Wednesday, February 28, 2007

My 23rd encounter with the peacock

Early morning

The peacock danced on a bottle of Brunello
Which splintered
Glass shards

Caused bleeding

The peacock asked
What is this?
Blood or red wine?
It tastes damn good
I bandaged his beak
I said we need to see a doctor

En route to the hospital
We whizzed at 90 kms
How much further, the peacock asked?
Another hour to go


Then the peacock said
This ambulance driver is as important
As the surgeon

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My 22nd encounter with the peacock

Glow-worms doing their thing
A blade of grass breaking through the hard terrain
The peacock and I sit
Listening to the transistor

He says: All these songs go zig zag
Meaning what?
These lyrics that describe falling in love
But no word that means love
Well, I said

It's all very pernicious, he says
Meaning what, I say again
Will you walk up to a beautiful lady and say
Can I've love?

I suppose no
The beautiful lady may give me one tight slap across my face
Aha, says the peacock
You're a nomenclaturist

What is that meant to be
You, who claim to be master of your language, are trapped
By what?
This language you've created has become your master, says the peacock
You're obsessed by the idea that words mean things
Your days are numbered

That's why you're speechless now
So I am

I could say a word, any word
The peacock got up
To dance a beguiling dance
While Pavarotti roared about love

Monday, February 26, 2007

My 21st encounter with the peacock

The peacock was in my study
Having toppled over the globe
He was crushed under the Indian Ocean

What are you doing?
In the middle of the night?

Jabbing at the Equator, longitude 90 approx
He says: Das Nichts Nichtet

I start to wonder who said that
I slap my forehead
Oh brain
Retrieve my memory back to me

The peacock whispers
Cease your melancholy
Lift this wretched burden of me

I push the planet, it rolls away
He leaps out of the window
Into the shadows of the night
The peacock is free, forever

Sunday, February 25, 2007

My 20th encounter with the peacock

They say
I'm a black-marker vigilante
Poised I sit
With my black marker pen
The peacock asks me how are you doing, all good I hope?

I say, repairing punctuations
Doing the needful against apostrophes
Like all the mens and womens in my family

The last sentence, incidentally
I inform the peacock
Should conclude with a point d'ironie, known as a snark
What be that asks the peacock?
A back-to-front question mark,
Deployed by the 16th-century printer Henry Denham to signal rhetorical questions

The peacock yawns

While he is ignoring me
I make a correction in Marriage Halls's and Puppy's For Sale.
I correct Smile Your on Camera and No Entries

Plus the peacock's will go to the school tomorrow
To the peacocks will go to school tomorrow

To which the peacock replies
No school for me brothers and sisters
We dislike them-hyphens, we hate exclamation marks!!!!

Saying so, he reduces me to a little bauble of orthographic bling

Sunday, February 18, 2007

My 19th encounter with the peacock

So what shall we do, today
Said the peacock to me

We can watch the clouds
Not worrying where they go

The peacock agreed
He sat down next to me
And reached out for

His remote control

Friday, February 16, 2007

My 18th encounter with the peacock

I was sort of asleep
The peacock
Poked his head into my bedroom
He said: So this is your harem?
Yes, said I

Who is she? Your whore?
No, she is my wife
Why is she asleep?
It's pre-dawn and you've walked into my room before sun rise
How many wives do you have?
Only one
I've five, he boasted
Ok, said I

At which
The peacock did a peacock dance

That's when my wife woke up
Yelled at the peacock for ruining her sleep
He tried to run
He slipped
I lifted him up
With a smirk, he said
Your one wife is equal to five of mine

Saturday, February 10, 2007

My 17th encounter with the peacock

Living is simple
Said the peacock to me
Peering into the 700-page volume on the Renaissance which I was studying

You can continue reading
Or step into the puddle
To splash water
On passers-by

Long live the worm society
Said the peacock
Poking his beak into the damp earth
Gobbling an earthworm
Not one
But many
Before they decomposed the moss
Any further

That's grotesque, why did you do that, I asked?

This chap's ancestor, the peacock said
Swallowing one more
Lived 120 million years ago
Caused the putrefaction

Of dinosaurs
By eating into their brains

He burped
Very loudly
Stretched his leg-muscles
And dozed off on my charpoy

That's how I was deprived of my afternoon siesta

Friday, February 9, 2007

My 16th encounter with the peacock

Sitting on the porch
Watching the rains
Along with spiders, snails and grasshoppers

I said:
This is the devil's own rain
That's what it is
The peacock replied
Yes, it would have been simpler
If the rain poured from the soil
Instead of the clouds

Meaning what?, I asked

He said
If it rained from the ground beneath our feet
It will serve its purpose
Of wetting the planet
Ok, I said
He said, and we could get on with our lives

Yes, for what can one do outside in this everlasting rain
The feet get dirty

The spiders, snails and grasshoppers
Nodded in agreement

It was raining
I expected the peacock to dance
Feathers and train
All five feet of it

Instead he whistled a Mohammed Rafi song
He heard on All India Radio

He winked at me
As if to suggest, you're so full of stereo-types

I think the relentless rain had seeped into my car
I was testing
Its carburetter
Its internal combustion engine

Unknown to me
The peacock slipped into the back-seat
He commented, it's a great pity
What, I asked?
The upholstery is alright
But after 100 years of development

They still haven't been able to design a comfortable automobile
For a peacock

Saying so, he dictated three post-cards
One to Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler
Then to Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir
And finally, Edouard Delamare-Deboutteville

Thursday, February 8, 2007

My 15th encounter with the peacock

It's hot
Said the peacock to me
I offered him sugarcane juice
Since he didn't know what is sugarcane juice
He balanced the flat-bottomed glass tumbler
On his head

Sitting such, on his haunches
Till the sun set
He said, this is so cool

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

My 14th encounter with the peacock

What makes a birthday
The peacock ponders
The day you were born, I say
So when were you born, he asks
I tell him

The peacock replies
I was born on the 65th day of October

Saturday, February 3, 2007

My 13th encounter with a peacock

The peacock and I
Were returning home
In a rickshaw

The peacock was bewildered
By the number of people we encountered
Who were laughing
He said: it is sentience

The next few days
He created graphs, bars, pie charts
About the history of laughter?
About its inventor?
About the first ever laugh?

He was meticulous
Which noted civilisation laughed the most?
How many laughs is one human permitted in one life-time?
What distinguishes a giggle from a laugh?
Is it correct to say all laughter is useless activity?
Can a sad man laugh?

The peacock asked me these questions
Since I had no answer
I merrily laughed

My 12th encounter with the peacock

My grand-mother, told me
Told the peacock to me
We could have toppled the human race
Really? I sat straight up

Taking my eyes off
A game of cricket at the local maidan
Imagine a law

That prohibits unsanctioned celebration
In public places
Meaning?, I asked
Meaning no human could hand-clap
When the tennis-ball bounced across the boundary
As it did just now, said the peacock

Sans tall praise
The human race will crumble
Once and for all

Friday, February 2, 2007

My 11th encounter with the peacock

I had a dream
A four-dimensional one

Icebergs tasting like cranberry and tiramisu
Apollo, holding aloft his golden lyre,
A jade-green space-ship transporting me, back in time
Mermaids tap-dancing on my head
Me giving a lec-dem on music to Auber, Spontini, Halévy
Fireworks in the sky as I woke up

In the morning
I recounted my dream
Where were you? Why didn't I see you in my dream, I asked
The peacock said: We dare not
We've been banned from appearing in other people's dreams

Saying so
He burped
Washed down my egg-bhurji and toast
With mosambi juice

Thursday, February 1, 2007

My tenth encounter with the peacock


I visited the bank

The peacock followed me
The chowkidar prevented him from entering it
He screeched
I came running back
What happened?
He can't enter said the chowkidar
Why, asked I
He has no money said the chowkidar
What is money? asked the peacock
Something you and I don't have, said the chowkidar

That's how the peacock sat on the chair
Beside the chowkidar
Outside the bank


When I stepped out
Why do you visit such places, he asked

I told him
About banks, savings, bonds, interest rates, loans

He heard me
So you've applied for a loan?
Why do you want a loan?

To buy property
What happens, if you can't repay the loan?
In the event of a loan default, they can seize my property, I replied
Quoting from the rule book

So you will be landless
Yes, I said
This is hopeless, he said

We walked in silence
Had a cup of tea on the way
He broke the silence
I want a loan

For what?
Does one need a reason?
The bank officer will ask for it
I want to check if the system works

Can you arrange it?
Yes, you
What's your surety?

My feathers
I don't think the authorities will recognise it
Why not, they are there for everyone to see
That's not how banks work
This is hopeless, he said
For the second time in the day

Besides you can't sign
What is a sign, he asked
Do you know how to hold a pen?
No, he said

Some more silence

I swallowed my tea
He spat his tea at my feet

I think Sumerian clay tablets are better than your bank

Saying so, he flew away
Flapping his feathers
Like a rainbow in the sky