I love to live
In a sweet paradox.
The village where I was born,
The smell of delicious mangoes
Sighted in a thick jackfruit jungle.
My friend fathered by blindness
Bears an official identity
Mothered as lotus-eye.
My cousin, a born liar
Is the youngest recipient
Of the Sahitya Akademi puraskar
For an acclaimed travelogue
On places he has never visited.
My soft-spoken professor,
An ardent Gandhian,
All along this planet
For minuscule comforts.
My rich publisher often laments
On my books he has published;
Fails to deliver royalty statements
In spite of repeated reminders.
A suggestion to those
Who dislike living in irony:
They fail to fathom
That life is not as white as the January sun.
Advice to an Osteoporosis Man Who Loves to Run
After dismantling the long night
Let’s stop running now.
It smells like a joss stick.
Fog captures the road ahead.
I’ll never know
Whose tender hands made these shoes
That chime and kiss our asphalt road of life.
May I donate to you my ancient history
Burdened with false pride and a whine
That may bring numinosity to the soul?
Let’s turn back now.
The days go ahead in their spendthrift way
Before you pray a silent prayer
Where no prayer-flag is in sight.
You may drink the newspapers
Brimming with the retching of time.
Killings in a temple in Benaras,
Deaths in the Kashmir valley,
The exchange of rhetoric
Are all due to the vagaries
Of the weather,
Says the environmentalist.
Cyclones, snakebites, lightning,
Earthquakes and floods
Are rampant this year.
No dowry deaths, no kidnappings,
Say the statistics
From government sources.
When mankind turns benevolent
Gods turn violent.
You fasten the ankle bells
Tenderly weaved in dreams
Before you begin to dance.
I stepped into your movement
Sporting all manner of costumes.
Now people hear the jingles
When no light is available.
From the heart of dancers
A prayer descends
Like a rainbow.
Poets are more busy
History seems to have signed
An undisclosed agreement
Father dreamt about un-slavery
Mother thought of being unborn
Neighbour wishes to remain unlettered
Negotiating with weather notifications
August’s morning sky
Wears the burkini;
The day was preparing to move with fewer adjectives.
Opting for any shape of biology
The ocean is now equipped to endorse swimming.
It’s time to endure the ineluctable annual trip.
The sky mirrors the swashbuckling journey;
Someone waiting for you at the end of the shore.
Lights will be clouded when you move avoiding the lighthouse;
Use your instinct always before the lullaby disowns its source.
Darkness and sea-storms area package, inclusive of Olive Ridley.
Ignorance will one day fall like baby teeth.
Leading the life of a peacenik is a terrible act.
Have you taken the cutlass with you?
Not necessary that you should use all the things you have;
Throw in everything during the missionary position.
Avoid sand dunes which are nothing but Homeric nods.
A Parable on Cyclone 2019
Here goes the white-knuckle parable of our time.
And then this devastating cyclone arrived
Soon after the last leg of national and state polling were over,
Soon after the missiles of scathing abuses slamming
At each other came to an end,
Soon after the ruling and opposition party
Claiming to have gained absolute majority were done with,
Soon after the outlandish celebrations of the greatest democracy
Were observed where the underprivileged
Lost the build-up of their morale,
Soon after the Sturm und Drang of choosing between
The yell and teardrops of the crocodile were over,
The cyclone visited our bucolic region.
It drops in more often than taciturn politicians do
At their constituencies.
The announcement of its arrival was made for days together
With a litany of do’s and don’ts
When diabetics were in the long queues for a share of potatoes
And for essential commodities including candlesticks, matchboxes,
Beaten-rice, battery-torches, hand-fans, water-bottles, biscuits,
Baby food, sanitary napkins, kerosene, and lanterns
That disappeared from the market like perfume
Surreptitiously leaving from an uncorked bottle into the air.
The cyclone arrived and disappeared as scheduled,
The PM surveyed the distressed stretch as scheduled,
The CM issued an appeal everyday counselling to
Maintain peace as scheduled,
The people were subjected to inexorable sufferings as scheduled.
The cyclone buried a few but mothered more narratives.
The city (less said about villages the wiser) sans electricity, water
And road-clogging suddenly plunged into the deep
Ocean of darkness.
Summer was at its worst.
Evening, I climbed to the terrace for respite
And gazed at the dazzling stars in the sky.
They were also gazing at me more intently.
Slowly the stars transfigured themselves into paper-cranes
Permeating the missive
That this very severe cyclone was not a cyclone alone
But a biopsy report on our society.
And the parable is nothing but the spasms of common cruelty.
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