Now This Hot October Day

is bad

it will not let me think

it leaves me here

sitting stupid

and sad

I will not have this

I think of trees

and remember the time

I first encountered

a squirrel

and my wonder

at it

in the cool morning

behind my house

where I stood on

ground covered in golden laburnum

and the squirrel

grey fluffy cute

with black stripes

climbing up the tree

pointing into the blue sky

I look at the birds flying

small black ones

in flocks

and I know

I am one of them

I feel what they feel

I feel the wind on my body

and I know I am home

in this vast dome

and now as I write

the squirrel runs out of sight.

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Belapur To Bandra

In the darkness of the bus depot

the bus arrives

its interiors lit fluorescent

beautiful green

I am travelling in a bus

after ages

and we turn and turn

road after road…

the neon-lit streetlights

and buildings go past…

while the bus makes a sound

like a wave…

my fellow passengers

are such quiet men

such sweet women

in this late night ride

reminding me of so many others…

O what is that guy up to

in his life…

what is she doing…

and the dead whom the sea

remembers so clearly

so eloquently

so well…

and there we already are

turning one last time

down this narrow near-midnight street

parked with cars asleep

the driver blares his loud horn

a rickshaw gets out of the way

and we race into Bandra bus depot

burning brighter than a festival.

 

The above poem is from my second book Reeling (2013).

There Is The Smell

of freshness in the morning

of moisture in the air…

the empty roads

the cars still in slumber

and the buildings with

no signs of life yet

I am reminded of laburnum flowers

on the ground

the smell I can taste on my tongue

and gardens fill up my mind

with dew

just then on the snaking stretch of grey road

from my window

a man appears

walking slowly

easy step by easy step

and the curled up street

slowly begins to wake.

 

The above poem is from my second book Circling the Sky (2013).

An Afternoon In Daze

It is a piece of golden comfort

floating somewhere.

The buildings, three-storied,

old and lime-washed, are surrounded by trees.

Hulking guardian angels of the locality.

On Adenwalla Road outside,

taxis are parked around bends,

the drivers asleep on the boot.

Another road shimmers ahead,

dazzling like a river in the afternoon light.

My father and I are walking…

there is a sugarcane stall here,

the smell of beedi smoke…

How brightly this scene glows and glows!

The jingling of the crusher

still ringing in my ears.

 

The above poem is from my first book Reeling (2012).

My Mind Is A Monologue

of memory

dialogue

imagery

right now

and when I cough

from smoking

it totally disappears

and then starts

all over again

pretty soon

and then there is sky

that comes from nowhere

random combinations

of vague images

that haunt

that get stuck

that float in and out

slowly creating silence

slowing creating colour

red and blue

earth and sea and sky

and in this complete silence

a boat rows in black shadow

how beautiful the earth is now

these hills in the darkness

the pine trees and their branches

rising like smoke into the sky

how the stars hang shining

and black langurs climb the mountains

enchanted with everything

and I soon feel

I am at the bottom of the sea

and there is no greater feeling

than this beautiful blue

caressing me

I see the stars come searching

for this warmth

how they undress

and go to sleep

on the seabed

and then I find

myself turning into a whale

I take to the ocean and I swim

in the magic sleep of darkness

my mind is water

and then I stop and look

and find my belts hanging from their hooks

and I look at my grey cupboard full of books

and I open my window

and take to the sky

and I fly and fly

disappearing from view

only to find myself again

lying in bed

looking at my hairy legs

at my stomach breathing

under my orange T-shirt

and I find I am unusually calm

very relaxed

my feet warm

making funny faces

at me

and I smile to myself

thinking this is definitely different

and I feel very good

and there are these wonderful sounds outside

an aeroplane in the sky

soft

soft snatches of vehicle beeps

and then a hawker

blows his horn

and I am gone

and the sparrows are chirping

the crow is cawing

and then the pigeons coo

I love you

and sunlight climbs the sky

like a wave

and now the whole world

is shining bright golden

this is what I seek

I feel the need to speak

though I also think I should give it a break

it’s only the beginning of the week

so thank you so much

it has been simply sublime

I’ll catch up with you some other time.

 

The above poem is from my third book The Branches (2015).

First Rain

of 2014

June 4

I have cleaned

my house

and sit on my bed

that has freshly changed

bedsheet

and myself

bathed

in my T-shirt

looking at the world outside

in the rain

how the light has changed

so early in the morning

to something so different

I sit here searching

what is it

I wonder in my heart

and it is so beautiful

this deep valley opens up

that goes on and on

and a cock crows

and I listen to the ensuing silence

I look at the houses

yellow green blue white

but it’s mostly the smell

and the coolness

and again the cock crows

and there I go

through the streets

through the swishing vehicles

their lights blazing

reds oranges golds

and all those fluorescent streetlights

like dreams

passing by the buildings

the gardens

of forgotten days

when I would walk in my windcheater

amidst the fallen branches

on the footpath

the crushed yellow laburnum floating

in puddles

I would look up as always

at the balconies

and sometimes find someone

picking clothes from a line

how sweet that used to be

but often it was the trees

and the dripping raindrops

dazed in green

that quickly carried me away

to those spots of skylight

where I wandered on

and walked till I reached the moon.

 

The above poem is from my third book The Branches (2015).

Dreams, Diaries of Loss

That is what they are

always the remembering

the thinking in space

but here you probably have something

I mean the day’s done dead and all that

still, the moon comes to weep on your shoulder

you know this gives comfort

this remembering

picking up your umbrella ready to leave in the rain

you know these tears you cannot weep are not yours

drink a glass of water

pick up your umbrella and go into the rain

the road the ride everything you take with you in the backseat of the autorickshaw

going into the night that melts like ink in these streets

in your mind

is the way things work

this giving away that you know you live for

the gathering the going.

 

The above poem is from my first book Reeling (2012).

Right Now

I would like to be

in that huge airy market.

I want to be there

under its high roof;

the fisherwomen cackling

with their customers

and big fish hung from iron hooks.

I want to hear the sound

of knife chops on

worn wood,

the floor wet and slippery,

and rivulets of blood flowing down the drains.

I want to see black plastic bags

exchanged for cash.

I want to be there,

I want to be back there right now

in Wadala market

and watch the cat walk towards me

with a fish-head in its jaws.