Death, love and delirium

Of all loves lost
I lament yours the most
as I see your lean frame receding into oblivion
through a spiral staircase
that leads you everyday
to a death of your choice.

I visit the cemetery every night
and see other lovers
dig out the corpses of their lost loves
as a sad Moon hides behind clouds or the shadow of Earth
Are vampires necrophilliac too?
I ask in the delirium of a fever
that refuses to go away very soon.

Father strokes my forehead
I haven’t had the chance to look into his eyes since ages
now with my eyes bloodshot with fever
I see his mournful face
through a red membrane
and hear cries and whispers
as I inch slowly to a death forced upon me

Did one star just fall from the sky?
I wish I hadn’t lost you
among many forlorn lovers.
now as i don’t remember your handsome face clearly,
I know how
the loss of each memory makes every return

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the flight landed safely. travelers weary from the unprecedented delay got up from their seats hastily. everyone had a home to reach, warm food and companions to snuggle up to, it seemed. a soft blanket of fog covered the runway. she reluctantly reached out for the cabin baggage. only to realise that she was carrying none this time. she always preferred to travel light. but this time she felt she was practically weightless. the hustle around her did not perturb her. she wasn’t walking. her feet felt so light, as if they were still up in the air. no one noticed but she knew that another flight has just crashed. inside her heart. she could feel the violent friction of the broken wings on the reinforced concrete. she felt choked. her burning heart gave away a pall of smoke. she rushed to the smoking zone frantically looking for a cigarette. there were dead bodies all around her. for once it seemed, all the skeletons refused to stay in their claustrophobic closets. they were walking around, shaking hands, making merry. finally she felt at ease. surrounded by a city full of dead people she suddenly knew where to go. ‘taxi!’ she waved at a cab and got in. a ‘no U turn’ sign glowed in the dark.

a doomed fairytale

once upon a time there was a red haired prince who fell in love with a blue nosed peasant girl. since the prince was kept under strict supervision in the palace and the girl had so much work to do at home with her mother as well as in the small piece of land her father ploughed, they only found time to meet during the nights. in fact, it was on one of these full moon nights which now have become so rare that they first met. the white moonlight faded the blue of her nose to a powdery silver which immediately caught the prince’s eyes. on the other hand the prince’s blood red hair became a soft pink which gave the girl goosebumps. ever since they started having their small little rendezvous on moonlit nights. they would lie on their backs to gaze upon the stars, night after night. they had their own names for each star, they knew how the stars moved, from summer to winter through autumn. they knew when a star would fall, and what to wish for with each starfall. ‘may his soft pink hair always be like this’ one day the peasant girl would wish. ‘may her silver nose always shine like the stars’ the prince would wish the other day.

their love grew in leaps and bounds, at nights they would become inseparable, holding hands, looking into each other’s eyes and taking turn to look at the stars, making love under the sky when their naked bodies would be covered by the gentle autumn breeze and the slowly falling leaves. their love grew so strong, they could not remain separated any more. ‘let’s get married’ proposed the prince. ‘then we wouldn’t be separated in the daytime, we would make love all day long.’ ‘but would the king and queen agree?’ the girl was scared of rejection, ‘after all i’m just a peasant girl’. ‘but I love you and does love know any boundaries?’ assured the prince, ‘I’ll convince everyone, being in love with you has made me so strong that I can take on the whole world for you’. as the prince spoke with conviction, the girl’s heart grew calmer. yes, she thought, love truly knows no bounds. they decided to visit the king and queen together the morning after the next full moon. till then they met every night and made plans for their own small home. ‘I want our curtains to be the soft pink of your hair’ the girl said. ‘and I want our bedroom walls to be the powdery silver of your pretty nose’ the prince jokingly punched her nose and declared. as she giggled the gentle autumn breeze suddenly grew sad and heaved a heavy sigh. the girl startled. ‘do you feel? the wind stopped suddenly! is that a bad omen?’ the girl felt distinctly uncomfortable. ‘no omen can taint our love, sweetheart’ the prince patted her back and unhooked her frock. they made frenzied love that night. that night a rare incident took place, as many as two hundred stars fell. but the lovers busy in lovemaking did not notice and forgot to make a wish. with the promise of meeting near the palace gate by midday they bade farewell in the wee hours.

it was a scorching sun glaring at the shiny palace gate and everywhere else. the girl dressed in her best pearl white shirt and flowing orange skirt was sweating in excitement and anticipation. the prince decked up in his royal blue ornate bandhgala and cream churidar was looking confident and suave. as their meeting hour came nearer, they both took steps towards the gate. ‘who are you, fraud?’ the girl shrieked in horror as she looked for her prince. ‘a bloody red haired boy, have you come here to dupe me? where’s my prince? have you done him any harm? oh my god!’ the girl fainted right there, in front of the royal gate. the royal guards came running, ‘your highness! who’s this impudent girl? is she a friend of yours?’ the chief of guards inquired politely. ‘no, I don’t know her. never seen her in my life. look at her ugly blue nose, how dare you think that I’ll befriend a blue nosed girl? she must be some crazy girl from the village.’ ‘the prince retorted angrily and walked away. they never met again. the wind fell silent in mourning. the stars would still fall once in a while. but there were no lovers left to make a wish for their undying love.

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And when she looked from her window into his receding image on the street outside, she thought of last night. How they slept together, entwined like two distressed snakes searching for a log to save them from drowning in their own little pools of sorrow. Before that they had made love with gusto, only to create ripples in the pools that were left uncared for, for long. Grief made its presence felt shortly after guilt.
She tore a page from the calendar on the wall. All the memories that got stuck there with wrinkles of dust on their foreheads, frowned at her. But she couldn’t care. she knew the difference between memories and garbage. At least she thought she knew.
He never came back. The pages of the calendar kept gathering more and more dust until one day when she discovered there were no more pages to tear. With the last page gone there was just a hollow mark on the wall, a pale reminder of a year gone by.

Breakfast Blues

when my hands started shaking
feverishly this morning
as I tried to pick and choose
between the twin slice of breads
buttered and battered almost equally
I thought of you
dunking your spoon
in that repulsive bowl of oats
dunk, stir, eat
dunk, stir, eat
I remembered never having seen
you eat anything with passion.
anything but me.
And then it started again
the conflict in your eating habits
the clash between passion and nonchalance
sent my whole body
shaking from inside, again.
I imagined your lean frame
gymming diligently
every evening
to shed off any extra fat
I wonder what you do with your mind
to let any burden pass
like it was a whiff of wind
you keep talking of ghosts
raising their ugly heads
every now and then.
I see your ghost
doing crunches
with me sitting on its lap
kissing my cheek
with every rise from the bottom
mathematical. precise.
and I shake even more
like the daily morning oats
trying to stir some passion
in your disgusted bowl of life.

Earthquake chronicles


It all started with an earthquake. She remembers it clearly. It was a lazy Saturday. She didn’t have much to do apart from flipping pages of the book she was reading, browsing through Facebook and tossing between half-asleep and half-awake stages in bouts. By mid-morning she was so bored, she felt a strong urge to do something to save the evening at least. Then she got the call, his call. He was free in the evening and wondered if she would mind spending some time with him. She was stupefied. It was his first call outside work. And he wanted to spend the evening with her. Is this a date? She asked herself. Without thinking anything, she said yes. All her laziness vanished into thin air. She was so excited from inside, that she changed the cushion covers in her living room thrice. Then he called again, to say that he might be delayed. She calmed her voice, told him he could drop by even if late and have some tequila that she had left in her cellar. He agreed. The waiting hours seemed longer than a lifetime. Then came that moment, that definitive knock on her door. He came, they started drinking together. Barriers started melting with each shot. She was giggling at his jokes, he was looking at ease. Four shots down, he looked at her straight and said: “the earth just shook and I’m not drunk.’ She got startled. He browsed his mobile and confirmed. It was indeed an earthquake.


He said, I’m sorry! For the umpteenth time now.

Meanwhile words were playing an exciting game of soccer in her crowded head. She wasn’t paying heed to them though. She isn’t much of a soccer lover. Or any sport, for that matter. Other than sleeping. Hell yeah, she often proudly said that in front of her sports loving friend circle.

So many circles exist. She heaved a small sigh. At times it meant a bit too much to handle. The photography circle. The cine circle. The adventure tourist circle. The cyclists. The metaphysicists. The pet lovers. The stray dog lovers. The nature lovers. The humanists. The feminists. The communists. Oops! too much, she thought.

I’m sorry! He said once more.

She was telling him in her mind: shut the fuck up you dickhead. But on the surface, she maintained a grim face. She chose silence. She always found silence a far better weapon than words at awkward moments. It saves you from situations where you actually don’t find suitable words that fit. It helps you to pretend that you understand, while actually you don’t.

I’m sorry for the way I handled it. It was immature. And I was scared to pick up your calls afterwards. Or write replies to your emails. He kept blabbering.

She had music in her minds. She loved the way ‘I’m sorry’ sounded, almost lyrical.

Long after he was gone, she was humming the tune in her mind. And that night, she fell asleep soon. Sooner than other nights.

No, another earthquake did not shake her up from her slumber.


‘You sit heavy on my mind,’ he said.

‘So my diet is not working,’ she thought. She has been on a diet of silence for quite some now. His comment shattered her, but she managed to put up a brave face.

‘You know, you should talk. Talk about something light, something that’s hilarious, some stupid scene that you picked up from the street and kept rewinding in your mind, something that we both can have a hearty laugh about; not this intellectual shit, you know what I mean?’

Stupefied, she nodded. In her mind she was struggling to figure out. Whether he asked her to talk or talk light. Which one weighed more? Or did he just ask her to talk right? As in, things that he thinks right.

‘See, you’re immersed in your thoughts. You just don’t care about things that I say. You know something, you’re killing me. Disgusting!’ He started pacing the room angrily.

She so wanted him to leave. Else this would continue. She so wanted to scream out ‘you’re the one who’s killing us. You know? Not you, not me, but us.’ But as usual, she couldn’t figure out whether it would be the right thing to say. Right, as in what he thinks right.

Long after she was pretending to be asleep, he sent a text to her: I don’t think we’re going the right way. This should end.

She heard the beep. Heaved a sigh of relief. At last something was going to be right. As in, what she thinks right.


As I sit to make
a shopping list
to refill provisions,
the rack in the fridge that
houses eggs
makes a huge hue and cry.
The bread container
joins soon enough
with claims shouted at the top
of its shrill voice.
The jars that have long been
refuge to
oil, salt and pepper
start shrieking too.
The cane baskets designated
for onions and garlic
grab the opportunity to
raise their meek voices.
By the time the veggie rack
starts shouting for
tomatoes, green chillies and my staple saags
I can sense a rebellion
in my kitchen.

As I sit to make
another list to
shop for feelings I can’t live without,
the hollow chambers
inside my body
go berserk.
As I sense another rebellion
and look frantically for my ear plugs,
they shake me with
a deafening

Cotton Tales

The ability of a piece of cotton fabric
regular, inconspicuous, devoid of pride or ego
to soak volumes of water
is amazing!
It reminds me of skins
with ancient tales of pain and despair written upon,
punctuated by wrinkles,
soggy, tired yet never giving up.
It reminds me of crows’ feet
around eyes that have endured
bruises of history,
yet never letting go of the sparkle.
It reminds me of
talkative, chirpy mouths
that have been silenced
by hurt, piling up without notice,
bogging the corners down with so much weight
that they twitched in pain
even at the slightest effort to smile.
Yet I saw them huddle closely,
determined to explode in vehement protest
Then I realised
that all our lives have been just like
a torn piece of

Time Zone

You were probably running
when I called last night. When
you called back, I was asleep.
That was three days ago.
We haven’t spoken since.

I was finishing a report
that was due next morning.
When your skype calls
couldn’t break through the
silent mode of my cellphone.
You thought I was partying.
I thought you were ignoring me.

As time flies its only long-haul flight
to disappear mid way into oblivion,
we keep living together
our lonely lives
remembering now and then
our favourite Kipling quote:
‘It’s not time passing by,
it’s you and I’.