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Showing posts from May, 2014

Shaving in Siliguri

There is, I suppose, a gruesome fascination In watching blood spread across shaving foam: Crimson, then red, then pink And then a dull, gory grey Washed off in hot water and a scar to remember. There could be a different image, a wish even, Of blood oozing from a wrist slit with the razor, As it takes away the stasis of middle-classiyat Eyes glued to the sight, the heart beating excitedly, Till all sound stops and lights dim In that cockroached lodge room. No, it’s no romantic place to die. Much better to plunge into the raped Teesta – Virgin mountain stream now Pregnant with mud and moving zombie-like To her doom in the silt of the Brahmaputra. The train rings its corporate deadline. I have fifteen minutes to dress and pack: The Kanchan Kanya Express leaves at nine-thirty sharp. (Longlisted by the RaedLeafPoetry-India 2013  Awards )

From Chellammal to Bharathi

Dear poet-husband, Do you know how to buy one hand of flowers, Or roll a round chapati? You who stand up for women Can you cut up love and affection And boil it up in the sambar Like I do for you every day? Well, don’t. Just plait our daughter’s hair And plait in a hand-length of jasmine And send her off to school. Else just make pongal in the morning And put it in a clean dabba before Your daughter is awake and clamours For her toothepaste, uniform. No. Well, alright. Can you bring rice to a boil, So its aroma makes the house blossom? Even simpler. Can you show happiness, day after day, While washing clothes and folding them, Sweeping and mopping the house, Washing dishes thick with congealed ghee And never, ever complain While your wife writes silly poems? No? Not even for a day? You can make the flowers bloom, And the spring come early. Just make a crying child smile. You make words dance and sing, Just put a child to sleep. You paint pictures with wor


it is still too early to say what memories will crystallise around you for now it is the bedpan not emptied from last use and your room smells of ointments and pills and your damning of the whole world but once my tears have dried and the puja flowers withered perhaps you will freeze i will put in the black and white photos on a boat in a lake in a cheap hill station when you first let me down and the mundan of the first-born where your mother made such a fuss and that stupid photo from a middling age of the reception of some cousin of yours and yes the shaadi ka video and the cassette guiding our kid reciting nursery rhymes certainly all the unrecorded fights for you never earned enough and drank too much and never bought enough flowers and that never do well son you gave me who lamented loudly at the funeral and your sisters let us not talk about your sisters no I will not make up a box of memories because you know I would not myself be reduced to an


watching a fly that's thrashing about I come to think of the struggles in my own bowl of soup Published in Cattails, May 2014