Thursday, June 24, 2010


The tap was dripping water with the comprehension of one who possesses a sense of rhythm. The laya was vilambit, Arun would have said. Arun knew all about rhythms. Arun knew a lot about everything. Arun would have surely said that, and much more. But Arun hadn’t said anything for the past year, thought Vishruti, sitting crouched at the other end of the bathtub, watching the tap release water with unerring accuracy. Tulips smiled at her, mockingly, through the photo frame across the wall. Her neatly stacked array of shampoos, promising her vibrant, bouncy, radiant hair teased her from their vantage point on the edge of the bathtub. Her hair, tousled, tangled, fell over her shoulder and covered her right hand. Her eyes, swollen, empty, soulless, stared into the vast emptiness in front of her. The answering machine was pretending to be her ears, taking in the pleas of her parents to call back, trying their perfunctory daily call in the hope that she would pick it up. They were worried, especially today. A year since Arun’s death. A year since a promise of a lifetime together was broken. All that was left behind was a life derailed, and a woman, trapped in the amber of an unfulfilled pledge. “Is there such a thing as too much love?”, she wondered, catching a glimpse of herself as she lowered the shiny new blade to her wrist.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Father's Day

I saw you tiptoeing around the house with a glint in your eye. Was it for the mischief you have done or intend to do? I would never know. I saw the edges of your lips curl into a satisfying smile. Was it from something that made you happy or some joy you are going to bring about? I could never guess. To decipher it would require me to make an objective observation. From the moment you opened your eyes to every occasion you call me “Pappa” in those dulcet tones, you have robbed me of any objectivity I could possess.

Here I am: your old man. Brown-eyed, fair-skinned, receding hair, bespectacled, chastened.
Here you are: my son. Brown-eyed, fair-skinned, silky hair, wobbly, animated.

We meet in the middle: two worlds residing under the same roof, two lives colliding and intertwining in a curious mix of head and heart, genes and emotions, love and admiration.

You are an eighteen month young boy. Young enough to wear your emotions on your sleeve, with not a deception in sight, not a shred of malice, not a bias in place. Young enough to laugh with your mouth wide open with the sparkle of teeth matching the unbounded sounds of rapturous merriment. Young enough to dance with unbridled joy at a song, admiring the strains of melody as they fill the space around you.

You have grown eighteen months old now. Old enough to look straight into my eyes and speak a thousand words without a sound. Old enough to invent new games and draft people into playing them. Old enough to have a curiosity that questions the humdrum existence of everyone and everything. Old enough to let me have the pleasure of teaching you something. Everything.

I have grown eighteen months wiser now. Wise enough to wake up each morning with the knowledge that the best lessons in life come with responsibility. Wise enough to know that a study in flailing arms can teach you all about surviving. Wise enough to laugh and worry to my heart’s content about the smallest and biggest things related to you.

I have grown several years younger too. Young enough to learn a new language that you put together. Young enough to let go, even for moments, of my biases and inhibitions. Young enough to be a boy, even if the slight traces of grey in my hair dictate otherwise. Young enough to know what it feels like to be a child. Young enough, to learn.

So, there we are; parent and child, guide and student, brothers in arms, rogues in merriment, father and son. The other day, I saw you trying to slide your foot into my shoe. I am sure you weren’t looking for symbolism like your old man was. I am sure you weren’t trying to bridge the gap between our worlds, trying to see what it would be like to be me.

I am sure you didn’t see me playing with your shoes either. Happy Father’s Day, my son.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Customer Service

Dear Sir,

We apologize profusely
But the volcano obtusely

Kept throwing up ash
Preventing our mad dash

Your order is on hold
And can’t be foretold

How long it will take
So for your sake

Please refer to this manual
Very descriptive, very visual

Refer to page thirty-nine
“The use of a hammer to break a spine”

Your ordered assassin is running late
But if you absolutely cannot wait

We hope to help you proceed ahead
Anything to make sure your spouse is dead.

Yours sincerely,
Hitmen Inc.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Last Stand

The candles challenge
the primacy of the wind
And the wind Gods too.

Huddled in droves
like Spartans in Thermopylae

Fighting the giants
Those gargantuans

with colossal mouths

Who snub the candles
With mirth and laughter
And sing wild songs
To celebrate their victory

Monday, June 07, 2010

The Morning After

She stared at her palm
Through her clouded eyes
At smudges of blue
Where his number once was

Was the destruction
During, or after
A night of clasping hands?

She couldn't remember
All she saw were smudges
And a ring with a glowing stone.


Lived, Loved, Lost, Lived, Loved
Is it your life's story?
A little rearrangement
And it well could be.