Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Parasite

On a nescient morning; you turned a corner-
-and there I was, four bags of gloom.
One for each week of your joys I'd entomb.
Your zest I'd consume.

I loomed, a dark truth behind your generous smiles
I leaped when they left with your strength to smite.
I dragged a tenuous you away from the light.
A soul-thirsty parasite.

And in the most vulnerable of nights,
I seeped through the cracks of your tattered floor.
Your walls I broke, your dreams I tore.
The nightmare you abhor.

There's no definitude of this anhedonian state.
"If thou live to see like right bereft,
This fool-begg'd patience in thee will be left."
I bid no precept.

The morning of the fifth week came, and I rose;
You eagerly kissed me goodbye at the door.
I applaud your triumph, but do keep score-
-I promise there's more.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Only Constant

Flowers wilt, wounds scar;
The earth erodes, wombs are blessed.
Some take to the mountains to convalesce,
Others forge a new path by the evening star.

Today souls gather, tomorrow disband
Like incessant scribbles in the sand
decimated by the tides of time;
Worth a million today, tomorrow not a dime.

Our constants are but variables, 
But constant variables there will be.
It's only a matter of time before you see
That the only constant is change.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Appraisal

A salute, crisp; a jaw, set.
A hand, precise, armed to beset.
Where you perceive a woman, too frail to kill,
I see a soldier, with a passion to fulfill.

Skipped meals and sleepless nights,
Patience encased in doctor's whites.
Where you perceive a woman past her best days,
I see sacrifice, and countless lives saved.

In a hard helmet and blue overalls,
She builds your floors and puts up your walls.
Where you perceive a woman in a hot costume,
I see an engineer with your ego to deplume.

We need no handicap, nor your appraisal.
We stand our ground, quite equally able.
We do all you do, so why compare?
We will, forever, our choices declare.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

In Limbo

To answer your question: I am still here,
Sitting on the same edge of the same raggedy chair,
Ignoring bits of leather flaking off its skin
Onto dropped shoulders clouded by unwashed hair.
Worry not, I stay surrounded by recreation -
So I keep well; there is no need to despair;
I have known worse, so I know what to make of this,
With that last dark past I couldn't possibly compare -
That was hopelessness, but I've remitted my sin,
This is emptiness at best, to be completely fair.
I was dealt a generous hand, so I would not complain;
Blame the stagnancy taking a toll on my welfare.
It's just that you think you've left that dark place behind,
But it finds new ways to creep up on you everywhere.
So to answer your question, I'm still all here,
But it gets morbid in here, so I remain in prayer.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

FYI

I'm not the fairer sex. I will not bank upon an outward appearance to prove my inner worth.

I'm not the weaker sex. I will cry because I express freely, and I will move on without looking back.

I am not your mother. I will not take responsibility for balancing emotions in this world; please look to someone else for validation.

I am not the gatekeeper. I have my own priorities and it is not my job to tell you what yours should be. 

I am not a woman - aesthetic, caretaking, child-bearing, world-feeding, forgiving.

I am a human being. I will be selfish. I will be lazy. I will control my body, and my fate. I will make mistakes. I will take revenge. I will lead. I will follow. I will co-exist, not support. Fix your own problems.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Twisted Equations

She played with her long, hazelnut-tinted wavy hair as she wrote - hair like the kind I pushed off my own forehead as I sipped my mocha. It seemed so natural, sitting here in this isolated run-down Turkish joint on the corner of Seneca and 2nd St, with this woman in her late 40s without betraying her years; yet so unnatural was the nature of the invisible link between us: a link that wasn't what it should be, and definitely was what it never should've been. I wasn't in love; no, I was hungry... Hungry for the intimacy of the unspoken witching hours of the night that we shared, drowning ourselves in guilty gratification. We never attempted to justify ourselves. For me, she was only a woman that I had just met two months ago for the first time, not the cause of my existence and the scar of my single father's life. We were one, by DNA, and by the act of inseparation that unified us in an escapist attempt to defy all reason.

I looked at her hands as they furiously filled up the paper. She bites her nails, I mused to myself. I definitely got that from her.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lone Wolf

Shield up, for you are alone
As you journey across the alleys of vice.
Be not trepid, for they won't think twice,
and neither must you.

At best, it is barbarism.
You may be blessed with betrayal and malice;
Seek solace in solitude; to hell with the callous,
Trust not another soul.

At worst, it is genocide;
Though you never found out what it is you belonged to.
They were out to obliterate, and you may not construe
That you were simply in the way.

Shield up, for you are alone.
The monstrous bully oppresses; the sly witch ensnares.
They will never be yours, as you must not be theirs.
Ready the lone wolf.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Book Review: The Winds of Hastinapur by Sharath Komarraju



So the first thing you do when you pick up a book is turn it over and read the description in the back. If the plot line grips you, you give the book a shot. In all honesty, the one provided at the back of The Winds of Hastinapur may seem more like a narrative than an attention-grabber, and in a shop, I might have put the book right back down on the New Releases table. But here’s the thing: the book IS just that. And that’s okay. The essence of this novel lies in the re-creating of a well-known story (read: the Mahabharata) from the potential thoughts of (gasp) the women in it (read: Ganga and Satyavati). And that, in itself, is a hell of an idea. 

The story begins at the end, at the feet of a dying Ganga and with the deaths of the Pandavas atop Mount Meru. Between the theft of a cow and the unwelcome bearing of a curse, the first half of the book (Book One) is dominated by the demystification of the not-so-pure inhabitants upon this magical mountain called the Celestials. When the daughter of the Lady of the River is to bear the human births of the Elementals in the form of children that she must kill (all but one), the lives of a whole range of unsuspecting victims are set into motion. We see the eagerness of an adolescent girl to grow into a woman, and we see her exposure to the real world turn her into one in the most unfortunate of ways. Ganga is real: she disobeys; she protects; she rebels. She sacrifices and she kills. And equally real (and often purely cruel) are those that have been the cause of her consequences.  

As Bhishma starts to take center-stage, we move focus to Satyavati (Book Two), the woman who perpetrates the second half of the curse – the suffering of Prabhasa, the Elemental who is to experience immortality in the world of mortals without the pleasures and pains of female companionship. A fisher-girl married into royalty at the cost of a potential king’s true realization, Satyavati constantly suffers from complexes that allow no husband, son or daughter-in-law to ever truly achieve happiness, and her somewhat self-imposed misery provides contrast to the victimization of Ganga, which certainly garners more sympathy from the reader.

At crux of appreciating this book is the author’s ability to characterize, flanked with doses of peripheral ornate descriptions. What I wasn’t a fan of were the periodic stretches of internal thought processes coupled with peripheral ornate descriptions. There are slow moments in the novel that allow for putting the book down for a while and getting back to it later when you’re ready for a little more of controlling fates, seeking truths and heeding commands. The other thing is that the novel ends without providing enough motives to want to read on. The book would work fine as part of a trilogy, but it doesn’t end with much hint at a trilogy, and it doesn’t stand alone too well either. 

Nevertheless, it has been refreshing to read what truly was more of a re-creating rather than a re-telling of an epic so cherished by me, especially from the perspectives of female characters that we’ve never heard from before. The idea of the book is excellent, and I look forward to potential sequels.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The girl with the red bag

In a quiet corner of the park, on a solitary old rusty bench, is a girl with a red bag. She comes here everyday, pulls out a pen and notebook, and starts to write. On most days, pigeons gather at her feet and she feeds them birdseed. Sometimes they don't come. But she always carries the birdseed in her red bag, just in case they decide to show up.

The regular park-goers know her simply as the girl with the red bag, always to be found at that same old rusty bench, in sunshine or rain. Her eyelids, dark and lowered, would be raised every now and then to glance at passers by. Some people like to stop and chat with her; a few even sit down next to her for a while. Others merely jog past with an acknowledging nod or a quick smile or wave, which she returns. She looks on after the people she talks to as they walk or jog out of her sight, and then returns to her writing.

The girl with the red bag, with her hair loose around her shoulders, flying across her lowered pensive face in the breeze, is a regular part of the morning walk of those who care to notice. Sometimes they see her frown at her notebook; sometimes she smiles. Occasionally her eyes are moist. When she is not engaged in conversation with a park-goer, she is buried deep in her notebook.

Today, I stop in front of the rusty old bench. It has been empty for three days. It is missing a certain red bag full of writing and birdseed. The usual people at the park have asked each other about her for the last two days. Today they seem to go about their usual business. I shrug and move on. Maybe she will come tomorrow. Maybe not. I have somewhere I have to be. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Tribute to the Professor

He struggled to sit down, and with a groan of pain, managed to finally do so, his slumped shoulders, shrunken with age and resignation, settling into the back cushion of the couch. He stretched out his aching long legs, indicative of the tall, broad-set man he once used to be. A man of the frontier, defeated by more than half a century of betrayal and shattered feelings, but too proud, like his ancestors, to admit it, he loved to reminisce about the brighter days. His still-twinkly eyes lit up with memories of the formidable Professor the world once knew, of the brother who swung a bat or two alongside his brothers in defense of honor, of the son who defied his family of businessmen and brought forth knowledge, protection and love to hundreds of students. As quickly as they lit up, however, his eyes would lower in the heaviness of debt he felt he owed the world with the slightest mention of his son. And then the sunken man was quiet, seeking temporary relief in the comfort of the couch, repenting silently on his own.

-------------------------------------

Ram pulled up his rickety scooter alongside the comparatively enormous Tata Safari and I got off. I loved the bustling market area of the Cantt. As I took in the familiar cosmetic shops, chaatwalas and the oddly placed Levis showroom, I followed my wobbly nanaji through the narrow streets he knew blindfolded to the small photo studio where we had been earlier in the day to get a passport photo of me done. He walked in and was attended to without having said a word. I mistook it for the lovable small-town hospitality I adored. He received the tiny envelope from the owner and handed it to me without a second glance. I looked at the neat hand-writing on the envelope. "Professor Bhatia", it read. I smiled. Decades later, this humble old man was still the grand Professor to the Cantt.

Fan Fiction

As I trot unsteadily alongside the very familiar brown pants here, I can't help but wonder how it is that we manage to consistently and periodically get ourselves trapped in insane situations such as these. If it weren't for the Captain's leaky backpack again, I might have been distracted by that alley cat whose flashing tail has been appearing and disappearing on us since the second we got off the docks and entered this musty Arabian market on another wild-goose-chase. But instead, I find myself pondering the meaningless tiresome escapades that my human never ceases to dig his nose into. Sigh. Mark my words, I will be found at the end of teh day rescuing him yet again from the dungeons of whichever diabolical villain Tintin has been chasing this time. As for now, thank dog for heavenly drops of this Haddock whiskey.

The Crossing



Standing at the border, I glance back at all there was, and forward at all there would be. And I find myself at the stage at which I am ready to step over the line. But not alone; not this time. I couldn’t imagine the future without the one thing that got me where I stand today. 

This is no drug, though I am thoroughly addicted. It does not destroy me – rather, it redefines me. It breaks me down into my essence, my very atom, and rebuilds me up as a part of a woven matrix of two entangled journeys. It reinvents me as a part of a new combined entity rather than an individual. 

And what use is a new rediscovered happier life if it cannot be led? When every morsel of experience I uncover is further evidence of my incompletion without the missing part of me? Our paths did not cross; they united into one. And now I am forced to stand at this crossroads and wait to continue down this conjoined journey.

Lend me a hand, for I am crippled into dependence that I couldn’t live without anymore.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

To Sir, With Love.

In a time when appreciating any piece of work that is not deliberately practical, colloquially accurate and cruelly devoid of innocence, is considered amateur, you may find momentary relief in relishing a short novel that maintains the wide-eyed teen feeling in the context of harsh social realities of racism. Innocent, yet certainly not naive, To Sir With Love is precisely the kind of novel you should come across on the reading list of a high-school student. It preaches unconditional acceptance of mankind in the face of the hypocritical racism that was, and perhaps still is, rampant in London and elsewhere. Yet it manages to escape the common depiction of a spotless savior-like figure, and instead helps the reader understand the workings of society through both the efforts and the mistakes of Mr. Braithwaite. An educated black man, both unemployed and a misfit in society due to his accolades, Ricardo Braithwaite seeks solace in becoming the teacher of the top-class of a school filled with notorious children in London's blue-collar East End, and ends up changing the lives of his students, and in the process, his own. It is a refreshing piece of work with plenty of underlying messages, and is ideal for the young reader of timeless generations.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Devil That Was The Truth



Slumped in the chair, a bag of bones,
He sits with prosecution, a misfit with a tie.
His forlorn eyes scan the blur of the crowd.
They stare back at his vicious lie.

The proceedings have not begun, and yet
The jury may already have made up their minds.
His posture lacks guilt, yes, but also courage 
That he may never have the time to find.

Was exposing the devil that was the truth
The sin that they have made it seem?
Would his testament captivate their interests,
And light them fiery red in its righteous gleam?

Valor is such that one may choose to avoid,
But alighted, it will surely set you free.
While they continue to ignore the stench in the air,
He meekly dreams of the man he hopes to be.

Fatal Flaw



She closed her eyes and leaned her weary head on the door, her back up against it, seeking the little support she could get from the inanimate barrier between her and her vulnerability. He had given up the incessant knocking and apologizing, and she didn't know if he still stood there, waiting for her to give in as usual. This wasn't the first time, and she knew it won't be the last. She knew she deserved better. 

But was she to kill the dream that kept her going? The canvas of the perfect future she had painted him into along with herself haunted her the second she rested her swollen eyelids. To be disappointed was a daily routine of her life now, to the extent that she wondered if she should perhaps abandon expectation altogether and let herself believe that it couldn't possibly get better. Contrary to what her loved ones believed, it took not guts but suicide to take a knife to that precious canvas of hers. They wanted her not to give up hope, but to give up on it. And what would life mean without hope?

Perhaps she would wield that knife one day. But for now, she rubbed her eyes, smearing the last of the obstinate kohl that had not left her side yet, and reached for the knob.