Now After Days

I return

here

and there I was

at the heart

of life

death can be terrifying

to some

delirious

they cry

mother mother

I’m dying

I can’t make it

I’m going to fall

and the heart itself

is so unpredictable

like life

moving like mist

showing you

your journey home

water water water

you cry

O such pain

something happened to me

where are we

mother mother

and memory

is another killer

on the prowl

like a panther

it haunts your brain

returning again

and again

making your eyes wet.

Now Suddenly

after so many days

the sun shines golden

the mountains and the trees

are so green

you are delighted

and then slowly

the world crawls

into you like a worm

and you feel your body

become ill alienated

from yourself

some sort of appendage

rather than part of you

and that is when you realise

you have long been dead

as a man and you are more

of an alligator

and your heart is hungry

and your teeth are sharp

and your mind is sudden blow

after blow

that is what life has become

it was not like this earlier

I would notice things

when I travelled

and I promised myself

that I would remember

them for life

but that was not to be

only some things I remember

some places

and I try to think of the whole thing

and I ask myself

what am I

and then all those roads come

flooding back into view

I suddenly am

looking at each streetlight

at each tree

at each car passing by

and I remember a boy

so happy

waving at me

and I wonder at

the meaning of it all

how puzzling

the whole damn thing is

and I can’t help

asking myself again

what is life

accurate

animal or air

and as I think

the moon shines in the sky

and I am lost in its light.

There Are Two Trees

flowering yellow in the forest

a puff of feather floats across

me on the terrace rising steadily

into the trees silence is golden sun

shining so bright the green canopy glows

and up above there is bright light in the blue sky

there are clouds so wildly shaped in wonder you look

with awe up above you where freedom flows freely like air

and the scene is so pure it is like the burning flame of childhood

it is memory imagine friend imagine yourself in a train and the vast

countryside outside imagine the endless red earth the lands of brightness

and the rivers flowing white and blue and green and muddy brown and the sun blasted

fields alongside the mountains flying the sand coloured the black the big the grey the green

imagine the people in their different clothes who didn’t see you and who saw you and who you saw

and who you didn’t see the animals the dogs the cats the cows the bullocks in the water and the

breezes blowing and the women bending down and working and your heart bursting with joy you so

happy with life so golden and silver and sparkling you shout with heart in your human happiness in

your celebration like a bird singing and a woman in the field bursting into laughter begins to run.

It Is Too Silly

of these buildings

to come visiting

across the garden

when childhood

and youth

have gone

when middle age

has taken residence

in my body

giving me hypertension

now it’s that rocket

in the middle

of that garden

that knocks

on my mind

reminding me

of my boy glimpse

into the atmosphere

the world beyond

the sky

I could not see

well it’s that same world

where I’d like to be

O woe is me

I’m an old monkey

hanging from a tree.

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.

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).