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!"

Friday, January 06, 2006

At Kalachakra

hands folded in prayer,
twelve in the room.
lit by the cold january sun,
wait in silence.

should i breathe?
i wonder.
what if i exhaled
and wasted the moment,
should i breathe?

should i blink?
what if i should miss
the eternity of sharing
the same space as him?
dare i blink?

what if he should touch me?
a tap on the shoulder,
or a handshake even.
how would i react?
and would it be right?

there were far more deserving
of his healing touch,
waiting in the sun outside.
would he understand my need
to jostle for a favored place
in the line of believers?

will i hear
each word he says
or will i hear
and still miss
anything that he says?

i hear the swish
of yellow robes.
he is frailer than his pictures.
his wristwatch hangs loose
on his bony hand.
nothing weak
about his words though.

brightest eyes i have seen,
now observe my tearful ones,
he has seen many like mine.

before the hum of prayers
from the outside,
deafens the few
caught in his magical gaze inside,
he stands hugging distance
i dare not follow the impulse.

bite my lip,
and extend my hand
as my fist uncurls,
his eyes twinkle.
his laughter sounds loud,
surprising the solemn room.
he pockets the gift,
and steps out into the sunlight.

i wonder about the laughter,
that's when i see Him.
arms folded, grin in place,
the Blue One has been watching.
you’ve found me, he laughs,
why then, are you greedy?
i pretend not to understand

you stop laughing at me,
i wiggle my finger at him.
i still need words
to comfort me.
i switch to fm in defiance.

Avalokiteshwara’s words
crackle salve into my ears.
besides, he looks like you
my Blue One.
and he likes chocolate
you saw him take it, didn’t you?