Saturday, May 11, 2013


Hanging on the tree of temptation,
petrified fruits of love.
The prophecy sears on the parchment,
like the dry river carved in the parched Earth,
like its dust craving a drop's worth.

The world ain't over,
the showers never stayed.
As the ark rots,
scavengers tumble to the ground
wishing the pairings hadn't failed.

Sinking in the sunshine,
thinking of Clementine,
the mind sweats poison.

The diligent clouds are aloof.
In the inkblot nights
as scorching as the day,
Promises wait to be washed away.                                                      

An arid heart thirsts in a drought... Will a Monsoon come in June?

Friday, March 29, 2013

At Om Beach

The undone world with its pink lotus moon, sits on the sand smoking what could be coconuts. Friends recant stories and try to kill memories on the rocks. Cinnamon smells, ankle bells, shimmering voices and ribald LEDs displace the moonlit waves. The brow rings and tattoos on drained bodies, ebb with the tide. Puppies snatch attention from twirled moustaches as caffeine incites me to dance. The wind pairs Canna and plain vanilla tobacco in the same shacks, and they breed glowing ships that float out of the misty horizon. Mosquitoes suck on barbecued skin while intellect is distracted by Bollywood. Glass clinks and plastic strips. At the end of days, when nostrils are deaf and eyes tired, music guides the ears to dreams.

On the rocks

What is it like to drown in a glass of whiskey?
Jump in and swim to the rocks at high tide. Let the sea spit at you. Allow yourself to be ruminated. Let the voluminous waves roll you in their stickiness and dash you against the hardness. Let the spirits of the sea seek your assimilation into their forces crushing the rocky bastions into millennia old sand. Grope in a bed of knives without handles. Breathe brine and palpitate. The moment your fingers get confidence in a hold and the salts anoint the painful cuts, the rocks spit you back with equal vengeance. Your soles are slit and the soul looks for someone to give up his life for you. It may be a Good Friday, but Easter is far far away.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Munfarid (मुनफ़रिद)

A few years back, I came across these beautiful lines in a well made Hindi film "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara". Listening to them, I felt that I have had the same feeling. But I have also had it in another setting which is quite off normal (expressed with all due respect to Akhtar saab).

तारीक़ जिस्म पर, समेटे सैकड़ों कहानियाँ,
राज़ छुपाती तिलिस्मी रात,
हर शब्, अनछुई सी,
लेती है करवटें,
नाज़िश को नज़ाकत से देती मात

क़ैद कर लूँ सियाह समंदर के ये उजाले,
के आतिश-ए-गुलों को लिए, सुबह आए न आए

अनदेखी रोशन दुनियाओं को अँधेरे में ताकता
बस मैं हूँ,
करोड़ों में एक जागता

इस मुनफ़रिद आलम में,
चिंगारियों की तपिश के साथ,
साँसों की जुम्बिश के साथ,
अपने होने पर मुझको फिर यक़ीन आ गया                                                     

I feel this direct connection with the Universe every time I look up at the dark sky and especially when I capture some of it's beautiful secrets with my telescope. Below I try to translate it.

Wrapped in a thousand tales,
the Night's mystical substance.
In nocturnal obscurity it moves,
transcending vanity with elegance.

I aim to capture the lights on this dark ocean.
These worlds of illuminance
I alone am awake to see.
When among the ephemeral sparks,
I discern the primordial brilliancy.

Amid this divine silence,
in this warm desolation,
I find myself breathing and shivering.
And I am convinced again... that I exist.                                             

I am glad something poured out of me so fluidly after a long time. It was on a previous astronomical event night, that I had somehow shut myself and started looking for Earthly connections. I spent the last weekend nights, awake, under the brilliant sky at the IUCAA Girawali Observatory. Out there, I actually felt closer to the universe and the energy that gushed forth was one that rarely fills me these days. I spent hours photographing the sky, to try and see all those things that have been confirmed already by so many astronomers. and lo... all those 'things', that have existed long before Mankind... they appeared in front of me. The skeptic in me, that rises often to question my existence in this unreal world, was silenced. And from the complete Silence, came the above...

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Sniper

Finger poised,
I wait, still,
like death,
with death,
for death.
His death.
My focus,
the circle of life,
the cross of death.

One move,
One shot,
One fall.
Another count.
War Won.
One War.

Inspired by 'Enemy at the Gates'

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Conversation on Radiation

Friend A:- We have this information
      She has started her radiation
Friend B:- Radiation I hear is lousy
      It makes you off mood and drowsy
A:- You feel at times nauseated
      And more often agitated
B:- The 'blues' surely get you
      You are snappy too, I bet you.
A:- Lets stay away for a while
      Till she's again able to smile
B:- No! this is when she needs us
      She's happy when she feeds us
      So lets visit her with a smile
      And be with her for a while

A+B:- Hi there! How are you doing?
Patient N:- Just fine! And what are you doing?
B:- We just dropped by to say Hi!
      And after you smile we'll say 'Bye'!
N:- Oh thats nice to know!
      I tried to call thrice you know
      To come and share my experience
      I have this wonderful radiance!
      You know just how I acquired it?
      The Radio-therapist fired it!
      Those radio-active rays brilliant
      Can Radiation make you anything but Radiant?
A:- Gosh! You've got a sense of humour.
      Who'd think t'was a malignant tumour?
      How come Radiation doesnt affect you?
N:- There's God in there to protect you.
      See him in the Devil and you wont be harmed.
      You know he's there, you feel well armed.
      He's the power in every might
      He's the Light in every 'Light'!
      The Radiation is because of Him.
      He's full and bright and never ever dim.
      Even through Radiation His love is abundant,
      Then can Radiation make you anything but Radiant?                       

Nargis / Nutan

It isn't usual to quote someone else as a post itself. But I found this very touching poem at the Tata Memorial Hospital today, which I was told was either by the Late Nargis Dutt or Nutan (will confirm this). They both went through similar things that dad is going through. Patient N, and hundreds like her, have been in the same hallway where this beautiful painting by her hangs. Each of them have passed through the treatment with a different attitude. But these words show exactly what each of them go through. They don't change my views on God, but the power of faith in producing happiness is admirable. In the past few months, the discovery of the abundant measures of positivity, tolerance and strength in my dad has been an inspiring eyeopener. Yet, standing in front of this, absorbing the last line, I felt small, tiny, helpless... May the Light make him Radiant.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Theft

Was he black or white?
Were the intentions good or bad?
What was he after? Nothing precious seems to be taken...

The Alchemists potion, Midas' stone,
Pandora's box, the leftover wishbone...
All lie Untouched, Unearthed, Alone.

A dark brown hair strand on the window sill is the only rem(a)inder.

His presence, heavy as a Myth now.
But he wasn't the Piper as the mice still scuttle around.
Neither the Khan - he didnt take his silk gown.

All that is gone is a shock of my hair, which he took without a knife, just shining a Light in my face.

The Bus journeys to Mumbai have been frequent and somewhat unwanted as I see my dad changing bit by bit in looks due to the Radiation and Chemotherapy doses. Its sad to see him go bald. I wonder what he feels...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dancing with Shadows

A salsa of loneliness
the music made in my mind,
partnered by my shadow,
the only other of my kind

Missing the laughter
the flush of inertia,
burgundy swirls and
the latin hair

Arms apart, hand in hand
stick to the 8 beat
Tethered to the allegiance -
conforming coterminous feet

Particles of hope
follow my lead
Moving with mirror energy,
covet a bond to be freed

No tears,
pain pours out as Summer.
Insanity is tempted by
the accelerated promise of the drummer

Moving in and out of light
the purple weed of the night
swaying into a trance
is stomped down
... as I rise and DANCE!                                                                      

It's been a while since I danced... especially the passionate Rumba beat variants like Salsa. The problem with ball dances is that you require a consistent partner to be good at them, which is not an easy find. However... more than dances, partners etc. , its most excrutiating when I miss time with me... my Shadow. Craving for some this weekend...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Dive not regretted

She rose out of her ocean, knowing very well that she had to go back, and came crashing onto me - a strong, sultry sinuous wave. Unexpectedly overwhelmed, I didn't stop to think. Submerged in the swirling salty pools of passion, we made 'Love' try to drown itself for its inadequacy to describe us. Our souls floated like fragrant fronds of mist on the surface, trying to breathe for us. We knew she had to go, yet promises were made in duplicate upon the stars reflected on the waters. The wish to keep it a short, sweet secret disappeared with the froth. The night grew older without us ... Then Time yawned at twilight. At the first harsh rays of reality, she left. I was unable to stop her then and later foolishly stretched the seas all day with the tides. At last I finished my 'Mystery of the Drowning Sun', but was left back only with sheets stained red.

No, this is not a passage out of a M&B. Just something I fantasised up to beat the yellow-grey 4 pm heat at the Tarkarli beach where I happened to be lying. I had just come out of a dive and various elements of it were floating in my head... & so I used up all references to the Sea I could remember.

It was a thrilling day... the beginning of my underwater life maybe. My first try at Snorkelling. It was an especially good start as I could dive by & below the ramparts of one of India's most beautiful sea-forts, Sindhudurg. [Map here]

The Sunday morning begged me to stay away from the regular beachy crowd and try out something new. Getting to the west-facing Chiwla beach is itself a joy when you walk through the coconut lined streets of Malvan. People gave various estimates from 10 minutes to ten kilometers... but I suppose its about a kilometer North of the Malvan Jetty and two from the Bus Terminus. A walk is always good as its nice to suddenly come upon this very beautiful beach and just plop down in the sand cooling your heels, literally.

For a focussed programme like Snorkelling, its always good to fix up with some pros to begin with. We were lucky to get the acquaintance of the very experienced group run by Anway Prabhu, who himself is a good diver and quite familiar with the seas around Malvan. If you choose to snorkel close to Chiwla, you have the option to dive near the rock garden. A boat is arranged that takes you a kilometer in the sea and there you get onto a stationary boat that is to be your base. On this, the basics of snorkelling are explained by the divers already in the water and then the kits are distributed. Depending on the diver guides present, one person is assigned to each. The kit itself is a simple setup of a tube with valves which you have to use to breathe through your mouth. The other part is a mask with tempered-glass covered eye-holes for good underwater vision and a sealed enclosure for your nose, so you can forget that it exists. Take two minutes to familiarise yourself and its an easy job henceforth.

I was quite favoured by the tides that day as they rose & it became difficult to see much after the first group returned. So we travelled to shallower waters on the sides of Sindhudurg! That was like living a fantasy. Just a few years back I was here with Amit on one of our first memorable, independent trips and there I was today about to dive to the base of the same sea fortress! A 5-km boat ride got us to the site. I put on my kit and got into those waters that had eluded me on the previous trip...

Although the Arabian sea is opaque & greenish on the Indian coastline, it is quite clear where shallow. That was my first reaction when I stuck my masked head underwater - its all so clear! I was suddenly in a new fluid, green world. The refraction of light makes everything come closer to you. The lapping waves on the surface catch the sunlight and send arrows of it shooting past you into the depths below. I was floating mesmerised by this when I suddenly came across my first Zebra fish! I had been made to float with a lifebuoy and hence was flat on my tummy. It was swimming right under me... followed by another. It was tough to believe that this was real. I did a thumbs-up to Anway, who was pointing out things to me. I had been told to refrain from speaking or moaning when looking down, for obvious reasons. But soon many fish varieties kept showing up & I don't know how Anway was seeing them as well as telling me what they were. I could see his finger pointing and his voice identifying them. Lets see, how many of them I remember having seen... the striped yellow & black Zebra fish (I doubt the identification), a Clown fish (Nemo!), a few Parrot fish pecking at the rocks, various types of Butterfly fish, the flat Angel fish, the Surgeon fish with its scalpel-like spine, the transparent, small Glass fish & a beautiful Coral Grouper.

Getting to see the last one was an experience in itself. We had turned away from the fort at some point and now were in 10-15 feet of water when Anway suddenly disappeared. He resurfaced with a tubular brown floppy 'thing' and told me to touch it. I hesitated first as it was almost alien! But it turned out to be just a Sea-cucumber and I was thrilled as I'd read about it recently in a book by A.C.Clarke (in fact I was so eager to snorkel coz of that book). He went down to replace it and I was waiting with an irrefutable request when he was back. I wanted to see some corals and dive without the float... & he had to teach me now or else I'd write badly about his group on my blog ;)

I was dragged through a shoal of glass fish and to a place where I could vaguely see some shapes down below. Off came the float and with a deep breath (a mistake), in I went to the floor with my feet skyward. Travelling 15 feet in a second or so, the pressure around my ears must have doubled and I had the sense to give out air through my mouth. Although it blurred my vision it saved my ears. I was told later that this needs to be done through the nose but I did fine for the purpose. However, the rewards of the dive were in the next second, when I came across a big brown Montipora (a genus of coral) spread like a giant oyster mushroom with a white lining. I reached out to touch it but did not press on it (as corals are fragile and take thousands of years to form what we see today). That was when I noticed the Coral Grouper lurking there. It was one of the most beautiful fishes I saw... Translucent brown with electric blue dots, it made me miss my camera for the first time in the day. But my mind clicked all the while as I came out of my dive.

It was wonderful to see the sunlight and get some air through my nose as I pulled up my mask. My first dive in the open sea was over and now it was time to explore some more shallows and get out. But not before thanking Anway again, who had been constantly dragging me to the right places and pointing out many fishes to me. The boat ride back, drying the salty water off my hair & my sunburnt back, saw all of us still in a reverie. I guess we hadn't had our fill as a few of us dived off the boat a few hundred meters from shore and swam in to tell the others what they had missed.

Here's the Calling card for Anway Underwater Service
Anway Prabhu : [ 9823857576 / 9766420038 ]
& a nice site for sea fish identification.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Waking up with a start, she waited to get back to her dependence on the senses, while the contents of the dream evaporated. If he had woken then, she would surely have stayed in bed, depending on his embrace for comfort. She paused, depending on hope, which let her down as always. Slowly slipping out of the quilt, she stepped towards the light. Each time her bare foot touched the cold floor, it took her away from the dependences for warmth, love, protection, understanding...

Opening the door, she stepped out of that room of dependences, just as she had from another dark, warm one decades back. She felt the icy pricks of the chilly wind on her unclothed body. Were the tears that ensued due to pain or was it the joy of a sweet victory? The sky was on fire at the horizon and blazed red as the Sun rose to feed all its dependants. But the warmth inside her was from knowing that she was alone, alive and free. She revelled in the high of her first moment of independence during this submission to depending that she called 'Life'.

I recently passed through a period when I let myself be dependent too. I was on a trip to South Africa - my first international trip - and was in some kind of a trance, that I let others take my responsibility. I was not very happy to do it, but it was a trial for a month, a trial of trust, patience and maybe Hope.

In the first few days, I was amazed to see how many of my old fears came back and how fast! The fear of loss was the foremost I guess. After a long time I felt a sort of attachment to my sources of support. I was foolishly happy not to need to think about myself and to be completely clueless about whats next. Dependence leads to possessiveness as you want to constantly depend. I could see it coming true right in front of my eyes. I suddenly felt the need for someone to be there by me all the time. All my logic etc. failed and I succumbed to a strange craving. The horizons of my world, that I have worked hard to expand to the farthest reaches of the Universe, suddenly collapsed and shrunk, to Me, my needs, my hunger, my safety and some more Me. It took a shock to jolt me out of this headlong dive. Well, with my eyes washed, I could carry on mostly by myself, but it was a great lesson to see how one stays vulnerable to fears and other weaknesses.

I am thankful to all who actually helped me in this time of dependence, But I still maintain, as I had years back... "Of all the things I want in life, Independence is the key." I sprung back and here I am again, Fearless.

But I guess dependences are plain addictive for some and not easy to rid oneself of. The result is that, despite all wisdom, a real story would finish like this...

...Only human, she went back in, gave in to the accosting dependences, and paid for it.

I had some more thoughts during the lot of time that I had to kill back in Lazy SA. Hope, I've always felt, is a daydream of a positive mind. One does not depend on a dream... they are random & unpredictable. In fact one cannot depend on Life either, which is just as unpredictable. But people live in dream worlds with flimsy foundations, expecting them to materialise. Every moment of their life is spent expecting something from an unknown source. I have discovered this through bitter experiences and still see everybody go through it. I wonder why they do so? I wonder why people pray? A Wish or a Prayer is a petition to 'God' for something one wants. A display of an undue dependence to a something you imagine exists. All unreal, this faith even blinds one to the more dependable ones around. The Self, which might be the most useful in adverse situations is totally forgotten. The limits that you cross during adversities are your own and you are the only one to help yourself for sure, unless you wait in false faith for something to happen. Phew... its futile to tell everyone this though.

To end, I feel Nature is all-pervading and the only dependable one. But dependable for what...? For Knowledge. The universe is simply so huge that there is always something to discover, observe and wonder about, independent of the person you are with, the place you are in, how the weather is etc. That is one quest you cannot even depend on Google for. :)