Tag Archive: #oaths


for Dr. Carl Sagan





for Carl ….





for Dr. Carl Sagan

( 1934 – 1996 )





when you visited us each week,

                    stirring wonder in all,
billions of synapses fired,

         or according to my teachers at the time,

         misfired!


        
                           and yet you comforted us,

                          your reason,

             logic,

                       and,
                dedication to the facts and always,

          

                              always

            to the science,

               and to science,
mentored us.



… and so as you left us here on this pale blue dot,


                you still live in the starstuff,


the stuff of life,

                                     mingling with the infinite depths of the cosmos,

                      

                      and as you taught us,

                          that there are more stars in the universe than all the grains of sand on all the beaches of earth,
                               still your vision lives within us all,

                       a testament to your humanism,

                    your genius,

             your warmth and all that you left behind,
& that, that humanity of yours,
             shall live on in the imagination of this speck of starstuff,

                as it floats,

                on the vastness of the great cosmic ocean …






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this immigrant skin.





empty bottles, discarded cartons, garbage bins,


littered with fragmented shards of myself,


shed, left behind,


amidst the haze of memory, strewn, deafened by the cacophony of hollow tins,


tossed away pieces of who i was, of who i am, of who i ought to be,


ever trying to belong, to fit in,


to touch, to be touched, to be seen, to be able to see.

so i moult, a deceptive social chameleon,


slimy,

deceitful,

charming,

soulless,

smiling,

barren,



casually dumping tattered emotions,

flung aside here,
bits of that old life,

that in the blurry mist swirls,


leaving laughter, streaks of tears down drain hugging boulevards,


of platinum and of pearls,
trashed alongside crushed petals,


as numbed frigid night unfurls.




this immigrant skin,

this malleable face,
my numberless, 

incomprehensible masks staring back,


a mishmash, a grotesque mosaic,


shadows of yesteryears faces,

worn and torn,


ever straining to break flee,
of this relentless restlessness that gnaws,


teetering on tightropes,
clutching on filaments of 

hope,


hope,


yes, hope,


hope that i may once again walk free,


all the while searching to find, what i have become, 


the scurrying around to find,



the real me.





         _______



( inspired  by Erich Fried’s poem “In Hiding” )





barefoot in the rain





barefoot in the rain.





tiny splashes,

toes teasing toes,

as the rain lashes,
dancing under moonbeams,

hazy lazy clouds dripping nectar,


cheek to dripping cheek,

your hand in mine,

your eyes sparkling with a fire divine.




dancing barefoot in the rain,


with you, my whole, my own, my life,


dancing with you,

barefoot in the rain,


toes tickle toes,

far from this life’s pain, 


away from the strife,


with you, within you,



I have found renewed life.








would you ?





would you ?





would you walk with me through serene fields of green,


beneath the canopy of unseen night,


where yearning aches,


in the shimmer

of moonlight.





would you take my hand so we may disappear,


finding each other

in pastel shades,


so very far away from the here.




would you lay your heart,


to rest

beside mine,



          sharing



smiles



         tears,



                  reflections



         fears,



                  aches



           joys



                  sorrows.


together,

cocooned,

rested,



in landscapes etched and sketched,


embossed,


absorbed into a cardamom mosaic

of shared tomorrows.




would you wander these clouds of dreams?


bathed in rain-drenched kisses,


soaring across the seas,


             dancing

hopping


              afloat,


together in cinnamon waters,


sharing this lifes myriad streams.




would you ?

















we get on by.



through half-dreamed emotions, the tears and the laughter of years in between, find their way back to settle in our souls, to coax hope out of despair, to try to keep it all together, as we get on by.



nothing fills the void of restless desolation, more than memories floating on the wind, dandelion seeds scattered hither and thither, seeing at last the impermanence of this fragile life, as we get on by.



hidden in the folds of joy and of sorrow, fate often flits past, its brushstrokes lingering on the mosaic of our lives, leaving traces of colour, as we get on by.



the hammer of time bangs incessantly on, as we walk, as we talk, as we love, and as we dance in the spring rains, not a care in the world for those fleeting moments, and though we travel, we get on by.



we stare at our reflections in the mirror, age carving lines on our worn faces, where did all those years go, trickling down the sieve of time, leaving us to walk on, as we get on by.



looking back through the willowy mist, we all share our pocketful of regrets, things we could have said, things that should have remained unsaid, dreams unfulfilled, knocking on the door, urging us to let them in, and it may just be, that in those moments, we clutch onto hope,


and it is hope that perhaps, keeps us dreaming,


these gentle dreams we dream,


as we get on by …









Tread Lightly.





Tread lightly, for many hearts lay strewn upon these roads,


alone, their plaintive calls heard by none,


just the birds whose doleful odes sing out in the dawn skies.




The world sleeps, the daily grind yet to begin,


when polished shoes shall trample those lonesome hearts,


that lay on roads where garbage trucks rid the new day of yesterday’s memories,


where leaves and crushed petals are swept aside,


and tattered hearts, alone again, creep into corners to hide.






 

for Delhi-waalas everywhere

bunking classes in school, trying too hard to seem too cool.

those lazy humid summer days, nodding off on the bus ride home, with Delhi feeling like a greenhouse dome.

shedding our school bags, racing to round up the friends, the 40° heat never even an afterthought, batting and bowling in our small park, till bad-light caused us to gather in the dark.

my buddy and i, singing Beatles’ songs loud enough for the two girls we had crushes on, “Can’t buy me Love” belted out till we were hoarse, surviving the glaring looks of the disapproving  grannies of course.

those were the days, of cycling to the cinema, to watch “Sholay” for the umpteenth time, sitting in the 2-rupee seats right in front, rattling off the dialogue line by line.

racing back home to catch a few songs on “Chitrahaar”, sitting up close to our ancient black and white telly, the picture quality akin to snow, not that it mattered, this was after all our most coveted tv show.

getting our ears clipped at times for coming home late, the joyful sounds of laughter from our friends who were en-route home to a similar fate.

lighting clay diyas as Diwali approached, stuffing our faces with malaai burfi from “Bengal Sweet House”, downing sweet lassis as autumn upon summer encroached.

“borrowing” friends’ dad’s scooters, the wind in our hair, inhaling the pollution without any care, off to Connaught Place for an ice-cream at Nirulas, and to stock up on our filmi music cassettes from the ever smiling Sikh man at Palika Bazaar, till we emerged above ground, each of us smelling like an incense shop from afar.

stopping off in Defence Colony, to savour some gol-gappas and ganne-ka-ras, the only word never uttered those days was “bas”.

gliding down the streets of our colony, as if we were kings, with the brash swagger that being a teenager brings.

enjoying the Diwali nights, friends exchanging sweetmeats, as Delhi resounded with firecrackers and rocket streaked skies, having our fill of never-ending chais.

winter came along with its polluted fog blanketing the freezing early morn, our pleas of “only 5 minutes more” falling on deaf ears as from our warm beds we were torn.

when spring hopped along, we waited for Holi, to sing countless a filmi-song, with our pichkaaris, and water-filled balloons, aiming at all, giggling like buffoons.

if nostalgia is a seductive liar, as I somewhere once read, then allow me to be seduced, again and again, after all these years and all these miles that have been tread.

to be taken back to the Delhi of yesteryear, ignites a fierce passion, and I crave a coconut dipped syrupy meethha paan,

for after all these years inbetween here and there,

it’ll always be “meri Dilli, meri jaan”




               ____________



Glossary:



Sholay” – A popular Bollywood film of the 1970s.

Chitrahaar” – A musical television show.

Diyas” – small earthen lamps lit during Diwali.

Diwali” – the festival of light.

Malaai Burfi” – A popular sweetmeat.

Lassi” – A popular yoghurty drink.

Connaught Place” – the centre of New Delhi.

Palika Bazaar” – An underground shopping complex in Connaught Place.

Nirulas” – A popular fast food restaurant.

Gol-gappas” – A popular fast food

Ganne-ka-ras” – Sugarcane juice.

Defence Colony” – A suburb of New Delhi.

Bas” – A Hindi word meaning ‘enough’.

Chai” – Tea

Holi” – the festival of colours, heralding the arrival of spring.

Pichkaari” – A toy like device to spray water. Commonly used on Holi.

Meetha Paan” – sweet Betel leaf filled with syrup and other fragrant spices.

Meri Dilli, Meri Jaan” – literally meaning ‘my Delhi, my life”

Dilli” – Delhi



dreams.

simple dreams of us, not of riches, gaudy and plush,



dreams of the exquisite tingle of our lips brushing – of being swept away, 

imbibing that intoxicating rush –



dreams of soaking up our shared copper sun,
your silky hair bathing my face,

through whispering rivulets of streams, our haven, our secret place –



dreams of souls knit together, of yours, and of mine,
extricated from the numbness of this plastic pantomime –

dreams afloat on streams, on the ripples of our murmuring desire,
alive, inflamed,

forged in our cauldron of love,
sensuous, fiery, never tamed –


simple dreams.

whole …

whole.

her questions came quick – do i love her,
would we share,
would we dive, into the oceans of each other’s soul.

i was quiet then, silenced, mute.

but i felt something i had never felt before –

i felt whole.



this immigrant skin.





empty bottles, discarded cartons, garbage bins,
littered with fragmented shards of myself,
shed, left behind,

amidst the haze of memory, strewn, deafened by the cacophony of hollow tins,
tossed away pieces of who i was, of who i am, of who i ought to be,
ever trying to belong, to fit in,
to touch, to be touched, to be seen, to be able to see.

so i moult, a deceptive social chameleon,
slimy,

deceitful,

charming,

soulless,

smiling,

barren,
casually dumping tattered emotions,

flung aside here,
bits of that old life,

that in the blurry mist swirls,
leaving laughter, streaks of tears down drain hugging boulevards,
of platinum and of pearls,
trashed alongside crushed petals,
as numbed frigid night unfurls.


this immigrant skin,
this malleable face,
my numberless, incomprehensible masks staring back,
a mishmash, a grotesque mosaic,
shadows of yesteryears faces,

worn and torn,
ever straining to break flee,
of this relentless restlessness that gnaws,
teetering on tightropes,
clutching on filaments of hope,

hope,

yes, hope,

hope that i may once again walk free,
all the while searching to find, what i have become, 

the scurrying around to find,

the real me.

   
               _______

( inspired  by Erich Fried’s poem “In Hiding” )

the whys and the lies




​the whys and the lies …



why do tears fall from broken eyes,
in blinding times of the lies of the wise,
when spurious tongues dribble and drool,
deeply enmeshed in the cesspool,
of me myself and i.

when hunger is leased,
venom slips through unleashed,
me myself and i,
as the scavenging resumes,
its shut-up,

and buy-buy.

Delhi …






walking through tombs … … …


bicycle rides to ancient tombs, stealthily traversing the bygone years,

those days and nights of delhi long ago, plucked heartstrings, a sitar being tuned, the cricket matches in the park, fetching the ball from monuments to long dead sultans, and rajah’s,

feasting on a masala-dosa, my bike chained to the rusty pole next to the paan-wallah,

downing numberless cups of cardamom chai, in between home and school, bunking classes to catch Madhuri’s “ek doh teen” song in a bollywood flick, sitting amongst the people, singing along in days and nights that used to be so full, so long,

now just a fading memory, of diwalis at the kumars, and eid feasts at home, intermingling with splashes of holi colour,

a synthesis of cultures, of faiths, of friends transcending caste and creed,

a delhite whistling beatles’ songs,

ah yes, nostalgia that sly deceiver,

be mine again, come to me in rain-swept monsoon nights, lit by a million diyas of softly flickering lights,

wear your kaleidoscope dress,

rekindling memories,

stay with me,

my eternal, evergreen, seductive princess.

Passion


Passion …




undulating, lengthy, scorching kisses,


peppered with sensuous caresses,


with you, i am one,


a bouquet of feelings, infusing every pore,


our bodies in unison, fused at our passionate core.




scribbling verses on on your fiery skin,


dedicating odes to you, my love,


melting into a poem of desire,


burnished against our writhing bodies,
inflamed, on fire.




these nights of hungering need,


these days aching to upon each other ravishingly feed,


swept up by our orchestral crescendo,


the symphonies coursing through our veins with greed.




no scribbled verses may even begin, to convey the heat of our shared cauldron,


we become one, we are one, 

when the stars in the sultry nights disappear,



our sweat trickling off our flesh,


the sparkle in your  eyes so crystalline, so clear.




though the years have vanished and slipped into cupboards to sleep,


though the wrinkles have imperceptibly on our brows begun to creep,


we have yet many moons to savour,


bathed in moonlight of our hearts beating as one,


within each other so immeasurably deep …






Friday at Dusk …


Blanketed by charcoal clouds,



the evening brings respite,

banishing the heat,


with the promise of a cool fresh breeze.

Offering consolation,
to me, and hopefully to the many weary,


soothing this day’s strains,

shedding the weight, of all that is dreary …

desire, trepidation, and hunger …

sprinkling cinnamon caresses, scribbling odes,


etching my words on your bare back,


desire inflames, engulfs flesh and blood and bone,
dispelling all trepidation,


the sin of hungering,


in a sweltering furnace of longing,


scribbling odes,

fingers meandering across your body,



desire, trepidation, and hunger,



fleeting, momentary,


yet abiding, infused,

relentless,


welcome.



Smile


smile …




let us walk,

knowing not the paths ahead,


let us talk,

knowing not each others tongues,


let us breathe,

the simple joys of life,

away from shredding strife,



so, take my hand,

in yours,

and let us walk and talk,


through many tears,

and an occasional smile,


as we walk on,

and on,


past our final mile …









love concedes … … …



love concedes, through bitter travails,



love recedes, into closeted wardrobes,
love exhausts, lover and loved alike,
but,
love endures, through the years,



traversing valleys of tears,



dispelling untruths,
exiling paralysing fears.


The Rohingya – A People Brutalised.




The deadened eyes scream, lashing out at our mute consciences,
the numbed faces cry out, tearing at our complicit deafness,
the streaming tears slice deep, slitting our accursed inaction,
the haunting faces of human suffering, tearing at our indifference,
the wailing children remind us, of a real evil that stalks this world.




The peacemakers, the nobel laureates, the impotent powers that be,
turn the other way, sewing their eyes shut, feigning not to see,


the misery that stalks the Rohingya, each brutal night, and every horrific day.




Where are the howls of protest,
Where are the voices of indignation?
Where are all of us, staring at this festering wound, septic and dripping with pus?




We live in a world of wretched hypocrisy, where pain and suffering abominably leers,
as we turn our heads, neglecting genocide,
unless it happens to ‘our’ people, and not to ‘theirs’.




The Rohingya stare deep into each and every soul, their eyes tunnelling into our inert shame,
while we argue passionately about the results of last night’s football game.




We are complicit, all of us to a person, having failed to be human once more,
stuttering words like these that I write, while into flesh unspeakable horrors tear and tore.




We are nothing, all of us, we are no longer human, as we drink and eat merrily, basking in our own closeted cells,
while tears of mothers, of fathers, of sons and of daughters, overflows reeking wells.




Where are the good people of this world, where are the voices so loud to proclaim, where are the obscenely wealthy countries,
cowardly silent,
as an entire people are brutalised, and savaged till they sink to their blistered knees.




The poet Erich Fried, who endured the savagery of the Nazis, wrote this …

” it happened, it happens, and it will go on happening, unless something is done to stop it from happening “.




It is happening now.
It will continue to happen, unless something is done to stop it from happening.




Now. Today.






 

The Path to the Road







The Path to the Road.




I have walked, barefoot,

gravel splintering my soul,


I have crawled, naked,

thorns piercing my heart,


I have fallen, broken,

rain slicing my mind,


I have stood, bearing,

weight on my twisting back,


I have reached,


finally,


the path I must travel,


to reach the road that shall lead me to you.








just a quick scribble …



sashaying to strains, melodies strumming my veins,



in low plateaus, through deepest vales,


soothing life’s pains,

banishing icy rains,


hushing sobs, shushing wails, grasping days by its reins,


steering a course on the seas of fate,

where fear and trepidation pales,


free winds coaxing me ever onwards, into fresh pathways, along unchartered trails,


with hope,

always hope, within sight of the lighthouse,


keeping me ever afloat, bolstering my sails.





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