Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Visitor and The Waterhole

The waterhole was crowded with the presence of the experimental polaroid photographers distributing the pamphlets of repetitive imagery to the poor children on the street, so that they can use the pamphlets as paper roaches in their evening sniffing session. sniff... sniff ... sniff...everybody violated newton's laws and now they all want quantum leaps. the waterhole wanted us ‘to burn’ and its mechanised hands spraying yeast over the pungent fumes, promising a transcendental ride. And before you could take this quantum leap, a few questions haunted the thrill seekers in their visceral sobrierity. How did you form such intoxicated notions of science? How did spirit of the rational merge with the ghost of a believer? No answers please. Let them be open ended like your posterior, often very subtlely clothed and bathed, massaged and raided. Let your hands embrace such ugly questions, so that you can hang them high and dry in your living room. The visitor arrives and he is perplexed. You show him the Waterhole after all some celebrated social norm said that waterhole was for the visitor. It is not for you so don’t even bother going further.

The waterhole was blessed with the symbolic linkages, and past participles served as conduits linking you to the nether world. And then there were thrill seekers stealing words (so that they can ride the quantum leap of their imagination). For the visitor, this was an old trick. And then these stares, blank or full of mischeif. Stolen or otherwise, these glances will not work here. Stolen glances are for the poor children eager to see you making toys for their sniff sessions. Long aquiline noses waiting for this ephemeral barbeque. The visitor makes a comment, but nobody gives a shit. Nobody knows the visitor. His name was stolen from the tragic death of a cat. Low self esteem was his middle name, even though others, the less subtle ones, the more pronounced dwellers of this realm imagined that low self esteem is a car with self ignition. “Where are the gods when you need them?”, the visitor questioned the damp ether around him.

There were no answers to be found in this Waterhole. The big black paradise subsuming every naked men and naked women inside it. They were naked because they are a part of this hole. The monstrous close circuit television cameras bled that night when these people contested their own nudity by worshipping phallus for the state-sponsored cleanliness drive. Their disregard for clothes had something to do with the security of the eyes keeping a close watch on them. They were brave and suffered from fake diseases on the weekdays. The Waterhole lived between photographic images, robotic moves, and the desolate young lover who experimented with social apathy. Such was the misery of this dull black city, coming to life whenever traffic lights blinked, whenever their were people reading horoscopes, and whenever there were echoes of phone rings or the beeps for the messages.

“Hi! The scene is on. It is called loneliness. It is also called contentment and success. There is nobody to bother you visitor,” beeped the Waterhole’s alarm system, as it recognised a familiar pattern of disdain on his face. It may have detected the brain waves that rejected the idea of buying a drink. The resistance towards public drunkenness, therefore the no scene of profit happening here. “I am not bothered. I just want to go home, sleep on my borrowed quilt, my filthy rented apartment. Somehow, locate my own sanity in this barter of services,” the visitor answered. “But you need to pay bills, you need to eat tall claims of vigour and exhuberance, chew them with your teeth, may be masticate so that all the emaciated thrill seekers may follow you in denial ... of their own selves. They need a follower or a spa but chances they would like you to be their spa, provided you have chewed enough of your bills and shat through your pockets. How about ambushing some meat? Flesh pleasure, skin-dipped for your soggy posterior that can actually burn when on fire,” beeped the alarm system of the Water hole. It could offer just so much in terms of words, as most of the writings were just calendar dates, event promotionals and fire-fighting with the law. Law was above all but the waterhole was above the law, so the jungle rules applied here as everyone succintly referred to them as club rules.

“Yes I can throw a fit, call the fire fighters but what’s the use? You would rather burn this place down, keep it shut for a few days, get back all the money from the insurance claim. What if it made to the news, there were enough of us to make you come back, sign a few papers and exchange carburetters for jukeboxes. The show must go on but with breaks for rehabilitation and co-existence,” blurted out the contorted face of the visitor to the spirit of the Waterhole, now almost unresponsive like a computer post its shut down.

But someone knew, what someone said, but someone didn’t know how to end all. To turn things upside down or not? The waterhole was upside down for sure. It was a bat, hanging from a ceiling, probably listening to your mindwaves. Everybody imagined this waterhole to be a chandelier surrounded by a deep biblical halo. The city of the visitors, of those who went for a spellcheck of their names. The mis pronounced versus the more pronounced ones. The newpaper writers scrambled for a spell check, but often trying their best to sex it up, even their names.

“Sex who up?” suddenly the dead alarm system came to life. The visitor never imagined that the waterhole would to this thought of ‘sex’. But as long as sex was taboo for teeming millions secretly fornicating anyway, there was this mechanical excitement. The guess here would be that this excitement has been recently passed on to the machines by humans.

“The newspaper,” and the visitor swallowed his own spit. The waterhole’s cameras could detect spitting people and instantly evict them from their premises under the charge of spitting and public nuisance. Then, one day as a name like the visitor’s thought it would be nice to organise a vomit fest, the culture of spraying yeast over the fumes was suddenly mainstreamed. But spitting was not allowed, literally or figuritively.

“Ah! Now I see. You are with the resistance,” uttered the machine, that sounded like an imitation of a celebrity waiting in the queue to get her name pronounced. Resistance is the only one thing the Waterhole was scared of. What if the resistance came and took away all its pleasures, incestous or otherwise, exposing for what it was worth. The Waterhole, witnessed a protest last year, when other men and women desperate to get inside, suddenly decided to un-belong and burn a copy of the club rules. Waterhole immediately shed its sectarian shell, and a newer monster appeared in the span of six months, impressing every living being in the vicinity.

Men wanted to be hairier, women wanted grow more boobs and others wanted what other wanted and that would go on an infinite loop on this madness to try and hide ageing. The visitor could not answer such a question. The resistance, in itself, was a quagmire but somewhat larger, and perhaps a more realistic demon than this little Waterhole of intoxication. How would this visitor negotiate with the Waterhole, on the questions of selfishness and greater good if there was discussion on the resistance. The only way out of this mess, was to run. Run far from this city. Run and leave behind everything. The escapist’s route seemed the best here. The demons of resistance or otherwise were too big. Resting on imagination of a few. It was the blight, the disease of social evolution. The visitor could not confront this to be a reality. It was too time consuming. There was just one instance of life, he knew well. It was his. It was his only. The others were ghosts.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fake Encounter

Recently, two poets met after 40 years at Nizamuddin Station. I cannot say that they ran into each other because both of them were expecting this encounter. They were probably closest rivals of each other and they both wrote in English. One was brutally honest and the other was an empiricist. Beyond these ‘isms’ or moral constructs, they had an amazing ability to attack each other with poems. About 40 years ago, when the railway platforms were still under construction, the authorities blamed them for causing a riot inside the railway station. Their fans had clashed and they basked in their enmity. The authorities always blamed the poets for what happened at Nizamuddin station. But now, nobody knows them. They both found jobs with various communication wings of government and private enterprise and won awards for writing brutally honest and empirical poems. The empiricist is called Kabhina Kavi and the honest fellow is called Such in.

S: Pomposity never arrived in this station, like how it has now after 40 years.

KK: Hope you are being treated like a tramp. I have not read a single poem by you. I don’t even subscribe the magazines that carry your filth. You are pathetic.

S: This time you should at least be honest about your misdeeds. I know how you looked at that young student. Disgusting! You are filth. That doesn’t even need any personification.

KK: You are still bitter about so many things. Must be leading a horrible life.

S: We are wasting time because we do not have an audience now. Anyway this poem is what your epitaph would read like. I never imagined in my life because imagination, i thought, is unnecessary. I mean anything that needs imagination would engage the idea of absurdity and in that process, people like you miss the point of doing the things that you are supposed to do, mislead young one into believing that there is relevance in imagining things. With honesty, there is certainity. Certainty requires no imagination because certainity is build over the repetition of actions. Actions, even if they are planned, needs some work. Anyway, we have too many things here. But I could not conjure up anything more than this but what you will read to your children, if you decide to be honest like me:

I lied about the metaphors,

They were not mine,

I lied about imagining myself inside

a mirror,

It was my reflection.

I lied to you about light,

the faster this light travelled,

the darker it all seemed.

I lied to you about brilliance,

for such brightness could only kill

and you are not a bug.

I lied about the stars too,

I lied about the dark spots on the moon,

I lied that Earth as round,

look at everyone talking about this one plane of equity.

I lied to you about roses,

They were red because I chose

not many but just one.

I lied to you about beauty,

Covered up my greed and lust.

I lied to you about mountains,

and the bubbly streams,

They were only pools for people to drown,

I lied to you about you about my language,

I could have been twisting my tongue,

in the benign absence of mockery.

KK: Unlike you, I don’t imagine and laugh...hahahahha. I mean this is real. This is definitely a title for a piece, “Suchin imagined and the world ended there”. You could have been honest, because honesty, really, does not need so much of an effort. Nobody knows you Suchin. I mean nobody. Your not even an enigma. You’re nothing. Here’s a poem that you may write as one of the last good deeds:

“My name is not on the crime records,

not even on the births register,

I must have avoided the census,

and probably never turned up for the class,

nor was I admitted to a hospital,

never owned a vehicle,

and never made it to the lists

of hopefuls or has-beens,

nor the most-wanteds and never-beens.

I was never insured,

nor my name,

and together we missed publishing game,

therefore not on the merit lists

nor on the reserved quotas,

I never made to the waiting lists,

and obviously missed the voting lists,

and my faith never listed me as a believer.

I am not a prisoner, even if it seems,

not an undertrial or a convict.

Unlike everyone else,

I was never on the guest list,

nor was I featured among the top-million rich.

And from the bottom,

my name was missing from the POW list,

or any other beings of war,

even those secretly fought,

nor I was in exile or that missing spy.

No! I was not on the list of state secrets,

nor on the list of mysterious creatures,

and never shared my berth with an yeti

or a certain grey alien, who’s now revered.

I might be endangered though,

but I was never protected to start with.

And I have no reason to feel insecure.”

S: : What was that last paragraph?

KK: Do not be so hopeful. I am just emulating your pomposity in the verse.

Kabhina Kavi fell inside the gap between the railway platform and the train. Suchin, leaving all his imagination behind tries to pull him out. But Suchin looses his grip and both get mashed by the train. No one knew.


Thursday, November 17, 2011


We were negated,
opposed, deafeated,
failed, misrepresented,
hated, arrested,
jailed, failed,
for our collective
by our collective
structures, owned
by the conscious
of our faithful foremosts,
and since they could
not restore their belief
in our deeds.
So we drifted,
and we drafted
a charter,
named all of us guilty,
and committed sin together,
fled to open spaces,
ran liberated, orphaned
disowned and free.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Nervous apocalypse

I wanted to build you a home,

because loans are sponsored tombs,

And I will be dead

hanging from an insurance tree,

my corpse would hang free

of the caged spirit.

This is my body,

the altar of your investment,

my shadow needs the grooming,

and prepare for this impending doom

called senility,

this depreciating humility

of my wasted consciousness.

Then, they called it recession

for I was assured we need to rest,

To slow this malignant growth,

and we wanted that moon too,

"But there is a pattern,", he said

for this market Saturn

who feasts on hollow aspirations.

What if the tiller had taken your cheese,

and convinced you that you were rich,

and he was poor.

So a nervous Apocalypse didn’t know,

where to start or what to shoot,

For there was semblance of order

in every art and you looked so amused.

Men and women buying more papers,

sealing more gift wrappers

sans giving.

Men and women struggled too,

Begged on the streets,

across the narrow lanes,

of a loud desert of unknown hands,

waving left and right.

These hands were dreaming hard,

fingers pointing towards the sky.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Creation myth

God is a cannibal,
universe is his creature,
we are his feed,
He is the master,
He is omniscient,
and that we must know,
God feeds on us,
so that he can invite us for dinner,
in his living room called heaven.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


क्या देख रहे हो?

अच्छा! फोटो खीचने आये हो?

फोटो सिर्फ मोडल और मुरदो के खिचो, पैसे मिलेंगे तुमको|

ये कुदरत तुम्हारी नहीं सुनेगी, और न तूम उसकी सुनोगे!

क्या तुम्हे लगता है की कुदरत तुम्हारी राह देखती हुई, बन-थन कर बैठी रहती है?

"कब मेरा फोतुग्रफार आएगा, और मेरे हरे भरे वादियों की फोटो खीच कर छापेगा"?

क्या देख रहे हो?

मोडल को दिल दे बैठे हो क्या? या सपनो में मुरदो के चेहरे नज़र आते है

या फिर कुदरत ने धोखा दिया?

अच्छा चलो मेरा फोटो खिचो ज़रा|

अरे क्या देख रहे हो?


अरे वाह! तुम भी लिख रहे हो क्या आज कल?

क्या बात है?

लगता है लिखने से सब कुछ मिल जायेगा?

गुस्सा हो?

लिख कर क्या क्या मिलेगा? क्या मिलता है लिखने के बाद?

लिखना और अपना नाम छापना: काला अक्षर भैंस बराबर भी होता है? भूल गये क्या?

अनपढ़ भी समझ लेगा तुम क्या कहना चाहते हो लिख के|

चौराहे पर लिखता हुआ आदमी नंगा है क्या?

मुझे पता है वो नंगा ही होगा. खुद नंगा होके दूसरो को भी नंगा करता है!

और अपने नंगेपन तो इन काले अथवा रंग बिरंगी अक्षरों से छुपाने की भी कोशिश करता है|

तुम भी लिखो और अपने आप को नंगा करो सबके सामने!

Friday, July 22, 2011

I might be a plant,
seeding the need to be born again.
I might be a meteor's fading tail,
following your cosmic trail.

Yes, you heard it right
how can we write poems
When words were so scare,
and ink-pastels so rare?

So we thought of songs
to calm the streets,
bearing your weight all day long,
and yes, you heard it right.

But I might just be a little plant,
hoping to become a tree,
or just a pebble burning,
above the city sky.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


Newsflash: "On an average
seventy five percent of the daily eggs
survive the wrath of failing hands,
this means that
hands fail occasionally."

You can turn the soil with your own hands,
with a sublime resolve,
and wait for the rain,
wait for the avian visitors,
wait for the decay and rebirth,
"Insects may have laid eggs on the corn cobs."

My hands were quiet that day,
they did not write,
did not persuade,
witnessing the weeping clouds,
for they hang in shame,
Not a single word from the thunder,
Not a lightning strike,
I stood transfixed with my hurricane lamp.

The dramatist's hands failed to record
the sound of the failing thunder,
of the crackling of the burning leaves,
The records were filled with muffled cries,
The barking watchdog's warning:
"You've never heard the thunder sing."

And then it rained,
It rained because she could not sleep,
Her longing for rain corresponded
with her dried bathroom taps.
She may have conjured the clouds to weep again,
She might have been a poet
perhaps locked in a metaphor,
Silent as if
she whispered to the soundless walls,
Because the Walls were her witness in longing.

"You could have cried, you know,
at least, she should have cried,"
remarked a loudmouth on her expressionlessness,
still curious, it asks:
"How can that be?
How did she censure her loneliness?"
She basks at their new found attentiveness
for her, and then she masks:
"They were just field observations,"
she thought, "I just refused to acknowledge
the presence of bees."

Her eyes whispered again to the walls:
"That some eyes perform surgery,
bend the rules for a harddisk memory,
willing to record this self-knowledge,
attesting worth to self-probity,
It might have been a small memory stick
testimonials of the voyeur's fantasies,
watching a mute screen,
of images of constricting torsos
of demi-humans,
their faces obscured,
feminine chests in surviving the plastic bloom,
with a tagline; 'waiting to be devoured'.
The police, therefore, in their most poetic retort,
wrote: 'Nude bust, voyeur arrested'.

Just how limiting is this nudity,
when my hands remain empty,
and when my underarms become your
object of affection,
My souls was still stuck in a wire mesh,
Didn't you know?", she posed.

The walls betrayed, but
they whispered her secrets to the other walls
witnessing other secrets,
The walls blamed:
"The hands never failed to exchange
notes of sadness,
for a certain poem lives under a paperweight,
and others sieze a moment from thee."

(Graffiti of the parrot and the smiley is from CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India)

Monday, June 20, 2011


One day, I will be born in your courtyard,
to convince you,
that I am his creation.
A clay sculpture,
dead in its own right,
but breathing from the light in your eyes.
And then all the vapours from your garden
would conspire to bring the rains,
melting my mud heart
slithering through your vineyard.
A year later, you imagine me as an end,
sipping your wine.

Monday, June 13, 2011


I want to be a participant
in my actions,
an authority in the responsible faction,
My cartel was busted last night,
They declared it the zone of a cat fight.

I supposed to be this fumigant,
marker of your repugnant actions,
for me, mid term polls are more interesting,
than those gaping holes of fake ozone tents.
Because the tarmac suffers under my weight.

I was holding the Queen's baton,
They called it Grizzly Sabbath Revival,
When we raised a toast to the has-beens,
clouds fled her monsoon party,
They were found in a desert, naked and bruised.

I could deal with her polarities
but my verse did not permit,
so I am pouring acid on my thumb,
hoping the kink power shall rise on this day.
Than I flunk your litmus test.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Stay here

Stay here,
you fit the 20 inch screen
so well, my surveillance becomes pure,
it is good to find you
in a single column
in a morning obscured.
did you say you have a screen name?
I bartered my old one for a new game,
I have been told its unique.
Stay here.
Fame will arrive in 15 minutes.
don't go away, even though
some stars die in 15 minutes,
and we still call them stars,
we don't remember,
but we don't forget their names.
Stay here.
You will be archived, for sure.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The song for new cushions

Dissenting since 19XX

Since when?


But cushioned since then?

Comfortable jotting lines

In the papers, doodling shapes,

And lost trails over the torn maps.

Cushioned to believe,

In the craft of willing.

And this night arrived,

Draped in her sleeveless heart,

Draining the soul out this cushioned being,

Her guileless gaze

May have stalled the sunrise.

But it was for the sake his refrain,

So she sang:

“Like mystics unraveling social theory,

Diggers hiding their penury

Between their fingers stuck

In the mud of a facile earth

Willing to recast,

This cushioned frame,

With pebbles and flowers,

Baking it slowly on a low flame."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sales Pitch

Our processed meaty selves,
sprawled on an interdisciplinary bedspread.
This machine obeys my binary grunts,
processing 'freedom' that never arrived.

The vigilant, that monitor, spotting our signals,
distinct of our distaste
for your contextual analysis,
followed by these loud beeps
of our profound sirens.

Our silences are now weakened by our predictions
for the static monosyllabic lives of the future,
our sales pitch, echoing across the tarmac,
of our in-flight correspondences,
relayed in their no-fly zones.

Pheromonic phastasmogoria of the cynic,
philosophically unhygenic, yet this catastrophy
of our controlled fissioned being,
helping the effects of revolution to kick in,
numbing his rebellious senses.

In my darkest drunk corner,
I search for my snail-like survival kit,
slithering in the viscosity
of our discharges, rumoured
as the marriage contract of our mucus.

Cosmogonical accounts now rides the mediumwave,
emanating from a sedated star,
its guiding light blinding our TV screens.
Seducing our sausage bodies in million couches,
sprawled in the wet blanket of times.

(Photo by Devavrat Rana)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ata left with the Japanese

The newsroom was in a mess,

Images of a sludge eroding

The plains of Okinawa in urgency,

The rice bowl tilting slowly

As if this smiling Buddha,

Wanted to laugh some more.

One death, 200 killed

Was the last toll.

Wailing newsroom telephones,

Mothers buzz soft whimpers,

Scattered brothers with flags

White, silent scrolls,

I headed for Vishnu’s stall.

Ata! Did you meet the Japanese souls tonight?

How did they handle their apocalyptic deaths Ata?

And how did you predict your own last week?

Tiniali, where three roads merged

By your shoulder, heard your footfalls Ata.

You walked past the naamghar slowly, alone,

Crossing Muhammad Ali’s mansion,

As I write this pithy little verse.

The stories you told us Ata,

Of the cigarette ghost from Bangkok,

Was true indeed, and I am him.

You clocked 50 panamas,

I smoked 10 smalls today Ata!

But then you saw Ganges embracing the sea,

Now we shed our tears over Narmada.

I missed your funeral Ata!

And Scriptures forbid me to leave

Your dwelling before the 12th night.

My newsroom spares six days of penance,

And I am 2000 miles away from

The Basil where you prayed for us,

Reciting verses from Vishnu Puran.

May your soul rest in peace Ata!

I will remember this day,

When you went along with the Japanese.

Friday, March 04, 2011

If then else

In five finite parts after two glasses of bhang:

Hesitate and then locate
if then else,
then else,
then else,
OH! Elsewhere there is a place.
A space,
which also called interDEEPendence,
may be an interplay.


How often do we remember
prose from our past lives?
Those narratives, forgotten to last forever?
Your mockery, and my words.
Now the sun sets in confused descriptions,
As if directions were erased.


Did you travel from Amsterdam to my eyes last night?
I was dazed, locked in your embrace.


My roles have models now,
I have sold a word for two paise only,
and this word grew,
then there was a forest of stories,
protected by fibreglass dome,
The Tomb of our sorrows.


I am a junket sage,
a crafted image,
of our eyes
that never met.
I was still wondering “if then else”.
Amid blades of summer shades,
Carpe diem.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

in times

in times of sedition,
children feared for their heroes,
parents forgot bedtime stories,
narration lapsed,
foundations collapsed. times of sedition,
they served Molotov cocktails
to the numb,
they poured kerosene
on their cotton shirts,
to remain silent.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


How do I impress upon a mouth,
that my tongue is a snake,
locking love for hours,
in an ethereal daze.

How do I whisper to a pair of lungs,
that we could breathe free
floating as if we were landlocked islands,
on our beds, for days.

How do I tell her hands, and her feet,
that our encounters were perpendicular
to the silences of pyramids,
as we limped across a desert, till eternity.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Bed Time Poetry

son burns the foil
for the son of the soil,
his seventh son could coil
around the story of a pearl:

"the forest bled on the night,
of chlorinating cement water reservoir
to liberate new land of fresh farmer folk,
with flaccid barsoap around their necks.

he cleaned dhobi ghats,
shaved their heads,
performed rites, pissed and drank,

"But the sun burnt in rage!"
for the neo cosmic sage,
space age dweller,
slave of a thread.

inviting plasticine CSR big mouths,
fake awareness shouts,
tout of the future

when the warriors narrate,
they bled till death,
in their courtyards,
of dung mopped gates."