Art, Poetry

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).

Poetry

Unstrapping

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Deserving affection is

now a thing of the past.

What ties we make,

for long, don’t last.

Its not because we cannot

Love to our heart’s content.

Its not that I’ve reached

an exhaustion in feeling.

Its the prejudice and pride

the malice in our mind.

Its the worry of a future

That is incomprehensible.

Its the voices of the people

whom you’ve been allowing

to have a say or at least have an 

opinion, in your life.

 

Its the suffocation of distance.

The pangs of jealousy

The fading of the novelty

that alas, never lasts.

Its the stories of the past

of crisis and betrayal

that keep you from 

taking the leap of trust.

I don’t blame myself 

for feeling the need for

unstrapping Myself from Us

because it was holding me back.

I knew I couldn’t give back

what I’d taken from you:

the reassurance, the trust and 

the implicit love (that I never trusted)

For I know, if both the ends

of the bridges don’t meet

then the two of us

are headed for a fall.

I never stop hoping

for a zesty romance

but it doesn’t have to be a 

person, necessarily, it can

 be a Passion or a Chance.

 

 

Poetry, Uncategorized

Stumbled Upon Myself

You’re lost amidst echoes.

Blood’s pumping into your head.

Crickets sound like people calling out.

Someone’s clapping from afar.

 

Its dark, your thoughts are falling in place.

The broken signals are harmonizing.

You were running away from something.

Work, love, hate, separation, reality, responsibility?

 

Your eyes got fixated upon the sunset.

And your mind was far away

Thinking of the evenings you spent

colouring books and eating with your face.

 

Days when you weren’t actually smiling

for the camera but were just smiling.

Days when you made up stories

about the smallest of incidents.

 

Days when love came naturally.

And people lifted you up with joy.

And you stole extra pieces of cake

and hid under tables, giggling.

 

And somewhere you got lost.

You stopped telling stars stories.

You forgot about imaginary friends.

You don’t feel excited when the sun’s up.

 

You don’t paint your face green.

Yo don’t make paper boats

and set them afloat in drains.

Or write notes to your parents.

 

These memories turned into music

Your footsteps became beats

and suddenly you’re living your past

in your head, like a movie and laughing.

 

You lost your way

while you found yourself.

 

 

 

 

Poetry, Uncategorized

Someone

Would you still write poems

when the walls come crashing down

and walk beside me on the sidewalk

in the numbing, cold rains.

 

Someone who keeps me up

with words that make a difference

and goes on silent, long-drawn

bookshop dates and nostalgia trips.

 

Someone who scribbles in my

sketchbook his wiry handiwork

just to annoy the hell out of me

and then take me to poetry-slams.

 

Someone I can ponder with

about all the mysteries in our mind

Someone who says things

without worrying about time.

 

Someone I can talk art with

And not worry what he thinks 

about my opinion and 

Has one of his Own.

 

I see images of you in many,

but I settle down for none.

Because you’re somewhere out there,

looking for the one.

 

Poetry, Uncategorized

The Burning

See fire

Roll down the window

Let your face out

Feel the wind gush.

 

Smell the burning

Watch the flames

Bellowing fiercely

Gravitating you closer.

 

Bottle up urges

Press the pedal

Drive faster

Away from it.

 

Away from what

You cannot Contain.

It will Burn you

And you want it.

 

Now its an image

on the rear-view mirror

but you can smell

your heart singe.

 

 

 

Poetry, Uncategorized

Puzzle Pieces

Puzzle pieces that fit but separated by a box.
While one’s stuck inside the walls.
The other waits outside (im)patiently
waiting for the One to jump out.

But these walls have a magic
of their own with nostalgic charms
that keep the One within its hold,
a false sense of safety.

Hell-bent to stay safe,
the One is missing out on its Other
because it takes a lot
to break out of the past.

They talk, they laugh, they plan
outings in the near future.
The Other still hopes the box
lets the One out, soon, someday.

Hope is a player of sly tricks.
Keeps two of a kind
hoping in different directions
while they’re headed in the same.

Such is life for these
Two pieces of one
puzzle, misplaced in time.
A fruit and its Jam.

Poetry

Fakir Palya : A Squatter Settlement

In a world where streets

are extensions of homes

and windows are merely 

punched into walls;

Where wealth is a meal

and warmth to share

and health is escaping 

dengue and death, itself;

Where they burn old planks

to boil cheap broken-rice grains

and their entire lifetime

fits in a carton box;

Where marriages are fixed not

by love or tradition

but by the needs of the 

owners of livelihoods;

Where kids play in 

the sand that their

parents build houses with,

in unpalatable haste;

And school is an abstract

idea of keeping kids busy;

Where streets are front yards

and backyards and entertainment.

And tiny boxes are living rooms;

Where dreams are seen, love is made

and so is food and violence between

short spells of sweaty sleep;

Where people bathe upon the drains

because pipes are too expensive

and kids are washed away in drains

when the rains are excessive;

Where money is made on daily wages

and the threat of displacement and

poverty wakes them from their

light slumber: a predicament;

Such is the land where I see

children filling coins in plastic jars

Dreaming of owning cycles

pedaling them to Schools

Where women laugh despite

the scars they hide.

And men buy kids scrap

toys and things to play with

despite their bones

sticking out through their hide.

Each hut here is the same

Single rooms and leaky-roofs.

But everyone has a story.

A beginning and an end.