Wednesday, May 1, 2019




The ghastly wound on the skull
With red-shot eyes
Reprimanding my shocked silence,
The thick black hair
Soaked in blood
Turned stiff in my hands
Like a stalk of hay
When I tried to wash them
With my tears
My bruised heart pulsated
Like a blocked engine.

Your fair face seemed
To shine
With the angelic grace of innocence
No sign of anguish or fear.
I was shocked
Was it the knife or the bullet?
Were you inside the trench
Or on the tank?
Were you shouting
When you fell or daydreaming?
Your engagement ring was broken,
So was her heart.

The media report
Of last night’s scuffle at the camp
The orders
To march up the frozen dark hills,
How did I sleep
When you were lying so cold?
Your words last night
Echo in my ears
Gnaw like cancer on my marrow,
Yet they debate, dispute and discuss,
Hardly they understand
The agony
Of a Mother’s heart,
For them death or massacre is also politics,
Like temples, religion, and humbug compensation!!!
Don’t stare like that!
Blink, blink or wink in your naughty way!


My mom sat by the hearth
Cooking fish broth and vegetables
Wood fire and dung cakes crackled
Like the damp crackers,
Dad was hooked in his library,
We waited for some entertainment
We had no TV, radio, tape recorder.

My elder sister
Always up with some trick to entertain us
Ludo, Business, Chess, Chinese Checker, Puzzles
Or illustrated stories from the Fairy Tales!
She came with old family albums
November 1978 to December 2004.

1978, What a bizarre show!
The black and white photos of
My parent’s wedding
A sleepy village in dark shadows,
No electricity,
Mom’s face drowned under her silken veil
Papa’s face serious, calculating
But eyes shining with happiness
Grandma carrying a decorated pot
With mango leaves and coconut,
She looked so sad and tired,
My aunt standing behind my mom in a saree
With a conch in her right hand and lips twirled
They look almost alike, undistinguishable.

The 1985 album, still black and white
My two sisters sit holding each other in a studio
In almost similar dress and shoes
Only colours are different
One a potato face with a crown of curly hair
The other a doll with big eyes spread wide in fear
I am still somewhere- perhaps still far away in the cloud.

Now the 1990’s, all colourful albums
Almost me and me on the centre stage
My family in the background
Parents hugging, sisters playing or petting
Grandma or grandpa holding me tight like a bundle
Me with my friends, with bat and balls, kites and cars,
All of us in our best dresses-picnicking with Pa’s students
My sisters looked so thin-only bright eyes and unkempt curls
Were they sick or not properly fed?
But my mom is a good cook and thinks always of food!

I discovered a humiliating pose of mine
Me sitting at the tabla, hands poised, eyes smoky
With boredom, my teacher – a thin man squeaky as a mouse.
How well did I play?
I asked my sisters
They laugh out loud.
Your mind on the playground
You played for hours only with your fingers.

“Dinner is ready, would you all come?”
Pleads my mom.
My fingers press the pages of the album
Trying to relive the notes of the past
My child-self pulls forward into now.


I was only a sweet seventeen
When I first met him in the class;
A ring of halo beaming between his thick brows
A deep sadness swirling around the corners of his mouth
A dream to touch the skies dancing in the glitter of his big black eyes
A frenzied hip-hop of passion whirling around his eyelids;
A flash of his light enlightened my sober grey soul
Caressing my shyness lovingly with a smile,
Something in him eased my discomfort
And thawed the snow inside my soul.

I was only a sweet seventeen
When he first addressed me in a secret corner
Uttering the words “I’m inclined towards you”,
The tremor and confidence in his voice won my heart
A spring rose bloomed on my lips as his steady gaze
Punctured the veil of my sham vanity and chastity,
My pores started collecting the honey of love
From the perfumed sweetness of his words
As I lied down on my bed reading his poetry
Inhaling the aroma of love from his lines
“I am here and you are there
A belt of fire in between”
Suddenly I became a flower of fire.


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