Monday, May 31, 2010

Not for me...

Not for me are people with ever craning necks who glide up snakes of stairs without ever being deceived in a ladder.

Those who never fall backwards over a winding word, tongue thick and loose with warring syllables.

Those who dine ever so carefully with kings without heaving themselves off the table with a concluding burp, a lip licked wet or a deep rumbling breath.

Those who daren’t utter a foolish word or even an insane one, or shout over hordes of heads in gilded halls in hoarse tones.

Those who might see the last of a ship sail or the homeward road without coughing back a tear.

Those who haven’t spittled apart a sentence, sneezed shut a silence, who walk through rain splattered roads with hems of skirts still white and the soles of shoes clean and dry.

Not for me are the sophisticated dead, those who can’t see past a midday sun at a whitening lake and a diamond within, past dancing leaves that burn but shed no shadows.

Not for me are those souls from which fluid passions don’t ooze.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

This black eye of a sky told me quite plainly that dusk had played a treacherous hand. Shops had turned their lights on in connivance with it, it had snuffed out a sunset and devoured the hours between four and seven in a single mouthful.I walked back home, bathed in neon starlight, dodging the sight of signboards that had staked out claims to a rapidly purpling horizon, signboards that stabbed me with their familiar names.

There are people who've been tossed into the wishing well of my life whose names I could recall correctly only on our fourth meeting. Or the fifth. Later on, when these names quickly fill up the hours preceding a roaring dawn, when the milk cooker whistle shoots the night dead, I toss about in bed suffering the knell of names, ruing my memory.

There is a kind of love wherein you daren't take your eyes off your beloved for the fear of going blind. And a kind where your eyes erect schemes of unseeing rudeness to keep tears at bay. A kind where you find yourself wishing in turns for an apocalyptic disappearance, for the rest of the world to bleed out of sight until only you remain.

Best is the kind, I thought to myself as I crossed a road that was already was the kind that you made you want to offer yourself to grinding noises, dripping taps, yellow wheels and die right there.

The entire power of my vision I would bequeath to the corners of me eyes for they have given me all i have wanted a glimpse of. To die with a stranger's name on my life, to die, sighing over a poem that refuses to grant me audience, to die burning with the unsaid is no disgrace.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Tossed from a jealous jailor of a bed to a street roaring with weekend rapture, I walk with a head still heavy with the ache of dreamless sleep. Uncertain, I bob left to right, my feet, sliding off one unwelcoming doorway onto another, dodging the trot of screeching wheels are afraid to break into a run

The feet of children, unlike mine, are unmindful of the rude thump of oversized slippers, they don’t fear the sideways slips that ask no questions but dispense sudden deaths.

It matters not that hands are still held under tree shade when the moon is up, full-bosomed and smiling paternally. Our full moon trysts will not return (for we were eternally meeting under a full moon), we will not weep together in the moonlight anymore, you with eyes turned into a silent listening stone, I in infantile fashion, head upon your shoulder, your fingers thick with tears.

It matters not that a bounced off reflection of a distant pair of glasses can still recall you to life. There are things that ought not to fade- the last words you ever spoke, those ten digits that tied me to my phone, your smile when I broke the first long silence, and the colour of the leaves when I looked away from your eyes to the tree above, my lips still wet with yours.

It matters not that I can out sing loud now, with doors and windows fearless and open. I no longer feign ignorance of certain erudite words that used to hurt merely because they had been birthed under your pen.

It matters not that I no longer look anxiously like a child comparing the size of bruises across two knees, from my tattered heart to yours, vexed that yours might beat mine to forgetting. I know that I have died out of sight and with sheets unchanged, dying without protest under these stars as quietly as I have died within your solitude.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chronic pains don't beget poems

My fingernails threatened to grow longer the closer my hands grew to hers on the table. They lurked under bent knuckles, impudent as an eavesdropper’s foot at the door. I had sat next to her instead of across, convinced that a sideways view could buy me back composure. But it wasn’t to be. She, sensing my discomfort never held back those polite queries that falsely reassure the questioner that all is well with the recipient.

“Are your parents moving to Hyderabad?” she began, stumbling I suppose upon the only remnant of our previous conversation residing in her memory. “Err. Yeah, my mother is.” I replied after a desperate dash at swallowing the final remnant on my tongue.

And then, overcome by a garrulous impulse, I plunged on, heedless of how each word would make me pay by way of replays that made me flinch. “It isn’t a pleasant prospect.” I confessed. “I have to watch my old routine get broken down and new ones thrust in their place.” I pushed my plate away, my hunger had scampered away shamefacedly at the ineptness of my fingers. I couldn’t lift the spoon to my mouth for fear of spilling it mid-way or bringing it back to the tray with a clang. I couldn’t stand the taste of a full mouth, it had turned into an ugly chomping mob that neither permitted me to say the one thing that might stall further conversation nor to eat with indifferent panache.

She smiled and then started out on an anecdote, something seeking to put maternal paranoia in its proper perspective. “And then when I returned at eight, a search party was already out…”

By then, I’d discovered that her father too, was a bank employee and that she has shifted too many schools to belong anywhere. ‘I was always the new girl.’ She mused. “And by the time I made friends, we would have to move again.”

My left hand was banished to my lap, safely out of sight while the latest honour killing played musical chairs with the usual roundabout marriage v. career argument and the virtues of marrying househusbands in their conversation.

When she was around, my heart played ventriquolist with the whole of my body, it was an effort to hold my elbows still on the table (ill-manneredly, I added to myself later) so loudly could I feel my heart thud there.
We walked companionably out of the canteen, the three of us, one waiting for another through mid-queue conversations and washroom crowds. Lunch table fealty is a precious feeling, however brief the encounter. We went up just in time to watch the first raindrop getting mopped off the floor. “I wish this weather doesn’t last too long.” I said glumly, all too aware that I had spoiled it for her, the silent homage that the first rains of the day pay the sun-shunning ones.

Later I made my way into the library with that moment secreted away in a pocket like a stolen flower, its petals could be unfurled like a torn scroll, there was fragrance yet that could be salvaged from its puckered stalk.

I could float back now to the scene without getting drowned in the remembrances of follies that had long despaired of my forgiveness. I looked at my nails again, its corners still flecked yellow with the dal we had both licked clean, and tore them out one by one.