Sunday 29 July 2018

Changes and constants

The flowerpots brimming just the same,
the late light in the long evenings,
the urban landscapes, river Thames;
but change still touches many things.
Fish and chips in newspaper cones -
the cod’s still there, but the paper’s gone.

Less rain, more sun, and fans in rooms
that knew only heating systems.
Fed up commuters fret and fume
in the trains, getting out of them.
The subways swelter, few buskers play
at the station on a sizzling day.

The river’s eternal, riversides
get modified by men, and piers,
millennium eyes, cable rides,
smart cards to swipe at smart barriers.
Three glasses forty years before;
three glasses at mine now once more.

Ive been to UK several times. Each time something on the wishlist gets left out, and equally, something unexpected gets lobbed in. In the last forty odd years that I’ve been visiting, there’ve been some changes...some small, some hugely noticeable...

But, in all the tours and detours, it’s almost always been a group of three. In childhood and teenhood it was my parents and me, and now it’s my own teen and his parents...that too, will change by next year if all goes well.

Monday 23 July 2018

On coming upon the dead lawns of Kew both in the Garden and the gardens outside Victoria Gate

The grass is dead, long live the grass,
it's more than the sum of its parts,
and though it's burnt it's more than flesh.
It seeds itself deep in the heart.
It's food and flag bearer of faith
and it survives even in death.

I am not a little obsessed with grass and I've always wanted to write one of those poems with a superlong title and teeny tiny body :)  A bit of a heat wave situation going on in the Londinium area.

Stay cool.

Sunday 15 July 2018

On the job

One normal workday at a focus group
an ear suddenly gives up on the job.
The work goes on – the bistro, wine and soup
discussed threadbare. Just one out of the loop.
In time that ear’s cajoled back. Then some blob
blocks out breath and smell with a growth that throbs.
Growth in the wrong directions. Breathless, stooped.
Some sense is lost once airways or sounds stop.

A blade intervenes and lets in some air.
But now it’s a different one that is cracked –
while the eye’s gone about its work unaware,
it’s also dimmed its own light down. Cataract!
All senses will fail. The warnings are there -
split open in focus groups with trivial facts.

Sunday 8 July 2018

Grey city

The skyline doesn’t change much, but underneath
a few doors close, keys turn firmly in their locks.
Never again the same those routes, entire cities -
as hearts and hearths both seep out from crumbling blocks.

Every year monsoons pour down and new vines reach
for a bolder grip, the banyan saplings stalk
the cracks between mortar and bricks, something’s breached
that can’t be made whole again with skill or talk.

The days and nights turn just like keys in keyholes
and they shut me out. Pulverise the bedrock
in rude light, trap me in tangled wires and poles
in broadened ruins of lanes and their aftershocks.

Each visit fewer paths and doors to call on,
no stones to turn, more bridges burnt. More alone.

This one was sparked off by a close aunt, who asked sometime ago - has Kolkata become a city for the aged? 

It hit home harder while I was there last month. A younger cousin was planning a move after almost a decade there. A good few houses in my circle are now locked up or sold off, because the senior generation is no more, and the younger ones have made their lives elsewhere. Each time I go back, there are progressively fewer people to call on, fewer roads to travel.

Kolkata has been greying for a long time now, deindustrialisation has meant jobs drying up. The city was once reputed for its premier institutes of education, but they got riddled with political interference way back and never recovered, with the result that many students today pursue post-16 studies in other parts of the country. All in all, young people are leaving in droves; the elderly are increasingly alone and isolated. Not exactly a brilliant recipe for happiness. 

Sunday 1 July 2018


What's the point of an angled stone
that will not learn to roll?
A certain restlessness is the
secret to a tranquil soul.
To gain a patch of moss is not
the only thing worthwhile.
To have stood naked, free and proud
after a thousand miles,
stripped of extraneous, angle, edge,
in its own orbit content
was far more than a bed of green
or springy could have meant.

Aaaand I've rolled right back. On a break from the break. Here for a few days before I take off again, this time westwards. Hope everything is going brilliantly with you all. Stay dazzling and tranquil. Like sunlight on water.