Tuesday, January 31, 2012


In this desert city
So far away from home
To hear native words
Spoken on the street
Was like stumbling
Upon an oasis
After wading through
Hours of shimmering sands;
Never a dark skin was lovelier
White uneven teeth
Exhibited in an uninhibited grin
More welcome than a moon
The telltale accent
The fierce moustache
Brought before me
For a moment
Our folk deity
Still guarding the peepal tree
I greeted the beautiful stranger
With unabashed tears.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


It was a night
One did not want it to be night,
No light was put out
Other rooms were kept out,
As if they hid someone
Waiting to pounce upon one,
The bedroom door remained shut
With wary eyes trained on it, but
Something still stood on the other side
In no hurry at all, willing to bide,
The sacred ash on the forehead
Did little to lessen the dread
Of the dark one
Fond of the one-on-one,
It was puberty time all over again
Bar the broom, pestle and pain.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


It was when one day
Was like any other
The sun rising leisurely
And waiting quietly
At the tea shop
For the milk to boil
The feet had not learned to hurry
As there was no need to
All places to go
Were within walking distance
The fastest vehicle
On the road
Was the bicycle
Nothing was expected of you
There was no one dinning it in
Day in and day out
To reach for the stars
Waving a list of the lunatics
Who made it big
There was no desire yet
Making a thorn of the pillow
And waking you before the east whitened.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Someone is buried under
All that debris
Of hate words
The skin colour
Is repulsive
The height is not right
The pallu hangs
Down the wrong shoulder
The language is full
Of reprehensible loans
Besides, being spoken
Through the nose
One of us
Is equal
To ten of them
They cannot have enough of gods
Who are as frail as any of them
And constantly at war ---
Yet when they cry
Someone rises to the surface
No different from us.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I don't want to hear
This song of yesteryear
Mourning one who was so dear
Before she took away his eyes
Leaving behind a long night of lies
The orb then had not been trodded on
It was known only to wax, wane and be gone
For a while, before coming back for the flowers
And the tidings of the sleepless lovers
Now to hear the song again
With wrinkles, grey hair and pain
Is like looking at the pock-marked face
They brought back from space.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A terrible fire

The girl next door
Couldn't stand hunger,
She howled for food,
When her mother
Beat her up
All the time shouting
"There's nothing to eat
Wait till father comes home."
I signalled her
To come over
She fell upon the rice
We served, taking generous helpings
Wolfing everything down,
Soon she was crying,
Whether from the joy
Of dousing the terrible fire
Or the shame of being fed
By a neighbour
I could not tell

Monday, January 2, 2012


There's nowhere to run
I know what has marked
The hair with white
Redrawn the face
Like a caricaturist,
The footsteps sound nearer
The stranger's hands
Are passing closer
As they grope for the quarry,
The old songs sound dearer
Because they are younger
Belonging to the days
Of the early mouche
The stirrings of love
The first triumphs
With endless possibilities
When anything could have been,
Not like today
When a tomorrow
Not unlike yesterday
Sits sheepishly with you,
As the stranger
Knocks on the next door