Wednesday, December 21, 2011


[My 3WW Entry]


amid rumpled belief -

lining under our clouds of winter.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


[Entry for 3WordWednesday]

The question I would like to ask Him is this: Will the good be hounded by the bad in heaven as badly as they are on the earth? Or will retribution see to it that the bad serve their dues somewhere else and do not end up in heaven?


An excerpt from the farewell speech

...after all these years of service here, I have learnt that sometimes, I tend to speak in a language that is simultaneously what I hear, and assume those around me will understand, and what others actually do not. This language might seem to push the contours of what is and should be comprehensible; that much I concede. But I will not cede ground to those who are prone to bellow with an almost dogmatic conviction that the words I mouth, its order, its topography is too far outside the realm of proper human speech and communication. I feel like the kid who writes on the shore and wishes that the waves would never wash away the words that he has painstakingly sketched. I agree that , on account of its proximity to the sea, the waves are never going to stop erasing the kid's crooked etchings. But it doesn't quite follow that what I write (or rather the kid does) is wrong or rather, incorrect, does it? It doesn't quite follow that what I write is correct either; however, being human and blessed with an ability to think and reason, I suspect I deserve the benefit of doubt, if not from the sea, at least from others like me. For now, all I can do now is to stand (having been rendered immobile by my inability to swim)and gaze at the horizon and wonder just who exactly it is pouring bucket after bucket of salty water from so far wide out?...


Once the claps had died down, it was time for me to move on. I observed that the busybees around me did not waste any time and promptly deserted the venue once the coffee had run out. I waited just outside the exit and made it a point to thank everyone who came in. A few were astonished that a sixty year old knew their name. One even confided that he hadn't heard of me till the day before. I smiled, shook his hand and wished him the very best. The walk outside did not take long. As I walked towards home, it didn't take huge effort to leave behind all the memories, miserable as well as joyous ones, one at a time. Maybe it will come back eventually with all the boredom that awaits me.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Some days are like today, bookended by birth and death;

the year sheds a day, round goes the earth and sheds a dear's life.

What impact his life had, how blessed his soul was,

we will never know again - the blessed ones aren't allowed to come down,

once away from us, they go.


Silhouettes keep marching towards the purple sky,

their limpid vision mocks us, a bit harshly -

Any colour you like, will be rendered pale white,

We are all alike, in the end, subject to the same plight.

Once in your life, you will march here, with us or alone,

the light dimmed, the life saddened, death prone.


I have never seen snow, nor felt snow fall over me,

nor built a snow man, nor bruised my hand falling from a ski.

Nor have rolled around on a carpet,

shivering in the chill wind, the ice melting over my skin.

Our city is blessed (or cursed), winter having been ejected by the climate Goddess,

from the list of seasons it experiences.

To duck and run from one awning to the other that dot Mylai,

escaping snow flakes as it falls from the sky,

to watch the snow pile up and submerge the slush outside Anna Nagar,

to rub gloved hands and walk along the Marina,

to have heaters in the Volvos that run to Tambaram.

Ye Alchemists! You have your task cut out:

Let snow fall over Chennai and from not just the pages of a Pamuk's novel.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


One fine morning,
a pair of hitchhiking clouds gave their sore limbs a well deserved rest,
heaving badly, nauseating, wanting to get something off their chest.
They stopped above where I stood, wondering loudly, to whom they could,
reveal where they have been, what they have seen.

To them, I said aloud:

Oh you irreverent ones! weightlessly drifting across the sky;
Your eyes ever roving over us,
this worthless world open to your pry.
Oh you freeloading hitchhikers! Reveal to us - the cause of your blues!


To an addled mind, acute replies won't make sense;
So make your answer brief and not very dense.


Long ago, thunder and lightning scarred the sky one night,
janky notes filled the air, like fingers scooting over keys black and white.
A boy's feet left its prints on parched lands -some linear, some circular;
whooping with joy, his tread light, what truth did the boy learn
that filled his heart with delight?

The boy was from a village,
far and beyond, from what constituted arable land.
A land misplaced by time, thatched roofs, nettled fences, sticky slime.
Its occupants busy with neem sticks early morning,
biting, chewing, and expecting,
the sun to shine and the moon to mime.

A cool wind blew the morning he walked out of his house,
his stiff gait losing its composure, with every feet forward his anger though undoused.
His head was freshly tonsured, paste of sandal applied over his mowed hair,
cooling his thoughts, lessening the glare.
His mind was full of anger,
at the pond outside his house, as dry as a masochist's eyes,
at the land that he walked on, cracking up like a skull struck by a steel rod;
at the perpetual drought, at the breeze that crept up his shirt,
at the bird's carcass that lay in the dirt.

At the centre of the village, he waited under the old banyan tree,
its lanky branches flung afar, swaying lightly in the breeze.
Sat at the centre, beside the old idol, humming to the toll of the bells,
was the sage, old enough to spin lengthy tales,
stroking his white beard, guaranteeing relief.
To him our boy walked up, his anger still uncontrolled, his gait broken.

Seated beside the old sage, our boy seethed -

Oh noble sage! tell me one thing -
the pond outside my house why is it dry?
This land, dry as a crone's wrinkle, so dry,
at nights, the stars here cringe to twinkle.

This land, unclothed by beauty, unloved by the skies,
uncared, uncherished, has mother nature severed her ties?

And look around us, beyond this land, there is only water;
waters of the ocean salty and blue,
but this water I speak of is so far,
start walking now and you reach there a corpse.
Tell me, oh great one! What is wrong,
when I say there is no water
and hence no truth?

The sage whispered a long reply in the boy's ear,
his eyes relaxed as the truth dawned clear.
With the wisdom easing his truculent visage,
before long, the boy's face was shorn of the mindless rage.

Whooping with joy, his tread light, what truth did the boy learn
that filled his heart with delight?

Friday, September 16, 2011


[Entry for this week's 3WW]

To the banker, the river was an untamed God,
the sea, a shifty trapper of time,
the sand, night like, a mistress,
kissed, sifted and to be deserted again.

The shore yonder is a notion,
the lands beyond, empty and to be claimed one's own,
reached after a trial and usually by error-
the west taken to be the east sometimes,
the east named west.

To the girl walking alone, the sea is the nature's outlaw,
voluminous brine shed once ago and ever since;
untameable, unmanageable and defiant;
crumpling the shore, a wave at a time.

To the kid busy with the sand turrets -
raised on weekly visits to the shore,
delighting in the chromatic aberrations -
the sea is a saviour, his hero,
soon to rescue the crashing sun
from the dark clouds unspooling across the sky.

To the sailor, the sea is as unpredictable as its blue,
a capricious turnstile, blissfully unaware of its own hue,
his ships handled with scorn, like a father cradling his newborn,
but with lot less love and hands unsure.

Time, the most benign of all Gods, propitiation with it arrived at,
once we abide by the only rule put in place:
to keep to its pace.
Devotion is to be by action,
the rhythm achieved carrying us forward,
wheres and whys not to be asked but duly shown.

To the sea, time is the entity
it twists around its skewed axis;
tides can knock minutes of an hour with ease,
travails can stretch them to infinity.

To those absorbed with the view in the rear mirror,
looking backwards, omitting the future near,
Look here-
at the waves the sea weaves over submarine lands,
at the unsheathed wings climbing over ridges and dunes;
at the life that is held in its womb,
at the living cradled in its deep plains,
and at the unsalvaged in its bottom lain-
Life awaits.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


You know all, don't you? Now, tell me why.


After a day spent at work, when I leave for home, as the lights from the streetlamps along the path coruscate dimly off the sand swept glass facade, I always notice a couple wait, outside the front gate, hand in hand, barely audible words said and replied, one pair of eyes holding the other, the world around as diffused as a white blur, as vague as the mirage rising off a heated tarmac . A strange couple is what I remark to myself as I wait ten feet away from them for our bus to arrive. Although her sunken eyes and pale complexion suggest a far eastern forefather, I feel she is from somewhere far closer home. I remember how she looked when she had just arrived in the city, when they were yet to meet: her face was as devoid of colour and life as the sideA of a rift riven band. Things have improved now, and a year of sprucing up and addition of right colour and cream have succeeded in suppressing whatever little beauty her face had to provide and stimulate a look that would help her gain greater acceptance among those she wishes to spend time with. He, meanwhile, is far taller than her, blacker eyes, sinews popping out of limbs, clothes that rarely crumple - a build and carry suggestive of far too much time spent in the gym and in front of the mirror. Neither are they the first couple to wait outside an office nor will they be the last. Despite their differing characteristics and nature, they seem comfortable in each other's presence. Sometimes I wonder if it is all a pretence they want to maintain until it gets to them and they admit to each other that it is all a pretence. I do not know why.

Beside us, cars and buses stream in and pause till the seats in them are occupied. Their drivers, with their tobacco spittle stained shirts, well oiled hair that turn rust coloured as they drive around the city with the window open, often get down from their vehicles and cluster together beside any of their rundown vehicles and speak in hushed tones amidst a lot of limb stretching, yawning and the occasional passing of a cigarette. Those whom their vehicles carry, their names are rarely known to them - conversations are rarely struck and at best avoided.

The couple usually board the same bus that I do. Although we wait alongside each other, it has never struck me nor them to speak a few words to each other. We recognize each other by sight alone. I wonder what their names are. Our ID tags are wound and dropped into our bags as soon as we exit our office and they are too caught up in themselves once they board the bus and contrive somehow to avoid venturing a word or two with those around them.

The bus drops us two streets away from my home. The driver always struggles to navigate his vehicle around our neighbourhood and has to move, nudge and literally curse it with an unceasing stream of nastiness, us lined up one behind the other on the footboard of the bus, fully cognizant of the fact that had we not been travelling in it, the driver would have been left to steer his vehicle in bus-friendly environs. We get down and walk away in directions opposite and ways unknown to the other.

Our names are not known to us. We live nearby yet neither our houses nor the way to reach them are known to the other. What do we opine of each other? Nothing? Does it matter?

Friday, June 17, 2011


Dirges do not accompany these dead,

heads immersed in madness lay down the laws

- draws open wide their eyes and holds them apart,

depart not, drift not apart - where the wails have gone?

- Don black instead, indulge in sullen stares at the sky above.

Doves come by and grip the dead's floating tress,

bless-ed winged ones prefer to fly off decaying spawls,

caul shadows over October's shallow seam,

gleam like stars across a sky hooded in grey,

stay, stay - a few lingering clouds call by,

try, ignore and fly back over the white lane,

lanes with no trails to guide,

glide in silence over these lands too painful to rest,

rest not, lest the thread come apart.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Three Tableaux

The three Tableaux, right beside the ferric brown arch of the city gates, the philosopher mentioned to us disciples once, will allow those with an affinity to walk through it to pause and ponder, if only for an infinitesimally small period of time, what their life might be if they were to take heed of its contents. It is very much like the tacky Government ad - intended to educate every citizen but failing to hold the attention of even one. This one fared better; it held mine.

The three sentences below were scribbled across the bottom of the tableaux, providing a semblance of context to pictures that otherwise might have been taken to be the scrawls of a fidgety mind.

Today is one of those days when you will end up doing what you have always accused your fellowmen and women of being guilty of.

Learn to starve. It will come in handy when you don't want to eat what you are served.

Thoughts might like to travel faster than light but words prefer to walk.