Dreamer


I told you 
I'm a dreamer 
and then 
I dropped hints 
again and again
here and there. 
Repeatedly.

Yet, all you can talk about is
people
People who wronged you
or didn't.
People in 
politics,
business 
and bureaucracy
basking away in 
second-had success  
and delving into
second-had failures 

You talk about boundaries
when my head is limitless 
I suggest
you hammer nails 
around my head
and build a fence 
and see if that
might conform me 
into what you want me to become. 

Don't tell me about work
that is uninspired 
and safe like 
docu-men-tation
and how you do it for 60 hours a week.
It tires me. 

It tires me 
how
You talk about money
Like it can buy culture or class.

It tires me 
when you recite what you
hear on one idiot box 
and scan on another-
never pausing to
read between the lines 

Yet, I envy you. 

I envy you
for your depth as 
well as outwardness
towards
things, yes, things
that I feel nothing towards
and your
stoicism
towards  
subjects
that keep me 
sane.

I envy how
effortlessly you stay afloat
while I am suffering 
and struggling 

I wonder 
where are your layers? 
or are you as one dimensional as 
what meets
the eyes?
I dont know
what am I more afraid of.

I dare you,
for once-
Tell me about
your deepest, darkest
secrets,
fears and
fantasies 
and watch me not
flinch.
I promise 
I will not look away 
I will not blink

and hear me out
just once -
For I am here to find out
if you can return the courtesy. 

Can you for once
be real?
and not
what they are telling you to be. 
For once,
can you tell me
when was the last time you felt alive. 

A bridge

I had seen you
Around for so long
That I thought
You would stay around
Forever.

Forever,
Is such a loosely
Overused word.
But perhaps
at some point
We trick ourselves into
Believing that
No matter what,
few things are here to stay.

Stay because they
are too weak to
leave.

Leave and go where?

Where else would you
rather be than stay with
Me.

Me- I never fussed
Enough

Enough about why
You don’t take your medicines
Or go see a doctor
Or go for that walk-
Or see that therapist
You have been putting off
For years.

For years, I listened to
you so indifferently-
Scrolling meaninglessly
Through my phone,
Seeing things I will never remember.

Remember?
Hah!
They call it
attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder.

Disorders that
cannot be seen
Are so insidious
Just yesterday, I was trying to
Guess if I am
Depressed
Or bipolar
Or PMSing.

PMSing? You asked
‘I think I am PMSing too.’
And neither of us laughed
Because we know it might be true.

Truth is that even
you thought,
we would be around
Forever

‘Forever’, though
Is such an overused,
Abused word.

You see, the chasm separating
psyches
is the toughest
to bridge.

A bridge

painted in
a shade called facade which
carefully disguised
our
Idiosyncrasies.

Idiosyncrasies so stark
They couldn’t sit
Next to each other,
Let alone lay.

The rain washed
over that facade and

That bridge
is burned, so
Absolutely
Completely
Permanently
That now
the silence sits
in my mouth
rotten from
unspoken words
of love and tenderness. 

And I know for a fact,
That this void,
this emptiness,
this chasm-
Is here to stay
forever.

Forever, you see
After all
Is not such a loosely
Overused word.

🌻

A shadow engulfs
My heart
When i remember
The sunshine
My lover was

And like a little girl
Off i went
Running in the park

Mother said,
Come back, before it gets dark.

But I was gone too far.

I was helpless.
For one doesn’t
Escape the sunlight.
One can only surrender
And so I did,
I ceded.

Threw in the towel,
And lay down on it.

Soaking in the golden sun
With every inch of me
Drowsed by the fondness
Of the tempest heart,
Raging to be devoured.

I don’t know
how long
I lay there
I wish it were a lifetime
Because when I woke up
It was dark, and
Winter had arrived

And now,
the night doesn’t end.

Hope, a dear friend

Dear friend Hope had settled down in the corner of my mindspace like an unwelcome guest indisposed to leave. With utmost politeness, I tried to raise this subject several times over tea or during one of our late night dialogs until I couldn’t be polite anymore, ‘don’t you think it’s time for you to leave?’ I asked, almost agitated. 

‘But didn’t we have such a lovely day yesterday? So much positivity!’ Hope answers like a child brimming with possibilities. 

‘Look, not that I do not like having you around but this time I truly believe it’s a lost cause.’ 

Hope is quiet for a moment as if carefully choosing her words. 

‘I will, I promise. Tomorrow.’ She replied in her placid voice and that was the end of our conversation. 

Days turned into weeks and weeks into months but Hope was showing no inclination towards leaving. On the contrary, she regularly had a nice little get together with her other friends such as Delusion, Irrationality, Over-optimism and Fantasy.  

‘Oh, come’on! Don’t you see their actions? How blind are you? It’s high time that you leave. Please.’ and that was when I first lost my temper.  

‘Also, Acceptance wants to move in and he can’t until…you are OUT, you know.’

For once, Hope seemed to be embarrassed. ‘Of course, yes, I will,’ she muttered under her breath trying to get her bearings together, ‘I’ll start packing right away.’ 

Hope had such a pleasant face that it made me second guess myself every single time. 

But, I was wrong. Three years passed, maybe four. At some point, I realised that Hope had no intention of leaving at all. Whenever we had a fight she would just disappear for a while and then return saying that the ‘situation’ has changed/progressed and she is, wait for it, ‘hopeful’. So I decided to throw her out of my limited but precious (head)space.

I try to drag Hope outside my head but she refuses to even budge. Unable to contain my anger, I end up punching Hope’s face. For a moment she doesn’t react but then she kicks my guts so hard that blood spills out from my mouth. I am furious now. I leap at hope and pin her against the floor. My hands are closing around her frail neck but she is rapidly moving her limbs trying to break free. In that moment, I know that I want Hope gone forever. I am crying because I haven’t killed many things before. Just some childish dreams here and there. Between my tears, I tell Hope, you must die. I can’t live with you. And then just few minutes later she stops moving. She’s dead. Hope is dead. Yes!  I am exhausted at this point but also giddy with triumph. Look, I got you. Now I can live in peace with Acceptance.

Ah, how lovely. Acceptance indeed is lovely. Healing will join us any day now.

Only a few days have passed, as I lie with my eyes shut on my bed. Or maybe I was walking through the market or was it the office corridor. I was perhaps in the kitchen chopping a perfectly round tomato when I spotted something lingering. The ghost of a lost cause, my dear friend Hope. But at least, I lived in peace for a full week after all. That’s longer than ever. 

Until one fine day, she never returns at all.

//“Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.” – Friedrich Nietzsche//

The Other Woman

I, have a confession to make
The truth is
I like being the other woman.

Yes, The One
Hated by all
But revered by
One

I like the questioning eyes
that follow me
when I step out
their gaze like a red carpet 
rolled out 
right in front of me 
to strut over. 
I like the judgement
bestowed upon me 
from the moral high horse
The scoff,
in their tone. 
The smirk,
on their lips.
The surprise,
in their innocent eyes. 

The freedom.

Ah, the freedom!
Maybe, I want you
Maybe, I want you too.
And why not?
I like driving’em crazy.
Feet on the accelerator,
The car's gonna spin off.

I like knowing 
We are headed to this 
Beautiful town called ‘no-where-land’
Where we make no promises 
hence, dispense no misery.
But there’s adrenaline
and ecstasy
and love
As selfless as promoted 
in the archetypal world. 

I like keeping secrets
And also being one. 
I am the secret,
I am the truth,
I am the sin and
The forbidden fruit.

I like pulling the strings 
I like being worshipped
And I like the taboo
I am the taboo.

I am the taboo,
Yet you are drawn 
Like moth to a flame - 
Unable to retract 
what you started. 
Even if you wanted to. 

But don't take me
Otherwise. 
After all,
It was you who started with
“Everything is fair
In love and war”
And when we meet 
In the folds of midnight,
When the world drowns in darkness-
It's a dance of both.

Cotton Candies In the Sky

Cotton candies in the sky
Have been luring me
For a while
Whenever I look up
They are looking back at me
White, yellow, pink.
So devoted,
Damn, so divine.

Cotton candies in the sky
Have been enticing me
To come closer to them.
To get a taste.
To dare and come find them
And right there it is
So I decide to follow
I mean, how could I not?

I see a mountain
that my eyes know for real
is kissing the
Spiralling golden sea
moving silently
above my head.

The mountain is steep.
Yet I begin
to ascend.
Certain that the climb will be worth my while.
As I reach closer
I see it becoming slated
Readying itself
To greet me
To meet me
seductively draping itself
in a net of lights
Burning to unite.
Demanding me
to move faster
So I let it own me
like I never belonged
anywhere else.
And I rise
like a high tide.

Only to find out
It was all a tease
A ruse
Laid down very well to show me
what I can have
And what I cannot.

Cotton candies in the sky
Concealing a world
That some arrogant men
claim they know about
through ‘theories’
only wildly imagined,
Challenging their egos

Cotton candies in the sky
Changing everyday
Shifting and drifting
Shapeless yet constant
Hiding secrets I cannot see.
I will never see.
Till I cross over to the other side.

be careful what you wish for – not a cliche

In the standstill car
On a congested road 
I’d agitatedly change 
all the channels on the radio
Only one wish on my lips 
Fucking traffic, why did it exist?
Could it not just..disappear?
I want to reach home 
I want all other cars to cease and desist. 

45 minutes later
I would reach home 
Where friends and 
Friends of friends have yet again gathered 
To overcome 
What is called a mid-week slump
With cheap wine and take out food
Same as the one we drank to beat the Monday blues 
Not to forget the weekend celebration 
Before that.  
And out loud i’d wonder 
'Don't we have anything better to do?'

And of course we don’t sleep on time
We refuse to behave like adults 
“Adults are boring” 
So we sleep at 2 or 4 or
Not at all.
It doesn’t matter 
The sun is up and 
It’s time to roll

We’d reach office 
Late or hung over 
Or on time just some times
Wishing 
We didn’t have to come to work at all
Wishing we didn’t have to interrupt 
The ball that was 
Last night. (lame)
Fuck you, office
The small talk         
The politics 
The smug boss. 
Yes thanks for paying the bills
But still fuck you. 

Wishing if only there 
was enough time.
empty hours
Woven into
endlessness
to read
all the books,
To relish all the films
English, Hindi and Korean 
And to be able to
Just stay at home,
Not because it’s a vacation 
But to actually live and 
Observe the eccentricities 
Known as parents 
Maybe even
Raise a pet, who knows?


and oh! Look! 
Magic. 
the traffic has gone
The roads are deserted- 
Like no humans ever walked 
The surface of the 
World’s 2nd largest populated nation.  
And I must not go to office 
Neither today 
Nor in the foreseeable future. 
And I can’t remember 
The last time my friends gathered 
To celebrate a festival, let alone a “mid-week slump”. 
Hell, 
I even got a pet

But 

There’s always a but
In a magic trick gone wrong 
The not so pretty #BTS
See, the hospitals are full
So are the graveyards
And the roads are deserted 
Because humans are in hiding
From something their eyes can’t even see
Let alone fathom 
And it’s got us good 
And while we sit
in this tunnel on never ending time 
We have devoured all the books
And movies - 
English, Hindi, Korean and French 
Yet mental health is only 
Something we read about in books. 
The roads are deserted because 
Most of the humanity is either 
doomed, dead or depressed. 

No it’s not a joke
It’s definitely not funny. 
It’s true 
what that Greek old man once said- 
Be careful what you wish for. 


Seize The Day

It’s about 930PM
Around the same time
My mother calls up her sister
Everyday, without fail
To tell her about her day
And to know about hers.
an ancient habit
ironclad over a span of
Decades.

But today my mother
Just looks at her phone and
Fiddles with it
And then she opens her messages
To go through the old conversations
And pictures that my maa-si had shared
Of food and deities and weddings
and about the precautions one should take
to avoid Covid-
social distancing and all, you see.
ha-ha.
Followed by a string of “good morning” messages
with little pearls of wisdom affixed to them,
that surprising do not seem so lame anymore
especially now,
that she’s gone.
“seize the day”
the last one reads.

Everyone has been quietly
doing their chores
as we don’t go to anyone’s homes anymore.
even if they are loved ones
or if it’s the last good bye.
So, Everyone has been quietly
doing their chores
between office calls and scrubbing floors
Adamant to put on a brave face
That we are not alone.
That’s why it’s called a pandemic
Which has spiralled out of control.
But no.
That’s not helping right now.
Yes, we know a child died
And a teenager
And his uncle
And her aunt
And their sister.
Yes we know
The crematoriums are
on fire non-stop.
But today we don’t care
We are..numb till our bones
with a despondency
hard to shake off

and the eyes
are tired
yet sleepless
and vacant
from the things that they have seen
that can’t be unseen

oh hey, here’s an idea for the
establishment
which might help with the scarcity of
resources
how about we build a wall?
from the pile of bodies
rotting outside the hospitals and graveyards
it would be high and thick enough
to ward off the virus.
Table for discussion?

But no, we haven’t cried yet
for we don’t know
How to feel anymore.
Are we scared
or sad
or anxious
Or angry
-a state of mindless pensiveness.
A melancholy so present
That it has become the being itself;
a squiggle
Across a page with no end or beginning.
It’s hard to say.

And then the phone rings
Interrupting our reverie
And a chill goes down my spine,
and i wonder-
What if it’s another death news?
but no, it’s just another helpless cry for a
bed,
or was it oxygen or a ventilator
– I seriously cannot keep a count anymore.

Written in the loving memory of my maasi. I know she’s in a better place now.

A new year?

I woke up this morning
And looked outside the window
To the same view
Constant for months now
10 months to be exact –
A quiet yellow house
jaded by rain and sun
With a rusted red door
And a black car
I think,  a Wagonar
That disappears at 9
and reappears at 7,
Sharp.
Dutifully parked across the
asphalt abraded road.
But I know the house has
residents
As they sun dry their clothes
In their verandah
On an aluminum stand
Near a banana tree
That refuses to grow any taller.

But they say
A year has gone by.
A year, is it?

True it must be
As it was this cold,
A long time back
When we wore 2 pairs of socks
And sweaters and pants.

Also, some people have
Made their presence scarce.
But alas, sooner the better.

Yes, a year must have gone by
For I don’t remember much from
That life.
The one before the virus.

Yes, the virus
That succeeded in breaking
My body but
Not my spirit
As I came back
Even stronger than before;
Ready to take on
Whatever comes next
And so did many others
For there is no other way to go on
Than to go on fearlessly.

Outside, the winter air
Hangs heavy with silence
Of those who mourned the past
10 months
From the loss of lives and livelihood.
Their heads
Scarred yet unbowed.

But apart from that
Everything is pretty much
Constant
yet they say,
A year has gone by.
I don’t believe them.

Walls

The walls were
pretty high
when you first started knocking.
No, I wasn’t behind the walls.
I was curled up
Under the bed, behind
the walls.
And you walked straight in
like you
owned the place.
You started talking
And looking around,

fiddling with my things
while i was still under the bed
I kept listening.
I can’t remember
at what point
did I decide to peak a boo-
Was it when you called me home?
Or was it when you told me about the time you decided to kill yourself?

Was it when you told me
you can’t sleep without me by your side
I can’t seem to recollect the exact moment
When i changed my mind
I wonder if it was when you told me if you hadn’t felt this way in a while
Or was it when you told me
that you had never felt this way before.
You said it
So many times
That i believed you
And slowly i crept out
From under the bed
And sat on it
Right where you were sitting.
And you put your
Arms around me
And told me
Your deepest darkest secrets

And i can’t remember when
But somewhere at some point
The walls came down
Oh, I cannot seem to remember
The exact moment when
I changed my mind about you.

but I know it doesn’t matter anymore
Because just when
I changed my mind
You changed yours too.

1 folly less

I know

our guise

changes

in time

forming

depressions, folds

and lines

sagging

underneath the weight of

Judgment 

and dust

collected every minute

with the air we breathe

and on we go 

changing and changing and changing

and transforming 

But wouldn’t it be 

so much better

I wonder

And I wonder –

Would

you still

look the way you do

If

your face resembled 

your deeds 

And 

your thoughts.

If not all of them 

even a few of them

And if 

and your guise wasn’t really

a surmise of your genes. 

and yet 

There are

advocates and advisors

of law and equality?

When

It seems like

Even the nature did

Not intend 

Transparency. 

If only 

you resembled

your deeds

I’d be

One

Folly less.

That first sip

That first sip of morning coffee
The music that trickles down my ears to my soul
The mirths of laughter
that make my body come alive from merely existing
That book on the bookshelf
The warmth of happiness
that spreads across my chest
like sun
on a winter morning
when my dog runs in circles
chasing his tail
just as I do
time to time
A call from a friend
lost in the race against time
A poem
transforming a lonely night into
a gathering so magical
that now I don’t want to shut my eyes
Watch my mother
adjust her bindi
in the mirror and
tuck that loose strand of hair
behind her ear
because she knows it’s time
and dad’s about to come home
A gesture of kindness
from the one I thought needed saving
A gesture of love
I thought had no feelings

Make me wanna keep coming back
From the precipice
to witness the colours of life
and to laugh
with him, with her, with them
laugh so much that
now I want to cry
Because once I believed
very firmly
I’d never laugh
this much.
again,
or ever.
What else could I ask for?
What else is there to live for?