Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mr Sun, how are you? --- and other shorts

We should have been the children of our time
But someone stopped the clock


Every time he speaks,
The words reverberate
Causing indigestion
Among the high and mighty


It's Eid
The solitary moon has been spotted by the clergy
Won't someone invite her for the lunar festivities?


The trees have been practising, walking
Now they take tiny steps out of the city


Night falls, the waiters rinse tumblers, clean tables
Dump the discarded arguments into the garbage bin


Lord Krishna sat at the conference table in the boardroom
He smiles at how good v/s evil is being arbitrated these days


Even as she stared into the mirror
Someone opened the door for her


Headache, headache, please go away
Come again, to my enemy's head


In my next life, I want to have a leitmotif
From the moment I exit my mother's womb
For starts, I don't want to be born in a hospital
For ends, I don't want to die in one

It makes the rest of living, sickly


The government has decided to measure
The proliferating hatred in our land
All those in the favour of this idea
Please punch your neighbour's nose


He always sings Malkauns
After he gargles his mouth
With polluted Ganges water
And a bit of earth, mixed in it


The elephant fell in love with Juliet
When Juliet chose not to reciprocate
The elephant broke his heart
With a big bang that caused remorse
Among lovers all over the planet


He wants to celebrate the next Dipawali on Jupiter
With a comet that gleams through the sky
Can he?
Will he?


He plants a word in the river
It drowns
And becomes an underwater forest
When no one is looking


Mr Sun, how are you?
I don’t know.

Are you kind of hot? Would that be a fair description?
I don't know.

How were you born?
I don't know.

Do your parents love you? Did they, ever?
I don't know.

How long have you been the sun, Mr Sun?
I don't know."

I've a complaint against you. Why do you make me sweat so much?
I don't know.

Do you know there are people who have sun stroke because of you?
I don't know.

Don't you know how potent your sun-rays are? Still?
I don't know.

What will you do when the sun-rays get weaker?
I don't know?

Will they go weaker?
I don't know.

Mr Sun, don't you think, you've to give me some kind of answer.
I don't know.

Are you afraid of darkness?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Five mantras for Dussera day

Thought for the day: Lets privatise the government

Fate of a poet: Tughlaq becomes monarch. Amir Khushro prefers death.

My niece who is a software engineer saw the sea for the first time
She said: If we create an algorithm-based artificial intelligence machine
It will snychronise the 9.5 million waves

My friend, called
Khari-Bholi by her parents
Started a restaurant chain all over North India
She officially named it: Hindi
In Hindi, she served the following meals: Awadhi, Bagheli, Bhojpuri, Bundeli, Chhattisgarhi, Garhwali, Harauti, Haryanvi, Kumauni, Lamani, Malvi, Marwari, Mewari, Nimadi, Pahari, Rajasthani, Sadan and Urdu.
Every time a gourmet was served on your table
A sound chip embedded inside the plate spoke to you in the dialect you ordered

When Ravana has a headache
Does he have one crocin for his rakashasa body
Or one crocin per head

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Laila Majnu and other shorts

When she saw the sea, she was appalled
Shouldn't the waves be covered in a veil

If only, I could afford a Kiyonabu-Shakaru print
Instead of a cheap kimono
And miniature tea cups
From the duty free

Seeing the empty bed on her left side
Makes her weep
Now, the soiled sheets need to be sent to the dhobhi

Dear PM
Please begin your next speech
From the Red Fort
With a qawwali
To the accompaniment of a pakhawaj

The season of cherry came
Petals, all fallen
No time to complete the woodblock
The paint refuses to dry

The handwriting expert
In Chotti Bazaar
Worries what binary codes will do to his profession

When Qays was prevented to marry Laila
He wrote distichs, and wandered the streets of the walled city
One day, someone called the naked Qays, a Majnu
That's how the first chapter of Laila-Majnu was born

Sunday, October 14, 2012

It's the story of my life

Like a Leviathan he sleeps
When I wake him up
His first question is: Where's Kumbhakarana?

Something is wrong with the light in the sky
It has been flickering
Voltage fluctuation ...

The wedding ring
Wound around his finger
Was a blade of couch grass
That she plucked for him

Her first formal kiss
Lasting all of 7 minutes, 7 seconds
Was on top of a rock
Made of platinum

Why do trees exist?
Whenever planet earth has a rash
They can give it a good rub

Dear Mrs Ganges
You have five and a half wrinkles
Dark circles under your eyes

Do something re

I look for Nagarjuna
I find Muktibodh
I read neither

It's the story of my life

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Five ditties

Once I was a yellow coloured chair
Upon me sat an enormous sloth bear
I told him: please sit on the floor
Instead, he showed me the door
Told me to start behaving like a sofa

The glacier it told the sun
I'm not having any fun
I've something important to say
Could you send cooler rays
Its becoming kind of warm

Past, present and future decided to have a fight
About who is more relevant, and who is right
Past said, if not for me, you wouldn't be born
Present said, ultimately it's all about today morn
Future, his brow it started to furrow
He said: I'll give an answer day after tomorrow
The lion hummed a tragic ballad
Of how his diet was restricted to a salad
My girlfriend wants me to be less mean
She has ordered me: "go green"
I still prefer shredded lamb to brinjal

A line and a circle were having a conversation
While sipping a cup of tea at the railway station
The line said: a line should be quite fine
Why then try to read between the lines
The circle said: I really don't understand why
The zero was invented along with the Pi
Exchanging geometrics, they watched the rain
Holding hands, they boarded the local train

Shuklaji's Story

Shuklaji says
A taxi revolution is required
A proper hartal
To emancipate cab drivers, who are victims
Of all that one can be victims of
All this paraphrased without a shadow of doubt from the Hakim Panel Report
Shuklaji and I share a taxi
From Vakola Bridge
He wants a lift to the Union office on Kennedy Bridge
No one can say no to him
Not I
Nor the juniors
I tell him so
Yes, at the first go
A rarity
He says, cab drivers are rude if they don't - and whores if they do
It's as simple as that, sahab
Shuklaji points to the Latin origin of number-plates
The British created their empire
Without a script
That's why we're probably more protective of them
And their language
We love the minorities of history
I meet Shuklaji after 18 months
A brain tumor
Diagnosed by Doctor Jaheel from Tata Hospital
Radiation for Rs 1,800/-
30 sessions in all
Mere liye Jaheel bhagwaan hain
Even though he is Musalmaan
What is that supposed to mean
Our social circumstances, are really two
Our cultures and our gods are utterly different

Our illnesses are the same, though
Years ago
Shuklaji told me
I can do Vakola to Nariman Point in 25 minutes
Via Sea Link
He did
In his Ecco
At 7 am
While praying
His agarbatties make me sneeze
My nose is an atheist
He says, not possible
Everybody believes in god
A god is supposed to be for our own good
Why do you pray?
Habit he says
Plus I am a Pandit
He shows me his Janehu
Both hands off the steering wheel
Shuklaji saw hell
He says, hell is a hospital
Yama Raja strolls through the corridors
Prescriptions equal to Yama mantra
Shuklaji is going to the Union office to sort out a default loan
Sab dalaali hain, sahab
They have pressed the mute button
I am going to un-mute it
Once I was flying in from Lucknow
I informed Shuklaji
Pick me up from the airport
Ok saheb, he said
Flight landed
Baggage didn't
He circumambulated outside the airport, thrice
Was accosted by two traffic officers
Punched on the ears
These days in this city, you get boxed, that is it
The charge: Shuklaji is a Pandit from Jaunpur
That's it? I asked
It is about me breathing their air
A lot of angry people in this city
They want my air, too
I told them, it will be high tide
A fresh round of sea breeze will enter the city
I was punched on the nose again
They asked: who teaches you such things
Your ancestor's Vedas?
That's when
Shuklaji's brain started to grapple with taboos
We drive home
Through the city
I stare at Shuklaji's skull
You wouldn't believe how taxi drivers are treated
Every taxi driver living in his own mind
Shuklaji's mind, plays games
He de-codes number plates, non-stop
He quotes rules from the Central Motor Vehicles Act, 1989
This is the new Veda, sahab
Near the flower market
We don't move
There's a traffic jam
For 30 minutes
Shuklaji sighs
It would appear that this city is unwell
Or in the ICU
Shuklaji says, I was not operated
Due to six badaams
Soaked in the evenings
Consumed with the badaam-skin
Before sun rise
Some daadiwallah hakim needs to prescribe six badaams for this city, too
Shuklaji wants to return home
To Jaunpur
Especially after his examination by Dr Jaeleel and his colleagues
Quickest recovery, ever
A pat on the back
From the specialists
For that one morning
Shuklaji felt he was an equal
He forgot about the postcard
His son sent
Yet, no admission in Benares Hindu University
Shuklaji does not want his son to be a taxi driver
For cab drivers there is one nation
It is discrimination
Shuklaji says: Driving a taxi for 30 years caused my brain tumour
What will Shuklaji do now?
What will his brain ever do?
I know not
Elphinstone Road arrives
He exits
Swivels his six-foot frame over the iron frame
Walks to the railway platform

I won't see him again

Friday, October 12, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What the paper said to me

The forecast for tomorrow is,
We propose to skip the summer season

The story of her life

From a broken cup
She sips tea
When there is none

A bit of breeze slipped through the window

Into her past

In the folds of the world map
Weeds are sprouting
Argentina covered by a crease
Serbia has a hole
Congo is de-inked
A shirt hung over the Pacific Ocean
How will he wear a wet shirt?
To school in the morning?

I seek idyll
Said the paper to me
Something profound penned by a ball point nib
In clear blue handwriting

Till such time
Four paper weights will suffice

Krishna's flute and other shorts

Is a river, a river
When it has no water?

The word I etched on a stone
Rebelled, and flew way
Like a hot air balloon

This birthday, I will tattoo
A bar code on my forehead

The story of their marriage

She couldn't find a suitable font
That said I love you

The sun sets
On the banks of the Yamuna
Krishna knows not what to do
The gopis have hidden his flute

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Unspoken rules and such other things

His one genius discovery
Attar that smells like roasted tandoori chicken

I propose a dedicated radio channel
That plays birdsongs

They married
Due to an evening walk
Beneath poplar trees
Memorable as it were
Whose date neither remembered

Except for a crying child
All is silent
In the 9:17 local

He looked into the map
And saw himself

Who invented unspoken rules? Can I meet him?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Chopin and I

Last evening, instead of bombinating,
I chit-chatted with my piano
Over a Sonata
I rendered with a strand of hair

Exceedingly delicious
Said a Liszty fly to me
Though your finale for the piano concerto is a bit extended
Write littler, edit morer

I got excoriated
When I was told to compose a Nocturne
For Chopin buried in a grave
Between Bellini and Cherubini

I stopped playing
For the first time in 378 years
And played the C minor no.21