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

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
four
three
two
one email of five paragraphs
four
three
two
one in a week
a month
a year
an eternity

*

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

*

پہلے
الفاظ کی ادلا بدلہ ہوتی
چشم بچشم
لاکھوں کی تعداد میں
وے ایمیل بنے
روز کے پانچ
چار
تین
دو
ایک ایمیل پانچ دفعہ کی
چار
تین
دو
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
मुस्कुराए
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

Silences

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

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.

Coffee

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.

AutoSuggest

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

Lakshmi

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

Crackers

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.
Check.

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

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

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

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,
d'errance,
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

Einstein understood
the universe, his wife was
another matter.

Inspiration

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

Inspiration

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

Memories

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

Storm clouds

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

OR

Storm clouds clear, the
sky twinkles on in insipid
eternity.

Wednesday 7 October 2009

Existence

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

Monday 5 October 2009

Screen

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?

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