Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What's your status

It's that one chance at stardom, no matter how brief
Different lines, words, feelings
It's so easy to read people, despite what they think

Wishes, regrets, hopes and complaints
In twenty words, give or take a few
Everyone's a poet here, without restrain

We ask after them, make a remark
And the heart fills with pride
After all, this is where camaraderie starts

It's a free world, we aren't paying, yet
People are allowed liberation
Such is the beauty of one line messages

Monday, December 29, 2008

love and want

He could love you, but he won't.
You don't have the spark he wishes
Or the aloofness he desires.

He would love you, but he can't.

He wanted to love you, but he didn't.
You didn't cry out his name in love
You didn't blush at his touch

He tried to love you, but he wouldn't.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Rape of the dock

They burned my favourite city. They shot people and threw hand grenades. They barged into some of my favourite haunts and tried to ruin it. In fact, they imposed such a large dent that it will take a while to heal - literally and otherwise.
People all over the city took to the streets - Bollywood, indutries etc. They protested, they raised their hands and said things about our neighbours. They held candle light vigils and prayed. Did they pray for peace or did they pray for the demolition of our enemies?
At the same time, our neighbours were put under tremendous pressure. The country wanted answers, the super power wanted answers. Everyone wanted the guilty to be admonished - and more.
Did we stop to think that the same country suffers too - at the hands of unseen forces? Of perhaps a government gone terribly wrong? Of attacks that they too cannot control? People die there as well - Do we ask?
The recession hit the market. People are losing jobs, prices are falling but not many have the money to spend. Perhaps they don't want to. And can we blame them?
The television channels have had their best moments ever. From the day it started till now, they've explored every possible angle terror can even raise. They've talked to the victims, friends of victims, politicians, diplomats, film actors, social activities, general public. They've run out of questions. Now they're broadcasting the confessions of the terrorist caught alive.
They'll run of those ideas soon as well.
Newspapers haven't done much less either. They've had attractive layouts - coloured with big bold headlines; some actually worth writing about.
Soon, they'll run of ideas as well.
Life will go on. People will continue to die. We will continue to threat and bomb, massacre and slaughter. And we will promise vengeance.
And life will go on. People will still be dying.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

right. of course.

damn. double damn. triple tippled damn. and in this estranged moment i am an inch closer to ending it all. and i dont care if my sentences dont begin with capital letters. i dont care if there is any sense in what i write or say. to him. ever.
but i love him. so thats that. and he is right there. right there. damn. double damn.
a few stolen moments and thats all i can ask for. i dont really care much about what the fuck to do with those moments. i dont want to be far. and i am. and he is looking. in the most strange way. and i love him. he grooves. he straggles. he drinks the way i'd like. my favourite alcoholic of a very brief moment. terse. everything is terse.
and transient.
fucking hell.
fucking hell.
fucking hell.
and thats the end of it all. bon nuit ma cherie. je suis ici. where else?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I'd given him that name... and now the entire world calls him that. It's kind of always been that way. There was so very little exclusivity between us. And yet, I cannot even explain how much I miss him. I don't think he was ever faithful to me. At least, emotionally he was always elsewhere. It took me more than 3 years to realise why but even so...
Is it selfish, to want to be happy? I didn't really want much but something that could be based on a strong friendship. And what is friendship without trust?
sigh... too much in my head.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Build this city on rock 'n' roll!

I have never attended a protest that was filled with so much positive energy. About 200 people got together and sang for their freedom... After all, whoever had heard that playing music and dancing was a crime? In Bangalore, it is.
It's difficult to go out these days - while I've never lived in a ghetto or in a Communist country, I think I know what victims of unnecessary policing undergo. Wrap up by 11 pm, go home by half past - it's curfew time! The incorrigible rule of banning DJs and dancing from our pubs and nightclubs has driven most professionals and music enthusiasts up against the wall.
Organised by a group of concerned Bangaloreans, the pavement in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue on Sunday (August 10) at 2 pm came alive with musicians, DJs, dancers, restaurateurs, celebrities, models uniting to protest against this ban.
I had thought there was going to be this long speech on how the authorities need to change they way they look at 'modern' culture etc.. But there were none, people just sang, displayed banners and mingled with each other.
It was as colourful as any fete - and as serious as any convention can get.
I spoke to some of our DJs and celebs, trying to understand if something like this has ever worked and every will - and they all echoed the same words - give Bangalore its music back.
The media houses were present - and the support extended was quite commendable. Live TV coverage, prominent print articles ensured that their voices reached everyone and loud enough.
To read up on what the media says, go to
Pic by: Vinod Kumar T

Friday, August 01, 2008

So very little

No silly, nothing has changed. I still miss you
The momentary silence during a long distance conversation
Preventing words from making an entry, even though I'd like to
Random thoughts that can be shared without hesitation
Despite being afraid of being misunderstood
I know I am holding on to one vulnerable string
That will break at the ripest possible instance
And I die each day, thinking of that finale
And yet, hope for a new beginning in some other form
I cannot walk the same path again. The path exists no more
Yet to God I pray, to turn back time a little. Being selfish I know
But I would like nothing more right now, than to see your face as we talk.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Now I've heard it all!

When people are pushing 40, have kids, a job they gave up because they wanted to spend more 'quality' time with their family, do they also lose interest in their own lives? I have often wondered about this - considering that many rumours become dishes while chopping that precious potato or twirling the wok that is steaming with a halwa that smells of 'shudh ghee' as soon as you enter the premise.
But the people in question aren't like that, at least as far as spending time in the kitchen is considered. They have fancy apartments because their husbands have somehow managed jobs with a enviable pay package (undeserving nonetheless) and they hold fancy parties where they bring out their best solitaire cut glasses that reflect the smooth golden scotch off the rims. They go out in their fancy cars, wearing rather hideous clothes they think are fashionable and don't realise that showing off a cleavage that lost its charm about ten years ago is no longer the trend.
These people of course have nothing else to do. So one day, a bunch of them decide to get together and cook up a story, probably over baked fish or a manicure. And they decide to talk about me. Yes, ME. I don't remember when was the last time I heard of anyone talking about me. Well I am sure they do and it cannot be all praise. But it's just that very rarely do people bring that back to me. Well this time, it came to me. Probably because I have a few friends who would stand up for me when required (and I never have to ask!) and probably because some people have never mastered the art of keeping their mouth shut even when they know no one wants to listen to them. No, age and maturity has nothing to do with it.
So as per the latest gossip, I am a lesbian. It's actually quite brilliant a story, because I have never stepped back from complimenting a woman who genuinely looks good and pretending to be a snob when a woman doesn't fit my bill of being appropriate enough for my company. Yes, a snob perhaps I am. A lesbian? Hmmm.. it's definitely something I'd like to give a second thought.
My husband had a fabulous suggestion. He said I should call up the source of this comment and tell her how my apartment is empty, I am lonely and that I'd definitely love some company.
But it doesn't end there. This person actually thought/assumed/hoped?/wished? that I hit on her!!! What she doesn't know is that even if I were a lesbian, I wouldn't hit on her. Who finds any woman who can't hold her drink attractive.
And then there was this other woman whom I have never heard of (but she seems to know of my sexual preferences rather well) who confirmed with much aplomb that the entire world (media et al) knows that I AM LESBIAN. Darn, is that why it's so difficult to pick up men these days?
So the third woman who should have figured out her life by now, chose to accept this piece of story and start talking about it.
I am very amused. I love the idea of women being able to establish a relationship with other women and lead normal lives and having the courage to put up with and more often ignore societal hypocrisies and continue to be happy. Sometimes, I even envy them and I do hope that in some life I can be born as a lesbian.
But in this life, I want people to mind their own business.
Oh, and that reminds me. I am also apparently very stagnant in my workplace and am desperately looking for a job - which was of course started by someone whom I'd asked if their magazine was looking for people and if they were paid well.
So, never be curious about other people's companies, work, life... Mind your business (Like I've learnt to) and ignore the fools. They have better company.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

the blue door

Meghna slammed the blue door and her father gave her one of those glares that she never forgot for the rest of her life. Cars have feelings – she chanted inside her head.
At the end of the corridor her five-year-old brother was playing with her colours. He had taken the reds and mixed them with the oranges and created a masterpiece on their mosaic floor. Ma would come and clean it up at some point of time.
She went to her room and stared at her new drapes – they were pink, fading to white with miniscule flowers printed on them. The massive rosewood secretary’s desk with a bottle green leather top was covered with her books. The desk was not hers though. Her grandfather left it and when he died, her room was the only one that had enough space for it. She had adopted it. Meghna went and sat on the chair and stared at Noddy staring back at her. Her tennis shoes were not dirty but she wanted someone to wash them. She liked squeaky-clean shoes; she liked the way the mirror in her room made her look like a super star and she surely like Pete Sampras who was covered with red kisses.
Her bedroom door had a gaping hole where the keyhole should have been. But Baba had taken it out because he didn’t want her to lock herself out.
And now 20 years later, she’d locked herself out.
In fact, no one even heard her.
Her bedroom didn’t exist anymore and neither did the blue car door – but she couldn’t get in. She was locked out – and forgotten.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

In circles

I really do hope there's no trouble. I tried to convince myself.
There's always trouble! He tried to convince no one in particular.

Chapter 1

She was sitting in front of me. I know she wanted to cry but she didn’t. She was trying to restrain herself from going on a confession rampage – but she didn’t really know how to stop. I had stopped listening three minutes in to her monologue.
He had rushed into my head – curses, fights, an occasional hug, rarer smiles flooded my brains.
I heard her words, but he was also talking to me. Words jumbled up and I had no where to go. I don’t remember anymore.
I don’t remember the first the day we'd met either. It was a long time ago – almost twelve years. I remember us being introduced, becoming friends, stealing glances, disagreeing, holding hands – the first time we’d kissed.
But there is so much more I don't remember. I wanted so desperately to cling on to the old sheets of memories, but there was none.
She wouldn’t shut up. She went on talking till it was time for me to leave. I hadn’t even had a shower. Darn, the girl would be waiting for me. I hate being late.
Then she left. She also left a letter in my hand. I’d read it after I got back I told myself.
Maybe it’s the age, but I have been forgetting things. That letter remained in my drawer for the next few weeks to come.
The next time I heard from her, she was getting married – to the man who wrote me that letter that still remained sealed in my drawer.

Chapter 2

I had to see him. I know it would result in nothing – but that crunching feeling wouldn’t go away. I had to see him.
There wasn’t much money left – so the train was the only option. When I reached, the house was covered with flowers. Tall garlands hung from the roof to the ground floor; it looked like a garden. The ugly stench of marigold invaded my nostrils as I walked up to the doo0r and rang the bell.
His sister – I hadn’t seen her in years. She’d changed; with a young boy by her side she opened the door. I don't think she can deal with shock very well because she stood before me for a definite five minutes before opening her mouth.
He took sometime to come down – dressed like a true Bengali groom, I was a bit amused, seeing him like that – standing with the pleats of his dhoti in his hand.
But I didn’t know what to say.
I didn’t read that letter, I told him. But I want to know how he knew.
She told me your name, he said. There aren’t too many people by your name around.
Where are you staying? He asked next. At home, I told him.
I had lied. I didn’t have enough money to go anywhere else. I’d have to go back to the railway station and spend the night there. My train back was in the morning itself.
I want you to be happy, I lied. At that precise moment I put a curse on him and marked it with a circle so there would be no escape.
But I couldn’t say anything else. I turned back and left. I didn’t even say goodbye.
I stood at the corner of his lane for a long time, wondering where to catch the bus from. I could call my mother and ask for her to pick me up, but the family hadn’t spoken to me in years.
And right now, I didn’t have much time. Memorising the images on my cards, I stood at the bus stop – it had begun to rain.

Chapter 3

My rooms needed a coat of paint. My job was not really going anywhere and I was sinking into an abyss that I could see but do nothing about. He was going to be here soon – I needed to clean up a bit of the mess on my table.
My phone rang. It was him. They were in London. He’d stolen my number from her telephone book. I was flattered. They were going to Egypt and then to a few more countries for a month; honeymoon for a month. I had none.
I was jealous but I wished him well, drawing a darker circle around the curse.
My door bell rang.
It was him.
I was with him for an hour. He wasn’t particularly open and that made things more interesting.
He stayed on – drank some coffee with me. He left, promising to keep in touch. They never did.

Chapter 4

I met my ex husband accidentally in a pub. He was with friends. I was alone. Not the best way to run into each other. He was smiling at a rather pretty girl next to him. Then he turned and spotted me. He was polite enough to come up and ask about me – he was always so well behaved.
I was already three drinks down and to be honest, it did take a while to register that face. Then I remembered how penniless I was and he was treating his friends to drinks.
He uttered a few more words and went back to his seat and that pretty girl. I continued looking at him for a while.
I drew another dark circle.

Chapter 5

My sister was getting married – one of her friends confirmed that was guised as a question on one of those networking sites.
I was supposed to be happy. Maybe I should have called her and congratulated her. But I didn’t know where to call and I didn’t know what ‘happy’ meant.
So I just swallowed - a lot of tears that almost choked me. My salary had come in for the month; surely I could afford a trip back home. So I packed a bag with a few decent clothes that wouldn’t give away my ‘fuck it all’ self, mustered a lot of courage and decided to fly this time. The last train journey had screwed my digestive system for a while.
The door was the same Prussian blue – brighter this time. I rang the bell and a strange feminine face opened the door.
My mother and the rest of the family were out – shopping. Could I come in? I asked. But she didn’t know me so I sat on the stairs till I heard my sister’s voice twirling up the staircase.
My mother didn’t say a word. She kept looking at me for a while. I avoided her gaze.
Come in, she said. I declined the tempting offer. I was practicing resistance you see.
I opened my bag and took out a little box and gave it to my little sister.
It’s not much, I tried to justify. But I had gotten it made and I couldn’t afford anything more.
Don’t be silly didi, my sister said, sounding all grown up. She opened the box and saw the ring inside it. It was silver, had a little star on it – the Star of David.
I always thought I was Jewish at heart.
That was the last time I saw my family. I missed the wedding that I wasn’t invited to. My sister married her boyfriend I’d never met. My father never asked where I was.
And as I flew back a long tiring flight, I realised what the word ‘single’ really meant.
It meant that there is a lot of space around you and people may or may not want to occupy it. It meant that you’re free to do as you please and no one would ask. Ever.
That night, after I'd reached home, I drew a deep dark circle around myself. And then, I uttered a curse.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

round and round

You’d think, sometime towards the end, things will come full circle. But sometimes, it doesn’t work that way. Things go around you, not choosing to look at your face, simple because you are strong enough to deal with whatever that’s making things tough.
You’d think, finally, having loved for so long; god will show you the way to find out what to do next.
It’s been a while. Been a long while. I’ve suffered the pains of loneliness, frustration, secret annoyance, desperation and many other adjectives that I can think of – but now I think I’m just about ready to let go of it all.
Have you heard of a storm before calm?
It’s this insane little twitch that keeps collecting inside your head till you can’t control it anymore. At some unknown point in time, it will implode, leaving you renewed.
I wait.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

my first song

No body rescues you
You've just gotta find
A way back on your own
People will pass you by
You've just gotta smile and move on

I've walked the line
Seen many faces
And names that I dont even know
I've held tight, to whatever dignity's left
Even said good bye before I let go

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fire starter

In one moment of my frozen insanity
You lit a fire, and waited
And as I looked up and saw a shadow
Waiting somewhere behind you

My mind had gone for a quick short stroll
It picked up these thoughts
On its way back from the wilderness
That it didn't recognise at all

I could say I'm tired, which I probably am
And stub your fire out
And just lie back in decrepit sorrow
Hoping that the pain will die a slow death

But as the ice melts, and my senses prevail
I see the shadow behind you again
You might as well walk off
Looks like I'm going to be this way for a while

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

well then

It's one of those days
you know when sad songs touch your heart
it actually happened with a strange smile
an unknown face I wanted to explore
But then again my hands are tied
I am not allowed to wander
because you my friend have set the rules
that I am not allowed to break
so I simply wait for a storm
that will liberate me from this insanity
you call a relationship
so that I can go ahead in search of
that silly smile that had once touched my soul.

Drop by drop

One drop.
Two drops.
Three drops, four.
Five drops.
Six drops.
Seven drops more.
Eight drops.
Nine drops.
Ten drops, eleven.
Twelve drops, thirteen drops.
Fourteen drops again.
Fifteen drops.
Sixteen drops.
Seventeen drops, eighteen.
Nineteen Drops.
Twenty drops.
Twenty one seen.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Consolidating my thoughts is like trying to organise sheets of paper in a room tortured by a gust of wind. But I'm trying to do it.
Till then, here's to cryptic poems I know he'll never read.

Blind man's buff

I can't make his see
That I'll walk the sands for him.
I'll travel strange places
Just for an address.
I can make evil disappear and drown
In his one momentary wink.
He doesn't see.
He won't know the pain behind the grin
That he thinks is so lovely.
He doesn't notice that a grin
Has its own tale that I don't want to tell.
But I want him to know anyway.
He doesn't see.
If you're going to take my last breath,
Let it be when I'm with him.
Let it be in a lonely place,
Where there is no light,

And there's just us.
Let it be with the last wet kiss,
That is unknown to me,
And let there be no space between us.
The world can go to hell.
If I die tonight, let there be no difference,
Between love and hatred,
Let everything end with the last smile,
For that's how I'd like to go - in a moment.
Let everything end.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Once again

I can't change things around.
I wish I could. But I cannot.
I can't go back to those days any more.
I wish I could. But I cannot.
So, don't say a word. Just sit here.
Don't touch me. I can't lose this moment.
I cannot imagine I am not with you in the first place
Let this not be a bitter reminder.
Can we be strangers? Can we be friends?
Can we be something that we were once not?
Yes, I love you - there is no shame in that.
But I can't go back to where we where.
Now, that is a shame.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I've slain all the demons

I've slain all the demons inside your head
And let their blood drip dry on your porch
I've brought all the promises to your feet
And painstakingly snuffed out the eternal torch

And yet you laughed; in my face, that too
Tossing your proud head to the side
And spoke with such regretful condescension
That the earth was left split open, wide

Come back no more, you said to me vainly
Your perpetual slave of no good, that I was
My armour lay used and sword useless
It was a dark and stormy noon, 'twas

I did walk away, not a word was said
After such a long battle I was weary
Where does one like me find words to craft?
Except in love, war or apology

But there were no explanations
That I could possibly think of offering
That would mollify your crooked soul
So I just turned; no goodbyes even, in the leaving

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

So close

The closest I've come to kissing him is sharing a cigarette
I've perhaps touched his hair for a brief moment to share the intimacy
That was there, only fleetingly, perhaps mostly in my head
As I hoped that night wouldn't end as we drove towards my home

It's been a while, since I wrote anything on him Or thought of him
I simply can't afford the strain that he causes in my brain
But it's not easy, staying away for too long, even though I try
I just wish I could say something, anything to give myself up

So as the wine filled up our evening, with a slight hint of red
I didn't recognise the words that came out my lips
This is not me. This is not me. I am not here, I shouted
But he didn't hear me. He wasn't listening. He was elsewhere

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hide and seek

The long winding road didn't have an end. At least from where I was standing, I couldn't see anything. But there was silence. Absolute silence as I heard him run from a distance towards me. I was armed - with a folding knife that was more fatal than it looked. I was waiting for him to catch up. Streaks of blue and green lights passed by me as I looked up in curiosity. He caught up with me and we started running together. Was that a forest on our right? Could we disappear right into it? Good idea, he said. And as he jumped a few feet and ran straight into the darkness of the forest, the trees started clearing up. We can't hide here, he said. It's all a set up. No No. They're on to us, I screamed.
We ran as fast as we could, sometimes floating a few feet off the ground. And soon there were no more trees left to shelter us. The forest had disappeared.
It was before I could come up with another plan, he had spotted a small town, a few metres ahead. We ran towards it to find a place to hide.
They won't see this place, there are simply too many people here. he advised. I nodded in consent.
The first house was covered with green twines - it looked so lovely that at any other given time, I'd have offered the owner a price for it. But right now, we needed to hide.
I knocked on the door slightly, in my head it sounded like pounding. A frail old woman opened the door and pulled us in.
Why are you here? This is the wrong way. You should have taken the left instead of the right. And now the forest is gone, they will find us and you.
But there was nothing on the right, just a steep cliff.
Oh but you see, you could've climbed.
He could hear the running of a lot of feet - covered in boots that can smash a finger or two.
We need to hide, he whispered.
Come this way, said the old lady. She took us to a room and told us to jump into a well, covered with moss. Here? I asked. We could drown. Just go she said.
The two of us had no choice but to trust her. So we jumped. The long well swallowed us and soon we were plummeting through another opening and crashed into the side of an unknown street.
Looks like we're safe, he said. Then he took out his small dagger that gleamed at the hilt with all the stones that he'd found at another expedition. He turned towards me and said, it's been a really long journey. You must be tired.
But before I could say a word, he stabbed me. Right through the heart. I had a rerun of the entire episode in my head that went by in a flash - streaking lights, sounds of running feet, a long and winding road.
Where are you sending me, I asked him. You should have waited.
NO. This is where the road ends, at least for you, he said and ran off.


He holds in his heart a fiery kiss.
One that reminds him of the rain,
A silhouette that had walked past him,
A smile that stayed incomplete.

And in some corner of the country,
Bits and pieces of a memory came alive,
She clasped her tired hands together
And rubbed the scars off her mind.

The phone has been dead for years,
An empty shell covered with dust
Remained on the side board as a thought
Of all the days that had gone by.

She picked up to those pieces with care
Making sure the sides don't hurt
Folded them in an old faded letter
And dumped them on the side of the street.

He waited; there was so much to be said
Time was waiting for him, in silence,
Yet nothing came from him, not even a whisper
He was waiting for her to speak.