Tuesday, November 1, 2022



The Slowly Tapering Voice


When I am no more around

You will find pieces of paper by my side

Crumpled and ink- stained

And a pen without a cap, lying in wait

To catch those words trying to fly away like winged birds.

Hurrying and scurrying

Like Alice’s White Rabbit

Mumbling “Oh dear, oh dear, I shall be late.”

And, alas, hastily tumbling away through the gate.


Writhing in death throes,

my unmoving finger will still write phantom words

on phantom pieces of paper, when I am gone.


When I am gone, may be my words will still ricochet

 within the four walls of the house

 "That was a book mark, why did you throw it away, pray?”

Followed by the sheepish grin of the maid, as she bent on her knees,

rummaging in the waste paper basket for that discarded piece of paper,

so precious for me, but useless for her.

My voice will slowly taper away,

as that piece of paper will once again reclaim its space on the table.

No fable this, but I am gonna miss all this when I am gone.


When I am gone

by my side you will find books of every kind.

Not dog-eared but book- marked.

A notebook with hurried scribblings -feisty siblings fighting on paper.

Alas, my runaway thoughts, entangled and caught

between lines, no more able to gallop and caper.

Words, furtively written at the dead of night

When the light no longer burnt bright

And a sleepy reprimand went unheeded, 

“Go to sleep, it’s late.”

When I go on that eternal date

you will find all these,

 also, vestiges of a guiltily gorged ice-cream.

A hurriedly eaten midnight feast

The least I could do to pamper that so- called

Gluttonous creative beast inside me.

Hang on, you will also find the joker’s mask under the bed

The fake smiles absolutely intact on those lips, still red.


Is It Time?


 Is it time? Why is my breathing erratic? 

Is it the Grim Reaper glaring at me with a triumphant glint?

Will I be soon out of print?

The thought makes me smile – a sad, rueful smile.

Life was fun when it lasted.

I blasted through it, frolicking, hopscotching,

throwing tantrums, cocking many a snook,

bursting into giggles hidden in small nooks,  

having a lot of fun under the December sun.


Clutching life’s memorabilia close to my heart,

I will soon depart – But where?

Where does one go after one stops breathing? 

Will there be folks waiting with garlands and greetings, muted?


But, hush, my heart is still beating.

It beats for the impoverished, it beats for the homeless.

It beats for the orphans, it beats for the mangy mongrel on the street.

Oh, I am still breathing.

That erratic breathing was just an aberration. 

A hallucination.


Well, life is also just a hallucination.

But, let me hallucinate on, and let my heart keep breathing.

Let it beat for the destitute.

Let it beat for those in acute misery.

Why is the jowly faced Grim Reaper still prowling,

still scowling? Did I just hear it growl?


Oh, I am again hallucinating!

 I will die when my heart stops beating.

When I stop breathing

for the impoverished, for the homeless,

the abandoned and unloved,

for the orphans, for the mangy mongrel on the street.


Listen, it is still beating.


The Eternal Dreamer That Is Me!


I get out of bed every morning knuckling sleep kinks from my eyes.

I see the sun also knuckling sleep kinks from its eyes.

The east slowly brightens up.

 I begin to dream. There is no harm in dreaming, is there? 

I know, with faltering steps, I am heading towards eternity.

Every step on life’s terrain

 is slowly taking me towards that final destination.

For me, life was a celebration, while it lasted,

not an affair that had gone wrong, 

feeling good even when feeling bad,

a song hummed – sometimes sad, oft happy.

The grasshopper sent me into a tizzy,

so did the chirping birds and the flamboyant butterflies,

also the patch of green, where the proud peacock preened,

and the parakeet prattled perennially. 


When that final moment comes, I will still be dreaming,

 my cluttered mind teeming with dreams,

eyes fluttering in that last attempt to catch those dreams. 

I must concede, whoever was behind this,

did an excellent job with the curation of this masquerade.

Even the illusory world appeared so real-

with all the ego tussles, the show of muscles, meaningless jealousies,

the strut and swagger- everything was top grade.  

Kudos to the curator!

Hush, I hear stealthy footsteps- they come near – nearer.

But I have no fear.

 I feel great- fortunate for having had this once in a life opportunity.  




SANTOSH BAKAYA: Internationally acclaimed for her poetic biography of Mahatma Gandhi, Ballad of Bapu [Vitasta, 2015], Santosh Bakaya, Ph.D. is an academic, poet, novelist, essayist, TEDx speaker, recipient of the Reuel International Award for literature for her long poem, Oh Hark! [2014], the Universal Inspirational Poet Award [Pentasi B Friendship Poetry and Ghana Government, 2016], the Bharat Nirman Award for literary Excellence [2017], Setu Award, 2018, [Pittsburgh, USA] ‘in recognition of a stellar contribution to world literature. Keshav Malik award 2019 ‘for her entire staggeringly prolific and quality conscious oeuvre’. Invited to many literary events, like the Bhopal Literature Festival, Ahmedabad Literature Festival, and SAARC Sufi Festival, her TEDxTalk on The Myth of Writers' Block is popular in creative writing classes. She runs a column, Morning Meanderings in Learning and Creativity website, part of which is now an e-book. [Blue Pencil, 2020] Her more than 20 published books encompass many genres, some of them being: Where are the Lilacs? [Poetry, Authors press 2016] Flights from my Terrace [Essays , Authors press , 2017] Under the Apple Boughs [Poetry  , Authors press , 2017] A Skyful of Balloons [ Novella, Authors press , 2018] Bring out the tall Tales [short stories with Avijit Sarkar, Authors press, 2019 ] Only in Darkness can you see the Stars[ Biography of Martin Luther King Jr, Vitasta], Songs of Belligerence [ Poetry , Authors Press] Her e-books published by Blue Pencil, Vodka by the Volga, with Dr. Ampat Koshy and From Prinsep Ghat to Peer Panjal with Gopal Lahiri are amazon # 1  bestsellers.   Runcible Spoons and Pea green Boats [Poetry, Authors Press, 2021] Her recent collaborative e-book with Ramendra Kumar, [Mélange of Mavericks and Mutants, [Blue Pencil, July, 2022] is being very well received, so is the collaborative book with Dr. Ampat Koshy, A Sonetto for the Poetic World [October, 2022, Authors Press]  

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