Sunday 27 December 2009

Je vais tisser

un peu de ciel
un peu de tes larmes
un peu d'océan bleu
avec son sel aigre-doux
un peu d'eau claire
de fleuve descendant
d'une montagne haute

la chanson d'un oiseau
le sourire demi-édenté
d'un petit enfant
l'innocence vive dans
le cri joyeux d'un chiot
la paix d'une sieste
volée aux échéances

le babil d'un bébé
pas pollué
par des significations
le sifflement du vent
l'émergence d'espoir
d'une petite feuille verte
une pensée simple
des matins ensoleillés
et les silences oranges

et toi, et moi

avec ceux-là
je vais tisser
un rêve

Sunday morning

Sunday morning, on a walk with my dog.

Avoiding the middle-aged, fit and not-so-fit joggers
and the senior citizens stripping shrubs bare of flowers
are a murder of crows, pecking a dead pigeon apart.
One is trying to strip off the flesh from a wing
as others attack the meatier, juicier bits.
The joggers are careful to give them a wide berth,
while trying not to step on the discarded condom
lying alongside, for who wants seed stuck on the sole.

I cannot quite 'avert my gaze', for a horrified fascination
takes hold of me, watching the crows feast on a rare treat.
They are careful not to go near the condom too.
The gentle morning breeze, with the fragrance of fresh blossoms
and the songs of the magpie-robins and sparrows,
playing with the fallen, yellow autumnal leaves
and the soft, warming sunlight in the cold air:
do they add to or subtract from the ambience?

I don't know. Like the joggers,
I sidestep and walk on.

Friday 25 December 2009

Saturday Night

I could have spent my Saturday night drinking.
One large whiskey and soda and stop sharply at that.
And spend the rest of the time watching others
slowly degrade themselves into gibbering morons,
uttering invectives at all and sundry.
Descending into hell even as they hallucinated heaven.

Instead I spent it with some children, not quite bright,
but wise enough not to go searching for happiness.
With them I was positive in thought,
freed from the need to kvetch at the world,
or the schadenfreude of ratting on colleagues.
But I learnt to take the day as it came,
to filter out the loathing and retain the pats on the back,
to rejoice in joy, anyone's joy.

That night, I didn't discover what I could be.
I discovered what I should be.

Thursday 24 December 2009


What's a peacock without
its colours, what's a poet
without his moods?

Love poems

Why do writers of
great love poems tend not to
get married themselves?


Give no comfort to
poets, they will sleep. Poems
are born out of pain.

چین / चैन

चैन से तो नीन्द
आती है, शायरों को कभी
तुम चैन मत देना

چین سے تہ نیند
آتی ہے ، شاعروں کو کبھی
تم چین مت دینا


With a little dance
a fly conveys what we need
epic poems for.

نقاب / नक़ाब

کچھ نقاب ایسے ہوتے ہےں
جنکے اہوڈھنے پر
کئ اور نقاب اتر آتے ہےں

कुछ नक़ाब ऐसे होते हैं
जिनके ओढ़ने पर
कई और नक़ाब उतर आते हैं

Thursday 10 December 2009


History is always a tragedy.

But the bodies on the road,
overrun by maggots,
the tyres burning away hope,
the women screaming,
begging, pleading
not to be raped -
are as real as they were
the first time.

The second time,
we just learn to close our eyes.

Saturday 5 December 2009

School Friends

The good thing about school friends is that
you can always make fun of them,
even if you last met thirty years ago.

They may be have got a Padma Vibhushan
for distinguished service in medicine,
with FRCS, FACS after their name,
but to you they are still Snotnose,
Kombda, Gotya and Monkeybrain.

You never forget their birthdays
and their children's names
though you forget your wife's
or your own children's.

You may not attend your cousin's wedding,
but something will make you travel
halfway around the planet,
to attend that of your school friend.

At school reunions you instinctively
head for the same spot in the
school canteen, crack the same jokes,
though the others stare at you.

They'll send you the same cliched
birthday cards (rarely gifts)
but you'll treasure them above all else.

And when you have been forgotten
by your colleagues after retirement,
and your children after they move out,
it is your school friends who will come
to be your pall-bearers.

My weed garden

Mother gave me a patch of garden.

I ploughed it with a trowel
and seeded it with
and chrysanthemums.

I watered it everyday
and watched with delight
as they began to sprout.

Then one day I saw a new plant,
with tiny bright green leaves.
Mother didn't know what it was.
Se called it a weed.
She told me to remove it.
I didn't. I thought it was pretty.

Prettier still, when it had
tiny, yellow flowers.
And then there were other plants -
short ones,
tall ones,
prickly ones,
with white,
even red flowers.
One flower had petals
that were violet outside
and yellow inside.
Mother called them all weeds.

The geraniums
and dahlias
and chrysanthemums
didn't seem to grow well.
They were short
and had small flowers,
not like mother's patch
which had big, pretty ones.
Mother said it was because
I had let weeds grow.

But I had lots of little
flowers - like little me.
Mother said I had grown
a weed garden.
So she took it away.

But it was a nice garden
while it lasted.

Friday 4 December 2009


When nature thinks up
mindless destruction she creates
ten year old boys.

Wednesday 2 December 2009

A dog's tail

The default state
of a dog's tail is up.
It takes a lifetime -
of stones by cute boys,
beatings by smart trainers
neglect by loving masters -
for it to go down.


However fancy
one's pen name, when put in print
one prefers one's own.


When you are the goat,
no amount of reason can
save you from the pot.


When you're the nigger,
no amount of reason can
save you from the noose.

Saturday 28 November 2009


Nature also makes
chameleons that contrast
with her butterflies.


When nature's angry
she makes storms, when she's bashful
she makes butterflies.


When nature needs a
canvas to paint, her instincts
lead to butterflies.


When flowers need to
say, "I love you" they send each
other butterflies.


A butterfly -
a postman for flowers,
a canvas for light
to paint irridiscent patterns,
a trigger for a storm
in Beijing,
food for a lurking lizard.


I stare at a candle
in the dark,
for hours in a trance,
fascinated from the soul -
the flame's slender fingers
singe part of me,
and seduce another.

Friday 27 November 2009


Change saps my walls with
ice and fire to drag me
out of status quo.


Change is a strange urge
that makes me break my cocoon
while lizards lurk by.


Change is cold water,
making inner fires smoulder

Thursday 26 November 2009


Change is a frustrated
male violating me -
to claim as his own.


What murderer lurks
within, I know not, but through
ink I shed his blood.

Wise man

Scorn but a wise man,
for he who claims to see all,
doth hide behind masks.


Scorn not an actor,
for he who wears masks knows well
to see right through them.


Neither water nor
fire touch now, of my shell
what is left to hurt?

Sunday 22 November 2009

Sunday is...

...a late morning,
a tumbler of degree coffee,
a birthday greeting to a friend
(thank God for Facebook),
another tumbler of coffee...

...a hot water bath,
catching up on weekly politics,
rice and bitter-gourd curry
with jeera rasam and pickle,
a long unhad siesta...

one murukku made from old rice,
ground by hand and made in coconut oil,
one piece of jangri - not too sweet -
washed down with hot degree coffee...

a walk with the dog
drongo-spotting in the garden,
and old family stories with mother
under the jamun tree...

...a little poem, a bit of light reading,
and an interesting online chat
on the Dhammapada...

...and finally an ascent to heaven
with curd rice and vadu-mangay,
before the fall to the netherworld
of Monday.

Friday 20 November 2009


When it is not spring
why do people put on shrouds,
and call themselves sane?


Spring exists because
even the high priests of sense
must know what life is.

مرکز حرم

مرکز حرم سے تو نفرت ہی کی جا سکتی ھے
وہاں پے ارمانوں کی کفن جو سلی جاتی ھے


Spring exists so that
sober propriety is not
allowed to kill joy.


Spring exists because
the world needs something that can
counter sanity.


Spring exists because
every year everyone must,
atleast once, go mad.

Traffic jam

Traffic jam: one crore's
Mercedes or two-rupee
bus ticket - we wait.

Old books and coffee

Can the archangels
of heaven match the pull of
old books and coffee?

A book of verse

Bless thee the poet
who to buy a book of verse
forgoes his dinner.


works its magic, bliss descends,
poems go to sleep.

Mahim Bay from Rangsharda, Bandra (revised)

Encased in concrete,
with a dying orange above,
and the silver turning grey below,
the waves crash futilely
against the Bandra fortress
-I suppose one might,
on careful listening,
hear steel versus steel again;

Boats bob by those
decayed ramparts,
signs of of an eternal poverty
dependent on
the wealth of the sea;

On open sea
a marvel of modern
engineering rises -
a some triumphant
half-finished proclamation
of victory over nature;
above the clouds thicken,
but loosen not
as in impudent demonstration
of whose writ truly runs;

In the shanties of Bandra,
in the towers of Worli, and
in the middle-classness of
lights come on one by one -
a dying day, a sleepless city.

I'm sorry, Ghatkopar

I'm sorry, Ghatkopar.

I'm sorry you don't have
the red sunsets and cool breeze
and palm fronds and soft,
babbling waves somebody else has.

I'm sorry, Ghatkopar.

I'm sorry that the British
did not find you Queen material,
and didn't build their
Grade III Heritage bungalows,
outside which teenage girls
faint after slitting wrists wanting
Dev Anand, Amitabh, Shahrukh, Salman
to marry them.

I'm sorry, Ghatkopar.

I'm sorry that all you have
is Somaiya Book Depot,
Bharti Jewellers and
Ratanshi Khimji Patel,
good people in their own right,
but no Gucci, Swarovski or
even Subway.

I'm sorry, Ghatkopar.

I'm sorry that all you get
is navratri dandiya
and kitschy Ganesh pandals,
instead of self-styled poets
slamming about you.

I'm sorry, Ghatkopar.

Tuesday 17 November 2009


Saw you as a glimpse,
life's train seized, stuttered, stopped dead,
waiting for one more.


My memories have
erased you but these eyes still
see no one but you.


The river of thoughts
undammed by inhibition
will wash me away.


I refuse to swim
with the current - does that
make me an alien?


When your head's always
in the clouds, you learn to live
with bottomlessness.


Thoughts nag the mind, some
become stillborn poems, others
immortal groans.


Drops that make the ocean -

one from from the tears of a woman betrayed,
one from dew on a fresh-blossomed petal,
one from the blood of a fallen tyrant,
one from the drool of a child beholding sweets,
one from the labour of an unknown ryot,
one from the wrath of a vengeful storm.


In a drop one can
see a rainbow, can one do
that with the ocean?

Monday 16 November 2009


Sister calls me 'You Monster!'.
Don't know why.
All I do is pull her hair
and yank her dolls' heads off.
And sometimes spill ink on her
homework while playing with her pen.

Then I go running to mother
and press my face into her sari.
'Babloo' she calls me,
and wipes my tears,
and gives sister a scolding.
I point my tongue at sister
but mother doesn't notice.

Father is not like that.
He is nasty and unfair.
He likes sister more than me.
He makes me stand in the corner
for spilling ink and pulling hair.
And he calls me by my school name.
I don't like Daddy.

Hey auntie has come.
Get out of corner and run
screaming "Auntie, Auntie, Auntie".
She picks me up in her arms
and says "Babloo baba, cho chweet!".
She is not nice when she
pinches my cheeks and makes me
recite 'Baa baa black sheep'.
But she is nice when she
gives me a big chocolate
which I eat in front of my sister,
and don't give her anything.
Nasty sister.

Rohit is a nasty boy.
He insists on sharing everything
And he calls me 'Fighter'.
Sameer is not nasty. He is nice.
He lets me beat him
and snatch his things.
I like Sameer because
he calls me 'Boss'.
I don't like Sameer's mother.
She calls me 'That Naughty Boy'.

But I like granny best.
She tells me stories
and teaches me to draw.
She calls me 'My Chirag'
and always has sweets for me.

Father says I am a Bad Boy.
The Baddest Boy in the World.
Mother says I am a Good Boy.
Am I a good boy or a bad boy?

(Named after an apparently 'Bad' boy who is held up as an example for other children to 'behave'.)


நீ அழுதால் முத்தார் ஓடும்
நீ சிரித்தால் கல்யாணி ராகம்.
உன் மௌன முகம்
உரு சொல் இல்லாதப் பாட்டு,
உன் புன்னகையால்
வசந்தம் இனிக்கும்.
நீ எது செய்தாலும்,
அதில் நான்
ஒரு காவியம் படைப்பேன்.


Limited inbox:
I must choose between rare
poems and rarer praise.


Once, to entrap me she needed
grace sketched in ink
upon lavender-scented paper.
Six sheets folded neatly
in a card paper envelope
affixd with a pretty postage-stamp.
Or electromagnetic waves
which when decoded became the voice
of an amorous koel
jewelled with honeyed, enslaving words.
Now she does not need fetters
of a hundred and forty characters;
a colon and closing bracket will do.

Sunday 15 November 2009


Poems fight the night,
keeping the dam open while
eyes are shutting shop.


Smileys on the screen,
this heart enchants itself with
your imagined smile.


My memories have
erased you but these eyes still
see no one but you.


Saw you as a glimpse,
life's train seized, stuttered, stopped dead,
waiting for one more.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

फयान / فیان

मैं सागर का मछवारा, तेरे सदा पर आऊँगा
तू मादर मेरी, तेरी हवाओं के गीत गाऊँगा
तुझी से हर बरकत है, और तुझ ही में ख़ात्मा
तेरे लहरों का बच्चा हूँ, इन्हीं में घुल जाऊँगा

میں ساگر کا مچھوارا ، تیرے سدہ پر آؤنگا
تو مادر میری ، تیرے ہواؤں کے گیت گاؤنگا
تجھی سے ہر برکت ، اور تجھ ہی میں ہے خآتمہ
تیرے لہروں کا بچّہ ھوں ، ینہیں میں گھل جاؤنگآ


ஒரு பூவை நட்டுவைத்தால்
பல கனவுகள் மலரும்

आप मुस्कुराकर / آپ مسکر

आप मुस्कुराकर मेरी साँसों को मत रोकियेगा
धड़कन तेज़ हो जाती है, इस तरफ़ मत देखियेगा
आपकी रौनक़ देखकर, यह चश्म कुछ और ना देख पाएँगे
पर मेरी ख़ुदग़र्ज़ी मानकर, परदा मत कीजियेगा

آپ مسکراکر میری سانسوں کو مت روکیےگا
دھڈڑکن تیز ھو جاتی ہے ، اس طرف مت دیخیےگا
آپکی رونق دیکھکر ، یہ چشم کچھ اور نا دیکھ پایےنگے
پر میری خود غرضی مانکر ، پردہ مت کیجیےگآ


Fifteen rupee rose
for a girl's bewitching smile.
Not a bad bargain.

[Published in Writing Love, ed. Ashmi Ahluwalia; Rupa 2010]


Fifteen rupee rose.
She gets a half-hour's pleasure.
I get a poem.

Tuesday 10 November 2009


Winter ends.
Flowers wake up.
Birds twitter.

Financial year ends.
Insurers wake up.
Hoardings glitter.

Saturday 7 November 2009

To a puppy

Playful innocence
set loose amongst lost causes:
Once more, I'm a child.

Thursday 5 November 2009

न तुमने जाना न मैंने

चमन के कोने में एक फूल मुर्झाई, न तुमने जाना न मैंने|
बनकर रह गयी महज़ एक परछाई, न तुमने जाना न मैंने||

उसकी ख़ुशबू जो मदहोश करती थी, क़तरा ब क़तरा सूखने लगी|
जलती तपती धूप में वह छटपटाई, न तुमने जाना न मैंने||

उसके रंग जिनसे महल सजते थे, फीके बेजान होने लगे हैं|
आँखों के दीदार के लिए तरसाई, न तुमने जाना न मैंने||

उसकी ताज़गी जिससे हर थकान मिट जाती थी, अब बिखरने लगी|
अब ख़ामोश है वह जो कभी इतराई, न तुमने जाना न मैंने||

वह जो किसी गुलदस्ते की शान बन सकती थी, गुमनाम बनी रही|
उसका तक़दीर - बस मुसलसल तन्हाई, न तुमने जाना न मैंने||

कोई ख़ानाबदोश उसे तोड़कर ज़मीन पर फैंककर चला गया
मालिन मलबे में डालकर चली आई, न तुमने जाना न मैंने

چمن کے کونے میں ایک پھول مرجھائ ، نا تمنے جانا نا مینے
بنکر رہ گیی محض ایک پرچھائ ، نا تمنے جانا نا مینے

اسکی خوشبو جو مدہوش کرتی تھی قطرہ بہ قطرہ سوکھنے لگی
جلتی تپتی دھوپ میں وہ چھٹپتائ ، نا تمنے جانا نا مینے

اسکے رنگ جنسے محل سجتے تھے ، پھکے بےجان ھہنے لگے ہیں
آنکھوں کے دیدار کے لیے ترسائ ، نا تمنے جانا نا مینے

اسکی تازگی جس سے ہر تھکان مٹ جاتی تھی ، اب بیکھرنے لگی
اب خاموسھ ہے وہ جو کبھی اتراٴی ، نا تمنے جانا نا مینے

وہ جو کسی گلدستے کی شان بن سکتی تھی ، گمنام بنی رہی
اسکا تقدیر بس مسلسل تنھاٴی ، نا تمنے جانا نا مینے

کوٴی خان بدوش اسے توڑکر زمین پر پھینک کر چلا گیا
مالن ملبے میں ڈالکر چلی آٴی ، نا تمنے جانا نا مینے

The Ballad Of Jean-Pierre Dominique

There was once a singer tall
Specialised in Greek technique
Who sang in Sydney Opera Hall
Called Jean-Pierre Dominique!

He sang tenor, he sang bass,
He rose to falsetto.
But not one note in its place
Oh no no no no no!

The audience was sorely tried
And they threw tomatoes
But his zeal did not subside
When faced with potatoes.

Once upon an ANZAC Day
Gathered on Taylor Square
The orchestra began to play
Advance Australia Fair!

Now our Maestro Dominique
Who was then passing by
Saw fit to use his Greek technique
And took the tune on high!

“Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
With golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea…”

He thought it fit to raise his pitch
To mezzo-soprano!
He thought it was the method which
Was right for piano!

The audience was knocked-out flat -
“A storm of gale-force ten!”
The veterans feared they’d landed at
Gallipoli again!

They stopped his song, they dragged him down,
They beat him black and blue.
“Never show up in this town
Or we shall murder you!”

He went purple, he went red,
“What cheek, what bilious gall!”
And his sensitive heart bled
“You have no art at all!”

Damning them he did scoff,
In angry righteous pique
And majestically set off
To bonny Mozambique!


“Listen one, and listen all
A star has just arrived!
He sings at Maputo Town Hall
The Tale of Christ Revived!”

The lights were dimmed, the spotlights on
A hush fell on the crowd
And then the maestro came on
And started singing loud!

They panicked and ran amuck,
It was too much to bear.
It was too much bang for buck
That was very unfair!

They threatened him with machetes
They screamed blood-curdling cries!
They said his talents were but a
Bundle of horrid lies!

He went purple, he went red,
“What cheek, what bilious gall!”
And his sensitive heart bled
“You have no art at all!”

“The Australians are very bad,
They know not Greek technique.
Now to know it makes me sad
Unfair is Mozambique!”

He bought a ticket to Brazil
Where he would be a thrill.
He counted on his sex appeal
And perfect tenor trill.


They came from all over the land
From distant Amazon,
São Paulo and the Rio Grande
From Belem and Viamão.

The maestro stepped on the stage
And quietened the throng.
The hurricane began to rage
Jean-Pierre burst into song!

Now some had wisely Googled him
And therefore plugged their ears,
The others’ fate was very grim
They were reduced to tears!

“You are like a pudding’s plums
But we don’t like such stuff!
Leave us to our pipes and drums
Our Samba’s good enough!”

He went purple, he went red,
“What cheek, what bilious gall!”
And his sensitive heart bled
“You have no art at all!”

“The Australians are very bad,
And also Mozambique!
Now you Brazilians make me sad
Your taste is so antique!”

I shall go to India,
Where music is divine
And meet Himesh Reshammiya
Whose soul is kin to mine.


They sang a duet so unique,
It held all in its thrall:
Dominique with Greek technique,
Himesh with none at all!

His single topped every chart
On every street it played
The critics moaned the death of art,
And for his blood they bayed.

But the people, noble souls
They did not give a damn.
They said it touched their humble souls,
Like a battering ram.

And yet more hits, then hit on hit,
Jean-Pierre made history,
The government then saw it fit,
A prize for him decree!

“For introducing Greek Technique,
Thus indebted are we,
We thank Jean-Pierre Dominique,
For setting music free.”

“The tyranny of rhythm and beat
The vice of key and note
No one shall ever repeat
A song he learnt by rote.

Every man's a singer now,
every woman and child,
No master shall teach one how,
all can sing, free and wild!

The Old Woman of Chembur

There was an Old Woman of Chembur
Who had migrated there from Singur.
With her aggressive tongue
Many Marxists were stung -
That shrewish Old Woman of Chembur.

The Young Lady of Mankhurd

There was a Young Lady of Mankhurd
Who subsisted on yoghurt and curd.
She preferred it mixed up
With blood that she'd sucked up -
That anopheline Young Lady of Mankhurd.

The Gentleman of Vashi

There was a Gentleman of Vashi
Whose tatses were ludicrously flashy.
He had teeth like tusks
And fed upon rusks -
That boarsih Gentleman of Vashi.

The Old Man of Sanpada

There was an Old Man of Sanpada
Who set out to learn the lambada.
But he was not nimble
And did rather rumble -
Tha bubaline man of Sanpada.

The Man of Tilak Nagar

There was a Man of Tilak Nagar
Who was employed as a truck-tugger.
On his hump he'd carry
A thirty-tonne lorry -
That camelid Man of Tilak Nagar.

منتظر / मुन्तज़िर

دو دن منتظر ،
اسکی چلبلی ہسی
گونجیگی پھر سے

दो दिन मुन्तज़िर
उसकी चुलबुली हँसी
गूँजेगी फिर से

Wednesday 4 November 2009

Lex yeux et la bouche

Bénissez les yeux,
ils voient tout avec silence,
en disant rien.

Comment burlesque la
bouche, qui dit plusiers et plus
en voyant rien.

Tuesday 3 November 2009

on weirdness

who knows for sure
what's truly weird
and what is normal
when I follow my heart
they call me weird,
when I follow my head
and come up with wild schemes
they call me weird

but when i follow the herd
dressed like it
eating like it
talking like it
and refuse to listen
to my heart or my head
as it stampedes to its doom
they call me normal

Monday 2 November 2009


लोग कहते हैं तुम्हारा इश्क़, इश्क़ नहीं फ़रेब था|
हम नहीं मानते ‍ तुम्हारे फ़रेब को भी हम इश्क़ ही समझेंगे|

Neon signs

Neon signs on busy
road, bamboo flute vendor
plays the Airtel tune.

A rural schoolboy's revolt OR An antipastorale

Who prefers to have flies in his bedchamber?
Or for that matter, all manner of insects?
How romantic to consider the prospects
Of a cricket's chirps that rob one of slumber?
Yes, the stars are bright and the grass is tender,
Arcadian dreams are gay in many respects;
Yet lying in Elysian fields one suspects
That adders do not make for sweet surrender.

It is much to the credit of Tennyson
And other fools of the English Lake District
To pen rhymes for - a cloud, a lark, a peasant
By the fireside in their stately mansions
But who asks the cottar before they depict
A fancied idyll that only sounds pleasant?

विरासत / وراژت

बज़ोर ए शमशीर क्या पाओगे - खोखले मकानों की रियासत,
ख़ौफ़ के दम पे खड़ी सलतनत, खोखले ईमानों की सियासत?
ख़ुदा का पैग़ाम तो मोहब्बत है, उसे तुम दर-दर सुनाओ,
तुम दिल-दिल में छोड़ जाओगे, अपने वज्द-ए-अज़्ल की विरासत

بزور ی شمشیر کیا پائوگے - کھوکھلے مکانوں کی ریاست
خوف کہ دم پے کھڈی سلطنت ، کھوکھلے ایمانوں کی سیاست
خدا کا پیغام تہ محبّت ہے ، اسے تم در-در سنائو
تم دل-دل میں چھوڈ جآئوگے ، اپنے وجد-ی-ازل کی وراژت

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Golden age

The spirit lives but
one moment; it is now that
is our golden age.

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Saudade – I

At first the distant mountain-tops
Fade into the coming rain cloud
And then the hills nearer to
My village draw their misty veil.
At last it pours over my home.

Silent's the square, empty the shops,
The street's bereft of all its crowd
Excepting for the luckless few
Who seek shelter to no avail.
At last it pours over my home.

Thus freed from care about their crops
That bloom and thrive under the shroud
My village came to life anew.

Their joyous shouts do ring out loud
- But I have strayed from all I knew
Accursed to roam from vale to vale.

Though I regret all that I threw
There is one reason not to wail -
At last it pours over my home.

Pour un ami perdu

J'écris cette-lettre-ci
Et je la mets dans une bouteille
Avec l'espoir
Qu'un jour dans le futur
Tu le liras.
L'espoir des ondes.

Il y avait des temps
Quand nous étions inséparables -
Toutes mes pensées
Étaient les tiennes,
Si je rirais, tu rirais
Si tu a compris ou non,
Pouquoi j'ai ri.
Avec la résonance mystérieuse
Tu porterais bleu
Si j'avais porté bleu.
Il n'y avait des lettres
Ni l'espoir des ondes.

Puis nous avons grandi
Nous avons acquis des diplômes
Et nous avons trouvé des emplois.
Tu, là où nous sommes nés,
Moi, dans un coin du monde
Loin, inconnu -
Où je n'ai que les moustiques
Et l'espoir des ondes.

D'abord, je t'écrivais les courriels
Chaque soir disant que j'ai fait
Et j'aurais un de toi
Avec les succès et les échecs de journée.
Puis c'est devenu une semaine
Et l'épopées sont devenues
Des paragraphes et enfin des sentences.
Je ne souviens pas
Lorsqu'ils se sont arrêtés.
Tout ce que j'ai maintenant sont
Des moustiques
Et l'espoir des ondes.


I am
a ship out of wind
an engine out of steam
a fisherman far inland
a mountain-dweller in the plains
a writer out of ink
a ghazal without a radeef
an eye without tears
a song without words...

I could do with any wind
- a breeze, a gale, a storm;
I want a boat and a rod;
ink of any colour;
a day of sorrow or joy,
that would fill my eyes...

something, something
to fill my canvas...

From these I shall fashion
a poem
a dream
an anchor
a beginning...

Monday 26 October 2009

Words / Mots / الفاظ

at first
there were words exchanged
between eyes
in the millions
they became emails
five in a day
one email of five paragraphs
one in a week
a month
a year
an eternity


il y avait les mots échangés
entre les yeux
en millions
ils sont devenus des courriels
cinq d'un jour
un e-mail de cinq points
un dans une semaine
un mois
un an
une éternité


الفاظ کی ادلا بدلہ ہوتی
چشم بچشم
لاکھوں کی تعداد میں
وے ایمیل بنے
روز کے پانچ
ایک ایمیل پانچ دفعہ کی
ایک ایمیل ہفتہ میں
مہینہ میں
سال میں
ازل میں

Saturday 24 October 2009

तुम आए

तुम्हारे नाम
पाठ पढ़े, व्रत रखे,
मन्दिरों में यग किये
पर तुम न आए
तुम्हारे नाम
रोज़े रखे, सजदे किये,
मक़बरों में चादर चढ़ाए
पर तुम न आए

दिल को मना लिया
के तुम न आओगे
आशाएँ दबाए
हौँसले छोडे
तब तुम आए

तुम आए
कुछ कहे बिना
चले गए

फिर से मैंने
व्रत रखे, सजदे किए
ग़रीबों में अनाज बाँटे
पर तुम न आए

फिर मैंने सपने बिखेरे
तमन्नाएँ दफ़नाए

फिर तुम आए, मुस्कुराए,
राज़ें फुस्फुसाए
कुछ कहे बिना
चले गए
तुम दगा दोगी समझकर
मैंने अपने गीत मिटाए
अपने नज़्म जलाए

एक नया बाग़ बसाया
नए फूल उगाए
नया कल्पवृक्ष खडा किया
तुम्हें भूला
तुम्हारी यादों को दफ़नाया

उस वक़्त तुम आए
बिजली बनकर आए
तूफ़ान बनकर आए
आकर मेरा बाग़ उजाडा

और फिर कुछ कहे बिना
चले गए


Silence, the silence of poignancy
The silence before the confrontation
The silence of simmering revolution

Silence, the silence of love
The silence of speaking without words
The silence of conversations between eyes

Silence, the silence of prayer
The silence of the grateful's devotion
The silence of eternity's equipoise


خاموشی ، حدّت کی خاموشی
یورش کہ پہلے کی خاموشی
بڑھتے ینقلاب کی خاموشی

خاموشی ، وجد کی خاموشی
بن آواز صحبت کی خاموشی
چشم ب چشم باتوں کی خموشی

خاموشی ، عبادت کی کاموشی
مشکور کہ بندگی کی خاموشی
ازل کہ سکوت کی خاموشی

Thursday 22 October 2009

The Man of GTB Nagar

There was a Man of GTB Nagar
Who loved to eat pearls soaked in vinegar.
He'd peck them one by one
And proclaimed it was fun -
That hennish Man of GTB Nagar.

The Man of Wadala Road

There was a Man of Wadala Road
Whose chin was always shaved a la mode.
He'd butt conversations
And cause perturbations -
That goaty Man of Wadala Road.

The Lady of King's Circle

There was a Lady of King's Circle
Who mostly wore robes of deep purple.
But she would change colour
To match those in power -
That chameleonic Lady of King's Circle.


One whiff of coffee:
I rise, waken and grasp
destiny in my hands.

Wednesday 21 October 2009

The Man of Chunabhatti

There was a Man of Chunabhatti
Who lived in a jade zopadpatti.
He'd wrap round his toothpaste
And not let it go waste -
That pythonic Man of Chunabhatti.

The Gentleman of Sewri

There was a Gentleman of Sewri
Who was much renowned for his bravery.
For each act of valour
He would want a favour -
That badgering Gentleman of Sewri.


Tap Seven-Three-Nine.
Sex comes first, then pew. The phone
knows what folk care for.


Lakshmi is coming.
SMS Diwali greetings
to contacts you
never cared a fuck
for before. Show
surplus good deeds
in karmic ledger.


As Diwali departs,
the cheapskate rejoices.
Crackers at half-price!

Monday 19 October 2009

The Young Lady of Reay Road

There was a Young Lady of Reay Road
As furious as a missile's payload.
Everyday she would peck
At her husband's paycheck -
That fowl-tempered Young Lady of Reay Road.

The Young Man of Cotton Green

There was a Young Man of Cotton Green
Who'd keep even a small button clean.
He'd rinse it in phenyl,
And soak it for a while -
That racconish Young Man of Cotton Green.

The Young Man of Dockyard Road

There was a Young Man of Dockyard Road,
who had a house built out of cardboard.
He taught all his geese
To walk on their knees
That anserine Young Man of Dockyard Road.

Sunday 18 October 2009

Diwali 2009

Booted laptop. Connected datacard.

Logged on to Facebook.
Collected gifts. Sent gifts.
Read wall. Commented, liked.
Did what was needed
on the application de rigeur.

Tweeted wisecracks.
Re-tweeted other people's wisecracks.

Logged on to Gmail, Yahoomail, Hotmail, Rediffmail.
Read funny mail. Forwarded to all.

So now I'll go have my oil bath.
Then I'll put on new clothes.
Then I'll eat the sweets.

Diwali has begun.

Thursday 15 October 2009

Conversations with a stranger

He is a "Facebook" friend
Someone I have never met
But someone whom I know intimately -
by his updates, his notes,
his mystical poetry.

We chatted today
across a thousand miles
of optical fibre cable
(the inventors be blessed)
but there were no miles
separating our minds.

We celebrate a common festival
of lights,
moi, where I was born
he, in a distant hemisphere
and we talked of origins,
of wandering,
and of growing of roots.

We talked about poetry
And photography -
I told him that I must employ
always thousands of words
to paint my images
because I am no good
with a camera.

And then we parted
he to finish his day
and I to begin
we began "Facebook friends"
strangers, but now
we are brothers-in-arms.

Conversations avec un étranger

Il est un "Facebook" ami
Quelqu'un que je n'ai jamais rencontré
Mais quelqu'un que je connais intimement --
par ses mises à jour, ses notes,
sa poésie mystique.

Nous avons bavardé aujourd'hui
à travers un millier de miles
de câble à fibres optiques
(les inventeurs soit béni)
mais il n'y avait pas de miles
séparant nos esprits.

Nous célébrons une fête commune
des lumières,
Moi, où je suis né
il, dans un hémisphère lointaine
et nous avons parlé des origines,
et de la croissance des racines.

Nous avons parlé de la poésie
Et la photographie --
Je lui ai dit que je dois employer
toujours des milliers de mots
pour peindre mes images
parce que je ne suis pas un bon
avec une caméra.

Et puis nous nous sommes quittés
il pour terminer sa journée
et moi pour commencer
nous avons commencé "Facebook amis"
étrangers, mais maintenant
nous sommes devenus confrères.

Wednesday 14 October 2009


Einstein understood
the universe, his wife was
another matter.


What's crueller than
inspiration that strikes
after the job is done?


What more inspiration
does a poet need than
his own broken heart?

Unfinished poems

Are there things more
tragic than a poem that can
never be finished?

Ho pais kalos

You weren't to be seen this summer.
Your face is a little less
adolescent than before,
but those flowing locks
and that red bandanna
haven't disappeared, I see.
I whisper softly to myself
ho pai kalos.

Looking closely at your lips
tells me you've had your first
drag of a cigarette,
the way your eyes
now look at girls your age
tells me something is now lost.
I whisper softly to myself
ho pais kalos.

You've taken to sitting around
with some friends on walls
or riding motorbikes;
you no longer play football
with your hairless chest
glistening with sweat.
I whisper softly to myself
ho pais kalos.

No longer a jejune, young man
you've grown up, Adonis
No more Laches on the shard
of the ancient Athenian
drinking cup, a gift
to handsome boys, inscribed
the boy beautiful -
ho pais kalos.

On tweeting ghazals

Never tweet ghazals.
It's painful to see them swamped
by nattering dross.

Tuesday 13 October 2009


Reliving memories:
An ideal way to
spend an idle day.

Storm clouds

The storm clouds clear,
the sky twinkles on in its
bland eternity.


Storm clouds clear, the
sky twinkles on in insipid

Wednesday 7 October 2009


It takes all kinds to
make a world - that's what justifies
my existence.

Monday 5 October 2009


The dumb screen keeps
blinking at me, but clever lines
choose to go on strike.

The Old Man of Khopoli

There was an Old Man of Khopoli
Who adored Angelina Jolie.
He sent her some neck-ties
Made up of butterflies
That lepidopteran Old Man of Khopoli.

The Gentleman of Lowjee

There was a Gentleman of Lowjee
Who was a retired fauji.
But he'd sit on a tree
And talk like a monkey
That simian Gentleman of Lowjee.

The Man of Dolavali

There was a Man of Dolavali
Who was well-trained in Kathakali.
He moved from place to place
With unparalleled grace
That deer-footed Man of Dolavali.

The Man of Kelavali

There was a Man of Kelavali
Who once boxed with Muhammad Ali.
He would butt like a boar
All who knocked at his door
That suilline Man of Kelavali.

The Man of Palasdhari

There was a Man of Palasdhari
Who thought he was a great shikari.
He aimed at a rooster
But shot a barrister
That mole-eyed Man of Palasdhari.

The Old Woman of Atgaon

There was an Old Woman of Atgaon
Who dressed like an Egyptian pharaon.
She climbed up a steeple
And lived off the people
That jackalish Old Woman of Atgaon.

Sunday 4 October 2009

The Young Lady of Khardi

There was a Young Lady of Khardi
Who was very stolid and sturdy
She'd carry her home
Wherever she'd roam
That testudinal Young Lady of Khardi.

The Young Man of Kasara

There was a Young Man of Kasara
Who spoke Quechua and Aymara.
He came from the Andes
And lived upon candies
That llamaish Young Man of Kasara.

का नाही आलोस?

जेव्हा शेतकार्यान्नी तुला शोधले
तेव्हा का नाही आलास?

बालकृष्णाचे हान्डी फोडली
तेव्हा का नाही आलास?

गणपती बाप्पा येउन गेले
तेव्हा का नाही आलास?

अत्ता तुझ्याविना जगणे शिकलो
अत्ता कशाला आलास?

நீ வந்தாய்

உன்னை நான் கொஞ்சி அழைத்தேன்
கெஞ்சி அழைத்தேன்
நீ வரவில்லை
உன்னை நான் பாடி அழைத்தேன்
ஆடி அழைத்தேன்
நீ வரவில்லை

நீ வரமாட்டாய் என்று
என் நம்பிக்கையை இழந்தேன்
என் ஆசைகளை அழித்தேன்
அப்பொழுது நீ வந்தாய்

நீ வந்தாய்
ஒரு முத்தம் தந்தாய்
ஒரு வார்த்தையும் பேசாமல்
சென்று விட்டாய்

மீண்டும் ஆடினேன் பாடினேன்
வா வா என்று கதறினேன்
நீ வரவில்லை

மீண்டும் மனதை ஆற்றினேன்
கனவை கலைத்தேன்

மீண்டும் நீ வந்தாய் முத்தம் தந்தாய்
உன் மணத்தால் மயக்கினாய்
ஒரு வார்த்தையும் பேசாமல்
சென்று விட்டாய்

நீ ஏமாற்றுவாய் என்று
என் பாட்டுகளை அழித்தேன்
என் கவிதைகளை எரித்தேன்

ஒரு புதிய தோட்டம் படைத்தேன்
புது மலர்கள் வளர்த்தேன்
புது கனவுமரம் உண்டாக்கினேன்
உன்னை மறந்தேன்
உன் நினைவுகளை புதைத்தேன்

அப்பொழுது நீ வந்தாய்
மின்னலாக வந்தாய் இடியாக வந்தாய்
புயலாக வந்து என் உலகத்தை அழித்தாய்

மீண்டும் ஒரு வார்த்தையும் பேசாமல்
சென்று விட்டாய்

Friday 2 October 2009

They'll come after me for that

My name is Raamesh Gowri Raghavan.
Which means in Mumbai (where I live),
I am a son of alien soil.
The Shiv Sena will come after me for that.
In Tamil Nadu, the DMK will want me
To pay for my Brahmin ancestors' misdeeds.
They'll come after me for that.

I'm fiercely, proudly middle-class
Not welcome in elite champagne parties.
I also support free markets:
The Naxals will come after me for that.
I have Muslim and Christian friends
But I am resolutely Hindu.
They'll come after me for that.

I'm an SEZ opposing environmentalist
Not appreciated by Mukesh Ambani.
But I don't belive in doing G20 stunts
Greenpeace will come after me for that.
I'm right-handed, I'm a feminist, I'm obese,
And I don't like Lata Mangeshkar's songs.
They'll come after me for that.

I know what they won't come after me for.
I'm a poet but not romantic
Nor radical nor baroque nor modern.
No publisher will come after me for that.
I also write short fiction,
Analytical pieces and even travelogues.
They won't come after me for that.

Does anyone remember my ATM pin?

Version I

I have forgotten my ATM pin.
Can anyone help?

It is not my wife's birthday,
or my best friend's
or my mother's
or any of my children's.
I'm no good at remembering birthdays.

It is not the date of our first kiss
or our first fight
or our first anything
or our anniversary even.
I'm no good at such dates either.

No, it's not my other ATM Pin
Or my bank account number
Or email password
Or even my voter I-card number.
I was never good at such things, either.

Once it was the date of the Panipat battle
Once it was the loan instalment amount
Both an attempt at quirky creativity
But they were both changed
And forgotten rather very quickly.

I am still bereft of my ATM pin.
Can anyone help?

Version II

I have forgotten my ATM pin.
Can anyone help?

It is not my wife's birthday,
or her best friend's birthday,
or her best friend's sister's,
or of my boss's for that matter.
I'm no good at birthdays.

No, it's not the worth of my stocks
when the Sensex touched 20,000
or the traumatic price
at which I finally sold them.
I was never good at such things, either.

Once it was the date of my hernia operation
and later the hospital bill amount
- both an attempt at quirky creativity.
But they were both changed
And forgotten rather very quickly.

Is it the date my daughter was born?
Or the day I betted on the dark horse
and it won the sweepstakes?
Or is it my dog's vaccination date?
I haven't the foggiest idea.

I am still bereft of my ATM pin.
Can anyone help?

Wednesday 30 September 2009


The idle mind is
exactly how Facebook makes
a lot of money.

Upgrade - the Godawful version

Last week I am travelling
by railway train
from Bengaluru to Mumbai.
I am having one ticket
sleeper class S7 berth 5.
In compartment there are present
some Gujarati students going home.
They are studying engineering I am thinking.
Then one lady is there
With so many luggages.

Seat is near bogie toilet
and there is smell.
I am thinking to myself
that I am deserving of better.
Like one minister is saying recently
(and getting into trouble with Madam)
this is cattle-class
and I am certainly higher-class.

Why I am doing this?
That is because I am
well-educated (M.Sc. 1st Class)
and having well-paying job also.
Besides I am reading Amartya Sen
and I am seeking company of
like-minded people for
intellectual discussions.
Here they are only reading Filmfare.

So I am asking the TTE
who is checking my ticket
that I will pay the difference of fare
and purchase 3rd AC ticket.
I am able to afford the ticket
so why to be foregoing opportunity?
Why to travel with the masses?
Cattle-class is for them.

So I am paying Rs. 635/-
for upper berth with bed-linen.
and nice, cold AC air.
I am looking at my neighbours
for somebody of high-class type
who are reading Goethe and Aurobindo,
and listening to Aerosmith.
But I am not finding any.

What I am getting
is one group of twelve pilrims
returning from Puttaparthi
who are only taking interest
in talking among themselves
loudly, and also making noise
by cracking peanut shells.
That too throughout the night!

What to do?
I am deserving what I got.

Tuesday 29 September 2009


take those dandiya sticks
saw them into little bits
dissolve them in sulphuric acid
and pulp them into paper
you'll hear the sweet sound of october

take those humongous speakers
and those amplifiers
microphones record-players
run a road-engine over them
you'll hear the sweet sound of october

take those lorries on the highway
smash their axles burst their horns
stamp on every car stereo you can find
till the night road is a smooth stretch of silence
you'll hear the sweet sound of october

drag out those cacophonous tvs
from homes of insensitive neighbours
smash them bash them hammer them
till your hands are wet with blood
you'll hear the sweet sound of october

shut every gossipping mouth
stuff it with cotton seal it with tape
knock the ones who resist unconscious
till the paralysing quietness of fear prevails
you'll hear the sweet sound of october

now calm your nerves your mind
sharpen your ears your eyes
and locate among the moonlit leaves
the steady stridulation of the bush-cricket
you'll hear the sweet sound of october


Two chaps argue in
the bus, and I wait for the
first blow - the voyeur.


Poetry happens
in a crowded train; in an
AC bus, I sleep.


The poet need not
wait for death; he's dead when ink
- has dried on his nib.


The worst sin poets
can commit is to set down -
the pens they write with.


All it takes to write
a good poem is to get
on with the writing.

Tuesday 22 September 2009


I bought myself
an upgrade today.
I had a ticket
- Bengaluru to Mumbai -
railway sleeper class.
Berth no. 5,
in a compartment
shared with some
students returning home,
and sundry others.
Whom I considered
below my class.
As a minister
recently put it,

I'm well-educated,
and have a well-paying job.
I'm certainly above
the great numbers of
whom we call the 'masses'.
Cattle-class is for them.

I walked over to the
A/C 3-tier coach,
and there
begged the TTE
to give me an upgrade.
He did.

Rs. 635/- I paid,
for an upper berth.
The money got me
and some bed-linen.
What I hoped it
was buying me,
was the company of
refined people
who read Goethe and Aurobindo,
and listen to Aerosmith.

What I got,
was a group of twelve
returning from Puttaparthi
- who saw nothing amiss
in keeping everyone awake
all night with their
loud chattering,
and littering the floor
with the remains of their lunch.

I could not fight them -
they had paid for their tickets
as I had for mine.

Tuesday 15 September 2009

सम्भालकर रखना इन टुकड़ों को

टूटकर भी धड़कते रहेंगे, महफ़ूज़ रखना दिल के टुकड़ों को
किसी दिन तो देखकर रोओगी, सम्भालकर रखना इन टुकड़ों को

चान्दी के बक्से में छुपाकर रखना इन्हें, दिलासा देंगे
जब हुस्न ओ माशूक़ को खोओगी, सम्भालकर रखना इन टुकड़ों को

हँसी हँसी में ठुकरा दिया तुमने इकरार ए इश्क़ ह्मारा
किसी दिन दर्द का बोझ ढोओगी, सम्भालकर रखना इन टुकड़ों को

किसी की बददुआ न लगे तुमको, वरना कहाँ कहाँ तुम
बेवफ़ाई का दाग़ धोओगी, सम्भालकर रखना इन टुकड़ों को

यह हज़ारों आशिक़ तुम्हारे, क़यामत तक कितने साथ देंगे
तब किन सपनों के बीज बोओगी, सम्भालकर रखना इन टुकड़ों को

जब अकेली पड़ जाओगी, याद करोगी तुम 'ख़ाना बदोश' को
तब न जागोगी न सोओगी, सम्भालकर रखना इन टुकड़ों को

Wednesday 9 September 2009


Ladakh: where the
inhabitants of Paradise
aspire to go.


अगर फ़िरदौस बर रु ए फ़िरदौस अस्तो
लद्दाख अस्तो,लद्दाख अस्तो,लद्दाख अस्त!


If there is a paradise within Paradise
It is Ladakh, It is Ladakh, It is Ladakh!

Monday 31 August 2009


Delhi: streets broad and
tree-lined, fabulous by day.
Lonely in the dark.


Delhi: swanky green
buses and sexy metro -
medieval mindset.


In a queue one is only
a candidate however big
— or small.


However big the
general becomes, he must —
wash his own bottom.

Tuesday 25 August 2009

The Man of Bhivpuri Road

There was a Man of Bhivpuri Road
Who had never missed an episode
Of any K-serial
- serious or ethereal -
That slothful Man of Bhivpuri Road.

Monday 24 August 2009

The Old Man of Badlapur

There was an Old man of Badlapur
Who received no one's imprimatur.
He was very flabby
And generally shabby -
That ratty Old Man of Badlapur.


Mist-fresh from the hills -
Bulbuls, butterflies and dew
begin fairytales.

Sunday 23 August 2009

Ganesh Chaturthi


Dead on the road, overrun by a car,
Mooshik Bappa rots -
his intestines pulled out by crows,
one leg up in the air as if to
ward off flies
and a dog
attempting to piss over him,
pus oozing from his tail as
bacteria go about their work -
a whole ecology.


Morning Arti on Ganesh day -
priest in a hurry,
a lay worshipper and some
stray onlookers
who seem to have nothing
better to do.
It is late morning -
lunch-cooking time say
the society women.
The men say nothing.


Loudspeakers blare
devotional music all day;
society residents pass by
on their holiday errands.
One or two stop
to perhaps throw a few
flower petals on the idol
and peek at the
empty prasad-dish.


Squabbles break out over
the empty prasad dish.


Quick visits
to private Ganpatis -
sense of community,
and who is providing
what in prasad.


Cultural program by
dancing to filmi music.
A girl cries
backstage about a
tight Kathak dress.
The audience claps
eyes keep looking
towards the snacks counter.


Some residents prefer
to stay home and keep ears
for when the music stops.
Time to go down
and redeem
a coupon-worth of snacks.


Bell-ringing and a strong smell
of camphor indicate
Evening Arti in progress.
Crowd is bigger.
One mutters
'Jay dev, jay dev'
along with others.
Discussions of cricket,
politics, recession
Woman distributes flowers
gloriously ignoring rivals
she is temporarily
not on speaking terms with.


A war of words
breaks out
between Russia and the West
over the 60th anniversary
of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact,
started the second world war.


Snack counter opens,
people descend
coupon in hand
for what they paid for -
one samosa, one dhokla,
one idli, one mishti.
National harmony intended?
Or unwittingly dictated
by preferences of
organising committee?


Crowd dispersed,
Ganpati Bappa left to his wiles,
members of the organising
begin to partition
the spoils of the festival.

Saturday 22 August 2009

बान्द्रा की शहज़ादी

बान्द्रा की थी एक शहज़ादी
जिसकी अदाएँ बग़दादी|
पल्कें झुकाके
लड़के भाग जाते
ख़ौफ़नाक थी बान्द्रा की शहज़ादी|

A tribute to Terry Pratchett

There was an Old Man of Ankh-Morpork
who ate Nanny Ogg's food with a fork.
He thought he would snatch
An island from Klatch -
That rusty Old Man of Ankh-Morpork.

The Old Man of Titwala

There was an Old Man of Titwala
Who secretly practised Kabbalah.
When he was not pensive
He would get defensive -
That porcupiny Old Man of Titwala.

The Lady of Khadavli

There was a Lady of Khadavli
Whose features were considered lovely.
Her fangs were pearly white,
Her scales were polished bright -
That snaky Lady of Khadavli.

The Woman of Vangani

There was a Woman of Vangani
Who pulled down trees of mahogany.
She chopped them in pieces
To give to her nieces -
That elephantine Woman of Vangani.

The Young Woman of Vasind

There was a Young Woman of Vasind
Who had to be chained during a wind.
No matter what she ate
An ant would have more weight -
That formicine Young Woman of Vasind.

The Old Man of Asangaon

There was an Old Man of Asangaon
Who migrated there from Girangaon.
When all the mills closed
He ate his own clothes -
That moth-eaten Old Man of Asangaon.

The Old Lady of Karjat

There was an Old Lady of Karjat
Whose chief consumption was of sharbat.
She sang a libretto
In rising falsetto -
That nightingale-voiced Old Lady of Karjat.

Friday 21 August 2009

गिरने दो दीवारों को

गिरने दो दीवारों को ताकि नए आशियाने बनेंगे|
धूल में मिल जाने दो उन्हें ताकी गुज़रे ह्ंगाम बीत जाएँगे||
खन्ड़रों को गिराकर एक नया दौर बनाएंगे तुम और हम|
गिरने दो दीवारों को ताकि नए आशियाने बनेंगे||

Wednesday 19 August 2009


Send me no messages
that are not poems - I
have no space for prose.

The Old Lady of Diva

There was an Old Lady of Diva
Who came from the Khanate of Khiva.
She'd do nothing all day
But hop and jump and play -
That kittenish Old Lady of Diva.

The Gentleman of Kopar

There was a Gentleman of Kopar
Who was something of a landloper.
He was quite impudent
And also imprudent -
That puppyish Gentleman of Kopar.

The Old Woman of Mumbra

There was an Old Woman of Mumbra
Who shifted her home out of Mumbra.
She would have been staying
If it rhymed with something -
That migratory Old Woman of Mumbra.

The Old Woman of Shahad

There was an Old Woman of Shahad
Who could see as far as Ahmedabad.
She worked in the police
Starting as a novice -
That eagle-eyed Old Woman of Shahad.

The Gentleman of Shelu

There was a Gentleman of Shelu
Whose nose had around it a halo.
He had nothing to hide
So he bore it with pride -
That aquiline Gentleman of Shelu.

The Man of Ambivali

There was a Man of Ambivali
Who smiled quite beatifically.
He kicked like an ostrich
When he had barber's itch -
That struthious Man of Ambivali.

The Old Man of Kanjur Marg

There was an Old Man of Kanjur Marg
Whom his colleagues deemed to be a narg*.
And capitalistic -
That vulturous Old Man of Kanjur Marg.

* Not A Real Gentleman.

The Gentleman of Neral

There was a Gentleman of Neral
Whose promises were quite ephemeral.
He entered politics
And baffled his critics -
That weaselly Gentleman of Neral.

The Young Man of Ambernath

There was a Young Man of Ambernath
Who left behind him an aftermath.
So they put him in jail
Till he grew very frail -
That mothballed Young Man of Ambernath.

Tuesday 18 August 2009

The Old Woman of Bhandup

There was an Old Woman of Bhandup
Whose principles never let her stoop.
She made herself a gown
Of soft feathery down -
That goosy Old Woman of Bhandup.

The Old Man of Sandhurst Road

There was an Old Man of Sandhurst Road
To whom gratitude is at first owed -
For he and his ratsnake
The city pest-free make -
That ophidian Old Man of Sandhurst Road.

The Old Man of Currey Road

There was an Old Man of Currey Road
Who possessed a rare and furry toad.
He fed it on fennel
And built it a kennel -
That batrachian Old Man of Currey Road.

The Young Man of Thakurli

There was a Young Man of Thakurli
Who played on a bamboo shoot murli -
So he'd not fall asleep
While a-herding his sheep -
That ovine Young Man of Thakurli.

The Young Man of Chinchpokli

There was a Young Man of Chinchpokli
Whose staple diet was dal-dhokli.
Much wealth he would donate
To the unfortunate -
That lion-hearted Young Man of Chinchpokli.

The Young Lady of Parel

There was a Young Lady of Parel
Who resolved to travel to Panvel.
But thirty days after
She's not gone much further -
That sluggish Young Lady of Parel.


What gives writers more
joy than to see their books of
poetry sold out?

Monday 17 August 2009

Black-headed munia

Black-headed munia -
living proof that happiness
comes in small bundles.

Green Monsoon Sea

Mango and jamun
trees in a green monsoon sea -
barren, yet fertile.


There is much wonderful
music on this earth - the
sweetest is silence.


Prudence cries restraint -
but the heart's poem machine
runs out of control.


Swine flu masks - just the
most ridiculous of all
the ones we put on.

Saturday 15 August 2009

The Man of Vidyavihar

There was a Man of Vidyavihar
Who thought he was the Russian czar.
He wore a bearskin hat
And imported seal fat -
That ursine Man of Vidyavihar.

मुन्तज़िर आँखें

तुम आओगी, तुम आओगी, तुम्हारे ख़यालों में मुन्तज़िर आँखें
किनारे के तलाश में भटकती लहरों के जैसे मुन्तज़िर आँखें

फूलों के ख़ुश्बू में ख़ुमार होकर उन्हें ढूँढते हुए यहाँ वहाँ
भटकती मन्डराती हुई एक एक तितली के जैसे मुन्तज़िर आँखें

पहाड़ों से उतरकर, खेतें पार करकर, साहिल कहाँ साहिल कहाँ
सागर के तलाश में दौड़ती हुई नदी के जैसे मुन्तज़िर आँखें

समन्दर से उठकर हवाओं से, आसमानों से ज़मीन का राह पूछकर
इस तलाश में आए हुए काले बादल के जैसे मुन्तज़िर आँखें

हज़ारों साल एक ही मक़सद में ख़ुद को जलाते हुए कायनात को पार
सूरज के तलाश में आए दुमदार तारे के जैसे मुन्तज़िर आँखें

तुम्हारी तारीफ़ के लिए बेआल्फ़ाज़ खड़ा हुआ यह ख़ाना बदोश
कान्हा की इबादत में बैरागी मीरा के जैसे मुन्तज़िर आँखें

Friday 14 August 2009


An argent surface
or bottomless blackness - what
is your mood, river?

यह रिश्ता, ﻳﻪ ﺭﺷﺘﺎ

जाने अनजाने बस बन गया है यह रिश्ता,
गानों अफ़सानों से बुन लिया है यह रिश्ता,
पर आज डोर टूटा - आज मैं ख़ाना बदोश पतंग
मैं तो गुम जाऊँगा, तुम्हें बख़्शे फ़रिश्ता!

ﺟﺎﻧﮯ ﺍﻧﺠﺎﻧﮯ ﺑﺲ ﺑﻦ ﮔﻴﺎ ﮨﮯ ﻳﻪ ﺭﺷﺘﺎ
ﮔﺎﻧﻮﮞ ﺍﻓﺴﺎﻧﻮﮞ ﺳﮯ ﺑﻦ ﻟﻴﺎ ﮨﮯ ﻳﻪ ﺭﺷﺘﺎ
ﭘﺮ ﺁﺝ ﮈﻭﺭ ﭨﻮﭨﺎ - ﺁﺝ ﻣﻴﮟ ﺧﺎﻧﺎ ﺑﺪﻭﺵ ﭘﺘﻨﮓ
!ﻣﻴﮟ ﺗﻪ ﮔﻢ ﺟﺎﻭﻧﮕﺎ ، ﺗﻤﮩﻴﮟ ﺑﺨﺸﮯ ﻓﺮﺷﺘﺎ

(Urdu written with the help of Unicode Urdu Text Convertor:-,
Hindi written with the help of Gopi's Hindi Unicode Convertor:-

The Gentleman of Sion

There was a Gentleman of Sion
Who needed a shoulder to cry on.
When could not find one
He leaned on his son -
That pigeon-hearted Gentleman of Sion.

The Young Lady of Nahur

There was a Young Lady of Nahur
To whom many men pledged their amour.
But she escaped them all
By jumping o'er a wall -
That feline Young Lady of Nahur.

The Old Woman of Mulund

There was an Old Woman of Mulund
Who rarely ever suffered a wound.
Her skin was so thick
That no pin could prick -
That pachydermous Old Woman of Mulund.

The Old Woman of Kalva

There was an Old Woman of Kalva
Who doted on Karachi halva.
She'd empty a shop
Before she would stop -
That wolfish Old Woman of Kalva.

Thursday 13 August 2009

The Man of Dombivali

There was a Man of Dombivali
Who was lanky unnaturally.
His body was twiglike
And his limbs were threadlike -
That spidery Man of Dombivali.

The Old Man of Vikhroli

There was an Old Man of Vikhroli
Whose conduct was considered lowly
He wore seven gold chains
But was bereft of brains -
That peacocky Old Man of Vikhroli.

The Old Lady of Kalyan

There was an Old Lady of Kalyan
Who preferred everything be cyan.
She said that it calmed her
During stormy weather -
That rabbity Old Lady of Kalyan.

The Young Lady of Kurla

There was a Young lady of Kurla
Who used obscure words like mandorla.
She'd prattle on and on
Till the sun was long gone -
That parroty Young Lady of Kurla.

The Lady of Matunga

There was a lady of Matunga
Whose battle-cry was 'Cowabunga!'
She'd butt conversations
And cite reservations -
That caprine Lady of Matunga.

The Old Woman of Masjid

There was an Old Woman of Masjid
Whose Zodiac was rather cuspid.
Part Sagittarian,
Part vegetarian -
That amphibian Old Woman of Masjid.


(This is the same poem as the one in Hindi below.)

Neither I said a word,
Nor she.
She came,
Removed the ring
And kept it on the table.
Those ear-rings
Which I had given
Last Diwali,
Those too.
Neither I said a word,
Nor she.
I ordered
Two cups of tea,
Mine plain,
Hers as usual -
Without sugar,
Without milk.
All the letters
That I had written,
Tied with a
Frail string.
That mobile phone -
cadeau d'amour -
With its box.
Neither I said a word,
Nor she.
The tea came
We drank
I paid the bill.
She opened her handbag
Kept twenty-two rupees
Of her share
And left.
Neither I said a word,
Nor she.


ना मैंने कुछ कहा,
ना उसने|
बस वह आयी,
अंगूठी उतारी
और मे‍ज़ पर रख दी|
वे कान की बालियाँ
जो मैंने
पिछले दिवाली
को दी थी,
वे भी|
ना मैंने कुछ कहा,
ना उसने|
मैंने दो प्याले
चाय मंगवायी,
मेरी सादी,
उसकी हमेशा जैसी -
बिना शक्कर,
बिना दूध|
वे सब ख़त
जो मैंने लिखे,
एक नाज़ुक धागे
से बान्धकर|
वह मोबाइल फ़ोन -
तोहफ़ा ए ईश्क़ -
डिब्बे के साथ|
ना मैंने कुछ कहा,
ना उसने|
चाय आयी,
हमने पी,
मैंने बिल भरा|
उसने हैन्डबैग खोला
अपने हिस्से के
बाईस रुपये रखे
और चली गयी|
ना मैंने कुछ कहा,
ना उसने|

Wednesday 12 August 2009

The Gentleman of Boisar

There was a Gentleman of Boisar
Who if anyone called out "Hoy Sir!"
He'd feel rather ashamed
And easily be tamed -
That sheepish Gentleman of Boisar.

Tuesday 11 August 2009

The Young Lady of Vangaon

There was a Young Lady of Vangaon
Who went to bed daily at sundown.
She would wake up early
And eat rice and barley -
That columbine Young Lady of Vangaon.

The Man of Dahanu Road

There was a Man of Dahanu Road
who devised of trading a new mode.
when others were selling
His fortunes were swelling -
That bearish Man of Dahanu Road.

The Young Man of Kelve Road

There was a Young Man of Kelve Road
Who studied the national railway code.
Early in the morning
He'd raise a false warning -
That larky Young Man of Kelve Road.

The Old Man of Umroli

There was an Old Man of Umroli
Whose appearance was very holy.
Of his devotees' cash
He made quite a big stash -
That spongy Old Man of Umroli.

The Young Man of Charni Road

There was a Young Man of Charni Road
Whose proposals always were vetoed -
When his bosses would shout
And threaten to clout.
That cowed the Young Man of Charni Road.

The Lady of Marine Lines

There was a Lady of Marine Lines
Who subsisted chiefly on green vines.
With radishes to munch
She'd spend hours at lunch -
That ruminant Lady of Marine Lines.

The Man of Mahalakshmi

There was a Man of Mahalakshmi
Who was blessed by the Goddess Lakshmi.
He never lost a bet
To the thoroughbred set -
That horsy Man of Mahalakshmi.

The Old Woman of Nerul

There was an Old Woman of Nerul
Who was as slender as a slide-rule.
She would pass through a hose
Without hurting her nose -
That serpentine Old Woman of Nerul.

The Man of Lower Parel

There was a Man of Lower Parel
Who thought he would organise a sale.
He sold canine shampoo
Three for the price of two -
That dogged Man of Lower Parel.

The Man of Elphinstone Road

There was a Man of Elphinstone Road
Who forever left his lawn unmowed.
He raised garden lizards
Which he sold to wizards -
That saurian Man of Elphinstone Road.

The Old Woman of Grant Road

There was an Old Woman of Grant Road
Who carried about her no scant load -
Seven lorry tyres
And six miles of wires -
That jumbo Old Woman of Grant Road.

Friday 7 August 2009

The Man of Nala Sopara

There was a Man of Nala Sopara
Who visited the Masai Mara.
He thought that the wildlife
Was better than his life -
That wormy man of Nala Sopara.

The Old Man of Mira Road

There was an Old Man of Mira Road
Who'd immigrated there from Dahod.
He wore striped pyjamas
And prowled around dramas -
That tigerish Old Man of Mira Road.

The Gentleman of Thane

There was a Gentleman of Thane
On whom all the girls would mar jane,
He'd a heart made of gold,
He was kind to the old -
That human Gentleman of Thane.

The Young Man of Dahisar

There was a Young Man of Dahisar
Who could withstand excessive pressure.
He strode like a Goliath,
juggernaut, behemoth -
That mammoth Young Man of Dahisar.

The Ol Woman of Naigaon

There was an Old Woman of Naigaon
Who thought that her era was bygone.
She would crow about days
When men had better ways -
That corvine Old Woman of Naigaon.

The Man of Matunga Road

There was a Man of Matunga Road
Whose neighbours were very much harrowed.
He would lash out at whim
At those who approached him -
That waspish Man of Matunga Road.

The Man of Jogeshwari

There was a Man of Jogeshwari
Who told his wife never to worry
If he fed upon nuts
And cigarette butts -
That squirrelly Man of Jogeshwari.

The Woman of Goregaon

There was a Woman of Goregaon
Who'd daily drink one Blue Curacaõ.
She had it with oilseeds
Mixed together with reeds -
That bird-brained Woman of Goregaon.

The Old Man of Ghatkopar

There was an Old Man of Ghatkopar
Who was considered a no-hoper.
He would run for cover
At the first rain-shower -
That sheepish Old Man of Ghatkopar.

Thursday 6 August 2009

The Young Lady of Palghar

There was a Young Lady of Palghar
Who said that the signs did not augur
For her to go out
And wander about -
That mousy Young Lady of Palghar.

The Man of Kandivali

There was a Man of Kandivali
Who was pugnacious naturally.
He was ready to fight
For what he thought was right -
That hawkish Man of Kandivali.

The Old Man of Saphale

There was an Old Man of Saphale
Who said, "Aga, atta kay zale?"
So he climbed up a tree
And ate mangoes for free -
That simian Old Man of Saphale.

The Old Woman of Khar Road

There was an Old Woman of Khar Road
Who undertook to lay a tar road.
She paved it with borax
And sealed it with beeswax -
That apian Old Woman of Khar Road.

The Old Man of Santacruz

There was an Old Man of Santacruz
Who subsisted chiefly on cheap booze.
He would square his shoulders
To carry great boulders -
That asinine Old Man of Santacruz.

The Man of Ville Parle

There was a man of Ville Parle
Who insisted on polite parley.
He'd stubbornly refuse
To tolerate abuse -
That mulish man of Ville Parle.

(Ville Parle is how Western Railway spells it)

Wednesday 5 August 2009


Th' cottar in his clachan,
Th' laird in his thane,
All gang to th' same kirk,
Th' God fer all is ain.
Th' lochs and glens ay Alba,
I likes them verra muckle.
Th' firths and dales ay ma homeland
I ken them syne I war a bairn.
(In progress)

The Gentleman of Mahim

There was a Gentleman of Mahim
Who would wake up when it was still dim.
He would play music loud
And potter about proud -
That cocky Gentleman of Mahim.

The Old Man of Byculla

There was an Old Man of Byculla
Who found a celestial nebula.
He watched many a night
Till he found it all right -
That owlish Old Man of Byculla.

The Gentleman of Virar

There was a Gentleman of Virar,
Whose conduct was considered bizarre.
He bought heads of cattle
And sold them by raffle -
That bullish gentleman of Virar.

The Young Lady of Malad

There was a Young Lady of Malad
Who mainly ate organic salad -
Fresh spinach and yam
With taro leaf jam -
That bovine Young Lady of Malad.

The Woman of Vasai Road

There was a Woman of Vasai Road,
Who sold crustaceans on the high road.
If little boys teased her
It would not have pleased her -
That crabby Woman of Vasai Road.

The Man of Borivali

There was a Man of Borivali
Who needed nothing much re-ally.
he practised ahimsa
And survived on hilsa -
That fishy Man of Borivali.

The Old Man of Andheri

There was an Old Man of Andheri
Of whom all the butchers were wary.
He stole their live chickens
And left them some lemons
That foxy Old Man of Andheri.

The Old Woman of Bandra

There was an Old Woman of Bandra
Who was a right royal cassandra.
She prophesied gloom
And everyone's doom -
That catty Old Woman of Bandra.

The Old Woman of Dadar (E)

There was an Old Woman of Dadar
Who thought she descended from Babar.
She kept sixteen porters
And roared at her daughters -
That leonine woman of Dadar.

[This is for Dadar (E)]

The Young Woman of Dadar (W)

There was a Young Woman of Dadar
Who set out to look for her father.
But she sat up in bed
And ate misal instead -
That piggish Young Woman of Dadar.

[This is for Dadar (W)]

The Man of Mumbai Central

There was a Man of Mumbai Central
Who could not tell dorsal from ventral.
He'd stand on his head
When he slept on his bed -
That batty Man of Mumbai Central.

The Old Man of Bhayander

There was an Old Man of Bhayander
Who thought he would migrate Down Under.
To carry his couch
He sewed on a pouch -
That marsupial Old Man of Bhayander.

The Old Man of CST

There was an Old Man of CST
Who shunned the trains and BEST.
He travelled secretly,
And very quietly -
That pantherine old man of CST.

The Old Man of Vaitarna

There was an Old Man of Vaitarna
Who sat on an indefinite dharna.
But he gave up his fast
When his wife made breakfast -
That hen-pecked Old Man of Vaitarna.

The Old Woman of Churchgate

There was an Old Woman of Churchgate
Who was worried about the Birth Rate.
She's hand out a condom
To people at random -
That capricious Old Woman of Churchgate.

Monday 3 August 2009

The Man of Oshiwara

There was a Man of Oshiwara
Who kept a small pet capybara.
He fed it on leather
Which they gnawed together -
That rodent Man of Oshiwara.

The Old Man of Govandi

There was an Old Man of Govandi
Who ate fly eyes cooked in a handi.
He preferred them runny
And had them with honey -
That ravenous Old Man of Govandi.


Monsoon seedlings sprout -
my poems escape from their
dry trap of silence.


One poem leaks from
the dam, suddenly the
reservoir's in tumult.

Saturday 18 July 2009

Congratulations, Joseph Nadar!

Congratulations, Joseph Nadar.
175/200 is a big achievement.
For a Maths Board exam, certainly.

I don't know who you are.
I saw your picture on a hoarding.
Some coaching class I won't name.
Who claimed credit
for your performance.

Those big, hopeful eyes of yours
as they look out from the hoarding.
Very striking,
burn themselves into memory.

You are fifteen, sixteen?
Big hopes for the future?
Doctor, engineer, MBA?
Considering scientist,
copywriter, solicitor?
No, not good enough for your marks.
Fair enough.

Right now you are selling seats.
The coaching class needs to fill
its next batch of big-eyed hopefuls.
I don't know what will happen to you.
ten, fifteen years later.
Maybe an IIT, IIM, big job, America.
Maybe some KTs and a life lost
in the local trains' crowds.
Who knows?

I wish you well, Joseph Nadar.
Though you are just an innocent picture
staring out of an advertising hoarding.
I wish you well.

Thursday 2 July 2009


I am my cocoon -
sarcophagus of my past,
womb of my rebirth.


The caterpillar
builds itself a silk coffin -
the butterfly's womb.


Nebulous curtains
fly apart, revealing an
eternal half-orb.


L'esprit ne vive
qu'un fois, c'est maintenant
quand on passe l'âge d'or.

Monday 29 June 2009

உனைத் தேடும் கண்கள்

நீ வருவாய், நீ வருவாய், உன்னை நினைத்து ஏங்கும் கண்கள்
கடற்க்கரை நாடும் அலைகளைப்போல் உன்னைத் தேடும் கண்கள்

மணத்தில் மயங்கி, மலரைத் தேடிக்கொண்டு இங்கும் அங்கும்
அலையும் ஒவ்வொருப் பட்டாம்பூச்சிப்போல் உன்னைத் தேடும் கண்கள்

மலை இறங்கி, நிலம் தாண்டீ, கரை எங்கே கரை எங்கே
கடலைத் தேடீக்கொண்டு ஓடும் ஆறுபோல் உன்னைத் தேடும் கண்கள்

கடலிருந்து காற்றை வழி கேட்டு, வானை வழி கேட்டு,
புவியைத் தேடி வரும் கார்முகில்போல் உன்னைத் தேடும் கண்கள்

ஆயிரம் ஆண்டு ஒரே வேட்கையில் தன்னை எரித்துக்கொண்டு
ஆதவனைச் சுற்றி வரும் வால்மீன்போல், உன்னைத் தேடும் கண்கள்

உன்னை புகழ சொல் இல்லாமல் இருக்கிறான் 'வழிப்போக்கன்',
கண்ணனை நாடி பாடிய மீராப்போல், உன்னைத் தேடும் கண்கள்


All the poems in
the world do not touch the heart
like a single whine.

Saturday 27 June 2009

Friends, Romans, and countrymen

Friends, Romans, and countrymen dears,
On interest lend me your ears,
I'll triple them, so have no fears,
As yet.

Yin and Yang

If Yin and Yang were
ionized, you'd have a large
quantity of salt.

Sugar, spice and everything nice

Girls are made of sugar and spice,
And everything considered nice;
But you come to know in a trice -
They nag.

Tall, dark and handsome

Most girls would like a guy who's tall.
If handsome he'll have them in thrall,
And if he's rich, he'd have it all.
Not dark.


Girls like tall men who light a spark
A handsome face does make a mark.
The third adjective is not dark,
It's rich.


When at first you do not succeed,
Try, try again to do that deed,
Third attempt you must then concede,

Thursday 25 June 2009


Newborn crescent moon,
veiled, masked, obscured by the clouds,
yet shines through, smiling.

Wednesday 24 June 2009

ﻛﻮﺭﻩ ﰷﮔﺰ

ﺟﺐ ﺗﻚ ﺍﺳﮯ ﻧﺎ
ﻣﻨﺰﻭﺭ ﻣﻴﺮﮮ ﻧﺰﻣﻮﮞ ﰷ
ﰷﮔﺰ ﻛﻮﺭﻩ ﮨﮯ

कोरा कागज

जब तक उसे न
स्वीकार, मेरी कविता
कोरा कागज है |


Nisi approbet
ea, omnis quod scribo
est sorditudo.


Poetae duo
amici: ruptor cordis,
liber verborum.


कवि के सच्चे
दो साथी: हृदय तोड़ने
वाला और शब्दकोश|


Elle ne ressemble
que, le coeur s'élance. Le vieil
amour brûle toujours.


À moins qu'elle n'aime, tous
les poèmes que j'écris sont
tant de paperasse.


Quand la pluie lève
sa voilette brumeuse, les yeux
se remplissent d'extase.


If the moon and stars
had unions, there would be no
incandescent lamps.


La belle fille danse parce
qu'il pleut enfin, jeunes hommes dansent
parce qu'elle danse enfin.


Deux amis restent vrais
au poète: la briseuse des
coeurs, le dictionnaire.


Two friends stay true to
poets, a breaker of hearts,
a dictionary.

First rain

The pretty girl
dances in the first rain, the boys
dance because she does.


I may run out of
words to say thanks to you, but
gratitude lives on.


I run out of haiku
to celebrate monsoon.
The rain does not stop.

Monsoon morning

Unhappy runny
nose, happy tearful eyes.
First monsoon morning.


The rains teach patience:
when they lift their misty veil,
eyes well up with bliss.


Ryot's nirvana,
municipal contractor's doom.
Rains touch earth at last.


Between showers, the
vengeful sun pours down fire.
Monsoon is here.

Natural Selection

My heart leaps, she talks
of natural selection.
Will she select me?

Tuesday 23 June 2009


On the days there's rain
my pen keeps leaking poems;
most days there's famine.


Watching trees and herbs
I write, sometimes a ghazal,
sometimes a haiku.


एक समान - वेद व्यास
की महाभारत, कबीर
का नन्हा दोहा|


City lights restrict
the stars to national parks, like
endangered species.


Are the stars brighter
today, or is it just that
the streetlights are off?


The sweet night breeze turns
senryu into haiku.
Monsoon is here.


The birds quieten,
but listen close, the seeds sing.
Monsoon is here.


The birds quieten,
but listen close, the earth sings.
Monsoon is here.


The city air cleansed,
I can smell jasmines again.
Monsoon is here.


The rain falls again,
when the wind tickles the trees.
Monsoon is here.


The river swells enriched,
more silver than the moon.
Monsoon is here.


River waters swell
up, more gibbous than the moon.
Monsoon is here.


By night the forest's
many-scented air revives.
Monsoon is here.

Sunday 21 June 2009


Likee a guilty lover
the monsoon arrives.

सोनेट हेलेन

रोशनदान जलाए, तुम अपनी ज़िन्दगी की शाम में,
वहशत में नशीन, आहिस्ता, आहिस्ता आहें भरकर
तुम कहोगी, मेरे अशीर दोहराते, ता'ज्जुब करकर,
खुद रोनसार्द ने दाद दिया था, ज़िन्दगी के सहर में|

उस वक़्त एक ना होगा ख़िदमतगार, जो हाल-ए-मलाल में,
ग़फलत में डूबता हुआ तुम्हारे शिकवे ना सुनकर,
पर मेरा ज़िक्र होते बक्षेगा यक लख़्त नींद से उठकर,
उस शा'यर को जिसने तुम्हें अबरी किया नज़्मों में|

मैं तो गढ़ा रहूँगा ज़मीन तले, एक याद बने
तुम ज़'इफ, गिलाह करोगी हर लम्हा, नाशाद बने|
मेरा आरामगाह पीपल की ठंडी पनाह में होगा

तुम तन्हा बुज़ुर्गा अपने गुमान का करोगी ज़ार|
मेरा ऐतबार करो तो कल का ना करो इन्तेज़ार
बटोरो हर गुलाब जो आज तुम्हारे राह में होगा|

Transcreated from Pierre de Ronsard's Sonnet pour Hélène. I have tried to keep the structure intact, except for interchanging lines 10 and 11 for sake of rhyme, and changing the original's myrtle to the more familiar peepal, and removing references to spinning wool.

Saturday 20 June 2009

लम्हा , ﻟﻤﮩﺎ

ﮨﺮ ﻟﻤﮩﺎ ﺍﹽﻣﻴﺪ ﺍﺑﮭﺮﻛﮯ ﻣﺮﺟﮭﺎﯼ
ﻛﻪ ﺗﻢ ﺁﻭﮔﯽ ، ﺍﺑﮭﯽ ﺗﻢ ﺍﻭﮔﯽ
ﻟﻤﮩﺎ ﻟﻤﮩﺎ ﺟﺘﻜﮯ ﺯﻣﺎﻧﻪ ﺑﻨﮯ
ﻧﺎ ﺗﻢ ﺁﻳﯽ ﻧﺎ ﺗﻤﮭﺎﺭﯼ ﭘﺮﭼﮭﺎﯼ
ﺁﺧﺮ ﺟﺐ ﺍﹽﻣﻴﺪ ﮨﺎﺭﻛﮯ ﻭﺍﭘﺲ ﻣﮉﺍ
ﺑﺎﺭﺵ ﻛﯽ ﺑﻮﻧﺪﻭﮞ ﺳﯽ ﺗﻨﮩﺎﺭﯼ ﺍﻭﺍﺯ
ﮨﻠﻜﯽ ﮨﻠﻜﯽ ﺳﯽ ، ﭨﭙﭩﭙﺎﻧﮯ ﻟﮕﯽ
ﭘﹷﻴﻤﺎﻧﺎ ﺑﮭﺮﺍ ، ﻣﹷﻴﮟ ﺧﻤﺎﺭ ﮨﻮ ﮔﻴﺎ

हर लम्हा उम्मीद उभरके मुरझाई
कि तुम आओगी, अभी तुम आओगी
लम्हा लम्हा जुतके ज़माना बने
ना तुम आई ना तुम्हारी परछाई
आख़िर जब उम्मीद हारके वापस मुडा
बारिश की बूँदों सी तुम्हारी अवाज़
हलकी हलकी सी, टिपटिपाने लगे
पैमाना भरा, मैं ख़ुमार हो गया


Celebrate! The frogs
have chosen. King Stork to reign
in place of King Log.


When wise thoughts drain out,
foolish ones sustain. I must
write to remain sane.


May thy pitcher be
never empty, may my pen
cease not to praise thee.


कहानी शाद हो, नशाद हो, ग़ज़ल में भुलाता चला गया
हर ग़म, हर ख़ुशी का बयान ग़ज़ल में घुलाता चला गया


The employees of
a sick company cannot
afford to fall sick.

Friday 19 June 2009


दुनिया की ज़िल्लत पर ग़ुस्सा करता था,
अमन की तलाश में भटकता फिरता था,
एक दिन ज़माने ने ज़ुल्म करना छोड़ दिया,
उसी रोज़ जब ग़ुस्सा करना छोड़ दिया था

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Train windows

Train windows:
most of the time
they show me
the scenery without,
in tunnels
they suddenly
turn the gaze within,
showing up
the crude voyeur I am.


traveller adores passing thatched
huts he won't live in.


The train escapes the
city into a vast ocean
of soothing...brown!

Train window

Through a train window –
mighty hills, pretty flowers,
naked human bums.


Rushing commuters
wake railway beggar, bedroom
turns into office.

Window seats

The world would be a
better place if window seats
were kept for poets.

8:12 local

Poems die in the
8:12 Borivli local,
sweating mind despairs.


Some nights I can see
the clouds, the trees,
the city lights,
the people sleeping
on the platform
I have no poems to write.
Next morning
in the rush-hour
stuck between sweating men
in the train,
when I can't even
move my hand
twenty things will float
in my brain,
itching to be written.


The fresh scent of a
single jasmine bloom drives the
day's fatigue away.


Haiku: Japanese
microblogging centuries
ahead of Twitter.

साकी साथ निभाना , ﺳﺎﻛﯽ ﺳﺎﺗﮫ ﻧﹻﺒﮭﺎﻧﺎ

ﺩﺭﺩ ﻭ ﻏﻢ ﰷ ﭘﹷﻴﻤﺎﻧﺎ ﻛﺒﮭﯽ ﻛﻢ ﻧﺎ ﮨﻮ ، ﺳﺎﻛﯽ ﺳﺎﺗﮫ ﻧﺒﮭﺎﻧﺎ
ﻛﻪ ﺍﺳﻜﯽ ﻧﺎﻣﹷﻮﺟﻮﺩﮔﯽ ﰷ ﺳﺘﻢ ﻧﺎ ﮨﻮ ، ﺳﺎﻛﯽ ﺳﺎﺗﮫ ﻧﺒﮭﺎﻧﺎ

दर्द ओ ग़म का पैमाना कभी कम ना हो, साकी साथ निभाना
कि उसकी नामौजूदगी का सितम ना हो, साकी साथ निभाना

ﺍﺳﻜﮯ ﭼﺸﻢ ﯼ ﻣﺴﺖ ﰷ ﻧﺸﻪ ﻋﺎﺭﺿﯽ ﮨﮯ ، ﮨﻮﺵ ﺁﻧﮯ ﻣﻴﮟ ﺩﻳﺮ ﻧﮩﻴﮟ
ﺍﻥ ﺁﻧﻜﮭﻮﮞ ﺳﮯ ﺳﭽﹽﺎﯼ ﰷ ﺑﮭﺮﻡ ﻧﺎ ﮨﻮ ، ﺳﺎﻛﯽ ﺳﺎﺗﮫ ﻧﺒﮭﺎﻧﺎ

उसके चश्म ए मस्त का नशा 'आरज़ी है, होश आने में देर नहीं
उन आँखों से सच्चाई का भरम ना हो, साकी साथ निभाना

ﺟﻮ ﻣﺬﮨﺐ ﻛﮯ ﻓﺪﺍﻳﻴﻦ ﺑﻨﮯ ﭘﮭﺮﺗﮯ ﮨﻴﮟ ، ﺍﻧﺴﮯ ﻣﻴﮟ ﺑﮭﺎﮒ ﺁﻳﺎ
ﰷﻓﺮ ﻛﮩﻼﻳﮯ ﺟﺎﻧﮯ ﰷ ﺷﺮﻡ ﻧﺎ ﮨﻮ ، ﺳﺎﻛﯽ ﺳﺎﺗﮫ ﻧﺒﮭﺎﻧﺎ

जो मज़हब के फिदायीन बने फिरते हैं, उनसे मैं भाग आया
काफ़िर कहलाये जाने का शरम नहीं, साकी साथ निभाना

ﺟﺴﮯ ﻣﹷﻴﻨﮯ ﻓﺮﺯ ﺳﻤﺠﮭﺎ ، ﺍﺳﮯ ﺍﺣﻞ ﯼ ﺳﻔﺎ ﻧﮯ ﺧﺪﮔﺮﺯ ﻛﮩﺎ
ﻛﻪ ﺷﻜﻮﮮ ﻏﺎﻳﺐ ﮨﻮﻧﮕﮯ ﻳﻪ ﻭﮨﻢ ﻧﺎ ﮨﻮ ، ﺳﺎﻛﯽ ﺳﺎﺗﮫ ﻧﺒﮭﺎﻧﺎ

जिसे मैंने फ़र्ज़ समझा, उसे अह्ल ए सफ़ा ने ख़ुदगर्ज़ कहा,
के शिकवे ग़ायब होंगे यह वहम ना हो, साकी साथ निभाना

ﻧﺴﻞ ﻭ ﺧﻮﻥ ﻛﯽ ﺯﹽﻣﻴﺪﺍﺭﯼ ﺧﻮﺏ ﺍﺩﺍ ﻛﯽ ، ﻛﹷﻮﻥ ﻣﻴﺮﺍ ﻣﺸﻜﻮﺭ
ﺟﺐ ﻛﺴﯽ ﰷ ﭘﻨﺎﻩ ﻧﺎ ﮨﻮ ، ﺭﺣﻢ ﻧﺎ ﮨﻮ ، ﺳﺎﻛﯽ ﺳﺎﺗﮫ ﻧﺒﮭﺎﻧﺎ

नस्ल ओ ख़ून की ज़िम्मेदारी ख़ूब अदा की, कौन मेरा मशकूर?
जब किसी का पनाह ना हो, रहम ना हो, साकी साथ निभाना

ﻧﻈﻢ ﻭ ﻏﺰﻝ ﻟﻜﮭﻨﺎ ، ﻗﺎﻓﻴﮯ ﻣﻼﻧﮯ ﰷ ﻃﻠﺐ ﭘﺎﻻ ﮨﮯ
ﭘﺮ ﻣﺼﻨﻮﻋﯽ ﺗﻌﺮﻳﻒ ﻣﻴﺮﯼ ﺣﺮﻡ ﻧﺎ ﮨﻮ ، ﺳﺎﻛﯽ ﺳﺎﺗﮫ ﻧﺒﮭﺎﻧﺎ

नज़्म ओ ग़ज़ल लिखना, क़ाफिये मिलाने का तलब पाला है,
पर मसनू`ई त`आरीफ़ मेरी हरम ना हो, साकी साथ निभाना

ﻭﻩ ﺗﻤﮩﺎﺭﮮ ﮨﯽ ﻣﹷﻴﺨﺎﻧﮯ ﻣﻴﮟ ﺁﺗﺎ ﺭﮨﻴﮕﺎ ﺧﺎﻧﺎ ﺑﺪﻭﺵ
ﺟﺴﻜﮯ ﻧﺴﻴﺐ ﻣﻴﮟ ﻛﻮﯼ ﻧﺸﻴﻤﻦ ﻧﺎ ﮨﻮ ، ﺳﺎﻛﯽ ﺳﺎﺗﮫ ﻧﺒﮭﺎﻧﺎ

वो तुम्हारे ही मैख़ाने में आता रहेगा 'ख़ाना बदोश'
जिसके नसीब में कोई नशेमन ना हो, साकी साथ निभाना

Urdu typed with the help of
Keychart at

Monday 15 June 2009


Commuters heading
home trade choicest abuses
more for fun than fight.

Pune renku

Kasba Ganpati:
A saffron stone with two eyes
that watch forever.

Sadashiv Peth: where
crumbling temples to God sit
besides Mammon's beasts.

PMT bus: an
effective marketing trick
to sell two-wheelers.

Aundh: where Pune
for some strange reason tries to
become like Mumbai.

Deccan: a place where
Pu La's Pune still tries to
hold on to its soul.

where royal nautch-girls' ghosts haunt
anodyne babus.

Saturday 13 June 2009

Maxim Gorky

Since it's difficult
to read Maxim Gorky, most
folk stick to Maxim.


ख़बरदार: आज जो ख़ुदा के नाम से बहका रहा है
कल उसी जुनून से उस के ख़िलाफ़ भी उकसाएगा|

സ്വഭാവ ദര്‍ശനം

ഉറങ്ങും: എന്നുടെ
സ്വഭാവ ദര്‍ശനം

Spellings checked on
Typed on

उस्ताद की वाहवाही

उस्ताद की वाहवाही सुनने को ज़िन्दगीभर तरसता रहा,
ज़माने के तारीफ़नामों को मैं नज़र अन्दाज़ करता रहा|
मरते दम उस्ताद ने कहा, "हुरूर तेरे फन को हरा न दे,
तालियाँ बजाने उठे हाथों को हर बार दबाते रहा||

استاد کی واہواہی سنٌے کہ لیے زندگی بھر ترستا رہا
زمانے کہ تعریفنموں کو مےں نظر انداز کرتا رہا
مرتے دم استاد نے کہآ ، "غرور تیرے فن کو ہرا نا دے
تالیاں بجانے اٹھے ہاتھوں کو ہر بار دباتے رہا
- خانا بدوش

(Thanks to


I seem wise because
I do not say all the stupid
things that I could.


How vain's a poet -
he'll read bad prose that lauds him
than his own good verse.


Bells, oleander,
thespesia and laburnum -
yellow is summer.


Cooperate and
life is joy, for suddenly
we are all heroes.

Friday 12 June 2009

Dear Jane

There exist such poems in your eyes dear,
Such as would endow the mundane with wonder.
You are the Muse to whom I must surrender,
For none of my own verses could come near.
Together we've seen joy, despair and fear,
You're my pupil, my guide, my child, my mother.
As eternal friend there could be no other,
But there is some news that you ought to hear.

Her eyes! Her eyes! They seem to hide something sad.
She writes worse than you, I concede that, but then,
Possessive longing, vain anxious desire
Was a feeling between us we never had.
We could remain soulmates till such time as when,
You choose to commit my poems to fire.

Thursday 11 June 2009


Palash, Jambhul, Tamhan,
Amaltas, Gulmohar
wait in eerie silence,
as rain clouds dance above.

Amba. Shirish, Naral,
Bhend, Shevari, Pimpal
watch darkening skies
for rain that is promised.


No poems come from
the master, the disciples
languish in vacuum.

Wilting Flowers

Rotting fruits stink, but
wilting flowers fade away
in tragic beauty.


Wilting flowers cause
me distress, fading away
in tragic beauty.


Passing by a flower-
seller, I escape my
stress for an instant.


The flower-seller's
scented garlands dispel the
cares of the city.

Wednesday 10 June 2009


चान्दनी बादलों में से ऐसे छुप छुपकर आई,
जैसे तेरी पायलों की झनकार ज़नाने की
जालियों से आती है|


The full moon shines
over the city, amidst a
million lights, who cares?


The cool winds give no
pleasure when they do not keep
the promise of rain.


The twinkling stars in
the sky annoy the hopeful
eyes that wait for rain.


Mating dogs look
bemusedly at scandalised
humans passing by.


O koel who doth sweetly coo,
With song his beloved doth woo,
I like to have my mornings too.
Shut up!

Wine, Verse and Thou

All I need is a cup of wine,
A book of verses that are mine,
If thou soddest off, I'll be fine.
Sod off!

Wine, Verse and Thou

A flask of wine, a
book of verse, and thou - well, fix
my dinner, wilst thou?


वह नहीं कहती, यह उनकी शराफ़त है,
मैं नहीं कहता, यह मेरी बुस्तदिली है|
बेमतलब 'ख़ाना बदोश' लफ्ज़ों का क्या काम,
न कहे कह देना, इश्क़् की नज़ाकत है||

Overturned Lorry

The king of the road
lies dead - forty tonnes of
pitiful helplessness.


Full-bodied moon,
on its eternal,
pointless journey
around the earth,
guides mortals
home through a
dark forest road.

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Rain-tree at Vile Parle (W)

Tell me, rain-tree
what our city was like when you were a sapling.

Tell me when these
buildings that surround you replaced your sibling trees.

Tell me when this
road was widened stranding you amidst the traffic.

Tell me how you
became a big hindrance instead of a cool shade.

Tell me who let
your branches be cut to let buses pass below.

Tell me how the
skywalk's pillars came up like tombstones beside you.

Tell me rain-tree
when will they cut you down (as) so many tonnes of wood.

Cash, Glorious Cash

Glorious cash,
Glorious cash,
Vainglorious cash.

Glorious cash,
Glorious cash,
Vainglorious cash.

It sucks the poetry out of the soul,
It drives the melody out of the heart.

It makes good pens write nauseous trash,
It makes rock music into an art.

Glorious cash,
Glorious cash,
Vainglorious cash.

Glorious cash,
Glorious cash,
Vainglorious cash.

Glorious cash,
Glorious cash,
Vainglorious cash.

Glorious cash,
Glorious cash,
Vainglorious cash.

It knocks intelligence out of the brain,
It makes the mighty go weak in the knees.

It makes a writer succumb to greed,
And let his book be made a movie.

Glorious cash,
Glorious cash,
Vainglorious cash.

Glorious cash,
Glorious cash,
Vainglorious cash.

Glorious cash,
Glorious cash,
Vainglorious cash.

Glorious cash,
Glorious cash,
Vainglorious cash.

You alone can break, you alone can make
Men trade principles to secure their sons.

The sages curse but hang on to you,
Those who don't are poetic ones.

Glorious cash,
Glorious cash,
Vainglorious cash.

Glorious cash,
Glorious cash,
Vainglorious cash.

Garden Lizards

Forget the peacock.
Who can match garden lizards
in mating colours?

Monday 8 June 2009


Waders pick insects
off the green scum on a marsh.
Life is beautiful.


सितारों का टिमटिमाना किसे याद होगा,
अब बारिश का टिपटिपाना जो आ गया है!


Are other humans
so bad, Americans need
alien abductors?

Saturday 6 June 2009


Spurn not an old poet,
your beauty is mortal,
his verses are not.

(In honour of Pierre de Ronsard's sonnet for Hélène.)


The grey clouds, the cool
winds, the amorous mood cry -
when will the rains come?


Thespesia trees burst
into bloom turn by turn as
monsoon brings new thrills.


Umbrellas, raincoats,
gumboots are all brought out, the
rain stays in the clouds.


Jackfruit, jamun, mango give
way to gulmohar.


Like emails stranded
by slow connections this thought
took long to express.

Friday 5 June 2009


Thoughts run out, the hand
tires, yet the mobile screen
keeps blinking: write on.

मत आइएगा

लड़ख़ड़ा जाएँगे यह कदम, आप इस गली में मत आइएगा,
यह धड़कनें थम जाएँगी, आप कभी बेपरदा मत आइएगा,
आपका जो दीदार हुआ, न देखा जाएगा कोई और नज़ारा,
इसलिए गुज़ारिश है आपसे, कि ख़्वाबों में भी मत आइएगा|


There are bits of me
I camouflage because I
can't bear to see them.

I keep chained within
myself a bitter male-
volent avenger.

With slender chains of
poetry I bind the cur-
ses I could utter.

I must beware my-
self, I am my greatest friend,
I am my greatest foe.


Jackfruit crashes on
SoBoite, the yokels watch
with schadenfreude.

(SoBoite: a resident of South Mumbai, who pretends the rest of India doesn't exist.)


Who knows the pain of
the boy who loves raw tamarind
but can't climb trees?


The kings of the night
hang upside down by day - the
normal thing to do.


The koel's call is
sweet to us, to crows it's a
malevolent threat.

Secret code

Thespesia speaks, bees
understand - a secret code
of pink and yellow.

Light and dark

Green hills alternate
light, dark, light, dark, light as the
sun and clouds play games.


Why do the mynas
tweet today? Is it because
the sky's raining joy?


Out of my nest, I took my first free flight today;
Breaking my cocoon, I stood on my legs today;
The world is now mine, to surrender or conquer -
Child no more, I bought my first full ticket today.


Egrets bob up and
down like silk-cotton fluffs with
impeccable grace.


Colour the skies grey:
voila! Green becomes greener.
The rains pour magic.

Thursday 4 June 2009

Ghazal revised

My sorrows are scattered, like dewdrops on petals
At dawn doomed to vanish, like dewdrops on petals.

My ghazals shall outlive me feeding many loves,
Even though I perish, like dewdrops on petals.

My pleadings to you are just words written on sand,
Which the waves shall vanquish, like dewdrops on petals.

It may seem my love is cursed to be forgotten,
That no one will cherish, like dewdrops on petals.

You may burn my ghazals, my love shall not die,
though I 'Wanderer' perish, like dewdrops on petals.

Falling Rain

I wake to falling
rain, tears pour from my eyes,
poems from my heart.

ठंड़ी हवाएँ

फूलों की खोई महक फिर लौट आई ठंड़ी हवाओं में
मिट्टी की खुशबू फिर से फैलने लगी ठंड़ी हवाओं में
बारिश की बूँदों में भीगे पत्ते और हरे लगने लगे
हंगाम ए बरसात आए, दिल झूम उठा ठंड़ी हवाओं में

यह कृति उमर बहुभाषीय रूपांन्तरक की मदद से देवनागरी में टाइप की गई है|

Wednesday 3 June 2009


Poets wait with more
agony for poems on
rain than rain itself.

Early bird

It makes the vegetarian squirm,
To see the non-veg eat up, erm,
The early bird that got the worm.


Joy to the non-veg is given,
who has feasted on a chicken,
which mostly fat worms has eaten.


तुमसे मॊहब्बत करेंगा
दुनिया से नहीं डरेंगा
सब के हाथ से पिटेंगा

Ogden Nash - A Kaiku

God in his wisdom made the fly.
But then forgot to tell us why.
Wrote Ogden Nash, funny, wry.
So what?

Yellow bells

We plant yellow bells
on roadsides to distract from
concrete's ugliness.


Grey cloud masks the sun,
thinking it will promise rain,
we delude ourselves.

आज प्रशंसा प्राप्त होगी

आँखें खुलीं इस आशा में कि आज प्रशंसा प्राप्त होगी|
बहुत प्रतीक्षा के बाद कुछ तो आज प्रशंसा प्राप्त होगी|
हर लिखनेवाले के जीवन का यही सहारा है कि
आज कविता पढ़ी जाएगी, आज प्रशंसा प्राप्त होगी||

यह कृति उमर बहुभाषीय रूपांन्तरक की मदद से देवनागरी में टाइप की गई है|

Tuesday 2 June 2009


No one bears sorrow
in the desert, they cannot
afford the tears.


One thorn prick, and all
masks are off, the primeval
beast stands up and roars.


The master recites
one, the disciples match him,
the renga unspools.

आज बरसों के बाद जामुन पर फल उग आए

धयाल, बुलबुल, मैना और कोतवाल फिर झूमे, आज बरसों के बाद जामुन पर फल उग आए|
छोटे-छोटे से काले रंग के बूँद पनपे, आज बरसों के बाद जामुन पर फल उग आए|
फिर डाल-डाल पर बच्चे शोर करेंगे, बच्चे-बच्चे के गले से नीला रस टपकेगा|
मेरे बाग़ में ज़िन्दगी की चहल लौटी, आज बरसों के बाद जामुन पर फल उग आए|

यह कृति उमर बहुभाषीय रूपांन्तरक की मदद से देवनागरी में टाइप की गई है|


I like darknesses.
Darknesses reduce
shapes to shadows.
The let the mind

I can paint trees any
colour, give flowers
any scent.
I can put faces on
clouds, draw shapes
among the stars.

There are no boundaries,
none greater, none smaller,
all are equal in the dark.

I love the silence of
the dark, its sense of ending,
and a beginning to come.

In the dark, I am free.


ஒரு மொழி கற்ருக் கொள்
புது உலகம் பிறக்கும்

Monday 1 June 2009


A fecund May ends,
has it sucked June dry of its
share of poetry?

Sunday 31 May 2009

A dewdrop on the petal of time

Only sorrows I garnish, like a tear drop on the lips of time.
Doomed at first light to vanish, I'm a dewdrop on the petal of time.

My ghazals shall be sung long after me, they shall nurture many loves,
Though my being shall perish, like a dewdrop on the petal of time.

My entreaties, my pleadings are to you nothing, words written on sand
Which the first waves shall vanquish, like a dewdrop on the petal of time.

My love seems ephemeral, cursed to be forgotten, a love that no
Generations shall cherish, like a dewdrop on the petal of time.

When you've burnt the last verse in my last ghazal, then my love shall die, then
This 'Wandering' shall finish, like a dewdrop on the petal of time.

Mahim Bay from Rangsharda, Bandra

Bay encased in concrete,
the orange dying above,
and a silver sea turns grey;
the waves crash futilely
against the Mahim fortress -
a little outpost of the past
- where I suppose the crash
of waves might,
on careful listening,
recreate the clash of
steel versus steel;
the boats bobbing by the
fallen ramparts,
signs of life that
lives in another time-warp,
of an eternal poverty
dependent on
the wealth of the sea;
Out there the great sea-link,
a marvel of modern
engineering, its cranes
hastening to completion;
above thhe clouds thicken,
monsoon hangs tense in the
air - a forebear of
things to come when
nature shall triumph over
men again;
and in the shanties of Bandra,
in the towers of Worli, and
in the middle-classness of
the lights come on
one by one -
A Cezanne waiting to be
painted -
a dying day, a sleepless city.

Bilingual senryu

This is a bilingual
senryu spiced with

न लगे शेर ख़त्म हुआ

कभी वाह वाह मत करना, लगता है शेर ख़त्म हुआ|
कभी इरशाद मत माँगना, लगता है शेर ख़त्म हुआ|
इन ख़ाना बदोश अल्फ़ाज़ों को मचलते रहने दो,
तुम भी कुछ लफ़्ज़ पिरोना, न लगे शेर ख़त्म हुआ||

यह कृति उमर बहुभाषीय रूपांन्तरक की मदद से देवनागरी में टाइप की गई है|


Indiscrete fool
making appointments, risks
dividing people instead.

किस्सों की झोली

हर मन्ज़र क़ैद करती, मेरी किस्सों की झोली|
कुछ भूलने न देती, मेरी किस्सों की झोली|
उम्र बढ़ेगी, दोस्तों का साथ छूटेगा जब,
तब यही साथ देगी, मेरी किस्सों की झोली||

यह कृति उमर बहुभाषीय रूपांन्तरक की मदद से देवनागरी में टाइप की गई है|

Fresh lime soda

Wives at home, men in
a bar guffaw, making do
with fresh lime soda.


गीत लिखकर गुमनाम
न रह, दो लतीफ़े लिख,
शोहरत बरसेगी|

यह कृति उमर बहुभाषीय रूपांन्तरक की मदद से देवनागरी में टाइप की गई है|


Herbs and shrubs must
necessarily die, if a
tree must have its space.

Domestic bliss

What domestic bliss -
one large Scotch for the man,
Scotchbrite for the woman!


Silk-cotton pods burst,
filling the air with white fluff.
Life comes full circle.


To the burger praise
be, it keeps me overfed
and undernourished.


The young starve for figure,
the old for God. Middle age
guys grow a paunch.


Living corpses keep
equipoise faced with blasts,
quakes, cacophony.


If you spin cocoons
to shield yourself, fear the
silk-weavers out there.

चिराग़ लिए भटक रहा हूँ

इनसानों की दुनिया है, फिर भी लगती है इनसानियत बेहोश,
हर आदमी ग़ाज़ी बन गया है, बिना सोचे मरने को सरफरोश,
मैं चिराग़ लिए भटक रहा हूँ, दर उल अमन कहाँ मिलेगा,
ख़्वाबों की देहलीज़ कब कहेगी, पनाह में आ जाओ 'ख़ाना बदोश'?

यह कृति उमर बहुभाषीय रूपांन्तरक की मदद से देवनागरी में टाइप की गई है|

Saturday 30 May 2009


The bridegroom squirms:
edgy mare, stuffy sherwani.
Summer laughs loudest.


Monsoon washes all
masks off; some rejoice, some wail,
some keep plodding on.


The pigeon couple
coo mournfully in their nest.
Monsoon is coming.

Friday 29 May 2009


Fierce feathered
displays as Miss Drongo chooses.
Monsoon is coming.


The ageing myna
cries out in its loneliness.
Monsoon is coming.


The koel sings, the
other birds sharpen their talons.
Monsoon is coming.


Rare ferns from balconies
decorate sparrow nests.
Monsoon is coming.


Whizzing, whistling, black
and white, magpie-robins court.
Monsoon is coming.

The crow

Critically the
crow inspects her beau's love-nest.
Monsoon is coming.


The crow-pheasant woos
his bride in his languid style.
Monsoon is coming.


The bulbuls dash about
in vigorous courtship.
Monsoon is coming.

Red-whiskered bulbuls

Conspiring to fill
the world with more bulbul song,
they hop, dash and dance.

Wednesday 27 May 2009


आसमान में है, हवाओं में है,
आज बरसेगी, फ़िज़ाओं में है| 2
सूरज ढका है, रौशनी मन्द है,
बूँदों का वायदा, बादलों मे‍ है| 2

परिन्दे चुप हैं, सिर्फ कोयल गा रहे हैं,
ऐ काले बादल, कब वायदा निभाओगे?
पत्ते नसीम में इस आस से झूम रहे हैं
ऐ जान देने वाले पानी कब बरसोगे?

आसमान में है, हवाओं में है,
आज बरसेगी, फ़िज़ाओं में है| 2
सूरज ढकी है, रौशनी मन्द है,
बूँदों का वायदा, बादलों मे‍ है| 2

दिन बढ़ी, बादल बिखरे, सूरज फिर भड़का,
"मैं आसमान का मीर, मुझे क्या छुपाओगे?"
प्यासे बीज गिड़गिड़ाते हैं, "ऐ धोकेबाज़,
सावन आ गया, और कितना सताओगे?"

आसमान में है, हवाओं में है,
आज बरसेगी, फ़िज़ाओं में है| 2
सूरज ढकी है, रौशनी मन्द है,
बूँदों का वायदा, बादलों मे‍ है| 2

आँखों में यह आस बनी रही कि आज तो
क़ौस ए क़ज़ा लाए सात रंगों का सरगम |
शाम ढलकर रात हुई, तब अब्र घने हुए,
आखिर बूँदें गिरीं, मद्धम, मद्धम, मद्धम |

यह कृति उमर बहुभाषीय रूपांन्तरक की मदद से देवनागरी में टाइप की गई है|

Rs. 1451

For rupees fourteen
hundred fifty-one would
anyone lose manhood?

(BMC offers Rs. 1451 for anyone willing to undergo vasectomy.)


Coolness without shade,
beauty sans extravagance.
The rain-tree has style.


Rains come, laburnums
give way to oleander.
Yellow bores no more.


Small pink flowers on
dark green, the rain tree is a
live watercolour.