Monday, January 30, 2006


i light up an excuse
in the rain washed verandah,
and exhale relief.

"it's temporary, it's temporary!"
the koyals mock knowingly.

i've been trapped,
in a house called reunion,
and strangers called family.

small breezes carry
words from within,
i shudder.
gossip has a way
of settling in the head.

how that tailor from udhampur,
measures the ample samples
of great aunt mona,
behind closed doors.
how her brocade blouses,
seem to need
a trial too many...

the rest is drowned in laughter.

over tea and fritters
reputations are shred.
of aunts and cousins
who couldn't make it
to this august gathering.
and kind words are said,
about ways and lives of those
huddled over mint yogurt dip,
and cheesy garlic bread.

someone notices my absence.
i hear a strident voice,
"what dreadful habit she's picked up!"
"go tell her there's more chai."
a little obedient munchkin,
with mischief in her eye,
skips out with the message, then adds,
"everybody's been dissected,
it's your turn now."

i look to heavens for help,
the rainclouds are low,
pausing in their incessant task,
gossip is juicier, go in, go!

i flick the butt,
scratch my head of hair,
knowing they'll kill me in there,
as i turn, i notice gramps
uncoiling from his chair.

another cackle from inside
drowns my question to him,
but he offers valuable advice
"first," he says, "stop being so grim!
the hyenas are waiting,
don't tuck your tail and run
(it excites them, he said),
don't be fodder,
you miserable sod,
just sidetrack them instead.
tell tall tales of lust
spin spicy tales of sin,
the hyenas are waiting,
go on, go on in!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A sought after Indian poetess
at a writers' cafe in Delhi

does not make excuses
she "lights up" excuses.

She doesn't take a sigh of relief.
She "exhales" her relief.
(What does she inhale?)

She thinks in her vernacular
but writes poetry in English.

The birds that mock for her are
not mocking birds but are koyals.

She calls a house a "reunion".
She calls strangers a "family".

She talks of "small breezes"
(not slight breeze)
as if they are small "fishes".

She "shudders" and "shudders"
when gossip in her head "settles"

The tailor does not take measures
but "measures the ample samples" for her

She places periods in the middle of sentences
shows no regard for the upper case, nor for the grammar.

Lampooning is "dissection" to her.
Gossiping to her is juicier than

"the rainclouds pausing in incessant task"
(strange comparisons she makes)

"She flicks her butt".
"Scratches her head of hair".

(Apna bunda hilati hai!
Cir ke balon main nakhun chalati hai!)

"Gramps uncoil in his chair"
as if all grandpas had 'coiled' in one chair.

She is a "miserable sod".
Engages in anal copulation?

And is a "fodder" to the hyenas
in her juicy, spicy, sinful tales.