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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)

सकरात की शाम

आती होगी ना उनको भी अपनें कटी पतंगों कि यादें जो उड़ गयी क्षितिज में और फिर न लौट आएंगे उन पतंगों की यादें। मुझको तो है याद मेरे दोस्त वो बत्तीस रुपैये कि लटाई वो मांझे की सरसराहट और हाथों में तुम्हारे नए लाल हरे चूड़ियों की खनखनाहट। चलो एक बार फिर मिल पतंग उड़ाएं तुम चकरी संभालो और हम ढील लगाएं इसी बहाने हम और तुम सुनहरे आसमानों से हो घुलमिल फिर संक्रांति मनाएं।

If you had loved me...

If you had loved me, Half as much as I love you, That would have been quite intolerable, Even to myself. If you had ever looked at me, with the intensity Of my hungry stares, I would have probably felt My soul clench within My migrant heart as well. There ought to be no justice In love As in life And as in life A poetic pause Need not always precede The sullen cry Of the unloved.

To the Years that are yet to Come

In the long innings of this life, we are like the stage where the drama unravels. The Plays change, the players too come and go. The audience is like the river of time that runs through us. There are bright lights and wonderful stories and some stories that run to empty seats. Whatever be your story this coming year, pray don't be enamoured by it, nor be bogged down. These are just stories. Stories change. But life as it is, is lived forever between the shows and the silences that follow when the curtains come down. You are the stage. While you may have a little say in the stories that play out in your life, I hope you learn to enjoy the successful ones, and forgive, or forget, or do both, to the ones that never really took off. This is not a new year wish. It is what I wish for you, every year of your life and for the lifetimes that are yet to come. Happy All Years.


It was not planned. It was a government office. A private sector bank representative was called in for some support. The person was supposed to come by 10. It was already 12. I was busy on my laptop. Three others in the room were busy in their own works. And then the door opened and she walked in. Just like that. 24 years of thinking about her, and she just walks in. It were as if there was a tear in the fabric of my universe, and she just appeared out of nowhere. We talked like two perfect strangers. If she recognized me, she gave me no indication of that. I wanted to hug her across the table. But that was not why we met. Later, as we said goodbye and she crossed the busy road, my heart leaped at the familiarity of it all. All these years, and she still jump walked!