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Ghazal Oct 2021
When you uproot a poet, you ****** away her 'self'
Because her self is enjoined to the soil beneath her feet,
With tendrils she seeks sustenance from her land
And blooms into songs of love and promises to keep
When you rob a painter of her colour palette
That shone messily but beautifully of the hues,
Of saffrons and greens merging together and seeping
Into the brown of her skin- the only colour she knew,
You turn her hands into barely-there phantoms,
Unable to create a canvas of her heart's song,
Jarred by chants of 'who are you?' 'where are you from?'
'do you belong?' 'prove you belong!'
How does she prove her belonging to the cradle
That birthed her, that housed her,
Whose elements are admixed with all her blood inside
How does she profess her allegiance to that earth?
It is as if being exhorted to prove she is alive,
inhale, see!, exhale, see!, I breathe, see!
It is as if being wrenched by her limbs to gauge their depth
the pulse in my arteries, see!, these crimson rhythmic spurts, see
O my land, I bleed with abandon;
O my land, I bleed in poetry for thee.
Ghazal Apr 2019
A tiny bundle covered in teddy-printed pyjamas,
He fidgets restlessly on the panel of the giant machine,
Preparing him for the scan is my most basic task of the day
Yet the most annoying one, because I cannot get away
Till he is asleep enough to not be afraid
Of entering into the mouth of that daunting cave,
Treating a child is so very difficult I feel,
No matter how detached you try to be and see
him as a "case", how do you neglect the truth that,
A being not abled enough to even climb out of the cradle,
Has to parent a disease that gnaws at him day after day?
I shake off such aberrant emotions and join his coaxing mother,
I know what she would really wish for at the moment would be,
To scoop him into her arms and lull him off to sleep,
But she has to be the rock she never wanted to be,
The baby had moved the last time, this one has to be error-free
So, allowed by her to take his cannulated hand in my gloved one,
I give the magic drug a carefully measured plunge
Into veins that are too little to bear such brunt,
Yet have been forced to endure this pain that can never be considered
We two women watch over him, transfixed,
Noting his every sigh, his every twitch-
The Mother, anxious, cupping his now limp hands only with
The embrace of her eyes,
And I, the Doctor, though following my medical instinct, watching for
His breaths, with each chest rise,
Also find myself enchanted by the mysterious state this child is in,
Is it a state of dreaminess? Or of dreamlessness?
Is he floating into a dark endless sky? Or is he navigating between
Silver-illuminated stars?
What is the meaning of the half smile on his face?
Is he envisioning a world where he is happy,
Sans needles making insensitive designs into his vulnerable skin,
Sans masked doctors promising they wouldn't make him cry,
Sans missed school days and birthday parties,
Sans heated fevers creeping into his bones each night?
Minutes pass and we are broken out of our respective reveries
His fingers have started to weakly trace the red beams of light,
His voice has begun to coo indistinct chatter still unshaped by civilisation,
Its tone and urgency getting louder and surer,
And before he begins to frantically search for his caregiver,
A little more magic will be needed before completion.
I re-enter the glass cabin and inject again into his system,
A last few moments of painlessness and oblivion,
The gaze becomes dazed again, the smile reappears,
His mind comfortably wanders back
Into a calm nothingness and silent, numbed peace.
"The scan has concluded without event", I make a file note,
While the images on the screen begin to light up with disease.
Ghazal Jan 2019
Too many sunny gardens lie unexplored
Too many poems stay unwritten
Too many knots remain tangled as
The fog of Delhi looms menacing,
Inside the stillness of a seven-year void
That only you can bring light in,
If only you'd meet.
Ghazal Nov 2018
Too many expert voices lay a claim on your shape,
You are either too full, or
You have gone too far,
Too many moulds get thrusted at your face,
To some you resemble a pear,
But they feel your should look more double cherry,
And whichever fruit you succeed in turning into,
You still, are a tad too hairy
But then does anyone ever tell you,
That sometimes ice cream will be the only answer
And that is just fine?
That a bedtime prayer can be enough night-time routine,
Which needn't include expensive lotions and creams,
That you need fats as well as you need protein,
As also each little gift that Nature crafted lovingly
For this marvel of a creation that is your Being-
So that your skin is fed and living,
And your knees are lubricated and sprightly,
And your blood is rich and active,
And your soul-
No one will give you
"How I brightened my soul in 4 weeks" tutorials,
But you ought to set your happy soul-goals,
A tummy rub in a sunny lawn on a lazy winter afternoon/
A drenching bath in heavy July rains/
A spontaneous poem effortlessly jotted down on a napkin
And when you're that happy you will know
That you aren't a cut-out on public display,
Not a fruit,
not a diet,
not a fad that peaks and wanes,
You are an everlasting uniqueness,
You are an undefined shape,
You are that collection of rare energies
That only comes custom-made.
Ghazal Nov 2018
I am the cushion that life first rests in,
The crib meticulously created layer by layer,
The soft bed of flowers, glistening like blood,
The protector of all beings, the seat of care

My love is fuelled by the silver calmness
I gently extract from the first lunar night,
When the moon emerges from its dark sabbatical,
Armed with tales it gathered from the other side

Each day, its luminosity deepens, its stories
Turn more vivid, more wrenching, more morose,
I soak it all in- the pain, the suffering, the injustice,
And colour myself, in the darkest shade of rose

My red is no ordinary red, it is the
Culmination of every sister's deep cry,
It is the crimson of anger that can only be felt,
By the cradle entrusted with preservation of life

I am full and brimming, with pangs too strong
And hues of vermilion too dark to contain,
I rock back and forth, my cot full of stories,
Twisting, flailing and writhing in pain

And then I burst out and let freely flow,
The dam I created with laments of loss and love
Painted with conversations lasting until twilight,
With my cratered friend in the skies above

Petal by petal, as I lose my form and disintegrate,
She is connected to each woman's cry that I assimilate,
Flexed at the pelvis, helpless yet so strong, she listens,
And understands the lore I sing about, every twenty-eighth.
Ghazal Jun 2018
At the darkest end of the rainbow
It lies,
The balance of vitality gone askew
Unleashing its evil side,
It creeps slowly then bares fangs
With speed,
Potent beyond regulation
Its aberrant seeds,
That will grow into whatever they want,
That will grow however they want,
That will grow as much as they want,
Taking shapes of
Flesh and blood and bile and bone
And twisting their faces so
They're recognisable no more,
As if mocking us and our prayers
For Growth-
The immoral, the immortal side of the coin,
Cancer, the evil twin of Life.
Ghazal Mar 2018
Like dew drop-crusted petals
Of a plump red rose,
One curved layer after another
Guides me in her flower unexplored,
She sits cross-legged and wonders
Who conditioned us to associate
The Rose with Love,
It must have been you darling,
Incarnated century after century
Flooding the lover's heart with the
Scent of your intoxicating being,
The red pouring into the eyes of the poet,
Creating volumes that will till eternity
Sing praises of how even the Rose
Bows down to your Rose,
Of how the Heavens tell tales
About your enchanted Gardens,
And in this century my dear,
I am the one blessed
To have been driven insane,
Dedicating flower after flower to your name
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