Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rock, the star

A rock can be a mountain,
and mountain becomes a rock
when shadows
come ahead of you
and the fiesty Sun behind
grips you at the ankles
it consumes
your smallness
that tallness
then purges
the mountain
and you, the rock.

At that step,
do turn around
and leave
the shadows behind
just run up to the Sun
through sweat and singeing skin
does that change the facts?
For some.
As the shadow then
gets to tail you
and before it
nails you
at the next pile of rubble
you have left 
the mountain far
and you,
the rock
now, a hurtling shooting star.


Healthy Talk

What happened to the writer who fell short of words? Well, they just got written off. That's for the cursory fling with blank spaces. Do people ever fall short of words in their everyday communication? Barring an awkward situation or two, people generally like to babble. It's a communicable disease the world over, the only known antidote being a stifled yawn and a vacant expression in the listener's eyes. But the antidote actually works only on smart -talkers who keep a keen eye out for their listener's responses. For others, it is a flash-flood of thoughts that generally tends to sweep away the innocent and the unprepared. The very concept of gossip emerges from the urge to talk even when there's nothing to talk about. And willing, cooperative listeners make the activity organically productive.

As a child, I was quite a motor-mouth. Verbal diarrhea may just as well be a polite euphemism for my jowl-movement. The only complaint (I'd like to highlight 'only' but being the modest gabber that I am, won't do so) that my teachers ever had on PTM days was that I was a compulsive chatter-box. It was difficult to put a lid on my expression, with little or no reaction-time for my audience. I'd say audience because as a child, even a groan about the humble tiffin-box packed by a sleepy mother at 5:30 in the morning, holds the possibility of advanced physical theatre. I guess that's the reason why children hold us in rapt attention even when they are sleeping because there's language oozing out of closed eye-lids with rolling eyes beneath, snoring nostrils and twitching of fingers. Anyway, back to the point. Teachers, in our times, had the special ability of dousing a good spark if they saw one. One was encouraged to aspire more towards receiving stars on the personality chart for being quiet for twenty minutes, than for learning to talk one's way out of a sticky situation.  Parents, being parents, would never forget to remind me to cap it.
Initially, only in the house and later, when it became embarrassing for everyone to be around a girl who is verbose and uninhibited, at social gatherings too. Consequently, the eloquence found its way to the debating platform. I could argue and declaim without giving a sorry a** to anybody's reaction. Fortunately, that attitude worked wonders. Invariably, the winning trophy would be mine. Unfortunately, it was a disaster in the real world where the driving word for communication is 'diplomacy'. And then slowly, that slogan in the library unfurled its meaning to me. Silence is golden. Better still, silence keeps you alive and loved. Free thought and free speech belong to the land of books alone. Thus came new learning: 

Talk if you must, 
but only just, 
to please or appease
and certainly not,
to flare or combust.
And if silence means,
to hold your beans,
then let 'em rot,
but air your bags out first.

The gift of the gab often landed me among people who wanted to use my free speech to kick up a free storm. Politics beckoned where action need not match words and my words were pricelessly persuasive. However, it is ironical that a field where free speech is the goon, diplomacy of inaction is the king-of-the-ring. And never the twain shall meet.

Anyhow, the point is that, thanks to well-meaning teachers and parents, talking became more of an internal activity than a mode of communication with the world outside. And when that internal chatter becomes incessant, it becomes de-rigueur to write. The world called it upon itself. It's not my fault anymore. It may have been easier to hear and bear than be dead as you read.

Therefore, world, do not rejoice when you find me silent. Prepare, instead, for the print-sprint.

Parents, let that kid talk. If you can’t make sense of the non-stop questions, observations and remarks, then perhaps you’re the ones who need to air out those bags (lungs, incase, you didn’t understand earlier). And teachers, you’re paid to speak, aren’t you? Go eat your words. It's all healthy talk after all.

Cheers and burritos!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Missing Wordsworth. Again.

Someone asked me for an introduction. I just gawked. Really, for all it's worth, my poems speak of me the way I am. Or am not. Who knows. My poems know me best. Ask them.

No time to stop and stare,
in a forest sans all care,
Herding, ambling along
through creepers, vine and root,
and sound of marching boot,
no music and no song.

It’s crowded when I read,
which happens off and on;
and thus these books to me
are often a clarion
that blows away the cobwebs
of ego and illusion
and brings to light a tableau
born of kindred seclusion.
Baring such truths well-nested
(always were there to see)
My books and I stop here
under this whispering tree
where me, my pen, my longings
at play, yet adequately rested.


Writing for

Dear friends,

I have been busy lately. Thankfully. Because it doesn't happen often. More routinely, busyness has to try hard and find me while I keep giving it the slip and a run. But it often descends on me when I've got my guards down, scavenging through a heap of books. That's when I get trapped and then, that busyness bug hums in my ears till a particular book draws out a yawn or two.

Anyway, I tend to digress most when I'm thoughtless. Ironical, isn't it? Therefore, I thought I'd give this idle thinking some direction. And so, apart from working on a few book ideas, I've started writing for a friend's library's blog. Not only would you find interesting reads on the website of 300stories but also book reviews to help you ogle with that reading-goggle. If you are an avid reader and would like to share your views about a book/short story/author, feel free to write in. I've got a book-review up there already. It's on The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach. If you'd like to read, do visit:

Go, try a book. Have fun.
See you, booker!

Monday, September 9, 2013

My Pink, Handcrafted Cupboard

In light of assaults on women in recent times, these few lines are an attempt to relate to the thoughts of a rape-survivor, who is trying to regain balance between the trauma and her life prior to the incident.

It rings loud
and hollow
in its shiny newness
my pink, hand-crafted cupboard,
as I begin
to put in
one after the other
vibrant drapes
to adorn my work and play.
Layer upon layer
the shelves and walls
absorb within
the clamour of loud, soulful hues.

It was then yesterday,
that I wore on me
an apprehensive thought
in rueful blue
and paisley yellow
as I ravaged through
the pile of clothes
from a brand new cupboard
and straight on to bed.
The void inside
started to grow
as the heap on the bed
bled to the floor.

The voice of contempt
rang loud and hollow,
like a void
hitting a void;
guttural sounds
running straight into
a larger empty space
on the shelves now
and the walls
empty with
an emptier nook within,
and hooks and hangers
to put
frightful memories on.
Was that yesterday?

Some time today…
…My hospital bed
and the white-washed sheet
is safe because
an unassuming apprehension
has been replaced
by a listless, sanitised calm.

But the soft caressing
of cotton sheets
can’t stop
my skin from pricking
at the recall of rough hands
like nettle on unsuspecting skin
over my mouth
breasts and thighs
engulfing the memory
of my father’s gentle fingers
and brother’s benign wrist.

The hollows
in my eyes
stare at the moment
that led me to that space,
in which,
robes undone
mindlessly lying
where they didn’t belong
unclaimed, unwanted
yet devoured and relished.

I’ll take them
To a tailor,
or a seamstress, that’s better
to darn the gaping holes
or possibly
restitch together
a patterned, patch-work quilt
Would that help?
The nurse is not
a seamstress
She says she doesn’t know.

I wonder as I,
on this hospital bed,
in every empty moment
of ruthless, mocking laughter
my body, that cupboard
now a gargoyle
for refusing
newer waste
Then and now.

Be brave
I’m told
stay strong
the only way to be
I am, always was
and yet, now
I do not know
how to live
despite the acerbic breathing
in a prickly world
of sympathetic stares
and inquisitive cares
that dress me
like mouldy, nettled fabric…
…I find all around…
barter after barter
trade after trade
bravery for safety
courage for peace
comfort for silence
blue for grey
red for white
And yellow for an abysmal nude.

It’s tomorrow now…
I’m home
and normalcy rules
in the corridor, lane, road
outside my house.
And in the loud
ringing hollows
of my cupboard,
I shall fold the colours
to tuck them away
in the deepest nook;
I am now learning
to refill the emptiness
and order the chaos
In my pink, hand-crafted cupboard.