Friday, May 31, 2013

Song of sadness

At the back of the bus, the twins are asleep
Mother wonders: how she will feed
The hungry rakshashas in their stomach

One summer afterrnoon, I finally woke up
Sun rays accumulated outside my window
They want to use the cloakroom, before they proceed

She is humming a song of sadness

I try to conceal it in my pocket
Before it becomes an epidemic

15 shorts about sadness

She lifts a stone
Along with the shadow

And examines its muscles

Rain in the evening
Wish they covered the sky
She wants to walk

My neighbours' dal
It smells
Better than mine

In the 45 degrees of Virudhangar
They felicitate the VIP
With a bit of gentle breeze

Her thoughts
Were dynamited
Will she be penalised

A garland:
Of weeds and rotten leaves
And half-hearted blessings

The cloud in the sky
Wants to take a bath
In the lake

The bright moon
Tip toes into my bed
Neither sleep

Raindrops fall –
No Sintex
In the sky

Blistering sun
A woman crosses the road
Thinking of the cold in Drass

From the train window
I see unhappiness
So I change the song on my iPod

Newspaper headline:
Today was more sad
Than yesterday

Death zig zags
Here and there
Till she reaches my pyre

In the house of the tone-deaf,
The musicians have been

A flower, she
Knocks my door
Can I come in? It's very hot outside

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Five shorts from Madurai

I seek a new wife
Ever since mine ran
Away with Lord Krishna

The 19th century bull
Told his great grandson
Dont fritter your life
Swotting flies at the bus stand
Look at me

Emulate me
I survived the Alanganallur Jallikattu
Bull Fight

Me grandma had an elephant
Who did a plastic surgery
Now it has a peacock feather
Instead of a tail

At the abhishekam
Meenakshi wondered
About the blessed days
When Gandhi and Nehru visited the temple
And Meenakshi paid obeisance to them

The customs officer stopped me
Anything to declare
I said, a million and one smiles
He said, sir, that's illegal
We don't permit smuggling
Of happiness

Sunday, May 19, 2013

On the day of Ashaad

In Dwarka
She scrubs
Broken utensils
Hums a bhajan
The Gomti tells her
Meera, stop your singing
No one can understands your words
Any more

I was about to do Surya Namaskar
But the sun did pranayama to me

What if Tulsidas visited Pandharpur
What if Tukaram wrote the Ramayana
Would the gods be wronged
Would they have behaved better

In the beginning
When there were no days
Nor nights
The universe said to planet earth
I'm omnipotent, I am omnipresent

Our planet
Which we inhabit
Got irritated by this pomposity
It invented the horizon
To halt the universe
And its constellations of stars
In its track every morning

Lord Vishnu looked at his wife
The goddess of wealth and said
I'm married to you
Why am I not rich
Like Kubera

She replied, stop collecting the sorrows of the human race

Never abuse the wind, they say
Its enters your lung
Conspires with the air
Causes asthma, bad breath
And smelly gas in the body

To Mathura I went
On the day of Ashaad
Yamuna, I couldn't see
Wait, she said
I am changing my saree
The blouse is too tight

Then she turned to me
With her hair wild
Her tears, flowing
Do you love me?

I wiped her eyes and said, I do
But why have the kadamba trees abandoned your shore
She said, everyone fears me
They prefer the Ganges

Friday, May 17, 2013

Five thoughts on 18 May

My lace said to my shoe: How much you make me walk

A hole said to me: At the bottom of me is a deeper hole

The garbage man said to me: Today's waste is better than yesterday's

The Mithi River said to me: The Amherstia Nobilis is in full bloom from where I originate

My brain said to me: We need to remote control your dreams

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A few headlines for today

The headline in today's newspaper
Three new leaves on the ferns
I will wash them with my tears
They who know not yesterday


Barefoot they walked
Hand in hand

(Technically, its her little finger between his forefinger and thumb)
For hundreds of years
Till their hands are permanently glued


The sea tells me, it has been enslaved with all the salt in its water, and can I help it achieve liberty by getting rid of it


The majestic old tree has fallen
Its testicles uprooted
A headache in its stomach
What hurts him most, as he lies in the dust
Is the indifference of fellow trees
Who have abandoned all hope

And in the dawn
As I walk toward the waves
All is quiet

I hear no sound
The waves inform me
Worry not, we are merely changing the CD

Salutations, Blackie says to me
He looks drunk on the floor
He looks at my apparition
We say farewell to each other, silently

He knows, and so do I
A grave awaits one of us

Monday, May 13, 2013

Some songs for you in the middle of the night

I am your shadow
I shall follow you
Please don't step on me


We drive past the black and alluvial soil
From the ST bus we gaze out
We see paddy
Rabbi and kharif
We see hunch-backed shadows
Tilling the land
We see hectares of green
That shall be cement, soon

The jester at the back of the bus, says
What if we plant a few jokes
And cultivate laughter


Did you know
As this nation of ours, readies for the future
We grow powerfuller and powerfuller
Everyone hypnotised
In all this, no one watches the overcast sky
The night's fall
All dark

If we had been watchful
We would realise the Siberian Cranes have not entered our land
This winter
As they have not
For the past ten winters


Where are my tears?
I wipe them with the leaves on the tree
Here there is no dust
How will I scribble your name, now?

You stand at the Arthur Road Jail gate, come in,
A cutting chai for you
Step out of that world
Welcome to freedom
Except she has gone out to play


When Mohammed Rafi passed away
They buried his songs in a cemetery in Juhu
His tomb has disappeared, along with grey-white pigeons, sparrows, a few ravens
Who flew off with all his voice
Higher, higher into the clouds
A gift for the devas and gandharvas

Today, all that remains
In that grave yard is
A coconut tree
A dilapidated radio
Vividh Bharati
And a deaf and dumb man who hums the tunes, silently


The perwinkles watch her
Climbing onto a rickety ladder
That is propped on the moon
She holds her arms, upwards
Holding the sky with her tiny fists
Preventing it from crushing
The flowers in her garden


He waits in prison
All is quiet
Through the shut window
He hears the rain
He hears the wind wheeze
He hears temple bells
Sometimes he hears the grass growing
The birth pangs of a rainbow in the horizon
They need no gate pass
To enter his solitary cell
As and when they want to
And start waltzing over his head


This poem tells me
I feel incomplete


The raincloud tells the umbrella
It’s only water, not blood


When I met Dr Saab
He told me, I am merely on my deathbed
Don’t make a formal speech
As though you’re at my funeral


Do stones encounter humidity?
If yes, do they also complain?


The watchman
Watches Garma Garma Hot Hot
And Jism Ki Angdai on his handheld
Perched on his chair
Under the neem tree

When he is weary
Once every 30 minutes
He walks around the colony
His hometown lathi in beat
That goes dhaa tirikita
Dhaa, ga, ge, gi, ka, ke, dhi, dhin
The incandescence of the tala
Scares intruders
And makes my tabla jealous


One day, we shall walk together
You and I
On the road to nowhere
To pass the time
En route
We will vacuum away all the sand on the beach


You who do not believe in all my ideologies
My words, they do not exist in your dictionary
My cause that seems so hopeless, to you
Yet you do not want me to be martyred
Why do you want to exit before me?


I have put a giraffe in an envelope
Posted it to your home address
When you receive the giraffe
Provide him a big bed, a blanket and a cup of coffee
Remember to tickle his feet every morning
He is weary because he has grown up
Please teach him how to smile
Like you

On the day I died
I realised my future
Was a certainty


Sunday, May 12, 2013

A short at 4.59 am

She tied his heart to a rock
So that it wouldn't loiter
She chained his lips
So that they don't kiss
Someone else's words

I met Ashwathama

I met Ashwathama
At Mama Kane's Swacha Uphargriha
He says Bhai, the times are bad
The Bharamastra fell in Vidharbha
12 years of famine in the region

In his horse-voice, he describes the suicides
Can I get food grains, sugar, kerosene for my people?
How, I ask, as he gobbles a kothambir wade

With his piyush. He says, it can be done through the Antyodaya

Irritating habit this, I say, of lapsing into Sanskrit
So, he explains he needs a ration card
Something for the poorest of the poor
Come, I say, as we get into a taxi in the sun

Ashwathama and I reach the Talati Office
We want a form which I can fill up
The clerk says go to the civil supplier's office
Who is civil; and provides a long list of documents

Ashwathama says I don't have an address proof
What about an electricity bill or voter id, I ask
Or a contract with the landlord, or last month's pay slip
Or a marriage certificate, or SSC marksheet

He replies, none of the above, oh bhai
Ever since Lord Krishna cursed me
I have no hospitality nor accommodation
I live in isolation from mankind and society

We meet Kalki the agent in Masjid Bunder
Kalki said, dont worry ji, this is Kaliyug
Everything can be managed, easily
Get me a Rs 5 stamp and three passport-sized photographs

Ashwathama says, I have nothing, I am shoonya
A cursed body which hosts incurable diseases
Infinite sores and ulcers that never-ever heal
And this eternal face that refuses to smile

Kalki says, All will be balle balle
The Talati Officer will visit your home
Within a month for verification
I've no home for such type of a visit

No problem-ji, said Kalki
You visit the Talati office ten times
Or the Civil Office seventeen times
Now my commission please

Ashwathama extracts the Shamantakamani from his forehead
Kalki knows it is a rare gem which will protect him
From snakes, ghosts, demigods and demons
Plus it's market valuation is very high in Brussels

Ashwathama and I walk to CST station in silence
What will you do now, I ask on platform two
Bhai, the wound caused by the removal of this gem
Will never heal and my people will suffer hunger

Till the end of Kaliyuga

The Brave Warrior trudges ahead

And boards the train to Gadchiroli

Friday, May 10, 2013

I erased the equator and nine other shorts

Do not tell any one
When you were asleep
I erased the equator

When I grow up
I want to become Adonis
Or Borges or Joyce
Or Milton or Surdas
Blind, perhaps
Brilliant, definite

A dog barked at me
When I barked back
It recited doggerel

I walk, southwards
No breeze
I turned northwards
Three types of wind
On my face

Sometimes life is as simple as that
The sea said to me

My chemistry teacher told me
Do not be lazy like Argon
Aspire for more
Like that Nitrogen fellow

Yesterday, I did
What no man has done before me
I played chess in the boxing ring

A noisy crow
At my window
Upside down
Are you pretending to be a bat? I ask
He replies
I am trying to figure out
Why I've been exiled
From this city

My tathaa, a coffee merchant
Put snuff in his nostril
There is no Sanskrit word for caffeine
Since Thyagaraja didnt need it
Neither did Kamban

I went to my bookie
To wager a bet on I
The long and short of it was
I had to mortgage myself
Now I am left with one final sigh

The lowly policeman
Tried to administer
A honesty injection
Into the jurisdiction of the land
He was demoted forever