Friday, September 26, 2014

Wake up and the world is yours.

Our apartment was just like any other old apartment in those erstwhile refugee colonies of New Delhi. There was no water related problem. We belonged from riparian places. The only thing that concerned us while looking for an apartment in the capital was water. I liked it. Gourav liked it too. We were high functional drug users. At the end of the day, when we came back from our easy going jobs we would inject ourselves with serums that could help us catch nightmares in our sleep. It was charming at first- we had been doing that for quite a while promising to stop every other weekday. When we changed apartments we decided we would change our habits too, but it diffused into us from that place to here. Somehow I think we loved our nightmares. It was routine for us to to wake up to our own screams. So one fine morning when I was dreaming Indira Gandhi’s assassination scene, I wasn’t befuddled at all when I heard Gourav’s scream.


It sounded sharper than the notes of a man’s voice. I let it pass and went back to 1984. Soon, I heard a knock on my door and had to get up. Gourav was standing outside with his bare body and glowing red eyes. He made a face like he had seen a ghost. I asked him if something was wrong. He told me that there was a pigeon in the room. I was still delirious from last night’s dose, so I took some time to think. Now before I continue with this story- I must mention something about the pigeons of New Delhi.

The pigeons of New Delhi were once the pigeons of Old Delhi, they used to carry letters in the time of those old cruel Kings and were trained to unite restless and patient lovers through words. I had read this long ago in some history book- while preparing for the fraudulent IAS examinations. But alas, such lessons are deemed unimportant by our modern kings. But as far as legends go, I still fondly remember the story of the pigeon Princess.

Once upon a time, in that forgotten city of Delhi, there was a lost princess who kept pigeons. She used to scribble poetry and tuck them in their legs and lonely peasants would wake up in the morning to find their life moved by words. The king was aware of his daughter’s power over the masses and he encouraged his daughter to nurture her passion. He summoned poets from all over the world- and under their tutelage the princess got better. Words sometimes could be used to deceive people too, and one of the poets who had once arrived in the king’s court much to the ignorance of the nobles was the great trickster from Babylon. He was a man who had been instrumental in the downfall of kingdoms. He looked like someone who never aged. No one knew his power, but his words were just viciously sweet and subtly harmful. Under his tutelage the princess learnt the art of metaphors and how to lace poison in words. It wasn’t surprising the Princess fell in love with him, for who can resist the charm of being deceived in love? So one fine day, while beguiling over being in love the Princess wrote three words thousand times over and they were all made to be delivered into each and every home. If only the pigeons could read they would know what those words meant. There was a general unrest among the peasants after this. Due to the years of good governance it was easily appeased by the noble king. The wise men of the state who by this time were aware of what had happened ordered that the charmer of Babylon be put to trial. By virtue of the state laws- both he and the Princess were tried for treason against the King. This was punishable by beheading. The trickster deceived everyone and escaped. He was nowhere to be found. It was now only the Princess’s fate to be put to death. The noble king couldn’t put his own daughter to death so he let her go, and demanded a kingdom wide search for the trickster. The Princess was heartbroken in love, so she didn’t leave her bedchamber for the next eighteen days and at the end of the nineteenth day she couldn’t be found and it was said that she had turned into a pigeon herself- the bearer of words, which were mostly deceitful. Centuries had passed since that day and Delhi had shed so much blood, that even its history was written in the red ink of passion. Delhi had transformed into a modern metropolis of hubris and speed. There were pigeons everywhere and sometimes you could see them fly up and down in the roads, while sometimes you would find them beheaded by your exhaust fan, as if no one could escape fate in a city besotted with the King’s rule.   

I asked Gourav whether he switched off the ceiling fan because nothing was worse than seeing a decimated carcass when you are high. He replied in the affirmative. I wish I was romantic enough to expect poetry from a frightened pigeon that was trapped inside his room. Wings were meant to be a blessing, and look at that sad pigeon stuck, alright. I never asked how it got in his room on the first place, and why it couldn’t get out, because Gourav provided me with all the answers. We always told this to ourselves- hey, we are drug users not abusers. So I went straight into the room with a stick and tried to realign the curtain so that the bird can go out, but alas, I couldn’t manage it in that state. The door lay ajar for a while and the pigeon sat quietly on his table, tilting its head in agony. Afternoon set in, while we slowly fell out of our inebriations as more blood flowed into our brain. Another weekend had begun with an unwelcome guest, there was no office today. I remembered texting a friend who suggested that we should cook it, for pigeons taste good. Man is the only animal who kills for no reason at all, and I decided not to kill it for a reason. The next time we ventured into the room, we couldn’t find the pigeon. We looked here and there, and examined all the nooks and corners with our big eyes, but there was no birdie.

 The Bird has Flown.

 We looked under the bed like children who look for coffers, and still there was no trace of any remotely winged creature except for some dead mosquitoes. We sighed and looked at each other wondering if we had imagined the entire episode, for the windows were closed and the curtains were drawn. Helplessly we tried looking for our serum collection to delete this day from our memory and it was here that we discovered a paper lying with words scripted in the language of poets.
                              جاگو اور دنیا تمہاری ہے

The Princess had come to us,
perhaps to deceive us into

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Counting aeroplanes.

I sit here in my room counting aeroplanes
as they vanish in the sky, but birds never
say goodbye. The sound of metallic vibrations
slowly fades in the migrant atmosphere,
leaving behind a thin trail of white dust
and here in my old villa some hearts’ wither
and rust.  

Monsoon clouds, humid air, stale city traffic,
a beggar’s wink- like pale stains of memory
they clink and blink. I remember them in
parts, and I name them in Her name- solitude,
my lady. 
The affable fly comes singing poetry
in my ear 
and I slap myself, the lizard keeps on
last night’s moth, the ceiling fan plays
the circular 
songs of monotony and like them I keep
coming back 
where I count aeroplanes as they
vanish in the sky, 
hoping I will catch them waving a 

Up in the azure sky, as
the world gently moves by
and some lonely travelers forgetfully sigh
I tell myself: Hey, I am a traveler too-
‘In my head’ when it’s held high,
and we are all travelers when
we die. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I leapt through the Orphic glass


The silly promise of the mornings are 
upheld in the night. I lie awake.

I am gazing at the misty windows now and 
wherever the rain seeps in I make a point to adorn 
them with the warm clothes of my heart. 

The morning shall descend in a while and 
beyond the Bay of Bengal, a storm cloud
shall invite itself over  the little Parthenium
forests in the city of joy. 

Sometimes, I am aware of the 
blue thunder it brings. 
It's deafening and I am aware of her, 
she wants us to wake up from 
this torpor-
Ma says, its the rice country 

torpor that makes men dream more and 
more. I am her skeptical child.  

I keep on dreaming. 


The morning breaks in the scaffolds of disaster 

and there are boats filled with fishes that could 
be found on tree tops. In times of sadness why 
do they hush us to obey the rules of

There are pin pricks that bruises our heart and 

it often transcends into a silent melancholy. 
Like everything else it is perhaps waiting for art
to sprout 


Why tomorrow, when I love you 
today?she asks.  

With all your talent you should hang on,
you must wait for the chalk lines of time
to scribble and rearrange the hollows of
your heart, you should face the test of
envious comrades who belittle you, you must, 

you shouldn't give up now- 
for life is one and only, 
and dreams are sad and 

In the end of all this abeyance you will 
find words that are like aberration or 
truth, and I will tell you what, 
her words were the 
dream when you are 
wide awake and there are stars
for company.


I am living your dream now,

in this waking 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Yellow lights. Yellow hearts.
Feelings lost, in ramparts.

Yellow moon. Yellow sea.
Look beyond love's tragedy.

Yellow you. Yellow me.
Things that were never meant to be.

Yellow life. Yellow sky.
So I will say good bye.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Memoirs of the present.

Every old man must write their memoirs and often it turns out to be an elegy. I won’t do that. When I am old I won’t write an elegy. I will write a kick ass novel about how awesome being old is- and I will write about my angelic grand-children. But I am young now and there’s a reason why I am writing this. I am twenty five years old and I already feel old and dying. I told her this with that same disgust laced authoritative voice.

‘I won’t do this. I am too old for this stuff.’

She looked up and said. ‘Shut up.’

She is the beauty queen kind. Smart, good-looking and full of words that I don’t understand or find too trivial. She inhabits a world whose station I left years ago and I feel if she had known me then she wouldn’t have taken me by the hand and professed all the love she had for me.
‘Here’s looking at you kid.’ I could have said to her, but then she didn’t know about Casablanca, since I had already asked.

It was kind of funny to hear her say just that.
‘Shut up, old man.’

She was a little younger than me, you know. If years were measured in days- she would just be a week behind. That was how I thought I would tell her story to others. But there was nothing in this story to be told- a zebra while crossing a road got run over because there were no people on it. You see that’s how this story would seem like if it’s ever told. There’s no love. Can stories not be told without love?

Perhaps they can, so I will give it a try.

Yes, this is the truth -I am not in love with her. I am merely acting it, for the fun-things that happen whenever I am with her. Her energy is something I feel I had missed out in my earlier life that had been spent around nice-bookish people. I am playing out all of the love games of youth, for I feel I have grown out of some experiences that a writer or an artist should feel, so that- 

“now that he is all grown up and mature he can comprehend it better and produce it in his art.”

God, I am such a deceitful person, I think sometimes. Morality, if I recall a political philosophy lecture was something on the lines of feelings. I feel bad at times when I imagine myself deceiving someone. I wish not to.

I realized I had grown older for another reason - it was so easy to fall in love with a beautiful girl when you were young. You didn’t care about the walking checklists that you had set up in your head- she needs to watch these movies, read these books, not be too materialistic (still a no-no), I mean who the hell thinks about all these things when they are young? All you want is a nice person walking by your side, preferably well adorned and then sometimes you go peek into a feminist’s diary and high five yourself in the mirror. For shallow people like me it worked well, very goddamn well. But with time you grow careful about love. And as the years take a toll on your sleeves, you grow into a skeptical optimist. I must admit, with age it’s difficult to fall in love. So, I think I am old, for I can’t love this gorgeous girl the way I wanted to- in the poetry of daily words.

 For people like me aesthetics have been a driving factor-in life and elsewhere. I am nobody now, but still deep within my heart I consider myself a writer and an artist, maybe that’s why even if the whole world vetoes me out I think this honest self-expression will somehow find its way into a stranger’s heart.  This is one of the reason why aesthetics is so important to me. Beauty should be everywhere- even in the gutter if you find it. (As long it’s not medically deleterious, then artists like me recommend it.)

Do you really want to know how I do this? Fine, I will tell you. You might think my words are borrowed, but I have felt them and that’s why I can write it with absolute certainty- for I know, I know this -

you gotta be a little unlucky in love and you gotta suffer a little in life- not the deliberate ones where you take a razor and shave off your vein. You let life happen to you and try not to escape it, you try to think it through and help yourself, and that’s where it comes from- all this introspection and the philosophizing which again ends up being candidly futile. But it does make art!

So in the end of you might think what’s the use of all this? Well, didn’t you heal a little? Don’t you see things a little differently now? Was it better then or now? Our answers may vary, but for the sake of optimism let’s rely on the adage that our forefathers bestowed upon us- something on the lines of things happening for a good reason.  

There’s always a heart that wants to go back- that wants to relive those moments that were beautiful and could have been lived in a better way. See, that’s what memoirs are about-reflecting on the mighty maze of the past. And they essentially sound like a sad song. I am not writing a memoir of my youth-this is merely anything but a rant, reflecting on the hazel shades of life. All I want to say is that, there had been years of intellectual masturbation with women that now lay behind in time, and if I looked back carefully I did not see much fun in it- perhaps it was worthy of writing book (with all those promises of love and the idea of falling in love with love) which should be done in time: but where was the human experience- the sight, the smell, the touch. What could I find from books, movies and theater? And, I am pretty sure those years were ahead of me too when I will really be old and ugly- when we will still discuss love over our cellphones and make less of it, and never dare to take that leap of love for that single person that would matter- for we will all be seasoned and taught by time. Damn, don’t we learn pretty fast?
So, I have decided to live in the moment. There is a girl who loves me, and for once in my life I will allow a person to love ‘me’ and it won’t be the other way round. I am safe in somebody’s love. Let her love me. She has everything to lose, but then she is young and I tell myself, she will recover if her heart is broken. Oh, the idea of love, how it takes up our youth and swallows it and changes the prism of our vision. As an artist, I am bound to think of such stuff and if you’ll just excuse me, I will continue.

“Never make the same mistake again.”

And this is where I come in- the self-proclaimed artist.

I think that’s the punch line that works in many matters of life except love. You might be a skeptic or a cynic since your heart’s been broken, perhaps you have written all fancy poems about it. But I will tell you this, there’s no other way round here in loves’ florid villa- you got to make that mistake again, give your everything and try look like a fool every time because that’s what love demands of you. I know it’s a little difficult and people might question your morals because after all-
how could you love again?

‘This is cheating!’ some would scorn out loud.

Don’t explain them shit because they are afraid that you might find out what they never dared to. Always make that mistake. Because I will tell you the rewards are a life that reeks of spring flowers shining by the spectral moon. Love is making the same mistake over and over again.
And here I am pretty safe in the arms of whom I thought was a youngster, so very different in habit and taste that she resembles a Martian- and mind you I am not in love with her, but the tragedy of all my stories are this-
when I write about someone, no matter how less it is,
I am always in love with that

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Madness.

Why do you ask me so much, I have told you already there’s nothing to tell, I know I don’t have any ticket out, but since you insist so much, I will tell you this story since I am here today and I read this news today which made sense too, so I will tell you, but first I should tell you about that day when he decided to come home early. The day they brought me here, those bitches. He should have just stayed you know. You think I am mad, fine, but soon you’ll know, you are not safe either. She is out there man. So let me tell you about those filthy towers of dream- hear me out.

From the Eastern Bypass road, the two towers seemed like an obelisk from the past. It was right at the edge of the city. Beyond it lay fields of water and little lakes that one day will silt up too. The rains had colored everything that month. It was these august rains he was wary of- slippery in habit and strangely mournful. On that particular rainy day, when the sky had been greyed by the monsoon clouds and the rains were constantly beating the windshield of the taxi- he got down exactly at his assigned stoppage. He was carrying one small black briefcase with a CCU tag and he was dressed all in black.
A line of sweat marked his strangely wistful face. His voice wasn’t like any other for he was a foreigner in the Humid metropolis. His heavily accented Bengali could be marked from the distance by anyone who was paying attention. He waved to the security guards and went in the complex. They knew him. He knew them too. He trotted swiftly and took the elevator to the eighteenth floor on the southern tower. He walked past three apartments and took out a key and hesitated a little in front of a green door with a name. He seemed a little flustered now. He looked up, took a deep breath and went in. The time has come now.
There she lay, a red pearl in a white room with eyes that were as big as an island of love. But although he could see her today, he couldn’t smell her. She got up from the sofa and told him-

“I have waited long for you.”    

 He nodded in the affirmative. In the ennui of the other worlds he took no interest.

“When will the world know about me?” she asked.

“Soon” he replied. 

He couldn’t take this anymore. His head was heavy like a copper sun. The time has perhaps come. He knew it all along.  
She opened the balcony door and went right out in the rain. It kept on raining all over the city where the clouds looked like mountains. The children went home early that day, just like him. He hesitated a little but then followed her into the balcony. They stood side by side in the rain and watched the green fringes of the city and watched the road lined with cars that looked like ants on the run. She would remain a secret in his heart and no one ever dared to look up so high. It will all be safe. He owed nothing to this world.  Sometimes some drivers would spot her redness from the EM Bypass road- and would end up in a madhouse. But most of times people don’t look up so much (or perhaps in the depth of their hearts) - but that day, on that day when everything was grey, I did and they locked me up in the mad house too, you see.

I read in the paper today, about him, “Artist from Bombay mysteriously found dead in his Kolkata apartment” and you see they brought ten others in the mad-house today. She is out there man, she ain’t locked up anymore – it’s the secret in all of our hearts, he gave it life and you see doctor someday she will come for you too- ‘the madness’
and I am telling you she is