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The Better Version

Some versions of us live on through the eternal onslaught of time. Deep inside, that person is still there, who last saw you walking Into the land of frozen memories. I remember you as achingly beautiful in your off whites And those were happier times Looking back, it's like a Christmas movie Santa and snow and miracle and all Some version of me still lives there With some version of you.

Lightning

Over the years Across thunderstorms I have grown to fall in love With all the lightnings  That lit my broody skies And fear the thunder  That reminds Constantly Of what I survived.

The Roots that live on

Why do roots stay alive long after the tree is gone?  When the little one asked this to me, I was busy clawing and pulling and hacking at an old stump in the garden. I looked around and sighed. All the hard weeds all around the garden were fathered by this one tree.  Wherever its roots went, it spawned stories that entrenched itself like fables and myths.  Looking back,  I think it would have been easier living with her Than dying everyday,  fighting her memories  Spawning all over Like weeds in an eternally damaged garden.

Revolving Door Syndrome (RDS)

The stories that my mind weaves  For me to hold on to memories of you Are finely spun silken strands of time Crisscrossing through the ups and the downs Of our tumultuous universe. Here I find a wormhole and claw back to where we first met and there the gravity from a distant star Bounces me off the make believe ride And I lose you again It is not unlike a revolving door That opens And closes Into a room full of you.

You don't fall in love with the Sea

It was her idea to visit the seashore. She rarely asks anything of me. At the break of dawn we were near the Jetty. Not many peop le around at this time. I looked at her closely as she looked at the waves splashing on to the wooden decks. There was the smell of dead and drying fish, and barnacles, and burnt diesel from the boats. I looked at her for a long while, expecting that she would say something to bridge the divide. Nothing. An hour later, when the crowd of morning walkers started increasing, I asked her: Shall we go? . A nod from her and we were back on the road. As I dropped her home, I looked at the house, the street, the gate with the postbox and the hedges and the weeds once more. I knew that if there is a next time, it will be a long time later.   You don't fall in love with the sea There is nothing from these shores That can fill her longing for the Oceans      

What made News?

20 Indian Soldiers martyred in border skirmish China reports casualties too (Big relief) For our Sons who died We killed too Cameras to be fitted in Covid Hospital Wards Says the Home Minister Now we can record the dying Sleeping with the dead Migrants should be transported back home Within 15 days Rules the Hon' Supreme Court, (Only) 75 days after the lockdown Was first imposed Sushant Singh Rajput hangs himself He was 34 Who are you to call us lunatics Asks Kangna in her Whatsapp post Chennai count of deaths double Clerical error blamed Maharashtra deaths may double A clerk is being identified So that he or she may be blamed Why is Telangana not testing Asks a bewildered High Court Bodies of two dead persons missing Family seeking answers And the State Home Minister says These are difficult times Such things happen Next time, we will paste photos over the dead bodies That way you can take a selfie And pray that the one inside Is your dad Or your brother Or the beggar Who died of

Into the night

The day is getting shorter  The nights, longer.  Tired from all the shining All season long The Sun slowly gives way To the waiting Stars in the sky.  I can see so many more of them  The new ones Of the old ones Who did not have time enough  For their final goodbyes.  ----- In memory of the elderly who passed away during these pandemic times. Image © Jonathan McHugh 2020

This Tear in the Fabric of the Universe

I look around and I see all my known acquaintances busy as an ant. I think they live in a different dimension. I think I am plugged into the wrong nodes of the universe. The blind beggar woman who lived in Bolaram Bazaar is probably dead. It was only the other day that I picked her up from the middle of the road and gave her some water. There were so many people around her. No one came. I asked a bystander who was cuddling his dog what had happened? She just fell down, she is probably dead, he said. I was on my morning walk that day, and on the way to the park I had seen the woman begging into thin air. On my return, as if by some invisible force, I was driven to the bazaar road. Like all the educated crowd, I absolutely stay away from busy places for the fear of catching the Virus (Covid19). But it was almost as if I knew that something had happened to her. And there she was, lying bang in the middle of the road, with scores of people simply looking at her still body. As if it w

Muddy flows the Ganges

The river of time flows muddied  Through weeping shores in spate. It carries with it The hunger of our orphans And the neglect of our masters Here a child died  There a friend held on To a dead friend Here a mother gave birth To a still-born And there a old man Sang to the Sea For redemption from the heat The sins of many Would hang heavy on all of us And when it is time to collect Let's be ready,  without apologies To pay.  The river of time runs sullied From the lament of the multitudes Who were sacrificed by some  Who blamed a virus For the wretchedness of their soul.

Us and Them, at the Secunderabad Station

They see my starched white linen And my custom leather shoes: Another White guy, they think And don't hold my glance They make way for me So that their dark hungry frames And their smelly patchy clothes Don't invade my privileged spaces Nothing from their struggling beings Should waft into my being And fight my Davidoff. Even their children A ball of unkempt hairs and leaky nose Rarely return my smile Ma Bharati This land that I walk on Is not my land It is their land The land of the slowly dying And the barely living I should be dead For the unforgiving sin Of merely being alive. 

Come with me into the Sea

The undulation of the terrain Matches the ruggedness of the soul Here I grow into you Grass and roots and boughs and all And there you run away from me Silt and soil and sand and all Here I am the land And there you are the river Together, muddied and sullen and silent We whirl our destinies Into the awaiting Sea With our longing and our lust And our memories and our Souls entwined We all journey Into the Sea, Into the Sea.

Standing Tall

Can I stand tall In the face of this all As if it were my life And it were my battle And my hell Full of my favorite daemons In my own closed attic rooms, Alleys and corridors? Can I call to this Yagn All the angels and the Gods And all the Patriarchs From the abode of the Old? Can I stand tall In the face of this all As if it were my life? I close my eyes And I can see you sulking through Shoulders drooping Eyes no longer ablaze Your soul tired From battling all this All alone.. I can I Can.

Can you still hear me?

If I could reach out to you Through the crisscrossing noise Of the crushing static undertones You would hear your name Read out aloud In every prayer I let out Into this now empty universe. You are in the crackling And the sputtering Of breeze stricken diyas From all Diwalis past You are in the daily din of life That is walking by Without looking back at the souls Stranded on cobblestone pavements And left behind in time. If I could reach out to you Through the dense fog Of distant minds and angry hearts You would hear my heart beat With the same erratic thump That you left behind.

That City Girl

For me you have been a traveler The one who rides the oceans and the big blue seas Seeking experiences That can be framed into postcards Of wonderful memories For a future  That is yet to unravel.  Your today's rush you Into your tomorrows  And in its wake Small boats likeme Would mostly sink Into long forgotten memories Of abandoned islands  Where you now live no more.  As I watch you sleep The glasses back on your face The little girl back in the rug The silent one yearning for a hug I feel you tug at my cuffs Ten more minutes,  you say Stay with me,  for ten more minutes... And then I am scared Of who you will be When you wake up.