Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Try at Translation

The song 'Ithaloornnu veena panineer dalangal', from the classic Blessy film 'Thanmathra' (released in 2005) that tells the poignant tale of an Alzheimer's patient,  is one of the most beautiful Malayalam songs I ever heard. I am struck by its sheer poetry every time I listen to it. Hats off to Kaithapram mash for the amazing lyrics. Given below is my humble attempt at translating the song. Hope all of its beauty is not 'lost in translation'. :)

Like fallen rose petals joining back together
And humming in tune,
The fair moon blooms in my palm like a flower,
A new song arises from these tear-drained silences.

Even the sun that everyday comes
To reign during the day
Descends the steps at midnight
And vanishes.

Don't cry, my beloved,
Don't shed tears,
The sun will come again
At dawn to this sky.

Arms of the wet darkness
Full of lightning bangles,
Rain drops casting pearls on the lotus leaf;
Just a second to remember,
An age to cherish in the heart.

Even this memory's a celebration
Life's a song.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

At Peacock Lake

The glassy blue of the fallen sky,
Creased with myriad ripples
That bound forth
To the waiting arms of the shore,
Like little children to their mothers,
Singing of peacocks and wild winds
That make the reeds, thickly spread
By the water's edge,
Dance in beauteous glee-
A wave of gold-tipped green.

And into my heart ecstasy drips,
Till I can swim in it-
Lake of bliss.

Peacock Lake is one of the loveliest and most popular hotspots in our campus and obviously, I am not its only fan. You might also like to see my friend Lipin's brief take on it . He has also put up a snap of the lake.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Your black is my white,
Your blue is my red;
The cold knifes through me
And lays me dead,
In a grave where
Love blossoms
In bloody trails.
You killed me
The day you embraced me,
Even as an unknown part of me
Leapt to life in your arms.
In your life, I find death,
In your death, I find life;
And yet without you, my deadly beloved,
An I-less I am I.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


The night speaks
In a thousand tongues
I cannot discern,
Rising above the cries of the crickets-
Midnight's minstrels.
Pale blue melting around
Feathery canopies reaching
For a trembling dawn.
Muted roars pulsating
In the night breeze
Charged with the cold
And peacock squawks.
And the swarthy goddess
Lets down her hair
And dances in a frenzy,
Punctuated with laughter
In a tongue I recognize-
Cold, hard, mirthless mockery.

P.S. : Before you get bothered, let me assure you- yes, I did mean peacock squawks.The Hyderabad Central University campus (where I am presently)  abounds with peacocks. Peacock cries also function as the rooster's "clarion call" here! And if you have been reading my blog regularly (fat chance there, I know! :D), you will already be aware of my fixation with everything about the night. One of the best things about HCU, I feel, is that it's safe to roam about within the vast (2800 acres) campus even late at night. This poem seeped into my mind on a solitary late night ride back to my hostel from the library. And this also happens to be my first post after landing in HCU. Life is quite hectic here (and fun too), but I'll try to find the time to update this space regularly and visit ur blogs too. Hope you are all doing fine. Take care. C ya! :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fireflies at Night

Fairylights strung
on the night
on invisible wires,
Softly flaming winking fires.

Stars fallen from the sky,
yellow and ripe;
Entangled in black leaves
on black boughs.

A glittering crown
adorning the night's frown.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Confessions of a Nocturnal Creature

I have been a night bird for as long as I can remember. I have a nocturnally programmed biological clock- I simply absolutely hate getting up early in the morning and I don’t mind staying up at night till even the crack of dawn. Even as a kid at school, I used to prefer studying late at night. Evenings were kept aside for games, the telly, updating my mom on all the happenings at school, fighting with bro, romping with my cats etc. and I would hit my books only after dinner. Finishing homeworks and assignments, studying for test papers etc. happened in the late hours of the night and sometimes continued into the wee hours of the morning. And then the next morning, I would sleep in for as long as possible, which equated to one hour before it was time for the school bus. Holidays gave me the sumptuous luxury of curling up with a book in bed and staying up until I had finished reading it and then sleeping until the sun was way up in the sky and I was declared a disgrace to girlhood by my irate mother banging away on my door!

This scenario continues, more or less unchanged, even now. If it’s not books that keep me up at night, it might be the net or a phone call or an extended text conversation or listening to music on my mp3 player or gazing at the stars on my terrace or just my mind rambling in a labyrinth of thoughts. My average bedtime is midnight and average wake-up time 7 am. My sleep hours sometimes get cut down drastically, to just around a couple of hours, especially when exams are round the corner or some ‘emergency’, ahem, that comes under the heading ‘everyday crisis of an urban Indian youngster’, crops up at night and dealing with it robs me of my precious sleep, and the next day is a working day at college.

My late-night (and late-morning) timings draw raised eyebrows- in wonder, astonishment, bewilderment or disapproval, the last mostly from aghast relatives- from all except my very close friends who have come to realize and accept over time that my ‘day’ begins around 10 at night. And that the sun usually rises for me not before 8 am- and since college is over for now, the sunrise is delayed by at least an hour or two for me…sometimes, the sun, ever the courteous gentleman, does not come knocking on my dreams till noon!

There is something about the night that fascinates me. I love the silence, the stillness, the cool night breeze, the rich creamy darkness, the comforting solitude. I love listening to the cicadas, the rustle of leaves, the flapping of bats’ wings, the distant strains of songs from temple carnivals somewhere. I love gazing at the star-spangled night sky, searching for familiar faces among the twinkling crowds, being bathed in silver moonlight. I love the ethereal fragrance of jasmine buds blooming at night. I love listening to the even breathing of my parents in the adjacent room, to the reassuring rise and fall of their unconditional love for me. I love the cosy feeling of snuggling in bed with a favourite book and getting lost in the words while the world sleeps. I love the way my thoughts resound with incredible clarity in the quietude of night and sediment within me. Well, there is another side too to this- comforting solitude can sometimes morph into terrifying loneliness; thoughts can sometimes resound too loudly for one’s liking, can push you off the cliff into yawning valleys of your deepest darkest fears that are usually shrouded by sunlight. Yes, these may happen. But you cannot deny the eternal awe-inspiring splendour of the rolling blue ocean just because it turns stormy and violent and takes lives at times, can you?

I have often felt that the city takes on a different persona at night- something like a split personality, maybe? It’s definitely not the same staid city I encounter at daytime that I see after the sun has set. There is a different energy pumping in the night air, flashing off the neon billboards and brightly lit shop windows, throbbing in the sights and sounds of night life- the music wafting out of restaurants, omelettes or chicken sizzling in the frying pan in ‘thattukadas’ (roadside eateries that open in the evening and function all through the night), the phosphorescent halo of street lights and the grey roads dappled with their yellowish pools of light, the multi-coloured lights that gleam on dark hazy outlines of buildings far far away, and if it’s not too late at night, the vehicle headlights that mill the streets like an invading army. I can never have enough of these vignettes of night life and that’s why I stare out the car window like an excited eight-year-old, much to the amusement of the rest of my family, whenever we are driving back home at night after an outing. Not to mention the exhilarating sensation of feeling the cool wind in my hair. I am not speed-crazy in the least, but I have to admit there’s nothing to beat the revitalizing, elevating, out-of-the-world feeling of whizzing away on a two-wheeler through a deserted, smooth, pothole-less, well-tarred stretch with the night air rushing through your hair and freezing your cheeks. It’s one of those experiences, like the divine smell that steams up when the first summer shower kisses the parched earth, that transport you out of your mundane everyday existence to heights of unparalleled unreasoning bliss.

Night life, however, is still the prerogative of males in my hometown Trivandrum, and throughout Kerala, I believe. You hardly find any women out at night, unless accompanied by their husbands or fathers. My own taste of it was always with my Dad. Not that I have a problem with that, but I rue the fact that even in this twenty first century, women cannot be guaranteed safety at all times. There was this short film festival here a few weeks back, to which I had taken a delegate pass. I could not watch a single film that was screened in the evening and hence missed out on some of the best entries at the fest, all because my girl friends and I had to get home by 5-6 in the evening. Now isn’t that just so unfair?! These are the times when I seriously wish I were a guy- I envy the freedom and independence that they have!

Well, there are friends and well-wishers who repeatedly advise me to change my timings. They are the early-morning birds- who supposedly “catch the worm”. They tell me that I will be able to do my work more efficiently early in the morning since the body is recharged and the brain refreshed after a good sleep. I can understand the logic of their argument but, unfortunately, it has never worked out that way for me in practice. I have tried going to sleep by 10 and getting up at dawn and valiantly sitting down at my desk to study, ‘recharged and refreshed’. But I don’t know how or when or why, I find myself back in bed and sleeping away to glory in less than half an hour! Two or three failed attempts later, I gave up and went back to my nocturnal schedule, because that’s what works best for me. I don’t mean to say I will never ever change my routine, I know I may have to sooner or later. But until then, I’m perfectly happy with things the way they are, with my nocturnal self.

Yours truly,
Miss Owl

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Lament

You tell me not to mourn
The passing of the morn;
That brighter dawns
Of brighter morrows
Hover in the east,
That similar gilted sunshine
Still shall streak my life.

Oh, can't you see,
I cry for these moments
That slip from my hands
Like grains of sand,
The harder I try to hold on,
Not because I don't know
The shores still stretch on;
Not because I fear
There shall no more be light.

It's just that I know
The sunshine shall never again be the same-
You are wrong there-
It may be brighter
Or duskier,
But it can never ever be the same.

The cadences of our laughter,
The notes of our song,
Shall never be the very same;
No, the sunshine shall never
Be just this bright again.

And that's why I ache
As these moments march fast
To the twilit past-
Memories that fade like the hues of sunset.
That's why I wish,
Futile though it be,
To slow down their procession
To Eternal Nothingness;
Or better still, sprinkle on them stillness.

For, once gone, I know,
They are forever lost-
Irretrievably lost.
Irreplaceably lost.
Because the sunshine shall never
Be just this bright again.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

From the Window Seat

Lakes of molten steel
Chug past my sad twilit eyes
And stream down my cheeks.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I am born anew
From the offal of a past
Butchered by Fate's hands.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Gul Mohur in Full Bloom

The flaming brilliance
Seeps through my eyes,
Into my soul
And paints it red-
Leaving me entranced.

This sublime splendour
Holding me spellbound
This masterpiece with perfection wound;
Immortality spilled
Onto this mortal world.

Were I to squeeze out
All of my heart's blood,
Blend it with gold,
Drench with a creative flood-
Could I this grandeur
Ever recreate?
Can man this glory
Ever emulate?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


My words fell in love
With his music:
Head-over-heels in love.
Like the golden rain from above
That sprouts the seeds in my loamy lands,
To flourish in lush black
On stark white fields,
His music let my poetry
Out of the cage,
And together they flew,
Into the eternal blue;
Love knows no season, no age.

My words danced in joy
At the footfall of his voice,
They trembled at its silken touch;
My lines to life sprang
When he unknowing sang,
My poetry that much
Did his music love.

A beautiful rhapsody
With no beginning, no end-
With him around,
Life was ever a song;
A happy couple they were,
His music and my poetry;
And though I knew
It couldn’t last long,
While it did, they truly loved,
His music and my poetry.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Silence at Supper

Of late, she noticed,
He always complained:
She was either
Too sweet,
Or too sour;
Too spicy,
Or too bland;
Too dry,
Or too greasy;
Too sharp,
Or too salty;
Too hot,
Or too cold;
Too raw,
Or over-cooked;
Too heavy,
Or too light;
She never was
Just right.

And now he sat
Staring at the soup
She'd served;
Staring beyond the bowl,
Beyond the room,
Beyond their home,
Beyond her.

"Is the salt right?"
She asked quietly.
"Yea, just right,"
He mumbled,
Spooning it up,
His eyes still
On the just-right soup-
Staring beyond the bowl,
Beyond the room,
Beyond their home,
Beyond her.

And she knew why
She never was
Just right.

She saw night fall,
Fast and heavy,
Like the silence

Thus sat the two,
Three shadows
Danced on the wall.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Artist : Josh Groban
Lyrics: Linda Thomson
Music: Richard Marx

A song that changed my life forever. . . .


Who can say for certain?
Maybe you're still here
I feel you all around me
Your memories so clear

Deep in the stillness
I can hear you speak
You're still an inspiration
Can it be?
That you are mine
Forever love
And you are watching over me from up above

Fly me up to where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile to know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

Are you gently sleeping
Here inside my dream
And isn't faith believing
All power can't be seen

As my heart holds you
Just one beat away
I cherish all you gave me everyday
'Cause you are mine
Forever love
Watching me from up above

And I believe
That angels breathe
And that love will live on and never leave

Fly me up to where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile to know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

I know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Maya felt a sense of quiet contentment as she watched the grated carrots bobbing gently in the simmering milk. So far, everything had gone without a hitch. She glanced at the recipe book propped by the gas stove and proceeded to meticulously execute the next instruction: Bring the flame to high heat, add sugar and ghee and stir well till the ghee shows separately.

“So you’re making carrot halwa?” Maya turned sharply on hearing her mother-in-law’s voice, her bliss fading instantly. Her spirits sank further as she saw that her mother-in-law was accompanied by old Mrs. Diwakar from next door, the official gossip-monger of Kairali Lane where they lived.

“Er, yes,” said Maya, making a brave attempt to inject cheer into her tone. “I thought I’d give you all a surprise this evening!”

“Ah, what a good daughter-in-law you have, Mrs. Varma!” Mrs. Diwakar piped in. “Now my daughter-in-law…”, and she plunged into a litany of her daughter-in-law’s innumerable flaws and follies, which Mrs. Varma listened to with apparent interest.

But Maya knew pretty well that her mother-in-law was far from pleased. Though she’d been married just three months, she had already discovered that her mother-in-law, a very amiable woman in every other way, resented anyone encroaching upon her kingdom, the kitchen. Not that Maya minded… most of her culinary adventures, right from the time when at the age of twelve, she added salt to a pudding, mistaking it to be sugar, had been absolute fiascos. And now that she worked as a teacher in a high school, she had enough and more of uncorrected test papers, work sheets and assignment books to keep her busy all evening after school, and was quite happy to let her mother-in-law bask in stardom in the kitchen while she enacted minor roles like chopping the vegetables or helping her clean up after dinner. She would often watch in quiet amusement as her mother-in-law bustled around at meal-time, the joy and pride evident on her face as her son asked for a second helping or made a casual comment on her pickle’s great taste.

However, even the most modern and liberal-minded woman will acknowledge that a delicious dish is the easiest way to a husband’s heart and this realization is all the more prominent in young, newly-wed wives. It was precisely this reason that had spurred Maya to venture into the kitchen that Saturday, after gleaning from her husband that carrot halwa was his favourite dish. She hadn’t fancied seeking help from her mother-in-law who was obviously over-possessive of her culinary crown, and decided to rely on her own intuition and the recipe book.

“Rahul just loves my carrot halwa!” Mrs. Varma suddenly declared, her bosom swelling with pride and she looked at Maya with what was unmistakable rivalry in her eyes. Her mother-in-law’s caustic look made her feel all the more uneasy and she started stirring with greater vigour. Even as the older ladies immersed themselves in small talk and gossip, Maya could feel her mother-in-law’s eyes constantly following her as she went about her work.

In a short while, the carrot halwa was ready, looking enticing with the almond and cashew garnishing. With great trepidation, Maya took a spoonful, hoping for the best. Bitter disappointment engulfed her like a tsunami wave as she found that her carrot halwa was far from perfect- it was too greasy and had a sickeningly saccharine taste. She suddenly became aware of the two pairs of curiously watching eyes and quickly cleared her face of all expression.

It was at this juncture, as Maya stood with the bowl of carrot halwa in her hand, struggling to maintain a poker face, that Rahul entered the scene. “Hello everybody!” he said cheerfully as he strode into the kitchen, still in his office suit. “For once, my boss didn’t want me to work overtime!”

Suddenly, he saw the bowl of carrot halwa in his wife’s hands. “Wow! Carrot halwa!” he exclaimed in great surprise and delight. “I did smell something nice as I entered the house!”

“Maya wanted to give you a surprise,” Mrs. Varma explained, a rather sarcastic edge to her voice.

“Great!” Rahul beamed. “I am absolutely famished!”

“No! wait…” Maya tried to protest but Rahul had already snatched the bowl from her and taken a spoonful.

Maya looked away, not having the strength to watch her husband’s far-from-flattering reaction, her mother-in-law’s subsequent gloating expression…. Her anguish deepened as she thought of Mrs. Diwakar, who could be trusted to see that the news of the tragedy of her carrot halwa spread like wildfire in the lane and became the hot topic for gossip among the women of the colony. And she earnestly wished that the earth would open up and swallow her as she stared intently at the tiled kitchen counter, her cheeks crimson at the thought of the imminent humiliation. The two older women were watching Rahul expectantly, like eager onlookers awaiting a judge’s verdict.

“Mmmm….delicious!” Maya could hardly believe her ears as she heard her husband’s spirited response. She looked up instantly, genuine astonishment replacing the downcast expression in her eyes. Rahul’s face was a picture of pure relish! She looked on in bewilderment as he greedily dug the spoon into the carrot halwa again and again…and again- until there wasn’t even a speck left to bear testimony to her culinary disaster!

“Oh no!” Rahul suddenly cried remorsefully. “What a pig I am! I didn’t leave any for you all!”

“No matter, son,” said Mrs. Diwakar. “I’ve just had my tea and anyway, my doctor has advised me off all sweets and savouries.”

Presently, Mrs. Diwakar, rather bored by this tame and uninteresting conclusion to the domestic episode, went out to inspect the banana saplings in the backyard and Mrs. Varma followed her, looking deeply disappointed. As soon as they were out of sight, Rahul turned to his wife and gave her a conspiratorial wink, grinning in the boyish way she liked so much. A sudden deluge of love and gratitude washed away all the words that she had wanted to say and all she could do was smile back. But she knew he understood. As Rahul left to change his clothes and take a shower, Maya felt her eyes misting over.... She knew she had married a special man.