Friday, March 30, 2007

My 32nd encounter with the peacock

How come peacocks are wrinkle-free
It remains a mystery to me

We watch the peacock
Prance its dance
My wife is unimpressed
She says: does it strike you
This can be perceived to be ugly
Not beautiful

The aesthetics of wooing
Someone must write a tract about it

I was getting late
The neighbourhood bank would be shuttered at noon
The peacock offered a ride
Imagine me to be a malnutritioned horse

I declined
I did not want to be thrown off a peacock
In the city centre
On a bazaar day

History will cite me
As the first known instance of a human to fall off a peacock

The peacock and I sat on a hill-top
The wind was blowing a 100 rupee note
Sometimes this way
Sometimes the other way

It was clear
The currency had no opinion
It could not do (nor say)

I want to go north, now
Or round and round

The peacock said

We look at the Rs 100 and think it decides where it is to go
However all the time it is the wind that blows it

That's how the peacock
Gave me my first lesson on economics

How come peacocks are riddle-free
I asked

I ask no questions
Said the peacock to me
When I speak, gibberish comes out of my mouth

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

My 31st encounter with the peacock

Strange as it may seem
The peacock acquired a preference for music
He heard the opera of Parsifal
A thousand times on my iPod
Then he said, now I understand why your species invented religon
It's a hymn for life

The peacock had a severe headache
I offered him two tablets of disprin
He said: In all other qualities you're inferior to me
Just for this, I am willing to be your disciple

We attended a funeral
A gent, I admired
A wise man of learning
His state of health collapsed, extremely slowly
His eyes so weak that he was threatened with blindness
He had a violent attack of mental disorder, from which he never recovered

They burnt the gent on a pyre
Made of books
That the babbling old women of the village suspected
Was the slough of his inefficiency

After the mourners exited
The peacock picking up a half-burnt copy said
This thing is as complicated a machine as life
A slow suicide of sorts

Throwing it in the stream
He condemned the book
May the dishonest words drown
May they be forgotten forever

When he turned his back
The book re-surfaced
Its words, being thoroughly rinsed

In the fresh water

The peacock walked upto me
He whispered that my ear is a mountain cave
Since then I've an eagle living in one ear
A baobab tree that grows in the other

The difference between the peacock and me
According to the peacock
In his own words
At his poetic best

You prefer monotony to chaos
You prefer a silent star to a dancing star
You prefer a clear sky and an azure mountain shimmering in the heat of noon
You prefer riddles

I prefer breathing
Air so ethereally pure
No infection, no bacteria, no noise, no stench, no dust
Just a path where I can inhale and exhale

Where can I learn to lie, asked the peacock to me?
Teach me

Thursday, March 22, 2007

My 30th encounter with the peacock

The peacock was most crestfallen
What happened, I asked?
That pea-hen I was wooing for the past three days
She ran away with a dog

I sat sipping my chaas
The peacock bemoaned the absence of true love
Non-reciprocation for his selfless gentleness
And threw the engagement ring
Into the dry village well

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My 29th encounter with the peacock

The peacock was perched under a tandol tree
Practising spitting
It's an annual ritual among peacocks
We have a spit festival

He informed me: I want to see how high my spit can reach
The world peacock record is higher than a white jamoon tree
What have you managed, so far, I asked?
I've just about achieved a kevda status, he said

Just then, a blob of spit
Fell into his eyes
Damn, said the peacock
That's why, I hate gravity

Thursday, March 15, 2007

My 28th encounter with the peacock

The peacock peered
Into the slow-moving muddy brown river

Scooped flotsam off the surface
Dangled it before my eyes, and said:
Approximately equal to hundred years of history


Is how the peacock made a ledger entry in the sand


We entered a store
Me searching for something sinister
A book with arms dealers, undercover agents and women who defied materialist logic
The peacock sat in a corner peeling off labels from prescription bottles
Leaving a trail of bar codes
On the shop floor

The peacock asked me: would it be fair to say the number of doomed love affairs
Outweigh happy endings

We were watching golf on TV
I would like to play that sport, the peacock said
Why, I asked
Five reasons really: "I get to wear smart casuals, you can be my caddy, the sun beating down, a bit of humidity, free rides in the golf cart."
And the ferns

Millions of rare ferns on this course

That night,
The peacock wished me in his pidgin sing-song accent
He said
I prefer the debris of verbs
To the incantation of nouns


The peacock
Was perched on my dining table
I was sweeping the floor
With a broom

He observed
The dust rises, the dust falls
Is that the whole point to all of this?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My 27th encounter with the peacock

The peacock is practising
Flying backwards
Tutelaged by a senior humming bird

That day I ask myself five questions

The first one was about discoveries
Which was the better invention?
The fork, spoon and knife? Or the stone-age tools in Bastar and Dantewad?

What is nicer?
The buzz of cicadas in Mussoorie? Or the sweet smell of rotting leaves? Or the moss that grows haphazardly on my bathroom wall?

Which water is more important?
The Pacific ocean? The Atlantic ocean? Or the Taptapani hot water spring?

Which word is more popular?
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? Floccinaucinihilipilification?

What's the best way to fall in love?
In three-steps? Or in a life time?

I pause
In my search for answers
The peacock has flown off
Forward or backward
Or upside down
I'll know not

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My 26th encounter with the peacock

The peacock
Was putting on a grand spectacle
Shaking his feathers like Sri Devi at every lady in sight
Who chose to ignore him

He bent backwards
Shaking his bottoms at a lady
Who gave him the eye, momentarily
His fluffy angora rump feathers swaying
In her general direction

After a few minutes
She walked off in a huff and a puff
I've better things to do, she mumbled

Sipping my iced tea, I observed
This is tough

Yes, the peacock agreed

It's too much of effort
Such a grand display to no avail

What do you mean, he asked?

You know, I've never really seen you mate
Have you?

The peacock replied, that's why some of us are trying to introduce the concept of polygamy
Dance once, and mate many

Good morning, wished the peacock to all and sundry
Something was odd
Yesterday, the peacock was beautiful
Today, he is bald

He had molted
Discarded his colourful tail feathers

I ran out
Starting to collect the feathers,
On the wet bed
Before they are ruined by the rain

What you trying to do, he asked
Eyeing a beetle (it's not good for digestion)

I propose to build a memorial of peacock feathers
Every feather will be given a name
Each will tell a story

It's such a waste of time
How will you build it?
It's all so fragile ...
Where will you find so many stories?
Will it be meaningful?
Who will remember all these stories?

I told him
Just one story will do
In the end that's what matters

The peacock helped me pack my bag
For a short vacation
Trousers, cotton shirts, sandals, Axe
What is this, he asked?

I sprayed Axe on him
That's when he understood the concept of body odour

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

My 25th encounter with the peacock


In my next life
The peacock said
I want to be a happy hippy
Even though I've told you about its inherent futility, I said

Ok, then as option two: a penguin would do nicely as well

Once, I overheard the peacock give advise to his young one
Walk on your toes, twirl your feathers, learn to understand one human language (howsoever pointless it may seem), love music (a good tune is a sign of pedigree and proper genes) and never forget that no matter how long you sit under a tree you cannot become a Buddhist


The horror, the horror
The peacock said
What happened, I asked?
I took a dip in the holy river
What happened then, I asked?
I entered it reverential and ritualistic
Good, I said
When I emerged I had pelagic plastic parts glued to my feathers

Then the peacock proceeded to show me
The quantitative distribution of micro particles
Of plastic

This is bad, what shall we do? I asked
Wait for it to polymerise?
Or decompose?
Or pray to the river god?

No, said the peacock
Go out and buy an expensive shampoo
Then rinse me properly
Right now

As I watched some more bad news on the TV
I sighed
The peacock said
Can't you see
Your politics is passe

You need something a tad fashionable to run this planet

How about that
In my previous birth
Said the peacock to me
I was a fossil

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

My 24th encounter with the peacock

The peacock was munching groundnuts
In a sugarcane field
He said, when he saw me
This tastes better than the carpet in your living room

Before I could slap him across his beak
He said, I'm thirsty
I offered him decoction coffee from my thermos
He accepted it
Didn't have it, though

As we walked to a tea stall
He sat on a broken bench
And mixed the coffee with the tea

Thereby contributing (in a small way)
To the syncretism
In this part of the world