Friday, December 31, 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR

WISH YOU ALL A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR :-)

Civilization...


Her bare back is filled with flies,
with a mud smeared face
she gazes helplessly at the mad frenzy
 of the populace passing by.
Torn pieces of a once-called-gown
is hanging from her bent torso.
A peculiar stench all around; and
a broken bowl in front for alms
is producing occasional tinkling sound
as a coin or two are carelessly tossed into it.
The bright neon light filtering like a downpour
and the posh sky scrapers are looming large over her.
I carefully covered the space with hurried steps,
cautious that my new stiletto shouldn't be too messy;
with an irritable frown and a twitching nose,
murmuring all the while in mind,
the failure of theories of sociology and
economy, reasons and remedies of poverty
and how the politicians are incapable
to drive away these beggars;
my son’s quick glance and a hasty query
as he looked up from his expensive IPOD
‘ couldn't anything be done for them’?
A shiver went down my spine.
I rushed to put a five hundred rupee note in her bowl
hoping that my duty would be fulfilled now;
A pair of pale diseased disbelieving eyes confronted
my so called benevolence with –
“what would I have to do for you in return?
Mind you, I can’t even sell my body, now”

The high flying fluttering national flag
hoisted at the top of a high rise
to welcome the New Year,
drew my attention for a fleeting moment.
I wondered at the word ‘independence’!
The ‘independence’ that was obtained
after so many sacrifices, after so much bloodshed;
Is that piece of tricolor cloth flying proud,
called independence?
Or is it our dignity, our responsibility as well?
I stood all alone, my thoughts
seemed like a tangled knot of old dried blood
among the circus of civilization.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Husband's lament ...

A year ago or this moment,
a day before and this hour,
sitting and waiting as usual,
I wondered at the pointlessness of my
old promise:
the day you go, I stop living too!
for I continue to be, even now
gazing at a far away distance,
watching the hazy purple horizon
as it swallowed the orange ball of bliss.

and I observed that man,
bending over his work,
beads of sweat gathered
on the wrinkled forehead,
chapped palm, strained,
but after a day’s toil
fatigued and bones aching
he is going home with a smile.
For his wife is waiting for him
at the dinner table.

Dead; but death doesn't mean absence,
and she continues to be!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pattern ...

An airport with its usual din and bustle,
a city and those same hurry and hustle,
Café Coffee day and
 a small roadside joint;
from here we are propelled
 towards a promising future
with rainbow and an aquamarine horizon.

Just one occasional nagging voice:
sorrow or joy, nothing lasts;
there’s no forever!

A wart
ugly and uneven;
colorless and horrific,
a lump of grief
with secret roots
on an otherwise fair gleaming skin.
The doubt,
the uncertainty,
a raw wound
appalling and fatal
in an else loving relationship.

There’s a thin line between benign and malignant.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wife's Request ...

Do not let me die when I am dead and gone.

Hold my thoughts as you hold me.
Caress the sudden breeze whipping past
as you touch my supple skin.
Smile at the untimely drizzle
 as we laugh together.
When the white umbrella used
 for our evening walk
is torn;
when the book we used
to read together lies hidden
 behind the bookshelf,
 untouched;
when home shrinks into that lonely couch
on the veranda,
for you;
when you begin to forget your morning medicine
and is absentminded about your dinner;
even if my portrait gets shabby and old,
even if my grave is covered with
unwanted growth of shrubs and bushes,
even if there is pile of dust
accumulated on my unused study table;
do not let me die.

please
do not let me die
even if I am dead and gone.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Child Labor

A primeval termite
is gnawing at the soul of society.
That winged swarmer
has eaten up dreams and sentiments,
leaving the residue of some powdered dust of hope.
Its mound is far above and high
 on the chest of human race
and has grown just as deep and low
underneath, spreading roots.
Lost eyes scrutinizing the garbage can,
chapped lips that has forgot how to smile,
cracked, peeled off palms sorting out rags and
footfalls that only know the jab of rocks;
a life that is meant to have
pen, pencil and book
is now consumed slowly yet steadily
by the cruelty of toil.
The tentacles of hunger
have engulfed their rhymes and fairy tales;
those babies too have fallen from the sky,
yet, perhaps, the children of a lesser God!
The fancy tableau of the cityscape is now
filled with innocent blood;
blood that runs through the veins of
numerous anonymous unnamed faces;
 their bones and beings are
nibbled and chewed away into ashes
by that primal termite named
child labor;
now, the hollow husk of humanity
mocks at us!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Honor of my poems at stake!


On Monday morning ....
One day you asked me to write
about the Gulmohar tree 
and you asked me to write why
the color of the placid lake is grayish blue.
Since then the poems started pouring in
and I couldn't stop afterwards.
Now the thoughts keep poking me teasingly,
the words continue to sneak in the corners,
rainbow imageries peek and
mellifluous meadows remain where I am.
My pen tickles and nudges
till I start transferring my dreams on paper.
There’s no stopping any more
There’s no going back any longer.

By Wednesday evening .....
I don’t feel like writing anything anymore.
I deny my expressions and reject my poesy
My Muse is absconding as well!
Can you give me a new word please and
may be some new inspiration
draped in some novel design
and adorned in innovative opinion?
‘love’ seems boring now and
‘pain’ a valid clichĂ©
‘loneliness’ like an overused body and
‘longing’ a stale stereotype truism.
My whole being has clamped up
and is rebelling against my poems.
I am sorry but I would have to leave them
without any justification
for the reasons are unknown to me too!
..........................................................
The upheavals of my mood;
the swinging frame of my mind;
my chameleon like temper,
and the dignity of my poems! :-(

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hope


I am a believer
I seek peace in the palsy
I seek grace in the grime
I seek essence in emptiness.

I live.
And I breathe.
So I hope.

I was waiting for a fortune cookie,
directly from heaven and
I received one, but a blank note.
I realize
It’s time perhaps
to wild my tame heart.
Time is rushing past my window
like white snow flakes.
speck by speck, night by day
I gain guts
to achieve
what the world say I cant!
Now, I either find my way or make one.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The lone tear drop


The tear drop that I shed for you;

a decanted dew drop

hovering at my eyelash;

I hold it in my palm,

a tiny crystal dome,

ephemeral in existence,

fragile and tender as a sparrow;

yet how it contains

decades of merciless memories

and monumental moments torn from history,

a colossal heap of ache,

an ocean deep of longing,

some bruised dreams,

a vast echoing silence,

countless incoherent sobs,

long lost trickling laughter,

and a profound life-long love,

imprisoned in that petite sphere

of my sad tiny tear drop!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My divine space

I have a small room within myself

plush and posh

disposed with all the amenities

for survival.

I sit in that room and

hear the temple bells and

feel the dawn opening its eyes in a prayer.

When the goings get tough,

and the pathway appears rough;

when the outside gets cold and frosty,

and the world seems menacing and beastly;

when I feel a deathlike pain in my veins

and a dense fog of fever in the clouds and among the rain;

when doubts and dismay like a river and a rivulet flow

and deceit and debauchery crawl and sneak in every furrow;

when the earth’s crust sobs and shakes in failure

and I feel the tremors of a strange ache

in my awareness, for sure;

when dreams and desires get scared

and blood drips from Sun’s wound, bared;

I escape in to that room

filled with white light and

a warmth so sublime;

my room,

my own space

keeps emitting a new found vigor

that tells me that

sometime…. very soon ..

in a moment blessed,

I will be able to begin where forever ended.

Pray I must.

Hope I must.

For nothing is lost yet,

not yet!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Many lives

I have already lived many lives,

many new beginnings and

just as many ends.

I am reborn many a times; each

afresh,

pulsating,

renewed,

from the old ashes.

Every beginning,

a birth, a whole new cycle;

every end,

a death, a silence of promises beyond.

All that I carry are the

remnants of a handful of moist memories

like a dry, old, forlorn leaf,

kept inside the pages of a book for ages,

and now all it contains,

is a colorless skeleton presence.

I keep that leaf

in between the lines of my poem,

among the layers of my smooth melodies,

hoping,

some or may be just one of you

someday,

Perhaps,

would recognize its long forgotten, lost color

and relate.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Feminine aesthetics



The poem Feminine aesthetics is dedicated to Kamala Das(1934 - 2009) who has authored many autobiographical works and novels, several well-received collections of poetry in English, numerous volumes of short stories, and essays on a broad spectrum of subjects. Her poems are known for their unflinchingly honest explorations of the self and female sexuality, urban life, women's roles in traditional Indian society, issues of post colonial identity, and the political and personal struggles of marginalized people. 

An Introduction
Kamala Das

I don’t know politics but I know the names
Of those in power, and can repeat them like
Days of week, or names of months, beginning with Nehru.
I am Indian, very brown, born inMalabar,
I speak three languages, write in
Two, dream in one.
Don’t write in English, they said, English is
Not your mother-tongue. Why not leave
Me alone, critics, friends, visiting cousins,
Every one of you? Why not let me speak in
Any language I like? The language I speak,
Becomes mine, its distortions, its queernesses
All mine, mine alone.
It is half English, half Indian, funny perhaps, but it is honest,
It is as human as I am human, don’t
You see? It voices my joys, my longings, my
Hopes, and it is useful to me as cawing
Is to crows or roaring to the lions, it
Is human speech, the speech of the mind that is
Here and not there, a mind that sees and hears and
Is aware. Not the deaf, blind speech
Of trees in storm or of monsoon clouds or of rain or the
Incoherent mutterings of the blazing
Funeral pyre. I was child, and later they
Told me I grew, for I became tall, my limbs
Swelled and one or two places sprouted hair.
WhenI asked for love, not knowing what else to ask
For, he drew a youth of sixteen into the
Bedroom and closed the door, He did not beat me
But my sad woman-body felt so beaten.
The weight of my breasts and womb crushed me.
I shrank Pitifully.
Then … I wore a shirt and my
Brother’s trousers, cut my hair short and ignored
My womanliness. Dress in sarees, be girl
Be wife, they said. Be embroiderer, be cook,
Be a quarreller with servants. Fit in. Oh,
Belong, cried the categorizers. Don’t sit
On walls or peep in through our lace-draped windows.
Be Amy, or be Kamala. Or, better
Still, be Madhavikutty. It is time to
Choose a name, a role. Don’t play pretending games.
Don’t play at schizophrenia or be a
Nympho. Don’t cry embarrassingly loud when
Jilted in love … I met a man, loved him. Call
Him not by any name, he is every man
Who wants. a woman, just as I am every
Woman who seeks love. In him . . . the hungry haste
Of rivers, in me . . . the oceans’ tireless
Waiting. Who are you, I ask each and everyone,
The answer is, it is I. Anywhere and,
Everywhere, I see the one who calls himself I
In this world, he is tightly packed like the
Sword in its sheath. It is I who drink lonely
Drinks at twelve, midnight, in hotels of strange towns,
It is I who laugh, it is I who make love
And then, feel shame, it is I who lie dying
With a rattle in my throat. I am sinner,
I am saint. I am the beloved and the
Betrayed. I have no joys that are not yours, no
Aches which are not yours. I too call myself I.






My Poem Feminine Aesthetics is a tribute to Kamala Das who was my inspiration behind this.

From any and every Indian woman’s desk; urban and rural;  yesterday’s and today’s, in the background of patriarchy .....
I was going through the theories of feminism and gynocriticism while writing an article on gender bias and a doubt suddenly occurred to me that the scenario and plight of women are so much the same even now! For so many of us 'modernism' got stuck to cutting the hair short or dancing at a pub or smoking publicly etc etc. How many of us are being able to really create a space of substance for ourselves; a space that's not just feminine but human!

I have come ahead of the 
pestle, mortar, cooking pan;
now my sky is vaster and
I have a storm beneath my feet.
I am a life, an essence, a child of God.
I am worn out perfecting myself straight,
I am weary of being ever careful 
with my dresses and my plaits.
Why do you ask me to fit in, always?
A role, a stereotype, a task suited only for me!
You feel odd at my inedible behavior,
you find it weird when I claim,
without a morsel of shame, that
I can’t embroider or knit or cook.
You get angry when I tend to defy
my womanliness and try to be a human!
You fail to understand
why I have so many opinions!


But let me convey that
I am no different
but an individual
just like you.
I too feel
angry when refused,
sad when deceived,
thrilled when praised,
fallen when ridiculed.
Just like you,
so much like you.
See, I too have limbs and hunger
I too have a mouth and tears;
I am
Just like you;
so much like you.
I too call myself a sage and a sinner
I too call myself a pious and a pervert
I too call myself a beloved and a betrayed
I too am virtue and vice
I too am a soul
I too am ‘I’
I am
Just like you.
so much like you.
A whore, a seductress,
a daughter, a wife, a mother;
a worker and an intellect,
a sister, a friend;
a human,
Just like you,
so much like you.

Red Autumn


Two little elves

sat on the tree top

painting the leaves

in bright red tinge.

They took care and toiled

to color every ridge and

tint every tip

with a scarlet rain.

And then the sky blushed,

and the garden air flushed,

they tumbled down

and it was a Fall;

hey! my garden was covered

in a vibrant shawl!

The fallen leaves rustled and whispered

as the two elves tried to hop faster,

bringing forth a mellow pause

and an insight

between a scorching fiery tongue

and a cold winter frost bite;

their cheeks tomato red, they giggled,

they danced, they rolled and they jiggled,

then the cherry leaves murmured

about a new beginning and a future.

Dear Elves, is it because I couldn’t reach you

that you came down to my garden

with all blood and burgundy hue?

May be, like me, you have been lonely too?

Or perhaps, you brought another spring

for every leaf was a colorful flower anew!

Dear little Elves with your tiptoe and tango

You taught me to

smile and let go!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My apologies

I have forgotten to take care of my mirror!

The mirror on my bedroom wall has cried for long now,

dejected, unattended and forlorn.

Suddenly a truth dawns

that it has been decades since I have noticed her;

Time, indeed has elapsed!

The remnants are

those scary dark circles beneath the eyes,

patches of aging on the forehead,

certain black spots that might not be on the surface

yet has started to grow from within

where a peeling off has taken place,

instead of that olden glow and

that strange familiar proud lift of the jaw line

which, now, is seldom perceived!

The mirror at present stares

with a tired disheveled look.

Will you forgive me, O Mirror?

I got busy walking the long roads,

carefully skipping and jumping

the potholes and the ditches,

hurrying up in bents and curves and forlorn alleys,

with such utmost care and caution

and I forgot you!

Now, when I have come back after toiling the day,

stitching up every hole and knitting together

every unwanted rip,

hemming the corners that so very often protrude,

striving to unfasten the tangles and knots,

sometimes ...

weaving a patchwork,

sometimes...

painting a collage,

painstakingly making an effort,

so that the colors don’t smudge,

wiping away neatly all unwanted blotches or smear,

now that I have come back after toiling the day,

I find my mirror

with a choked longing and

a smothered dream

and some extinguished hopes.

The distance between me and my mirror

appears unfathomable, a void that quivers

so palpably yet so subtly in between us.

Who is it

Or

What is it

I was seeking,

that now, my mirror seems to be

an absolute stranger to my own self?

Friday, November 19, 2010

My neighbor's cat!

My neighbour’s cute, furry little cat

is moody, and prefers a decent polite pat.

You aren’t allowed to ruffle her tresses curled,

she is forever complacent and smug in this big cold world.

Impeccably groomed, gracefully beautiful,

she is a coquette with only a few wrinkles!

She doesn’t sleep anywhere, just any table or any chair,

only a cozy lap will do and that too if she’s invited with care.

Her tricky maneuvers defy the law of gravity,

she would easily boast her majestic charm and her suavity.

She is immune to flattery and mostly prefers to purr and whine;

She yawns at your crooning, strides away bored, with a pride I can’t begin to define.

She never bothers to catch a rat or a mouse and that’s her mystery;

drudgery is not for her, you will have to serve if and when she’s hungry.

Rushing to kitchen, I see her licking her paw in poise, without any ado;

she renders a look that says - Yeah I drank the milk and slurped away the cream too!

Do never make a mistake of being angry for she just doesn't care;

In front of your haughty temper, she will coolly pad away with her dainty tail in the air.