Posted in Cultures, poems, Uncategorized

“Bhoot”-kal

Dear Papa,
Yesterday I saw something that I didn’t understand.
They were walking a little ahead of me.
But walking isn’t the right word,
because there were two people
and only two feet.
It sounds like a math problem,
But nothing added up in my head.
It sounds like Vikram Vetal, papa,
But unlike the story you told me the other day,
there was no strong king or sly demon.
I saw, however, one dirty underfed boy of eight
dragging his crippled mother across the street.
Adhunik Shravan bal.
A Lilliputian on a Herculean task.
I couldn’t decipher her age.
When you’re that poor, does age matter?
Do they keep count of the days that pass by
when their aim is to survive just one?
Do they have a mirror to look into
and count the wrinkles on their face?
What does age matter to an eight year old boy
who, instead of attending school,
is hauling his handicapped mother across the road
on a seating board with wheels?
When I was that age, papa,
you bought me a skateboard
that was the exact leaf green
from my 50 colours oil pastels set.
I couldn’t see the colour of their clothes.
There was the dark of the night,
yellow of the street lights
and everything was in sepia
like the picture you showed me
of your childhood.
You once told me you were raised in poverty too, papa.
Are there different kinds of poverty?
Did you get toys to play with
or were your clothes in sepia too?
I told you this sounds like a math problem, papa,
And here’s what doesn’t add up.
Isn’t a parent supposed to hold their child’s hand
and show them how to cross the road?
I remember holding your hand,
looking left-right-left
and matching my steps
with your strides.
Fast, but never run.
Who taught him, papa?
Did he have his own papa to teach him?
How did he learn to walk fast enough
and pull hard enough
so that he and his mom made it across the road in time?
How did he find the strength if he was underfed?
He truly reminds me of Shravan bal,
because who else would carry his mother
across such distances.
I told you it sounds like Vikram Vetal, papa,
and now that I think about it, it really does.
Maybe this little boy is a young king.
Maybe he brings his vetal back home every day.
Maybe he hears her talk about her day.
And maybe, papa,
when he succeeds every night,
she saves him from an evil tantric.
An evil tantric called hunger.

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Posted in poems, Short Stories, Uncategorized

The woman from 17 Again

How do you tell your boyfriend that you love him?
That you love him but.
That you love him but it’s not enough.
That you don’t wanna be the woman from 17 Again
‘Cause she fell in love at 17,
Got engaged at 19,
Got married at 20,
Had a kid at 22,
And at 35 she realized she had fallen out of love with her husband.
You didn’t want to be her.
How do you tell him that he is perfect and his efforts aren’t falling short?
But you’ve seen Monte Carlo
and you want to roam about Europe
on a Vespa with a really nice guy you met there.
How do you tell him thanks for handling you
when you were really drunk that New Year’s Eve?
But you want to know what its like when a guy buys you a drink across the bar.
How do you tell him that travelling with him is goals?
But that international trip wasn’t supposed to include him.
It was supposed to be your trip with your friend traipsing around the place, making memories and having no sex.
How do you tell him that the blame game sucks but it’s never one person’s mistake?
But you’re tired of accepting mistakes that weren’t yours in the first place when all your heart actually wants to do is make all the possible mistakes in the world without regret or guilt and own it, damn it!
How do you tell him that you once saw a future with him and you still do?
But you’re 20, a graduate, unemployed and you still haven’t figured out what to do about your own future.
How do you tell him that you’re tired of the fights and maybe if you both took efforts, the fights would be resolved?
But you want to take all those efforts and put them in yourself because if you did so, maybe, just maybe, you’ll figure out a career.
How do you tell him that you may not have whirlwind romances or foreign affairs?
But you can’t afford to know that they never can ’cause you never tried.
How do you tell him that you both once wanted the same things?
But now things have changed and you’re not quite sure what you want but you’re willing to give Life a try.

Posted in poems, Uncategorized

I Survived an Earthquake

People ask me what it was like.
I’m stumped.
And I’m never stumped.
How can you explain an earthquake?
You know, stuff moved, we moved.
It’s not a big deal.

How do you tell someone that the ground beneath your feet
Had literally been pulled away?
Oh it wasn’t that bad.
We weren’t at the epicenter.

How do you explain
That the mountains you once trusted
were falling to pieces?
Dude, it felt like we were on a swing.

How do you tell someone
That glaciers cracked,
That boulders split into half
on their way down,
That the snow became an avalanche?
Babe, someone cracked a joke and I laughed.
Everyone now teases me that
I laughed so loud that I created the earthquake!
It’s quite a joke.

How do you explain that you didn’t know what was going on
But you couldn’t balance yourself,
Your knees gave away
And you found yourself kneeling on the swaying ground,
Praying the ground doesn’t crack open
Because you don’t want to be Sita.
You’re not ready.
Oh, you know, it was definitely an experience!

How do explain that this happened
Once
Twice
Thrice
19 times that we counted
And about 27 over all?
No, there was one major
and other small tremors
so it wasn’t really a big deal.

How do you explain that the tin hut
shivered and moaned
and you thought it would collapse?
That when you woke up
you heard numbers of the people who were
dead
And the count kept increasing?
Yeah, but it’s not like we died dude, chill.

How do you explain that we climbed
down in two days
what was a five day trek?
That when we reached the oxygen line
we weren’t thankful for the oxygen
but the cell phone range?
No, yeah, we evacuated pretty quickly.

How do I explain that when I called home
my dad laughed and said
he knew everything was okay
because if something were to happen to me
then he would receive a call from the institute
And no such thing happened?
How do I explain that
Even though dad was trying to be cool
I knew he was worried sick?
Naww man, we just discussed the different food items we would miss.

Rocky road and ice creams didn’t make the list.

Posted in poems

Vishu

I woke up at midnight
With a start
As my sleeping body felt
Palms cover my eyes.
I could see nothing.
Panic struck me
Till I heard your voice
Brimming with amusement,
Calming me.
Vishu.
You asked me to keep my eyes shut tight
And pulled me
Out of bed.
Not a peek out of you!
You led me gently
Out of my room,
up the stairs
And to the overflowing table-
Guiding me
Every step of the way.
Then you took your palms
Off my eyes
And I found myself
Staring at the mirror
Surrounded with
Fruits
Vegetables
Grains
And diyas.
Then I saw you standing behind me.
I smiled.
You were already smiling.
For one moment
We could forget
Our friendship was forbidden.
In that moment
It didn’t matter
That they didn’t approve
Of us
And the bond we shared.
Because
In that moment
I knew you’d always be right behind me
Anyway.

Posted in poems, Uncategorized

A Woman’s Secret

This is a call for Unity.
A clarion call.
A tremendous trumpet.
A call that must reach out to all of our kind, the keepers of Vulnerable Respectability!
Rise, O young girls, mature ladies and wise women; rise out of your sweaty seats of discomfort. Rise against the lewd eyes that defile you and mock your modesty.
It is time we rose, for we cannot withhold the pressure anymore. It is time we rose together and united for our cause. It is time to move towards Utopia, for our needs are greater than theirs. I do not promise you a journey without difficulty and hardship. I do not promise a journey without masculine eyes following us. But I promise you that the journey will be worth the wait, and the comfort that you will feel when you reach there will negate all the negativity you have ever faced.
We must move together now- vigilant as does, united as wolves and proud as tigresses. We must be ready for change and co-operate to the fullest. I am sure we will all make it there safely and back again if we must.
After all, a visit to the loo is of utmost importance, and it must be visited together as a group.   

Posted in poems

Relativity

Time, you ask me,

And I wonder what to answer you.

Time is relative, isn’t it?

And I don’t mean by physics,

Although I guess I’d know some of that too;

What with space-time relativity

And all those sci-fi shows I watch.

But Time is relative, isn’t it?

It could mean distance

If you ask me how much further you have to go.

Then again, it could be a moment,

Or a lifetime.

Totally depends on how far you want to go.

But I answer-

Bas panch minute, vo aage waale junction pe rokk dena

But Time.

Time is relative, isn’t it?

It could be the 8 PM curfew by a phone ring

Or an 8 am lecture by a bell ring.

What time are you asking?

And what answer do you expect?

Must I say- it’s time to wake up

Or that it’s time to sleep?

Should I say-

It’s the era of British rule?

Or the dawn of Marathas?

Or some other Time

That this time in history will be named,

Which I don’t know the name of

Because enough time hasn’t passed yet

To name it anything remarkable.

Perhaps I should say-

It’s time you got married,

It’s time you grew up,

Or maybe, it’s time you gave up.

I read once in a Harry Potter book

That a wizard’s house had a clock

With no numbers.

It didn’t tell you what time it was,

But told you instead if it was time to sleep or eat or play

Or if you were late.

Life would be easier

If time were defined that way,

Just as it was back when time really was defined that way.

But Time.

It’s all relative, isn’t it?

What must I tell you now when you ask me what Time it is?

I guess I must ask you to tell me

The context

In which you ask

Because Time,

It’s relative, isn’t it?