Sunday 26 January 2020


I fear I am a poet, tradition bound
to mostly ignore systems – documents -
though I’ll use paper to scribble around
to hold onto some meanings, and moments.

I do use paper, I will freely admit
and I don’t abhor the screen, I’m using one -
but some nerve rebels if I’m asked to show it.
I won’t comply. That too is tradition.

You see, paper’s fragile. Identity
is carried somewhere else, in the stories
of foremothers travelling from one city
to the next, braiding streams, estuaries.

Through many rivers, borders, crisscrossed lands;
tradition too, the tangling of those strands.

Sunday 19 January 2020


What kind of papers? Will this portrait do?
My aunt had drawn it on a whim, freehand,
many years ago. I was twenty two.
The eyes are the same. You must understand –

I wasn’t written into the family tree
since that would mean rubbing me out again
upon marriage. We’re flexi-identity.
Daughters. Wives. A multitude of women

each one of us. Okay, what about this?
My father’s letter, mailed from Najafgarh,
the postmark is clear, the name and address.
Will this be proof enough to consider?

Well, that’s it. I can’t show you anything else
except old letters, treasures, some torn bills.

Sunday 12 January 2020


Maybe this too is a lesson after all
the endless wait in mizzling winter rain
windows pricked by droplets, has a moral.
A training in patience, and speaking plain.

Some distant hands ball into angry fists
an old protest song raises a dust storm
the poet’s labelled, it’s you who feels diminished
at the narrowness that now defines home.

The tamarind - wasn’t it enough for ten?
the tiniest spaces were stretched into broad
a foothold for the last man on the train,
was he ever asked for the name of his God?

Maybe the message nested in this pause
is to marshal your breath, and words, for the cause.

Sunday 5 January 2020


A short story I wrote last month for the MOOC I just completed. Not so much a story as an extrapolation of reality...based on one of the conversations I had about the current situation in North India. The setting and characters are fictional, the clampdown is not! Longer than my usual post at 1300+ words (5 mins).  

Please read and share if you agree that citizenship should not be based on religion and India should remain open to refugees, regardless of their faith. 



Deepak slams the curved receiver down on its cradle. He does not aim quite right, it sits at an awkward angle, his annoyance goes up a notch at having to correct it. This froglike thing is no longer familiar, nearly all calls come in on his cell now. When did he lose the ability to function without a mobile phone? He tries to cast his mind back but he is too frazzled to think too long on it, his mind jumps from one jumble of thoughts to another. The internet has been cut off for ten days. The mayhem this is causing is in itself quite enough, without the smart-Alecky HR guys at the HQ breathing down his neck about the deadlines. Don’t they get the newspapers? Deepak had asked Anish sarcastically, but the latter said nonchalantly there was no news of the shutdown in the ones over there.