Saturday, December 31, 2011

Poetry is in the pain

There is a method to the madness
A rhythm that is not quite patented
A picture that talks of many histories untold
That took behind the thin, insecure door

It trickles, from the tank overhead
Through the winding pipes and rusted corners
To the stained plastic bucket
That waits patiently for the results to be declared

Her right index finger carries evidence
Of a few occasional burns
Of splattering oil or boiling water
And even the bite of a mad dog

With that same index finger
She sifts through the black grains
Hoping it has little dust
So as to find just the granules for the first cup

And as the light breaks into the room
Through an undesirable crack in the glass
It dances to a familiar yet distant tune
As she rubs a quarter plate in vengeance

Then she breaks into a routine smile
With cup and saucer in hand
And one browned bitter rusk
She walks over to the ledge

Feet dangling, slurping sounds
A crunch unpleasant, as crumbs gather
On the lap that has held no child
She breathes her first free breath

---- Ends ----

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sleep world

Sleep world, as I disappear into the shadows

Where haunted memories, like perverted termites,

Gnaw into the corners of my soul.

Conspiracies murmur through the alleys

And lies and deceptions breed without moderation

Only I walk past in silence.

With every fashionable change of heart

Rusts the truth, bit by bit, layer by dastardly layer

And it all crumbles to the ground.

What I know or what I possibly believe,

Is what they’ve been feeding me from the start

Only you stand your ground, laughing.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

a complicated equation

I have oft been called flippant; sometimes, even fake...
I wouldn't discount a silent utterance of 'shallow' either
I can be all of these and more, if that makes you happy
And prove all the rumours right just to make you smile

You can stare at the ceiling and wonder what I am thinking
But no specific thought travels within or without
Unless you want me to think, only to please your question
Then I can think random thoughts to fill those gaps

I can change my statement to prove your innocence
Cover up tracks that you so blatantly disregard
And yet from the corner of your slanted eye
You wonder if you can come about to trust me

It does not matter. At the end of the whole saga
The leaves will fall and touch the ground
Composing a crackling sound as you walk away
A sound only I will hear in my nightmares for eternity

Monday, August 01, 2011

The last wave

If you can hear me, I am on the other side of the shore
The waters are deep and wild, and death is certain
The tall waves are at war, with each other
Gilding the invisible walls with their saline froth

The bridge I built is broken, my humble apologies
It may not have been strong enough for the two of us
It crumbled into the ocean in perfect silence
But be assured, I built it with all that I had...

I have to walk away now; as the tide rises to swallow me
And you must find another land to make your home
Walk away, step back - the sand is disappearing fast
If you can still hear me, I shall now say goodbye.

He says.. she says...

If she hadn't pointed it out, I'd have missed this brilliant phenomenon. Have you noticed, if you have cared to read film stories that is, how actors and actresses have this divine habit of saying "I am taking it slow" or "I am waiting for the right script" or "I don't like to rush into films that I might regret later" and so on?

It of course didn't dare to cross my mind that most of the actors who say these exact words are in three words 'not going anywhere'. They have very little scope to make an impact in this glamour-riddled industry. I'd also like to add that they aren't exactly bad actors but shoved aside by doctored destiny or competition. Either they aren't great looking enough (after all, cinema is all about fantasy, no matter how real) or don't have the right contacts (read: they're not on the right couch!). They could be fabulous on screen - intense, passionate with impeccable dialogue delivery and a good sense of timing. But no, they won't make it.

The bad actors with zero screen presence won't make it either. Unless they have a face that can give men something to dream about at night.

But that's the women.

Male actors have it better; well, at least in most cases. Or else can someone explain to me how some of the ugliest actors, who aren't spectacularly versatile on screen either, are called super-stars?
And if they don't make it as lead actors, they become 'character artistes'. But I'd take a character artiste over a commercial hero any day.

Film journalism is bizarre. Very few people actually write about 'cinema' anymore; not the way feature stories used to be written about Raj Kapoor, Satyajit Ray etc.
Today, it's all about what's happening in the actors' bedrooms or at social dos and who's smoking up or snorting the wrong stuff. And most importantly, are they wearing the right clothes and driving the right car or scratching some competitor's eyes out or not.

There sure has been a change in the cadre recently. They don't make men or women like they used to, anymore. Blame the genes and the motivation above all else, I'd say.

Nargis will always remain Nargis. There can never be another one. Madhuri Dixit could look like Madhubala but the enchantment of the actors of yesteryears can never be replicated. It's practically impossible.

But yes, the climb is similar. I bet at some point in her life, Nargis would have said, "I am waiting for the right script" to someone. As for the rest and more, some pulled strings, some did not and got lucky and some just waited at the gates of studios to see if they would get lucky. And then there will always be some actors who could shine and yet, will never be heard of.

I love the movies - in almost any language that I can get my hands on, with subtitles in some cases, if you please. And I love the charm some of the actors create on screen. Sometimes, I want to be like them but in many cases, I want to be with them. But it's a world that's murkier than the Ganges.

It's a good thing I write about food. You know when it is spoilt.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


When you smile, the grey dots turn purple
And with every frown, the stripes of green turn yellow
From the room to street, your rushed countenance
Modifies the little specks of red into something more mellow

And as you walk, a trail of gentle and fluid flapping
Follows and with every wave of hand to say goodbye or a hello
It moves, pauses and turns with you in the revered tranquillity
As the wings murmur your words in a restrained echo

A million of them, in an oath of invisibility, shield you
The movement of your every brow is stored safely away
Like how fairy tales have their happy endings
They spin your chronicle when you stir from day to day

They disappear when only you close your eyes at night
And come to me with their handwritten but unseen scroll
Till dawn they sing, in a voice I have never heard before
And one by one, all the butterflies colour my soul.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

“In my room”

From my window, the view has not changed in more than 12 years. The tree has only expanded to have a few leaves reach into my room. The summer afternoon is always balmy – the furniture is different. Except for the shelf on the wall and the metal cupboard, I can’t remember much of what used to be. But the feeling was the same.

It was in this room that I fell in love, in this room I shared laughter with those who left and with those still around. It was in this room I heard music for twelve hours straight. It was in this room I decided that my life was not going to be mediocre. It was in this room that my heart broke and it was in the very same room I reconciled with life.

It is no longer my room. It is just there, for guests like me.

But in that sunny room that has seen the most beautiful rains and exotic evenings, time has stood still. It’s not just my life or my memories. Concealed behind those walls are secrets – secrets people have thought as they sat on a wicker chair, sipping tea and munching on tidbits. Stories that have been narrated, behind closed door, music put on high volume, lest of all my parents hear.

I have often lain across the bed, with my feet barely touching the floor, reading a book that I shall never part with. I have written words that made sense and most that didn’t. it is in that room I decided who my friends were and who would walk away when the time would come.

I lived in that room with my sister. She of course didn’t like the idea very much.

We have moved on to become different people, crossed boundaries and reached places that will always remain a bit alien to us. We have embraced reality that we don’t really identify with and we have walked the line that looked untrustworthy.

Probably because deep down, I know that room is always waiting.
Here’s to my closest friends (you know who you are!), the artist whose work hangs on the wall, the incessant chatter, music, grins, tears, laughter, pain, chaat, samosas, chai, cigarettes, occasional alcohol, perfumes, and most of all, love.

Here’s to the love of my life. You shall always be.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Don't tell me

I know what it is about love that makes it so ethereal. A sense of passion that doesn’t quite judge boundaries, a casual smile or a hard kiss – like you really mean it. And really mean it.
Through days of hunger or shame, it’s the only feeling that stays rooted like a virus, feeding you through its sweet venomous fangs. It’s the only emotion that goes past time, memories, history, economics and sociology.
It’s the only concept that makes you quiver, simply at the thought of it. And while you take out the trash or put the dryer on spin, you break into a shy smile, even when no one is watching. You can think of him, standing in a queue and touch him in your head and visualise the spot near his mouth, the one you’d often miss when you’re with him.
You’d mean it – every bit of it.
And when you fight, throw things at each other and call names that you had sworn yourself off, you’d still love with an aching heart. You’d want to, in the middle of the most ridiculous argument, want to break up and never see his face ever again. And you’d probably walk away because you’re done.
And then, after much water has passed under the bridge, the feeling will rekindle itself – rise from the ashes, just like the phoenix, lick your wounds and plant new feelings in your heart. Just that, they won’t be new – you’ve known them all along, you’ve wanted it. Deeply. Incessantly.
You’ve wanted to tear through the lines of division just to see him smile; even if it were for the last time. And of course, the one kiss.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The devil walked

His rook had a chewed top and was twisted to an unknown shape
No one could tell the difference between the squares anymore
The knight was harvesting bitter fungus under the broken chair
As the queen lay, broken hearted, next to the virgin tape

As the folds of the window louvers contained the sun no more
Harsh light played games with the webs and linen in the room
Some voices ran back and forth, in whispers, now and then
At midnight, the moon caressed gently the tattered drape

The attic smoothened out the rough edges at its corner
And pristine sheets on the bed were made night and day
A faded jug of ice cold water with lime to beat the summer heat
Till the afternoon drooped and twilight placed a kiss on its nape

From the shadow appeared a depressing and forlorn figure
That shuffled its feet and dusted off the mud of the night
A mournful song resonated through the abandoned streets
As he walked by, calling out, through the folds of his cape...