Monday, December 28, 2009


It's 646,
the ceiling's telling me things
of tales carved in invisible circles
my vision suddenly disperses into restless waves
as tears invade the moment,
announcing themselves to my eyes,
an abrupt mist interrupting a guileless landscape.

I know not why - I was laughing just a while ago
leaning into that brown door - and I find myself sitting up,
my cold feet suddenly pining for the floor's compassion,
and they trickle down to my dwindling lips,
singeing my skin's language like harsh tenses,
salinity, that unforgettable taste of childhood.

I know not why,
maybe it's just the dying decade's final december
maybe it's Larkin's eloquence with countrysides
maybe a loneliness caged in a velvety absence
maybe the evening's turquoise humanity, I know not

but before the unforgiving glare of my desk lamp
reduces them to obsolete trails on my cheek,
I catch a fleeting glimpse of my world - a roll of cellophane,
a wristwatch lying sideways, a yellow push pin,
a torn receipt, bronze keys on a steel ring -

and a smiling dawn breaks on my moist lips
as I fathom the imprecise whispers of eternity
through the magnanimous transparence of life.

[24th December, 2009 | 6:46 pm]

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Musings from a shower

*. I'd rather be a wise fool than a foolish wise man.

*. Is it mere coincidence that the two cornerstones of my love for literature, Nabokov and Borges, were both born in 1899? I suspect not. Born into the last year of the nineteenth century, on the threshold of a temporal shift, unable to either reconcile with or break away from the conflicting worlds that raised them? (Though I suppose V.N. did a much better job of it towards the end of his life while J.L.B. seemed to choose to ignore it and ply his trade in timelessness instead)
[Further musings on this question are reserved for a better-researched literary essay later in life]

*. I hate my hair. Have never been able to figure out what to do with/to it. It has been, inarguably, the greatest unsolved problem of the last twenty five years of my life.

*. There are many ways of living.
I think dying is just another one of them.

*. There is so much directionless anger that resides within us, we never seem to know what to do with it or where to express it. We always get stuck in traffic when we need to be somewhere early, the delivery boy is always late when we're hungry, the internet connection's too slow when we need it, the friend's always busy when we need to talk, the bus is always crowded when we board it, everything we love is always way too damn expensive, the manager's always an idiot, the exams never end, the room's never clean no matter how hard we try...
I think this helplessness and futility that has seeped into the very heart of our existence, is what has, more than anything else in our joy-driven lives, come to characterise the generation that is ours.

*. Gravity is one of the most comforting and reassuring things in life.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Track 1, Radiohead: Kid A

Footsteps on the trembling membranes of sound, a hypnotic menagerie of tangled rhythms gently invading a soundscape.


The floor rises up, caving in to the elegant melody. The walls, as if taking a cue, curl outwards like a giant unfurling secret while the ceiling turns upside down into a cavernous sky. Through layers of melodies smeared into one another like swirling colours on an artist's palette, warped words rise up through the weight of their music, bursting like bubbles, crashing into each other, splintering into the air.

The room rearranges itself as instants rise and fall, like the aeolian vagaries of a feather wafting along a fickle breeze, things no longer defined by places, places no longer defined by things. The music evolves into a mutating monster, snarling at the floating walls melting in its charms. The candid transparency of the air descends into pearly fluidity, foamy shapes rippling like the unborn faces of a thousand melting seas. Disjointed dots blink on a shimmering screen, pictures awaken in sleeping frames, pages talk in forgotten languages and windows extend into spaces that didn't exist moments earlier.

Gravity's suspended in surprise as the tangle of voices and strings verbalises an ellipsoidal army of rhythms sketching abstractions in displacement. The shapes blur as the images weather down, an ellipse fading away into an ellipsis, concentricity disappearing into the simplicity of a dot. Described in tender parting tones, the aural deluge gradually recedes from the room's memory, and the silky stillness of daily reality hesitantly slithers into view, settling down into unmoving tranquility after a pearly odyssey into infinity, everything in its right place.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Shadows crashing through dimensions.
Absent smiles drifting into metaphors.
A shapeless mist, a lenient emotion
slowly sinking into words.

Moments dragged out into devious tales.
Escapades tied in to conversant skies.
Sighs muted by their own voices
like eyes drowning in their own vision.
Lungs shrivelling into pea pods
like leaves in a withering gale.
Silences that dig into days
leaving heart shaped holes behind.

This is what you do.

And, how quaintly beautiful
and wonderfully sad it is,
that you don't seem to know it, yet.

Monday, November 30, 2009

In memory of an unmemorable afternoon

The mouse doesn't work so well, the cursor refuses to be bossed around the screen. The room's despicable messy, you wonder how anyone could live here. You don't want to listen to the song any more, but still can't bring yourself to change it. The mailbox is empty and lunch wasn't that interesting either. The sitcom's been on pause for a while now, and you let it stay that way. Milosz and Vargas Llosa lie silent by the dusty desk, frozen by inertia. That article about obscure Italian digestives trumps poetry this time.

The usual work's there to be done, along with the usual plans, but you don't feel like it. You don't feel like doing anything anybody in the world would expect you to do, even if that anybody is yourself. The most common and characteristic physiological response to all this is sleep, so you don't feel like that either. So you sit there on the bed, feet uniformly pressed into the cold floor, traversing those words in plastic, protesting silently against life's oppression.

Then something gets ticking. What if the afternoon refuses to be reined in? Maybe you could give in to it, and let it have whatever it sought from you. Why fight something when you could side with it?

Sing that song as loudly as you can, until your neighbour's forced to wonder what the hell's going on in the other room. Remember a stranger's face. If you can't, cook up one. Take that chronograph into your hands and count down the seconds. Twenty four, twenty five, twenty six... fifty eight, fifty nine, sixty/zero(???), one, two... twenty four, twenty five, twenty six... you get the idea. Take a paper and try to draw an 8x8 square grid with your eyes closed. Then darken alternate squares, like a chessboard. Preserve the results for posterity.

Stretch out this forgettable chunk of time on the pin board of memory and pin it down with the brightly coloured pins that are words, paint it with the flourescence of ennui, spruce it up with the scent of the day's heated shadows and burnish it with the air's repetitive sounds of music and there you have it, a vibrant piece of throbbing memory with an invisible watermark beneath that reads, I lived through this.

Sometimes life can be unmemorable.
But then, you can always make the memory livable.

Friday, November 27, 2009

I love the sound of

Wind trampled by rubber.
Television playing to empty furniture.
A stranger's knuckles rapping on the door.
Slushy feet in wet evening mud.
Tearing open an envelope to get to the letter inside it.
Muffled music from the neighbour's earphones.
A lie escaping the roof of a tongue.
Bunny slippers treading over pebbly hard earth.
The triumphant flick of the Enter button.
A fountain pen's cap snugly clicking into place.
A squeaky ceiling fan on a sweaty afternoon.
Static that accompanies outdated videotapes.
Rummaging through a brown cardboard box of childhood memories.
Periodic ticks of a grandfather's walking stick.
Attempts to discreetly fold candy wrap in a silent classroom.
Water queuing up in spirals to disappear down a drain.
A newborn's nails scratching the walls of a bassinet.
Drawing nines in the breeze.
A metallic fork sinking into chocolate pastry.
The unmindful taps of waiting feet.
A smile by the darkness of a moving window.
An anchor crashing into the tranquil sand of a sea bed.

Monday, November 16, 2009


The room is ivory white, devoid of even a hint of furniture. The air is still, without a sense of movement, as if holding its breath in anticipation. The walls extend gracefully into the distance, like long lost friends. The ceiling and the floor seem to appear suddenly, as if from nowhere. Music flows, through dots chiselled into heavenly patterns in the air. On the floor, there is a tangled piece of black thread, an old crumpled postcard, a spool of brown tape, a child's colouring book, a broken pair of spectacles and a little wooden cube with dots carved into its faces.

They sit there sprawled on the floor, backs leant against each other, facing opposite directions. An ink bottle lies sideways on the ground beside them, its blue contents let loose onto the soft floor. He rolls words between his inky palms, tapping his feet lazily to a ground drifting in thought. Her eyes are closed, head tilted lingeringly towards the ceiling, the song's melody pirouetting on her tongue. Patches of inky blue adorn their clothing, as if drawing shapes to the tune of a waltzing zephyr. Memory paints itself into the distance, a peevish shadow creeping through a pale white darkness.

The artist steps back from the canvas, surrendering the tableau to existence. Wavy shapes that dissolve into the ivory emptiness of the room, like smudgy watercolour. A bird frozen on the threshold of a soaring flight, outstretched wings on the cusp of a cloudless horizon.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Note to Neruda

To think it took me this long to know you,
Pablo Neruda,
is to know how unjust time sometimes can be.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Things. With names.
Eyes. Seen through another's.
Dots. Splashed into patterns.

Dusty jeans. Tattered soles.
Voices hopscotching in space. Drafted into memory.
Years broken down into moments. Like rusty fences by a vanishing roadside.

Carved spaces. Elegant absurdities.
Fouettes for an epiphany.

A montage. Words.
An inaudible sigh.

I'm not here. I never was.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

In Conversation

*. I love tonight's sky. May be the same as every night but as it peeps at me from behind a tree with streetlight tinting the leaves yellow, amid chaotic four-wheelers and traffic lights, I type this to you knowing full well there won't be another moment like this for all eternity. And that makes it worth a memory. [9:31 pm | 16th Feb, 09]

*. Chrome yellow chalk on a green board. Codes on a spreadsheet. A floating screen with boxes. And all I feel is Yorke's falsettos resonating in my soul. [10:59 am | 2nd Sep, 09]

*. We are carefree spirits, trapped more inside ourselves than the world that we live in. Only when we learn how to liberate our selves will we be able to learn what it means to be our true selves, to be what we truly are. Maybe then the world shall turn itself upside down, maybe all the wrongs shall right themselves, and we see everything for what it plainly is, not as a hindrance or an opportunity, not as a boon or a bane, but just for what it is, and learn to make something of it in life. [6:36 pm | 27th Mar, 09]

*. It's in moments like these that I feel the sea rise within me, trying to break away from its own waves, the very waves that constrain it, to be a seamless whole for a moment, only a moment, to stare back at the ever-changing world that created it, and be, just be. [11:23 pm | 13th Mar, 09]

*. A wiper erasing the traces of a rainy massacre on the windshield, a sky burning up in lament, a stranger's voice in the air, neon signs on a forehead. [6:37 pm | 17th Aug, 09]

*. ...that is what we are, a shifty smile carved into the lips of time, going around in shapeless circles, swaying to the wonders of existence. Like a paper boat on a rainy street, a little white sphere on a roulette, or a feather in a sandstorm. [11:23 pm | 22nd Aug, 09]

*. Can you see the clouds ganging up on the sun outside right now? One of those poignant moments nature always serves up in an uncannily bright texture that places it halfway between melancholy and brio, and leaves you unsure what to make of it in the end. [5:39 pm | 31st May, 09]

*. Sleepy words on the blog for the evening gone. Sleepier SMSes. An acoustic guitar plays to a raspy voice, and I'm stuck in a moment, swaying into a swirling dream. [3:16 am | 30th Aug, 09]

*. There is a white house in the distance. It is smiling. The shy evening is forgiving, leaves rustling to an invisible music. Here, now, beneath these red bricks of history, I am a dream, a river trapped in metal beneath a salty sky, a collective word waiting on the world's trembling lips. [7:02 pm | 8th Aug, 09]

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Cloistered from the world by four walls of hazy white,
sinking into a light that devoured invisible air

burdened by all that went before it,
apprehensive of all that was to come after it

caught up in tangled ripples of memory,
teetering at the edge of obscurity

a moment screamed for its release,
and the poet obliged.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


The night flows,
pounding at obstinate windows,
prowling the edges,
peeling away
the world's masquerade,
caressing the insatiable passion
of gravity

But tonight, we float.

and away.
Beyond the prosaic
tedium of gravity,
into the soaring
wings of darkness.
and away.

Like music.
Like flaring tungsten
suspended in frosted glass.
Like dandelions
diving over mossy hills.
Like dreams
on the threshold of a lingering sleep.

Like resonating shadows
drifting away into the great unknown,
into the endless spirals
of a seductive nothingness.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


2:37 Graphs in black and blue.
3:02 Ordeals with a sun.
3:14 Seamus Heaney. Opened Ground.
4:16 Circuitous snacks.
5:19 Disappearing letters. Sticky nap.
6:27 Lifehouse. Sunset with Monet.
6:58 The Economist on Afghanistan. The labours of Sisyphus.
7:34 Pepsi with Ross Geller.
8:02 Unfinished poems. Count+3.
8:25 Rice with green peas.
9:11 Slippery heads on a first floor. Hardwork.
10:54 Lemon Mint juice. Boiled corn.
11:13 Vocals with Thom Yorke.
11:52 Conversations with a whiteboard.
12:24 "Good prose is like a window pane".
12:59 Midnight walks by red-bricked corridors and whispering trees.
1:30 Unannounced dials on a keypad. Hello. Carefree chuckles.
1:56 Early morning with the New Yorker.
2:35 Advertising in the air. Tony the Tiger. The bloody innovation of The Vampire Diaries.
3:04 Eyes spinning in brownish white circles, slicing the ceiling into tiny arcs of scattered light.
3:07 The screen dims. White fades into black.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Who are you

Raging dreams
trembling through the icy fabric of reality,
leaving flaming trails in your wake,
who are you?

Fervent tears
slipping into the night's unbound spaces,
stirring up an ocean's gentle lament,
who are you?

Colourless eyes
floating into my mirrored thoughts,
unravelling the tangles of my bloody heart,
who are you?

A wavy song
murmuring into the amorphous darkness
of my wandering memory,
who are you?

A stony silence
digging your fingernails into my sweaty skin
beneath a pearly saturday night sky,
who are you?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

On reading poetry

I've read hundreds of marvellously great poems over the past few days and I mean poems that are universally great, not personal favourites. [The current scope of this entry can not include (it probably never can) questioning the poetic merits of a coterie that consists of names the least of which include but are not limited to Neruda, Plath, Bolano, Whitman, Eliot and Larkin so let us please refrain from it.]

But the lines that captured my heart and squeezed it till it bled to ecstasy are by none of those. I don't always think of Borges as the greatest poet I've ever read, but I am yet to read a mind that so consistently produces words beautiful enough to put the inadequacy of language itself to shame, as effortlessly as the Argentinian can.

I read all of the others for days while I read Borges only for a few minutes (that too to refer to an old poem he wrote about Browning, coming upon these lines by accident) and I was so excited to write an entry to express my infinite debt to Larkin and Neruda but maybe that's for another day. The compass isn't working any more, there's too much interference. My mind's been brought to the ground, and I know it shows in these simple, flat words. I shall not read any more poetry tonight, let alone try to write any of my own, for I've had my fill.

But the days are a web of small troubles,
and is there a greater blessing
than to be the ash of which oblivion is made?

That, is poetry.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Is the chimney angry
when it spits flames at the patient sky?
Is the violin wailing
when it rouses the air around its feet?
Is the land patient
when it lets you stampede it in perpetuity?
Is the sunflower smiling
when it offers itself to the sun’s radiance?
Is the moon shy
when it hides beneath the milky cloud?

Who is to say,
who is to listen?

*. Our life is characterised by the search of exceptions. Maybe that is the elusive truth we seek in love, that unique exception that defines us, reaffirming our own uniqueness in return. An exception to undo all that's been done, one that challenges us, and unmakes all that's been made of us. The exception to a life that has so far been lived without one.

Some find theirs, some make theirs.
The rest just become somebody else's exceptions.

*. Intolerance is a vice, they say. But then, I ask myself, isn't a condemnation of intolerance against the very basis of the argument, that we have to practise tolerance? If we aren't tolerant of intolerance, doesn't that mean we are intolerant ourselves?

*. Living a moment, and letting a moment live you, are two divergently different ways of making memory. The first is an extension of the second, the second is a contraction of the first.

*. A poem is a celebration of impermanence, a solitary vestige that narrates a world as it existed one lost moment in time, exalted by emotion, embellished by detail, a miniscule packet of memory impervious to the oppressive present that threatens its immortality, like a placid piece of land in the middle of an endless ocean, enduring the raging storm of time, marked indelibly by a creaky old woodboard left behind on the landscape by the poet that silently proclaims "I was here."

Friday, July 31, 2009

For [-------]

I don't read book reviews, never before reading the books, and very rarely even after that. But there have to be exceptions, of course. You know, exceptions, exceptions, of course, those exceptions. Reason thrives on those, and so does irrationality. And we all do, don't we?... Well, anyway... exceptions.

I'm sifting through The New Yorker after a couple of lean days, literature wise, and well, what do you know, there's that name sticking out, noir dripping dagger-style, right in the centre of the slender film of the tender screen, that seven lettered [-------] that conjures up images of paranoid punks, sleazy streets with disappearing roofs, neon signs in forgotten colours and trippy psychedelia crammed into two dimensional black and white. And what happens next? Of course, the exception impulse kicks in, bypassing those hapless neurons waiting for the sinuous mundanity of reason and before you know it, your finger's done all the necessarily involuntary shaking and moving dance moves and in a flash that even time is at a loss to explain, the words stare into you through cunningly deceptive eyes and it's that. It's that.

But no, it's not that. It's not. There is another exception embedded in this exception. You read only the master's quotes, not the words of that simpleton reviewer who is, for now, to be bloodily, and exceptionally hated for being able to get his hands onto those floating, kaleidoscopic heads (=pages) before you could. Yes, I know I do admire Louis Menand, but I'm sure, in this context, or in any other damn context (pardon the language) involving this seven lettered [-------], we'd both agree that we wouldn't give a damn (pardon, again).

There are perfunctory snippets, names splattered on windshields that you don't give a damn (I don't give a damn about the language anymore, please) about, just little chunks of odoured flesh thrown here and there for the carnivore to just smell and move on, meaningless bodies of words strewn about but then, then, then,

"Was it possible, that at every gathering—concert, peace rally, love-in, be-in, and freak-in, here, up north, back East, wherever—those dark crews had been busy all along, reclaiming the music, the resistance to power, the sexual desire from epic to everyday, all they could sweep up, for the ancient forces of greed and fear?"

And then, then, then, only then does the embittered soul, dragged headfirst through the delirious boulevards of forgotten paranoia, painted in that unforgettable scent of burnt paper, submerged in shapeless shrouds of wicked casuistry, rest at last, at the feet of its faceless, nameless, seven lettered master of luscious, candy-coated apocalypto.

Welcome back, [-------].

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I spoke to her today.

The familiar giggles. Complaints about the laptop password. New best friends. Evenings lost to music classes. New contact numbers. Lots of homework to be done. A boring Harry Potter movie. The new second ranker in class. Awesome Bone books. Lavender. A very bad cough. New favourite songs. But no one to share them with. Just an open brown door, an empty room.

I wish time would stop stealing my moments.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Running away

Every time you slip away from my grasp
I look ahead of myself
and realise you were, in fact, never there
to begin with.
You had begun running
long before even slowing down.

You’re like the tip of the arrow,
forever hurtling towards the distance,
and I’m its tail,
forever chasing.

I sometimes wonder
if it’s me
who’s too slow,
or you
who’s too fast.

But beware
of the deceptive pleasures of running away,
for when the time comes
when I can’t keep up anymore
and fall behind
to gradually disappear in the distance,
you may have nothing left to run away from.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

On Turner

who bent light
and moulded fire,

who brought down the skies
and chased angry clouds,

who saw rage in the sea
and life in its waves,

who gave shadows colour
and the land its waiting heart,

who taught me fury
and gave me art,

This stranger
who died in London
gazing into the Thames
on a December morning
one hundred and fifty eight years ago,
I think I knew him.

Friday, June 19, 2009


The sky is a bright blue, unwrinkled, untainted. I sit by my desk, overlooking the window, paper ahead of me, pen straddling my fingers. A flame appears in the distance, as if it has just burnt a hole in the sky and crawled out of it. It seems to relish its sudden freedom, zealously roving around the infinite space at its disposal, unwilling to settle down. And then, as if it had turned towards me from the heavens, I feel its gaze upon me. As if it had two tiny eyes, as if they were united in looking at me. It takes off from its high perch, as if it knew that I knew it was looking back at me, and descends into the mundanity of the land beneath its sky.

As it slowly approaches me, the flame drips colour onto a psychedelic canvas and takes a life of its own, a flaming piece of vibrant life, a butterfly. My eyes dissolve in its colour as it whizzes about the greenery in the distance, away from the window, shy of approaching me. But then our eyes meet and it hesitantly makes its way towards me. Unsure of myself yet acting as if I know exactly what I am doing, I lean closer to it, and whisper gently, as if afraid of hurting its tender papillae with too harsh or grating a sound, "Is it you, is it really you, my love?"

A pause. Like a giant swaggering backwards to go forward, reality surges backwards, in a huge heave, dragging everything with it. A shuffle, and as if time ripples in the moment, memory's slate is erased, the window dissolves into its past as if the precise converse of the breeze blows now, right down to the tiniest detail, the butterfly’s prismatic wings flutter backwards, beat after beat, as it makes its way back into the heavens it descended from, my words fly back between my lips, my neck cranes back of its own accord, the ink slowly drips back into the pen as it retraces its own words, the paper blanks itself word by word, letter by letter, the instants devour themselves, and the words start all over again.

This is it.
Burn, memory, burn.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Shadows scripted by a streetlamp.
Bagpipes on a deserted boulevard.

It's one twenty three.
But time doesn't know us.
Neither do numbers.

It was blue today.
God's mask for monday.

Paper bags in the air.
Appearances disappear.

I wish I'd known Caravaggio.
Do submarines have windows?

My words are too vague.
But you have the keys.

Rolling wheels.
When does a straight line become a circle?

Silly boy.

Dip your fingers in the inky sky.

The air sprouts wings.
The night's silent lullaby.

Can you taste the stars?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I wonder, what makes the sun's light
Dance to the tunes of the sea’s foamy white?

I wonder, how could anyone climb so high
And so artfully colour the sky?

I wonder, who taught the waves in the sea
The art of beauty in formless anonymity?

I wonder, why does life steal
These endless pleasures of time we so feel?

I wonder if I wonder too much.

[Author's Note: Thank you, A, for giving my eyes the beauty that is IMG_2590, and thank you, another A, for making it.]

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Somewhere a lonely glowworm shatters a darkness. Somewhere an eager voice sings a breathless melody. Somewhere old age heaves a sigh after a tiring tryst with triviality. Somewhere a creeper learns to defy gravity, and charts its own course. Somewhere a world suddenly goes silent, as if trying to listen to itself breathe. Somewhere a sun breathes its last before being engulfed by a sea for the night. Somewhere god plays ball with a dew drop on the contours of a leaf. Somewhere a baby crackles with innocent laughter at the sound of a rattle. Somewhere a sky tiptoes past its angry clouds on a stormy night. Somewhere a breeze blows the petals off a withering flower, burying them in air. Somewhere love is lost, found, made, lost and found again. Somewhere ice breaks, and a glacier crumbles into a blueness. Somewhere a blind flutters across the dusty window of an empty house. Somewhere a fisherman pushes out into a blue darkness, trying to pacify an angry morning. Somewhere a red dot turns amber, and a world rears to life, ready to escape. Somewhere, drenched in rain, a pain comes to terms with itself. Somewhere a wooden bird traipses out of a broken cuckoo clock, as if out of habit. Somewhere a lonesome stranger on a deserted street crashes onto his knees in the dust. Somewhere an aircraft breaks into a cloud, splintering thin air. Somewhere a crowd breaks into a chorus, rhapsodical throats conjuring up a bowl of ecstasy. Somewhere a butterfly flames across a lake's surface, sinking into the colours of its own reflection. Somewhere a lost childhood bursts into life amidst a cacophony of memories. Somewhere a world sleeps, knowing that somewhere else, a world doesn't.

Somewhere, imprisoned by space and time, a mind tirelessly dreams on, imagining a world into existence, churning out vignettes, wrapping them up in its humble words. Somewhere else, a mind wakes up to those dreams, unwrapping the humble gifts that are words, realising space and time, releasing a world into existence.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

In Transit

One lonesome thursday evening,
Entombed in glass,
Staring into the eyes of a foreign land

As a night came to life in its blinding lights,
As red watermelon flesh melted in the warmth of my lips,
As a stranger's scent parleyed with my senses,
As an escalator lived its own death,

I saw Chapman's Ithaca,
Lost my heart in the empty streets of Buenos Aires,
Smarted at the taste of eternal darkness,
Rode the sea's whiteness with your friend Melville
And felt time's sands trickle through my fingers.

Stranded in the middle of everywhere
I was no one, I was every one.

As I read you, Jorge Luis Borges,
As I read you.

[8 32 pm | 12/03/2009 | Bangalore]

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In defiance of monotony

Mornings. Evenings.
Here. There.
In. Out.
Black. White.
You. Me.

Again. And again. Over and over again.
The same as yesterday. And the day before.
The same tomorrow. And the day after.
Just different garbs, different times, different names, different places, different faces.

Templates for a life. For a world.
Alluring monotonies. Ready made existences.
Waiting for me to plug into them. And switch myself off.

I shall not give in. No, not to this. I shall not.

I shall not sit by and watch as this world chews me up and spits me out. I shall not learn acceptance. I shall not be subsumed by peripheries. I shall not be lost in the multitudes. I shall not be tamed into submission.

I shall not be taught habit.
I shall belong to nothing. No time. No name. No place. No face.

I shall not give in. I shall breach the confines of the routine. I shall not give in. I shall disown my inheritance. I shall not give in. I shall shatter convention. I shall not give in. I shall scream these walls aside. I shall not give in. I shall tear down traditions.

Let them make me the outcast, taint my reality and condemn me to the shadows, I shall not be contained. I shall be the stain on the face of eternity, the battle cry that brings down an empire, the fervour that ignites the flame. Of this tyranny, nothing shall remain. Bottom lines shall be decimated, facades shall be ripped apart and fate shall be subdued at the altar of subversion. There shall be no restraint, flames shall engulf worlds and ravage them, leaving infernos in their wake. I shall soar beyond gravity's grasp, beyond chance, beyond fear, beyond destiny, beyond mediocrity, and watch coldly as history goes up in flames and dissolves into the dust beneath my feet.

Timeless, they shall forsake me.
Nameless, they shall forget me.
Faceless, they shall consume me.

But no, to this monotony, I shall not give in. I shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not shall not.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Life, in a sentence.

Born into the all-encompassing singularity of the capital i, seized by space, stung by life, we wake up to obscurity and stretch across confines, feeding on dreams, gliding through ignorance, gathering selves along the way, wriggling out of childhoods into what lies next, wriggling out of what lies next into whatever else lies next, subsuming multitudes, emerging a different i only to be signified by the same i, learning to forget that we're compelled to crawl through time, we know what we know, yet we go on with the business of living, we live on, through births, through deaths, through indifferent mornings, through ecstatic evenings, through presences, through absences, through pain, through bliss, through friends, through strangers, through hate, through indifference, through love, never letting up even for a moment, weaving in, weaving out, irrepressibly at work on the fabric of time, toiling away at that one never-ending memory we know we shall never get to reflect back on, that one reality that reaffirms us that we have not been in vain, that one grand legacy we wish to bequeath to the endless universe, that one and only entity that knew how it felt to be the undeniably singular i, all for the solitary ambition of stumbling onto that one moment we live for, that crowning blaze of glory, that one period the weary sentence of life so achingly craves for, that one blinding instant the i coruscates before our eyes before vanishing into the amorphous textures of light that make up eternity.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


In the corner of a bookstore,
One unmemorable evening,
I walked by a coffee table book
As a stranger stirred behind it.

I wished it was you.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The ardent conversationalist

The dreaded silence.
His turn to listen now.
To wait out the silence, to take words in.

Silence he knows won't go away.
For a moment there's that image, that ephemeral hope that he has finally deciphered the silences but he knows, as he always knows, everything is still the same.

Bleeding words as he searches himself for a silence, squirming about in the anarchy of the lull, he knows, he knows the futility only too well. Traipsing aimlessly through time seeking to create more of it, crumbling in the uncertainty of the wordlessness only to realise that he is condemned to forever drown in the pool of words that punctuates his thoughts and his silence, he knows. It is easier to make words than to wait for them to return.

"Talk, my dear, talk", he exhorts eloquently, "being silent is one of those resounding crimes in life."

The joy of bending words to terpsichorean whims, of weaving thoughts into their substance, of pouring life into them in sentences, of letting them out into a silence and embellishing it with the beauty of the spoken word... The pride, and the pleasure, they all tell him the same thing, that one simple yet undeniable truth that words are heavier than silence.

To spiral through days, to find revelations in daily greetings, to elicit love from windy windows, to plant memories inside conversations, to thrive on moments stolen from words and words stolen from moments, isn't that what time merits from its remorseless assassins? The sound of a word escaping the lips, isn't that what true beauty aspires to? To say a word and receive another in return, isn't this bartering of the most basic of emotions the greatest thing about being human?

Forced to curtail the irrepressible flow of words and left to lament the tyranny of time, burning up in solitude and silence and sweating to contain these words inside him, he asks himself, did it have to be so hard?

Like standing at the centre of a paper-thin glacier. Like groping about the walls of a dark room, searching for a switch to illuminate the darkness. Like screaming into a ravaging tornado.

But he knows, all that he knows, he knows because he's had the luxury of silences, of silences understanding enough to let him digest his words, words which wouldn't be what they were if it wasn't for the existence of the silences they broke.

Silences hushing words, words ripping silences apart, silences in words, words in silences... Silences and words, those two strange bedfellows, incessantly at argument, always driving each other apart yet forever in the throes of one another, possessors of strangely intertwined destinies.

For now, he is the ardent conversationalist and he shall play his part.
To just sit there and wait for the words to return. One after the other.
And patiently wait until there shall be no words left to wait for anymore.

The reluctant conversationalist

The dreaded silence.
His turn to speak now.
To fill the silence, to put words out.

Words he knows won't come.
For a moment there's that mirage, that eternal hope that the words have finally forgiven him but he knows, as he always knows, everything is still the same.

Bleeding silences while he searches himself for a sound, a self-loathing smile trying to keep the pain at bay, he knows, he knows his futility only too well. Fretting, sputtering, stuttering, clutching at cunningly evasive words, tripping over himself, fishing about for redemption only to realise he's condemned to forever choke in the hush that lies between his thoughts and his voice, he knows. It's easier to listen to words than to try to make them.

"Listen, my dear, listen", he mouths soundlessly, "speaking is one of those silent crimes in life."

The pain of wrestling with words, of weaving meaning into their spines, of stringing their lifelessness together into sentences, of finally thrusting them onto a silence and tarnishing it with the abrasion of the spoken word... The shame, and the guilt, they all tell him the same thing, that one simple yet undeniable truth that silence is heavier than words.

To tumble through life, to find meanings in empty spaces, to extract life from the stillness of chaos, to nestle silent selves into memory and to thrive on moments stolen from silences and silences stolen from moments, isn't that what time merits from its remorseless assassins? A hushed breath in a silence, isn't that what true beauty aspires to? To extend a calm and receive another in return, isn't this expression of a wordless understanding the greatest thing about being human?

Waiting for elusive words to arrive and left to smile at faces when all he wants is a blissful silence, smarting amidst the words, burdened with the inexpressible silence inside him, he asks himself, did it have to be so hard?

Like being a dot of ink irrevocably rooted to the centre of a white paper. Like in a battlefield, scratching and scarring every time. Like learning to breathe underwater.

But he knows, all that he knows, he knows it only because he has had the luxury of words, of the beauty of words shattering innocent silences, silences which wouldn't be what they were if it wasn't for the inexistence of the words they lacked.

Words ripping silences apart, silences hushing words, words in silences, silences in words... Words and silences, those two strange bedfellows, incessantly at argument, always driving each other apart yet forever in the throes of one another, possessors of strangely intertwined destinies.

For now, he is the reluctant conversationalist and he shall play his part.
To just sit there, and wait for the silences to return. One after the other.
To patiently wait until there shall be no silences left to wait for anymore.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Far, far away into your past, there is a lost memory,
One lovely March evening you pffrr-ed, goo-ed, spllrr-ed and rhymed for me,
Rattle in hand, spooling drool, a charming toothless princess riding her aunt's knee.

Names traded, 'Hi's exchanged, we conversed, and you blew me into a daze
As A, as we shall both call her, kindly decoded for me your cherubic ways,
Verve, attitude, puffy cheeks, chubby hands, goldfish yawns - life's adorable plays.
You told me with a twinkle in your eye, with impeccable baby grace,
All you wanted was to stay you, to stay still and outrun the days.

Reality makes fools of us all, helpless as we are to resist time's fatal kiss,
Enduring childhoods, we grow, only to find our own ways back into childly bliss,
During which you'd have learnt to walk, to talk, to read and be a lovely little miss.
Dimples on life's timeless memory, smile once at these plain words as you reminisce,
Years and years and years from now when you sit back and read this.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Read on.

Um, another of those diffuse, prolix, protracted slices of literary futility. Isn't that what the customary glance/first impression told you? And a glance at the title too said the same, I suppose? (I haven't decided on the title yet as I write this but I'm fairly confident of my abilities to find one that conveys the miasmicity of this dissertation.) And in case I have failed to do so (naming has always been a problem for me), and your first impression also turns out to be mistaken, I want to reaffirm that this is indeed "another of those diffuse, prolix, protracted slices of literary futility". You see, I'm in the mood for some mindlessness with words and as part of the planned mindlessness, plan to do away with the editing aspect of the usual blog production cycle. Yes, I can perceive the perspiration to come and I trust those who have stuck through with me on similarly ululative entries earlier will stick through this one too. I know you will. You will read through every single word I've written here, no matter how fustian it is, because you're going to. We're both here for a reason, I know that as I write this, and you shall know it as you read this. Now now, let us not disregard it by attributing it to a seven letter word starting with D and ending with Y (also containing the words E, S, T, I, N). You shall go through this entire post purely because you wish to see how a post so &*!@%-ly begun, ends. Namely, curiosity. Or even, maybe, on another level, something I can't bring myself to express here. So, anyway, my point is, let's not kid ourselves with metaphysical entities while we can do away with them. They're addictive, dangerous, ugly (according to some people I'd rather not name here), explosive, and lastly, very badly named. Look at the name M-E-T-A-P-H-Y-S-I-C-A-L. Does it sound metaphysical at all? Does it... anyway, enough. I should be ashamed of myself for chastising a poor, lifeless word. And I shall end this with an apology and a statement explaining my callousness towards it. I have known of men driven mad by their metaphysical musings and wish to avoid it at all costs because, however unlikely it may seem to some of you, I'd prefer to stay sane, no matter how insane it might make me.

Alright, I think the entry's done. And I'm fairly satisfied with the results, so that makes me fairly impressed with myself. (fairly. Note the impeccable choice of word.)

I know there are a few notes I need to make in order to explain some inexplicabilities that have creeped in but I assumed the risk when I decided to blindly type out whatever the darker regions of my mind threw at the screen. So much for the so called mindlessness with words. This is what mediocrity is made of, I guess. Alright, the notes.

But first, a Foreword. Yes, there's a Foreword.

Foreword - For those who already know the meanings of the words miasma, ululate, fustian and conniption, you can skip notes 1, 2 and 3. I do not wish to insult your highly developed sense of intelligence.

Now, the notes.

1. Don't open and type out miasmicity to try to find its meaning. You won't find it, as some earlybirds may have already found out. It's a derivative, an improvisation, albeit admittedly crude, of miasma and miasmic.
And yes, you can visit now. Go, and come back. I can wait. I'm fairly good at it.

2. Same for ululative. Try ululate. Go again. (Tip: Keep the tab open. It shall be required again.)
Ululate. It's a beautiful word, isn't it? Ululate. The poetry of the sound of it as the tip of my tongue touches the roof of my mouth... Whoever said poetry needed sentences. And let's not even count in the fool who said it needed stanzas. End of digression. I would like to take the moment out to relish the beauty of the word for now. Ululate. Ah.
And yes, I know you're terribly disappointed with my sense of word-choice in the first paragraph there, particularly with the word in case. I accept the criticism. Thanks.

3. Similiarly, for the words fustian and conniption, please follow directions outlined in notes 1 and 2.

4. And yes, I know that the word conniption does not appear anywhere in the first paragraph. I respected your sense of intelligence, I only wish you had done the same for mine. The word in question is scheduled to appear in the schemed climax of this piece and I wish the reader to know the meaning beforehand because if she doesn't, there is a chance that it might spoil the ending, which I can't take a chance with. I only write so I can end, and end well. So let us not spoil the ending, both for my sake and yours. Let's face it, the sole reason you continue to persist through all this mediocrity is the rational belief that it shall all end sometime soon. Of course, you're entitled to your own beliefs as I am to mine, one of which is not to comment on anything anybody calls 'rational', even if that anybody is, ironically, unfortunately, me. All I would like to say here is that I trust you not to lose track of the meaning of the lexeme at the middle of this storm, especially after I dared call myself 'mediocre' for its sake.

5. I suppose none of you noticed the irony in the use of the word dissertation there. If only you were me, if only. Once in a while, there comes a time in your life when... never mind, I think it'll suffice for you to know that there in fact is a deep-lying irony to the use of that word in that particular context. And yes, you may chuckle now.

6. The number of notes initially scheduled was 6. And I shall make the quota. Some way or the other.
Also, I would like to take this opportunity to remind the reader to remind herself of the meaning of the word conniption because the end is not far away. Just a little longer, dear reader. It shall end soon.

7. There are four instances of usage of 'And yes' in this entry. I never knew I was such a big fan of yes, let alone 'And yes'. But then, writing is a strangely mad thing. Other than reading, of course.

8. I trust the discerning reader has noted my unorthodox referral to the reader predominantly as 'she' or 'herself'. I would like it to be made clear that it is only out of a wish to change the orthodoxly unfair practice of always referring to the reader as 'him' by default and not out of some mushy obligation to do something for womankind on the eve of the 'International Women's Day' which happens to be, fortunately or unfortunately, today. I certainly do not want to be looked upon as sentimental, and I'm glad we have that sorted out. And yes, I would like to wish a happy Women's Day to everybody who can identify with the pronoun 'her'.
And yes, that's another 'And yes' to the count.

9. And so the count finally comes to 9, the most beautiful of all the digits, the most meaningful, the most beautiful of all the digits. (Redundancy intended. I can't seem to take for granted your respect for my intelligence anymore after the fiasco in note 4.) And also, for our present purposes, 9 is the inverse of 6. A final number which is the inverse of the originally planned number. Intriguing coincidence, isn't it? Metaphysics?

Afterword - And now that you're soon to be liberated from the obligation to read (let's say, in another 50 words, for want of precision), you may choose to vent your conniptions in the guise of comments. For those exceptionally affected, and would like to make it known to be so without revealing their tantalisingly affective monikers, I would recommend the use of the option of anonymity. Anonymous comments have been enabled for your convenience.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Bleary lights. Floating colours.
Flame in the throat.

Crepuscular outlines.
Raspy voices.
A world coming to life.

A song for an old sweetheart.
A smile in the dark.

A whisper.
Crumbling walls.
A night swaying into existence.

Closed eyes.
Time fading into smoke.
A memory set free.

A turntable scratched.
And then an enduring silence.


A slow death, a sudden life.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

On Writing

I write, maybe, to converse
With the perceptive mind I so vainly seek in my verse

I write, some would say, out of a lack of faith,
Which I honestly don't find the strength to disagree with

I write, I sometimes think, to regain
All the love and life I've lost to pain

I write, I'm told, to escape
The mediocrity that pervades this modern landscape

I write, it can also be argued, to impress,
Whom, how or why would be anybody's guess

I write, time explains me, to forgive
Myself of the moments I've forgotten to live

And as the debate rages, I digress and ponder,
Affected by an irrepressible sense of wonder,

Who taught me to learn to write
To put wrong to right, black to white?
Who taught me to learn to see
When space and time disagree?
Who taught me to learn to feel
When life so sternly disciplined me to conceal?
Who taught me to learn to care
When cimmerian voices court me out of nowhere?

Was it loss?
Or the margins I forever failed to cross?
Was it fear?
Of disappearing without making myself clear?
Was it rage?
Or a desire to outlast the wreckage?

But when a vagrant word makes its choice
And an empty page finally finds its voice,
When chaos stills itself into a sentence
And a symphony breaks out of its silence,
When a dark night is devoured by a bright day's light
As a trembling heart flutters to life in black and white,
When a world fits into a scribbled word, mirrored in my stare,
There's a question to answer all questions, do I really care?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

And there she was.

The traffic signal turned me down.
A new track on the CD. A keyboard overture, slowly building up. Head swaying in tune with the melody, in anticipation of the amplified ecstasy soon to follow. Then came the trough, the fleeting silence just before the chorus broke out.

And there she was.

Like a belligerent piece of graffiti that stands out on a crowded ruin, like a splash of icy water in the middle of a cold winter night, like a distant fisherman's boat that punctuates a lonely sea's orange horizon, like a stolen moment of blissful somnolence during a busy day's work, there she was.

Percussion on the stereo.

My monday morning, on a platter.

The world emptied itself around me.
A fragrant deluge of headiness surged through my memory, burning itself onto it. Everything else hushed itself, slinking away quietly from the scene, into pixelated vision. Everything except the eyes. The eyes. Her eyes.

Those eyes. Two poetic specks of life reaching out across the abyss that was the urban wilderness surrounding me. Like crystal orbs to be gazed into, of course for more pragmatic purposes than to predict a future that had never seemed more obscenely irrelevant. I wasn't tied down to reality anymore, not to anything. I was no longer in the cockpit of a car languishing at a traffic crossing, I was somewhere else, somewhere very far away, trapped in her gaze while a distant stereo peppered my senses with a soaring chorus. I had just lived a forever.

There she was.
My monday morning reprieve, my raging memory, my...

I looked around myself, half expecting to hear the screeching sounds of my life grinding to an abrupt halt, curious to see if the sky would morph into a more heavenly shade of sky-blue as promised by the powers that be, wishfully hoping to see these words of mine take a colourful life of their own and waft across...

Until a rogue horn broke my senses.

And there she was.
Plastered across a billboard, selling me jeans.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


As my world wraps itself around me like a gigantic serpent strangling its prey in an impending sense of ravenousness, my thoughts wander to you, seeking you out in the wilderness that is memory. I think of you, I wonder where you might be, where your world might be, whether I would have mattered.

Limited to a life that is a conversation between a presence and its absence, I conjure up words you could say to me, and line up replies in my head, if only you could listen. There is so much that deserves to be said, so much to be given life to, so much that could have been, instead I'm left to smile into a darkness and hope it curves its lips in return.

Powerless against the deadening hush of certainty, I ripple in the moment, and dissolve in your absence. The darkness that is you, that is all that is not me, embraces me and carts me away into its essence, to its roots, to its raging sun, to you. My presence and your absence, at last. Consumed by a nothingness that is neither of us, I lean in towards you and let my blurry thoughts culminate in a momentous something, three words that barely escape my lips as the cruel heavens plunder them into an indiscernible whisper. I miss you.

Thursday, February 5, 2009



You are my silent lullaby. My blood red sun. My traveller's tale. My fading reason. My unfound excuse. My broken string. My guilty promise. My unfinished lesson. My empty yesterday. My bursting heart.

You are my unwritten epitaph. My deep blue sea. My soaring guitar riff. My reluctant wait. My cornered melancholy. My drawn out apology. My custom-made world. My furtive fall. My anguished symphony. My blank photograph.

You are my whiff of insanity. My moonless sky. My endless goodbye. My eloquent absence. My deceptive resilience. My forlorn smokescreen. My dawning realisation. My sore compromise. My angry wish. My cold winter night.

You are my secret childhood. My daily vertigo. My stolen kiss. My half-full glass. My hasty retreat. My white noise. My tiresome game. My unflinching arrogance. My dreamy reality. My poetic injustice.

You are my bleary eyed surprise. My wordless song. My early morning drive. My persistent religion. My unanswered call. My aching redemption. My unwanted freedom. My windy window. My lazy sunday. My searching inexistence.

You. My raging insolence. My charming ignorance. My lonely memory. My exquisite torment. My awkward adventure.

You. My seductive uncertainty. My ailing innocence. My relentless curiosity. My seething rain. My fleeting erasure.

You. You. You.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


The sound of something falling into place.

Cymbals inside my head.
Poetry. Break into a sweat.
Smile. The spoken word.
The sky opens up.
Repetition. Repetition.

Buzz. Splash. Beep. Zip. Ping.
Woof. Woof.
Clifford still talks to me. That big red dog. From 1992. [Or was it 1993?]
How do you forget that word? 16 years [Or is it 15?], I've tried and never failed to fail. Yes, that last phrase isn't mine. It's Kurt's. But does it mean I've stolen it, plagiarised it, in the parlance of the times? I don't know but I'm sure he wouldn't mind. And so neither shall I.

Why are you reading this?
I've always wanted to ask this question, bang in the middle of every one of my serious pieces. I never got around to being so stupid. I tell you, my head is heavy. "With what?!", I can hear many voices exclaim with disdain. **These words between the asterisks are meant to convey that I was silent in response to the question.** I didn't have a witty retort. Maybe Woody Allen might have had one. I'm sorry not to be him. But then, I shake myself violently and ask again, is it really so? Reconsidering it, I don't think I'm sorry not to be him. If I was, it would mean I'd have to be sorry for not being a lot of other things in life that are more important to me than being Woody Allen. I don't think I'm ready for such a drastic restructuring of my life's basic principles and values at this point. [You know how hard it is to get them in the first place. But that's not what I'm going to say.] I'll clear my throat, make a serious face, look into your eyes and say this - "You see, there's only so much a man can be. And being sorry for not being Woody Allen is not one of them."

That is one of the fastest things I've ever written in anything even remotely related to my blog and I have a feeling I'm not done yet. I'm compelled not to look to my left, because it's where my bookshelf is and I'm afraid a peek into the heavy names printed on those curvy spines might bring me back to my senses and break the flow of thought I'm so sure is perfectly in tune with my rapid churning out of words in the ether in front of me. Was that a meaningful sentence? I am getting so good at typing out without breaks, would you believe me if I said I didn't use the 'backspace' key at all during the course of writing this entire entry? Alright, you won't. Especially if you know me well. But it's true. I didn't use it at all. I used 'delete' to correct my typos only so I could finally write this line and end this on a grand note but the effect's all spoilt now. I have to find another grand way of ending this. So you can end reading it on a high and feel that I've written a very good piece and maybe even like me for writing it. Oh, the travesty that writing has become these days. But I assure you I'm not one of those vain, self-possessed, narcissistic writers. I swear. On myself.

I suddenly feel like standing up and delivering one of Alan Shore's wonderfully constructed, wonderfully expressive, wonderfully informative, wonderfully emotional and wonderfully soporific closing arguments. But I'm not Alan Shore. Ohkay, we've already been through this.

Enough for now. You can leave after reading a story. One of my own (wonderful) concoctions. No, no, not a concoction, it's a true story I've been part of. I've always loved how branding a story a true one suddenly makes it all the more interesting and believable. So, yes, it is a true story, a very true one.

I met god once.
He said to me, “Son, there’s something I’ve always wanted to ask you. For a long time now, I’ve seen you in pain, waiting for help. Why didn’t you ever try to talk to me? Are you dumb?

I said, “Maybe, yes... But god, I too have something I’ve always wanted to ask you. Hasn't it ever occurred to you that you might be deaf?

We've been on very good terms ever since.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My private Oasis

Saturday night.
A sprawling grey road.
Life after life whizzes by past me as I walk alone, overwhelmed by civilization, by concrete and a night brighter than a day.
The sky cloaks itself in black, rendering itself immune to my searching gaze, immune to the suffocating modernity around me.

I just walk on. A headset for company.

All of the stars, are fading away
Just try not to worry, you'll see them someday

Just take what you need
and be on your way...

A smile.
My private oasis.

Friday, January 16, 2009

For Goya

I look in the doorway. Empty.
Closed doors. Blind windows.
It's dark inside. Outside.

The night freezes. The bed is a cold, hard stone.
My heart refuses to close my eyes.
I close them. They open.

Sounds. They seek me out.
Footsteps on gravel.
Applause for a matador.
A paper torn.
Dying leaves.
Incoherent pleas.
Wailing violins.
Clawing into my mind. Tearing me apart.

The voices. The visions.
My paltry afflictions.
If only I could wish them away. If only.

There is a stranger in the mirror tonight.
Do I know him? Do I?
I have his eyes.
And he has my face.

Contented with his two-dimensional existence.
Unperturbed by the silences that prowl around him.
Untroubled by the travesties of this world.
Blind to the burdens he knows not.
Silent. Within his lines. Within himself.

If only I could be him.
I am everything he is, yet I am not.
I am more.
More than ink. More than lines.
More than I need to be. More than I want to be.

If only I could subtract myself from him and just be.
If only I could know what not to know.
If only I could be a figure in ink.
If only I could be a paper.
If only I could be him.
If only I could be.
If only I could.
If only I.
If only.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dirge for a childhood

An archway into a room, imposts darkened by a lifetime of hands brushing it on the way past.
A curtain where a door should have been.
Peach coloured walls.
A TV in the corner, a foldable calendar on top of it, displaying a marriage of a blue sky and a bluer sea. A VCR in the broken shelf beneath, and a box full of incompletely labelled video tapes.

A window grill, worn away by time, rust screeching through.
A black tape player shrouded in a white lace knit cover on the window sill, its 'rewind' button missing. Music cassettes strewn about.

A groove in the wall that is a bookshelf. Brown, wornout books of literature. A pen stand full of sketch pens and pencils. An old, dark grey dressing table. A lavender talc. A stack of folded papers, a red ink pen and a photo frame with a grey picture. A little red diary.

Another groove in the wall that is a bookshelf. Old newspapers, notebooks, school books, comics and ancient stories. A schoolbag flung into the corner. A pair of dusty school shoes, socks neatly tucked into the soles. Curtains drawn across a window, scarlet pimpernels glowing on a fluttering fabric.

A doublecot with a white headboard, the decolam broken at the edges, brown patches showing. A little alcove behind the headboard, storage space for spare beds, bedsheets and pillows.

A taunt, some movement.

Little, chubby fingers on the headboard. A figure concealed in its hiding place, little eyes peering out from behind the sheets. Another figure tiptoeing towards it from the other side of the bed. A hider, a seeker.

A squeal. A triumphant scream.
Peals of laughter.

A threnody from the future. A dirge for a childhood.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Where am I?
Not here. Anywhere but here. Nowhere but here.
Here. Nowhere. Everywhere.

A dream that is a life? A life that is a dream?

They say that some reality is born out of dreams and some dreams are born out of reality. But what about something that belongs to neither, the netherland, the nowhere that exists everywhere?

Frozen, beyond expression, beyond emotion, my knees give way to the ground as life steps down from its pedestal and reaches out to me. The sky learns to smile down at me, the land learns to endure me and the air learns to breathe me in as the world finally wakes up to me. It slows down for once and lends me a glimpse into its clandestine intricacies. Beyond days, beyond nights, beyond dreams, beyond reality. The past and the future crumble into a blank as I step out of time and watch it amble along, history in its wake. Free from callous clocks and taunting walls, it is then, in that nowhere, that my thoughts finally find their words, and my silence finds its peace.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Random Notes

Note 1 -
To capture the essence of its time, to imbibe in itself the everything, the ether that pervades the milieu that creates it, that is what all art aspires to. Take a Goya, a Michelangelo, a Kafka, a Tchaikovsky, a Van Gogh, a Mozart, a Goethe, a Turner, a Dostoyevsky, a Cartier-Bresson, a Matisse, a Neruda, or any other great piece of art, it is redolent of the times that created it, like a grave where a handful of the sands of its time have been scooped up, funnelled through the artist's genius and encapsulated for the future by his vision. It is for this precise reason that the artist exists, to immerse himself in and carefully preserve the vicissitudes of his time, to elevate his work to the pantheon of greatness, of art worthy enough to be called the graveyard of time.

Note 2 -
Is touch mutual? If I touch something, does it necessarily mean that it touches me? Or, if I'm touched by something, does it mean that I've also touched it in return?

Note 3 -
Poetry is like a solitary streetlamp raging on in the depths of a night. It illuminates only the trifles that lie within its reach, leaving the rest of the prodigious night to your imagination.

Note 4 -
One of the harshest realisations you could have in life is when you realise for the first time that time is not a continuum, that you've been lied to when you were led to believe that it flows in a straight line which, of course, it does not. It might seem only just - some might even go so far as calling it poetic - that man's most complex invention, time, should be represented by his simplest, the straight line. But life isn't poetic, nor is nature. And it would be a mistake to expect time to be. After the realisation, your first feelings would be those of fear (as, doubtlessly, many of the first-timers reading this would be experiencing right now), then panic, then (in some cases) relief and finally (in all cases) indifference.

Note 5 -
Life is like an escalator. Once you get on it, there's no getting back. It takes you where it wants to, whether you want it to or not, and delivers you at the end, whether you want it to or not.

Extended Note 5.1 -
Trying to go back in life and time is like trying to go down an escalator which is going up. It's irritatingly painful, and even if you succeed in moving back a little, you never get to stay there for long. And above all that, the harder you try, the stupider you look.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

For a little girl

She walked up to me and said, 'Popcorn, sir?'

I said, 'No, thanks', and continued walking towards my car. But I could hear her walking behind me, requesting me to buy because she hadn't finished her quota for the day and the night was already done. I thought about all I'd just spent just before walking there and took out a ten from my wallet and turned around to face her. She seemed to misconstrue that as a donation and said, sternly, 'I don't take charity, sir. If you want to, you can buy the popcorn, it's twenty a pack.' I smiled at her and took out another ten, took the pack and walked away to my car.

And, after our little meeting, here's what our respective lives choose to do with us. I get to get into my car, switch on the AC, pop in a CD of my choice and enjoy a marvellous drive under a velvety bright, starry sky. And what does she get to do? Roam around parking lots pursuing strangers and requesting them to buy something they know very well they don't want. Telling them the sad story that is her life, hoping, praying, pleading. Crushing her own spirit, one word at a time. Fair?

I'm just the fortunate one, and she isn't? Life isn't just? And she's supposed to lap up these philosophical treatises and just carry on with her simply 'unfortunate' life? Is that all there is to it? I live with a little girl who is of a similar age yet knows nothing of that. That life isn't about luxuriously decorated duplex homes, ready-to-be-beckoned housemaids, timely arranged meals, chauffeured sedans and designer accessories. Many of us don't. We've lived life, but we don't know how we'd feel if life lived us. We don't know how it would feel to haggle for a single rupee, how it would feel to never know where your next meal would come from, how it would feel to beg somebody for a trifle and get pushed away, how it would feel to be at the mercy of the whims of a cruel life. We don't. Because we choose not to. Fate, we tell ourselves. That word, that impotent word that life teaches us to fall back on when confronted with a question we don't care enough to answer.

We live in an alternate reality, insulated from the truth, looking at it through tinted windows that glorify us and eliminate everything else unpleasant to our sight. How we remove those melancholic sidewalks from our life, how we neglect the ground realities that permeate the consciousness of the country we live in, how we choose not to know that three-quarters of the country we live in survives on less that twenty rupees a day, the same amount I paid for that pack of popcorn. Do we even care that we live in a country which, at the root of it all, irrespective of what overpaid, Armani-clad executives in air conditioned boardrooms may proclaim, still remains a poor old woman, with an ailing heart? Are we doing all we can? When will we realise that placing a few good apples in a basket full of rotten ones cannot hide the stench?

But let's leave it there. I don't want to digress, and I'm not here to judge. I want this to be just about the little girl, nothing else. What should I have done? Maybe I should have bought her whole bag and helped out her quota, maybe I should have written down my number and given it to her to contact me in case she ever needed any help. I don't know what I could or couldn't have done to alleviate her pain but I can't shake the image off my mind. Burnt into my memory, that look in her eyes. Innocence tainted with anguish. Tears prowling at the edges, sick of life, sick of herself, sick of me, sick of you.

There are many emotions stirring inside me at this moment but I admit, above all of them, I'm scared. Scared for her. Scared beyond everything that has ever scared me. Life takes the best of us and breaks us down, what chance does a little girl have?

Friday, January 2, 2009


To exist and yet be unable to do,
To do and yet be unable to see,
To see and yet be unable to feel,
To feel and yet be unable to touch,
To touch and yet be unable to understand,
To understand and yet be unable to know,
To know and yet be unable to say,
To say and yet be unable to mean,
To mean and yet be unable to be,
To be and yet be unable to exist.

That is the semantics of life.