Tuesday, December 9, 2014

'Photograph' published in Coldnoon Diaries

My poem 'Photograph' has just been put up in Coldnoon Diaries, a journal focussing on forms of literature and art related to travel. It is an off-shoot of the journal Coldnoon Travel Poetics and is handled mainly by Arup K Chatterjee and Amrita Ajay, who have also been my academic peers.

They have also given it a nice Roland Barthes introduction on photography, making the poem seem more sophisticated! The photograph I actually wrote the poem for however, is not the one that is up on the site. You can see the original photo- here. It is an IP College pic clicked by a friend, Ritu Singh.

To read the actual poem in Coldnoon Diaries, you can click here. :-) Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

'Smell Spells' in North East Review

Here is 'Smell Spells', published in the North East Review on Diwali day.

Smell Spells

The polite fragrance of elaichi
is the dining room visitor perfume
the tangy amchur remembers
the green mango before its demise
the heeng invades all your senses
but the laung reveals its sharpness
only to the tongue
the ajwain is strong and yet prim
like a school mistress.
the dried methi seeds tell you the story
of how the sun dried the green fields
the abrupt saunf bids goodbye to the guests
the boring old jeera screams everydayness
and the tej patta is what everyone uses
but secretly hates
In a North Indian kitchen, I drown myself in Malabar.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

'Creativity' and 'Smell Spells'

Here is 'Creativity', published in Allegro

Fall in love with someone
From another culture.
Be swept off your feet and let this
Fascination transform you.
Do not treat the other
As other. Do not judge in haste.
Begin to understand, perhaps even
Become the other.
Speak their language. Learn
The names of their rivers, dance
To their festivals and music,
Dress like them, discover their food,
Tattoo them on your skin.
Be vulnerable. Let the other
Ravage you, give them the power
To destroy you. Open yourself
To translation. In that living shattering
evolving heartbreaking accepting space
lies creativity.

Read 'Smell Spells' published in the Xarodiya (winter) issue of The North East Review here.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

'Creativity' finds a home in Allegro, and 'Smell Spells' in North East Review

My poem 'Smell Spells' (written long back, in April 2011) has been accepted for the 'Xarodiya' issue of North East Review. Sharat in hindi, shawrot in bengali, Xarot in Axomiya, It is an autumn/winter issue around the Durga Puja festive season. My poem, well it's about smells, more specifically, it's about spices used in food. Will put up the link to it later once it gets published.

Another poem 'Creativity', a very very recent one has been accepted and published in Allegro, a new e-zine based somewhere in the UK. It is their very first issue and the theme is 'New'. It seems to be a nice selection of poems, do check out 'Creativity' and the other poems here.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Renu Mashi: a poem in Earthen Lamp Journal

Here is the poem that was published in the July issue of Earthen Lamp Journal themed 'The Personal is Political'.  Happy reading!


 Renu Mashi

A sweet mother
and a strict father who insisted
on the loftiest principles
She was that startling mixture of fair skin
and jet black contrast curls
Two sisters and a brother complete the framed picture
There were two more sons, but one died at birth
and the other at infancy.
The poor mother had already borne so much pain
Shrouded in silence, this lovely lady
sari clad, old, knitting needles clicking in the sun
as I remember her.
They ensured the best college education
yes way back in 1950, for their daughters
Years later, I was to call my grandma's college my own
but this is not about my grandmother, this poem
is about my dadi's sister, Renu masi they always call her
She was doing a PhD in Chemistry, they said
A PhD is like a marriage, she said. I wish
it had been her only marriage.
But her second marriage was to a man who killed her
out of greed because she did not supply him with the money he wanted
I do not know if she could not or she would not
I only know that she died
They put poison in her morning coffee, they killed her
Cleverly using her own chemistry against her
Sixty years later, her sister's grand-daughter
pretends to do a PhD in feminism.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

'Renu Mashi': poem published in the Earthen Lamp Journal

 My poem 'For Renu Masi' duly changed to 'Renu Mashi', perhaps by some over zealous Bengali, figures in the July issue of Earthen Lamp Journal, which has the Personal is Political as its theme. Do take a look. 

this poem was written one December morning while invigilating an exam in Dyal Singh College!

Happy to also see one of my teachers, Mita Bose, figure in the 'Book reviews' section of the journal.

You can read it here.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

and two more!

Here are the last two poems of my 'Rendezvous with Assam' series out of the total sixteen which actually Thumbprint did not put up. :-)
So, 22nd May. Incidentally, tomorrow, 23rd May is Heartstrings' birthday... ummm let me see, 2008, wasn't it... 2008 to 2014, Happy 6th Birthday and all that in advance, blog! You reached it!

           Moi axomiya bhal pau , kintu moi axomiya na bujhisu
I like assamese, but then I do not understand assamese
But smiles and twilight laughter
Food, respect, bihu. Love too. They tie
And knit the world through a million
invisible threads. Probably they do not
Know. Nobody knows. Only I do. The world
Is full of sticky spider webs for me tonight.
Moi axomiya nohoi kintu moi axomiya prem korisu.
P.S.- I love you too. 

2.       The Memory of Assam

My dreams are still full of hills
And kamakhya and the Brahmaputra
Captured with difficulty in mind film
In so short a time, more easily on camera film.
I wonder sometimes at my strange fascination
Then I look at you, beside the Luit,
cradled by hills, haphazard unplanned city
with your big city feel and  your sudden small city feel,
 the land of bihu beauty, mekhela and bordoisila
And I know that despite problems
 risks, disruptions, contradictions
 uncertainties of the future
I shall return to this Assam
And then again.

Rendezvous with Assam

Here are the 'Rendezvous with Assam' poems published in Thumbprint. Yes, been a while, finally putting them here today. Happy read! Happy day! :-)

Rendezvous with Assam

You have been a dream
Far too long. You and I
Were parallel train tracks
That never met. I leapt out
At the golden moon, and fell
Down devastated into the river.
I tried to swim towards the island
You turned out to be a floating,
Shifting island, out of wave reach.
I am afraid of reaching you, as I am
Afraid of defiling exquisite handmade
Paper with a pen. You have been a beautiful dream
I am scared of committing you into a poem
Scarred cracked words where you slipped
Out long ago, between the spaces.

I cannot believe that I will meet
You tonight. The excitement and
The desire is too much with me,
It drugs me. I am a boring, placid
Person. You can disappear, fairy island.
I think I will be quite content
By not having you. By only loving you.
After all, I am used to living with thwarted dreams.

Dhak dhak dhak

Dhak dhakdhakdhak fadfadfad
Someone is beating the bathroom door
From inside. Knock knock.caw caw
Caw caw caw. Caw caw.
Big beak beating, wide wings flapping
Against the window pane. Oh, it is a pigeon!
Caw caw caw, naw naw.No no!
It is a crow.flap flap dhak dhak
Thud thud. Big wild untamed jungle crow.
Desperately adamantly fighting with
The top storey window pane crying
Let me in let me in let me in
A crow visitor on a misty mountain morning.
My first in this hill river axom land.

The crow came again today
He is a regular visitor.

I wondered at your white river blue sari picture

How you managed to merge colour, with binary
Black and whites. I admired your photo-editing skills
With envy. I have now seen the Brahmaputra.
I have now clicked a moving spur of bright red
On a colourless Brahmaputra.I now know that
The Luit is covered in a grey-white mist
Every evening, shrouded in mystery.
Only, when I bend down to touch it, the water is green.

Driving down the length of the river at Pan Bazar

Lined with trees this side and hills on the other
Is when I realize I am in love with you—
The city that you grew up in. You must have walked along this river
And soaked in its beauty so many times.
It is an idyllic river, with that rocky jutting island,
The distant hills, the mist, the steamers and
The bazaar teeming with life. I have almost
A desperate desire to capture and film this place
It is as lovely as you are.

Sometimes I wonder at my fascination

For you who eat animals
Of  all kinds and I who don’t eat any, you
With your weird tribes, so far far away
From where I live. Sometimes I wonder why
I do all this for you-you are an alien person.
You don’t even talk to me anymore.
I feel a foreigner. And then I see the Luit
And the Bihu and I hear your spoken Axomiya
And some thing strange pulls and tugs at me
And I know I don’t want to leave. And I know
I am not a foreigner. I belong to you.
You belong to me. I am so determined
To adopt you, you have been inside my head for years.
I look at visitors around me- so touristy, no
I do not feel one of them. Oh no!
“ I think you are Axomiya only.
You do not behave like an outsider”
It is the biggest compliment I can get.

Assam has been incredibly kind to me

Yes, I know you are no paradise, yes
I have seen horrible child exploitation
I have heard of insurgencies and migrant
Infiltrators. Yes,I know of tribes and
Separatist tendencies yes here too
They have overcharged me.
But I will have to say that people here
Stall owners, shop keepers, taxi drivers
Restaurant waiters, teachers, friends,
Random people and small babies too
Have been nice to me, smiled at me,
Gone out of their way to help me
Yes, they have helped me a lot.
The people of Assam have been incredibly kind to me.

St Mary’s School, Ambari, Guwahati

You were a pretty place where I stood for long
Imagining you as a small child, running in the
Basketball court playing, I could see you
Sometimes standing lonely and solitary
Near a pillar. Climbing stairs to the classrooms
With a pile of books, sometimes staring at the
Idol of Mary among the trees. I think you must
Have been happy here. I was mortally scared
To be there, but no-one shoved me out.
They let me walk around clicking pictures.
I also saw a nun running. I even told a woman
That you used to study here.

Cotton College, Pan Bazar, Guwahati

Estd 1901. That is tremendously old.
So finally, at long last, you are before me
green and rustic. Ancient too. They have let you
Remain as you were. I think you would have
Frequented the library and perhaps the canteen.
I walk around them all, as you would have once
The big buildings, and the little hut ones.
I seem to be obsessed with photographing
Them all, I want to rebuild you in my head
You must have been so young, so inexperienced then.
I wonder what you were.
Keep well, place. I will return to you.


The Luit is best at Pan bazaar where
I can gaze at it through the trees.
This poem rambles like the river
Like the road that runs through GU
Where I saw the white stork- the ones
You clicked a video of. This poem
Rambles the way I wandered solitary
Down that road,putting flowers in my hair.
It rambles from ambari through downtown
And Fancy Bazar which was ironically phansi bazaar
To jalukbari- these baris were supposed
to have been gardens. Wander through the
Maligaon railway headquarters to the Khanapara bus stand.
It would like to ramble through your straw huts
And villages, road leading on
To road, field and sunshine. Into the hut
Where they make jewellery with cutters
And moulds and die and flame-fires and
Sharpeners and jewels. Ramble from here
To the main shops in Guwahati
through the busy hum and teeming
With life city which I can sit still
And watch. This poem rambles all the way like I did
To Deepor beel, all alone just because you did.
I did not know it would be off season
At this time of year. But I saw the pretty train,
The bridge, and some birds, though I couldn’t see
migratory flocks like you.
Wander back to the university road
As if I had been walking up and down it for years,
You felt so mine, losing myself in you, seeing myself melt
Allowing myself to become a part of the orange sunset.
Last night,I dreamt of rambling down
Gauhati roads. Dreams ramble, like rivers and roads
And mine travel back to you.

Kamakhya Pigeons

Black and white flecked, snow white
Ones, big red-eyed —these are not
Your ordinary grey north Indian pigeons.  They belong
To another pigeon race. These pigeons that nestle
Among stone pillars- squawking, hawking—preening their wings
looking at their reflection in sacred water the sacred red mark on their foreheads.
Life is lived in the Kamakhya- children playing
Pigeons swooping, people growing old waiting
In the queue to see the main idol, the goddess
Who only menstruates once a year, you wrote.
There are stone domes and carvings and engravings
And everywhere, everywhere, there are pigeons.

Axomiya food

They made the thali especially for me
At 10pm. Red bhoot jolokia small rotund
cackling fascinating and furiously fiery.
The white pulpy bamboo shoots sprout tangy secrets.
the sour khar and pithika, giant nemus and bor-tenga
hold answers to lost dreams.
Feeling food with bare hands, the South Indian way.
If you would rather eat finger-burning khichdi, you should
Irreverently go to the Kamakhya and ask for Prasad.
This is, of course, a strictly vegetarian account.
I could not write about the masor tenga
If I tried. Though I have seen the fins
Of a fish being cut, I don’t have your real
Experience of “how to”.


Only axomiya can do justice to this and I
Cannot speak axomiya. How will I write
About Bihu in English? My otherwise stiff body
Which melts into fluidity with these lilting
Tunes is the only language in which Bihu
And I connect. Bright mekhela-sadors and
Dhols and the flute and the taal. They told me of an
Instrument fashioned from a buffalo’s horn
And the jaapi and the dhoti-gamosa and
Always the flute, the dhol and the twirling mekhalas.
I am transfixed here. I cannot leave. I want
To leave but I cannot leave. My body sways
To the rhythm in the memory of Bihu.

You said your favourite colours are red and black

And olive green. I thought you exotic then.
Seeing the kind of culture you grew up in
I now know how and why. I remember your
Red and black striped shawl with yellow tassels
I have admired for years. This place is a pot pourri
Of such varying cultures.Bodo, Mishing, Karbi,
Ahom, Vaishnavites. I particularly remember
Your wondrous orange mekhela when I said
 you look gorgeous. I have bought half
Of assam now. Entranced with its crafts,
From eri shawls to stoles to mekhela sadors to
Gamosa to sarong to kurtis to jaapis to
tiny jakoi-khaloi to axomiya spices
To karbi bags to bamboo pouches to earrings
I have bought them all. All,except for the gold.
I have Assam in Delhi spread out before me.
My adopted home.
No. of Visitors : 607

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

'Rendezvous with Assam' poem-series published in Thumb Print

Hello folks,

my poem series, 'Rendezvous with Assam' has been published in The Thumb Print Magazine. It is published from Guwahati, Assam, and I had poems there earlier too, in December 2013. You can see them here

The link was inactive for a week or ten days. I have changed it now and it works again.

I hope you have an enjoyable read. :-)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Conducting a poetry workshop at Ramjas College

On the 28th of February, I conducted my first poetry workshop ever. :-) Not that I claim to know much, either in the line of writing poetry, or by way of conducting workshops. But it was nice of Ramjas College Literary Society students, who had seen some of my published poems as well as this blog, to take the initiative to invite me.

It was just a one and a half hour long event, in the middle of much rain. I began by reading some supremely bad poetry, which I had very wickedly collected from online journals and other people's blogs. So we talked about what was wrong with them. Thankfully, I had a group of people who could see that something was terribly wrong with them.

Then I told them about some of the things which have helped me learn to write, over the past few years, like the age old adage of "show rather than tell". We talked about line breaks, where to use repetition and where not to, stuff like that. Also Wordsworth's  "powerful overflow of passionate feelings recollected in tranquility" because to me that is what poetry is, an intense experience, thought or feeling which you later recollect,r reflect upon and put into words. Sort of.

Then I read out loads and loads of "good"poems to them, ranging from various themes such as love poetry, protest poetry, feeling poetry,nature poetry,place poetry. I went over some of the common pitfalls such as protest poetry often turning into a jingoistic sloganeering,or become dictatorial and pedantic, and the common traps of falling into blue skies and ethereal splendour while writing nature poetry. Constantly taking examples from the much "esteemed" poets I talk about in the next paragraph. Also how writing about "grief" for example works better when you write the Dickinson way (Or like me :P ) where you reflect and write about emotions of grief and pain in a universal way so that anyone can connect with it, without going into the specificities and particularities of your own situation.

So I read out all my favourite poets. :D  People loved the poets and poems I selected for the reading packet. I read out from Dickinson, Plath, Ted Hughes, Adrienne Rich, William Carlos Williams, Shakespeare, Gerard Manley Hopkins, e.e.cummings, to Indian poets such as Arun Kolatkar (my personal favourite from the slightly older post-Independance era), Imtiaz Dharker, to some of the very contemporary (the younger generation) of Indian poets whom I absolutely love and could not resist.

So, that was it. :-) I meant to ask them to write and then discuss their poems but it got too late for that. We started too late because of certain hassles. Well, so perhaps I spoke too much and gave them a whole overdose of poems in too short a time, and perhaps it could have been more interactive if we had more time, and as I said, frankly speaking, I don't feel I know so much about poetry, I mean, I definitely FEEL a lot but I don't KNOW a lot. :P 

But somehow, I managed. Toodle-oo folks!

'Flowers for Your Hair' in Northeast Review

'Flowers for Your Hair' was published,as I wrote earlier, in Northeast Review last month. The link is here. I am also putting the poem here below.

Flowers for Your Hair

These starry violets
with their thin green stems
and their aster-y white brethren
How would they look amassed
in the jungle of your long black hair
green stems tendrils intertwining
and stars shining? Or should I give you
a bunch of those gorgeous butterfly-
flowers- deep orange, red and yellow?
They would stand brilliantly
against the dense blackness of your hair.
There are some fake light orange ones
they look like plastic when the sun
shines through them, no, I’d rather
not give you those. There are some
fallen flowers. Would you rather
have those, or freshly plucked ones?
What would you say to a bunch
of snowdrops, with that stray curl
you tuck behind your ear?
There’s a wealth of azure blue-purple-
-pink tufts in the far corner
I could give you those, a bit
of the sky. I could make a chain
of these white daisies with
blue-purple centres and tints of orange
and garland you with it. They bloom
with the sun and close at sunset.
There are some blue exotica
with rings of orange. I don’t know
if you’d fancy ‘em. There are the
laughing orange and yellow nasturtiums
they droop. A bit flimsy for your hair,
I think, they might not stay put.
I wonder if you’d care for marigolds
in a bright and cheerful mood, on
a sunny day, there are pale yellow ones,
and orange ones ,I call them liquid gold.
There are way too many flowers here, I am
surrounded by them, scraggly pea-pods,
tall hollyhocks, foxgloves and what not
some mild, some tempting, some guarding
But if you’d wind that black mass
and tie it in a bun, I’d give you
just one single poppy, wicked-
crimson, intense-passion, its
pods bursting with black seeds
pregnant with opiate desire.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Assam photos and videos

Hello all!

here's the link to my Assam trip photos on facebook, it's on public setting, as of now. See them here.

also, all the videos of Bihu and other dance and music performances in Assam are all here in the dropbox. Might have to remove them later due to space issues but hopefully I can increase the space in other ways and they're here to stay. But as of now, I don't even know if anyone besides me is interested in these, so depending on that, I'll see accordingly...

As for the poems, even after they are ready, I will put them here only after they have been published somewhere. I guess, that's the way I'll keep it, but then, I hope they are published somewhere too. :-)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Northeast Review, Muse India, and Assam!

So I am back from Guwahati and Nagaon! :-) will soon put links here to my photos and traditional song and dance videos, I have plenty of them. I have bought half of Assam as well, there are some clicks of what I have bought too. I am also working on a series of poems about my time there and how I connected with the place. These should all come, soon enough.

In other news, 'Flowers for your Hair' was published in Northeast Review the night before I left for Assam. Click on the link to read. Also carries the work of my juniors, Rini Barman and Mihir Vatsa, as well as my teacher, Nitoo Das. I will put the poem up here later.

and yes, below are the multilingual poems which were published in Muse India at the beginning of this year. These employ a mixture of English, Hindi and Assamese.

1.Cut cut ke katega, kat kat ke katega
Katega par kaatke katega
It will cut strong, but it will pass.

Paas aane ke liye, time needs to pass.

Paraya karke pariah bana diya
Paraya karke pare hata diya
are outcast, paraye are different

Pariahs do not belong, pariahs are paraya

Pariahs are chucked out
paraye chak diye jate hain bahar
Meet banane ke pehle abhi thoda aur katna hai
It needs to cut and cut some more, before we can meet.

Hum ko paraya bana kar chak diyaIf I have been made a pariah and chucked out
Time will cut deep and cut and cut
But kat kat ke time will slowly pass.
Cut cut ke katega kat kat ke katega
Ye kaise socha tha ki bina kate hi kat jayega

How did you think something like this
Could pass so easily without cutting?

In axomiya, they say moi goisu
In English, I am going
Moi is I, mur mine, mur hai mera
Aur moi hun main
. I am going. Me is going.

Moi is me in English slang now. Moi is going.
Moi goisu. Go is go, chahe going ya goisu.
Jaana toh jaana hi hai, chahe angrezi, hindi ya
Axomiya mein, Aur main maane moi aur me
Going is going is goisu in English, hindi ,assamese

And moi means main, me, and mur means mera, mine
Jo mera hai vo mera hi rahega
Har bhasha mein, har jagah mein, har samay mein
Par use dur jaane ka dukh bhi vahi rahega, kisi bhi bhasha mein
What is mine is mine, will remain mine

No matter the language, place or time
But the pain of going away from it,
In any language, remains the same.

"beya paisu?" axomiya mein maane
"kya tumne mujhe bura paaya?"
Did I do something to offend you,

Did you find me to be bad? Maine
Agar bura kiya, jaaney anjaane mein?
Lekin hindi mein uska kuchh arth hi
Kho jata hai
. In Hindi, this axomiya "pau"

Loses its meaning. In Hindi, we say
"tumne bura maana?", "did you mind?"
Tumne bura maana maane dosh tumhara hai
Tumko bura nahi manana chahiye tha, bahut
Jaldi bura maan jate ho.
"Did you mind?"

Lays the blame on you, you should not
Have minded, you mind too quickly, easily.
Lekin kya tumne mujhe bura paaya? Beya paisu?
Iska arth kuch alag hi hota hai. Kya tumne mujhe
Bura paaya? Kya vo mujhe bura paati hai?
Iske liye mere paas koi javaab nahi hai, koi doosre
Shabd nahi hai. Iske liye sirf mere munh par ek sawaal hai
Ek prashn jiska koi uttar aur koi ant bhi nahi.
But did you find me bad? Did I cause offence?

The meaning of this is different from did you mind
Or did you get offended. But did you find me bad?
Does she find me to be bad? For this, I have no answer
No words, no synonyms. Only a desperate question
Which has no answer, and no end.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Of Guwahati seminars and PhD presentations

Well, happy to tell you that I will be presenting a paper on the representation of marginalised figures in contemporary Indian women's poetry in english,at the IAWS (Indian Association of Women's Studies) seminar to be held in Guwahati in the first week of February in partnership with Gauhati University, Cotton College State University, and TISS Guwahati (Tata Institute of Social Sciences)

Even happier that I finally get to go to Assam, a place I always wanted to visit. Even now, it's just a dream. So, my very first visit, here I come. Yay! :D

In other news, also that on Monday, the 20th Jan at 2.30pm, I have a PhD presentation. The PhD being on Emerging Feminist Trends in Indian Poetry in English, the first chapter is on Autobiographical Texts. Monday's presentation will look at identity from a feminist perspective (esp second and third wave feminism), and try to link this with contemporary Indian poets' views on identity.

And,very late in the day but, Happy New Year and all that!

Three multilingual poems up in Muse India

I have three multilingual (english hindi and assamese polyglots) in the Jan-Feb issue of Muse India edited by Prof GJV Prasad. I am honoured and happy to be in the company of some of my very favouritest people and poets, no matter what the forum or platform. I will put them here later. As of now, you can read them at the Muse India site here.

I also have a poem 'Flowers for your hair' coming up in the North East Review soon enough!

Eight poems in Thumb Print Magazine

Happy to say that Eight poems were published in December in The Thumb Print Magazine. Ananya Guha is the poetry editor. You can read them here.
I am also putting them below:


A dummy, a mannequin,
a wax work doll. An object
to be stared, commented, laughed at.
A robotic machine. Controlled
by a set of commands.

“Shift your face to the left
your neck is not straight, your face
not level with the ground,madam.”

The holy mantra for photo-production
needs me to wear a plastic smile on demand
of correct length and breadth measurements

The canvas of my life
is replaced by a cheap blue one
Dirty too. I persuade him
to make it grey.

And I wonder how many sittings
and how many, many rehearsals
would capture my flyaway spirit
and inject a whiff of my soul
into this two-inches-of-gloss
this millimetred smile?


Things Fall Apart

Things fall apart
and bury
a piece of my heart
under rubble.
My shrieking, protesting heart
alive and awake
is buried under rubble.
reams of paper fall apart
an earthquake hits me
tremors shake the ground beneath me
treasured memories, lost loves
covered by debris
scarred forever
struggle to survive


A Fruitless Search for Faith

You believe in jesus
in krishna, in ram
fasting, chanting, praying
you offer flowers to lakshmi's painted smile
taking it as benign and kind.

Faith fills voids, gaps in our selves
making us whole
fills gaps too in what we worship
Only completeness can give of itself
and make us complete.

I have always been an atheist
agnostic, free thinker, whatever
a disbeliever.
I never believed in god.

I have faith in a woman
in pain, in fear
in times of trouble
I believe in her.

gathering shards of my broken self
filling empty spaces in me
making myself whole, through her
my image of completeness.

But a woman has no painted smile
I can imagine as benign and kind
she breaks me into a million shards
and I struggle to make myself whole
through her.

Ironical. Paradoxical.
Life has made me cynical.
a wry smile on my face,
I wonderwho was the bigger fool
You or I.


On a visit to Baircha Lake

Arms entwined around branches
I become part of the tree
Swinging, swaying with the breeze
hair floating, branches waving
The rhythmic movement reminds me
of the rowing oars on a boat
Down below, the waves lap and dash against the rocks.


Mango Blossoms

Laden boughs
Hang heavy, thick with blossom
creamy-white profusions
sweeeter than perfume
yet wilder...
Here and there, green mangoes
peep through your arms
green parrots nestle within you
for close comfort
oh beautiful lady!
pregnant with the hope of things to be
your loveliness
is too much
for this summer evening.


A Traveller

Frozen Russian snows
Bitter cold
a weary traveller
bundled in a shawl
selling gay carpets.
He has been travelling...
travelling all night
Lines on his face,
the look in his eyes
speak more than my words
resting but briefly against a wall
scribbled over with
meaningless nothings
What is life for him?
The nonsense? the gay carpets?
Or the look in his eyes?


(this poem is dedicated to IP College)

The branches of your trees are the veins
Of my blood. Your arches deep rooted
In my bone marrow. I was bound to you
from before my birth, ever since the days
My grandmother walked these paths.
I resisted you at first, I know, but I grew
To love you. Facilitated and supported
By kind hands warm smiling faces.
I had grand dreams of repaying you
With something good, something big
A token of my debt and gratitude.
And I betrayed you. Heady with passion
Drunk on folly, I seem to myself
A creature foreign to me. A person
Who could not be me. Who is not me.
Sometimes we are in the mode
Of desperate denial. Then when reality strikes
We cower, we shield ourselves, we plead
That our intentions were pure, devoid of evil design
We beg to believe that all was not bad or wasted
We abjectly try to clutch on to the past that formed us
Sometimes when we live in a dream of belief, we forget
Reality. Then we must learn the hard way,
When sour, harsh lessons wake us up.
Suffice it to say: I betrayed you. Period.
Betrayed the kind hands, the warm smiling faces
And everything they brought me.
But you are home. The crooked branches of your trees
Are the tangled veins of my blood. The arches
Of your low roofed buildings are etched
Into my bone marrow. I will be back, sometime,
I will return. I will make amends.
Will you accept me then?


Stub Tales

Spiralling smoke rings
Rise with an introspective air
And a husky philosophical smell
Akin to nostalgia
Telling stories.
Glowing embers
That feed on nicotine
That feeds on human despair.
This stub
Stamped mercilessly by feet
Ash oozing out of its mouth
Lies near a green can
‘Use Me’