Sunday, July 22, 2012

Two poems in Vayavya

Vayavya, a literary journal, is an initiative of Mihir Vatsa, a young Delhi University literature student. I am glad he asked me to send my poems for this issue, which happens to be the fourth. The journal is creditable, do check it (and my poems) out here.  (delighted at my newly acquired skill of putting hyperlinks, I like to show off :-) )

I am also putting the poems below. Old ones, these, but old favourites :-)


From a sober olive green
dark, sombre, brooding jealousy
to bright emerald which screams
its insecurities to your face
to jade- moss- parrot green
to the sickly green pallor
of vomiting food or
unpalatable emotions.
I have turned all
greened all, screamed
from the pain of burning
a yellow-red-orange flame
which I try to simmer down,
swallow down, green-it-down
before it rages and runs amuck.
I wonder what's green about

How to Make a Juda

A wealth of hair
wound around my hand
twisted, just so
with a flip movement, there.
And then there's the inner filling
the stuffing
which must be put in
just right, neither caving in
nor protruding
ouch! That was tricky!
A cautious patting of the bun
to affirm its roundness
its smoothness, neatness
And the wooden stick
with its carved, crowning head
is now inserted
at just the right angle.
Or a pencil or a paintbrush
would do as well
if sticks are few.
Holding up a mass of hair
with a single stick
and grace
that comes from minimalism
The art of juda making
like the art of poetry
is of delicate precision

Three Poems in Muse India

Three poems are up in the July-August issue of Muse India  which deals with the theme of  Monsoon- 'Varsha Ritu'. You can see them here.  (let me mention here that I am vastly proud of my newly acquired skills in putting hyperlinks and on top of the world)

I am also putting the poems below :-)


The amaltas in the distance glows yellow
The newly washed world is sparkling and clean
The rain has clothed it with a rainbow hued sheen
Splashing and tweeting in puddles flock sparrows.

Parakeets stick their heads from tree hollows
The gulmohur leaves laugh verdant green
Forming a feathery, whispery screen
The orange melons in the fields dream mellow.

Here and there you can spy ripe mangoes
I wish a blue throated peacock would preen
That would be a splendid sight to have seen
Eagerly pecking at the fruits crowd crows.

With the stormy winds I want to dance
Filling each pore with a touch of romance.


It was a gift
To lose myself in Landour greens
In the june heat
A gift of blue purple rain clouds
Raintrees rain birds in the mountains
And rivers making love to the sky
It was a gift of song and laughter
Ruskined epiphanies
Bonding unsullied Garhwal beauty
It was a mother’s gift
To her daughter at sixteen.

Years later I was to know
Of your Landour trips
And to treasure the fact
Landour desires oozing out of me.


Music of the aeolian harp
melody of flute and lyre
It is the sound of heavens laughing
the thunder is the tabla beating
destroying habit
enforced freedom from routine
I tune in with the rhythms of this dance
to be set free.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

a 'found text' poem in hindi

Wanting to try my hand at writing a poem in Hindi, my mother tongue. Again something for which TAM gave me the opportunity. This poem was written using the words of an interview. There were a set of questions and we interviewed each other and wrote down the other person's answers. Then we chose interesting words from these answers and created a poem out of it. My found text poem in hindi is about found text itself. This one is purely for laughs and is not meant to be taken seriously! :-)

‘Found text” poem in hindi written by using words from interview answers

Yeh kavita doosron ke likhe shabdon

Ko apna banati hai, punah parakh kar

Naye raaston se jaanti hai, aur unke

Zyaada karib aa jati hai.

Yeh puranay shabd kuchh naye kapde, kuchh

Naye arth pehen lete hain, jaise

Ek girgit apna rang badalti hai.

Jakde hue shabdon ko khula

Chhod deti hai aur ve shabd

Chand tak udaan bhar lete hain.

Shabdon ko sunkar rang

Dikhayi dene lagte hain, aur naye ghar,

Ek naya sheher bunate hain.

translating Neeraj's hindi poem into english

This is purely informal and just for fun! Trying out my hand at translating from hindi to english, for the first time! again, something I have long wanted to learn how to do. TAM just gave me the opportunity to experiment. :-)

Translation of ‘Jab teri yaad aayi’ by Gopaldas Saxena Neeraj, from Phir Deep Jalega, pg 140

The original hindi poem follows after my translation

When I remembered you

I wrote a song for your tresses, for your fierce glances,

and the ghazal composed itself, when I remembered you.

Sleep fled my eyes at night

Flew away like a scent

When the wind kissed

The henna on your hands

It rained from every direction- when I remembered you.

Like a yogi chanting prayers

I began to sing with every breath

A face coming and going

In front of my eyes

Home became a palace- when I remembered you.

When I uttered your name

Diyas lit up my heart

When I found you near me

The blackest of days turned fair

My world changed- when I remembered you.

Jab teri yaad aayi

Zulf par geet likha, sher nazaron pai kaha

Ban gayi khud hi ghazal- jab teri yaad aayi

Khushboo ban banke uri

Neend raaton ki meri

Jab hava choom gayi

Mehendi haathon ki teri

Barse har simta keval- jab teri yaad aayi

Ek jogin ki tarah

Saans har gaane lagi

Shakl nazaron mein koi

Aane aur jaane lagi

Ghar bana rajmahal- jab teri yaad aayi

Naam jab tera liya

Jal uthey dil mein diye

Paas jab paya tujhe

Kale din gorey hue

Gayi duniya hi badal – jab teri yaad aayi

Visual for a Spanish poem on artichokes

This was a visual made during the TAM workshops. There was a Spanish poem on artichokes. We heard an English translation of it once. and then we had to make our own varied adaptations, translations, transcreations of the poem in whichever manner we wanted to. I decided to take this as an opportunity to experiment with the visual medium, something I've always wanted to do, but never had the courage, really. This is a visual translation of the Spanish poem. ideally, it should have included a gun too, something I conveniently chose to do without. :-)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

TAM poetry workshops, and Happy 4th Birthday, blog!

From October 2011 to April 2012, I was fortunate enough to be part of a series of Text-as-Material poetry workshops organised by the poet, Vivek Narayanan at CSDS, Sarai. These workshops have truly done what they set out to do, that is, taught me to see texts, all kind of texts, as materials for more work. We experimented a lot with "found text". Found text is text taken from anywhere, newspaper reports, interviews, other people's emails, advertisements, finding words from there which, as Vivek says, "do something to you", and seeing how these words written by another can actually be used by you to express something that you might have otherwise found hard to express. Again, as Vivek says, in poetry, discipline can lead to more freedom. For example, writing in form with a specific rhyme scheme and metre can at times help a lot of things emerge which otherwise perhaps may not have. Similarly, found text, as another way of disciplining that helps one find freedom. :-)

Over the course of these workshops, I have begun to see the inter-relationship of all art, of a photograph, a painting, a poem, an advertisement, an email... a poem can emerge out of just about anything. I can translate/adapt a poem into a pictorial visual representation. Experimenting with art work, hindi poetry, translation, in the immensely freeing, creative, and non-judgemental space of the sarai basement was a beautiful experience. and plus, I got to know the loveliest of interesting people, thanks to these workshops, oh so many of them! :-) Looking forward now to the chapbook publication we hope to have in a month or so, although formally TAM is at an end...

And yes, Happy Fourth Birthday, beloved blog! :-) You have survived through many stages of my writing, and I hope you will live to see many more. Amen!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

CaPoWriMo 2012

Hello folks!

I am doing the Caferati Poetry Writing Month CaPoWriMo this April for the third time running. to see the Caferati cues for each day, you can visit
To see my April CaPoWriMo 2012 poems, you can add me as a friend on facebook and read my notes there. If you're not on facebook and you still want to read them, of course you can always email me at and ask me for them. :-)

Sorry blog, but this is the way it's going to be, it seems!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Two Poems in the Seven Sisters Post :-)

Two poems appeared in the Literary Supplement, 'Postcript', of the Assamese Newspaper, 'The Seven Sisters Post' on sunday, 18th March 2012. These poems focus, as does the entire newspaper, upon North-East India. You can see the scanned paper here http:// http://%20http//
You can also see them at http:// http://%20http//, though this site is under maintenance till about 25th March 2012. They're okay-ish poems, but I'm glad they found a happy home... :-)

Here are the poems below... :-)

This poem is about the Indian bullet.
It is about Naga tribes in Manipur
and the Meghalaya which was
... a part of Assam. This poem
is about the island of Majuli.
This poem is about the fertility of guns
and the orality of bullets.
It is about the reality of the unknown.
It is about you, and me, and them.
It is about us. This poem
is also about flowers.

In the Tea garden of Tebhaga

I don't have even two bighas of land
I work in a tea garden
as a labourer.
I don't have money, it's the famine na
There is nothing to eat, so
I eat khichdi everyday.
There are three daughters, a family
They don't have clothes, so
After washing them they wait
for the clothes to dry.
The zamindar's men come to sell water
I tell them "no money.
don't want water."
The bastards, they pour the water on the ground
and ask me for payment.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

On blogging, publishing and naivete

Dear Heartstrings and dear blog-readers,

I haven't been posting poems here lately. I just wanted to say that that really doesn't mean that I haven't been writing. It's just that I have woken up to dangers and threats and norms, and, quoting the title of Nitoo Das' once-upon-a-time blog post 'Blogging and Naivete' have realised that it's high time to stop being naive. Now, my reasons for being naive may be similar or may be completely different from the ones mentioned in that post.

My reason for choosing not to put up unpublished poems on this blog anymore is because many magazines and journals consider blog-publishing as real "publishing" and everybody wants only unpublished stuff as submissions and contributions. Once, twice, thrice, I can bend and twist the rule, but not the fourth time. To be ethically correct, and to play by the rules and norms, I decided not to put up unpublished stuff here. I am not very worried about plagiarism because I do not yet think my poems are good enough yet for anyone to want to plagiarise them. However, it's a two-in-one thing, if I don't put up unpublished stuff on the blog, it acts as a deterrent to plagiarism as well. and published stuff is always copyrighted. beyond that, if someone wants to copy, they can copy from just about anywhere, why just the blog, heck!

I delayed putting up this post quite a bit. Two months ago, it almost broke my heart to desert my beloved blog. But I didn't want to "close" this blog just now and to keep it only for a few "invited readers". I'd rather not do that just yet. A lot of people visit this blog, and I really value and appreciate that, and I can't build an identity roll or list! So I ultimately decided to keep this blog public, as it is, but to put up poems only after they have been published.

I can always diversify and put up other things besides poetry! Though I do hope that the poetry will keep running alongside intermittently too! :-)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Four poems in Muse India (Jan-Feb 2012 issue)

Four poems out in the Jan-Feb 2012 issue of Muse India. The annual issue edited by Prof GJV Prasad. The poems are 'Making Love', 'Red: a sonnet', 'Nasturtiums', and 'Lost in your House'. The poems are elsewhere on this blog. 'Nasturtiums isn't, so I am putting it here.
Do check out the Muse India issue at Four poems out in the Jan-Feb 2012 issue of Muse India. The annual issue edited by Prof GJV Prasad. The poems are 'Making Love', 'Red: a sonnet', 'Nasturtiums', and 'Lost in your House'. The poems are elsewhere on this blog. 'Nasturtiums isn't, so I am putting it here. Do check out the Muse India issue at It has, among others, Priti Aisola, Uddipana Goswami, Temsula Ao, and Tabish Khair. :-)


The curves of your leaves
for ripples of water to reflect them
... They contemplate escape from pots
They dream of the memory of the pool
they must have surrounded
when Narcissus looked into its mirror
and fell in love.
They wait eagerly
for the orange laugh of blossoms

Monday, January 16, 2012

Two poems in Reading Hour and some news!

Two poems published in Reading Hour-Jan-Feb issue. I am copy-pasting the two poems below so that you can read them here. :-) 'Home' and 'The Weft and the Warp'. The Weft and the Warp is a sort of love poem, how poetry can connect and unite two people, and Home was written for Civil Lines, Delhi.


There are floating roots and
aerial roots, but I
prefer under-the-ground ones.
Cold winds may blow and tempests
may rage, I may
be hungry and broken
But in Emily Bronte-ish fashion
“Nothing drear can move me
I will not, cannot go”
faith may seem to totter and
angst may seem to win
But, in the words of a childhood
'Chapni' tale
“The world is big, it's fun to roam
But the nicest, nicest place is home”

The Weft and the Warp

Snip. Snip. Click. Swish.
A whisking metallic sound
breaks silence with a tone of finality
scissors cut cleanly through cloth.
Hearts too are torn and ripped
like cloth, mine has frayed edges
jagged threads stick out.
the knit is lost without the purl, the weft
goes in search of the warp.
A new thread can stitch them
into a patchwork compromise
Poetry can sew hearts and
my warped lines
woven with doubt, hope and insecurity
the head bent in prayer
ardently long to find
the weft of yours.

And the news? Just the possibility of being invited by Toto Funds the Arts to bangalore for a poetry reading sometime this year. if that would happen, it would be my very first! and so exciting! :-))

And yes, Happy New Year and all that!