Thursday, December 30, 2010


I now blog at

Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Love Happens ...

Love happens in myriad ways -
In warm hugs on rainy days,
In shared laughs over silly jokes,
In the chatter of simple folks,
In held hands when walking on snow,
In a look, a smile, a glow,
In a friendship that lasts for years,
In a few minutes of shared tears,
In the coincidence of yearning,
In the warmth of two hearts burning,
In sorrows with a common story,
In the joy of limited glory.

Love happens in myriad ways
And soaks in ardour barren days.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Wronged That Live

- dedicated to a dear and wronged friend

The bee just comes and goes -
Nectar a-drunk, petals shaking;
Delirium of love for one,
For another gutless faking...

The gong, the hammer hits,
Not hurting the latter too much;
The gong a-shimmers so
And vibrates at the joyous touch...

The pebble falls on calm
And a-sends the water dancing;
The pebble, so unaware,
It sinks in, never once glancing...

The bee, the hammer, the
Pebble are not cut out to stay,
But are to come and go
And a-fritter their selves away.

The flower, the gong, the
Water a-make the stronger choice -
To bloom, to sing, to quench,
To live on wagers and rejoice.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Rat's Life

The boys have slept it seems;
Their parents voices are hushed.
So I can go fend for
My Brood, without being rushed.

The kitchen smells of foods,
Some cooked and fully eaten;
Other left overs will
Now, the Rats' table sweeten.

I chose from among all,
Crumbs of bitter cake and bread,
And felt scared for I had naught
Of what the Missus had said.

As I romped back to my Den
I saw what Rats dream about -
I saw Cheese, yes Cheese that
Could water my hairy spout.

A Black Devil had it
Within its mighty Black Jaws.
I had to have a plan
To steal it from where it was.

Speed not stealth chose I,
And took a long running start.
My mind was full of cheese,
But my chest pounded in my heart.

I ran, I ran fast, I
Had the cheese by my fingers;
And leapt into the chasm
Of my life where death lingers.

Then I heard the the jaws clasp
So hard it shook the ground.
Not for cheese I thanked god,
But for life that I had found.

I went back home jittery,
The Rats had a wholesome meal;
The Missus and the Brood
United in joyous squeal.

That night I thought of death
And the joy that I had brought.
I couldn't solve the riddle,
No matter how much I thought.

If I should meet Black Jaws
Again, should I steal his food?
Or should I choose to live,
And feed oddments to my brood?

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Many Me

I saw myself in the puddle
And found a trembling image.
I stood before the fire and saw
A shadow strong and haughty.
The window pane I looked at then
To see a dusty visage.
Mirrorward I turned to at last,
Hoping my real self to see;
But none could show the man I was
As in her glistening eyes.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


The Muse

I brought niether shame nor
Any fear brought I;
I gave myself to my
Painter's devouring eye.

I perched myself where He
Softly commanded me;
I showed myself so He,
My innermost may see.

Now His brush's strokes touch me,
The insides of my soul;
His colours splash me on
To the dry canvas roll.

The Artist

She had come shy and coy
Clothed in her virgin shame.
She then made me pledge my
Dry canvas to her name.

She looks straight at me now,
Fast yearning to be seen.
She thinks of how she'd paint
If the muse I had been.

I wish I could enter
Her Body, flesh and mind,
And having touched her soul
Draw my nonpareil find.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Awaken All

Sleep, Dear World, is not a good thing when one sleeps over as many things as we do. Think of my prayer(if answered) not as a curse but a boon .

Dear World, awaken from
Slothful slumber, drudging dream.
Hearken east and hearken west
And heed to my rousing scream.
Set your warming minds aflame.
Get on your feet, march along.
Walk with strength, breathe in peace.
Bring t'your lips a freedomsong.
I, the rhymesmith, scream not for
War or peace or science or art,
And 'tis not for the penniless
That I eke words from my heart.
I only sing - loud, sharp and deep,
So that this World may never sleep.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Two Halves

Inspired by Nazrul's Adho Dhoroni Alo

Half the world is dark
And half is steeped in day -
The dawn of life sweeps
Shadows of dusk away.

Half of us rejoice
Another half do cry -
We pass from mood to
Mood with one gentle sigh.

Half of love is sweet
And half of bitter kind -
Love and angst will hence
Play checkers in the mind.

If all is ruled by
Two Halves in constant strife,
What, I wonder, is
The other half of life?

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Real Man's Sonnet

I am a hunter, my Lord,
Crouching amid the leaves;
Make me not the timid man
Who lack of riches grieves.
I live by my wooden bow,
A quiver and some aim;
Give me not a life of woe
And chasing lifeless game.
I know when the clouds will rain
And when the fruits are sweet;
Teach me not a lot of what
Others as knowledge treat.

Make me brave, give me love and teach me mortal grace
So i may, in my friends' hearts, find my rightful place.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

My Will

I will go round and go round,
Till I am dizzy with your thoughts,
And I feel like the groggy frog
Each brick of whose well is you.

I will run and I will run,
Till I am thirsting for a breath
And in doing so feel alike to
When you tired me out with love.

I will write and I will write,
Till I fill everything with words
And of these words that you said
Make a tomb of memories.

I will sing and I will sing,
Till I swoon to welcoming Death
And meet with you my only love
On the better side of life.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Fare Thee Well, Wish Thee Back

Her fingers leapt off mine
Like a butterfly from a shaken petal,
And the cab raced away
Squelching my farewell beneath the tyres.
Were tears outbrimming my eyes?
Or was it the dust bothering them?
If I closed my eyes
Would the dust or tears clear away?
Or better still, could I
Have her come back to me again?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Following Walden

Walden went to the woods
And so will I,
To watch the time and birds
Just float me by.

I will sleep on a tree
Or in some cave,
And with my life the way
To heaven pave.

I will write songs on trees
With twigs and nuts,
And drink the sap oozing
From the bark’s cuts.

I will bathe in rivers
Lashing with pebbles,
And in doing so create
Rippling rebels.

I will dig, I will fill
And lie on earth.
I will hide, I will walk
And savour my mirth.

One day I will pass on
Across the cloud,
While my body lies in
A moist leafy shroud.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Lesson of Love

They lay together on the grass
Wondering and living the day,
Listening to myriad sounds,
Watching the clouds' mosaic display.

Then she turned to him and whispered,
"Shepherd, is this that I feel in
My head and heart that all call love,
Or does it not sprout from within?"

The shepherd smiled as though he knew
All that Radha had asked of him,
And set forth to explain in style
Ideas stolen from a whim.

"Look at the way the cuckoo sings.
Does it expect us to sing back?
Love like the song will give and give,
But never once in rhythm lack.

Look at the way the waves caress
The fine grains of sand on the shore.
Love touches us as intensely
And leaves us yearning for more.

See the lovely blades of grass,
Look how they curl and intertwine.
Love will nurture us like soil
Till your soul gets braided with mine.

All the things that make up this world
And the world as one teacher show
Us how love is born from naught
And to infinity must grow."

Hearing the words the shepherd said
Radha wept tears she could not hide
She rushed to hug her lover as
She felt an urge brimming inside.

She held his face and with closed eyes
Touched his lotus lips in a kiss
And amidst the bird, grass and sand
Taught the entire world what love is.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Innocence on a Disc

A child was selling his innocence,
As many growing adults do,
On a disc which had probably
Been built for some lewd exchanges.
I stood and heard the auction pounced
At, like some passing serendipity.
I stood and did not name a price
As I knew not how one values it.
All I knew was I could not give
What it would take to buy Innocence.
I stood and I watched as someone
Bought it for a few greenish notes,
Thereafter to be displayed on
A shelf; to ask bored friends over
Cold cocktails and deeply fried prawns
"Guess what I bought in the auction?"

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Footprints Of Love

She sits below the weepy willow
Waiting with shying eyes
As her lover tries fast to cover
The distance to his prize.
On the way are scattered today,
On this moonlit night,
Many a scene of splendid green
Bathed in silver bright.
Somtimes the bees up in the trees
Seem to dole out a song,
And by chance, deer seem to dance
Even as they hop along.
Run he past though however fast,
He couldn't but stop and see
That nature had with silver clad
A relief of mirth and glee.
He was late to reach his mate
And she had sadly walked away.
So he waited for some time before
He too returned in dismay.
That silver night the lovers planned to fight
With many crafts and hints
While the moon shone in full bloom
On their mingling footprints.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Last Prayer

I am to die my mother
In my service to this land.
God beckons with open arms,
With the angles' dulcet band.

I've done what I cannot say,
There is much yet to be done.
I fall as a soldier but
I know I've not been a son.

As I go I have a prayer,
Not to my God but to you -
The mother I failed to serve,
The one in whose arms I grew.

Hold me mother when I am cold;
Don't torch me in a hurry.
When my soul is at such peace
Why burn me in a flurry?

Put me in the sun, put me
Beneath the glorious sky,
Put me in the attendance
Of Gods in heavens high.

Put me where mortals may see
One that died so others may scheme
Let me mingle with the clay
And percolate in every dream

So one day a world is born
A kingdom of pens not guns
So peace at last may prevail
O'er the bones of many dead sons.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

A Walk In The Graveyard

I hopped down the road,
I kicked at the stones,
I sang to myself
In slight undertones.

I mocked at the dogs
That stood by my way,
I thrashed away the grass
That di'nt hear my say.

I crossed the brook in
One gigantic stride
And looked at the bridge
With consuming pride.

Till at last I reached
The graveyard of kings -
A place of marble made
With many gilded things.

Here amidst the riches lay
The monarchs of power
Lying in the dust
In their lonliest hour.

What, I asked myself,
Was destiny's true worth?
If at last we were to die
Of what use was our birth?

What in all the wealth
And the power I have found
Will save me from my
Burial in this mortal ground.

The kings slept in peace
'neath their marble headstone
Leaving my humbling self
To answer the unknown.

Monday, September 26, 2005


The bangles made lustrous sounds
And engaged me in a tuneful shine.
Her hairs whisked past like fruity silk
Through the breathing fingers of mine.
Her temples throbbed for alms of love,
So I touched every sighing place;
And finally we tasted the warmth
And murmur of love's embrace.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Deathwish

On that certain summer night
I was simmering with joy.
I was the cowherd of all, or
Maybe just a berserk boy.

I was scampering anywhere,
Any place with a welcome door.
I smelled and saw unparalleled,
I heard sounds like never before.

The hills of Nimai and Nitai,
The valley of Doon in between,
The sloping meadows of Chawat,
I navigated unseen.

Beyond the Girdle were the woods –
The woods of dreams and dread.
I entered it unheeding to
The unending duel in my head.

Therein I embraced the trees and
Lost my dread to crystal joy.
Then I chanced upon the shrine
That captured the berserk boy.

The air was very turbid, with
A cloud of misty fragrance.
A gentle murmur played still
To an all-consuming cadence.

There and then itself I prayed
To God so I, He may fell
And at that place I may find
My grave of sight, sound and smell.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Cruel Violinist

A certain strain of Beethoven
Wafted through the room
And met my resting ears in the
Resting cerebral womb.

Touched which chord the violinist
In music's quaint disguise,
That holding back nothing at all,
Tears outbrimmed my eyes?

Play that strain back and forth
Like a tuneful lord,
So that the produce of my eyes
Drowns your seering chord.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Kissing The Flower

The flower was beautiful -
How much I cannot say.
Only he who sees can know
How it lit up my day.

I stopped a while to admire
That which hexed my senses,
But had to leave it behind
To light up other romances.

But there is no parting that
Happens without a kiss.
So I looked around to eject
Any audience of my bliss.

Finding myself only among
God's unblemished creatures,
I bent down, smelled, caressed and
Kissed its softest features.

"How strange to stop for a flower!
Still worse for it to kiss?"
But he who hasn't seen my flower
Will never fathom this.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


You shed the world’s clothes
And showed me your uninhibited self
With a titanic faith in me
And the nakedness you saw me in.

Now that the storm we faced
Is mellowed by the rain of Time
I look above questioningly
Hoping to find an unfogged answer.

“Is this not love only because
Love must roll like a clockwork?”
This question I throw unbound
Into the heavy grey sky.

And like the unattended phone
The echoes of my question keep ringing
Then the clouds slowly start raining
As though in mocking reply to me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

In the Parliament of Love

In the Parliament of Love
It was the Question Hour.
I sat among the many
Listening to those in power.

When all of a sudden my
Mind came by a prickly doubt
And I raised it with a hand
And an all-shushing shout.

"You, the ruling coalition
Of the Mind and the Heart,
Seem anything but a team –
So disparate from the start!

In charge of a government
You act in ways discrete.
You are the bane of progress –
The twain that cannot meet.

For my love I had applied
To the Ministry of Hearts
Where my papers were attested
Swiftly in all small parts.

But the Ministry of the Mind
And Department of Delays
Gulped it, and that is where it
Is resting nowadays."

Someone from the Mind stood up
With a well-rehearsed reply,
One hand holding a yellow paper,
The other rubbing a sleepy eye.

"We needed some time for your
Papers to gather dust,
So we sent it to a fellow
In the Ministry of Lust!

Your papers shall pass one day
Give us a little more time.
We cannot pass them so soon.
After all, love is sublime!"

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Dewdance

The Dewdance

The moon shone so bright that night!
The river danced in silver waves;
Leaves were a ballroom of dew –
Pearls of water on grassy blades.

Why stole I when the moon was out,
Inching through the woods I knew,
Stepping softly on stick and stone,
Casting gloom on silver dew?

Was it my husband’s jarring snore –
The knell for the waking mute
Or was it the tendril sound that
Came afar from Kanha’s flute?

Whichever it be, I ran fast
On the stony hooves of love,
Released from the reigns of shame
By an unknown Rider above.

Till at last I reached the place,
The core of sight, sound and smell.
I parted the rushes to see my love,
With the shepherd and his music dwell.

But oh! My dreams just broke and fell
Like a wave upon the shore.
And my heart it sank so much that
It could not plummet any more.

Kanha and eight milkmaids, I saw
Dancing in perfect harmony
With the trees, the flute and the breeze
While clashing only with me.

All of them wanted the shepherd
And grappled with his lotus skin,
But none could leave a mark on it
As Radha pounded from within.

He did not waste upon vagaries
Or groped for a redeeming phrase,
He found me guilty of desire
And sentenced me to his embrace.

He, his flute, his lotus skin
Were hence only for me
And though I danced with eight Kanhas
We seemed just one to see.

Upon his love, his touch, his kiss
I burnt and I glowed
And then like a teeming liquid
I caved in and flowed.

Also flowed that night the trees, the maids
And also all things around these too,
Till at last everything but Kanha
Became a drop of silver dew.

The Furtive Denial

The Furtive Denial

I was born to parents, not friends,
About twenty years ago,
And their love and affection
Has not taken a toll on discipline.

To be in love is a wife’s privilege
I have learnt untold each day.
To love unwed is the Forbidden Apple –
Alluring snakes kept at bay with care.

To such a girl as I, you profess
A love unbound by reason!
I know well my feelings for you
And it certainly is not love.

I must confess I have, fleetingly,
Thought of you in the afternoons –
Must be due to the boring books I read
Or the tranquilizing twitters of birds.

Oh, what a shame it was,
To be discovered like that –
Staring agape at a window
Half-hoping for an intrusion.

But this is by far an intrusion worse
That disturbs the calm of my heart
I know well my feelings for you
And it certainly is not love.

It is true I can recognize your voice
Even in a sea of throats
And having cursed a once or twice
I hoped you did not hear.

Your name it rings slightly different
From a million others that I hear,
And the face in the mirror gets prettier still
Even as it becomes more of a stranger.

However unchurned your thoughts might be
Mine are sturdy still.
I know well my feelings for you
And it certainly is not love.

Now that you have confessed
So unabashedly to your fondness
All books have words you used
And birds they chime your name.

Though my heart seemed in tandem with
My mind in spurring your proposition
The former often skips a beat, while the latter
Is struck with a strange sense of defeat.

Love is such a mystery!
I wonder how it will unravel!
But I know well my feelings for you
And it certainly is not love.

The Shepherd's Strain

The Shepherd's Strain

Sitting amid an audience of trees,
With the flute kissing his lotus-lips
He wafted soft tunes into the breeze
And sent me the touch of his fingertips.

This tune, at first, it gently flew,
Meandering here and there,
Till at last it approached me too
Having had been everywhere.

Past the fence and past the tree
Fast it came to where I stood
And with its magic enslaved me -
Oh! That sound of flesh and wood.

It tingled every part of me
From head to toe, right and left
I was, by it, so unashamedly
Between wife and lover cleft.

And they ask me why I fled
Leaving a husband with his food,
Where and how all shame was shed,
What I did and what I should!

Are they stricken, are they sot?
Are they deaf to the very root?
For how else can they hear it not?
The beckoning of the flute!

When I See You Again

When I See You Again

When I see you again,
Oh, what a pleasure it will be!
How should I greet the homebound you -
With a smile or with gentle hands shaking,
Or perhaps, with open arms an embrace making?
I think I had better leave it to
The fit that'll take hold of me
When I see you again.

Rani of Ambagan

Rani of Ambagan

It was sometime between nine and ten in the night. I was trudging back home on my rusty old scooter. According to my parents, returning home after nine was heresy. I could almost see the worried look on my father’s face as he opened the door for me and I knew exactly how my mother would scold me. It was not my intention to annoy them but in a teenage orgy one loses track of time easily. I lumbered on anticipating a row.

However when the door of my house opened for me, I was in for a pleasant surprise. My father, far from being anxious, rushed back to his favourite news channel. Mother was bustling in the kitchen. She asked me if I had had a good time and I told her so. It is thrilling to escape an expected scolding and in my joy I confessed to my parents-
“I have always wondered why you get so edgy when I return a little late!”
My mother smiled and said – “ Remember how Rani had wagged her tail?”

A barrage was broken and I was drowned in a flood of fondest memories.

Our Rani of Ambagan!

For the first eight years of my life we lived in a rented house at Ambagan. It was a spacious house – an ideal place for a child to grow. The tall wood framed windows with misted glass panes, the rack of magazines in the red floored toilet, the broad steps that led to the main door, the huge iron gates we loved climbing on. In a moment it had all come back to me. And back came Rani too.

How she came to Ambagan, no one could say. It was a hot summer evening when I first saw her curled up beneath the bougainvillea’s shade – a mass of black amidst bits of pink paper-flowers. My childish interest rose. I called out to her. Coming from my puerile six-year old mouth, probably the harshest curses would have sounded sweet then. She looked at me with murky brown eyes and wagged her sickle tail with a sure-unsure interest. I knelt close to her and patted her shiny head. She closed her eyes in pleasure. A friendship was struck!

I introduced Rani to my family. My brother liked her but my parents were wary. They thought Rani might go berserk and bite me some day. I was to wash my hands every time I touched her and avoid getting close to her. What mystified me was her perennial sluggishness. I asked my mother if Rani was as old as our thakuma (grandmother).
“Rani is going to become a mother like I am. She is carrying her babies in her stomach like I carried dada and you. All that weight gets her tired.”

So we fed the pregnant Rani with rotis. We patted her soft head and let her into the portico when she barked outside the gates. She was a favourite among all my friends and the integral part of our evening games. Everyday I would search the portico for the puppies and would be disappointed to see Rani with her bulbous stomach. After what seemed like ages I asked my mother.
“Have patience,” was her answer.
And then the puppies came.
One was black like her, another gray, two brown and one was a medley. My excitement knew no bounds. When I left for school they would all be huddled up close to their mother with closed black eyelids. When I returned, playing with them became my favourite pastime. My brother called the black one his ‘own’ and named it Blackie. I held up a brown pup with a black patch over its left eye
“This is Brownie and he is mine!”

So Brownie and Blackie enjoyed playing with us when they were not pestering their mother for milk. The others joined us too. We forgot Rani.
But with the puppies came problems too. They would defecate all over the portico; litter the garden with garbage, bones and rusty tin mugs. To my surprise, even their continuous playful yelping annoyed my mother. One day I was told that the dogs were becoming too much of a nuisance and then no amount of pleading could dissuade my parents from shooing them out of our premises. But Rani and her litter were too accustomed to that neat little alcove beneath the bougainvillea, probably too addicted to spending their evenings playing with me on the gravel pathway. So they found a hole in the wall or a gap in the gate and came back in. now my parents had had enough.

“Tomorrow you take the puppies and leave them somewhere far off. They are old enough to fend for themselves now,” my mother told my father.
“Yes, I guess that should end the nuisance.”
“But Ma….” I tried to interrupt.
“Quiet! I have run out of patience – staying here all day listening to them whelp and whine, running around cleaning their droppings!” My mother was really annoyed. That night I cried to sleep and hoped that would mellow my parents. But in the morning nothing had changed. As a consolation I was allowed to accompany my father as he left the puppies afar. A gunny bag was arranged. My father held it open and called to the puppies. They came unsuspecting and unguarded and were thrust into that gloomy bag where I am sure they did not wag their tails any longer. Once the bag was secured, my father and I left. We must have traveled for a quarter of an hour before we stopped.

Their new home did not look all bad. It was a grassy field surrounded by houses on three sides. The puppies came out of the bag with a hurried excitement - they seemed to be expecting us to play some new game, one which involved being packed up in a bag. As we left I craned my neck to see. They were still wagging their puny tails tenderly and looking at us with wonder in their stupefied eyes. I felt a sting within myself I had never felt before.

Back home Rani was puzzled about the disappearance of her pups from their normal place – no yearning yelps for mother’s milk? She sped around – maybe half-expecting the wicked brown dog in the neighbourhood to be devouring at her children. There was so much anxiety in her movement, so much fear and incertitude! At one point, her eyes met mine. I could not tolerate the pain and went inside the house. The whole day she barked and barked. I never went out, afraid that she might realize what the guilt on my face meant. For once in my life I knew what it felt like to do something sorely unjust. That whole night Rani whelped. Her beloved puppies had disappeared completely. She sounded sadder than I had ever heard anyone.

“Poor dog!” My mother said, her guilt as evident as mine. We did not watch the television that evening. My father missed his nine o’ clock news bulletin. We sat together huddled in the living room like Rani’s portico used to, in our portico. All our senses were numb – we could only hear her cries and feel the acerbity it caused inside us. Like a family in grief we sat silent for what seemed a very long time. Finally the silence was broken.

“We must bring her puppies back,” said my mother, wiping her moist eyes with the pallu of her sari.
“Yes,” we three shouted almost immediately.
In no time my brother and mother were patting Rani and consoling her –
“Do not worry. Your kids will be back.”
My father started the scooter and jumped behind him, the gunny bag ensconced between us. As we drove I told my father, “ I hope they are still there.”
“Me too,” he replied.
And they were. Those poor small infant dogs were all there, right where we had left them – no sign of excitement, adventure or inquisitiveness. They had not budged an inch. As soon as they saw us, some magic occurred. The heap of brown and black lying on the ground turned into a litter of yelping dogs swishing and swashing their tails so hard that it would put a swordsman to shame. This time they did not need any invitation to jump into the gunny bag. They knew it meant homecoming.

And when the family finally reunited it was a scene worth watching – two families clung together in sheer joy. A cluster of wagging tails dispelled all gloom and they barked in sheer pleasure. Rani seemed to say to her kids –
“Where had you all disappeared? I was worried sick!”
And the kids? Those hungry pups who had not had a drop of milk down their throat all day cared not about attacking their mother’s nipples. They licked her and she licked them back in a frenzy. Then, at that tender age, I knew I had witnessed the grandeur of love.

So when my mother said –
“Remember how Rani had wagged her tail?”
I knew just what she meant. I smiled and lowered my eyes in acknowledgement.

The B-Mid Obituary

The B-Mid Obituary

On the 30th of May, 2003 an entire group of students passed away. This obituary deals with the lives of those eighteen students who, in the last year of their lives lived in the middle ‘B’ wing of Hall-1 of IIT Kanpur.
Each had arrived here from different backgrounds and routed different paths during their stay. Each talked differently, lived in different fashions, had multifarious perspectives of life and morality and all of them were yet tied together by an imperceptible bond – that strand of propinquity more important than any inherited fraternity.
In the very first room of the linear wing lived Rohit. He hailed from the neighbouring city of Lucknow - a most simple, childishly mischievous boy who was honest to the brink of irrationality. He was sincere in his feelings and playful to the core. All that knew him loved him for his unpretentious nature. His dreams about his future were vivid and his determination enviable. He will be remembered and missed by many.
Next to Rohit lived his roommate of previous years, Parth. Parth had a deceivingly innocent face and a penchant for befriending the opposite sex. He had a complex mind, always conflicting with itself. With his outright manner of talking and cynical statements he never made a spontaneous favourite. A guy who would stand by his friends through thick and thin, people will often remember his writing talents.
Next in the order was muscular Neeraj. Neeraj was ebullient, talkative and loud, someone whose presence was unmistakable. A romantic to the core, Neeraj found friendship with the opposite sex indispensable. His sense of humour was scathing and everyone avoided messing with him for the same reason. He was extremely emotional under his ruddy cover and very responsible under his casual exterior. This good student will be long remembered for his repartees and perpetual cheerfulness.
Probably no one in the wing was as fickle as Samarth, who lived next to Neeraj. He meddled in life’s various hues, every time sure that he wanted his whole life painted in the colour he was singularly attracted to. It is so tough to now write about him because his nature and habits were as varied as the music he heard or the clothes he wore and as extreme as the climate of Kanpur. The memories of his smile and his ability to cheer others with it will torment people for quite some time.
Abhinav lived next door, or at least that is what the hostel records said. Few were as intelligent and fewer as undecided as he. When sure of his objectives he could achieve them with commendable ease. He could adjust easily and was an opinionated person. His forgetfulness and an unkempt room were his unmistakable characteristics. People alleged he set himself strange targets, but as long he had passion, be it for the basest of things, it made him respectable. His soulful voice and intelligence are indelibly printed onto the pages of our memory.
Parveen lived next door, the sharp, world-wise, street-smart boy from Faridabad. He was neat and arranged in his lifestyle and work. He hated disorder. At any particular time one could expect the most acerbic comments or the most thoughtful advice from him. His friends were many and he could speak with authority and camaraderie with equal ease. People will remember his smiling face and pranks.
The next room was always crowded at night for in it lived Abhilash, the butt of all jokes, the softest soul to hit, every prank’s brunt-bearer. Abhilash – who was very simple and caring, who was always worried about what others thought of him, who was polite and friendly. People loved teasing him because he was never flustered. He loved being teased and that made him a very unique person. He was an agony aunt to his closest friends. He did the most difficult tasks with alarming ease and then the simplest ones would ruffle him to desperation. His friends will recall the intensity of his emotions.
The burly, brown-eyed Bihari boy, Ajit lived next. His laughter was very infectious and his leg-pulling eschewed by one and all. He could be your best friend and your worst enemy. Ajit could not trust people easily and that meant that he considered very few his true friends. But to say that the opposite was true would be a sheer lie. Everyone was ever eager to entrust him with one’s darkest secrets. His ability to keep the same till his very end will make his loss ever tougher to bear for those left behind.
Ajit’s partner-in-everything, Sandip, was a tough mind to read, the nut that wouldn’t crack. Even Freud would hold his head in amazement, were he to unravel Sandip’s onion-brain. Sandip thought a lot and spoke much less. When excited he became refreshingly childish. His jokes were always laughed at and his troubles brooded over by many. In troubled waters he would be the last man standing beside you. His presence was a reassurance in itself. Though he was neither talkative nor loud, his decisions would usually transcend and become the group’s decisions. Such was his grasp over his clique. The demise of this faithful soul will be sorely felt.
Yogesh lived in the next room. He was haughty and temperamental. Everyone avoided ruffling his feathers. Though his fury was unforgiving he was mostly very friendly and accommodating. He was very determined; he could slog in the true sense of the word and never left any task unfinished. He was perennially surcharged with energy and was a good team-man. The loss of such a youthful man in his prime is regrettable.
The next room was open only at night. Nikunj would wake all night working hard at his innovative endeavours – those brainy contraptions they made from a keyboard. He would then proceed to sleep all day. He was blessed with an amazing brain and a sharp sense of humour. He could understand people, situations, feelings and problems better and faster than most others. He was the wise man to be consulted when it came to the academic troubles and he always had a cheerful disposition. Liked and respected by all, Nikunj, left behind a large and sorry group of followers and fans.
Nikhil, Nikunj’s neighbour, had a celebrity’s status in college. Few were strangers to this sharp, portly, good-humoured and hard-working Mathur boy from Jaipur. He liked attention and had everything in him to attract the same. One could not remain annoyed with him for long. He ruffled and soothed people’s tempers with equal ease. A daunting task of assignments would disappear in a day when the determined boy stepped into the shoes of the otherwise sleepy boy. He had a very balanced and mature mind and if there was a funeral, Nikhil’s must have been well attended.
Pradeep lived next. He was a silent, sweet and restrained. His face was always adorned with a smile and he rarely spoke without being asked a question. In fact he spoke so less that it is tough to gage his personality. Not just tough, nearly an insult. To try and measure up or classify the dignified ‘Kakoo’ will be nearly undue. Always calm and composed, he remained smiling to his very end.
Anuj, with his huge repertoire of jokes made an essential part of all wing-congregations. He suffered from periods of silence, when he stayed alone in his room, brooding with books and toiling with paper and pen. Then he was overcome by periods of insane cheer when he was neither in his room nor in his senses. Then he would laugh and make others laugh too. Till his very end he hid his softer emotional side very artfully. He left several people teary-eyed.
Anusheel was the wing’s most puerile individual. He was moody and did only those things he enjoyed doing which included among other things, watching animated movies and loitering in the most unearthly places and the most inhumanly hours. To say that he was a child in the guise of an adult would be an understatement. He was very intelligent but applied it to his fields of interest only. Probably he was not meant to mature. But that we will never be able to find out!
Abhinandan lived next door. He had a special talent. He knew best where and when to concentrate his efforts and also how to enjoy free time to the fullest. He was hard working and hence Lady Luck had no qualms smiling upon him. He laughed a lot, rarely panicked and always had backup plans. Though he was careless and unarranged, he never lost track of his progress. The loss of this cheerful and helpful person is an irreplaceable loss.
In the last and largest room of this wing lived two people – Tapish and Saurabh. Tapish was an argumentative boy and a fighter to the core. He never gave up easily and never accepted anything without a lot of questions and ensuring that it was really worth accepting. He was always honest while making judgments about himself or his abilities. Also he never beat around the bush and meant what he said. Thus having a clear picture of his status he charted his route of progress. Towards his end he made a sea change in his attitude and grew more receptive, more sociable. Saurabh, on the other hand, was not the kind who said everything he thought or felt. In different gatherings he was a different person altogether. He was so full of nicety that he made an easy target to jokes and pranks of others. Saurabh was not the most mature of all and had a lot of this big mean world to see. Probably his polite and friendly nature stemmed from this lack. These lads of 219 will be missed by all who met them.
Eighteen young men died that fateful summer night and eighteen passionate hearts stopped beating. Each had behaved differently and created his own realm within the shade-protected corridor of ‘B-Mid’. Their sounds are gone. All of them have moved on to a different, more scathing world, never to return to these lusty precincts. Yet, ‘B-Mid’ knows no silence or mourning. Eighteen new hearts are beating there only to pass away on another fateful summer night.

The Stupid Village Girl

The Stupid Village Girl

I sat on the rocks drying my body,
When out of the secluded watery retreat,
Came a creation of heavenly rhapsody
Floating towards me on her soft lotus feet.

I had not known when she came
Or where her garments should be;
All I knew was that a beauteous dame
Had sprung a surprise on me.

I could not route an escape
For I could find no path to flee.
So I sat there stoned in ugly shape
As naked as God made me.

Her beauty indeed was immense!
This adorable coveted prize,
Now, unaware of my presence
Offered herself to my eyes.

But oh! Her glance fell on me
And I could hear her skip a beat.
But then she waited thoughtfully
When I expected a hasty retreat.

God knows what spell was cast that night
Which could explain her tomfoolery
For she sprang at me as a wolf might
And kissed my mouth in a hurry.

Before I could fathom
What had happened to me
I jumped in to the bosom
Of the lake, most hastily.

I had left her in a swirl,
I had left her looking agog,
For she was a stupid village girlAnd I, an ugly croaking frog.

The Old Landlord

The Old Landlord

My mother is wearing a blue sari,
Her lips twisted in a constant smile
As the burden of her life will be
Wedded away in only a little while.

She holds the garlands that will be
Thrust around my neck lovingly.
Ephemeral flowers mark my destiny-
I, the mother of the landlord’s posterity!

My father sits on a wooden chair –
Strange, without his usual candour!
His mind rarely dwells on love and care
And seems drunk though he is sober.

Some say my groom is elder than
My father, some say already seventy.
I blankly wonder if I ever can
Be the mother of the landlord’s posterity!

My brother eyes a maiden with lucidity.
His slovenly group of roguish friends,
Partake in some clandestine heresy
And make plans towards amourous ends.

He hopes to pay debts incurred in gambling
He is proud of my husband’s prosperity.
I’ll shoo him away like a little fledgling
I, the mother of the landlord’s posterity!

As I am led towards the sacred fire,
From the corner of my eye, I can sadly see
The only man I ever dared to desire –
Who knows my lips and breasts better than me

He looks sad and there is little he can change.
So he stands in a corner with helpless dignity.
He will only dream of a gruesome revenge
As I become the mother of the landlord’s posterity.

I sneak a glance at my prosperous mate.
He is old but seems sufficiently virile.
He looks at me, he is calm and sedate.
His look is washed and pure, almost puerile.

I hate my mother’s sighs of relief,
I hate my father’s drunken mind,
I hate my brother, the gambling thief,
I hate the man to whom I once resigned.

I hate them all but I have faith in God
I know one thing with utmost surety
That I will love the old landlord
And become the proud mother of his posterity.

The Child and the Sun

The Child and the Sun

When I was a little child
With little hands and small pursed lips
I looked at the sun with untiring eyes
Yearning to touch it with my fingertips.

How strange he makes small children
Who dream of owning the red ball of fire
Compared to men – sturdy and gallant
Weeding their ways through meshes of desire.

I grew up into the man I was destined to be
With the usual degrees of human kind
And learnt that the sun was far
And hot enough to turn any eye blind.

Yet the sun warmed me in winter
And bathed me in it’s tender glow
I, in return, paid it my obeisance
And all the friendliness I could safely show.

Sometimes I wonder with jumbled thoughts
Why I put on this garb of amity
When all the while I am dying
To bring back that child in me –

The child with little hands
And small pursed lips
Who looked at the sun with untiring eyes
Yearning to touch it with his fingertips.

The Bestseller

The Bestseller

Intermingled with fact and fiction, this story is still one of my favourites and it also enchants readers more than most of my other stories.
This is a story of a hard-working and successful man, who in spite of his notable achievements never gives up his humility. Leading by example, he teaches his children that real success lies in the way one is remembered after one’s demise.
One may die, but one continues to live on in the personality, morals and ideals of one’s children. Life is ephemeral but memories are not. In the few years we have to live, let us do things which will make people remember us with a smile, long after we are gone

Old habits are like gout to an old man-they always keep coming back. I, an old man now have quite a few such habits and one of them is speaking of the ‘past days’ with my children. And one day a series of fond memories flooded my mind, which I decided to relate to my kids.
‘I was only thirteen then. The Indo-Anglican writers were making fast progress and were winning worldwide acclaim. Writing was one of my hobbies and I had decided that I would write a novel to begin with! One day when my father and I sat reading the newspaper I told him of my secret ambition. “Daddy, I want to become a well-known novelist and I have decided that my first novel should be your biography. How you worked hard from a poor lecturer to the high-earning professor you are today, should make a wonderful novel.” And then he said those words, which I would forever remember. “No sonny, my life can never make a bestseller.”
I was disappointed then, for making a choice on what topic to write on was difficult. But little did I know what a great impact those words were going to have on my life, on the man I am today. I decided I would remind him, on every small and interesting incident of his life, that his life-story could indeed win me the attention I wanted.
When I was born, we lived in a two-room house and belonged to the ‘lower middle class’. But my father had big dreams, he knew his hard work had brought him, a simple labourer’s son, to where he was then. He also knew that if he continued to do so he could give his family more comfort and his children the best life. He worked hard, took tuition, had us educated in the best school. When I was seven and my brother three, we moved into our own house with two bedrooms and many other rooms. We had arisen from the ‘higher class’. Yet, my father never spoke of these as his achievements. They were bits of luck fused with his ancestor’s blessings. Whenever I spoke of these, the same answer awaited me-“ My life can make no bestseller!”
I remember when he bought us a car. His delight was unmatched. “No more pushing and puffing in the buses,” he had said. Some days later I told him what I had already mentioned many a time. “Every achievement you garner, every milestone you cross is only building up my novel.” And pat came the same answer I could never question. “No son, it will never make a bestseller.”
And when I graduated from university, I came to him in my well-ironed back gown and head gear which we as children called ‘clownish’. When I handed him the crisp certificate tied by a satin blue ribbon, his face beamed with satisfaction. It looked like Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon. This time he answered the look on my face. “ This scroll is yours and so is this achievement. These events won’t turn my life story into a bestseller. I am sure you can find many more enchanting topics and ideas.”
When I worked hard and drew a hefty salary, when my boss praised me, when my novels sold like hot cakes, whenever I felt good about my life I thanked my father. He had made me whatever I was or I am. Yet he would al ways smile and say, “my life can make no bestseller!” When I got married he was the happiest man on earth and I still remember when I called him up to tell him that my first child was about to be born. “ We’re coming son,” he yelled happily.
He came to the hospital room rushing, as if his tail were on fire, and mother hardly able to catch up. When he held my son in his arms and looked at me, he did not utter a word. His eyes said it all. “ Make your life so great that your son should want to write a bestseller on you.”He was my guiding star all my life. Even after he left for his heavenly abode his guidance still leads me on to be a better man, a better husband and father. I never wrote a novel on him, not because his life could not make a bestseller but because I might not be able to make a bestseller out of a best-lived life.’

Pleasure in Pain

Pleasure in Pain

Like the solitary autumn cloud
Black-breasted with rain,
Like the lone crysanthemum
In the grassy plain,
Like the crickets' eerie sound
In the quiet of the night,
Like the only woken cuckoo
Lost in pre-dawn flight,
Like the wave that brakes the rhythm
Of an unerring sea,
Like the freshly marbled grave
In an unkempt cemetery,
There is a little fondness
In memories of things no more,
Which when I remember Make me happier than before

My Perfect Day

My Perfect Day

At 6a.m. sharp, the clock began uttering its annoying digital beeps, meant to wake me up for my daily jogging. As everyday, I sat up and shut off the beeps. It was usual of me to go back to sleep after this exercise. But today as I opened my eyes, everything looked surprisingly clear and unimaginably fresh. I was immediately wide-awake.
Leaving my wife sound asleep, I put on my jogging suit, which I, remarkably, found exactly where I expected it to be. I put on my running shoes and socks, both of which were incidentally and unusually the same. I remembered to turn off the burglar alarm before turning the doorknob.
What a fine day it was outside! The sun had just made its appearance in the far horizon and all the birds and butterflies were flying about twittering melodiously. As everyday, old Mr. Garner came across, walking his dog. Today, the dog was quieter as it noticed the playful fluttering of proximate butterflies and did not seem intent to bark at or chase me.
“Good morning, Mr. Smith,” said old man Garner. “Good morning, Mr. Garner,” I replied, as I jumped across an open manhole which I had so often fallen in during the exchange of pleasantries. Everybody I passed gave me a pleasant smile or a nod of recognition. I did not hear any nasty comments about my paunch or see anybody litter in the park.
As I got back home, I could not help but notice that the newspaper boy had aimed the newspaper accurately for the porch leaving my rosebushes and lilacs intact. “Wake up honey,” I cried aloud as I went to the bedroom, my eyes sweeping over the headlines. “Ian, I am here,” said my wife as she walked out of the kitchen with a smile on her face and a glass of juice in her hands. “Wow! You are up already up!” I said. “Why are you back so early from the park? This is the only time of the day when you endeavour to lose a few calories,” said my dear wife. “Your memory is deteriorating, Clara. I am sure both of us lost quite a few calories last night,” I reminded her with a wink and a meaningful smile. She laughed. I had recovered my old sense of humour!
When I took my bath the soap did not slip out of my hands, implying that I did not have to grope around for it while my soapy eyes burnt acerbically. To my surprise, when I turned on the shower a jet of cool water struck me. Since my soaped eyes were shut tight, I usually turned on the hot water knob to face a jet of steaming hot water. Later, as I ate my breakfast I read out the headlines to Clara – “Experts say healthy budget by the finance minister; new drug developed for cancer…” and so on. No gang rapes or serial killer on the loose today!
The shirt I chose for the day had all its buttons intact and once more I was able to find a pair of socks. “I will be late tonight. It is George’s birthday and the boys have decided to chill out tonight at Bob’s place (a beer joint),” I told Clara as I left for the office. As I drove out I found that the bins had been cleaned up and replaced the right side up! Amazing! Considering the clamour he caused during his cleaning exercise each day, the litter-guy (as I loved calling him) had done a really good and silent job today.
So now I was heading for the worst part of the day – my workplace where I would be at my hypocritical best. In my office, with me, worked Pete. Pete and I were friends, or rather acquaintances since school. Pete was a perfect guy – clean-shaven, adorned by a charming smile and Greek god looks. He charmed everybody who met him …… except me. I hated him more than anything or anybody else. And yet I had to act as his best pal in office because he treated me so. And what a show I put up! When once Clara had said to me, “Darling, you must do away with your beard and look more like Pete – you would be great,” I had cut her down to size by asking her if she was having an affair with him.
But today things were different – they were going my way! So for once and probably for the last time, I smiled as I thought of office and Pete. As I entered the building that housed our office, I found the lift waiting to haul me up to the twelfth floor. Today, I did not have to wait for the lift to come down cumbersomely and neither did I meet anybody on the first floor wishing to go downward. Things were going my way! God was giving me my perfect day, I told myself.
I had been only ten minutes in my room when Pete came rushing in. “I am sure I am going to get a raise today,” – he was talking about a raise for which both of us were in consideration. The nerve of this man! “Yesterday Gregory (our boss) was really impressed by my performance in the last project…” His words were interrupted by the appearance of the man just mentioned – our boss. We immediately stood up and he beamed a wide smile at me. He took my hand in his, shaking it warmly, and as if oblivious of Pete’s presence said, “Ian, Mr. Jones our marketing manager is being transferred to New Jersey and you are taking his place. Congratulations!”
Gregory’s departure saw all my subordinates rush inside and greet me warmly. They were genuinely happy for me! I loved the way the look on Pete’s face changed in a matter of minutes. He stammered a hasty wish and departed from the room. Once alone, I rang up Clara and gave her the news. I also reminded her that I would be late that night.
My particularly good luck that day prevented any further meetings with Pete. It was almost time to leave when he came to my room. He looked depressed and with a came-crashing-down-to-earth look told me that he was planning to go home early and abstain from George’s birthday bash. If ever I had believed in the existence of an omnipresent, superhuman celestial being, it was then. As my perfect day drew to its end this was the icing on the cake.
I decided today was the day to make a new beginning. Ian Smith was never going to be the same again. His work would be appreciated, his jokes laughed at, his attributes admired. I had been happy the whole day and had made others happy. So, I decided it would perhaps be an opportune occasion to do away with my scratchy old beard and sport a new, younger, rejuvenated look. It would also please Clara. So before I drove to Bob’s place I decided to visit a nearby saloon.
That evening I reveled with my friends, sans Pete. We drank, not only to George’s health, but also to my promotion and to the grey beard that once adorned my face. It was late in the night when I got back home. Clara was already asleep. I changed and lay beside her silently. I decided to postpone the surprise (over my beard) till the next day.
I lay in the dark recollecting the events of the day when Clara rolled over in her sleep and faced me. Her arms felt for me, her hands running over my face where my beard had once been. Expecting her eyes to open in surprise, I said, “I love you honey.”
And then my darling wife mumbled, half asleep, “I love you … Pete.”

My Liar

My Liar
His flute every minute
Sounds louder than before
And so I think he approaches
The one that I adore.

Having finished his tête-à-tête
With the girls who yonder dwell,
He comes to me in the woods to meet
With his guilty amorous smell.

The unfaithful enters with his flute;
On his face an unabashed smile.
How impudent of the philanderer, I think,
To make me wait even a while!

As he comes closer, myself to touch
I see love bites on his chest
And the way he smells of the women he’s loved
Stirs a storm within my breast.

With pleasure, oh, they must have cried,
Those crafty thieving dames
Knowing well I love him so
They involved him in their games.

Forgive them I never will,
But first I must reproach my liar.
Question him on what he wants
And with anger douse my desire.

“How dare you come to me to love?
Go back to the biter’s lair!
I want you not in half and half,
My lover I shall not share!”

The guilty smiles wider still
His haplessness perhaps to hide
Holds me by the waist and looks
With gazelle-eyes open wide.

“Those women to me are like my flute
The wood that touches my lips
The edges and sides of which
Are caressed by me fingertips.

But you, O Beloved, are the tunes I play
The rhythm that churns me endlessly
The one I love in every woman
The breath that comes from within me.”

Like a wave my anger broke and fell
And I forgave him instantly
What else could I do but smile and hug
When my liar said that to me.