mini bulbs
or the human heart


it takes a small
spark somewhere
a meeting of the
negative and positive 
to ignite and illuminate


so then the light within
is the only light
that can dispel the darkness


HAPPY FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS !







Monday, October 24, 2011

Lessons from a Postman





Remember this:
The postman is a public servant He is very useful to society He delivers mail, money orders, invitations and parcels to us. He wears a khaki uniform. He car­ries a bag across his shoulder. He keeps all the letters and parcels inside it.
He gets up very early in the morn­ing and goes to the post-office. After collecting letters from there he delivers those letters to us. He goes from door to door and delivers the mail. He brings happy news as well as sad news
. Whether it rains or it is very hot, he does the work regularly and he is very punctual. Every day we wait for him. He brings news of our relatives and friends.
He is honest. His work is very hard. We should be thankful to him for working so hard for us.

Most of us have written something similar in middle school to get those much valued ten marks allotted to short essays in English. But I guess for the snail-mail generation postmen were heaven-sent and so we did see them with a lot of respect for the kind of work they did. In villages, he performed additional duty of reading out the postcards or writing replies on behalf of those who could not read or write. 
A memory still afresh in my mind is of yesteryear’s superstar Rajesh Khanna singing “dakia dak laya ,dakiya dak laya,khushi ka payaam kahin,kahin dardnaak laya”.
I recently happened to meet the latter type- (the pain in the #@@ type). My parents who have been the patrons of India post for more than 50 years now sent me a festival shagun via a money order.(No matter how much I complain to them about this somewhere I love them for these traditional quirks).
So this gentleman had some secret designs on my money and so didn’t deliver it for a good ten days and then to take it one step further he signed the receipt and very conveniently showed delivered on his records. So basically this was a small forgery.
When we came to know about this, the matter was taken up and after a lot of struggle the money was recovered. To cut the long story short due to the various conversations about this on phone and otherwise my real loss was not the harassment I went through for such a small task but the fact that now my toddler would never see another postman in the same light as our generation did.
Another still bigger loss was the loss of trust that my parents suffered in a service they had relied on for almost five decades.
The lessons learnt:
No matter how small our job in a team, our good and bad deeds have implications on the whole team.
It takes ages to make the delicate we of trust in a relationship and just a tug to shatter it all.
Damn you Mr. Evil Postman! Wish more people respected the service they are a part of !

FESTIVAL


It is that time
of the year again
its raining opulence
stinking affluence


the markets 
doing brisk business
homes and people
putting up new make-up
to cover 
last year's scars.


the toxic mithai
and the anti-crackers campaign
coexisting
in the rants and raves
section of the
supermarkets erstwhile
known as a festival


a capricious thorn
of guilt making
some uneasy
while others 
taking the placebo
of overlooking
the obvious disparity
of happiness.


The old lady deepavali
envies the Belgian chocolates
and the designer candles
the young diwali 
too drunk for comprehending
the beauty of an earthen lamp
or homemade burfi
clearly in a hangover.


the lights will be beautiful
but will the happiness
be unplagiarized ?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Crowning glory

They are all hues
dark,light
salt-pepper
or a colour imaginary

shaved locks
in Nazi camps
erasing identity
or long locks symbolising
love, beauty, piety.

tightly coiled
for my race
or covered in a veil
for my religion's grace

curly ,straight
limp or bold
gray,black
in between or gold

Every woman
wherever she be
whatever her story
her hair is always
her crowning glory !

The hair is the richest ornament of women.  ~Martin Luther

MORNING


The winter daybreak is still
a couple of hours away
The charming chill of the night
longing to kiss
the warm lips of dawn.

The stoical slumber
of the city being shuffled
by only some wandering vehicle
or stray dogs.

The silence is soon
pierced simultaneously
by Azan, temple bells
and morning prayers at the Gurudwara

once the gods
refresh the world
to welcome another day
the human activity begins.

fragrance of fresh ginger tea
the spluttering of a breakfast menu
the gurgling of a shower
the school buses
and the newspaper boys.


in an instant
one can taste , smell and sense
India - the peculiar multiplicity
of its silhouette
glowing in the glorious sparkle
of another hybrid morning.

Friday, October 14, 2011

रात और चाँद

एक रात थी 
काली स्याह धुंधली
अपने ही सायों में डूब कर
घुलती चुपचाप

एक चाँद था
चमकीला,सब तारों से
ज्यादा रोशन
लेकिन अकेला

फिर रात और चाँद
इक बार मिले
और दोनों ने यह मान लिया
अब साथ चलें

मैं अपने आंचल में
छिपा लूं तुमको
और तुम मुझमे भर दो
अपनी रूह की रौशनी

उस दिन एक खूबसूरत
रिश्ता बना
नाम जिसका प्यार पड़ा
और शायर ने जिसको
फिर चांदनी रात कहा !


Thursday, October 13, 2011

FROM GADGET GURUS TO OBJECT GURUS

A few days ago I had actually penned down the lessons my gadgets provided me , and so I was inevitably looking around for more meaning and inspiration from the quiet and uncelebrated participants of our lives.To my great surprise I realized that so many simple everyday objects around the house also have a thing or two to teach.Here it is:

SPOON - You have to bow your head humbly in order to fill yourself with something valuable.
PENCIL - You have to put your neck into some kind of danger in order to prove your utility,so let life sharpen you out.
CURTAIN - Perspective is very subjective.Some may think I prevent people from looking in and others may presume I prevent other people from glancing out,ironically I am simply hanging there.
TOOTHBRUSH - If a little discomfort on your part brings on a smile, go through it.
MIRROR - An image is just that an image,a person is much more than an image.
CLOCK - Every contribution is significant.Most people read only the hour and the minute hand ,nevertheless the hand ticking for seconds is equally important.
ERASER - Even if you have to damage yourself a little to correct an error, do it.You might be contributing in making something just perfect.
NEEDLE- Respect verstality.Size doesn't matter.They say a pen is mightier than a sword and a sword is certainly mighteir than me.I can't write poetry or win wars but can they sew a button?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

US

Do all love stories
begin with two strangers 
seeking some meaning
or illusion of completion
or culmination?


The paths that we walked together
would they be same 
after all these years
or the footprints of
more lovers (like we were back then)
and the ravages of the 
tyrant called Time
would have blurred ours?


Does all human love
run this familiar course
attraction,submission
and dissolution?


The stranger becoming "us"
is intense
but then isn't  a part of "us"
becoming stranger again 
equally incisive?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

MY GADGET GURUS

So much has been said about human life and so much more is being said about its increasing dependeance on gadgets.Yet I feel even these lifeless companions of a modern lonely soul do much more than just making our lives comfortable.
When most of my mental space is often occupied by people and events I deliberately take some time out to write a note to my gadget gurus, about what they have taught me.
WASHING MACHINE - Always keep your drains unclogged to let out all the mental garbage it collects.
MICROWAVE OVEN - The outcome in a project or a relationship is not always in proportion to the effort put in it.It is OK ,there is always a lesson learned.
CELL PHONE - Contacts are just that only contacts,the numbers you will really call in a crisis will always be a few.
MIXER - The churning is important,sometimes the blades are blunt at other hours they are sharp,but keep the churning going on.
REFRIGERATOR - If you don't defrost the accumulated baggage from time to time it will only slow you down.
LAPTOP - Machines can do a lot for you but for a hug and a smile you need people.
TELEVISION - The world is constantly on the move,pick your slots carefully and don't be led astray by mindless advertising.

Monday, October 10, 2011

My heart's voice- RIP Jagjit Singh

Once upon a time,not too long ago there were no CDs to play,no mutual friends on Facebook and no cellphones to call.In that era love had a synonym- Jagjit singh's voice.
Whether it was the romeo in the lane playing,'kal chaudhvin ki raat thi' ,to impress the hottie next door,or it was the shy girl sending a message to a geek classmate -"jhuki jhuki si nazar",Jagjit was the voice of love sans class or gender.
Jagjit brought the unintiated ones like me closer to Urdu poetry and the fine art of ghazals and Nazms.There was a must -be phase for every young heart then,to hum Jagjit's ghazals in parties and when alone,to seek respite in their melodious longing of love or to despair in the soulful agony of unfulfilled ambition.
Whether it was 'na umr ki seema ho ,na janm ka ho bandhan'-type serious love or it was just or 'hosh walon ko khabar kya' -type rebelious teenage outburst ,there was a melody for all moods in his repertoire.
The connect at times was so strong that so many of us felt that when he sang,'woh ek din ek ajnabi ko meri kahani suna raha tha'.
Along with Ghalib ,Gulzaar saab,Sahir and Harivansh Rai Bachchan on my bookshelf there is a sacred corner for Jagjit's cassettes .They will always be special because they hold a big slice of my youth in his majestic voice.They hold the key to my dreams as a teenager,my notion of first love,my first foray into writing poetry myself.
An era ends today but the legend and the voice will live forever.For me and I'm sure many others he will always be the heart's voice.

shehed jeene ka mila karta hai thoda thoda
jaane waalon ke liye dil nahin toda karte

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The last patch

The small course of bricks now
encloses a few pots
in a corner
and the remnants of some plants

the rest of the
erstwhile last patch
of "green belt" in the lane
has given way
to the tiled beauty
of a drive-in porch

so the number of cars
won hands down
defeating the
natural , untamed ugliness
of a few pots of seasonal flowers.

I'm suddenly reminded
of some toddlers in a school
uniformed,disciplined,
in the process of being civilised

walled to be tamed
another battle lost.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

वक़्त

वो जो  गुज़र  गया
क्या बस वक़्त था
या और भी कुछ मर गया?

जो रंग भरे ख्वाब थे
और दोस्त बेहिसाब थे
क्यूँ लम्हा वो
बिखर गया
क्यों वक़्त वो गुज़र गया?

दिन- साल कितने बीते हैं
बस जीने को अब भी जीते हैं
पर दिल  कहीं ठहर गया
क्या बस वक़्त था जो गुज़र गया?

तू आज कोई और है
मैं आज कोई और हूँ
वो जो प्यार था वो किधर गया
क्यों वक़्त वो गुज़र गया?


Monday, October 3, 2011

Diabolical Demons...

He goes about bragging
his male prowess
he has only sons...
no weaklings(read girls)

In his presence
his wife of almost two decades
is still only seen
not heard(read dare she?)

This man
is going today
from house to house
finding little girls (read tradition)
for tomorrow morning's Puja

Who says Kaali
had killed all the demons?
some still walk free.

SMALL

I see what you see

but what if I see it

as I see

and not as as you see.

I speak your language

but what if I choose

my own words

and make new meanings.

I grow in your shadow

and you thrive on me

because its only in my

humility

you achieve greatness.

Friday, September 30, 2011

NAVRATRI SNAPSHOTS

I

She will fast all nine days

pay alms,worship little girls

how else should she repent

for killing two of her own

years ago

the unborn girls.

II

The doctor told her

not to fast during pregnancy

yet she comes to the temple every day

"O mother goddess,

a son this time please !

or the hell for her and

her daughter would become worse."

III

The pandal for dandiya

is next to the market

Raju's unlettered,13 years old mind

calculates.why his day's earnings

are even less than the price of

one navratra thali for those who fast.

IV

In the car park

for the dandiya celebrations

the car boot is the bar

a group of young brats

look forward to

cheap thrills.

v

Taking a break from his rickshaw

he is glad that

his girls fetch so much

from devout homes on Ashtami

otherwise these good for nothings

burden on earth.

VI

The Devi is decorated

celebrated.

the women battered,

the girl child,abused and killed.

The celebartion is for nine nights

the suffering is endless.

Monday, September 26, 2011

दूसरी बेटी

जब माँ की पीठ
का दर्द बढ जाता
भाग-भाग कर दवा वह लाती
अपने छोटे हाथों से फिर
टेड़ी-मेडी रोटी पकाती

जब बाबा पर मजबूरी आती
कभी न कोई मांग बताती
पूरा साल एक पुराने सूट
में वह चुपचाप चलाती

पढ़-लिखकर जब बड़े शेहर
में बिटिया रानी नाम कमाती
माँ-बाबा का छोटा घर
अपने जिया से नहीं भुलाती

शादी के बातों से पहले
बाबा को खूब समझाती
लेने-देने की कोई बात न करना
ऐसा बार- बार दोहराती

माँ के जाने के बाद से वह फिर
बाबा की भी माँ बन जाती
स्नेह दिखाती,प्यार जताती
और कभी-कभी डांट लगाती

मृत्यु शैया पर सोया बाबा
सोच-सोच बहुत दुःख पाता
क्यूँ उसने थी हिम्मत हारी
कोख में दूसरी बेटी मारी

आज वह होती
तो में दुगना स्नेह भी पाता,गर्व जताता
दूसरी बेटी जग में आती
वह भी रोशन नाम कराती !

Sunday, September 25, 2011

बेटी

वह कोमल होकर भी
ढो लेती है सारी ज़िन्दगी
हंसकर तुम्हारी
हर मर्यादा का भार

और तुम
केवल नौ महीने
भी उसको कोख नहीं दे पाते

ज्यों-ज्यों बड़ी वह होती
सिर्फ बोझ होने का
उसे एहसास दिलाते

सोचना कभी
क्या होता जो
तुम्हारी माँ को भी
बेटी होने के लिए
मार दिया जाता

ना तुम होते और ना
होता तुम्हारी
सोच का गहरा अँधेरा
जिसमे तुम्हे
तुम्हारी अजन्मी बेटी की
चीखें नहीं सुनाई देती !

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A girl called Pooja

Its yellowing pages
still being held
by the dog-eared binding

the dreams
of a teenage soul
poems,quotes,
even birthday reminders
and mindless scribbles

there it was buried
under the pile of
scholarly mumbo-jumbo
just like the innocence
left long behind

the dreams of a teenage soul
the aspirations
the real pink words of love
the joys and the frustrations
all real,tangible

no copypasted updates
no morsels of thoughts
or mundane chunks of life
to throw out of a facebook window

I don't know why I cried
when I found out
Once upon a time
much before internet
lived a girl called - Pooja .

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

किंकर्तव्यविमुड़......

किंकर्तव्यविमुड़......
यह एक शब्द था
किसी पुरानी कविता का
जो आजकल बार-बार
मन के सरोवर
को उद्वेलित कर जाता

क्या मैं
अपने किसी कर्म से
पीछा छुडा रही थी
या फिर सभी को
कभी न कभी
त्रस्त करती यही जिजीविषा !

किंकर्तव्यविमुढ़ता,जिजीविषा,जीवन,
जिज्ञासा, आज बस मन उलझा रहा !

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A bird's life

Sometime or the other
I'm sure we all wish
to be a bird

it might be
the sudden urge
to just fly free
get rid of a worry
or just be....

sometimes it is
out of joy
to spread the wings
and measure the sky

yeah a bird
is free from petrol prices
and relationship complexities

but finding the tastiest worm
or cushioning the best nest to rest
would also be
a different kind of rut

spring to miss
mate to find
nest to make
dinner to bring back...

want to be a bird ?

Friday, September 16, 2011

ODE TO THE COMMON COLD

You come silently
shrouded in a mysterious
invisibility of
what they call virus,
they give you glorious epithets -
nasopharyngitis, acute viral rhino pharyngitis.

The body welcomes you
the prince of illnesses
for commoners
with a sore throat,watery eyes
and the elaborate rituals
of cough and fever.

In the reign of congestion
the first casualty
is common sense,
the mental faculties
give up due to the blocked gates
of the brain

then you teach me
to cough myself awake
and everything tastes
like stale rice cake

the gain however
my dear benign illness
is the Bachchanesque baritone
in which one can try
that prank call
to a rude boss,
or a horrible ex-'s home.

So the deal is sealed
with every sneeze
you hope to
expand territory
and I bask
in the glory of being
semi-ill.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

शब्द और अर्थ

शब्द और अर्थ की
अनंत खाई
कभी लगता है
थी ही नहीं
और कभी फिर से उभर आई

क्या केवल अर्थ से ही
सार्थक होता शब्द है
या कभी समझा
पाता है
भावों की वो भी गहरायी

शब्द और अर्थ
की अनंत खाई !

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

HINDI DIWAS

There she is
the newcomer,the one who
knows many forms and
new techniques

the admirers start pouring
bringing gifts
they adore her beauty
the glossy shine
of her
world-class act.

I ,the original one
now called indigenous
sit in a corner
waiting ,to catch
a fleeting glance
or something

Am I outdated already?
what about my songs that they sing
my movies that they see
that too must be some other kind of hindi.

let me speak in
her tongue-ENGLISH
and be comforted
they never forget
the press release
on 14 September,
Hindi diwas.

Win ! Win !

Friends this is a contest I won

http://bookreaderslounge.blogspot.com/2011/09/55-words-flash-fiction-contest-results.html

Monday, September 12, 2011

The murky waters


In the murky waters
of my mind
The dust settles
the pebbles
of unsettled questions
still raising their uneasy heads
in between

The rows of black on white
are words when
comprehended
only patterns when
the heart is disengaged

Are there really answers
or just false reassurances
with enough room
for new questions
to breed

This is what
we call life
experiences...relationships
thoughts and dreams.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11

हर दिन की तरह
एक वह भी सुबह थी
घर से निकले थे
लोग और उनके सपने
घर लौटी बुरी यादें ,
नफरत और
कुछ आंसू


ग्यारह सितम्बर
उस दिन बन गया ९/११

दो इमारतों की धूल
में दब गयी
शांति की आखरी उम्मीद

इन्सानियत बंट गयी
हम और उनमे

शक के घेरे
हुए इतने गहरे
की विशवास और मानवता
कुचले गए हमेशा के लिए

जो भी नाम दो
जितने भी विश्लेषण कर लो

उस लम्हे की खता को
माफ़ करने में शायद
हम सबको सदियाँ लगे

Friday, September 9, 2011

HOPE

Broken homes
burnt memories
lost childhood

only the taste
of violence
and the rotting smell
of hatred

the hills,roads
and rivers
the colour of blood
washing away
traditions,
fear drowning
shared history.

Kashmir ,Punjab
north-east
the wounds don't heal
the pain doesn't lessen

only hope is
a thin silver -lining.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dates and History

It was just another day
almost ten years ago
9/11,as we call it now
changed everything...

it altered how we look
at ourselves
and others.
Mumbai ,New york,Karachi
all got bifurcated into us and them.

The word Terror
had a new meaning

more dates happened
sad,angry
full of death and misery

We ponder for a day or two
read and discuss
casually over a drink
and then just let it be

simply because its not
my personal tragedy

I wonder
what if
on either side of the blast
is a brother,a son or a friend

Death is painful
but so must be a life full of hatred
a heart determined to kill

Dates will keep becoming
news,books and movies
but I'm sure a history
devoid of violence
would also be nice.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Teachers....

Its Teacher's day and this year I feel like recording here formally my gratitude to a lot of people who have been teachers to me.Some of them officially holding the title ,others earning it by sheer devotion for my betterment.
They come in all shapes and sizes,quite literally and from various walks of life, some even from an age/ time far removed in which I exist.I mention them in no precise order here,only with a heart full of gratitude and love and eyes brimming with the overwhelming feeling of being blessed with all of them in one lifetime.
  • My mummy and papa for letting me be the person I am always,listening to me even when they disagreed,for teaching me to reach for the sky without leaving the roots that hold me upright.
  • My teachers in my first school where I was a fussy toddler,for teaching me to always ask my questions even at the risks of ruffling some feathers.
  • My teachers in St.Thomas School Shimla,for teaching me that real education is not ransom to a great building or the best infrastructure in town,just plain dedication.
  • My teachers and friends in St.bede's College Shimla,who made me believe in the strength of my dreams and to look beyond the proverbial well of the small frog for the world out there.
  • My friends,teachers and colleagues in Panjab university Chandigarh,for making me master the art of being always comfortable in my own skin,for setting me on a quest of never ending learning.
  • My students from a variety of backgrounds and age-groups,for teaching me to be a good listener and regular exercises in the fine art of communication.
  • My best friend and now husband for teaching me optimism and humour.
  • My daughter ,whose lessons are still on about building blocks,ants,stars and everything else under the sky.
  • My friends for being my co-learners as well as teachers in life-experiences as silly as tequila shots and as profound as motherhood.
And last but not the least,innumerable people,objects,experiences and things e.g. Karl Marx,ants,birds,books,colours,watching fog in hills,smelling wine,holding a newborn,cookery shows,household helps,news,internet - all of them teaching me so much and enhancing my treasure trove.
Thank you all ! HAPPY TEACHER'S DAY !

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Delhi Book Fair

The sights and smells
here would send me on a tizzy
Like a grasshopper
on caffeine
I would hop from one pile to another

Inspite of the
picnic-making crowds in the aisles
the sweltering heat
the fear of pick-pockets
I would make my way
from one end to the other

not once
but on two or three days

at the end of them
my bags would be full
my wallet empty
but my heart still wanting more

Delhi book fair
This time I'm not there
do you miss me?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

खाली घोंसला - for a friend experiencing the empty nest

एक छोटे से पेड़ से
शुरू हुई मेरी कहानी
साथी संग मैंने
अपना घोंसला सजाया

और फिर हमारे जीवन मे
वह आया
हम जैसा ,एक छोटा सा
हमारा साया

दिन बीते
और बीते साल
अपनी आँखों से
हमने उसको दुनिया दिखाई
अपने परों पर हर उसकी
ज़रुरत उठाई

आज वह हमसे आके बोला
माँ वह देखो
दूर उस पेड़ पर
बनाऊंगा मैं
अपना एक घोंसला
ढून्ढूगा अपना एक साथी

मैं अचानक
कुछ घबरायी
क्या वह अब चला जायेगा
कहीं और ही बस जायेगा
मुझे भूलके अब मेरा बेटा
किसी और को अपनाएगा

फिर मैंने सोचा
यह तो अच्छी बात है पगली
तेरा बेटा सीखा
अपने परों से उड़ना
अपना जीवन ख़ुशी से जीना

कल जब वह
ऊँची उडान भरेगा
अपने घोंसले को ख़ुशी से भरेगा
क्या मेरा मन न हर्शाएगा
उसके नए जीवन मैं ही
यह नया जीवन पायेगा !





Friday, August 26, 2011

Panjab University

The moment the car turned right
My heart skipped a beat

this was home a few years ago
my hostel...my space

dreams...aspirations,friends
all had one address

roommate who became
a friend for life

support staff
who were God's best lesson in
smile and serve.

meaningless discussions
about a new dress or
the more profound ones
about Foucault and Sartre
till midnight

the rushed breakfast...
the much-awaited special lunches
calls on the only fixed line around
no cellphones to replace 2 a.m friends

the small queer market
to buy everything from dustbins to
samosas and stationery

the lone phone booth
the long wait to make the call home

Nostalgia can't get better than this
Panjab university....thanks
for all this and
much more.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Birkin Affect


Perceptions are like a messed up cake recipe,there is little that can be done to change both suitably.In the modern world the Media, our major source of the information affects how people shape their conceptions of self, others and the world.
Unfortunately media does little to break the age old gender prejudices even when it comes to public figures.Women politicians always receive less issue-related coverage and are more likely to be discussed in terms of their roles as mothers and their marital status.A female politician is first and foremost seen as a woman, a wife and a mother. Her profession is rarely separated from her gender.
Sadly the so-called progressive Indian media did little to break stereotypes during the recent visit of Pakistan minister Hina Rabbani Khar.National newspaper headlines proclaimed that Pakistan had put its "best face forward" and other such puns. Facebook statuses hailed her as Pakistan’s best export. Tweets ranged from comparing her to Kate Middleton to commenting on her Cavalli sunglasses and black Birkin bag.
Alright, she is a fashionista and restaurateur.She is from an affluent and political background,owns a popular restaurant in Lahore and several horses,but wasn't she here to discuss matters far greater in influence than a Birkin bag?
A birkin is a symbol of obvious wealth and exclusivity but issues concerning Pakistan are certainly much intense than this.The meeting of the two ministers was detrimental to south-Asia's future but the whole focus was on Hina's dresses and accessories.
Will the Birkin overshadow Kashmir?
Will Hina Rabbani Khar see indo-pak relations in a better light through her Roberto Cavilli glasses?
Marcel Proust had once said,"The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."So lets hope Khar does some breakthrough work in indo-pak relations and next time around the media is compelled to shift focus from the birkin.

Orange Flower Awards

@IAmSufiZen

COMPANIONS CALLED BOOKS

To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
Animal Farm
The Alchemist
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Romeo and Juliet
Frankenstein
The Odyssey
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Count of Monte Cristo
Eat, Pray, Love
Lolita
The Da Vinci Code
The Kite Runner
The Silence of the Lambs
The Diary of a Young Girl
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Notebook
Gone With the Wind
}

I WILL RING THE BELL.WILL YOU?

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario
my work on display there !!!!!