Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Let's talk poetry

Two fonts stared
At each other
Across enemy lines

Till one said to the other: Let's talk poetry

Long long ago
I covered
P V Narsimha Rao's 7 am election rally
In his constituency in Behrampur

Woke up with a jolt
Having over-slept as always

The sun had risen
I rushed to the broken window with tooth powder on my forefinger
Realised my mistake

It was bright light from a lamp-post
The street was illuminated
Behind the plastic curtain

You see
The local administration
Had switched on the power supply for the PM's rally

Every evening
The old man knotted fresh champa flowers
In her hair
She placed her hands on his shoulder
Walking into the night

I could have burst into tears

I mustered courage
Invited her home
For the first time

She stood above my bed
In her white cotton saree and said:
What's all this

I replied:
My thermos flask with hot water
Crocin strip
An old train ticket from Sindhri to here
Hair brush, nail cutter, transistor
A book of poems by Nagarjuna with two pencils in it
And lots of dust

That's when she undressed
Folded her saree
Placed it on yesterday's newspaper
Picked up the broom

I watched her
Clean my room
For hours and hours
Till all was spic and span

Then she left
Without a word

Couldn't sleep
It was a terrible day
She stepped out for a glass of water

And saw
A cockroach crawling all over the elephant god's trunk
Instead of screaming
She went to sleep saying: what am I?
These days, even the gods are helpless

Monday, August 29, 2011

When it rains

When it rains
I wrap myself in a grey plastic tarpaulin
A yellowish carton to cover my head

And cycle
Through tiny puddles

Of counting rain drops
Behind a dirty window pane

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Of saints, falsehoods and other things

Today morning
The sun refused to rise
She tried to bribe it
With a simple prayer

Last heard
The sun's rays were sentenced to six years of RI
As per the new law

Jyotiba asked Babasaheb
How does it feel?
This new Marathi Mahatma
Who pooh poohs the preamble of the Constitution
And doesn't know our names
Yours or mine

Scribbled with a stick
Near the water-tank in Mahad
Mahatmas come, Mahatmas go

The show must go on

A new epoch has set in
A nice new revolution was made
All expenses paid

10% service tax

The laughter of the world
Is a constant quantity
For each one of us who laughs
Someone somewhere else ceases to do so

This is inversely true of a farce

The annihilation of corruption
Scripted by Bollywood
Drama, action, naach-gaana, nautanki

That's why Ramlila Maidan and not Dalal Street
That's why Parliament House and not temple trusts
That's why meditation and not Manusmriti
That's why like-minded people disagreeing with like-minded people

History shows that where ethics and economics come in conflict
Victory is always with economics

Periyar says
The struggle of the saints do not have any effect on society
When a man is earning Rs 10 per day
His self worth does not originate from Bhakti
Or public fasting on a public stage

Saints fast
That's their trade

But fasting has an unhealthy effect
It provides the saints with an excuse to silence the rest of us
With their Smriti-religon

Till they break their fast with coconut water
And imported honey

Tiny ants
Working hard
Continued to slave

In ant language they wondered:
What is the per capita bribe ratio in the ant world?

Equality for all

If the worker and his boss sip the same wine
Attend the same weddings and circuses
If the lady who collects the garbage is as fashionably made up as the daughter of the house
If a Dalit owns a jet-plane
So that the assimilation is complete

Everyone dehydrates
And lives happily malnourished ever after

Crow 1
Who was perched on the branch
Of the Ficus Religios
In Bodh Gaya
Woke up

He wondered what the fuss is all about

Crow 2 said: Caw Caw

Roughly translated, it meant: It's something called democracy
Nothing has changed
The human race like Prince Gautama Sidhartha
Still seeks enlightenment

Saying so,
Crow 1 and Crow 2
Went back to sleep

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The only Anna I believe in is Anna Durai

The only Anna I believe in is Anna Durai.


The corruption of the world is much too complex for the simplicity of mere mortals.

Mulla Nasruddin says:
It's a matter of time
The day has come, yet again
When I will turn and churn in my grave, yet again

Why, you ask?

For there are fools bigger than I
Says Nasruddin

This planet of ours
Has a special knack of celebrating a new fool, every now and then

One turn more
To complete a billion and one fools

Reality is notional, and mostly unlikely. That's why it cannot be tabled in Parliament.

What Mahadevbhai taught me: To die for a Gandhian cause is easier than to live it absolutely.

That's why my idea of Paradise is kind of Dravidian.

I have a simple solution. Eliminate black from the CMYK printing-ink formulation. That's one way to prevent the production of black money.

I prefer my neighbourhood whore to tax evasion. The former fucks me (Rather reluctantly, too sluggish, she says); and the latter screws we the people

My paan-wallah explains:
Politics is not a cliche

When you head a political movement
It's like trying to make a paan for the first time
It requires trial and error, experimentation, practise
Reasoning, seasoning

It is hard work

You can't medidate for 57 minutes
Open your third eye and say: QED.
Now, brothers and sisters
I present to you the perfect paan

Anna Durai
Studied files
For weeks
He wanted to set up an aluminium factory in Salem

An iron and thermal unit in Vridachalam
Atomic station in Panruti
Create an export zone from Pathamadai

Anna Durai looked up
He was told to resolve the matter of a party worker
(Who had walked 200 miles)
And prevent a messy divorce

He did so
Draped a hand-made shawl around the husband-wife

Next day he faced a no confidence motion in the assembly

This is in the nature of things

An afterthought

Arun, Sudhir, Vernon are rotting in prison for endangering our nation
Their opinions ephemeral
Their words a threat to national security

Then what explains this incertitude

So readily
We accept a man
trying to overthrow a democratically elected government
In the hope of installing a Gandhian dictator

Is this a precursor of things to come
Where our right to refute shall be ratified
By a joker

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Why drinking is injurious to health

His wife told me
This tragic story

Her husband drank and drank
From his collection of booze bottles
Sourced from hooch factories in Umergaon

One night
She woke up and saw
Her husband aflame

The booze he was drinking
Had combusted
And caught fire
Inside his body

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ten Tech Thoughts

How I wish
I could Photoshop
All my meals

What do we do
What do we ever do
Musically asks
My collection of vinyls
To all my spools

How would I know
Oban is a typeface
In the spirit of the woodcut

I thought you were ordering
Two bottles of Jamaican rum

It would be terrific
If newspapers front-paged
The murder of a great idea

That's one way
People like me
Would not stumble from one obsolete skill to another

Lily or Franklin Gothic
The better font
For a political slogan in Azad Maidan

One day I hope to grow old
And manage to read
Most of the books in my bookshelf

One day
I hope to celebrate
My own death anniversary

Matrimonial ad:
Looking for a male
One browser, one size, one code
Preferably with live sex apps

Has launched a new gadget
It's called reading

One day I'll need GPS
To help me understand
Where I am going in my life

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Reflections about a vexillographer and other things

Spent so much time
Admiring the outstanding label
On the bottle inside an ice bucket
That he forgot to drink the wine

The Mahatma said
Healthy dissent is a prelude to progress
Why then is progress not a prologue to dissent?

We're the largest producer of licit opium
And milk
And babies

Some connection there
I'm trying to find

When I opened
My copy of James Joyce's Ulysses
Molly Bloom started dancing
She started speaking like a ZooZoo

That's how I realised I'm watching too much TV

A bemused commoner (that's me)
Is peering through a telescope
He is a peeping tom of sorts

He scrutinises the lives of others
Sodomy, sordidness, adultery

He starts to describe
In detail
The mating of two lovers

Members of the state police appear
To arrest him on grounds of obscenity

The bemused commoner (that's me) protests

He was describing an innocent affair
Between a blue chested kingfisher and a golden breasted kingfisher
On a neem tree

The state police say that's against the law

A bemused commoner (that's me)
Sits in suffocating silence for three minutes
Plus a few seconds

Suddenly, a mob appears
The mob applauds lustily
Copies of my silent speech are distributed to the audience

I'm the new oracle
I'm the knowledge and the truth

My book which has the complete collection of all my silent speeches becomes a best-seller

1.9 million miles of roads in India
How many road-side dabbas and tyre-makers does that calculate into
And obsolete road-signs

I meet a young man
Name is Hamid
He tells me heart wrenching rural stories
In a bhatti in Kurla

This included one, about how he purchased a tong (instead of a toy)
For his aging grandmother

I weep when
I hear these poignant poverty stories

Years later
I realise Hamid was merely re-telling Premchand
Regurgitating stories like Idgaah

See, that's why one must read Premchand

Typeface is everything
That's what RK said

Should I change everything on this site into MetaSerif?

Twice a year
The vexillographer sells flags
The rest of the year it's cigarettes

Both businesses are lucrative, he says
Plus they provide for a certain sense of freedom

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Random ruminations


My new ringtone is Stalin's cough

Fewer people call me, now


The glossary of my life

Will be pretty short

A for alcohol

B for barbiturates

C for chuckwalla (the pet I never had)


What if life on earth gets reduced to

Pepsi? Coke?


I met her after 10 years

She was ungainly but happy

Said she could have cycled around the world

(For which she had a sponsor)

Instead she married a dull sort of man

And they lived happily ever after


When I grow up I want to fly an airplane in autopilot

Can I?


Good taste has bypassed India

My theory is

If you've good taste

They suspect you may bring down the government


Last night

I walked up to a dinosaur

And said: It's a pity your species hasn't heard about the survival of the fittest.

He replied: Neither has yours


Can you suggest a good coaching class

Preferably dirt-cheap

Where I can learn how to break rules


For 91 years

She listened

When her skull cracked on the funeral pyre

The priest was astonished

Her brain was missing

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Please vote me for PM

Please vote me for PM
Your country I shall rule

I won't sign no papers
I won't make no speech
I will amend all the bills
For cabinet ministers who stick to me like leech

I will work so hard and slave like a mule
My only qualification is: I am some kind-of-fool

Sunday, August 7, 2011


He loves her
She loves he
He loves him
She also loves him
Him loves her

Now her loved someone
Who wonders "am I really someone"

And all of the above,
Drown their sorrow in paan
And Raga Pilu

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The depreciation of intangible assets in a family

What a lazy fellow

If he goes on sleeping
Like this till noon
There shall be a gradual and permanent decrease in his economic value
Jhunjhunwala's daughter will not marry him

Said the stock-broker father
To his wife

He is not sleeping
Said the mother
To her husband
Offering him five pieces of badaams from Iran
Our son is amortising

Monday, August 1, 2011

Why monkeys are addicted to opium in these parts

The moat around the maharaja's mahal
Is filled with attar
The maharaja resides in the maharaja's suite
Actually, an ancient prison cell

The mahal has 600 rooms
A mile tall cupola
An indoor polo ground
To host royal weddings and births

High security gates
Uniformed soldiers on steeds
To safeguard
The gravevard
Where the royal family conducts public burial ceremonies

Such has been the way of the high and mighty
In these parts
Thought a particularly redundant member of the human race
Preparing 1:3 dosage of opium
Dissolved in water

He offers
In a cupped palm leaf
To the local monkeys who visit his factory
In the outskirts of the town

The monkeys taste it
And approve of it by falling off the tree perch
The royal opium concoction is despatched to the maharaja
To be served with
A freshly cooked portion of monkey brain