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,
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.

Posted in Airplane Poetry, poems


Part 2 of 100 Poems in 2018 Challenge by Airplane Poetry.

Prompt: Without warning, you lose your eyesight. Write a poem about your reaction in the immediate aftermath.


The pulses of the weightless needle on the ticking clock.

Heavy curtains caressing the window.

My rhythmic heart and oscillating breath.

A bird, whistling.

They rang out in the silent room.

When I go out and about, full of doubt,

I’ll listen

In the school ground, in the play ground, when I’m home bound

To the sound in the background,

Before I take a step.

I’ll come around.

Now that I was robbed of light,

I was gifted sound.

Posted in Airplane Poetry, poems


Part 1 of 100 Poems in 2018 Challenge by Airplane Poetry.

Prompt: If your mirror wrote you a poem, what would it say?

A tiny you.
13 years ago.
Trying to hug me,
the tip of your middle finger touching one edge,
the other out of your reach.
12 years ago.
You introduced me to a smaller version of you.
She had the same eyes.
11 years ago.
Something changed.
Your body had lost all chubbiness.
I saw you flexing your muscles.
10 years ago.
You stood in front of me with your first gold medal.
9 years ago.
I see a little board in the corner of your room.
It’s full of medals.
Last I counted, there were 52.
8 years ago.
You packed all your medals and put them in a box.
You stopped wearing the tights and jerseys I was accustomed to.
That’s a really big t-shirt.
Are you putting on weight?
7 years ago.
You’ve put on weight.
You don’t look me in the eyes any more.
6 years ago.
It’s lonely without you.
Your mom comes in sometimes to look at your pictures.
I’ve seen her cry.
5 years ago.
You meet me once in a while.
You discovered kajal where you were,
Living with girls.
It makes your eyes water.
4 years ago.
You’re back.
Something changed while you were away.
Your hair keeps changing now.
When everyone’s asleep, you try new clothes on.
You end up throwing them at me.
3 years ago.
You spent hours talking to me about Arjun’s life as Brihannala,
and Shakuntala’s as a single mother.
2 years ago.
You threw the phone at me.
It broke.
You were broken too.
And crying.
1 year ago.
You were away for three months.
Your skin is darker and your eyes are smiling again.
The same eyes that hugged me 13 years ago.

Posted in Cultures, poems, Uncategorized


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.

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
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
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


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.
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
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.
In that moment
I knew you’d always be right behind me