Monday 27 June 2022



Don’t think and grieve I count out days

in loops of memories and sighs,

that I fritter my life away,

that I stop my ears and shut my eyes.

I count instead how your laughter rang -

transformed the earth and made it glow,

and how the fireflies came along

to show off their light at your window.

The angle the stars held up your sky,

and the seas wove an orchid foam,

how the trees lobbed their branches high

just so they could shelter your home.

Their flowers still dance and pirouette.

They do not grieve, nor do I forget.

Wednesday 22 June 2022

Reaching for the phone


I think of you at half past four,

that was the window for the call.

You’re an ancient pitted mosaic floor

you’re a bird hooting at nightfall -

at every turn, big and small

you are the groundswell of light

and a memory bridge of recall.

Nothing else to say or to write.


I reach for the phone like old times

the heart leaps at the strangest things -

seashell crumble on a beach,

washed up driftwood and tree rings,

the politics of violent crime.

Then I recall you’re out of reach.

Tuesday 14 June 2022

Write... Edit... Publish... June 2022 : Please Read the Letter

Hello, is it June already?! Wowza, almost half the year disappeared in a puff of smoke!... This month the prompt at Write...Edit...Publish... is Please Read the Letter by Robert Plant and Alicia Krauss – and I'm really excited to see what everyone does with it, because in the previous two challenges, writers totally ROCKED the prompts! 

Here’s my interpretation…

Don't Return to Sender!

Dear -

Please don’t return this too, unopened like all the others. Or worse, tear it up without reading. It’s been just eight years but it feels like I have been sending you these letters forever, reaching far back into some earlier births aeons ago. I keep thinking what can I do to make you understand? -  to make you see things differently, to get us back, if not on the same track, at least on tracks close enough for you to appreciate where I am coming from. And where you are heading. How can I make you understand?!


Together, we are more beautiful, more resilient - more armoured in our love for each other - than anything else in the universe. And apart, we are just broken human beings, isolated in pain, unable to handle problems, unable to handle life. The weakest, the worst versions of ourselves. The past few weeks are proof of that. Please read this letter. I’m nailing it to your door and to every door around you. You cannot send it back this time!


Why must you so isolate yourself and make your home in a parallel world that no-one can reach? Many people would argue it’s not a real world at all, but a figment spiked with fear, greed and hatred. Step out of it once and see how easy it is when we do it together, how pleasant and right it feels when we work towards it hand in hand without conflict and without drama. Without the lies. Because that’s the world you’re in, the one you’ve created – imaginary, unreal. Another word for that is false.


At first I thought we were having teething problems, all relationships do - they will work themselves out. But no, that hasn’t happened. One lie was followed by another and another, one abusive action followed by more and more. A world built upon falsehoods can never prosper. It will sooner or later come down like a house of cards. Surely you know that? You will argue that none of those words are yours, the abuse isn’t yours. But that is exactly it! - you are quiet while your family run amok, your silence enables them, encourages them to greater heights of cruelty and hatefulness. Why do you remain silent when the crisis is so dire? Why do you just stand there and watch homes being wrecked and not say a word? Do you really care so little?


The past is history. Neither you nor I can change it. Who screwed whom, what was broken, what was built, what was converted and diverted with what intention – that’s a never ending loop of futility, because we can never know for sure. Human beings change over a lifetime. And their intentions and actions are often in conflict. Also how do you know what the intention was behind a particular action anyway, whether it was a thousand years ago or at this very moment? Was Shah Jahan the most romantic husband ever to build the Taj Mahal for his queen, so he and Mumtaz could be together for eternity? Or was he a sex-obsessed maniac who drove his beloved wife to an early death by forcing her to go through 14 pregnancies in a time when childbearing carried the very real risk of death?


If it is the thought that counts, then we can’t ever know the thoughts that created history. Sometimes we can’t even know the actions, because not everything is recorded. History is not exactly watertight, it's just a bunch of interpretations about this or that written phrase. And the historians are in a better position to analyse it, let’s leave it to them.


It is pointless to brood on the past, it ties up the brain in knots and keeps us busy holding grudges instead of actively finding tools to build our lives with. It only creates ill-feeling where none need exist, it doesn’t help. Far more productive to focus on what we can change and get on with that. And what we can change is the future. Not the past. Please let it go, I’m urging you.


This whole debate about who belongs and who doesn’t is completely specious. The entire world, every nation, except for maybe Ethiopia, has been built by migrations.  Out of Africa, out of Central Asia, and equally outward from here to further east and to the west. How far back do we go?


Several Mughal emperors had Rajput mothers and married Rajput women. Their bones and that of their family members, generation upon generation, are interred in the soil here, their sons’ blood spilled on this very ground. Home is not just where the heart is!  It’s where the bones of the ancestors are, it’s the land that they have tilled or taxed, the orchards they have grown and gathered from, the waters they have sailed and fished in.


A foreign individual residing here for 12 years is eligible for citizenship. Just twelve years. And here we’re talking of centuries. Sapta purush jethae manush se mati Ma-yer baRa Tagore wrote – where seven generations have been raised that land is greater than the Mother. And Rahat Indori said in more recent times - sabhi ka khoon hai shamil yahaN ki mitti meineverybody’s blood is an integral part of the soil here… How would you disentangle the soil, segregate and demarcate which grains belong to whom?


So come, set aside those grudges, the uncontrolled rage, the manufactured outrage and mindless criminality. It’s never too late. Let’s get back together. There is nothing to fear. All we need to do is pull together, use and share resources sensibly. Respect each other’s boundaries. Value and celebrate diversity. It makes us stronger, not weaker. Come, live a life  of freedom. Free from fretting and fear. From anger and greed.  A life of love, of inclusion, of justice. A stress-free, happier life.



An ordinary citizen.

~ ~ ~

Tagline : An open letter that could be nailed to too many doors in the corridors of power right now. 


WC - 992

Please read the other entries here and join in with your own - 

Sunday 12 June 2022




Too much time was spent defining home and away

by leaf shadows, textures of mud, length of the stay,

the fauna that flies, and that swims, comes back to spawn,

the shape of the constellations and of the lawn.


The cups we held once, and those that we lost, or chipped.

what was left behind and what was finally shipped.

Too much effort went into piling on the floors

what was mine by right, by grace; and what was yours.  


When the containers came to port and were unpacked

everything was mixed up inside, nothing neatly stacked -

had the cups come home or had they travelled away?

whose they’d been before the trip and now whose were they?


A few cups were shipped on a voyage through the sea -

they blurred notions of ownership, and of destiny.

Monday 6 June 2022



I’ve travelled far from those streets, the cobblestones

of long ago, those arches of ancient times.

We’ve been stoic and gone our separate ways

I’ve taken my leave and carried on alone

farther and farther, yielding to paradigms

of unknown worlds, through years and lightyears of space.

My days have morphed to roads and my roads to days.


Some figment persists. A yearning for those streets.

In the dark I’ve searched the skies for the same stars,

strained my ears for the river’s tuneful night call,

stood unshod to feel cobbles beneath my feet.

But it’s asphalt now. The river writes memoirs.

And different stars get in late after nightfall.

There are no guides pointing back, no protocols.

Last week I came across a bit of random news - pale and inconspicuous among all the more monumental epoch-making and -breaking headlines - potential WWIII and the one on feminism and women's rights, the last of an era jubilee, the shocking sudden collapse and death of a well known Bollywood singer right after a concert in my hometown...this was a snippet on my feed about an ancient derelict building being restored over many years by two private individuals and being used for a public library. In a city that was once home but is now unlikely to be visited in this lifetime again. C'est la vie...mostly a one way street...