Thursday, December 24, 2009

Songs for You

I wonder if you'd understand
the irony hanging in the air
- as we sit talking of inconsequential things -
of the fact that all my songs for you
played one by one in the background
of their own accord,
in their own fashion,
even though they mean nothing,
not ever,
not now
not to you

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

विलायत में

विलायत में
some things went out of fashion a long time ago:
things like soap boxes, clothes brushes,
the kinds of mops you get down on your knees and use,
plain cotton handkerchiefs.
and ten penny ball point pens in blue.

I don't know what gadgets people invented in place of them,
but everyday tasks just aren't the same anymore.

When you can find these sentimental,
but entirely useful things in an English store,
they tend to cost the earth,
and I find myself longing for Santacruz station market
where I can always find a little ठेलावाला wedged
between the fruit vendors and cutpiece cloth shops,
plastic wares on loud display,
waiting to part (for a few rupees) with his rainbow bric-a-brac
and little objects that just make a lot of sense
in a silly, material, technological world.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Resurrecting a Phone Book

for Sneha and all the people we Green Teen-ed with

Second names, numbers, addresses:
they all sublimate rather quickly
when you lose a phone book,
and precipitate at the peripheries of your mind,
when the smell of patchouli incense
reminds you of the people you lost with it.

There is no way to call him or her -
the person you wished you could remember -
to say you miss them
or that you thought of them
in the intoxicating swirls of wet earth
that envelope you in the monsoon dance
you do in your head
as rain showers the city
and makes it white.

There is no certainty as to where they lived
in the days when you sent them hand drawn cards
and long letters at birthdays,
because maybe,
you've forgotten their birthday
as well as the pin codes on the envelopes.

It doesn't matter that it wasn't your fault:
that your phone book got left behind in the frenzy of packing.
There's nothing to be said for it now.

Maybe it's in some dusty corner of an old house you can't return to
and maybe someone found it
and tried to return it to you,
but that wouldn't mean so much anymore
because you've had to resurrect it
piece by piece,
and number by number,

It's almost complete again you think,
but then find a page left blank
for the fragment of your childhood self
that only the receiver of those cards used to know,
and write letters to,
all those years ago.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I'd forgotten the cacophony of this country
and the effort it takes to be still here:
to remain calm in the crests of the throbbing pulse
of a billion entangled lives

Maybe it's only me
and I've become too accustomed to the rustlings of red socks on blue carpet floors,
the cracklings of radiators
and the sound of sleepless commuter trains
far, far away

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ma's Letter lyric


I love it!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

In The Deep

after Bird York's In The Deep

I'll hear the melancholy loop of this song again;
float in the water of its melody,
sun sparkling nonchalantly through the notes on its surface
onto the dark pond bed of words below.

slowly into the depth of its aching beat,
life swirling around me
carrying echos into my skin
like bubbles into the open air
of a summer's day in May.


December always brings me home
to the smell of salt in the air
and the heartbeat of the sea;
to the thought that
a traveller's life is nothing
without the knowledge
that his home embraces his hardships
and forgives his trespasses
as soon as he has had his fill
and turns around to leave.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

स्कूल में पढ़ी कबीर की एक कविता

मोको कहाँ ढूंढें बन्दे, मैं तो तेरे पास में |

ना में देवल ना में मसजिद, ना काबे कैलास में |

ना तो कौने क्रिया-कर्म में, नहीं योग-बैराग में |

खोजी होए तो तुरतै मिलिहौं, पल भर की तलास में |

कहैं कबीर सुनो भाई साधो, सब स्वांसों की स्वांस में ||

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Planeta sin órbita

(for Jinx)

The thought of you standing in my doorway -
in need of a hug, hair in a tease -
came to me quite suddenly this morning,
and it made me want to reach out to you,
you little planeta sin órbita,
and give you a tight tight squeeze.

How many late nights we've spent together,
huddled around our kettle boiled teas
gossiping, plotting and planning revenge
on all the people that just never got us:
boys, professors and silly old hens.

Barely coherent the next morning,
after less than a few hours of sleep,
I'd try to wake you on my way to the showers,
and again on the way out,
but you'd always just keep on snoozing
until your alarm screeched its morning bells
and you'd have to get up and get out.

You asked me once why I gave you shelter
when you zipped through my city
on your whirlwind tours,
and I remember telling you,
you'd pay me back one day,
without knowing the whens or whys of giving
or even the hows and wherefores.

And so planeta sin órbita
as you travel at your lightning speed,
unbeknowest, you're returning me many favours
each one unique
in a different candy colour,
each as inexplicable
as the stockings you'd often wear in the summer.
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