Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Misty Afternoons

Bright afternoons
cloaked in mist—
Like wisps of sorrow
that roll into the heart
in Spring,
Snaking across beds
of dewy roses
and fulgent dahlias,
To slumber in
the yew tree’s silence.
Happiness is an epidural—
A brief respite of light
in this ceaseless labour
To birth new selves
with each sunrise.

Monday, August 7, 2017


I am crossing the seven seas
To wash off your smell
From my mothball-stuffed drawers that I
open and close—obsessive-compulsive,
In classrooms and coffee shops,
Conference halls and airports,
On the streets or in bed--
A fresh-rain aroma of musk and dead roses
brewed in desire and betrayal,
Suffused with midnight kisses and racing away
on white steeds in chivalrous reins.
But I do not know if all the waters
Of all the oceans can ever achieve that task,
and I know all I really need to do is take off
these glasses that I hold in tremulous hands—
these rose-tinted glasses that have
made me hope against despair,
love against knowledge, want against wisdom.
But oh, I wouldn’t, I couldn’t
bring myself to do that,
Though it breaks my heart every fortnight
into slivers of china on a varnished floor;
Because then, when I am happy,
the whole world wouldn’t be New York.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


As American alchemy transforms
Third-world sweat and blood
into their Starbucks and McDonald’s,
and builds empires upon the debris
of war-torn nations,
buying bread with bullets,
so the 9/11s of Chile, Egypt and the Jews of Nazi Germany*
get erased along with the fall of the Berlin Wall,
To make way for the 3000 dead in New York
on an azure September morning.
All lives are not equal.

Yesterday, on November 9, America waved into the
world’s gobsmacked visage
a racist, misogynistic, hate-spewing Trump card:
That too was a 9/11. For the rest of the world.
Yesterday, we had a 9/11 that crashed the
economy, converting coveted notes into
paper and nothing more.** As banks and ATMs shut down,
as if in mourning, and social media brimmed
with Trump-struck woe,
I felt for a moment the world shared in my grief—
A humongous pathetic fallacy—
My own 9/11 that splintered my days
into before and after, hijacked my life and
flew it into the skyscrapers of
Ceaseless Avarice, to burst into flames,
To hurtle down sans grace,
And to splutter in the ashes, facedown in muted sorrow:

Tragedy must be a class act, or spectators get bored;
No listeners for a broken piano, so you better soar.

A wannabe phoenix, this was my 9/11.


*Refers to the US-backed overthrow of the democratically elected Chilean President Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973 and the bloody dictatorship that followed; the signing of the Camp David Accords that signalled Egyptian and Arab humiliation on September 11, 1979; and the Kristallnacht pogrom by Nazis upon German Jews on 9 November 1938.

**On 9th November 2016, 500 and 1000 rupee notes were demonetized in India, leading to widespread panic among the common man and bringing the economy to a stand-still

Sunday, July 31, 2016


There’s a certain cold blueness
that wraps round the mountains,
slides down the pepper vines
choking the spiky coral trees,
blooms with the elaichi buds in the backyard,
and brews in the black tea
that you sip, shivering under blankets.
Sweaters and mufflers can ward off the chill,
But what do you do when the soul feels cold?
Wisps of mist swirling over peaks
to embrace the snowy puffs
valiantly swimming through louring grey skies
that leak day and night, drip-drop-drip,
In a fine powder-rain.
These hills, they hold secrets as ancient
as the hills themselves.
The oldest and the truest of them all?
“To love is to lose, and to lose is to love,”
whispered the wrinkled hills, with a sigh
that echoed in the wet valleys.