Tuesday, 23 November 2010
It is not just you and I.
It's the world.
And yet we doubt,
and cry at our failures.
Ours, we say,
And lament again.
I looked into the mirror
And saw you.
She was by your side too.
We looked a pretty pair -
You, me and she.
And yet there was an ugliness,
damp as the thunderstorm outside,
making the mirror vapour-ridden.
Suddenly the images become distorted
And we all merge into each other,
forming a shape none of us know.
Your words speak my thoughts
Your poems express my emotions
Your touch resonates my yearning.
You and I are meant to be One.
I complete your sentences
I embody your imagination
I blow life into your breath.
You and I are meant to be One.
Where did she come from,
like a sprout on the window sill
After a week of rain?
What is she doing here,
like a blown strand of hair
rolling on the floor amid dust?
Where is she taking you,
like the witches of yore
who enchant and destroy?
You licked my ears,
tingling the soul,
And I heard her laugh
in those very ears.
You cupped my breast
with trembling hands
And I felt her touch,
I saw her shuddder.
You kissed my neck
with a soft-falling breath
And I knew her smell
upon your pink lips.
I see her in you.
Whom do you see in me, darling?
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
It wasn’t his fault,
Nor was it mine;
And yet guilt hangs around us all the time
Like mist in Coorg,
We met one day and parted
with such a deep wound in hearts
that it tore them to shreds,
Like an enlarging tear on clothes.
I lied to him
That I was a virgin.
You are the first to touch me, I said,
And he hugged me in delight,
Slowly sliding his hands up my skirt.
I did not flinch.
He immediately withdrew.
No. you’re not a virgin.
You’ve seen men before.
I don’t want you, he said,
And moved to the next girl in the line.
My heart ached, and the sun smiled at me.
My heart ached, and the sun said goodbye across the sea.
My heart ached, and the moon turned bright and round.
My heart ached, and the moon blackened its visage in grief.
My heart ached, and the winds sang to me.
My heart ached, and the winds roared at my window.
My heart ached, and the dust rose up in a cheer.
My heart ached, and the rain invited me for a dance.
My heart ached… and Mother Nature said, Move On, child.
Thursday, 21 October 2010
The eyes once refused
to see the colours of hope.
And now the darkness has settled upon them.
We heard a song together once
And rode upon its lyrics to heaven.
I came crashing down when the CD got stuck,
And you got stuck in the audio output wire.
Those memories pain me yet.
What do they do to you, dear?
I want to be like the tides,
That rejoice in nothing but the frolic
of carrying memories
but not in burden, not in pain.
I look out of the window every time
I hear the mating screech of kites.
They care not for a dime
Of my two watchful eyes.
I watch the clock tick,
Listen to the chirp of birds,
Feel the breeze from the ceiling fan,
Follow the notes of my thoughts.
I'm quite busy, darling.
No time for sorrows, loneliness or pain.
True to my word,
I didn't speak to you so long.
But what about the million conversations
We carry out in my head every day?
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
A tear waits to escape
from the well of the face.
There's nothing to holding it back;
There's free will and independence -
But for a ray of hope
in the brain that dries it
before it can make its escape.
There's something about the dark.
Its mysterious quality is captivating.
Dreams are born in the night
And so is love and most of my poetry.
It hides fears and affection in its bosom.
It scares and comforts,
It pains and pampers,
It breeds violence and peace.
When all's bright, during the day,
There's all the life and the world to seek.
But it's the night that brings you out.
You stand face to face
not with another, but your self.
It scares and comforts,
Pains and pampers,
Breeds violence and peace.
I slept off before you finished your story.
What were you saying?
Oh yes, your father died when you were four,
Your mother was raped by his best friend
Yes you were sold to Thailand.
I am so sorry about that.
But I'm glad I came to Bangkok -
I saw such beautiful sights,
Such ravishing women -
And met you.
I had such a great night, thank you.
I'm going back to India tomorrow.
You take care.
Darling, you were awesome.
And so sorry about your parents.
Especially Mother, Yes.
Did you dream today too?
This is it.
No moving forward.
Honey, the darkness is all you've got.
Enjoy its soothing, personal touch.
Your darkness is your alone, isn't it?
Find me a day that's yours.
No, don't aspire for it.
There's bliss in it.
You choose to move on?
And leave me alone?
Let melancholy be mine alone....
The dawn brings promises
Of more memories, good and bad,
Of new acquaintances and relations,
Of fresh rays of hope and peace.
A cup of coffee in hand,
We savour the promises
and promise to do our best.
The phone rings.
Your father passed away
peacefully, in his sleep last night.
Suddenly you dread the dawn of the night
And the end of the smooth darkness.
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
Mirror reflects my being,
But where do I look to find my soul?
Somewhere within the walls of this body
It lies maimed and shattered.
Picking up pieces after a massacre
Is not easy,
Will you help me,
I ask the mirror.
And it stares back at me in silence,
As helpless as me.
I look around again,
And everyone is picking up their pieces.
At least, I'm just one of them.
Not alone in my misery.
Her life’s in a mess.
And she plays Freecell,
Wins the game,
And assures herself she can conquer it all.
She goes to the Church,
Looks at the imposing Christ before her
And sheds a tear,
Apologises to her men,
And pretends to be strong.
Alone, at home,
she smiles into the mirror,
Which too scorns at her.
There are tears of grief somewhere,
That struggle to break the steel armour.
But if she lets it break, would she be happy?
She has to live her life.
She has to clear the mess herself,
Pay for it through her own karma.
She smiles again at the mirror,
And it smiles back at her.
Thursday, 2 September 2010
Yonder goes the heart
that slayed mine,
And I, the greater his slave for that,
Fall at his feet
for mercy or refuge;
What pleases it,
Shall please me fine,
If it be love,
None so great,
And if slavery and mock,
I gently assent.
Why, what drives thee hither, O peasant!
What makes thee crave for things pleasant?
Dost not thy field feed thy stomach?
Wouldst thou not be pleased by roast duck?
Thy hut, I swear, is the safest shelter,
Thy hospitality, an iron-rod melter.
Thy wife, whose smile can win a tiger,
Is worth more 'an ton-pounds of pure wheat fibre.
Alas! I can do noth but scribble,
In auld tongue, all I can do is dribble,
Thy life is unmatched, O pretty lad!
Forget the city, palaces, brilliance - and quit the fad!
I live in their dreams,
And they in mine;
My men, I love thee all,
You abode in my heart's shrine.
How shall I say
Why, how and how much I love thee?
For each of thou are mine,
And yet not mine,
All love's labour's are free.
My body knows thy touch,
My heart feels thine beat,
Each pore in my body
Stands up as thou retreat.
It's not thy kisses,
Not hugs, nor the love-making,
It's the warmth in thy smiles,
The peace I feel when in thine casing.
Scorn me not as a whore,
Deign me not the vamp -
My love's as pure as the morning dew,
As the blue flame of the night lamp.
I care not for the worldly fares -
The lawful names, the legal knots,
But love me as thee shall,
And let me feed my love back unto thee.
Wednesday, 25 August 2010
Displaying no shard of love.
In the bare greed of the body,
We seek each other out blindly
And hack and pant endlessly.
In the end, you rest your face on my chest,
And the corner of your eyes are wet.
There I know you love me.
Friday, 30 July 2010
The mesh of bodies
Sprawling on the Earth
I'm struggling for breath underneath
And the far-away winds
Are eluding me.
I walk along the shores
But there's no end,
No destination in sight.
The sea is tired of seeing me -
It is driving me away with its crashing waves.
I am on the hills,
Climbing up and down,
Along the ceaseless paths of green and brown.
There's no horizon in view
And there's no other escape.
I'm tired of walking.
It is growing dark,
And the woods are turning hostile.
I am standing in the market,
Not a known face around,
No hi, no hello, no what's up.
I am looking for friends,
But their voices far away
Merely add to the tantalising dreams.
This is no dream to wake up from,
Not a life to live out,
Nor am I in a trance.
Where am I?
Being at the right place in the wrong time.
Meeting the right people at the wrong time.
Asking the right question at the wrong time to the right people.
Being wrong when I am supposed to be right.
My life is a play of words –
between rights and wrongs.
It is a happy tragedy,
A sad comedy,
Of ceaseless aspiring,
Thursday, 29 July 2010
And my soul goes into hibernation.
It stays away from the desires of my body,
And I sulk in their disagreement,
Like the mother who watched her children fight.
The soul says she seeks
Spiritual salvation, and would
Rather stay away from the
Impurity of the body's desires.
The body, she scoffs at the soul.
'Be the elite, you bitch, for
You can seek the spiritual and attain it.
Has your superior creed allowed
My brood to even dream of that?'
The body goes on:
'I am the Earth,
The Soil, the Water,
The Light and the Dark,
And my end lies here.
The Power and the Intellect,
The Higher One's studentt,
Can seek eternity.
You want me to sacrifice my pleasures
For your purity?
Go, bitch, Earn your own salvation.'
I sob again.
But my soul's nowhere to be seen.
It is growing dark,
And my bed has another being in it.
My body seeks its own salvation
As my soul attains it in staying away.
Thursday, 22 July 2010
The way they stream down to your hips,
Where you quiver when I plant a kiss.'
He is fascinated by my hair,
And runs his hand through playfully.
I let them flow down his chest
And his body reacts as if touched with a live wire.
His raw lust is aroused,
and he wants me to turn to him again.
I get up,
Tying my hair up in a bun.
'No, let them down.
Let me see them resting on your naked body,
Let me touch you through their mesh.'
He comes anear,
Draws me close to him,
And quivers again when my hair brush upon his bare skin.
'There's magic in your hair',
He whispers as we make love.
Panting, I draw back,
My hair behind me,
Laid like the fresh English lawn upon my neighbour's porch.
He says he loves me.
tying my hair up again.
Nature flaunts its sexuality,
Shows off its fertile and well-preened hues
Inspiring all living creatures to follow suit.
It’s the mating season, and
Every layman becomes a poet,
And mouthing metaphors and similes
Borrowed from famous brains,
They go preening about,
Trying to attract their mates.
Lovers moan and whine about separation,
Thirst for some company,
And make love in cosy corners.
While little sprouts of green
Show their heads on the soil,
Dark clouds gather on the horizon
And warn you of impending downpour.
Some revel in the pleasance of the rains,
Some crib about its gloom.
Poets never stop crooning
Of the rains:
They rave and rant like verbose viragos
Of the little rain drops.
Some Wordsworthians write of the nature,
And some write of human nature.
And I too become one of them.
Friday, 28 May 2010
Just happy to be happy...
Happy because I am not sad,
Happy because I know all are not bad.
Happy to be alive,
Happy to survive;
Happy that I have friends like you,
Happy that all are happy too!
Thursday, 27 May 2010
How the skin longs for a touch,
How my fingers search for a pair
When you pass by my chair.
Hours of talking sweet nothings,
Hours of yearning follows then,
Hours of dreaming, praying, wanting,
How my heart longs for your chest!
The pleasure in those eyes,
The warmth in the smiles,
The love that drips down the sweaty skin,
Oh I wish I had them for ever...
Wednesday, 19 May 2010
The rub of bare skin against another
Rouse so much pleasure
As to release a burden
And lighten your mind?
Why does it
Lead to so much thoughts
and feelings and expectations
And judgements on values and mores?
One wonder, unquenched,
Is the pleasure of my skin on you.
How do we lick away so lustfully
The sweat of pleasure as if they were dew?
What do you see in my eyes
That makes you smile so heartily?
Why do I let you touch me deep
And return the pleasure as greedily?
One mystery, undeciphered,
Is the love that increases with each pain.
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
An occasional bus, car or bike
hooting its way around the treacherous curves
Even as I heard the echo of my footsteps in the idyllic calm.
In the valley,
Shades of green cheated my eyes of their colour differentiation power.
The silent tiled houses
And pious little churches, mosques and temples
Stood testimony to a life of simplicity.
While smiles and greetings of long-distance neighbours
hugged each other across the roads,
Trees and milestones by the sides
Seemed to wave good-day to me.
Ruminating cattle and barfing roadside weeds
bid me silent welcome.
I walked on,
Surprised by a glimpse of life in the innards of my city.
Where did I live?
So very weirdly,
Everyone cribs about work,
Love and Life.
About how your work
Leaves no time for anything else
And how love is lacking,
Life is slacking.
When something decides to show up,
We run around trying to hide.
We are driven,
Not by courage,
Not by lust,
But by escapism.
From life, love, work
And the self.
When we open our old drawers
And find those sheets
of tidily jotted scribbles,
We are torn between
Wanting to throw them
and cherishing their memory.
There was once a 'me'
That loved these, we say,
and shut those drawers again.
The little self
scribbled on those sheets
Go back to sleep,
annoyed for having been woken.
And we get back to the tidying
Unaware and unattending
to the shards of self scattered all over,
Too scared to put them together.
We talk of old romances,
of little love notes
and stolen kisses,
And joke about how silly we were.
But somewhere deep inside,
We nurture those seeds
Or pamper those wounds,
And yet close our minds on them
So we can live peacefully -
Or so we think.
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
Monday, 19 April 2010
Ah, the pleasure
of sitting in your balcony
on a bright breezy evening.
Conversations of neighbours,
and chirping birds in the background;
Greens of all hues
doing their little jingle
in the calm, soothing breeze;
Grey clouds hovering above
Tantalising you with thoughts of rain;
Hot black tea and snacks before you,
Pen and paper in your hand –
And your mind,
touched by simplicity,
Pouring its thoughts out.
Ah, the pleasure
of sitting in your balcony
on a bright breezy evening.
On a quiet lazy afternoon,
I sit in the porch thinking of the moon.
The jackfruit, chickoo and mango trees
Serve to exaggerate the breeze.
A febrile ring of the phone somewhere,
Barking dogs and terrces bare,
Drive reality back into me,
But I deny to clear the glee.
Coffee, conversations, cigarettes,
Shabby clothing and colourful sets;
Life is a drama, yet unplayed,
Love is a farce, tackily displayed.
Far away on the horizon
A pariah kite taks a turn
And with no inhibition, no fancy,
My heart leaps for some lunacy.
I laugh at others' jokes,
I share another's smokes,
I work for someone I know not,
I clear the day for another's spot.
What do I want? The moon?
The river? The flowers? The shells? The silver spoon?
There's nothing but praising the dreary,
No joy but to thank my life's not scary.
Even as my thoughts traverse a light year,
My body's here, upon Earth's gear;
The trees still sway to the winds half-blown,
The tulsi in my vase is still half-grown.
An early morning by the verandah
With birds tweeting gleefully
at the post-rain clime,
And trees all glad of being bedewed -
I sit again with a pen and paper,
Glad to be breathing the pleasant air.
Witht their yellows, greens and blues well pruned and glittering,
Give me company,
Tell me how nice it is to live.
The faint grey clouds are parting,
The sun awaits its chance.
The wind is just whispering -
too wispy to listen to its gossips.
My goldfish wants more space to swim,
The sprout in my vase is raising its hood,
My heart is yearning for a longer laze,
The mind refuses to let go of whim.
A chimney barfs out black fumes
of urbanisation and modernity,
And the vague clamour of the highway ahead
Strikes the eardrum and breaks the peace.
Someone rings the doorbell
And life calls me back.
Friday, 2 April 2010
What do I talk to you?
How do I reach you?
Are you here?
Or are you there?
Did I hear you now?
Did you tell me not to whisper?
Well, my dear, there you are. And I,
am obsessed with you.
Sunday, 28 March 2010
Friday, 26 March 2010
I chase the dreams he saw with her;
I walk the roads they paved together,
I relish the love they shared.
live with them,
know not who I am.
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
Ah, life would be so easy.
If the tears could drown in the pegs of alcohol I down every day,
Ah, life would be a bliss.
If the smiles could multiply like the virus in the computers,
Ah, what pleasure living would be.
If you and I could be together with no regrets,
Ah, that would be a fantasy come true.
A smooth skin rubbing against me and arousing me,
A soothing touch sending shivers down the spine,
Warm smell of you as you hugged me,
And a night of romantic talks.
And I got,
Your grazing beard on my chins,
The touch of your sweaty palms on my breasts,
The stink of tobacco from your mouth as you slurped on me,
And you snoring away after withdrawing from within me.
I watch the flickering moonlight
And dream of another man.
Saturday, 6 March 2010
Has a sorrow of their own,
Like their unique fingerprint,
Like their own memories.
And while there are tragic faults,
Up there for all to see,
Every human is cursed,
To live with this one unique sorrow.
There are sorrows we can share
And lighten our heart's burdens,
But this sorrow is just for us,
Ineffable and unbearable,
And yet just for us.
Tuesday, 2 March 2010
That no one heard,
But it was sweet music to me;
It had all my little pleasures
And all the pains there could be.
Its words were my story,
Its music all my feelings,
Its rhythm was from the heart,
Its rendering, the soul’s dealings.
A smooth breeze went by as I sang,
And I thought I heard it whisper,
Then I realized she took my song along,
To sing to faraway lands and to the river.
The river gurgled, and it was my song again,
The ocean rumbled, and there too I heard it;
And when it rained, the pitter-patter
Sounded just like the rhythm I sang.
No one heard my song,
But there it was – everywhere;
It was sweet music to me then,
And sweeter still it is, now.
It shows its face for no reason at all,
And cuts through the pain I so badly desire.
To feel the stab,
To hear the shear of the skin,
To see one’s bleeding heart –
Ah, the pleasure of self-mortification!
Oh, call me what you please,
But I shall always cherish that pain!
For pain is deeper than pleasure –
It touches you not where it loses feeling,
But deep within where you shall be wounded forever.
Pain is the only eternal emotion.
What is pleasure but a passing fancy?
Sunday, 14 February 2010
No hopes, nor any sorrow,
When you and I can lie next to each other in peace,
not worrying about any common dreams,
When my body fits into your crevasses
and your limbs float upon mine,
That one night of pleasure,
Just one night of leisure...
Ah, did I dream of it?
For dreams are for those who believe.
Did I hope for more?
No, for hopes are where expectations hide.
I close my eyes and draw a blank,
I open them and see no one-
What nights are those I spend with myself?!
I want that one night without a morrow.
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
It has been 18 years since I am into the profession, and I’ve seen all sorts of lucky and unlucky girls. The lucky ones had their saviours sweeping them off to safer places, while others have stayed on to rot in the squalor. Like me.
“What do I call you?” the girl was asking.
Everyone around me has called me ‘amma’ these eight years. Eight years. That is too long a time. Eight years ago, our old ‘amma’ was on her death-bed and she had told me, “You’ll be the next amma.” Amma. The name commands respect and embodies motherly love. But how many can actually feel and exhibit these, under the circumstances? I did not like out old amma, I just feared her. It is as likely that these girls now feel the same way about me. Not that it is some job I like. But I am helpless. I can do nothing at all, for I am chained. Chained to the wills of those around me. Amma is the matron, not the Chief. She will never be one.
I clearly remember the day I was brought here. I was drugged by a man in the train. The tragedy struck when I was on my way to Vellore from my village in Trichy, to study medicine. I had secured 96% in my PUC and was the first girl in the village to go for an MBBS degree. My father has prepared to send me to Vellore, to my paternal aunt’s house, but not without vehement protests from the elders of the village.
The entire village had got together to organize a ‘sabha’ and threatened to expel our entire family if I were to study further in such a distant place. Was it not enough that a girl had been allowed to study so much further while she should be learning to cook and clean, that now she should be permitted to go so far away from her parents and pursue a life on her own? they argued.
But my father was a staunch believer in women’s rights and he stood up against the whole village. One by one the villagers were convinced about his resolute purpose and irrefutable arguments. All for the sake of his dear daughter in whom he believed. Whom he dreamt of as dressed in white, serving the patients in the nearby Government hospital. And what an ill luck that he should be sick on the day of departure and that she should travel alone. Shattering this dreams and now serving….
When I opened my eyes, I was in a well-decked cot, complete with garlands of roses and mogras. I was bewildered. “Where am I?” “What is going on?” “Am I dreaming?” As I wondered on, the doors to the room opened and a big burly figure strode up to me. I cowered and withdrew myself a few steps.
But those firm hands caught hold of me, and what happened later was only a subconscious memory. O! The agony of the moment! Even after 18 years, I shudder at the thought of it – the struggle, the screams, the shame.
And for hours thereafter, I was totally unaware if what was going on. For two days. I lay in a semi-doped state, begging pardon of my father and shouting for help. And I remember a tight slap across my cheeks. Then I slipped into the unconscious again, waking up only the next morning.
Amma came and talked to me, telling me I had no option but to stay on. And I was an absolute stranger to the city of Mumbai. The city where street oys turn into Bollywood stars. Where crores are spent everyday on entertainment. Where a boy washing a car today would be driving one years later.
But the red light area is always a prison; cordoned off from the city life and yet so close of the people in it, entertaining men irrespective of caste and religions, people from all walks of life. And yet…
God! I just cannot dwell on our position in this wretched society. Unwanted, and yet in demand. Scorned by the members of the same gender that should understand us. Looked down upon by the same gender that uses us. Hmph!
Anyway, life has to go on. There is someone at the door already. Oh! It is 8 o’clock! Business will perk up. “O Saraswati! Isn’t it your turn first?”
Sunday, 24 January 2010
If just once, somebody held my hand and walked with me,
If just once, somebody kept a hand above my head
and patted my back,
My life has become an eternal journey seeking that one hand.
Saturday, 23 January 2010
But you never had time to listen to it;
I wrote a poem for you,
But you never had the patience to read it;
I played a tune on the piano,
You had an earache and went to sleep -
And now you want to tell me something:
Should I wait or tell you of my headache?
Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Came out as a few words of love and desperation.
Not chosen well nor edited to sound nice,
Failed to touch your heart,
Just like this poem here that makes no difference to you.
What should I blame? -
The pain, the heart, the words, me, or you?
Tuesday, 5 January 2010
न रूठ जाए रूह जिस्म से, यूँ तुम हँसा न करो।
२ सितारों में ढूंढती हूँ तुझे किनारों पे बैठे हुए,
चेहरों का मायाजाल है, पर्छायियों के कमाल है,
सपनो में भी ढूंढती रहूँ, पर मिलना तो तकदीर का खेल है।
३ जाम है, मेहरबान है, महफ़िल की सजी शाम है,
बस हम ही तनहा है, सोये हुए इस रात की चादर ओढ़े।
४ इन आँखों में जो नींद भर आये, सपने तुम्हारे ही हो,
आंसुओं की बहार जो आये शिकवे तुम्हारे ही हो,
अंधेरो का खेल है जीवन, उसमे उजाला न आये,
किनारे तुम्हारे ही हो, सहारे तुम्हारे ही हो।
५ इंतज़ार था किसी साथी का, जो प्यार से कर दे जीवन रंगीन,
मिल गया ऐसा दोस्त हमें, जो राह से मिटा दे सारे पल ग़मगीन।
६ हजारों कलम से निकले होंगे प्यार के नगमे,
पर हमारी भी पढलो, एक और ही समझ के।
७ रात ले आई फिर वोह हसीं यादों की बारात,
पलकों के साए चला आया ख्वाबों का नरम साथ,
दुनिया तो नींद की चादर ओढ़े पड़ी है,
और हम चुपके से चाहे साजन का संगाथ।
८ मीठी बातों से ये गहरे ज़ख्म भर गए,
प्यारी मुस्कान से इस दिल को चैन दे गए;
शीशे का बना होता ये जिस्म तो टूट दिए होते,
जाते जाते आँखों से ऐसा तीखा वार जो कर गए।
Monday, 4 January 2010
It envelopes my body in a shiver.
The trail of darkness leaves a sliver
Of pain upon the reverie.
No moon, no stars, no sound of crickets,
All there lies is the shroud of the night;
Against it I have no will, no might,
My body knots into thickets.
The darkness scares me not, nor soothes,
It touches deep but I budge not-
It leaves me cold, it leaves me hot-
And something deep inside me it uproots.
A seed of love,a ray of hope-
they are meant not for the lovers of the dark;
For what the night brings, it takes back,
When away from the sun it flies.
Saturday, 2 January 2010
And thus they alienate me.
I walk around each acquaintance,
Searching for the rewarding look,
For being different.
But all I get is awe and sympathy,
For being different.