prayer for the romantic

There are many romantics
out here, some write poetry,
some daydream, some wait
for the internet to find
them their true love.

/

Some leave poetry on
strangers’ tables and disappear.
Some light candles.
While a few even get dates.
Those with charming manners
Or unearthly beauty
find love or at least a first-imitation
Of it because appearance
Is the folly of human perception.

/
And then there are those who sit and
Wait before workplaces and colleges,
markets and houses, that their
object of affection will give them
a glance. I wish not to be
confused by the vaayunokki type.
But thin, blurred lines exist between
Romantics and these roadside Romeos.

/
Oh and yes, the silent admirers
whose affectionate may die
and will still not let a word slip.

/

But I pray, I pray tonight,
with all the butter lamps, incense and hope,
that all these romantics here,
myself included of course,
find the vessel of our affections.
Someone who doesn’t necessarily have to be
hopelessly in love with us
But needs to be sensitive of our journey,
of our fluttering hearts and elaborate daydreams.
They have to be patient with us,
Allow us to settle because our perplexed
heart, tired from the waiting, needs to catch
a breath, before to you, it gives it all away.

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shiuli

it’s falling for you.
but it stays where it is,
until you follow it’s fragrance
and find it, lying in wait.

/

it’s white petals,
the orange sindoori,
silent and motionless,
calmly waiting for your eyes.

/

waiting for the moment
when you pick it up,
taking its form in,
sitting on the soft of your palm.

/

its like it grew for your
eyes and your gaze, only.
and now it’s ready to be the muse
of all your waking dreams.

/

only if you’re ready to keep
her, away from all the other
strings that hold you in
the back of your mind.

/

she demands your honesty.
she needs your time.
she deserves the dignity, grace.
and yes, your lasting gaze.

/

until then she’ll lay waiting
remembering those deep
eyes looking at the red
of her lips, as she smiled.

stay. longer.

I was lost,
when I found you.
my searching eyes
met your silent form
when you appeared
from between winding
streets and towering houses.
i had to stay. longer.
looking at you, unabashed.
taking in every detail,
every ray of light that touched you,
passed my eyes, absorbed.
I couldn’t move away,
now that I knew you.
and where I’d find you.
you’re not an image in my head
you’re the canvas on which
everything will be painted upon.
we don’t belong to anyone or anywhere
we just passed one another,
and stalled passing by.
an unending sojourn.

stay longer.

Sanepa Saturdays

I smell pickles.
I smell tadka. It’s 8am.
I hear the water gush down pipelines
It has just stopped raining.
The incredible – for a loss of words-
View outside my window
Is a lush green garden bursting with flowers
I can’t name.
I hear kids quarreling at the top
Of their voices.
I can already imagine what the parents will
Do next.

Saturdays are Sundays here
So everyone is at home.
Either planning a visit to relative’s
Or perhaps a temple they’ve been meaning to go to.

While some are thinking whether they should
Manage the meals with the vegetables turning black in the fridge or perhaps buy a crate
Of fresh eggs or maybe some chicken or buff.
Maybe it’s a good day for some curry-rice.

Perhaps take the kids to the zoo which is
A stone’s throw away from our neighborhood.
And yes, get them those pastries from hot breads.
Maybe Patan darbar if time permits?

Or should we settle for a nice time
At home? The kids look unmanageable today.
Perhaps let them watch Shin-chan (or whatever it is kids watch in Nepal) and eat chips for a change.

Before we forget we should call the grandparents.
Is it sad that it’s become a chore.
But they will insist on visiting and quite honestly everyone just wants to sleep in today.

Did I just say we?
But I’m just a girl in a new city
That has begun to tell it’s stories to me.
Making me believe I could be in them too.

Oh I should go get some milk
We don’t have a refrigerator
So we buy it fresh from the shop.
And maybe some vegetables too.

I hear the parents consoling the kids
In a foreign tongue. And they’ve succeeded.
Perhaps they will visit the granny living
At their uncle’s in Khokana, after all.

And perhaps I’ll make chicken today.
Even though I planned to read all
Day with a cup of tea. And in the evening,
Walk around Boudha, in disbelief.
I’m here, after all.

will you?

will i feel better if
this room could turn into
an aquarium with corals?
/
would it be better if the
sun spared my window
just for today?
/
is it okay if i can
sleep in my jeans
and not turn off the lights?
/
do you listen to movie OST’s
playing in the background
imagining endless storylines?
/
do you wish you lived
in a hill-station with conifers
poking you in your balcony?
/
do you drink in stained mugs
or cups with mismatched
saucers with hairline cracks?
/
will it be okay if I ask
you to walk with me to
nowhere in particular?
/
because somewhere in my
mind I think if you leave
this time, I’ll lose you as
my best friend forever.
/
i wish i could tell you
this instead of sending silly
instagram hearts.
/
but there is nothing more
i hold dear than finding
your hipster messages telling
me to rule the world
/
and there is nothing better
than seeing your smug smile
every time I feel lost.
/
just promise that beneath
the Italian sky, you’ll
remember to laugh at
everything that happens
good, bad, mad, rad.

what it’s not

It either is, or its not,

there is no letting it grow

on you while you sit and

mull over the possibilities.

/

Yes it gets better with age

but everything needs a real

beginning or it remains

entangled in the if’s and maybe’s.

/

Its either crystal or smoked glass

Its either waiting for your hands 

to brush against each other 

while you walk together.

/

Or its nothing.

Its not waiting for weeks

in apprehension, in excitement

with your breath held.

/

Its smiling at the thought of 

them looking at you, even if

they’re a world apart,

or sitting beside you.

/

Knitting dreams without

this assuring feeling

at the pit of your conscience

is a folly in your court.

/

Breathe, ruminate, see if

the lights are on and the windows 

open when you walk into that

person’s world, a fantasy.

/

If there is even a moment of doubt,

step back, walk out as gently 

as you came in, because this is

not your house to stay.

/

There’s time. I am not mine.

You are not theirs. 

The breeze reminds you

there’s work tomorrow. 
Continue reading “what it’s not”

Whisperers.

Tread carefully, as you listen,

to words spoken in hushed voices

in places you didn’t know existed

in your heart.

These silhouettes, these whisperers

they belong to your soul.

They hide because our mind’s clutter

made them agoraphobic.

We keep expanding our horizon,

accepting so much emotion

that they’re just roaming the streets

of our thoughts, aimlessly.

And our soul just sends it’s
messengers to nudge us in the

direction we really want to go in,

hoping we’d listen, we’d care.

Follow these voices, or at least try.

Lost as the others are, find yourself.

In between the things you most want

And the things you’re made to do.

Live not to wake up happy

the next day, but to smile

now, in silence, in joy –

attuned to love, to purpose.

Because these whisperers,

they’ll tug at you at the right corners,

at the right moment when you’re

searching for the next step.

Untitled poem by an Anonymous Poet

“And kid, you’ve got to love yourself.

You’ve got wake up at four in the morning, brew black coffee, and stare at the birds drowning in the darkness of the dawn.

You’ve got to sit next to the man at the train station who’s reading your favorite book and start a conversation.

You’ve got to come home after a bad day and burn your skin from a shower.

Then you’ve got to wash all your sheets until they smell of lemon detergent you bought for four dollars at the local grocery store.

You’ve got to stop taking everything so goddam personally. You are not the moon kissing the black sky.

You’ve got to compliment someones crooked brows at an art fair and tell them that their eyes remind you of green swimming pools in mid July.

You’ve got to stop letting yourself get upset about things that won’t matter in two years.

Sleep in on Saturday mornings and wake yourself up early on Sunday.

You’ve got to stop worrying about what you’re going to tell her when she finds out.

You’ve got to stop over thinking why he stopped caring about you over six months ago.

You’ve got to stop asking everyone for their opinions. Fuck it.

Love yourself, kiddo. You’ve got to love yourself.”

— Unknown

Pyasa Pyala

 

I hope I cleared any doubts about this being a post about Valentine’s Day. I’m trying really hard not to look down upon the celebrations as best I can. I’ve not sent cheeky messages to friends who’ve changed their display pictures into pouting selfies; I’ve not bitten off the heads of the few who came to talk to me about Valentine’s nor did I reply bitterly to anyone who thought it would be a good idea to wish me. So, I’ve behaved pretty well, now, haven’t I? Moving on.

For those of you who don’t know how seriously I take Instagram – I should warn you that the way I fall in love with certain posts that introduce me to a whole new Universe almost every week – can seem quite weird to you. Of the three hundred odd people whose accounts I’ve subscribed to, there are a few that have added pages to my life by giving me tiny bursts of inspiration. It could be the quotes they share or a certain picture they took while travelling – a work in progress – a memory – portraits of people – views I’d never have seen if I hadn’t followed them – experiences that inspire me to go the extra mile. I know this is a generic list but one must find pleasure within their means.

Dayanita Singh is one such person. Photography as art. Subtlety and originality. A curator of memories she is. Her posts capture the essence of her travels and encounters with people and places. Sometimes they speak of the art that she’s making and sometimes about the musician on a bus. Through her I met my love : Vikram Seth.

I had bought A Suitable Boy with great interest in a book fair from one of those second-hand stores – it was one of the early-prints of the book – its white jacked tattered and pages yellowing. My Mother wondered how I’d ever get to finishing the book – it being thicker than her arm – as she paid for it. It’s stayed on my shelf ever since because I believe that every book has its time and I never force myself to read – anything. That was my first encounter with Seth and now suddenly, after two months I see him again on Singh’s post – its a quote, I thought, before realizing its in verse.

capture

I smiled at you because I thought that you
Were someone else; you smiled back; and there grew
Between two strangers in a library
Something that seems like love; but you loved me
(If that’s the word) because you thought that I
Was other than I was. And by and by
We found we’d been mistaken all the while
From that first glance, that first mistaken smile. 

Vikram Seth

And that’s it. I dropped what I was doing and began searching for where I could get more of this. Like a cat lapping up milk. I tracked the book down and then a larger collection of poems until I had almost five of his poetry books in my hands within a weak. And I devoured it – in silent passion. I did’t note verses down or speak about it to anyone because I wanted it all for myself. I’d sit hour after hour in my sanctuary – reading about love, about places afar, sculpture, anguish, resignation, sleep, kinship – and a myriad of other things. I like how simple Seth is. The images that form in my head as I read line after line – are clear and resonate with feelings of my own. I didn’t stop at poetry – I wanted to hear the voice that spoke in his head. And once I found his voice – speaking to me about his impulsiveness and his process of making anything – art or novella – I fell. You can almost here a certain tone of self-importance but at the same time he flashes a humble smile and his fragile hands move in the air painting something from his mind that he’s trying very hard for us to understand.

I am yet to read A Suitable Boy, Two Lives and An Equal Music (All of which I’ve bought and kept in my shelf for the right time) but when I do read them I will write about it because something tells me I will love it. Also, I hope I read these books before he releases A Suitable Girl (whenever that is).

Between Pages and Places

Since November – time’s just swished passed by me. One day I was excited about moving to Pune and the next day – I was to continue here in Chennai. You dream things, sew them in a fabric with minute details leaving space for the things to come. And sometimes you don’t get to complete it, just yet. So you fold it and keep it in a trunk for another time, perhaps and pick up a new piece. Its been some time since then and many good-bad-crazy things have happened.

I’ve begun reading again, writing bits of poetry, sketching in odd corners of journals, walking to places I’ve never had time to give a second look, stalking beautiful buildings with gardens and things like that – things I’d lost touch with. And sometimes that messes your head up. I went back to college for the viva and got to get back to the good times  with the girls. Its interesting how we change – within a couple of months. Some looked different but were the same; some looked the same but were a changed person. Towards some I felt the same warmth and towards some – I just began to see them in a new light. I spent an entire week in Bengaluru – soaking up the winter sun, binge-watching horror movies with my cousins, riding under the night sky with the winter breeze blowing against us and making plans that never quite materialized. And just when I thought I was having a great week-off, things happened that I can’t quite elaborate upon. Things like these really show you who you are  and where you stand. Unnerve you. Tear you enough for you to breakdown behind trees and sit on steps before thresholds wondering what to do next now that you don’t want to go inside. It passed. I understood things and learned that I needed to accept some realities.

The most beautiful things happened, too. I’ve begun reading like I used to before but the books are different. Galadriel’s chants have been replaced by Abeer Hoque’s poetry, dragon-riders no more reside on my shelves – there are letters of love exchanged by an artist and a poet sitting atop Jane Austen’s finest. More Indian authors than fantasy-fiction. More depth, more tears, more black and white photos of things of the past, more feeling, more originality, more questioning, more understanding, little vanity, more secrets than messages and well, more insight. A lot more and yet, a lot less.

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(I’m listening to Whitney’s No Woman and have discovered these new bands called Oh Wonder ; Hibou; Foxes in Fiction and Low, as I write. Yes, that’s a lot of distraction, I know but its music, come on.)

I’ve made correspondence with some delightful people. Friends from my childhood, friends from college who I never got a chance to know better and a friend with a mind so beautiful that I want to pique it tirelessly. Their stories, my stories, our stories and everything else around us have kept me pleasantly busy. I’ve come to realize that there are really people who love things I love and see them in a way that tells stories that others can’t hear. People who see the way I do, even deeper, I believe. How I’d wish to get lost with them and go to the places we only talk about. Collecting antiques, savoring moments spent walking by beautiful street- scapes, gazing at old-houses endlessly – just being. Its wonderful to hear similar stories from a mind that’s different from everyone else and yet so familiar. When you think a little differently from others around you it so happens that you either feel a tad bit lost or try to be someone who mixes with the crowd. Either ways, you’re missing out on being yourself. But when you meet someone whom you could tell what you think knowing they’d understand – you’re liberated in a way. You’re being yourself. Alas, time makes sure I don’t pester that mind too much.

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Of course, I’ve been narcissistic here. My city suffered deep blows this entire past month. From standing in queues, penniless, to being blow away by a cyclone and losing a gem of a Leader. All said and done, the city is beginning to frown upon Decembers because of all the ghastly surprises it brings with it year after year. But then the clock never stops and we still stand in queues and stock up on candles and instant-noodles at the slightest spotting of dark clouds. We move as does the year.

Hopefully, in my next post I’ll share with you some poetry I’ve under-lined (I used a pencil so don’t frown at me) in my new books and a more interesting read. Christmas looks promising and so does New Year (Family-friends are throwing a bash at their place – a home I love because its got certain spaces that I can’t stop talking about). And there is the Birthday on the first Saturday of the year (is that somehow supposed to make it more cheerful? Or is this just a sly reminder to all you, readers?)

Hope you’re all doing well, so far. Give 2016 a chance – there’s still a week left. Great things can happen, yeah?  Happy Holidays!

Arrividerci.