Monday, 30 November 2009

the Truth

the response of the moment
is the truth of the moment;'
but we falsify the truth
by guiding the response.


nothing happened

nothing happened
the whole evening.
there was no sunset,
rain clouds
heavy in the skies...

you didn't come, it didn't rain.
only the sea... restless.


(an old love letter)

Saturday, 28 November 2009

a teardrop

my reflection
in a teardrop...
i hold your face and kiss it

(an old piece)

an apple...for you

just this big--
maybe even less--
encapsulating the whole universe
in a palpitation

(an old piece)

Friday, 27 November 2009

A Letter

For days it was as if I never existed.
You have blotted me out of your world
Like a wilted flower from your vase.

I have treasured our unuttered pledges:
Rising with your name as a prayer on my lips,
Breathing the morning breeze,
Oh God,
Isn’t this the same fragrance my dear one breathes!

I waited beneath your window last night,
My heart aflutter in the moonlight
For a rustle at the curtain,
The fleeting glimpse of a shadow...

Throughout you kept it shut.


(This is another poem from my teenage days, when I was terribly in love with a girl, who, as it turned out, became my life partner subsequently. Slightly edited because of the age factor and my present status as a grandfather.)



You will never tell me, will you,
What blessings you sought,
What silent wishes,
Hands folded in prayers yesterday
In the Sacred Grove of our delusions.

You merely smiled.
The peacock spread its plumes
And danced for me.
A whole constellation of stars
Oh, our star-crossed love!


This is something I wrote when I was around the age of 20. I looked it up from an old notebook this morning when a beautiful poem by Binu, a fine young poet in our circle, reminded me of the old days. It is a continuum all the way. Nothing has changed. I am posting it here without editing it, deleting not even expressions such as 'delusions' and 'star-crossed love,' which I would have rather avoided now.


the fly

now i hear of a religious man who,
having lost all his hair from chemotherapy for cancer,
thinks it over and finds how
he can turn the whole affair to his advantage
he had gone worshipping to the shrine where we shave our hair
as an offering to the Lord.


Thursday, 26 November 2009


baby girl!
the phone rings one minute past five a.m.

i open the door...
a streak of daybreak in the east;
the birds,
still drowsy in their perch...

thrice i clap my hands...


Wednesday, 25 November 2009


hoeeeyy! hoy-hoeeeyy!
from lane the fishmonger's call--
five cats reach him f-i-r-s-t!


Friday, 20 November 2009


all day up the hill
on wobbling legs we climbed
to reach the elephant rock
and crawl our way to the top
at sunset to look
down the final ledge
into an eagle's nest!



i turn the corner
in my car--the stray dog! smiles,
makes way, i smile back.

(smack in front! sorry,
he said, and moved to the side,
its all right, i said.)


Thursday, 19 November 2009

Silent Valley

For us to understand our relation with the whole we have to step out
of the sterilized hum of our air-conditioned cabins and go to an
untouched evergreen valley that had evolved over several millions of

There we encounter the silence of eternity. We hear the soft touch of
our feet on the dead leaves that carpet the ground and then we skip a heartbeat as a bird rustling the canopy in flight startles us…

We freeze a moment watching the bird take perch on a sagging vine and
swing, wipe its beak against the vine from left and right, cock its
head askance at something, preen its feathers to enjoy an itch, and
fly away again, flashing to us the full glory of its plumage.

We find ourselves smiling… What bliss!

Now we hear a langur somewhere calling khu-khu-khu-khu and a stream
gurgling down the fold of the valley. The answering khu-khu-khu-khu
comes from another direction and we are in the middle of a grand
concert--birds, squirrels, and so many other lovely little
creatures we don't know have joined in!

We have never been part of such celebration all around… We have never
known this is how it has always been and suddenly we see the now of
the moment flowing down from millions of years to fill us and
overwhelm us…

And how cool and fragrant the air we breathe! We kneel down and kiss
the Earth...

In this Silent Valley is the whole. We have so withdrawn ourselves
into little cabins of our ambitions, worries, greed and hatred that we
have never known the love that only the whole is.

Silent Valley is like the first man on Everest, because it showed that
the Everest of insensitivity in the self-enclosed modern mind, which
spells doom for the entire Earth, can indeed be conquered.

Many more mountaineering victories have followed over the last 25
years since its declaration as a National Park. Many more will follow.

And it is for all times to come. We have only to take to
this place the people who decide the destiny of our survival together on
Earth for them to see what is and what is not. A lightening bolt of
austerity will strike them to change their vision on development.


(Note: On November 21, conservationists and nature lovers are meeting in Silent Valley to celebrate the 25th year of the victory of their campaign to save the pristine evergreens of the area.)


Wednesday, 18 November 2009


frogs vociferous,
as night rain leaves...the loudest
must be tortoise-large.


Saturday, 14 November 2009

treetop hut

we were sitting in the treetop hut in the jungle late into the night, as silent as sleeping doves.

the lamps we had snuffed out to better see the lake in the dim haze of the clouded night sky.

the lake was like a mirror, reflecting the wooded hills symmetrically in water. there was not a ripple on the clean sheet of mirror--sharp and clear as eternity it was, so tangible and within reach. we sat thus for all the time to come.

then i realised i was holding my breath. we were both holding our breath!

do you know, my friend--i hush-hushed--we are holding our breath, we dare hardly breathe...

together we dropped tingling into the stillness of the moment and the lake started rippling and a nightbird somewhere started singing.


Tuesday, 10 November 2009


mynahs a dozen
hop, hop, hop, pick...hop, hop, pick--
dew beads on wet grass.


Sunday, 8 November 2009

amma's aviyal

inside mom's luggage
on board the flight to a faraway land,
where daughter expects her first child,
a small packet of cleanly washed local vegetables--
drumstick, green mango, jackfruit seeds...
for a nice dish of aviyal,
amma's aviyal.


Wednesday, 4 November 2009


knee over the knee,
in the porch on rainy morn,
reads the newspaper?


she cop

a hooting whistle
on her lips meant for kisses...
booked for wrong parking!


pillion rider

each time he slows bike--
spring blossoms, succulent fruits...
her coy, joyous hug!



burly constable
sipping crimson lollipop...
mustachios bristling!!!



the picture smiles...
do you dare, speak up, painter,
make one small blemish?



step lightly beneath
this cherry tree...feasting time...
seven nightingales!


tick tick tick

the stray bull's eyes glint,
watching, heart all afflutter,
the red-frocked stunner!


the morning after

slumped the mahout sleeps,
astride the tired elephant...
festivities done.


drums and bugles

keep the gate closed...
ants troop dancing on its top...
rio carnival!


hundred metres dash

rainclouds gallop high
hard i run panting breathless...
who will reach home first?



flowers mesmerized
by their glow aloft the trees
do have vertigo


on the beach

nuns inhale the sun
sea-cast pearls around their feet...
oh giggling penguins!


Tuesday, 3 November 2009

a white horse

froth-mouthed, a white horse
gallops up the hill...silent...
dissipating clouds.