The Dark of the Night

You would not have walked with me
Had the nights been not so scary
And your nightmares
All so real for you.

I would not have held your hands
Had the hands that I wished to hold
Not left me out in the cold.
Let us together, you and I

Celebrate our togetherness
Even as in our silences
We cherish our separateness.

Mar 7, 2015
First published in Indian Sahitya, Feb 2017 Issue on Contemporary Indian Poetry

A Strand of You

I was on the table
When a strand of your hair came calling.
I could see you in the kitchen,
Your face at once a storm and a breeze.

I curled the single strand of loving you into imagined shapes
And spoke to it of fascinating tales.
And as it played on my fingers,
Twirling, and curling
I could hear the music from its silent songs.

I had half the heart to carry it with me home
And hide it in a book marked you.
It smelt like July Flowers.
It smelt so much of you.

First published in Indian Sahitya, Feb 2017 Issue on Contemporary Indian Poetry

Folk Songs

Thannare thana, thinna thannaram thaana....(II)

I am not sure of the words of their songs
I am not even sure if this is my language anymore.
But as the rhythm beats
It holds me in its serpentine sway.
My soul strums up some ancient memories
Of a life in the cradle of green fields
Of grains and harvests and rainfall
And pagan Gods.
The beating of crude drums remind me
Not to forget
Where I come from.

As the music fades into the distance
I walk up to the little temple of my ancestors
And light one more lamp in their memory.
And as the wick sputters into a bright light
I am once again my great-grandfather's thought of me,
I am a continuum of His cosmic grace.

First published in Indian Sahitya, Feb 2017 Issue on Contemporary Indian Poetry

अबकी होली

इन रंगों में वो रंग कहाँ
ये रंग नहीं, है फीका पानी
जो स्वाद थी तुम्हारी
भरी इस ज़िन्दगी में
जो तुम नहीं
तो वो स्वाद नहीं।

सुनो प्रेयसी
थी अबीर जो सिंदूरी
उड़ गयी शायद
बीतते वक़्त की आंधी में।

लो आज फिर जो आयी है होली
एक चुटकी तुम अपने हाथों से
वो लाल हरी चूड़ियां की खनखन से
उड़ा देना दखिन की ओर
और रंगरेज मेरे इन रंगों को
फिर घोल देना बहती झरनों में
और ले आना मेरे आँगन में
फिर से एक ऐसी होली
जिसमे रंग हो उसके गुलाल की सिन्दूरी
जिससे कम हो जाये
फिर हमारे दिलों की ये दूरी।

Prayer of that "Thing" living in me

From less of that "Thing" thing
To more of that thing with thoughts of her own.

From less of having to play the donkey
To your grand-dad's ancestry
To freedom and equal choices.

From less of my shreiks
Being stifled in my own womb
To regaining ownership
Of that which is naturally mine.

You can be my hero
And you need no armour
Nor an Alpine account, as some would
Want me to say..

I am not your equal
Nor am I more, or a little less.
I am different,
So when you look at me
The next time
Look at me
With a look
That celebrates who I am
Celebrates Me.

(Celebrating women on International Women's Day today)

The Dark of the Night

You would not have walked with me Had the nights been not so scary And your nightmares All so real for you. I would not have held your hands...