Thursday, December 20, 2012


While the sky sprinkled stars, we stood below with our hearts and mouths open for any stardust that might fall our way. 

"There's going to be a meteor shower today", S said. 
"Really?" A replied, mostly enthusiastically. It didn’t mean anything, or convey any sort fo commitment. His involvement to the cause of meteor showers creaked and wavered like a sawed tree about to crash at ‘TIMBER!’ 
"When is it going to be?" The tree fell on a favourable side. No enthusiasm casualties so far. 
"Tonight, between 11 pm and 2.30 am" 
"Asshole", L cut in, it says 14th, not tonight." My already flailing enthusiasm, blipped the red of a dying battery. Any minute soon, I would call it a night and wish them all pleasant dreams. S and L argued it out, like they argued everything else out, starting from the direction ants preferred to march to whether the chicken or the egg came first. And like they do for everything else, they reached a consensus, just about when the argument was getting to be of some interest. 
“Let's go catch some stars.” 
“On the terrace?”
“Yes. Let’s!” 

Unbeknownst to them, a silent but nevertheless, no-holds-barred, bloody wrestling matching ensued on the insides of my eyelids. Sleep vs Stars. Wham. Crash. Bam. Biff. Slap. Punch. Smmmmaaasssh. Either opponent not letting up, so much that the audience, if there were an audience, would be thinking about the miscellany audiences often think about. Sleep was just about getting the upper hand, pounding the teeth out of Stars’ head when S, who a second ago was lounging next to me on the sofa in his night shorts, walked out of his room in his jeans and jacket. Clearly, we were going much further than the terrace. He wouldn't get into his jeans for the terrace. The element of surprise took Sleep by exactly that. Surprise. Sleep doesn't work well in surprising environments. In fact that is the first rule in the rulebook of Sleep - remove all traces of surprise from your environment before attempting sleep. Stars whacked Sleep with a whack to end all other whacks and Sleep saw Stars. Bad news for Sleep. Right there, the battle was lost. When either opponent sees the other, it’s plain defeat for the see-er. Funny how a pair of jeans can change the course of fate - off came the pyjamas and on were my trusty old jeans and a more awesome 11.30 pm attitude. We piled into L's car as adventurers. We were out to gather pockets full of stars. 

The night was a glass bowl left in the refrigerator. Chilly and fogged over. The moon-hanger must have been indisposed towards fulfulling his duties in lighting the round lantern in the sky. In the moon’s absence, the stars shone with all their energy, the stars shone brighter, the stars laughed down their cheer - for otherwise the earth would be blind. And on this particular night, the earth simply couldn’t be blind. For this was one of those nights, when the cosmic spirits that be, would empty the embers that stoked several billion dreamfires, by the sackfull. The night when the stars made their promise, and courses of fate were chalked out on the night sky. The night that the heavens light up with a million might-be destinies and we who dream, by just appealing to the stars, might find what it takes to keep us on the road. To keep us believing. Find what it takes to turn our cynical eyes heavenward and fill them with dreams instead. Dreams that might come true. The night, when we changed something, anything for the better.  

We took right where we should have taken left. Dust, interstate buses and smog threatened to thwart our plans. They blew blindness into our eyes, they sidetracked us, they whitewashed night’s contours and silhouettes with their bright lights. We let them pass. They had to. Detractors always have somewhere else to be.  Let them pass, and they lose their powers to influence you. More often than not, if you listen carefully, the road will guide you. Talk to you softly, leading you with the gentlest touch when you should proceed and resist, when you should forge a new route. The road slipped into a pocket of trees and beckoned to us. We followed like curious little children, taking its bait. Taking its path to the stars. Within the copse of trees, on a silent, secret road, we stood like lizards on the ceiling in an upside-down room in an upside-down world, gasping at zillions of diamonds scattered on the black carpet below. Above. Below. Above. Unreachable, anyhow! The diamonds pulsed with happy thoughts - magical cherry blossoms made of light. Some of them, came to life unexpectedly and skittered across the sky. Someone was skipping luminous stones across a giant, black puddle. We gasped. We yelped. We aahhed. We oohed. We were children again. Yes, we still knew those happy roads again. We were children, grinning lips smeared with starshine. 

We stuffed the wonder, the magic, the sweetness - of our first-ever taste of chocolate, of our first-ever dance in the rain, of our first-ever smell of the roses we were never allowed near, of our first-ever puppy lick and the consequent happy grimace, of our first-ever brush of friendship, of our first-ever helpless giggle, of our first-ever stupefied gasp at our first-ever bunny pulled out of an empty top hat, our first-ever sense of awe at the lions, tigers, elephants, crocodiles at the zoo, our first-ever movie, our first-ever speechlessness at a perfect sunset, our first-ever dandelion experience, our first-ever embrace of the sea and its saltwater kiss, - into those moments. Our first-ever spasm of love for the universe. Our first-ever neck-straining-backwards, eyes filled with light, mouth-open-in wonder, breath-caught starstruckedness. We were young again. We would always be. Our dreams were young again. They would always be. Tenacious and bright, just like those stars. We were meant to take right. Now we knew. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

mellow drama #3

There used to be magic in these boxes. Before they drank us dry of all our wonder. There was a time when we smelled of the sun and the leaves, and heard the music in the stars and whispered secrets with the rivers. And then the skyline grew ugly scales and cancerous lumps filled with puss on its back. The sun turned away, no longer a friend. It grew indifferent and in between our fingers, centipedes laid eggs and we could hold each other no more. It was sad, sadder than we knew sad could ever be. The heartbreak left us with cracked eyes and we saw everything with scattered vision. That was the end of things as we’d like to forget it. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Dance. While you can.

Be a dancer.

Not of steps and choreography. But of movement. 

Of balance. Of taking risks and of unafraidness. 

 Sound of passion; sound of assurance. Of awareness. 

 Of willingness to follow. Of rhythm. Of being a part of a larger picture. Of synchrony.

Of uncomplicating. 

 Of having a good time.

Of doing it like nobody’s watching. Of not caring.

Of knowing your self and your footing.Of trying and trying and trying till you get it like you invented it.

Be joyous. Be fluid. 

  In everything you do, be a dancer. Dance, because you must. 

  (I love shooting people dancing. There is such power and magic. This series features two different scenarios - Keya warming up before her class: gathering her mojo, feeding her limbs with power and a party where everyone's just having a blast. Two completely different situations. But they're all living a moment for themselves. They're all dancing.) 

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Pigeon1: “Oooh look dude, new neighbours. And it’s a giiirl!”
Pigeon2: Ooh.. lemme see! lemme see! chick, eh?
Pigeon1: Naaaaah. Not my type. I like mine with feathers. You those that you can ruffle....rowwwf. 
Pigeon2: Yeah yeah. oh look she’s looking us. Should we wave?

Pigeon1: No, you ninny. Pre-ten-ddd to be disintested. Or she might come over and say hello, like as if she expects to engange in intelligent conversation. I’m sure she cant speak pigeon. 

Pigeon2: Yeah dude. The only time they come close to speaking pigeon is when they (does wing version of elbowing)! Hyuk! Hyuk!

 Pigeon1: Oh, what’s that! What’s that. That whiiring sound..Gah. She’s one of THOSE. There’s only one thing more annoying than a human girl that says hello to pigeons, and that’s a human girl with a camera that says hello to pigeons! Pretentious is wat I call it! Shooting everything in sight, like we pigeons were an endangered species or something! 

Pigeon2: Should we strike a pose. (A little anxiuosly) Is my crown alright? No feathers sticking up, no? Do I have something stuck between my beak? I hope I don’t look too blinded by the flash!

Pigeon1: (hisses between teeth) Compose yourself you eejit. Oh no no no no no... she’s coming closer.

Pigeon2: Duuuuude I’m nervous. What if she asks my opinion on Romney? Can I tell her I look forward to pooping on his statue with the demented smile statues have? So that she’ll think I’m an informed pigeon!

Pigeon1: Shhhh.. Give her the gangsta look. Scare her into walking back. She can’t be this forward. Audacious. 

Pigeon2: Dude! It’s not working. Doooooooodddd!  

Pigeon1: Not working. I’m out of here.

Pigeon2: Wait wait wait. O! He’s gone. to chat ..butttt...(peers down in mock attnetion) What’s that you said? You need me down there? haha..Later then, yeah?

Pigeon2: Dont look up dude, but she’s still looking. You think she might be falling for me?

Pigeon1: There goes the neighbourhood!  

Friday, July 27, 2012

scenes from heaven

God: Noah, I'm done with the human race. I don't like them. They dirty my oceans, kill my little fishies, ruin my forests and build eyesores that can out Babel to shame. They have no imagination, no love for one another, are boring, takes themselves too seriously and they're procreating like as if they have diamonds coming out of their loins. YUCK! I think it's time to go for another purge session.
Noah: Yes, Your Almightiness. I agree. So what do you suggest? We pull the flush down on those buggers again? 
God: (scratching his long, white beard) Nyyyaaah. It's been done before. I need something original. Something more ingenious. You know? I'm god! Something that I can put on my portfolio, you know? Like the Ark? I love how it's messing with people's minds down there, about how the unicorns and the dinosaurs missed the boat! That's epic stuff. I can't have a Noah's Ark Part 2, can I? They haven't made a movie on the first one only! I can't jump the boat, can i? 
Noah: (Trying to roll his eyes without rolling his eyes)
God: No, Noah, I don't know when you'll ever learn! I'm God, I know you were going to roll your eyes before you knew you wanted to roll your eyes. In fact, I knew you'll want to roll you eyes at this very minute when you were swimming around in your mother's womb. Aaaaaand you're doing it again! You humans never learn, do you?
Noah: (Now clearly rolling his eyes) Moving on! So about the humans, what do you propose we do?
God: Hmmmm…yeah so we can't have another flood. They'll think the arctic caved into global warming and heaven would have a subsequent, horrible case of Greenpeace population in angel robes singing, "I told you so"! I don't think I can handle that sort of a thing! I NEED IDEAS, NOAH! You can't say you have "Noah" ideas. 
(God chuckles into his own joke. As for Noah, he's gotten used to God's punning since the Old Testament, so he keeps an impassive face) 
Noah: How about we swarm the world with…umm….. rats?
God: Rats? (thunders) RATS? Do i look like the Pied Piper to you? Rats have been done already, Noah. Besides it's too obvious. I want something more subtle. Some more cooler. Something more guerrilla. Rats are like a flashmob of a thing. Very lame. 
Noah: Hmmmmm..guerrilla you say? How about we, (pauses dramatically) let "weed" become a weed? Like it grows everywhere. On fields, creepers, in the vegetable garden, on the barks of trees, on walls, in people's living rooms and out of rabbit ears? 
God: (Looking at Noah very curiously) Have you been smoking Noah? (Sniffs) No? Okay, let me brief you once again. We're trying to purge the human race. Not create HEAVEN ON EARTH. 
Noah: (Wiping enough Godspit off him to get nostaligic about the Ark) Hmmm not good? Then what if we…umm..locusts, we've done. First borns (makes slicing motion with his finger on his throat), check. How about we spray acid instead of rain?
God: (Very pissed off, but grinding his teeth to not lose it) You've been at your Saw DVD collection again, haven't you? It's just not cool enough, Noah. You're pissing me off. I need a hot soak. Let's continue this discussion over my hot soak.

God claps and voila, a nice bubbly bath appears. He steps in and claps. Ping! His little ducky and sharkie and ship appears and floats about happily. 

God: (blowing bubbles) You're such an dolt sometimes Noah. It makes me so mad. What is it? You need a break or something? I just don't get it. You were one of my top performers. Tell me, how is it that such a genius can be such an idiot sometimes. (God's tension vein pops on his forehead and He clenches his fist) IT PISSES ME OFF SO MUCH SOMETIMES; I WONDER WHAT THE POINT OF IT ALL IS. AND I WANT TO JUMP OFF A CLIFF! Imagine what the world would be if there are more like you down there? arrrrrggggghhhhhhh……(pauses)..hahhahha…more like you?Hmmmm… Hahaha! That's it? I'll fill the world with idiots. An idiot here, an idiot there and an idiot everywhere. All the nonidiots would want to pull their hair out in sheer agony while the idiots double faster than bacteria! It's like a zombie movie…only more entertaining. Idiots will rule! Yeas…that's a destructive with so much coolness, that prat George Clooney couldn't hold the Paschal candle to. Hahahahhahahaha"
(God leaves the tub screaming Eureka! Eureka!) 
Noah: (To the audience) And that my friends, is how I lead Him to arrive at it!!! Should let the old boy believe that He's running the show, shouldn't we?"

Down curtains

The End. 

Monday, July 23, 2012


One day, Mia woke up with a pigeon entangled in her hair. How it got there, she didn’t know. What she did know was that it wasn’t going anywhere. First she tried shooing it away; it protested vehemently. With furiously flapping wings and raking pigeon claws, that dug into the depth of her brains. For weeks, the metallic rhythm of beating wings, like doors swinging on their hinges, rang in her ears. Then she tried luring it away with grains. Though the bird showed interest, every time she moved her palm away from her head, the pigeon pecked at her face and her eyes until she left the feed right next to it on her head. So there wasn't too much luring, but just feeding. The pigeon pecked on her head, till her dreams grew sore and her thoughts were punctuated with a pecking rhythm. Then she tried cutting her hair; the hairdresser wasn’t amused and even less so, when at the end of it all, all she had to show were bird pecks and a teary customer with a pigeon still entangled in her hair. Very bad for business, indeed. As for the pigeon, it was in such ill humour that for three days, Mia walked with a ball of iridescent grey feathers on her head. Then she tried shaving it all. The pigeon took to the bald head like as if it were an egg. It roosted and crooned pigeon-lullabies that unnerved her lecturers and got her thrown out of movie halls.

Her boyfriend googled ‘how to get rid of a pigeon tangled in your hair’, tried many, suggested more and finally, left her for a girl with less avian features and who didn’t stand out so much. She was the last among her friends to lose her virginity. An artistically inclined youth who found the situation “intriguing” and the pigeon’s unblinking curious stare “coitally exciting”. He left her a few months later claiming “too weird, man”; his artistic sensibilities for once, abandoning his vocabulary. The truth is, the pigeon, who disliked his pretensions took his mouth, that was open in an ecstatic O, for a toilet and went for it when she was on top. His right brain clearly missed the creative irony of the situation.
At the supermarket, the pigeon cocked its head out interrogatively; its beady eyes gleaming red and golden in the painful tungsten. Her dreams were crowded by feathers and pigeon moans. Her face grew flushed from constantly being aware; her lips pursed with the effort of bracing herself for pigeon-excitement. Her neck grew long and stiff from sleeping funny. She had to hold her head unusually high to be comfortable. They called her “Steeple”. First cruelly and then condescendingly and then with grudging, well-disguised envy. She was different. And that was sexy. The pigeon was horribly unconcerned about her wardrobe. It left merciless trails of pigeon shit on all her fit-in clothes. Her little black dress got the worst of it. Before she knew it, she’d stopped trying to fit in.

One day Mia woke up unconcerned about the pigeon tangled in her hair. And then, it became the concern of the people around her. Her parents fretted over whether the phenomenon would deter good matrimonial proposals in the future. Even if the pigeon flew away by then or died, people would still remember her as the girl who had a pigeon on her head. Her neighbours tutted and sighed over such a misfortune, and brought her amulets blessed by an army of gods. There were attempts to make something of a goddess or saint out of her; but wielding a pigeon didn’t merit too much of a devotional following, that died quickly enough. Then there were whispers of exorcism. The pigeon once went into ecstatic moans in church, interrupting a fervent sermon on abstinence from the pleasures of the flesh during the lent. Many candles went missing that day.

What was it like before the pigeon became a part of her? What was it like before she became such an idiom; such a metaphor; such a form of speech? When she was just a girl, trying to find her place in the world; in the fourth row; in the middle ground; in the cafeteria? What was it like? Mia couldn’t quite remember. All she knew is that she couldn’t go back to being any thing else. Uncertainty. Certainty. The girl who woke up with a pigeon in her hair. A winged creature. Just like them angels.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

the trees are not lonely

At night, the mango trees turned into amorous creatures. Creatures with desperate needs. They reached their long arms with all the length of their longing. Their leaves rustled with the ardour of poems, sonnets and love songs. Their leaves trembled like how leaves tremble, with the desperateness of want. While their roots held them prisoners of inhibition. The mango trees longed and longed. For that one night in their lives, when their longings had weighed on the earth so hard and their barks, thick with ardour, cracked with desperation and the rains cried their tears of loneliness, that they were allowed to put their arms around the one they loved. The one night from which they were considered worthy of love. That one night. When the trees stopped longing and instead loved. When mango trees put their arms around each other. Entwined. The caress of leaves. The sigh of flowers. Fruits that they would bear. Dreams of sticky golden sap, feral moss and brown bark under starlight. The night they would hold one another and take on the shape of the other. When they would forever take on the shape of that first embrace. Bow-legged; bow-limbed - each branch bent forever in the stencil of the other. Bent where the other fit. In the morn, when they were apart, the sun would filter down through the spaces the other left. The wind would bring fragrances from the other, and leave it tucked in the crevices, the dimples and the hollows formed from the very first coupling. Mango leaf fragrances; mango flesh sweetness. Branch between branch. Leaf against leaf. 

The cuckoo, upon hearing the story, sighed like girl friends, its cooing sigh echoing; gossipy parrots in gossipy sessions would swing from its branches screeching like paan-chewing red-mouthed coarse women who made coarse jokes; crows cawed their indifference. Ants built their sticky fragrant ants nest, feeding off the nectar sweat from the night before. Sticky sweet. Sticky smears. Sticky kisses and amber wet. One tree for the other. Forever and ever. One filling the gaps of the other, forever and a day. The gaps i have, you'll fill; just as yours, I will. Forever and ever. Night after night. when we turn into trees. When we turn into amorous creatures. 

Friday, February 3, 2012


         It used to be a huge tree. And a rather sociable one too. It reached its arms out in comradely garrulity. It waved often. When the wind came around, it circled its boughs in sweet slow movements like village girls in their lehengas while shadows danced under it. ‘She’ hated it though. The leaves had to be constantly swept away. And the tree kept dropping them like little notes, with scarce regard for her rheumatic or lazy limbs. ‘She’ was the ayah. Avangal. We don't really know her name, she always seemed so reluctant to part with it. If anyone happened to call her by name, she’d shudder - as though trying to shake off an unpleasant memory right off her, like cattle thighs trembled to shake flies off. Once a younger member of the family, in an attempt to be respectful, addressed her as She-akka - ‘She’ slapped the poor child. So that was that - ‘She’ was referred to as ‘She’ and never addressed directly - like some strange God, capital letter in place. ‘She’ hated the tree as much as we loved it.

          It was a large tamarind - its dainty mehendi-pattern leaves twirled delightfully down like a bunch of yellow-clad skydivers - somersaulting, somersaulting, somersaulting in the air before they landed with nary a whisper on the ground. During the summer, its cool shade was a screen from the obtrusive glare of the sun. With the tree around, the sun was always well-mannered and knocked politely before entering and never spoke out of turn and was always pleasant company. The wind was always around, swaying on its branches. Sometimes gently, playing mama rocking her baby to sleep and sometimes boisterously, like children on monkey bars, swinging by their hands. The tree was my friend - I loved it when it turned my wall into a kaleidoscopic dance of shadows at sundown. I love its tiny pretty leaves and fat, rude-shaped fruit - it made me giggle and how we could never spice our curries with them. I loved how tall it stood and how fat it was. And then came the borewell. 

       They carted my friend away - limb by hacked limb, until nothing showed for it having ever been there. Not one mangled root. The leaves, long swept away. The cover of the borewell has a hollow clunk when stepped upon - we don’t have a water shortage anymore. Now the sun barges defiantly. So do the curious glances. “Shameless!”, ’She’ half grunts, half spits every time she catches the boy opposite looking in on our lives. “She”misses the tree. I miss the tree. 
          Every time I walk over the place where the tree used to stand, without thinking twice about the grave I'm walking on, I look up at my apartment on the first floor and marvel at how exposed it is. I look up at the apartment and think in wonder, “To think that there used to be a big, big tree here! Who would say that now? Who misses it? Is it possible to miss something that used to be there, if you’ve never known its existence? Would anyone walk by and miss a tree when they see no tree and not know why? It’s funny, how a tree could have stood somewhere for longer than memory itself. Only to be pulled out by its roots and leave a nothing, so complete in itself that there’s nothing to show for it. Not, unlike those unmarked graves past loves sleep in.” 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

mellow drama #2 - floundering

It was much too dark to see the colour of our eyes. And even if it weren’t so dark, it’s rather unlikely we’d have noticed that we indeed had eyes, much less the colour, shape and size. If they were thickly lashed or if they were, like drying palm fronds in the peak of a really cruel summer. If they laughed or if they were secretive or if they like glass mirrors, bounced off light that if we didn’t watch out, could sear you and cut you deep, maybe in half. It was much too dark to register the promise or gauge the lie or measure the possibilites. We didn’t know if we were beautiful or simply hideous. We were oblivious to the bits of each other stuck between our teeth or seeping out of our eyes or drooling down our chins; if we were clothed or butt naked - for all to see. To see! To see! Did we want to see? See beyond this velvet blindfold that scrunched our separate universes into a two-dimensioned world? One side You. Other side Me. Us. See beyond this warm womb of unreal hopes, where we slept tucked under blankets of expectation? 
We slept with eyes wide open with dreams. Dreams, that in the dark, were so vivid and vibrant, that we sometimes blinked in their fierceness. But never once did we see beyond this. Oh, it was splendid, for our lives, our futures, our very existence to be melded into this one circumstance. This so-called destiny. This self-created, do-it-yourself, myopic processor of fates - events that would fall to place, in assembly-line predictability. To have no past or future but this. The house we would buy, the children we would have, the house-of-cards fate we were investing our everything in. This forever and i-hope-ever. Our tongues twisted permanently into the shapes of sweet, delightful nothings. And syrupy sighs. And longing. Oh yes, longing. We were going around in circles, like dogs infatuated by their tails, following their own feral musk. Following our asses. But no matter that. This is what is meant to be. This is true. At least for now. 
The darkness in our eyes, as deep as our happiness. The sheer magic of seeing nothing else, but us. Love certainly wasn’t blind. It certainly knew what it was doing and where it was going. It was us that were blinded by love. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

5.30 am is a good time for angst.

shriek me out of my sleep
my reverie, my dream.
time to get up
time to go to bed.
my day, stuffed into an ephemeral parentheses 
that conspires with the rising tide of ageing 
against man
tick tock 
an unseen countdown blaring in our heads  

sagging breasts and a drooping cock
dance a tired waltz 
with varicose veins and rheumatism in the chorus 
a sigh for all the things that have been vs. what could have been. 
tick tock
if only we had the time. 

for man cannot live on bread alone
but a slice of chewy angst 
just about cooked over a fire of 
unfulfilled dreams
spiced with the romance of 
missed trains, missed buses and missed stations.
masticating over all the bite that's more than u can chew
imploding hearts in our mouth
saliva rolling over a undistinguishable mass of what you 
once held dear, but forgot to hold close. 
so we sleep tight
betrayal tucked like a novel under our pillows
a soft white breast from the past
held tenderly in your closed fist
while you push the cold body next to you, further away.

do i love you?
oh sure i do. 
but if it weren't for the vows exchanged
in front of a crowd that couldn't care less,
and the children sleeping 
in beds they were made in,
we'd probably be like magazines in a fridge. 
nothing to do with each other
and seriously out of place. 
given the choice of time and space
i'd rather be the pink chewing gum in
the slutty girl-next-door's potty mouth. 

round and round
dizzy and dizzier
nausea and nauseayer
sigh and sigher
i laugh. drowning you out.
until i fall down.
hush ah busha - shush for now.