Category Archives: Experiences

Tainted Flight

a poem by

I rise upwards, set for the sky
But the chains clip me; failing another try
I look around, the room is bare
My wrists bleed from the cuffs they share
A drop trickles down, embracing the ground
The splash I hear deafens every sound
I look up at my dreams, they extend their hands
But the despair around me just expands

A blinding flash and a sweet siren
An angel descends amidst my silent mayhem
“You have done your part, scars cover your heart and now its time for a new start”
As she sings a foreign melody
The room around me disappears
And so does my misery

A new prison but without the chains
Anything is better than going there again
A key is given, the one to my ardor
My confidence is back, and I drift no farther
I smile this time, surrounded by soldiers
Who just like me, did endure the coaster
A pair of wings; sprouting
I soar the paradise, destiny is astounding
These joyful moments, sure will pass
But this time, I am not just another piece of glass

Not a Rebel

a poem by

A time comes
when his heart and mind rebel
and chastise—
‘This is enough.’

But, the force of feelings in him
subsides after a while
as if it is a periodic process
and nothing else.

Garrulously talking at mealtime,
daydreaming while meditating,
falling asleep with the television on
or sitting on internet for hours.

Gossiping in the canteen,
taking interest in rumors,
making rumors
or criticizing others.

Doing nothing properly,
getting annoyed too easily,
lying at sixes and sevens
and on being caught, saying— no, no.

On being fed up with all this,
his heart and mind rebel
and want some big change.

But, it seems to him
nothing is going to change in his life.
He is a slave to his habits,
not a rebel— yes.

Love to hate

a poem by

The sharp needles of hatred
concealed in your smile
pierce through my conscience
and bled my heart profusely

The contempt concealed in your
soft words shatter my mind
into a million pieces

Your innocence of ignorance is
loud and clear which serve the
purpose of enhancing my
apathy into many folds

Your silence towards my desperation
is inflaming the agony and strain and
how long I can bear this pain, but
I know there is no other way around.

Little poem

a poem by

The little poem born inside me
Let it bloom and blossom like
Palm tree
And give peace serenity to all visitors
Strangers who stops exahausted near
Show them indications of eternal beauty
And signs of infinite in little fist
All one side mighty strength of positive views
Cherishing all emotions and day by day losing sensitivity
Joy, happiness heavenly showered on all like rain
And drench them to vanish bitter thirst with sprinkling
Thousand shades of colours on every cozy suffocating
Suppressed mind in this festivals of love
This dark side of our bitter history and subtle enemity
Of venom wiped out
Hug them heartily, hold them by heart with flowing tears
Nobody treat like wretched slave
Everybody breathe splendor of freedom breeze
Nobody tries to victimize others as prey as creatures do
We obey and follow what valuable messages gave our
Fathers, saints, masters hoping transformation in our
Holy hearts as human being.
That sun ever rise to vanish this wide spread
Darkness? Think think think!
Not tomorrow, initiate now.

Eliot City

a poem by

Eyes!
Carnival in neon puffed up;
Dandy hat out
Of the bill board
Winks in rainbow colors
Promises are feathery nails
Empyrean in seduction.

The luxury candies
Are piling up —
The blinking is
Ceremoniously red

The lobster in
The way side glass
Grins placidly.

The pedestrians
Glimpse each other
In speedy meditation;
Camouflaged palms
Are metallic on ears
And talking.

The muezzin’s
Catechism
Drones into the ears
And spills over as
Troubadours.

She winks and waves
And pulls up her stockings
Show casing her nails,
Polished with die cast aluminium.

A candy screeches
And the door beams open.
Off sunshine goes into it
For a paid, progressive night.

The soup box
Whirs over the head
It’s mechanistic
And going around
In pelvic circles.

The police soups
Nirvana into
His Harley import;
Die-hard roars through
The city as a
Steel monk
Overtaking frigidity.

The Lone Witness

a poem by

We all have one:
That remnant scar
Over our abdomen

A living reminder:
Of umbilical connexions,
One had with one’s mother!

Those who just ignore this,
I don’t know how sad it is:
To disown your mother
Despite the cicatrix!

The lone witness of the womb:
The cord that feeds,
Even as the baby takes shape,
Supply all that it needs.

Our conscience is not much different:
It has its own chinks;
It has got that element,
That remembers its links,
With God- Creator and Sustainer,
Seventy-fold like our own mother

Why forget your mother,
Or God, either?
You cannot afford,
To deny the umbilical cord!

For, God loves us all:
Seventy times more, as it were,
Than your own mother
Heed to His call.

For, God’s so merciful.
Open the door,
Vacate your fear;
Be faithful and grateful,
Evermore!!

Sure, you can go that far:
So much lies concealed,
In that round scar-
The first wound now healed.

Electric Train Window

a poem by

In big black letters
Painted on yellow paint
It displayed the not-so-important, almost deserted station’s name…

The stone sign-board at the platform’s far end
Standing as dirty as only
An electric train station platform name board
At the fag end of day,
Can get.

It also housed the cloth cradle
Made of a dirty sari
Holding the station’s platform dweller-cum-vendor’s infant
Sleeping unblinking
Used to having the passing trains’ sirens
As its noisy lullaby

While his mother sold her wares
Alighting on one side
And getting down on the other
With enough coins
To buy food for herself
And her little one;

One fleeting instant
Of the drama of life
From an electric train window,
In a two minute stop…

Nostalgia

a poem by

Idyllic memoirs of my boyhood days
I have lost into thorny hedges of my
native village where now
sprawl of concrete
jungle stands.

Hedgehogs, hares and squirrels
no longer scurry through the
fallow fields and the packs
of wolves which used to roam
unhindered on grassy lands
have been hounded into
extinction by rude rattle of trucks

I still grope for the herb with
which my father used to cure eczema
and I am at loss to spot the creepers
that purges toxins through dieresis
How can I revisit that lost pastoral
village which I left a decade
ago to settle in town?

The Pain

a poem by

It is always painful to see people leave,
Compounded when they don’t even let you grieve,
Such times there is no one to talk too,
Yet things are perfectly fine to mock you.

Why is there a quest to learn the intricate,
Eventually, instead they tend to complicate,
Should pain not be accepted as gregariously as joy,
After all pain joy are nothing but language created ‘toy’

Now me standing under the dark clouds ready to get wet,
But I am worried that even before it rains, I’ll be drenched,
I now perfectly know whom should I talk too,
But ‘those’ is the one who potentially ‘ll cause the pain too.

As they say it is better to talk to someone about this,
It might be right to open in front of those whom you won’t miss,
I look around the class with the purpose froze
But it breaks like twig, in a deep breeze.

Banking completely on the words they have mentioned,
They’ll stay loyal to me and always concerned,
Only thing here for us to realise is now is,
Let some time, as there can be no better healer than this.

Mid-may and the room

a poem by

A mynah pecks at the withering bird’s nest
Among the rich yellow laburnum flowers
The green leaves dusty relieved against
A blue grey smouldering sky of Delhi May

The large neem is a different yellow
Imperial in its foliage
The other with its still green leaves
Is flanked by another with new leaves of spring
A cuckoo calls in startling trills
Defying the heat-haze or with a mad feeling
Of continuing spring
Is answered by long ascendant cries
Billowing the afternoon from all directions.
The heat and the steam palpable all around.

Sitting on a morah at five in the evening
I see a cigarette and potato wafers’ kiosk
At a short distance in front
Beyond the small field with yellow railings
Where children play cricket or badminton.

The houses are all alike-
Two-roomed and painted dull yellow
In various states of disrepair
Residents working class or babus
In government offices.
The pitch road burn
Offering blinding mirages
Not a soul in sight
Don’t forget, this is Delhi in May

The ‘Room’ though is saved by less light.
On wooden shelves and a steel one
Stand a few hundred books, mostly old but ageless
Undusted but always used
A single-burner gas stove
With a small pillar-box red cylinder
Which hasn’t been filled for months
An unmade bed, general dishabille
The only window blocked by a cooler-
Soap-box, medicines, some dusty books
On a sunmicaed rickety study table
With hollow angular steel pipes for legs,
An obsolete portable, an ash-tray
Heaped with cigarette-butts

A bag of vegetables, a shaving kit
Used up razor blades, unwashed tea-cups
A large plastic jar of powdered milk
Another of sugar, soiled tea-spoons.

The eight-by-ten room made seemingly
But only seemingly grotesque
By the large framed Louvre prints of Le Moulin de la Gallete
And Girl at an open Half-door
And the inevitable but always endearing
Blue sun and cornfield by Van Gogh
A photo of Aldous, a Xerox of Oxford
The peeling walls of are stamped
With Cavaleanti’s Donna Mi Priegha
And Arnaut Daniel the troubadour,
Painted in blue with a large brush
And good paint
The cement floor firmly thick with grey dirt,
A broken chair piled with unwashed clothes
Even a quilt, nowhere to tuck away
And it is already the month of May, (no maying though)
Last used In January
Even now sometimes used by my god-son
Who visits me once in a long while
And spreads it on the floor to sleep
Snug among the darting rats and piles
Of unread ‘Statesman’ on the morahs.
There is even a tattered blanket
Which can’t be tucked away either
And is used when the cooler works
And late nights can do with a coverlet
Or even the quilt and the blanket for my son
To curl up in the tiny space
Beside the book-shelves and the morahs
Also piled with books and other objects,
The originally intended as stools.
A giraffe of a table, a straight-backed steel chair
Also a divan (six and a half-by-four)
To sleep on and sit on for the guests
And the real occupant of the Room.
Also a chest of drawers
Not one article has anything to do with another

From the front porch I can see
An absent-minded ceiling fan
Whose speed can’t be regulated
Spiders very quick with cobwebs
In four corners of the roof
On top of the chest of drawers
The complete OED in two volumes with a magnifying glass
Webster’s Third International
(Prize possessions)
A few ancient silver cups
And a depleted foil of good Darjeeling tea.
Inside, the top-shelf has all the Arden Shakespears
Tagore, Villon, Cavafy, Chaucer, Rimbaud and Baudelaire,
Also the cantos and a copy of the facsimile of the original
‘Wasteland’ mercifully emended by Pound,
A few files, the others crammed with clothes
Xeroxed copies of a few rare books
And bags of worn-out audio cassettes.
In the small loft, a pair of large
Woodstock speakers of a record player
(Which no longer works)
A far less effective cassette-player has to do
The ‘Room’ watches me go to sleep
At two ion the morning when my son visits, otherwise
Plagued by the fears of insomnia.

————II————–

Visualizing the ‘Room’
I am reminded of the ‘other’ room
Same size as this, occupied
By the legal allottee of the house, a pahari
Five of a family live and sleep there.
Children study, watch T.V, fight
The father, a dark paunchy rogue,
Snores or sulks like a brooding Achilles in his underwear
When not drunk or not at work.
Never talks to anyone while sober
Merely snaps if there is need for command
Or condemnation radiating tension and fear,
The mother, a ruffled sweet lady
Who can be a tigress when pushed too far.
The kitchen, the toilet and the bath with dripping walls
Are tiny pits of hell
Roaches, rats and stink all over
This particular stink of cooking oil
Sweat and certain spices
Is far out-run by the spewing
And suffocating stench of excreta
In the tiny toilet there’s hardly any room even to squat
Where one has to hold one’s breathe for quite a while,
These three odours along with odours
From clothes, bed-sheets and sweat
Combine to give the whole house
An unidentifiable fourth smell
A sort of house-smell
Like a household god or deity
Which is all the house permanently,
And makes anyone who comes in beyond
The sitting room for the first time throw up.
The stink hits like a wave of nausea
Producing a disorienting shock and disbelief
Not only the first time but always.
A still dread to enter the toilet
Or go anywhere near it but one has to
So I retch quite frequently.
And it is not only the stink of excreta
It is much worse
Quite obscure and filthy
In a nightmarish way
In which one sees the toilet bowl with the floating turd
(Except that it is no nightmare but real).
I have had this nightmare a number of times
After coming here, and sometimes this horror
Happens during the day too, a day mare,
And I throw up my lunch and tea.

You may well ask why I live here then,
I have no option, strangely for health and pocket-book reason
The flush doesn’t work, the water trickles
Through the pipeline for two hours a day
No water collects in the over-head tank
Not does it have a connection with the pipelines,
I’ve bought the house a ‘motor’
Which speeds up the trickle to a slightly faster flow.

Yet everything here goes on as in any other family.
Innate loyalty despite the fights
And a belonging to hill-inheritance
Through language and memory
Which cuts both ways into a capital city.
One of the daughters, Janaki, tries
To tidy up the room once in while
Vainly retrieve from the deshabille
Makes the bed and puts
Clean covers on the pillows
But doesn’t know what to do with the books,
The large quilt and the blanket
And heaps of clothes.
She dreams of speaking English.

I teach her once in a while
They all have dreams
I mean the three older children
Of coming right side up in a losing battle
In the air of competition
They envy the effluent young people
In a nearby college, their clothing
And the brand of pathetic English
Taught in the so-called public
Or missionary schools in the capital city
Meant for the affluent and the traders
These children yearn for their sang-froid
And the curious dialect
Rightly knowing no better.
Can’t blame them
Or stress the futility
From what to them will seem
Superior height
As I have already known what they don’t
The language, western education and travel
And all that comes with it
At least a better job than their father’s
However ‘nouveau pauvre’ I may be

——————-III——————

It is now the quite a few years in the ‘Room’
The children are getting used to me
But are still baffled by Bach or Beethoven
Howe can there be long stretches
Of music without words?
A tune on the flute one can understand
But surely not the concertos or the symphonies
Or silly things as the elaboration of ragas
By Roshan Ara or Bhimsen
Lalgudi or Subulakshmi
Opera is worse, nothing but shrieks and screams!

But they no longer wonder
Why I am here
Or that I should be somewhere else
Yet my presence only a passing dream
Or just a contribution to the family coffer
As long as I am around
They won’t mind terribly if I left.
They are too used to such things
Being realists before their time
Life has taught them a lot quite early
Another pahari will occupy the Room
With whom the man will drink liquor
As he does noisily every other evening
And in the weekends with his chums,
Talk in the hill tongue
And feel well rid of me, a stranger,
For really there is nothing but envy and hatred,
At most unwilling toleration.
Stranger will not be missed
Except perhaps by the little girl
Who tries to look after my room
And who, in an uncomprehending way,
Has grown to like me a little
(Unlike the others who frankly flash hatred
Even the good lady who doesn’t care)
Janaki is a gifted girl whom I tried to guide a little
Through the mazes and the grammar
Of a tongue alien to her
But whose magic and practical use
She can’t resist, boxed in as she is
Like many others in her circumstance.
All the inmates of the house despise her
And drive her nearly mad
And will certainly do so when I leave
They persecute her and merely call her a ‘lunatic’
And revel in her tears and grief.
I intervene when I can’t bear it any longer
And they hate me for it
And would like to put me in my place
Once and for all and ask me
To mind my own business

Like many others, these kids are attracted
By the younger breed of Bombay film-actors
And the anchor persons of FM and television
Who have learnt to alternate between
Particular brands of Hindi and English
With ease and confidence-
Products of mass communication centers
And drama schools,
Some of them quite bright
But tuned the wrong way
Or rather compelled to be tuned the wrong way
For obvious reasons by the policy makers
Politics and sponsors,
Lopsidedly trying to follow
The primrose path of the West-
Of different history past and present,
Different problems, different demography
Different climate and economies
Different health and different count of people
Yet I can’t expect these children
To understand all this,
As none of them, although born here
Have so far seen the Connaught Place or the zoo
Never ‘seen’ a train
What to talk of rides
Never seen the Red fort or Purana Qila
What to talk of the Taj!
How can I expect them to see through
The innocence and the tricks of FM anchorpersons
Some of who are naturally inclined
Towards what they vaguely think
To be Western media and values
Unchecked laissez-faire
And all that comes with it
The other anchor kids don’t lack cunning
(And not in the old sense of the word)
Lead entertainment towards money making
And conspicuous consumption
(An irreplaceable jargon)
Suspect values inherited from capitalist nations
Some magical programmes of Beauty
Thrown in like ‘Aawaaz aur Andaaz’
But it is still the well known tricks of the cash gods’
Grudging space for Dylan or Lennon
Begum Akhtar or Hindustani
And Carnatic Classical (often corrupted

By mixes with noisy ‘modern’ songs)
With the knowledge of shock absorbers
Like all shock-absorbers in Western nations,
Particularly United (?) States
Will absorb and kill everything
By airing it with patronizing detachment
As universities in America kill vibrant texts
By putting them on the courses
Delhi is doing it too, as I find
My son in the middle of it
Struggling hard to keep alive
With classics in the original tongues

——————-IV——————

Where am I? Where was I?
Enough of reverie and the tricks of the mind
Mind does strange things with time
And time with mind, with memory,
Not only the past but the present,
The present memory
What does the mind select
From the conflux of images, feelings, events,
From the long past, the long present and the short present?
Even memory, grief , sensations of beauty
(A leaf here a colour there)
Of the future are present ‘now’
As in the past and manifest present

Thoughts and facts involuntarily
Covering so much as images and visions
Not Proust or anyone else
It happens to me once in a while like my poetry,
Not much shape of the usual kind
Nor a thought or a poem leading
From A to B and finally to Z,
Not terse or imagistic, nor complex necessarily
Nor just visual or symbolistic nuances
Or impossibilities of farthest concessions
Nor any present day English poetic,
Nor any definitive style of my own
If these waves in the billow
Caress or gleam, they don’t always
Lead to a poem
After all how does one tell? What form?
How loose? How terse?
Syllabics and metrics?
How does one end one line?
And begin another
What stresses, what rhymes
Internal or otherwise, what line-lengths?
How combine free, blank and rhyme
And ‘where’ to achieve the inevitable poem,
A product of an infallible ear
And the unconscious of a poet?
How sure I was about all this
When younger and just wrote and ‘directed’ others!
More plaint and various then ‘The Golden Gate’
I was in command.
Where has all that gone Agni Mitro?
Is it because you don’t hear the language any more
And forced not to speak it?

—————V—————-

A poet friend of mine says
One gets more and more logical
As one gets older, finds some images
And metaphors quite absurd
Not only surreal but utterly wrong!
That should cancel a lot of good poetry
Of the last century and this, especially in France
And some century poets of Britain
As Dylan Thomas and some country poets
On both sides of the Atlantic and in Bengal
And other parts of India
What India? EVERYWHERE
Wherever there are makers of poetry and verse
Wherever people feel and know their words and rhythms
I too am becoming too conscious
Of logic and grammar (blast my classicism)
But I must resist this ageing
I’d miss so much, I won’t read or write
So much I won’t love or dream about
Or recite silently to myself in waking or sleeping
And die in joy over and over again

I am where I was three hours ago
And have taken a journey,
As an imp played with time and mind
Now it is eventide. I so like the word-eventide.
Eofontide. Eofontide

————VI—————–

Still no respite from the heat
Soon I’ll go in, request someone
To fill the cooler as I still don’t know my way about,
Stand in queue for a bath.
Dream of sleep which won’t come
Till the stirrings of dawn
Yet like most evenings
I’ll go on sitting on the morah
A while longer, on the tiny cemented porch
In front of the house
Watching the withering nest
The rich laburnum and the green leaves
On the gaunt and the spare tree
Relieved against a blue-grey sky.

Now the light fades
Colours change
The sky is no longer blue-grey
Leaves, the flowers and they fields are shadows.
I continue to sit on the morah
Waiting for no one

Transformation

a poem by

My sorrow has now plumbed the unfathomed sea
Kissing Thy feet, its hue is changed at last to ecstasy!
My tears poured down like rain
Pierced by thorns of pain
I knew nor why I asked and asked
Heavens. In vain.

Who wove these into a torque of peals now for Thee.
When darkness thickened in a pall, thy nightly star called to me
Made mute by absence smart
Fumbled for a word, my heart
It lingered speechless and shy longing
At whose touch it broke now into a dulcet song of glee?

Rendezvous

a poem by

The soldier was sitting calmly underneath that tree.
As I approached it, I could see him beckoning to me.
The battle had been long and hard and lasted through the night
And scores of figures on the ground lay still by morning’s light.

“I wonder if you’d help me, Sir” he smiled as best he could.
“A sip of water on this morn would surely do me good.
We fought all day and fought all night with scarcely any rest-
A sip of water for I have a small pain in my chest.”

As I looked at him, I could see the large stain on his shirt
All reddish-brown from his warm blood mixed in with Asian dirt.
“Not much”, said he. “I count myself more lucky than the rest.
They’re all gone while I just have a small pain in my chest.”

“Must be fatigue”, he weakly smiled. “I must be getting old.
I see the sun is shining bright and yet, I’m feeling cold.
We climbed the hill, two hundred strong, but as we cleared the crest,
The night exploded and I felt this small pain in my chest.”

“I looked around to get some aid – the only things I found
Were big, deep craters in the earth – bodies on the ground.
I kept on firing at them, Sir; I tried to do my best,
But finally sat down with this small pain in my chest.”

“I’m grateful, Sir”, he whispered, as I handed my canteen
And smiled a smile that was, I think, the brightest that I had seen.
“Seems silly that a man my size- so full of vim and zest,
Could find himself defeated by a small pain in his chest.”

“What would my wife be thinking of her man so strong and grown,
If she could see me sitting here, too weak to stand alone?
Could my mother have imagined, as she held me to her breast,
That I’d be sitting HERE one day with this pain in my chest?”

“Can it be getting dark so soon?” He winced up at the sun.
“It’s growing dim and I thought that the day had just begun.
I think, before I travel on, I’ll get a little rest…
And, quietly, the boy died from that small pain in his chest.

I don’t recall what happened then. I think I must have cried,
I put my arms around him and I pulled him to my side;
And, as I held him to me, I could feel our wounds were pressed
The large one in my heart, against the small one in his chest.

Ahimsa

a poem by

It is a cure to all of our diseases and
It is a herb from the heaven and God
It is a weapon of courageous heroes and
It has never failed to fetch the desired results
It’s way may be long and tedious but
It is quite safe to everyone and all
It’s usage never ends and
It is ever helping to one and all
It is not an empty philosophy of crooked olds
It is a fine solution to all our grieves
It may be soft and thin but
It is mightier than tanks and shells
It emitted two suns in this land
One shined in the land of India and
Another shines in the land of South Africa
Come let us join our hands against the violence and
Take the weapon of ahimsa against terrorism

That world never found

a poem by

Beauty in its birth, filled the place with wonder
Excited to the ultimate
I moved my stature
I hadn’t known all this while that
I hadn’t recognized where I were
I hadn’t seen a movement in that
Stillness was all I could swear

Everywhere the bloom was full
Everywhere the gloom was lost
The rippling damsels cleansed the obscurity,
My prison I had escaped from it alas!
I could fly, I could stroll, I could run, I could dance,
I could swim, I could jump, I could sing and I could die
I could do all that I couldn’t, yet I could do all that then

Not a command froze me,
Not a gaze grounded me,
Not a penny interested me,
Not an honor enthralled me,
Not a crown impressed me,
Not a companion engaged me,
Not a tear neared me,
Not an embrace comforted me,
Not nothing that was required of me

There was wholesome life, yet nothing to conquer
There was abundant happiness, yet nothing to divide
There were towering angels, yet nothing to destruct
There was booming lush, yet nothing to destroy
There was immense confidence, yet nothing to confront
There was all peculiarity, yet nothing to abominate
There was no one, yet only me
There was everything everywhere, yet all only for me!

Thirst dint kill me, hunger dint haunt me,
Lust dint get the better of me, love dint affect me,
Thoughts dint distract me, thriving dint scare me,
Fate dint laugh at me, fame dint wave at me
Sorrow dint purge me, sun dint scorch me,
Heights dint bother me, depths dint deplete me,
Fascination dint lurk me, imagination dint swallow me,
Pampering dint worsen me, plunging dint astonish me,
Yet reality dint renounce me and time dint trust me!
Wait! I cried! But no one to hear
I weren’t hallucinating
I weren’t dreaming either
All things swirled around me, had been dumped back
My lips felt numb, I couldn’t breathe,
I had traveled far away from evil, yet I had returned to meet it,
All things come to an end, I hadn’t realized then,
I had strayed wildly into the cherish, the jinx was over now,
I could still hear my mind craving, racing
Where, where was I taken, is still something not revealing!