Wednesday 19 October 2016

Autumn chill

whispering through the autumn chill
in the eddy of yellowing leaves,
those old, old words haunt again --
I sigh at the unworn mangalsutra
and slide the drawer back in place.

Saturday 1 October 2016

युद्ध आवश्यक है

हाँ युद्ध आवश्यक है।

किन्तु न मेरी पत्नी विधवा हो, न मेरे सन्तान अनाथ।
मेरे माता पिता अपने जीवन का अन्तिम पड़ाव
मेर पासिंग आउट परेड के सॅल्यूट वाले फोटो को देख,
सिसक सिसक के न बिताएँ।

युद्ध तो आवश्यक हैं।

पर मेरा कैरियर भी आवश्यक है।
वह यू एस का वीज़ा, वह वी पी का ओहदा
वह थाइलैंड का ... जो भी थाइलैंड में होता है।
और वह पाँच करोड का फ्लैट सागर किनारे।

आवश्यक है, आवश्यक है युद्ध।

मेर जानता हूूँ कि सिपाही सियाचेन में
ठण्ड और तूफान से जूझते
या एल ओ सी पर अचानक गोलीबारी से
या आतंकियों से निर्भय भिडकर
राष्ट्र के रक्षा में अमर हो जाते हैं,
पर मेरा उत्तरदायित्व भी मैंने निभाया है
और फेसबुक एवं ट्विटर पर सदैव
कोटि कोटि श्रद्धाँजली अर्पित की है।

युद्ध तो आवश्यक हैं।

परन्तु यह मेरे भाग्य में नहीं कि सीमा पर
सुबह के तीन बजे ठण्डा चाय का प्याला पकडे
नीन्द से जिहाद लडूूँ, न बाॅडीं आर्मर पहनकर
(अगर मिल जाए) रेग़िस्तान पर तपती धूप
से क्रूसेड करने निकल पडूँ। और किसी यू एन
शान्ति मिशन में रुवान्डा की सैर करना
तो भूल ही जाओ। हम गोवा से काम चला लेंगे।

पर हाँ युद्ध आवश्यक है।

Thursday 1 September 2016


"Clear off” they said, "no space for beggars,
VIP movement is on, move on, move on”
So we moved on, and that wasn’t such a problem

for we’re the flotsam, the jetsam, the unwanted
c/o footpath; we’re the ones with the tangled
hair and the red-eyed looks outside Gucci stores

hoping for a tenner that’ll get us a tin of shoe-polish
that’ll keep the hunger away until you throw away
that stale wadapao. No problem, we’ll clear off.

This is one half of a tapestry poem with Shernaz Wadia, first published at

View the full tapestry here.

What is tapestry poetry?

Tuesday 16 August 2016


All they need is a young mind, raw from within and
hurt by the deep scars of history. Some come as
india ink on paper - called Koran, or Bible or Geeta—

indoctrinated into the brain by incessant repetition.
Some as the chants of priests and monks, in strange
intonations often accompanied by incense. Or blasted

from loudspeakers, a call to arms against imagined foes.
They all leave scars, fresh for a new generation to be
inked. Not everything requires a sterilised steel needle.

This is one half of a tapestry poem with Shernaz Wadia, first published at

View the full tapestry here.

What is tapestry poetry?


This summer I made a bonfire of my loves.
Beneath the pregnant clouds and still air
Of the sweltering nights, as the breeze died,
My remembrances of us together - yellow
Like the oleander, thespesia and laburnum -
I let them burn, and lend themselves to the ash.
They scatter as the rising wind whistles, playing
Chinese whispers with the fresh-leaved trees;
The dust has a new smell: rain at last, rain at last!

This is one half of a tapestry poem with Shernaz Wadia, first published at and republished at

View the full tapestry here.

What is tapestry poetry?

Tuesday 12 July 2016

Opening into the darkness

Rays erupt on a winter morning.
As buds erupt on shankhapushpam
Flowers, the clouds thunder among
Silent birds. As lightning in search
of earthing, His feet praying for nirvana,
the wanderer thirsts. Much of what he’s
Learned, must now be unlearnt anew,
Alone in a noisy train with lonely men
He rumbles wordless into the night mist.

(Published in Whispers as part of the "Captivating Titles" activity, July 2016)

Tuesday 26 April 2016


Memories are often miasmal, putrescent;
a squad-drill of old complaints marching by
that you soon wish were etherised, euthanised

lest, despondently, you are forced to grapple
with those; the nocturnal sounds of a forest
you wished you didn’t set foot in; a gambit indeed

that you played thinking it fashionable at the instant
and now regretted... indeed with appetites for regret;
meditating on them there is no shunya, nor do they

let you be forgetful of them, vicious in the pursuit,
and no, they don’t digress either to dwell on joy,
no sir, they're silhouettes that follow, to the grave mud.


This poem was part of a special exercise in Whispers, April 2016. It is written around 12 words chosen from 12 poems of T.S. Eliot, 1 each, in order:

“The Hippopotamus”
“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
“Morning at the Window”
“Rhapsody on a Windy Night”
“Sweeney Among the Nightingales”
“Aunt Helen”
“The Boston Evening Transcript”
“Burbank With a Baedeker: Bleistein With a Cigar”
“The Burial of the Dead”
“Conversation Galante”
“A Cooking Egg.”


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