Posted in Airplane Poetry, poems, Uncategorized

Part 8 of 100 Poems in 2018 Challenge by Airplane Poetry.

Prompt: Introduce yourself under 50 words.

____

I am a force of nature.
There’s a whirlwind in my brain.
Fragments of spirituality.
Half-chewed ideas.
Strings of words, spinning.
An echoing laughter.
Opinions that are ripped apart,
strung again
with stitches showing.
I push myself too hard
too fast.
Sometimes I stop
and drop everything.
The center, calm.

____

The whole idea was to avoid hiding parts of me that aren’t pretty. To bring out the essence of who I think I am, the good and the bad. To say who I just *am*. It’s a step towards accepting myself with all my faults, and trying to see that my limitations and faults are what bring character to my personality. That it’s okay to not be an ideal anything. To accept myself for who I am.

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Posted in Airplane Poetry, poems, Uncategorized

Part 9 of 100 poems in 2018 Challenge by Airplane Poetry.

Prompt: Use your favorite movie quote as the first line.

Quote: “I believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast” from Alice in Wonderland (2010).

I believe in as many as six
impossible things before breakfast.
One:
Periods are natural.
I don’t need to hide them
from temples,
behind doors,
or excuses of
“my stomach is aching”.
Two:
Clothes are irrelevant to character.
They’re a protection from the weather.
A form of expression.
A personal choice.
Three:
Sex is acceptable.
If men can do it,
so can I.
It doesn’t make me a slut.
Four:
Stretch marks are beautiful.
They are medals of valour.
They tell stories of battles I survived.
Five:
I exist beyond my body.
Intelligence, courage, strength and wit
can be used to describe me.
Six:
There’s a Devi inside me.
And she’s waiting to be unleashed.

Posted in Airplane Poetry, poems, Uncategorized

Part 5 of 100 Poems in 2018 Challenge by Airplane Poetry.

Prompt: The last river on Earth writes a poem.

My sisters didn’t commit suicide.

They were murdered.

First,

they were poisoned.

Then choked

with a plastic noose.

And finally,

neglected.

Then came a day

when they rose Heavenwards

weeping

at their failure

to provide enough for their children

who would suffer without them.

Today, I am committing suicide.

I wasn’t enough.

I couldn’t be the hero

who single-handedly saves you all.

And now that you’re gone too,

I rise Heavenwards

looking down at the Hell

we’ve left behind.

Posted in Uncategorized

My aaji looks like a dragon.

There’s smoke billowing out
of her flaring nostrils
through the holes
in the mask
on her face.
It’s not a furious jet of steam
like the third whistle of her pressure cooker.
It’s like the wisps
of her morning chai
dissolving
into thin air
seconds after they rise from her
cracked
earthen cup.

My aaji looks like a dragon.

There’s a rumbling noise as she breathes,
But it doesn’t emanate from her chest.
Her lungs are tired now
of breathing
fire into four sons and their offspring.
She lays silent
as a machine whirs oxygen into her
resting
waiting
patient
for the fire to come back.

My aaji looks like a dragon.

She has
wrinkled
unpenetrable skin.
Bushy eyebrows rainbow
over her
twinkling
sarcastic eyes.
She coughs as she laughs at her own jokes,
her body shuddering
at the pain inside.

My aaji is a dragon.
And no one would tell you otherwise.

Posted in Cultures, Short Stories, Uncategorized

Polka dots

I live in a big and busy city that never stops, never sleeps. Years could’ve flown by before you realize you never stopped to take a moment to look around you. I was standing on a small corner of a busy street on Charni Road. It was a typical scene of daily Mumbai life – a low lit barber shop, a tantalizing smell drifting from an unhygienic biryani shop, a curving road that was a safety hazard but had fancy cars, and a used-books shop owned by an old greying man with an old greying beard sitting behind the desk. I was waiting patiently for my date to find parking (which everyone knows is a game of pure luck). My beautiful date who wore well-ironed, laundry-only pure-cotton shirts with trousers, not jeans and loafers, not slippers. And lived in a four-storey building that hadn’t been painted since it had been built, with a dingy entrance you wouldn’t notice until you knew it existed and wooden stairs that made my brain automatically look for alternate fire escapes. But it was on Charni Road, which makes all the difference.

I didn’t turn to my phone while I was waiting. He’d get here soon enough. So I looked around me, taking a moment to smile about the last four hours I’d spent with a great guy. That’s when I spotted it, fluttering mid-air. Everything faded from the background. I was transfixed, staring at this red polka-dotted cloth bag suspended by a piece of rope from the fourth floor of the building in front of me. It didn’t really obstruct the traffic or the light poles, but either people didn’t notice it’s existence or they did, and knew it’s purpose. I just stared at it for what seemed like a long five minutes, trying to figure out the reason for it’s existence.

When my date joined me, I simply pointed at the bag and said, “Explain.” “Do you understand the word ‘aalas’?”, he asked. The next few minutes revealed one of the best epitomes I have for laziness. As it turns out, the bag was a sort of transportation device. People such as the grocer, milkman and newspaper boy who wanted to deliver something to the fourth floor could leave their goods in that bag. The receiver could then just pull the bag up instead of climbing up and down four storeys.

I now have a new found admiration for Mumbai and it’s jugaad.

Posted in Airplane Poetry, poems, Uncategorized

An Empty Basket of Apples

Part 3 of 100 Poems in 2018 Challenge by Airplane Poetry.

Prompt: Begin and end your poem with “I promise”.

I promise.
One day, you’ll go apple picking.
There will be a red-and-white checkered tablecloth
disguised as a picnic blanket
spread on the grass
still wet with dew.
It may even be greener
on the other side,
but you wouldn’t care.
The tree will be boundless,
to give you shade,
Laden, to give you fruit, and
Sturdy, to rest your back against.
You could spend hours reading a book,
A pencil in your hand
to capture wandering thoughts,
the end sightly nibbled,
lost.
Or climb the ladder
propped against the tree trunk,
basket in hand.
The luscious apples, yours.
If you choose them to be.
You could bake warm pies of them,
or fresh juice.
Would you share some with others,
I wonder.
But I suppose they’d prefer
fresh apples
to do with as they please.
If you went apple picking,
the day would be
the first of Summer.
The sun would be a sunflower,
the breeze, wind chimes,
and maybe a White Rabbit
would shiver
his whiskers at you.
You could tell him the time
from your pocket watch.
One day, you’ll go apple picking.
I promise.

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A Card Game

Everyone had gone for the evening round of Ganesh aartis, but after one of many aartis, I separated yself from the enthusiastic crowd of children with dholaks and adults with sales pitches for the Elephant God. I retraced my steps back to the house where I could be left alone to my own devices. The incessant rainfall had paused for just a breath. Usually, I was one of the people who lip-synced “Jai Dev, Jai Dev” in the back, today I just wasn’t in the mood.

I drifted into the _maazghar_ – living room – and spied with my little eye 52 somethings that could help cure me of boredom. So I picked up the pack of cards and sat down to play Solitaire. I had only ever played it on a screen, but I figured it stemmed from a real pack of cards. Although I must admit, I had to use papa’s laptop to confirm the rules and layout of the game. Somewhere in the middle of my second game, I was interrupted by a fleeting comment. Papa, who had been to a _Satyanarayan pooja_ had entered through the back door and was passing through the house to join the aarti. stooping over my shoulder long enough to guess the game I was playing, he said, “That was your ajoba’s favourite card game”. “What’s that?” called Ajoba’s voice. Blind though he may be, there was nothing wrong with his hearing. Papa resumed his stride, answering him as he went, “that game you used to play where you arranged aces, twos, threes, fours and so on in alternate colours”, and with that he vanished into the dark of the night and the pitter patter of the raindrops.

I resumed playing, and ajoba made his slow way towards the cot where I sat. As he settled on the cot, there was a silence between us. Not a sullen, awkward silence but that of a shared camaraderie. Or so it was until the burning question on the tip of my tongue, but reined in by my teeth and good sense, leaped out of it’s own accord – “Dad said this was your favourite game?” The answer I expected would’ve gladdened my heart but the one that I got was the one that made sense. “It wasn’t my favourite game, per se. But what was a man to do to spend time? Four sons and an adopted daughter, all studying in the same room. I couldn’t have talked to your mother for it would’ve disturbed them. So I kept my silence, and to occupy myself, I played Solitaire.

I instantly pictured an eight year old Papa watching his father play cards every time he looked up from his books. Of course it was his father’s favourite game. Why else would an adult, who could choose to only indulge in activities he enjoyed, play a game of Solitaire? But I had gotten the bandwagon moving, and another story was revealed to be my by a lonely old man who had found an ear that would listen.