Friday, September 22, 2017

Thief

'You steal words,' she said. 

Yes, I do 
I pick them up from the streets
Littered among conversations,
From dirty bar tables,
From lonely trains crowded with people

Words, thick and thin, 
Dropping with sarcasm and malice,
Words steeped in the essence 
Of poetry and wine,
That stink of yellow teeth and cigarette smoke.
Some are tainted with blood, and love. 
Dangerous, safe, clean, filthy,
They are many things
But words they all are. 

I pick them up and bring them home 
With me they stay. 
Some only for hours hang about,
Before slipping out of my pocket,
Into the dark corners of my mind
Where I can't chase them. 

The ones that stay
I train.
I clean them, and string them 
Together in stanzas and couplets
Paint them with thoughts and dreams,
And sell them 
To the highest bidder. 

I am not just a word thief. 
I am a criminal of a higher degree. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

She

She
Hovers over me,
My muse,
Leaning across the dark night,
And the stars in her hair
Drop down by the bedside
Where I store
Broken pieces of my past moons.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lunar Musings

White blotched orb. Keeper of secrets. Guardian of somnolent souls. Scribe of crazy silence. Eternal insomniac. Lonely heart. Wolf god. Or Goddess. Gaia's pale stalker. Pockmarked space football. Conductor of ocean tides. Chopin's muse. Galileo's muse. And Gulzar's too. Mother pearl in Lucy's sky of diamonds. Starman's last stop. The third person in every conversation. The first witness of shy suicides. Night watchman. Dawn greeter. Quiet walker. Dream whisperer. Indiscreet spy. Circumambulator. Romeo's friend. Juliet's matron. Lovesick. Pale. Cursed. A thinker. An idea. The full stop after Earth's sentence. The period before universe begins. Or ends. Explored rock. Unknown territory. Free. Independent. Scary. Moon. Luna. Chand. Male. Female. Foe. Friend.

Can you see me? Do you hear these words? 

Hi. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Conversations

Conversations
Quiet, muddled, befuddled
Never reaching a conclusion
Endless, meandering, circumambulating
Tiresome in their childish repetitions.
Conversations
Are never clear
They never come to me
Like they do in my dreams
Lucid, transparent
With you before me
Gathering my words in your arms
Slowly, letter by letter
A game of scrabble only we can play
A puzzle formed block by block
Till I finally find the right words to say
They never come to me
Like they do in my dreams.
Clear, precise and charming
Completely disarming
With you on the other side.
It never happens that way.
It never will.

Exhausted

I wish to be exhausted
Too tired to breathe
Walking on broken bones
Staggering to bed
Empty of thoughts, feelings and you
So I work myself through
 pains last flashpoint
Break all memories' joints
Forget the task of remembering
Build a life of dismembering
Events, words, every trace
Of the shadowy curves of your face
The tinkling bells of your laughter
That ignite hope in a dangerously flammable heart
I fight the last fires that burn in the infinite dark
I wish to be tired, to sleep
Like I slept in your arms
Quietly breathing in life
With all its minutes and memories
Complete and half-done
When I could lift my eyes and touch the stars in your dreams
I wish to be exhausted of these

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Be True...Re-view - The Secretive Six by Saurabh Mathur


Umberto Eco, offering advice on his complicated task of writing, said, “If we think that our reader is an idiot, we should not use rhetorical figures, but if we use them and feel the need to explain them, we are essentially calling the reader an idiot. In turn, he will take revenge by calling the author an idiot.”

Sensible advice and one worth following. Saurabh Mathur, sadly, does not stick to the famous librarian's words. His debut novel ' The Secretive Six' reads through like a badly shot film that leaves you regretting the ticket price. Revolving around a group of 'super' cops seeking to solve the mysterious murder of an IIT professor, the story becomes predictable in a way it shouldn't be. As a writer, the author needs to dominate the pace of the story, releasing plot points and Macguffins slowly. Mathur, on the other hand, seeks to explain every bit. Nothing ever happens by accident in Mathur's novel. While that might be a fascinating philosophy for Sherlock Holmes to live by, it reduces the allure of a suspense novel. After all, where would the suspense be, if the protagonists knew how anything and everything happens. This is one of the key reasons why creating an antagonist in a suspense novel requires just as much work as creating its main characters. For every Batman to work, you need the Joker. For every Sherlock, there needs to be a genuine, bonafide, genius Moriarty.

The novel does have its good parts. The characters are well fleshed out, and the murder, though not mysterious, does have its complexities. The technical aspects of crime solving and forensic science do emerge in some detail. This is a credit to the writer's research, we presume. It would make for an engrossing read if you have the time to spare. Otherwise, Saurabh Mathur might want to take Umberto Eco's advice and try sparing the readers all the details next time.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Tum mere paas hote ho goya...

I opened my eyes to annoying brightness. 

'Where are we going', she asked. 

I didn't know. Somewhere good, I hope. Why are you here?

'Why? Would you rather I was not?' 

The desert raced past the windows. I could see her reflection imposed on the scenery. A reflection of my mind. 

'It has been a while', she smiled.

I wondered about the last time we met. There was no day that came up in my thoughts. There was no word I remembered having spoken. Yet, there was her face. Popping up like warts across the skin of my memories. 

Why are you here? 

'I was bored. I needed someone to talk to. Did you miss me?'

Time casts a shadow upon memories. A glance, a second, could expand to occupy hours of your dreams. 

'I was gone a long time, wasn't I? Did you miss me?' 

The rain started as suddenly as the conversation. Tiny little drops of memories that teetered on the edge of time. And then, without a thought, fell. To rise up again, some other time. 

The darkness of the room was so different from the light I had dreamed through. I could still hear her smiling. 

'Did you miss me?' 

You're still here, aren't you? 


Tum mere paas hote ho goya 
Jab koi dusra nahi hota 

You are by my side 
When no one else is

Saturday, July 19, 2014

REM Sleep

The quietness of dawn is creeping upon me. There is no sound, but I can feel it. In the coldness that covers the floor. The creaks and snores of bodies in the other room. The sound of the dripping tap, one that was to be fixed last week, causes a mild irritation. I still have to get used to it. As the words form on this blank page, coded by words themselves, I wonder if I am awake or asleep.

Life seems to be on autopilot. I find myself in an open cubicle during daytime. Typing out documents, filled with copy that is interesting and uninteresting alternatively. I talk, mumble, and sometimes reply to others. All the time, my mind wandering to a place I don't recognise. I see that place occasionally, in my dreams. Quiet, dark and cold like this moment.

Fear is the immediate emotion. Next comes wonder. Slowly, the mind wakes up to the fact that the only danger is itself. No being can kill the mind, except the lack of escape from such a dark place. A place so dark that the mind loses its ability to imagine light. You slowly give in to the darkness and the mind...goes blank.

Peace comes at a heavy cost. You sleep. Your body - paralysed. But your eyes move. Rapid eye movement, they call it. Your brain is functioning. It discovers new worlds. Light, Soft, sweet, warm light. It floats through it. The prisms of brightness radiating through the mind.

Strange words to type in the night. I can feel the cold creep back to me. I can hear the snores back again, through the darkness. I look up and find it impossible to make out the features of the room. It is pitch black again.

Am I awake, or am I asleep?