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Showing posts from 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.

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 Mahim, 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.


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.


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


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.


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.

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

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 an Anthology of Indian - English Poetry , ed. Ashmi Ahluwalia; Rupa Publications 2010. ISBN 978-81-29116-66-6. OR Fifteen rupee rose. She gets a half-hour's pleasure. I get a poem.

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 بیکھرن

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 blac

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


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

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