Look Ma, Pa is killing the kids

I think we are just to many of us. The last I read, one in ten denizens of this world lives in India. Maybe this is why as a nation we encourage more of our countrymen to die like dogs everyday. For a casual onlooker, it will be hard to see through this veil of English speaking media and urban middle class slumber. You have to look closer and then you will see the gross death that lurks all around us. The problem is far greater than one well covered and highlighted rape. In India, your gender does not matter, you are raped anyways.

Consider this, our roads kill about 17 Indians every hour and maims twice as many. The Gau Mata probably will account for some of these deaths and the rest are by trucks parked on highways, trucks coming in opposite directions on a the 6 lane highway to avoid taking a larger round about, drunk drivers and villages playing Russian roulette with their lives on the road etc. Some bit of death might also be due to speeding in the absence of policing and step curves around precipices without barricades. Then there is the poorly designed automobiles that use live Indians as tests subjects and Indian roads as test track.

More death happen due to gross neglect and apathy of officials in our hospitals than due to lack of facilities. The open municipality sewers and drainage breeds the same mosquitos we blame for Dengue deaths.

The pollutants from our big industries and pesticides poison our ground water and then we blame the Cola companies for contaminating mothers milk. This ground water kills us slowly, through cancer and fluorosis and numerous other exotic mutating diseases.

In this land of plenty, the food grains produced by our poor farmers are procured through an annual charade and then left to rot in open yards and leaking granaries. The poor die of cold and hunger and gross disrespect everyday in my nation. Those whom the country's elected and the bureaucrats don't kill with their apathy die out of the insult of having born in this wonderful land at this point in time.

39

It is done.
My mom called it in
My sisters sang
FB and Whatsapp confirmed it
My colleagues cut a cake and celebrated it
I am 39 and that is it.

Long sentences

Should there be some reason
Why you invade my thoughts
When I am least expecting your knock
And you have no business to come calling.

Or is it that you think of me
At odd times and without any rhyme or reason
And your thoughts make way to me
Through the dense fog of everyday living

It might even be that your thoughts punctuates
My every day stupid living
And every time I stop to catch my breath from this living
I think of you.

Changing Lanes

I can see your blinking lights
I have felt the change in speed
At every turn and every bump
The distance have increased

Would you as you make that turn
Slow down a second and bid adieu
A casual wave of hands will do
A fleeting glance my way will do.

The roads in our lives have twists and turns
And they crisscross in mysterious waves
One running into the other
The other running into yet another
And together, they form our web of life
And hold us captive till we die.

We will meet again my love
There are no permanent goodbyes

Disturbing the dead

Utramel Temple is the designated aboard for the soul of my grandmother to rest, until it is its turn to be born again. I went there today with my dad and my uncle, three people she loved beyond human reason. In Utramel rests some ten generations of elders of our family.

Its a small temple, a little unkempt, with very dense foliage in the boundaries. I asked my dad why they don't keep it clean? The "Kavu" is never cleared, he said. The dead are resting there, you don't want to disturb them, do you?

I don't know, I said. If my disturbing could bring grandma back, I would.

We walked back home, her two sons and her only grandson, together.

For A Better Tomorrow

May some dreams perish
For new ones to take shape
From the Ashes of the ones that we buried
In hope of better tomorrows.

Death is the only guarantee
To new life.
Kill me...every time you need
To be born again.

Forgotten Memories

Some day I will sink into your past
Like a forgotten memory misplaced
And when there are ripples in your lake
You will remember of me
In its little dancing waves.

On cold winter nights
When you light a cigarette
The smoke that gets into your eyes
Will make you cry
And leave you wondering if it were the smoke
Or some memory that got dredged up in time

This will happen.
And now that I need to exit your tomorrows
I will continue forever in your yesterdays.
Live long...for with you I live along.

The day after Diwali

Once the last of the lamps had given up their lights
And the last of the crackers had petered out,
The warm flow of togetherness
From a family getting together
Survived to prepare all of us
For another grueling year ahead.

May our tribe prosper.

This Deepawali

May The sunlight in your eyes
Sparkle and lend light
To Anaars Phuljhadi's and Thousand lights.
May the anklets you wear
jingle and spread baby smiles.

May your loved ones be with you
As you celebrate
This festival of a billion lights.

Forever Times

Will you come with me
To those far off places in my mind
Where beautiful memories of long journeys
Of trains, steamers, boats and the countryside lurks.

When I see you I remember
My life from some other lifetime
The time when the sky was golden
And there was sunshine.
When my grandma waited at home
For I and my little sister
To return from the lake
With our puny catch of fishes for the day.

I was a good man then
And it was a good life once
You remind me
Of my forever times.

Sitting by the Lakeside



The next time we meet, I shall ask you to walk with me. Walk through the paved lanes around Hussain Sagar and sit on the mildly moist grass with me again. I am beginning to forget the last time we did it. There is some distant memory of warmth and cuddle, of some relationship that used to make me laugh in my sleep.

Let's explore if those people live within us still. Let's sit by the lake side and watch the kids. Hand in hand, let's sit still.

Lend Me Your Dreams

The roads are long and winding, the rails and girders keep going on. The milestones that keep me company seem to go on forever. When I started off years ago, I thought I will conquer the world, I thought I will run these roads down and from where they end, I will build new roads to places unknown.

I wont say that I was wrong, maybe just young and a little foolish. The road seem to be winning and I losing. Maybe if I had you with me, I would have tried a wee bit harder, and lot longer. Lend me your dreams will you? It will help me fuel my run to places I have never been.

Share your dreams with me for then they will become my own. I will have dreams to ride home.

Walk with me

The roads on my part of the world are long and winding. They pass through mountains and valleys, through straits and passes. Sometime it snows, but mostly it drizzles round the year.

But when you come visiting, I feel like the autumn in my life would give way to spring. Sullen clouds scurry for cover and then there is sunshine.

The drizzles bursts forth rainbows and the earth under my feet is once again solid and safe to tread. I can walk again! I love my life, and when you are with me, I fall in love with it all over again.

For that one time

I have a friend of mine fighting cancer. I lost my uncle and my grandma to this disease. I am not sure what end awaits me. Each morning I go out into life expecting to live a hundred. I want to be there for generations, forever. I plan to give it a fair try, one hundred is not a far cry! Someday I wish I could grow wings and fly.

Faintly falls your whispers

That sun silk hair of yours always had this amazing property, it made it seem as if you were gliding through everyday life. And when you spoke from behind those coal-black eyes, a hush would surround me, and even the flames on candles would stop their flutter and pay attention to what you would say. 

Most times, it would be nothing, and I love nothings. At other times it will be about your villain boss and Scooty escapades! I loved them as well. 

And now that you don't speak with me no more, faintly falls your whispers on cold cold snow. It is getting to be cold, and I never loved the snow.

Fine Dust

I keep my belongings very clean. My house, my car, my laptop... all of them are generally clean. Each day I wake up to my regimented living and go about cooking, washing and doing the dishes as if these were the only things I care for. Maybe they are, I am not sure of what the answers are. And then one day you asked me why I have this OCD to cleanliness, and I told you... I am afraid of fine dust. 

Each day that I wake up, I dust every corner of my living, every piece of instrument I handle, and every space I populate. And I will do it every day of my life. I am afraid of fine dust. I will not allow it to invade any corner of my being. Whatever I do, wherever I am, I need you to live in me everyday, just like the way you lived in me the day before. No haze shall take you away from me. No dust will ever settle on any memory of you in me.

Now It Can Be Said

Hi Sweet Stranger
Now that it can be said
All these god forsaken years later
Do you think that at the end of days
I am
What I were
All those years ago?

That which was unsaid
All those years ago
I do not have it in me
To put in words

As if it were easy
This insanity
Ask Enwright
And he will tell you

Raj
From Life in a Multiverse

Lets Talk

They Say Distances disintegrate
When people talk.
We tried did we not?
We made sounds like shrieks
And invoked storms and thunder
Within our widely spaced out lives
We talked... and disintegrated

Often, looking back I believe
We should have shared some more days
Of silences
And the storm would have ebbed
We would have been together again.

Desperate in our distances
Confined in our closeness
I wish we were like winds
One within the other

The trees would have done the talking.


More@ Life in a Multiverse

Of the Sun and the Sand

Of all the long journeys I have undertaken, the ones that I remember are those where I travelled with friends. I have not come across bad folks in my life, only some were thoughtless. I have been thoughtless and selfish too, so such people are great levellers, they help pay me for my bad deeds.

One such was when the Sun went to play with sands on a lonely desolate beach. I remember how the shorelines warped in time and it was difficult me to know where the sky ended and where the sea began. There was too much light, one could see clearly, but then, there was little to see. And when it was time for the night to fall, white light gave way to yellow despair. Later, they tell me that there was blood in crimson sky.

Later, the sands frolicked with the waves. The party had moved on!

That Smile of Yours

I remember throwing a 5 rupee coin into the Godavari. It was a long journey and it was a long bridge. Everyone around me threw coins, and I did too. The moment the coin left my fingers and hurtled into the big river, I missed it. It was almost as if something very dear was suddenly torn away.

Do you know what I had wished for? Remember the time we were out for an evening at the handicrafts park, the one that had a huge swing? You are crazy about swings, and you are crazy about sands. This place had both, and you loved swinging in the twilight, hair let lose, your dupatta catching the wind.

I wished for one more evening at the Park with you.

Time Flies

It is summer in Patna. The gulmohar trees have lost their mind, in full bloom they light up the afternoon sun into an inferno! The roads are dusty, straight out of any of those Bihari gangster movies. The women are still the fullest sharpest and prettiest among all women. I met a couple of old acquaintances, they look the same, only I look older. And what is it with these small towns, they still remember my escapades from twenty years before, of guns and goons and girls? Wish I had not been so Bihari so young, I might have grown up with so many more choices of things to do.

Yes, I did go to the places we went to, to the tree under which I kissed a girl the first time in my life...god, it had to be you. They now have a mall! A big one, the kind we see in big cities, with lovers escalators and pretty housekeeping chicks.
Twenty years is too long a time in time. Much has changed and so have we. The bel-ka-juice tastes the same, only my mother looks much older. Sister Suma still lives in church inflicted penury, dad still does social work and I still miss you like Malda Aam. Time flies to some place unknown to you and me. Someday we will catch hold of this tyrant and take him to the place where we kissed first.

Lest You Forget

There was a time when time stood still
When time slowed down to a trickle
And floated around you and me like pollen grains
Each full of promises of destinies untold
Full of stories yet to unfold

Then you spread wings
And flew into the summer winds
Time moved on
Faster than ever before
As if it were trying
To make up for lost time.

Seasons have come and gone
And you and I have caught ourselves different boats
But far ahead I see the sea
And there again some day
We shall together be.

Forever

How long will you live Raj?

Forever Princess.

No really, how long will you live?

I was serious the first time babe, I will live forever.

Dog you are, can't you give a straight answer?

I did. You remember the time my grandma died, a part of me died with her. I know that I will never ever get over that loss. And then when I thought really hard about what I was going through, I realized something very important. I realized that every time I lose someone dear to me, a part of me dies as well. I know that in this long road to death, parts of me will die along the way. By the time they put me to fire, there will be very little of me left to burn ;-)

But you said you will live for ever?

I did. My grandma lives for as long as there remains a soul in my family who remembers fondly of her, and then she lives in the stories I will tell my children and my grandchildren.
For as long as they who love me live
For so long shall I too.

I love you Raj, do you?

I do Princess.

And you will tell your children about me?

I will, I promise.

Raj,... Then I too shall live forever?

Yes my love, you too shall live forever.
Forever.

For New Beginnings

Yes I know. I have heard this said before.
Everything that has a beginning has an end.
Beginnings and ends are two sides of the same coin. They go together.

But hey, so what if that which there once was
Is now no longer there
My lines are not for things dead and past
It is for things yet to start.
This is for New beginnings
Whatever be the end.

Railroads to Infinity

Raj?
Yes Baby?

Every time I see the train tracks, I feel forlorn and lonely.
Why baby?

You know what they say about those tracks no Raj... that they run parallel to each other, and forever, they never meet. Does that sum up our lives too Raj? Will we be forever running together, but never really together?

No baby, I don't see it that way. Every time I see railway tracks, I am reminded of you and all the ruckus we create when we are together. I believe that because these tracks run parallel, good things happen. Trains run on them, and people get to meet their loved ones. I believe that there should be more trains,... and the tracks should forever run parallel.

Dog you are Raj, you and your sick mind. I wish these tracks would stop staring at each other over the ages and come together some day.

They do come together princess. They come together every time a train runs of them tracks. The train brings them together. It connects them and lends their existence a very beautiful meaning. The irons wheels carousing the iron rails makes such beautiful music, it reminds me of you. The rail roads remind me of the years I have to wait for a few moments with you.

Raj..?
Yes Princess?
Let there be more trains.
Yes Princess, let there be more trains.

You walk with me

Dear friend, 

I know you have been busy living your life. I know that in your busy living, you find little time to think about all those people who might think fondly of you. Ever so often, when the clutter of living reaches a crescendo, I take a hike into myself. I close my shop and go into my gullies and basements, I move into my dimly lit attics to collect the best of my memories… and gather strength from them. Wherever I go within myself, I find you there. I hear your voice, sometimes a crib, sometimes laughter and at times your favorite holler that used to bring down the house. I see your face, smiling at me through photographs and mirrors. I see you smiling at yourself, and I see you everywhere.

The roads of our lives are winding. It is difficult to figure out all those alternate destinies that each of our turns have in store for us. Remember, of the millions who tread their lonely lives home all over the world, there is one who never treads alone. It is I. I tread my life with you. You walk with me in my silences; you help me fight the noise of everyday living.

Thank You.

Shadows

Dear friend, Ever since you went away
I have seen the shadows lengthen
And the hours move ahead into days And Decades.
I wait for I know The shadows that lengthen with time Shorten with time
And some day when we are together I will leave the shadows
And the lost time behind. More Life in a Multiverse

Never Alone


The arrow of time hurtles forth forcing
All in its wake to stumble along
Running chasing hurrying
Trying to keep pace
With all that is ever changing
Mindlessly evasive
There is no escaping.

I too run along desperate
Holding on to my memories of you ever closer
Holding on to fleeting fragrances
To thunderclap reflections frozen dew.

I close my eyes but sleep won't come
For what if there is a turn ahead
And with me, you don't run!

River Me to the Sea


Spring me from the mountains
Run me down stream
Guide me through the valleys
River me to the sea.

In you is all there is to me
With you I am
All that I will ever be,
Hold me long hold me strong
Storm me through this life
River me to the sea.

If there is another dawn waiting
Sleep with me through the long night
And rise me up from the sea.

The Paintings I Never Drew

I am not a painter, have never touched a canvas, never splashed colors on to white space awaiting life. But had I been a painter, I would have drawn you crossing the street, catching light, long burgundy hairs catching flight.

I would have painted your smiling face looking up to the skies, your jingling laughter floating around the floors, while you chat on a telephone. I would have painted you in your thoughtful moments, deep black silent eyes poignant, your entire frame frozen, waiting, for that one one moment of clarity, and then the sun would shine again.

I would have painted you riding your bike, your face covered with a shawl, a terrorist on trawl. And I would have painted you looking at me all confused, not knowing what to make out of all the stupid things I say, giving up, and letting be.

I am not a painter but a writer. And it is you I paint, in every written word of my life.

Also Published in Muse India, Jan-Feb 2017 issue

Keep It Simple Stupid!

That you light up my desktop with your Monalisa smile, and look at me from files and windows in which you hide, is no surprise.

When night falls and it is time to sleep, I love to blow a kiss your way, hoping that I have not missed.  That wild draft of wily air which fondled your locks, was my gentle kiss goodnight. Whoosh . . . Goodnight.

January Chill

Life has a beautiful way of finding reasons to live. In its strife and its grace, in its rhythm and its pace, it evolves its own definitions, theories and beliefs. It is for life to find its reasons to live, innovate... I just participate.

Let Me In

For the moment past, I sing no songs, for the moments yet to come, I do not make haste. What will be, will be. For the good times and the times that were otherwise, for the far away and the time that is near, for your smile behind those lashes and your tears behind that smile, for restraints and for flight, for the days yet to be and the nights that have passed, the secrets from our yesterdays will be the fairy tales of our tomorrows.

Open your heart and let me in, why do we need this strife. When the waves hit the shores, there is always, always some respite.

Nicotine

I can snuff you out Like a cigarette butt But the smoke that gets into my eyes And the nicotine that stains my heart Will eventuall...