Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A ride forever

This bus ride
With you by my side,
With a light rain falling,
The kuyil singing,
The cool air flowing
With a hint of song from somewhere,
Your smile like that of a child,
Sending the heart dancing wild,
Your eyes so nice,
Bringing tears to my eyes,
Your words as gentle as a caress,
In a voice as soft as your tress
I never want this to end
Though I know, my stop is round that bend.

Last semester

It is known as
The last semester madness
Where normal girls
Lose their heads
Talk in class
Wave to their classmates
When asked to go out,
Smile at boys
Blow flying kisses
Return admiring looks
Boldly receive
A love letter or two
Rag the poor fellow
When he comes
To learn of his fate
Send him away with dire warnings
Get into buses on the run
Sit on the steps
Barrack passersby
Make a nuisance
Of themselves in public
Dress outrageously
Set off crackers
Near the principal's office
Enjoy being rebels
Secretly hanker for a strike
So they can throw stones
Break a few windows
Go out with a bang.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Time travel

This song of yesteryear
Shot in black and white
Sung by your favourite actress
Slow, sad and haunting
Full of feeling
The voice, character and mood
Seamlessly weaving
Leaping from childhood
On prime time
Takes you back
To days you can never go back to
In that distant town
Where people are not
Strangers to one another
Know who you are
Do not care what you are.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Standing in the rain

The wiper draws semicircles
On the windshield
The drizzle trickles like sweat
To the driver's left
I stand by the front seats
In a mildly crowded Sunday bus
Breezing downtown
Through the empty college road
Now turned a Monet
With the early street lights
Running wavy orange strokes
Down its length.
I watch the tall trees
Tamarind, sleepy-faced and the nameless ones
Looking even more alluring
In the shower.
I look around
For an empty seat
For a better view
Of the familiar sights
In their wet attire.
As no one gets off
I resign myself
To my standee position.
My stop is still some way off
But I cannot complain
For the rain suddenly
Breaks into a dance
On the puddles.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Night fall

An ailing old man
Your friend's father
Now left in your care
Just about able to move around his room
Can't see or hear too well
Confesses to you
That he wonders every morning
Why he wakes up at all
That he feels he's past his expiry date
And someone forgot to take him off the shelf.
Pa, there is someone to take care of you,
Bring you food, medicines
I drop in on you, now and then
You do not have to sleep on the streets
Or go sick or hungry to bed
Like so many who have nowhere to go.
"What purpose does my life serve anymore
I am not of any use to anyone!"
No, don't say that, anyone who has known you
Will see what every one comes to
Lose some of his vanity
Watch his next step or word.
We do not know who put us here
Often, we do not know what we are saying
Who prompts us, what the cues are
What the exit lines
Or, when the curtain will ring down.

Only English

When the 'English only' rule
Was enforced in school
With a fine levy
For slipping into the mother tongue,
With a foolscap as added penalty
Many of us went dumb,
Spoke in gestures,
Resorted to notes,
Found we couldn't chat with friends,
Struggled to find equivalents
For every day words,
Simple messages like
"Bring the book tomorrow!"
To a classmate
Took a while to string together.
We looked forward to the closing bell
And when it rang, we burst forth
Like water from a barrage
And unleashed the words
We were born into
In a delightful torrent
And spoke and spoke as if we had found our voice again.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


For many, she is something
Only dreamt of,
Imagined, yearned for,
An ache at night
A stab of loneliness
A cloud of perfume,
An enticing form,
A whiff of jasmine
A haunting voice
A bobbing pony-tail
A lingering smile
Swaying hips
A swirl of stole
A pair of dancing ear-rings
An aroma of sweat
A jangle of anklets
A tinkle of laughter
A sweet dart of eyes
That stings till death.