Monday, August 22, 2005

The One Who Flew Over

My father is a writer.
So is my mother.
So was my Uncle.
My sister used to
dish out those obdurate
spaced out poems that
I don’t understand even now.
It’s a genetic disorder that runs in
my family. Like some families have
drooling imbeciles or suicidal characters
walking around aimlessly.
Of course, none of the
above writers ever published what they wrote.
But that never stopped them
from keeping on scribbling furiously.
The best of the cursed lot was my uncle.
He used to write in the night. Rather, type.
Strange stories about weird heros whose
last wish would be to sleep in
the cellular jail in Andaman’s
for one night,
before dying in the burning pyre of
his dead wife. I never
understand any of these,
but these always sounded exciting and exotic
to me and so Uncle was a hero to me.
He used to write on an
old Brother typewriter, while I would
be scrounging his overflowing library, looking
for English paperbacks with dirty parts in them.
Only grandma used to have her feet on ground
and moan time and again that her family
is being ruined because of the writing mania
for pleasure and not for profit.
Not a line brings home a piece of dosa on
the pan
, she would cry out.
Unfortunately, everyone was oblivious
to all these shortcomings.
But the things came to a head when uncle
refused to marry a wealthy guys fat daughter,
and refused the even fatter dowry,
just because she had never read
Chekov and Marx.
Instead, he was believed to be secretly meeting
a poor school teacher who had admitted
of vaguely having heard of Maxim Gorky.
Now grandma got real real mad, took
the poor type writer
and flung it on the dusty road in front of
our house and it was promptly run over by the 1130
nonstop and expired. Probably,
the only typewriter to ever die so.
Uncle went into such a shell shock,
that he meekly tied the knot
on that fatty, and gave up
his writing altogether. As usual,
another hero of mine had let me down.
Secretly though,
I think he was looking for a way to
give up his miserable run with his writing
and grandma gave him his reason.
Anyway when granny died, there was
a big commotion in our household.
No, not wailing their hearts out near
and dears, but everyone wanted their epitaph
on Granny’s tomb. You can imagine the
riotous scene that must have been.
Writers squabbling! That too amateurs…
Finally, my Uncle who had kept away
from all these bickerings, quietly
erected the tombstone with this brief :
“Because she died,
we are alive today.
God bless her.”

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Darkness at Noon

The iridescent
baby cobras
lunged at me.
I struck them down
and
the day became
a bit darker.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Why Masquerade ?

Almost everyone
is a poet, in private.
Some of us being
exhibitionists, publish.
Though anonymously.

Anonymity perhaps
helps in reducing
our sense of shame,
for exposing ourselves
before total strangers.
But how come we don’t
mind exposing our
most private feelings,
but not our face ?
It’s like streaking,
but with a mask on,
and the fig leaf off.
Leaving one with a
sense of relief of not having
exposed the most vulnerable
part of our body.
Maybe that’s how the
phrase “Can’t show my face…”
came in to vogue.

Monday, August 01, 2005

In the Eye of the Beholder

We are dining in a crowded
restaurant when in
walks a beautiful young thing
with gorgeous, straight and
long, long hair.
She sits with her back to us
and her sinuous hair cascades
over the chair’s back.
Every time she shakes her head,
it comes alive, sizzles and crackles.
Man, woman, child,
everyone around is
mesmerized by it.

“Oh its like as alive as
the snakes coiling on
Medusa’s head...”

“It is as thick and heavy
as the monsoon rain thats falling
in Bombay now...”

“Oh it looks like the
fine spaghetti I bought
at the market the other day...”

“It’s the kind I could easily sell
to buy a watch shop as in
The Gift of the Maggi...

“Maybe she’s the one
from the ivory tower
who uses it to entice
unwary knights
serenading below…”


When even the ordinary
folks let their hair down
and talk so eloquently,
I couldn’t help, but be honest.
Gulping down a generous
measure of beer, I give
them my own version…
“It looks as enticing and
obscene as when Pam Ands wears
a wet T- shirt that screams “These are
REAL !”..."

And I get whacks showered
on my balding pate .

Never be honest.
Be a poet.
The more fanciful,
the better. And safer.