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Thursday, May 05, 2016

hello, hello (july 14, 2010)

birds chirp
as is their wont
horns blare
baring irritation
people talk, other
people turn deaf
life goes on
hello, hello?
a language
is awaiting discovery
to make us listen
meanwhile...
bullets reign 
                  and rain
and suddenly
others discover
their distaste
for violence
birds chirp
on keyboards

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

upset stomach: discordance, disconnect and dichotomy August 09, 2010

c
in that room full of people, and sounds of mirth and laughter, blending with clinking  glasses and wayward nibbling at finger food, when the current died the stillness could be cut with stares (and forks)

the crows cawed, mynas cooed, distant traffic roared in the enforced calm

even the heartbeats (if you read and believe this) could be heard

the host left the room (the hostess'  smiled a frozen smile but did not budge)

the platoon of servants scurried to find the man - the man responsible to switch on the generator, i could feel the sweat form rivulets and start descending down the nape

after an eternity, oh,  in reality about  a minute or two, the generator roared, and in seconds our postulations on floods, visits abroad, target killing, designer fashion resumed

the generator's thud a distant murmur now

welcome to the first world dwellers in the third world

****

it is eleven pm on a mini bus that seats 22, but was carrying over forty sweating bodies inside

on the roof, and clinging to the sides another 30 going home

i wondered if they were wondering -

if their families had something to eat and drink 
if they had a little water today...
if it is quiet, with no killings...
if they would make it safely...
to trudge back to work the next day

they have no time to worry about electricity

i throw up 
(at the discordance, the disconnect and the dichotomy)
in this absurdistan
and the host kindly inquired
if my stomach was upset

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

the wrath of water i & ii

  • “Rau mein hai rakhsh-e-umar kahaaN dekhiye thamey
  • Na haath baag par hai na pa hai rakaab mein

  • (Age travels at galloping pace; who knows where it will stop
  • We do not have the reins in our hands nor our feet in the stirrups).”

  • Asadullah Khan Ghalib - translated by Khushwant Singh

i

kis say gila karaiN, yeh kiya maajra hay
yeh roshinouN ka shehr, shehr e khamoshaan hay 
sukoot buland minarouN ki sada say toot ta hay
aur zinda lashaiN,  bay awaaz 
bay maqsad, sarkaiN naapti haiN
oofak kay par matlaashi aankhaiN
fasurdagi aur naummeedi maiN gharq
siskioun aur shikwon kay bojh talay
ilzamoun ki aah o fugaan maiN
kisi madfun junnat ki talash may haiN

complain? bemoan? sigh?
the city of lights has turned taciturn
silence cascades from under the minarets
the walking dead, doleful and diffident
wander aimlessly
gazing at distant horizon
through prisms of regret and hopelessness
anchored by unreleased sighs, queries
and inaudible allegations
for a disappeared shangri-la


kub fitrat, ya qudrat nay suni hay
zinda laashouN ki  faryad bataiyay


ii

when has nature answered
the call of the living dead?

door ik basti maiN
zindagi kay kuch aasaar haiN
oonki sarsarati siskiyoun maiN
kuch gila hay, kuch faryad hay
aur aisa mehsoos hota hay
kay natwaaN  ummeed ki devi maiN
abhi zindagi ki kasak baqi hay

in some far off town
some people are still alive
and their barely discernible sighs
reverberate with yearnings
carried over here by gusts of wind
their leaden hope
                        still flickers with signs of life

Monday, May 02, 2016

wrath of water ii

when has nature answered
the call of the living dead?

door ik basti maiN
zindagi kay kuch aasaar haiN
oonki sarsarati siskiyoun maiN
kuch gila hay, kuch faryad hay
aur aisa mehsoos hota hay
kay natwaaN  ummeed ki devi maiN
abhi zindagi ki kasak baqi hay

in some far off town
some people are still alive
and their barely discernible sighs
reverberate with yearnings
carried over here by gusts of wind
their leaden hope
                        still flickers with signs of life

Sunday, May 01, 2016

wrath of water i


  • “Rau mein hai rakhsh-e-umar kahaaN dekhiye thamey
  • Na haath baag par hai na pa hai rakaab mein

  • (Age travels at galloping pace; who knows where it will stop
  • We do not have the reins in our hands nor our feet in the stirrups).”

  • Asadullah Khan Ghalib - translated by Khushwant Singh



kis say gila karaiN, yeh kiya maajra hay
yeh roshinouN ka shehr, shehr e khamoshaan hay 
sukoot buland minarouN ki sada say toot ta hay
aur zinda lashaiN,  bay awaaz 
bay maqsad, sarkaiN naapti haiN
oofak kay par matlaashi aankhaiN
fasurdagi aur naummeedi maiN gharq
siskioun aur shikwon kay bojh talay
ilzamoun ki aah o fugaan maiN
kisi madfun junnat ki talash may haiN

complain? bemoan? sigh?
the city of lights has turned taciturn
silence cascades from under the minarets
the walking dead, doleful and diffident
wander aimlessly
gazing at distant horizon
through prisms of regret and hopelessness
anchored by unreleased sighs, queries
and inaudible allegations
for a disappeared shangri-la

Saturday, April 30, 2016

off pedestal

selectively, blindly
the iqra followers
neither read, hear nor see
words writ large
on clouds, in shadows cast
regurgitating
like meadow cows
from a less polluted time
heart-beats on papyrus
soothing, straight
from the heart-mind
braving and surviving 
shamal and chubasco
embers of discontent and  
empathy laced love
nerve twitching wisdom
whirl with the silent beat
resonating with silence
rustling over rolling dunes
word worshipers seek more
a pursuit with no end

what do whirling dervishes know?
but they know, they know!
for merrily they go round 
                      and round
                                swirling to
word-music reverberating
in their halo
succumbing to the magic
                     of word-ecstasy
[overheard at the next table
friends? what friends?
can you share a grave
with a friend?

                 a  thought

love them, loved them
ensconce them, ensconced them
value them, valued them
worship them, worshiped them!]

amidst all this worshipping
words crumble off the pedestal
and end like tsunami whipped bodies

first published Oct 09, 2010

Friday, April 29, 2016

empty cradle ii

the baby 
is no more
a bigot
subscribing to hateful gods
robbed the cradle
unsmiling, masked
unremorseful
in the name of my Lord

empty cradle i

Thursday, April 28, 2016

empty cradle i

rocking an empty cradle
dreaming of
long dissolved past
the fragrance 
chortling laughter
mirth and glee
still plastered 
on the walls
the meticulous mother 
folds her sighs
in the empty cradle

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

the red carpet of life

the red carpet of life

the red carpet of life
leads to only one door
young, old, rich, poor
willingly or grudgingly
all walk up to that door 
no paparazzi take pictures
to make to the glossies
what happens past that door
is the stuff of conjectures

the surprise is 
till that moment of reckoning
that door is ignored 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

the lords and pehlawans

the lords of the akhaRa
the pehlawans of the ring
don straw caps, den(a)tured smiles
ride whipped voters
enjoy perks, privileges

tweak laws pass bills
sweep under the charpoy 
refer to the committees 
commissions judicial or...
appear active and take turns 
to pillage the national pot

the lords and pehlawans
lack the commitment
of the orchestra on titanic

and
await same fate

Monday, April 25, 2016

kal kiya hu'a

oos nay kaha
tum bhee khao
hum bhee khaiN
bari bari ka yeh khail
ram-zani nay 
kardiya kharab 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Jip-Jip

Jip jip is no Sanskriti for rip rip...neither ripping nor resting.

This is the story of an errand.

We had just returned to Thamel, Kathmandu a day ahead of our flight to Bangladesh. Checked into our hotel, changed and showered and went out on an errand.


Flashback to Pokhara: "What are these guys whispering into your ears," asked M. 

Every 200 yards, a variety of Pokharans would inquire if I needed to restock on hash. I would politely decline or ignore their concerned offer.  

There was this one time, just by the lakeside, where a gangly Nepali youth approached me and said:

"Do you want a tourist car?"

"No."

"A guide?"

"No."

"A taxi?"

"No."

"Hash?"

"No I don't need any hash, but ask the lady," I replied pointing to M.

He looked incredulous but did not approach her.


Out in the Thamel streets, nondescript passersby would whisper in my ear what sounded like "Jip, jip."

First couple of times, I smiled back at them and said "Jip, jip."

But after a while it got tiresome. Both of us had no clue what these strangers meant by "Jip, jip."

***

Fast forward to our return to the hotel room and a visit to the bathroom. As I tried to unzip, I discovered that the zip was already unzipped.

rekindling passion

let's be unfriendly
again 
      only
to rekindle
      passion

argue 
till the sunrise
cut no corners
then exhausted
      slumber
spooning
      waking up
      friends again

Saturday, April 23, 2016

milap ka maza

milap ka maza

chalo ik baar
phir say dushman
bun ja'aiN 
hum donoN

:)

(minors should skip this)

Friday, April 22, 2016

silence

silence

understood by
animals
mothers
lovers

misunderstood by
anchors
readers
spouses

Thursday, April 21, 2016

the other wingless bird

wingless bird 
by the watering hole
resigned to fate

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

mirror of truth

the sages fought
over the mirror of Truth
now it lies shattered
each piece valued
possessed
for the truth
it deflected

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

the wingless bird called time

the wingless bird called time
soars over mountains and lakes
buzzes through day and night
glides over emotions
stands still over the noose
stretches minutes into hours
prolongs anguish
cuts short joy
but lacks faith 
                    and faithfulness

waits for no one
waits upon no one

Monday, April 18, 2016

the world is round

at the intersection
they took different paths
and disappeared
only to meet (inadvertently)
at the same intersection
decades later


much had changed
it was an effort
to recognise each other
                       and love
that existed once
was buried
under time's avalanche

Sunday, April 17, 2016

duniya gOl hay

chaltay raho
moR aa'aiN gay
rahaiN bad'l jaiNgi
chaltay raho
chaltay raho
ik rOz
oosi moR per
phir mulaqat hogi
haan
'pehli si muhabbat'
shayad
na hogi

Saturday, April 16, 2016

idiocy

is it a cadency
borne of complacency
or immunodeficiency
that catches fancy
of pseudo aristocracy
or inefficiency
of the kleptocracy
we call k(h)akistocracy
both fed by illiteracy
having no coherency
just bankruptcy
of id, idea and idiocy

Friday, April 15, 2016

bahar

kali jo khili
dekha her soo khushi say
kali jo khili
fasurda hu'a maiN

Thursday, April 14, 2016

the brick

broken brick
now lying shattered
on the ground
had witnessed dastaans

once it was set
in a house
where children frolicked
lovers glanced shyly
argued and made up
families moved in
                         and out

after the last family left
(they whispered ethnic cleansing)
house was abandoned
nature took over
the house unraveled 
brick by brick...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

aa'mud e bahaar

bahar aaee
phool khilay

lo woh chalay
lo woh bhee chalay

chaman choRh ker
pardes chalay

humaiN choRh ker
pardes chalay

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

fire

in the factory
in the temple
in the towers
in the ghettoes
in the belly

raging fire
in the mind
usurps pain
unmitigated

Monday, April 11, 2016

kash-m-kash

paani her soo
kashti naat'waan
patwaar ghayab
paas srif 
kitab e shariat
oos ko pee'aiN
khaiN
ya jala'aiN

Sunday, April 10, 2016

adrift: choices, choices, choices

on a boat
mid ocean
destination not known
oars lost
no life jacket
water or food
only a book 
of shariah
to eat, drink 
or burn

Saturday, April 09, 2016

a smooth ride

the pot holes of facts
the divide of truth
on the highway of life
makes not a smooth ride

Friday, April 08, 2016

azaanaiN hee azaanaiN

bhai agha shahid ali
khush qismati hay aapki
srif post office ka rona hay
yahaaN tou her soo mehaz
azaanaiN hee azaanaiN haiN

Thursday, April 07, 2016

tagayyurat e zindagi

zindagi guzar hee jaati hay 
zik'r kya karaiN
suraj ki tapish
yak'h tareekiouN ka
mauj e havadis baha ker
sub ko waheeN lay jaati hay