Unlearning

In rooms crowded with pigtails
and half pants
They taught us maps
and shapes and swirls.
They’ve changed now into
very different rants
As Atwood’s ‘I’ laments all the
maps are coloured in
And Edward said it’s an
orientalist thing.
They are not swirls anymore but
Yeat’s Gyres.
we keep winding upon new meanings each day.
And in our mad search we forget
to hear what Beckett had to say.
This is not a poem
Just as I am not learning anymore.
I am unlearning the things they have chalked in
about good and bad and gods in books and sin.
I want to know why are ballets full of bullet holes?
And in brothels we find most purging their souls?
Why you and I can have our fifteen seconds of fame
But we would still not know the neighbour’s name.
They managed to strew most half truths on the classroom floor with chalk dust
But our brains still rust
because they skipped that lesson- discernibly the most important one-
the one where they should have taught us not to learn anymore.

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Funereal Whispers.

Lost and I will not be found again
Like water melting into thirsty sand.
Or words breathed but left unattended
Or perhaps turned away.

Failed and I will not triumph again
Like precious silk but weak at each thread.
Or a pen that stopped squirting ink
on the last page of life.

Defeated by none but self.
With no will to live a tear-drop more
Or a smile that tried but never
manifested on your chipped lips.
Or kind things that only ever your
thoughts left but never expressed.

Am I even a blip on your canvas?
A fading spot of carcass perhaps.
Or maybe nothing but a numb
thorn to curse and pluck out to shun away.

Fair enough.

I wrote this poem back in 2010 when someone I knew personally was murdered or killed for honor, as the prepatrators of this heinous crime had put it. It has been two years to that day and such satanic acts continue to happen all over India. Strict laws, police vigilance, social activism..nothing succeeds in bringing down these cold blooded murders. The only solution I see is in the root cause of this problem, a mass cultural delusion that the honor of a family is in who (and of what caste/creed/religion/gotra) their children marry. What we need is a basic rethinking of principles. People need to realise that essentially fatal violence against a member of their own family is no more reputable or honorable than marriages they deem as wrong and sinful. And perhaps, a look at the situation from the victim’s eyes would help them realise the gravity of this criminal offense and maybe, just maybe, soften their stone hearts.

Blood..red blood
the same red
of the roses
he got me the day we wed

Red was all over that day and today too when all is over.

His hand are
firmly clutching mine,
Just like they were
back in that time.

Our fingers still
fit perfectly in the spaces.
I can still see him
smiling with his braces.

Stills from the past
skimming.
Emotions ceaselessly
brimming.

And the scene now playing is
of our first touch.
His Dravidian dark against
my Himachali paleness.

There goes the graduation
day past my eyes.
New lives for some,
for some others sad goodbyes.
We both took the Hippocratic Oath that day.
We took our own roads, headed the same way.

Now the train crawls out of this station of obscurity
Into Dream Central, worth all dreams
Our hearts beating in rhythm, fast
His hands on mine on the train’s iron cast.

When Anatomy lectures set
this chemical explosion off,
we know not.
Thigh dissection, bone re-arrangement
and pathogens-
every passing second,
only closer we got.

In this picture, we are exchanging
garlands and promises worth a lifetime
Just Us and the priest
and wedding bells that chime.

When life became an extended honeymoon
There was love and more love
where now there is only doom.

And now I can see our girls
when they were younger.
Their innocent,blank stares
and cute pig tales.

Frames switch quick
the machinery goes tok
tik- tok- tik.

It has been 5 years
since the graduation day,
things are going only one way,
our way.

BUT,

Just today
some people knocked on the door
When I did not answer their call
they knocked and they knocked more
I hide my fairies
In the closet.
And pressed 1- Sree’s speed dail
to make my last call
Deep inside I knew we’d lost it all.

A good fight
and a number of tries
Later the hinges lost.
All I could see was
my brother, some goons
and unending frost.

Sree’s calm voice on the phone
tells me to run or to hide
His voice, so assuring,
so warm
I can feel him here, by my side

But now the damage is done
where there was so much happiness
now there is none.

The machinery in the ambulance
and the siren hurt my ears.
All I want is to close my eyes
and go back in the years.

He is holding my hand very tight.
Whispering into my ears,
“Baby, everythings gonna be alright.”

But its fair enough,
Isn’t it?
I killed my kin’s honor
and their honor killed me.

* An honor killing (also called a customary killing) is the murder of a (typically female) family or clan member by one or more fellow (mostly male) family members, in which the perpetrators (and potentially the wider community) believe the victim to have brought dishonour upon the family, clan, or community.

Indian Girls often face the wrath of their families and at times communities for marrying without their families’ acceptance or outside their caste.
In North India, mainly in the culture of ethic Rajputs – who despite the forces of modernization and the pressures of decolonization, subscribe to medieval views concerning the “preservation” of perceived “purity” of their lineage- girls are killed every other day in the name of honor.
This is my small attempt at making people aware of such barbarian acts taking place in our own country, our own state, our own city and at times our own family.

Dedicated to Sangeeta Thakur and all those innocent girls who have fallen prey to such inhuman acts.
May your soul rest in peace.

The Things You Left Behind.

I was looking
For the perfect dress to wear.
I looked
In the old box, It found me there.

Tears
rolled down my eyes.
Rushed
back all your memories
Undressed
All your clever lies.

I picked it up
It stared back at me.
I unwrapped it,
emotionally
It barely responded
like a new born baby.

I bring it close to my face,
Hold it in a warm embrace.
It does not
Smell of you anymore.

I drown myself
in it, again.
Like I used to bury
in your arms
my face.

Only now I see how
it really is.
I can’t trace your smell now
Or the way I’d miss
You, every breath.

It has been so long.
Can I even, in one go,
sing the lines to our song?
And In my head will you still hum along?

But,
One last time I’ll
dance with it.
And I guess
I’ll forget you
bit for bit.

Not today, certainly
But someday I’ll laugh
About you and me.

It brought back to me
All your forgotten self.
And I’ll hope it finds me again sometime.
To show me, how you were mine.

For now,
I’ll fold it in neatly.
And put back your plain white T.
I wonder,
Do you ever think of me?

Footnote-
This poem was not written in the best state of mind, as is evident from the rough edges. That said, it has come out exactly the way I wanted it. Rough. Disturbed. Raw. Emotional.

Will you lend me my own to keep?

Will you lend me
two smiles and a sigh?
I want to grow wings and fly.

Will you lend me
a verse and some rhymes?
I want to be a lie and shield to your crimes.

Will you lend me
three days and a night?
I want to be a scene and a sight.

Will you lend me
a morsel and some wine?
I want to be artsy and shine.

Will you lend me
some knifes and a paper?
I want to be a muted poet and a shaper.

Will you lend me
a carpet and some dust?
I want to be a candlestand to sit and rust.

Will you lend me
some guilt and some pain?
I want to be a clever charmer and a dab of vain.

Will you lend me
drops of rain and frost?
I want to be the love found and lost.

Will you lend me
an emotion and some fire?
I want to be an irony and satire.

Will you lend me
Someone not yours to keep?
I want to be alone and never again meek.

Will you lend me
My own ?

Will you?

But here I am Yours, Unloved.

Found but here I am
lost again.
Healed but here I am
in pain.
Begun but here I am
at the end.
Real but here I
pretend.
Read but here I am
untouched.
Tall but here I am
crushed.
Safe but here I am
exposed.
Stable but here I am
desposed.
Sane but here I am
deranged.
Owned but here I am
unclaimed.
Crowned but here I am
subverted.
Believer but here I am
converted.
Brimming but here I am
exhausted.
Filled but here I am
vacated.
Ripe but here I am
juvenile.
Confessed but here I am
in denial.
Accepted but here I am
refused.
Sorted but here I am
confused.
Bound but here I am
unchained.
Flowing but here I am
retained.
Expected but here I am
turned away.

Unloved, but here I am yours.

Living without

If you think of it,
Your presence made no difference.
And then memories hit,
A lifetime of reverence.

Homecoming was awaited,
Rebirth still is.
Togetherness was celebrated,
But being together forever now isn’t bliss.

Nonchalant you were,
Appearance is not descriptive.
Wish we could adhere
To all things that now are primitive.

Never had to hide,
“Wonder and stay bewildered”.
I know I am safe & you are by my side,
“You must be bewitched”.

Solitude in the womb of a mystery,
A child so sweet.
It all looks history.
Can we try once more the wish n greet?

Wheelies and volleys,
I am so lost.
Hundred and one homilies,
Still full of frost.

The wind blows fast,
Boots are no more a fashion.
My destiny at last,
Found and felt not without compassion.

Pandemonium still lives,
It was almost defeated.
Distances, tides and now times,
Yet not separated.

Let the years rewind,
Encased.
Like the angel of the mind,
Unstirred.

Emptiness looks eternal,
Lunacy does not.
Relatively less betrayal,
Life we have still got.

I do not flake out,
Tired though I am.
The change is about,
And It’s breaking the dam.

Acting strong is needed,
It may not be wise.
The past is the only thing heeded,
Now it never feels nice.

Words become water,
Freezing all the while.
Wonder if I can alter,
Wonder if I can compile,
This thing people call life.

Each second leaves
The loathing increased.
Now life is
A little more grieved.

It was not a first,
Why did it turn out to be a last?
Your memories and dreams are mine,
Framed in my heart shaped cast.

If you think of it your presence did make a difference.
Memories hit all the time.
It’s a lifetime of repentance.
Hope you are fine.

Pandemonium still lives,
It was almost defeated.
Distances, tides and now times,
Yet not separated.

As the days go by.

Every minute that passes is
a minute we never get back.
you can’t relive the moments
that mean the most to you.

but you can remember,
you can smile laugh or cry,
and you learn and try,
you love and hate as the
days go by.

the pendulum keeps swinging,
the days, they count away,
through honesty and lies,
no one but you knows the way.

its beautiful and ugly,
warm and cold in this
erratic life, we don’t always have a hold,
we should listen its up to us to do as we’re told.

and in the misery we live,
and in the happiness of life,
we do not know where we’re heading,
through the heartache and the strife.

mistakes seem to rule us,
and we change as we grow,
the ironic contradictions,
No one seems to know.

but you can remember,
you can smile laugh or cry,
and you learn and try,
you love and hate as the
days go by.

You and She.

You put me on a shelf.
You kept me to yourself.
I am yours
You are mine.
And Together we can walk miles.
Now you are here
and I am there.
Those house long streets
That you walk,
That’s where I belong
And you belong here.

You put me on a line
You hung me out to dry.
Now you are lost,
And we are here
I am yours
Coz you were mine.
And those deep brown eyes
that you flaunt,
That’s where I belong
And you belong to here.

I can write a page
Or a thousand then
And spread them here
To lose myself.
And those lovely dreams
that you live,
That’s where I belong
And you belong here.

Now you are lost
But we will be found.
Swallowed in the sea.
And those arms that caress
your salty tears,
That’s where I belong
And you belong here.

I could write a song
A hundred miles long.
Just spread it around
To drown myself.
Now you are lost
in the summer sweat.
Now we here
but no where.
But we will be found
Not swallowed in the sea.

You cut me down to size
And opened my eyes.
That cozy chair that
you’ve laid,
That’s where I belong
And you belong here.

Now you are lost
And we are here.
But one day you’ll
be found.
Alas! Inside this heart.
And that lonely walk
that you take,
That’s where I belong
And you belong here..
With the girl you love,
With her.

And I belong to solitude.

The Voices in my Head

Image from : Here

The voices in my head
Are so loud today.
They’re screaming out to
The world and on their way
They’re infecting little corners
of my heart.
They’re defeating all emotion.
They’re tearing me apart.

And They’re casting
dark shadows,
that blind all my senses.
Their unperturbed flow,
Drowning all desires.

I run,
To a very silent place.
But the voices,
That does not erase.
I shut my eyes.
I hide my face.
But wherever I go
The voices chase,
After me.

I left them behind
a couple of times
Only to know better.
They’re still in my mind.

And now I think
They’ll burst out
Of my head.
And soak the entire
universe wet.
They just went
Silent instead.

Gypsy Girl

Image Courtesy: Amohs On dA

In forgotten places and lost memories,
In love I grew out of and extant civilities,
Maybe in that song  you’ll find me.
There I maybe yours
to love.
There I shall be only yours
To keep.

For now I have set this blithe mind free.
And here thy light guides me no more.
How long can I wait for your signal fire?
You take me higher. Just take me higher,
Away from me.
Take me beyond these clefts of desire,
Away from me.

Should I love and care and be loved back
But this spirit just wont rest.
It will stare at the empty bottom of your heart.
It wont fix your faults or plug the hole
You’ve been oozing love from.
Let it flow -to lose its own-
Into this soul, This liquid gypsy soul.

I want you back this instant, now.
But my gypsy soul wont know somehow.
Please dont throw a chain around
This gypsy girl that doesn’t settle down.

A moment alone is a thousand words, Unchained.
Which strung together will never be the same.
For it quite likes wandering to far fields
Untamed.
Please dont give its home a name.

Just stay with it another while
And leave where my thoughts no longer rhyme.
That day, it will be the right time
To return this borrowed soul.
This life I lived was never mine.
For a gypsy soul you can not keep.
It is wind- it will not be caged
In your broken ideas.
And its loud presence
Will drown
The silence of my unsettling thought.
Baby, Gypsy souls can’t be bought.

It is desert sand.
Try to hold and it will slip
Right through your hand.
It is a gypsy, it believes
That is why the gap in your fingers is.
Not to hold a lover’s in her sleep
Or to fill the spaces when lovers kiss
But to let go
Slip unnoticed out
this gypsy soul to go about
To stop where it hears a shout
Of your signal fire, perhaps?