Saturday, January 18, 2014

For one who died last night …

I think I know how you felt
at that time.
Wasn’t it a pale green hallway,
where windows offer no reflection
and the door doesn’t promise life beyond?
I think I know it all.
looking at the photo of a dead stranger
I feel I have known it all.

You could not chase
the elephant away,
It was probably eavesdropping.
but pretending might have had helped for a while
 until you remembered
 that elephant has big ears.

Until you were married,
you never bothered about the plural space. And then
the birds in the binoculars settled in a cage.
You got your marriage certificate photocopied.
The marriage became a metropolis –
you and him its anonymous citizens.

After you left
for the land where no one dances in the rain,
He must have found worlds
full of memories
long after you’ve lost it.

You lie in bed,
A strange sickness in your bones
pinning you
eyelid to toe nail.

As I share a heartbroken
cup of coffee with the man I have fallen in love with
holding hands yet realizing the ocean
between us,
I feel I have known what you felt then.

I sent you all my prayers,
you returned half,
attaching a note:  You need these too.

He asks if I need to be held.
 I am not sure. Not anymore.
If comfort is disloyal
can a roomful of grief
ever have happiness?

I know how you felt at that point of time.
Like I often do,
You too must have stepped out of yourself
and wanted to observe her,
Who has perpetually walked,
casting and recasting herself
to be with people, who
had accepted and rejected her
at convenience,
As you sang with her
cried with her
standing there, observing,

It became too late stepping back into yourself again!

And I sit still
by the side of the television news
looking at your dead photograph
I more dead than you
I think I have known how you felt.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tit for Tat ...

The arrest of Devyani Khobragade claims that she had lied on a visa form for her domestic help. She was handcuffed, strip searched, kept in a cell as per the US law that is same against anyone violating the law. And this indeed is such a grave issue of national concern, obviously much more than the poverty, corruption or environmental decay of our country, that it led to a stressful relationship between India and US hitting an all-time row. India has time and again shown how they provide special respectable treatments to criminals of well known, famous connections. How often these suspected criminals get easy bail for the most heinous crime just because someone is a film star or someone’s father has solid political connection. They even get mutton biriyani served in the jail. If India can treat suspected criminals in this manner, why should the US not? Is it not the land of the free? 

 Immediately after Khobragade’s arrest, in a show of unrestrained bravado and patriotism security barriers outside the US embassy in New Delhi were removed. Tit for Tat, wow! The best way to teach a lesson for harassing one of our corrupt officials! That indeed is called National Love! All the political parties and opinion leaders came all out to protect India’s “prestige” and “dignity”! Bravo! There have been placards saying “Long Live Devyani”!In another justified development, when a US diplomat lost his way in Delhi fog and mistakenly overtook Robert Vadra’s convoy (how dare he? Doesn't he know that RV is the country’s most important son-in-law??!!)  – he was promptly strip searched and made to spend the night outside the police station in freezing cold. He is now recuperating from pneumonia. So rightly served! 

And of course the political leaders in an extremely righteous manner refused to meet the American congressional delegation visiting Delhi. After all, we need to keep up our Indian maturity and self-esteem! This indeed is exactly THE way to show that after all India IS powerful and so what if cases like NIRBHAYA, DOWRY, BRIDE BURNING are still rampant, we Indians know how to show our fangs when it is needed! 

And I think, from now on we all should start feeding all our spicy chilli paneer, masala pizza, korma and makhani to all those American expatriates. And the govt also should serve only Andhra mirchi bhajjis to the US embassy. That would really teach them how we Indians can save our “respect”. 

We all participate in joining hands against the illogical demands that the domestic staff in our diplomats’ homes should be paid according to standards. It’s time we educate the world that not all people should be equal and we should never allow anyone to break down the class or caste system that we so proudly bear in our country. Remember, your support is not just for Khobragade or Indian diplomats but it is for all of us! If diplomats are not allowed to forge visa papers and official documents, what will happen to us common men?! This undeniably is a fight for our rights, to kink the law! So what if Sangeeta, the domestic help, is equally an Indian as Khobragade? After all, domestic helps are “servants” and how come the world isn't aware of this? How ridiculous? So what if we have hit 2014, servants cannot have the same feelings, dreams, and legitimate rights like the diplomats!

 This definitely is the right kind of concern for the otherwise timid Indian Government to make it a “prestige issue” and to show an unexpected courage for not being brow beaten by the US anymore! Bravo!

Having said this, I must admit that there is always another side of the story and most often there is so much more than what the mere eyes see! A close friend of mine has told me the following. He is not an Indian and is born and brought up in the US. I saw some sense in what he said. So let me post his perspective as well ... He said -----
"Strip search is not for anyone violating the law …it comes only in complicated cases where the law clearly states “there must be a reasonable suspicion that the detainees is in possession of weapons or other contraband " before a strip search can be conducted. Statesmanship,diplomacy, international affairs are not always and entirely based on ethics as a diplomat, you are representing a whole nation; what Devyani did could be despicable, but what was done to her ( if it is true to the extent it was exposed on Media or accused by Indian government) is highly deplorable and if it was done to any US official by any other government, that could even lead to a III world war. I really wonder why some of the Indians (mostly those who migrated to the US and those who win the bread here) blindly swallow the "law of the land" nonsense. In Raymond Allan Davies case (a diplomat who was arrested for double murder in Pakistan, not long ago); the same US government was all out for "diplomatic immunity". Even a frisk search of a diplomat is considered highly unpardonable. Devyani was not convicted, not suspected to be carrying any contraband or arms. There is much more than what meets the eye in this case and whatever retaliatory steps India government did was justifiable. I wish other nations had also grown some spine!"

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Untitled ...

She writes poetry in the middle of the night
hair undone
eyes fixed at the golden moon.
When everyone is asleep
She bakes and eats the pulpy sadness
She is a witch
Or perhaps a lunatic.

But her soul is still a virgin.
Its soft petal skin
as old as the primordial thought;
Its every breath is a new hymen pattern.
Looking for peace
It grows wings
and transforms into a butterfly.
It takes a roll call of
all tall promises and smiles.

And its sadness is like a white hibiscus
resting on a garden fence.

Do you remember the gold fish
that used to swim in her heart
before it turned into melted ice? ...