Monday, August 18, 2014

The long road ahead

When all you have is the long road ahead,
Not too high, not too fast,
Don't stop pedaling or rush afar.

Look around to see where you have come,
This far and far away from the places,
Yonder dark with mirthless nights,
Past those shadows, affright.

The endless search, at times maleficent,
At time, as welt as borrowed clocks-
Ticking away till you know nothing more,
Till you feel nothing else,
Till the lamp is lit, to rest.

What you don't want
Is all you will ever know*,
So free yourself to set out and go,
Beyond yourself into limits unknown.

The unwritten is more and more,
Whilst the word is passed on as lore;
There is no right, nor wrong,
Just you, and the way you belong.

The light shines the brightest

*a piece of advice from @mumbaicentral which I have found very useful of late.



Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ambiguous hope

I.

It isn't merely the grotesque shadows of early morning,
Or the Chennai sun's lambast,
But the daring plunge into fear's faces,
For the sake of it,
For the sake of it.

II.

Words seem like stale food
Which even the crows abandon.
Thoughts seem like nefarious strangers
Enticing children with drugged chocolates.

And then there is a sickly deadwood,
A prison within, letting go of nothing,
Holding onto rot, like the Koovam.

III.

But this is Madras,
And you wish to meet strangers,
Who would in rile litany over honking,
Talk philosophy and laugh at the irony.

IV.

But this is you,
More and more myopic,
Drawing across the curtains
As if every night is the last act
Of some pathetic play.

Vi

This is you,
Lost among the concrete,
Searching for a house with wooden windows.

This is you,
Perplexed by numbered lanes and crossroads,
Wistfully searching for a dead leader's 'way.

This is you,
Looking through the tinted glass
At a medieval city with ancient roots,
Finding spirits cloistered in nine yards
Of unemancipated dreams,
Drying, tied, weighed down and to be sunk.
 
V.

This is an unrepenting caucus,
And all too none broader,
None to brood,
None to bring home.  

VI.

This poem refuses to get tighter,
Or leaner, or meager.
And I throw my hands up
Let it be, for these words are my solace.

VII.

This is a journey,
And no cliche is apt enough.

VIII.

And you want the hope,
You want it to carry you away,
You want it to carry you home.

You want it anyway.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Almost Summer

The light seems sharper, suddenly;
At eight, as you walk to the station,
The t-shirt clutches your chest with sweat.

Suddenly, the music seems to have stopped.
Instead the cacophony of horns and shouts,
Hoarse, shuffles through the windows.

The curtains are quickly drawn,
The blinding noon met with uneasy naps;
The narrow lanes shall lay abandoned.

The old ghosts know too well,
That none shall come to be haunted.
They lie hidden away in nooks,

Stirring, not even; unlike the dogs
Sneaking under the cars for shades
Which the coconut trees can't provide.

Free buttermilk is given out like advice,
And palm fruits and watermelons await
Like birds for slaughter, tighten imprisoned.

Soon, the power cuts shall melt the ice cream,
The tar shall gleam with persistence of weeds,
While a lonely postman cycles to deliver magazines and bills.

Summer shall soon be here;
While years better and worse persist,
The mangoes shall taste just the same.



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The narrative

It doesn't take a morning
To find what you wish for the most;
It just happens.

But you got to believe,
It didn't just happen;
You are special, unique.
In this world of infinities,
Something adds up to this-

Me, mine, myself.
Else, what is the point?

Your self-worth is all you have;
It is your mask; it is you.
You will fight to hold on to it.

You got to preserve yourself,
This is your providence.

But is it so?
Look up at the world.
I don't ask you to care-

But think,
As all this is just happening,
You could be gone right now,
Without a sense, a reason.

You crave to leave an imprint.
Did you? Will you?
Look at the ruins of humanity,
Scattered; dilapidated emblems
Of forgotten heroics, in repair.

You are as significant as you want,
Not as the world tells you;
Only to yourself.

Be lost in the stories,
But don't lose yourself.
Remember to enjoy the narrative,
For you are the lone listener.






Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Indian Writing Section

At the oldest mall in the city,
Ian Fleming is an Indian.
He sits firmly bound, hardback,
Between Bengalis and Marathis,
All lost in translation.

The wooden racks are a battle,
Violent as history, clumsy as rhetoric.
Forged are uneasy ties,
On dogeared pages, hostile.

The North-West corner
Stands lawless and worn,
As if Radcliffe's line is set in stone.
Bengal stands joined, not just by verses
But unveiled by proses,
Chastised, smitten, shorn.  

What is this Indian writing anyway?
All clumped together like landfill,
Tightly stacked to make another Bombay.
Haphazard as unplanned streets,
Riled with dust, a ghetto of mockery.  

You say, this makes it easy to find love.
I don't know the love you speak about,
Almost as if it is Convent educated-
Straightened, in tight files,
Shepherded as stock, covers bright.

Dear bookstore,
I like order, unlike your billing counter.
Keep away Ms.Roy from Ms.Desai,
And Mr.Seth from Mr.Bhagat,
And the poetry is by poets,
Who do deserve their fair share,
At least a forgettable nook,
As dirty as politics.
No bookstore, this is no national integration,
And you aren't a five hundred rupee note;
Though, I do pay you,  for I love you;
But you aren't my mother.

Let not the precious gather dust and crumble,
Like a ruler without progeny mumbles in his last days.
All I ask you, is to get your act together;
Spare me those bright lights and the blaring music,
Give me shelves with books, stacked right.










Monday, December 2, 2013

For Morrow

Whispers, whispers,
Breed not a conspiracy.
Whispers, whispers,
Spread not an ignominy.

A petty candle that conceives shadows;
The hours limber away in recesses
Left by those that were filled with hope.

Whispers, whispers,
Stay put in your voyeur's delight;
Whispers, whispers,
Show not your face with ugly fright.

Dream not of roads that do not bend;
The arc innate shall chip away,
And lead you into a turn,
Again and again, yet again.


Whispers, whispers,
Remain unsaid among men,
Whispers, whispers,
Stay away, go back whence.

You;

Deep despair of those days, 
When the sun is at those angles,
Rather too acute and beautiful,
That you wish to hold on, anyway;

Now,

Close your eyes and take a step ahead,
Morrow is a million miles away,
The night too young to be tainted by the day.

But,

Whispers, Whispers,
They haunt, the prowl,
Whispers, whispers,
The day seems a hard shroud.

Yet,

Dare, dare, dare,
Be brave, look past the despair;
Fight, fight, fight,
Punch again and again.

For,

Morrow;

Hope, else what?

The Light Shines The Brightest

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hold on

Be not a slave to destiny unwritten;
Let not the tides of fear break you, smitten.

Hold onto the rails that shake,
Unwise maybe, but for trust's sake.

The city ahead, will glimmer,
Till the last bit of coal will no more simmer.

X-X-X

The last houses whose girth stands misery,
Will move the mighty rivers, once of divine fury.

As the greenery is scared and scratched with tar,
Brick by brick will be laid, dreams from afar.  

The peepal trees shall be felled,
The fields that filled stomachs, disheveled.

In it will the future be sown,
In no time will the past be outgrown.

The dawn professes a day long drawn,
And with belief, in your sturdy arms, move on,

To a noon of punitive heat,
Cemented by fight and staunch belief.

The windows shall close as a sun bids farewell,
In smoggy darkness, tumultuous revelry shall dis-spell,

The ghosts and the celestial mistresses,
Who long rode the night, with chains and tresses.

On the shore of this mighty sea, humanity,
Gamble thy soul, forgive its avarice and vanity.

Hold onto the rails that shake,
Unwise maybe, but for trust's sake.

Dare to take a step into the streets unlit,
And discover what's yours between the filth.

Believe, because you can.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

The letters

As if words are the traitor
Who none shall speak about-
Standing staunch in silence,
Like the LED street light,
Waiting for a storm,
To be bent over and crushed.

There are but narrow margins and spaces,
In it she hopes to convey,
All that her squiggly handwriting cannot;
The words above and below are smudged
Like the newspaper on a monsoon morning.

The paper that bares scents,
Hopes to find his spirits pleasant
In times of prosper and good,
Ticking like his imported Swiss watch,
Wound to the second like his heirloom clock.

In verses, she proposes,
And in meters she drapes
Her somber thoughts-
Like clothes out in the storm,
They are too damp to be worn,
And are left to dry,
Like the dripping kajal beneath her eye.


Slowly, the turmoil within boils over
Deliberately like milk at a new home,
With dedication, a hope, a reverence;
Alas, all she had was an address,
A door number, a street name,
In a cemented city far away,
Unknown but for a pincode.

With a flurry, she writes a last line,
Burning her misery with unsaid words, sublime.
With her fury she signs her name, to last,
And sticks stamps to be tarnished by postmarks.

In the little red box it went,
And was cleared at 11 am.
As she sat on the wicker chair,
She realized, his name she had forgotten.

X-X-X

Breathless he reads,
Panting like the strays on a hot summer day,
And there are no shades, none to cool,
To contain, the scorch of the words, maimed.

The trains in his town, don't run beyond,
And the last bus stop was a dead leader.
His flight of hope was a dream,
Which like the brinjals, became dearer.

All he could do was write to her,
With more lines than verses,
Stuck up and bound,
Like wishes at the temple tree.

His name, he left unsaid,
Down the beaten road, he led
Their day after tomorrow,
Shoved it into the muddied box and left.


X-X-X

From afar came words,
Crashing like the waves on a full moon,
By a man in dirty khaki it was delivered at noon.

She peeled the cover;
Its words pierced,
And she wailed like a child
On its first birthday.

His name she didn't know,
The phone number, didn't exist,
He seemed like a dream,
Bright and burning like the silver screen,
Alas, a power cut,
And now, nothing remains to be seen.













Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Till the end

An abandonment,
As if time could be outlived,
And the summer would end. 

Slowly a drizzle begins,
And an antique sigh, petrichor, 
Is awakened from its deep slumber,
Like a bird singing its final dirge.

Cloudy curtains, 
சாரலின் மயக்கம்                                     (The mesmerizing drizzle -
ஒரு துளி விடுகதை,                                A bit of a riddle,
உடைத்தது  மனதின் பாறை.                   That breaks the boulders of the mind)                                               


As if time bears no grudges,
And all that is there is to be,
And as smooth as the water,
The grace of a river among boulders,

Easing through, rippling,
Ever so slightly, gathering,
Lifted by the wind, teasing,
An elegant flourish, meandering.

History strew on the rocks, 
Widowed from their times and kings;
A romance unwritten, seeping,
நின்று ஒரு தேக்கம்                                        (A stop, a hesitation
சிற்பம் நெளிய ஒரு சொப்பணம்.                 dreams that make sculptures bend.)
     
A prayer slowly, as beaded;
The pause as a count,
And the penance,
None to bear,
A silent memory,

A forgotten note etched,
Left, to be slowly erased,
மண்ணாக  மலையாக                                   (mountains shall turn to sand,
கண் கரைய, குலம் கழியும்.                          And as the eye disappears, so does the clan.)

A hundred years or thousand,
பல்லாண்டு பலகோடி நூறாண்டு               (many years, many crores of years,
உறுத்திய ஊற்று, ஓடும், பாயும்;                the stream shall run, shall prance
வரை,                                                            Till,
ஒன்றும் இல்லை, ஒன்றும் இல்லர்.           Nothing remains, none remain)
 Nothing remains, none shall be.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

An epic

A hundred years or thousand,
The solitude shall prevail;
And the silence holds on,
Like a lonely star on a smog filled night.

Your despondence is all prevailing;
It is a burning flaming sun in a parched
Land of dry rivers and drier eyes;
Unbecoming, bequeathed insolence.

As if a twilight was an end;
And cities grow from three stones,
Hedged by greed and faith,
Till the hands that built it become frail.

The legends are written in cursive,
Flowing like old blood, told
As myths, sung; And all
that remains is a fond tale.

Another step, and another,
You are now but memories
That I shall hold till I last,
And then who knows what shall remain?