Thursday, July 30, 2009

Listening to an old King of an old Princely State

Ours was a kingdom that denied crown
To a painter*, fearing his dark tone would
Repulse a crowd who adored light brown
And sepia, lighter shades of the dark could
Disguise the brown man as White they thought

When eyes became such beautiful doves
That could see and perceive, little did we
Know the way vision coloured our selves
From pink to brown to black and the palette sieve
Distilled many-coloured shades, pixellated those hues.

I listened to the old King, devoid of his sceptre
And staff, his voice quivered over the microphone
His King’s English waxed eloquent on his life after
The Raj and the glories of the Princely state waned
Into the distant horizon, memory couldn’t remember.

The King retained that his dynasty as the one
That defeated the Dutch*, the onerous victory
Survived in books yet faded in popular reason
The wind that carried the clarion call of history
Diffused its words where people felt only for their selves.

He spoke of the Dalawa*who had his eyes gouged
Before exposing his pride on a gibbet, routing all
His roots, who were banished, killed or wiped out
Like sweat and tear drops from a nation’s face withal.
People who remembered knew the kings of yore
Were hands in glove with ruling White men galore.

We sat listening to the dimensions that history took
Its fox trots and dodges that lure, deceive and kill
We were also caught in the dance of creating mock
Meanings out of different strands of documented wills
Teasing out tales of valor and nerves, we sat still
Transfixed when history twirled himself to a trance
Almost like a sleepwalker denying his own sleep dance.

1. According to history, the crown of Travancore was denied to Raja Ravi Varma because of his dark complexion

2. The Battle of Colachel (or Battle of Kulachal) was a battle that took place on 10 August 1741 during the Travancore-Dutch War, when forces of Marthanda Varma, the king or Raja of the Indian state of Travancore (also known as Tiruvitamkur) defeated forces of the Dutch East India Company (also known as the VOC), and the allied Rani of Eleyadathu Swarupam at Kulachal (anglicised to Colachel or Kolachel) in India (Wikipaedia)

3. Veluthampi Dalawa, who was killed by the British in close connivance with the King of Travancore

Monday, July 27, 2009

Many Stages of Love

When you are a teenager
love mushrooms in abandon,
blooms and stays for a couple
of days, wilts away under the
venom of our own unfulfilled
sexualities, gets crushed with
the onslaught of time,
but the delicacy stays.
Showers and dark ravines
are places where we enact
guilt and desires never-ending.

Growing up, you need the woman
who will rescue you from the muck
you are in, you even compromise
on your ideals as you pine for your
parent in your spouse, the first-two
years you are content with the
warmth she gives, your search
becomes insubstantial you may
even reject beautiful women
who come seeking love, then wax
eloquent, only to regret later

When your Children grow up,
you search once again, you find
your better half if you are lucky,
or you keep on the look out.
You may even find her amidst
a bunch of thorns, you want to save
her how much ever they hurt. In the cacti,
you find her fellow flowers
lovelier, your desire wells and you
tell her

You also tell her the virtues of your wife,
who loves you like an ocean (despite the fact
you detested it once), sure, she understands,
then demands her share readily in pubs,
closed doors and parked cars. Your memory
of mushrooms, the smell and touch of it,
haunts you once again. In your memory
those mushrooms never wilt.

You find the need to revive your youth through
love, you also find the need to make love as
many as possible, you must have dabbed your serum
into your lover while looking forward to a night
to love your wife better; expiate your sins,
you have two birds in your hand, moral
compunctions aside

Slightly older, you have one feet in the grave,
then failing organs, you try to perform against time,
your will and desire, you keep telling yourself
that love is still alive like in good old days,
fatigue overtakes, you think of death
to keep alive your love chronicles,
your lovers are old, you need younger ones
but sheer wanting does not fulfill
and your wife becomes the axle on which you
grind your daily chores, grouses and rot.

There you would even write a poem sitting in
the loo, tell your young doting admirer that 'age
cannot wither nor customs stale my variety', and
grin sheepish seeing revulsion on her face,
you either hit a bull's eye or you miss, and you
pray fervent that you miss, scared of your body
failing, wasted and limp

In an advanced stage, you want a biographer
who would talk about your love in volumes
realities spruced with spicy bites, there
you want to be the best selling mushroom
of all ages. 'As men want to be Casanovas,
women Virgin Mary's!" you chuckle at
your own jokes and innuendos. You know you
can be gross, but you cant help it due to
the thrill of sheer vulgarities, you
realise their kinkiness, feel angry
and quote "An angry man is a guilty man"

By that time if your are (un)lucky to
live, you can garnish your life with ditties,
stories and warnings for a younger generation,
you can even write them down, though you
know that you have lost your brilliance along
with your youth. Hansel's breadcrumbs eaten by
the night birds, left in the dark, you know not
where to go

Again your transit through deep tunnels
of desolation will only take you to your
true love waiting for you with a lantern
in the end of darkness, she would help you
unburden your life and dab you with a sleep
that soothes and ends your nightmarish quest for love!

Friday, July 24, 2009

What happened to the little mermaid?

The tongueless mermaid
could not speak out her
thought helixes that
whirled into her trenches,
regurgiating rot, pain and
stench, her senses hurt due
to their sheer existance.

Only the prince could soothe
with a touch and transform her
wasted weedy self to a singing
reed, she waited for the groom
with bated breath, coral lamps
lit up the night sea, flames
wavered the foam, caught unawares.

She anchored herself with a human
skin, her silence towed down by her
desire and inability to change, she
was a mermaid not known to her seas,
in her watery depths she could
not breathe, the sea was her mother
now she snuffed the mermaid's will.

The land was her dream, not her domain,
there was a rock not too distinct from her,
she crawled, perched and became a stone.
Lapped by the unforgiving seas, she gazed
too far; the normal, human world was
the kingdom her prince reigned not
aware of the mermaid who craved for
him and carved herself into a rock.

Discordia Concors

This dawn, your morning bereaves
my death, you are silent yet again.

My sun is a teardrop blurring
the clouds, red tributaries in
the coronal sky flaked up with
salt and guilt, I will not shine
again, only clouds remain.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Weaving Time into my Eyebrows...

Probably you will not return
the sun that smiled in my eyes,
probably, you are caught up in
the hanks of my past, lints in
our sky and the sea, probably
my twilight yarns will bring the
gleam that will knit your face
with the thread hues of a rainbow;
the rattle of an old shuttle caught
in the weft and warp of time,
is all that I hear.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

We are Like That

We are like that, we chase chickens all day
Kiss behind the trees, foolish and sure that
no one will see. We make the same mistakes
at night fighting over pleonasms like “Will you
‘never ever’ love me like yesterday?” or “Will
You ‘return back’ the love I gave you out of
My heart as big as the witch’s cauldron?”

When we repeat the same lines everyday
Sometimes our brilliance astonishes us,
We spend ourselves on our verbatim,
Sharpening them like a lance, that can
Pierce our loved ones with a single swirl.
We still call those wounds, love. And
We even say that without them, a painless
Life can never be relished. We feel that love
Needs hurts and cuts to reinforce its joy.

We also feel that hurts should be worn as
Diapers that will hold love’s excesses
Without spilling them over on the floor.
We also wear our concern on our sleeves
Starched and stiff, like our thick upper lip,
We like its snob value in a male male world.
Yet we anchor ourselves in a silent love
That doesn’t help, but kills with a deluge
Of words, hurts, cuts, slashes and pain.
In Memory of P V Narayanan

Though I owe my writings to you, I never offered a prayer after your demise, didn't come to you with incense stick and roses in my typical Christian way, yet I was this girl who loved your pats on her back, never knowing who you are.

I was honeymooning in the hills, when you died seven years back, in a way your death didn't affect me. Now, in my marriage mirage, I am shaken by it. Guilt tells me I could have resurrected you from death and showered you the love that you gave the undeserved.

I was happy with your presence when alive, never saw the troubles and pains you inflicted on your self. Anecdotes play in my memory, of a car running havoc, your house full of people, where I also belonged, quarrels and laughter, your contradictions amazed me beyond belief.

Till yesterday, unaffected, you were mortal to me. You were my past that I didn’t look back with gratitude. Today, in your immortality, I feel your pats on my back yet again. With this requiem, I mingle with you in that bond that effaces mortal pains from my skin yet again; I was with strangers till now. These unedited words bind the skein of your deathlessness in my absurd living.


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