Friday, January 27, 2012

It was republic day yesterday, the day we signed the constitution, ages ago, of course now several political parties swear allegiance to the writer of the document and choose to forget that probably a committee drafted it in the first place, and given our propensity for all things British, there must be chunks thusly inspired. January 26th, now another holiday, a day to salute the flag, sing patriotic songs off key, and walk about waving paper flags stapled on to softdrink straws. Later at night, there was Gandhi, on TV, but to get to it you had to surf past footage of march pasts, missiles and tanks and what not, and one wondered if those men of steel of which those on the screen only were a depiction, were from a different gene imprint, and where did that steel go, and the man singlehandedly credited for cobbling together a country from a hundred and ten fiefdoms, kingdoms, headstrong rulers, where did that steel go? Though as protests and clamor go we’ve had a pretty neat year, a new drama a fortnight and I watch wide eyed—but something’s off in this land of two Indias, the chasm deepening every damn minute.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A friend’s going to a literary festival
Hulla hulla jamboree
100,000 and counting
Dust clouds and shamianas
Speeches and milling crowds
a regal fa├žade and a roll of drums
will they wear hats, I wonder? And gloves!
and much too much of chatter
echoing, rebounding, ricocheting from ancient walls.
My literary festival
Is 400 word quickies
And my barrage of obtuse. “cut, cut cut” heavy crits
As also poem a day (that alas I often miss)
That pulls out dark stuff from shuttered tight corners
Of my brain and mind, such that it is
And yes, heart sometimes
(but the heart is pokey holey, not much to count there)
And my literary festival is:
Trying to stretch words to not bloat, stay afloat and more
Clenching, grasping crazy deadlines
If I can I must, or so shouldn’t I?
And my jamboree is
Merrily switching words tenses weights across languages
If I can I must, or so shouldn’t I?
And this year, I admit, the first of for-fee subs
multiplying by fifty as I hit send...
So even while the flashing lightbulbs
And newspaper double spreads
Devote eulogies, quotes, reams to the craft
I shall put my head down
Squiggle out a line or two.
Sing along to my sing song
Hulla hulla jamboree

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The formal year 1 date, and today I shall release you of all promises but one, and I shall let you go to the space of the four directions, to the glorious sunshine and the green and the mountains you loved so much, and to the word, spoken and unspoken, written and read in all your languages, to drama and literature and marching numbers and erudite philosophy I don’t even try to understand, but crisp and without need of that magnifying lens. And I shall release you to the wind and the rain and the million and one stars in the night, and to the brilliant sunsets over water, and images of places never seen but on TV and you’d remark “what a view” and to intricate melody and to Rashid khan and to stories I’ve only heard, of night long concerts and weekend trips to any place on a whim… and I release you of all promises but one, that in this endless cycle of soul paths and nights and days, that we shall meet again, and I shall guide your step again, and again I shall know your thoughts without your framing them into words. Adieu, and see you soon, or how else shall I live?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Flashes in the Dark has published my rather nasty flash, DARK.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Once again, it is uttarayan, the day the sun changes direction, the golden orb lasting a mite longer in these stark winter skies. Also the day the sky is spilling over with kites of all colors and sizes. Also the day the mighty Bhishma (in the Mahabharata), long vanquished and in repose on a bed of sharp arrows, bided his death for.
Uttarayan. And I see that young girl in her usual uniform of cap-T-jeans, prancing about on the terrace, her voice hoarse with cries of victory, even as her kite soars higher in the glorious sunlight, higher than any other in its exclusive blue sky.
And I watch closely, try to unravel the victory cheers and bursts of songs from radios from the neighboring terraces, and all of a sudden the sound predominates, and the girl’s image begins to blur, shake and dissolve into a pool of golden sunlight.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Poonam of the paush month again.
This morning, the full moon
Efflulgent and radiant
Peered over the trees, and waited.
I watched in silver silence, chilled
A year ago, about now,
Time stood still.
Time, the thief—too early-- this time, every time.
A year ago, time stood still
The whoosh of the machine no more
Your hand grew cold, in mine
That line on the ventilator vanished
White covers were drawn
Time the cheat, the thief!
Time, ever victorious, on quicksilver wings
Scorching time!
For a week now I’ve been recycling Sting
A lament , a dirge, a daughter’s plea
A Newcastle ship without coals
We sail to the island of souls

The cry of
The bridge to heaven is broken
Please repair it for me
The bridge to heaven is broken
And I’m lost on the wild wild sea

These words
A nonstop loop to the backdrop of my day
I work, I laugh, I watch myself laugh
A nonstop loop to my day
Been trying to think instead
Of a burst of light, Santorini
Of drumroll and bougainvillea in the sunlight
Morning filtering on the green
A toddler wobbling on unsteady legs
My road ardous, steep
I shall try to be my father’s daughter
Your hand forever in mine.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Reading Tagore in the 21st C
Reading Tagore, the poems in particular
(all means to an end, I must confess)
D’you suppose he’d still write as he did
Or bemused, watch
Would he seek grace and music
In sunlight on green
Or the way gold traces a line through a grove
Or would he read
the face of the devout praying to the rising sun
Would he be captivated
By a child on a playswing
Or sunlight gleaming off the Petronas or Al burj
Or smile at
A gaggle of schoolboys enumerating conquests?
For the paced flow of the river, unhurried, is overrun
By the energetic rush of the latest superfast metro
And demure anklet- wearing damsels no longer fill water at the river
Now that protest-fluff-bling tend to overwhelm
Would he have taken the tide, holding his own
Or stepped away from the clamor, a recluse
To a garden, walled
Or a city with no name?
Would he have gleaned lyrics from the milling crowds
Or sought the refuge of the quiet glade?
Reading Tagore in the 21st C
I read the lines
And let it be