Sunday, December 27, 2009


I didn’t want to get out. Didn’t see no reason to. I was safe inside, warm and comfortable. It was akin to being in a suspended state of dream and sleep, that gray area of subconscious and conscious. At times, it got slightly claustrophobic. But one gets over that when one looks at the burden-less existence inside. The protection is only cherished.

I felt I had everything I needed here. I had vague distant memories which seemed to have been born very recently. Before that, I don’t remember. Maybe there was nothing. Maybe, I was nothing. Now, I can feel what is happening within and around me, despite my inability to make any sense out of it.

At times, despite all my attempts, the world outside turns to affect me. Those moments are earth quakes, shaking me up, ruining the arrangement of things inside. The noises would be even louder, leaving small reverberations for a long time. Then it would take me days to settle back into the calm peace of this place and relax.

I think my walls have ears. They can hear everything that I have on my mind, or rather feel it. Even I could feel it at times. When I’d be nervous or high-strung, it would seem that the walls around were constricting and thudding with a dangerous beat. And at times, I could feel a slight shiver and tingling run across them, imbuing me with that same light-headed feeling. The word for that feeling was happy. Else, the rest of the time, I felt warm, safe and comfortable; and the word for these together can only be content. That constant bubble was perturbed from time to time by the place outside, with its people and rush and excesses.

I could sense that they wanted me to leave. The feeling of claustrophobia overtook me more often, but I’d still manage to get over those. I didn’t want to leave. I saw no reason to leave.

Till it was time. Till my walls evicted me. Those hours were the most difficult hours of my short-lived life within. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t turn inside to look. I couldn’t sink back into the soft beating of my heart and slight thumping of those walls. No longer was I able to curl up into myself and fall asleep.

With a great heave and a cry, I was out. Out there, naked and gasping for air, uttering an agitated cry for being thrown out of my own place. I opened my eyes to find bright blurred lights shining from behind huge faces and heads.

I was outside. I became an outsider then. There was only one thing connecting me to my way inside. Could I have gone back? After they cut the cord, I knew the answer to that was never. In my later years, I would go on to say that that was the first bruise life gave me.

Photo by: Sans.ability

Thursday, October 29, 2009

And there was a girl..

The song played and some others followed. She knew they were meaningless. Real life didn't sound like that. In real life you couldn't say things that were meaningful and sounded beautiful, at the same time.

She looked up and saw him.She could see the blue sky as it was meant to be, the green leaves as the tree wanted them to be and the flowers, red and yellow as spring made them to be. But then he was there, smiling at her, lying to himself. She saw through him and was surprised at herself. She wondered how she could allow herself to be swept and taken away. She convinced herself that this was meant to be.And she let another song creep in and feed her fancies.

For a time that lasted months, almost melting into an year, she didn't want to think of anything else. It was a fever that burned and turned short bursts of passion into promises. She learned to flow along a wave that never settled on calm. There were ebbs of happiness and grief which only made her want more of it. It made her feel alive, or so she felt.

Before autumn could arrive, it was over. She didn't want to cry. She didn't need to. There was nothing left to cry over. And that's why she cried. She felt weak and ashamed. She let others walk away. She cried and let the world drown, let those abandoned float away.

Over those hours and days spent, there was an old box full of sharp, raw memories, discarded, once-exchanged belongings, a bottle of bitterness and a playlist of instances and associations. Every song had a memory to it. Every memory had a scent to it. Every scent had a sting, of a sharp dull ache that comes with missing.

Closure was a rigmarole of justifications, of surrender, of acceptance and of fighting hopes. It was a journey of extricating a meaning out of all said and done, of chopping of associations, of relegating meaninglessness to those songs again, of erasing a canvas smeared with past wishes and false impressions of the future.

As she looked into the mirror and saw herself, she knew she was already beginning to diminish. She could see her walls plastered with crumpling, faded posters and shelves lined with dusty relics and framed photographs. The mirror, like a murky gray ocean, was reluctant to part away with a reflection. The sun rays merely drowned, not surfacing.

The song that came on, came out slow, hushed and garbled in a way. She knew it meant nothing and thanked the time where she would let it slip by. Life had to allow for some things to go unnoticed, for tiny fallacies to be brushed away. She moved away from the mirror and fell back on her bed. Softly, with a noise that would come close to flump. Fingers curled and pointing skywards, eyelids closed, full with sleep or tears one couldn't know. She breathed with a calm and told herself that this didn't mean anything, that memories can be thrown away like an un-welcome guest. She smiled to herself, knowing she was getting good at lying to herself.

She tripped on denial and fell into her dreams. Again.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Once there was a man

She landed. Her feet cut through the air with grace. And she landed. The way time had stopped and gone back to history. She arced over the ground and froze as if in a Dali.

Everything was colorless. Only darkness and light played. Only the whites. And the black of Bast. With pupils of light gleaming at you in sudden flight. The curtains fluttered on the stage. The wooden floor felt damp and soft as if the years had seeped into it and had come out as stains. The lights hung low and dim, bulbous and suspended from nowhere. They threatened to fall, blow, break and unleash darkness. But they hung, low and dim.

There sat one man. His body sinking into itself with the bones coming up for breath. He sat there on his cold chair, the chair wobbling slightly. Sharp and stinging, punishing his body for every second that he rested on it. He seemed to be rocking it with dry, heavy gasps. The light above him made him sweat. You could see his glistening forehead, hair sticking to his scalp and his eyes blinded, with shame or guilt no one knew. His face, masked with beard as his armor gave nothing away. One couldn't gauge the depth of the abyss into which he was falling. Not even by the words that were churning in his mind, waiting to be spilled and tapped.

The typewriter before him lay rusted, vestigial. The paper on which it squatted had acquired age and color. And the inkwells had begun to dry at the neck. Papers with words and lines striking each other off littered the ground beneath his table. He seemed to have written and re-written the words before letting any key hit a letter onto the paper rolled into his typewriter. The ashtray was nearing fullness, with loose strands of smoke coming from deep within. He had abandoned the habit long back. Had abandoned it like he would abandon a wanton woman.

The old man pierced the silence with his bow and let one note creep into the hall. He sat there composed, at peace with the monochrome synchrony. It was mournful and flat on the surface. Deep within you knew the music would spring forth and engulf you with a sense of mellowness and leave you floating within. He played with a serenity found in those ready to face death. He knew nothing of the man on the stage above him. Yet you couldn't now see the man when all you could hear was that tune.

It swallowed those little globes of burning white. You no longer saw the old man and him. The bleak disappeared and gave in to snow. The square looked deserted. The grey man pointed at somewhere in the horizon. No one paid him any heed. There was no one to do so. He trudged along, his shoes making a squelching noise. His brown long overcoat made him look like an orphaned rat. He stopped before the town hall, a construction of mortar and bricks amassing the lives and glory of his times into its arena. He watched the one lone tree still blooming and breathing, with its flowers falling in a hush.

It broke loose from the tree, aided by a slight gust of wind. He looked into the mirror, saw it swaying and lilting with the breeze till it broke the glass boundaries. He looked at her with tenderness and fear. He feared he would lose his life to this fear, or her. He wanted to hold on to her and beg and plead. He would erase his past and forget his memories for her. He wanted to surrender. And then fear gripped him again. He turned away to look out of the window. He could hear her turning on the bed. He knew her hair had fallen over her face and how her breath brushed those strands before escaping into the sunlight. He remembered how they breathed into each other and he could hear their hearts thudding against bones and time.

He watched as the tree shook and shed some more blossoms, like feathers gushing into air from a pillow. They fell like snow. He felt cold and wanted to go and lie down next to her. Feel her softness melt into warmth and the memory of her scent threatened to overwhelm him. He turned to the coat hanger, put on his shirt and coat and walked to the door. He pulled the door close and saw her eyes opening slightly, giving away a silent plea to stop. And the door shut upon his face, the brass knocker a shamelessly festive embellishment. It stood out against the chipped black paint.

And then there was the sky, lit up with golden fountains. They rose and burst, into rhythmic patterns and colorful beats. Into green and red light. Into a swirl of spring flowers and summer fires. It all went too fast, all too soon. The sun rose at different times and went to sleep at its own whims. Rooms opened, beds creaked, mirrors broke and doors shut. Letters read were tossed into a heap and burnt. Everything went by in a blur.

Time was heading into a hurricane, sweeping everything that came its way. The figures pirouetted and spun. They danced with calm and a furious wildness. He burst into the hall. And they kept spinning. And she landed. The way time had stopped and gone back to history. His loud footsteps fell into beat with the orchestra.She arced over the ground as if frozen in a Dali. He ran upto the stage and shot. She fell slowly to the ground. Blood gushed out like a spray of red poppies and time hung, suspended.The music rose to a crescendo, a woman screamed and she fell, like a doll dropped from a high tower, folded and crumpled on the stage.

He saw the ink spill, words entangled within the trail of streams it was spreading, scarring everything it touched. As he watched it burn and bleed, he cried. He felt the walls falling over him, breaking over him. He cried and struggled at the shackles on his limbs. He shook and flailed. He begged and pled for her to come back. The old man's bow woke up his sleeping nightmares. Yet he played, unawares.

And there sat one man. Searching for words and solace. The silence returned and the colors peeled off from the walls. Darkness returned with fledgling light. He threw back his head and filled the emptiness with his laugh. He laughed in mirth and in misery. He dug a half-smoked roll of tobacco and lit it, handcuffs notwithstanding. He inhaled deeply and let out a cloud of ghosts. He heard the windows bang against their frames and felt cold breeze against his wet cheeks. He looked up at the light and started typing out his story.

And he sold it off for peace.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


A crowded room,
an empty cup,
silence and its names.

A broken nail,
a forgotten lock,
blood and its traces.

A handful of sand,
a glint of sun,
fire and its embers.

A garland of flowers,
an album of uncles,
memory and its voices.

A string of silk,
a patch of sky,
rain and its scents.

A fallen leaf,
an open window,
time and its places.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

One Rainy Afternoon

"Yes, finally they arrive."

"Yes, indeed."

"I love the monsoon. Though you don't seem to share the sentiment."

"Nothing like that. I do too. Quite a lot."

"Then why aren't you as excited?"

"Yes, obviously I am not as excited."

"And why so?"

"Does any statement here merit any reason?"

“What’s wrong with you?”

“Nothing. Should there be?"

"There definitely is something. What is it?"

"Receding hairline."

"Ha! Why old man, that shouldn't bother you. What's wrong with acquiring age?"

"Everything, apart from- no, everything."

"I don't care now.. I just want to enjoy these rains"

"Go ahead."

“I can go on about how rains make everything seem so beautiful and romantic-”

“That’s the problem- going on about what seems to be what- too many movies and novels I say”

“That’s not true- ”

“Obviously not!”

“Yes, obviously not!! People love rains!”

“They say they do”

“They say what they feel. Don’t you feel these things?”

“People feel too many things. What things are you talking about?”

“Oh rains do these things to me….I feel... Let’s go out for a drive.”

“Why don’t we just stay in and help you out with these things instead?”

"What's wrong with you?"

"Nothing and everything. Now, let's see what the rains are doing to you..."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cold Fusion

The cursor kept blinking back at me, insistent, like a mother asking you to tidy up the room. I looked blankly at the screen, pained by the empty white space challenging me. It's not that I had nothing to say, it's just that I had too much and these creatures in my head were waging a war against the walls of my brain. If I didn't do anything about them now, they would start making noises and oozing out of my mouth and that would be a very dangerous thing.

I must tell you about this fear I have of said, uttered and spoken. If anything goes through these three, then the results can be overwhelming at times. What if what was said, uttered or spoken turned out to be true and ruptured that false sense of security you had wrapped around you? These creatures have very sharp claws, I must warn you and they are an unruly bunch. They won't care two hoots before cutting down your heart and hopes into pieces and proceeding to self-destruct.

I don't know where my brain picked these creatures from, from which crazy god-forsaken corner.

It is at such times, when I'm at the brink of a nuclear war in my head and my fingers freeze in their cold war with my brain, that I feel the need to go for a walk. A walk won't necessarily stop the churning within, but it would help me get away from the burden of controlling it. I can just let these creatures do their thing inside, while my feet trace and retrace steps in an aimless wandering about the house. This sometimes leads to more chaos. The walls start screaming and shoving another set of creatures into my head.

And those creatures are even worse. I don't know whether they are alive or dead. If you mention, think, imagine or just even bring them up, they become the past, gone, and yet just hanging there. It is as if their lifespan runs on a clock whose each tick overlaps with the next so that a tick begins and ends together leading to the next one's immediate and simultaneous birth and death. If you had the living, the dead and the ghosts amongst us humans, then those creatures would fittingly fall within the ghosts.Those creatures would infest you and lie low and suddenly sneak up on you and unsettle everything. They can and will plague your head and rouse all these sleeping creatures into a riot of expression.

At times I wish to purge myself of all the creatures within, these thriving and kicking ones, and those haunting and tormenting ones. But it's like the Stockholm syndrome.. the creatures have started liking my brain. They have started liking me, my self and everything about and around and they refuse to leave. They fill me up. Every time I open my eyes, breathe, smell, feel, sigh , utter, they multiply. The unborn ones are waiting for a flick of light within and they shall start their own universe within. Imagine the Big Bang occurring every living tick on your clock in your head. More the explosions in my head, the more I do things that will create more of such creatures.

It is a vicious circle. I am them!! I have become what they are, whatever they are at any given time. I become their rag, and their pen. They can write me down on my own self and leave me to erase the marks. And each wiped out impression joins the army of those creatures, ambles off to a dark recess within, only to creep out teasingly from time to time and madden me. With the frothing madness comes a wave of intoxication that sweeps these creatures into a blur of excitement. And out they come spilling..

The cursor's still annoying me with that blinking. The empty white spaces have shrunk and given away to inert black ants on the screen. They seem to be a handful. I don't know where my brain's picking up creatures from again, from which god-forsaken ruddy place now!!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Songs that shall not be heard
for they bring a scent to mind.

Words that shall not be said
for fear the silence be stormed.

Sights that shall not be seen
for the memories that be piqued.

Eyes that shall not be closed
for fear they would dream.

All this, to not be reminded.
To face and turn things undone.

- The Un-Written Yet.

Saturday, August 08, 2009


A name, a shroud of past
Only a word but, like ice
Sharp and stinging,
A name that reminds.

That which hid many lies,
And which lied many times,
Whose refuge you sought
While mine was refused.

A word that you wouldn’t spell,
But would still be on your lips,
That which wasn’t uttered ever,
For how long would it be veiled?

An entitlement did matter most,
And that which was left almost,
Yet an agnomen you’d take up
And attach and cling on to.

A truth that tastes bitter,
And smells of pity and envy,
Its sight makes me faint,
It is but a hard pill to swallow.

You, born with a name and
The bearings of a man,
Are but just that, springing
From a nameless father.

Chasing from name to bed,
Seeking comfort and chaos,
You ran and ran over an
Unnamed unborn result.

From baptizing you run away,
The aversion to define and call
But hang on to the straws, till
the name deserts you to drown.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Argentum Abbadon's Wall

Argentum Abbadon thought the world of photography and the art. He knew no joy other than having his own little universe of framed lives. People were his favorite subjects, so charming and delightful. He knew he liked the idea of people more than the actual entity of people. He also knew that they were best in that moment when light and chemicals froze them on paper. He travelled frequently, meeting people and getting to know them till they agreed to pose for his camera. Today he was in the countryside, waiting for his customers.

They arrived. Your urban happy family of five (that included the dog) visiting the countryside to have themselves shot against the scenic backdrop. The man stood with the baby cradled in one hand and the other wrapped around his wife’s shoulder. The six year old girl was on her knees with the giant of a dog, his fur gleaming golden in the soft light. The scene was perfect.

He said the c-word. The man, wife and girl said the c-word, the baby yawned and the dog twitched his nose. Cheese. Click.

Out came the photograph. The baby started whimpering and the dog was barking loudly. The man came forward but couldn’t walk beyond an invisible barrier. His expression turned into worry and anger and disbelief. He knew these reactions. Most people behaved this way in the beginning. They got used to it in time. They have no other option, and besides, they have so much for company.

He took the photo and hung it on its assigned space on the wall. He needed a happy family next to the sorrowful young woman. The old couple could also do with some company. This was his treasure, his collection of people, their smiles, their laughs, their expressions and their lies. He didn’t capture mere memories, he captured their lives. The wall full of portraits and people, smiling, staring vacantly, sitting glum, weeping, laughing deliriously.. so charming and delightful.

In an ignored column on the seventh page of The Times, one found the news of a family of four and their dog gone missing since Sunday afternoon.

An ordinary life

The heat was unbearable. The flame licked around and the blow was hard. And all their attempts to strengthen me by tempering and annealing only added to the agony. If my birth was such an ordeal, I wondered how difficult my life would be.

I’ve been here for some years now. Being the centre of attention for thirteen seconds in someone’s life isn’t that big an achievement, but I get by. There are times when some would be generous enough to spare me an entire minute from their life. Those come by, and come by few.

Today seems to be an inauspicious day. I can feel it within. There are too many people around, too many casual glances thrown at me. I never fancy such attention, callous and capricious. You know they don’t really want to be looking at you. You just happen to be in their line of vision.

One of them seemed to be different. He spoke to the mistress, said he found something intriguing about me. My mistress easily let him take me away. I didn’t feel particularly hurt, but a hint of sadness inevitably marked me. I had after all spent some years under her watchful eyes.

Once he got me, he didn’t seem to care much. He’d leave me in a corner, where no one came, no one in whose line of vision you could fall for mere acknowledgment of your existence. Dust had begun to settle on me like a shroud. The darkness was blinding.

Then one day he came back in drunken rage and fought with the wife. He picked me up with vehement force and threw me down. And that was my sudden, forgettable and absurd demise. The wife stepped on broken pieces of me and let out a scream. I’d made her bleed.

He forgot all about his rage. He rushed to her and went about tending to her. No one cared for the intriguing beauty that was now on the floor, broken. Most of me ground to dust. The maid was asked to sweep away the broken shards, the remains of my featureless form.

They thought about putting me together, but gave up on second thoughts. I was anyways in no shape for attention and effort. No point crying over shattered glass. The baby in the other room had started crying by then, too late for any repair now.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Apple You Kept Away

It's like what happens to a cut apple, you know. When it's cut or part-eaten and just left out in the open and it goes all dark and spoilt. It shrivels and seems to die, as if it was alive while feeding you. Strange, innit? You leave it unattended for a while, and when you're back it's almost wounded, of no use but to be thrown out. Why would one do that,do you know?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Someone Else's Head

It’s like stepping into someone else's head. Or maybe your own head. Or at least imagining that you’re doing so. At that stage, you block reality out. Dim the noises around, blur the sights in front of your eyes. And you find your flow. There, then. You can proceed to write your story, perform your song, take a walk down memory lane and travel to the future. And then suddenly, you are pushed back to reality. By a boy walking bare feet, selling shiny things from a twisted hanger slung across his frail shoulders. You slowly regain your senses, smell your surroundings, see the huts from the grilled windows, and hear the noises the train makes against the tracks and you sway slightly, in rhythm with the train’s motion. You feel the jerk when it comes to halt at a station. You can see people file past you, occupy the vacant seats around, jostling, talking, yelling and slowly settling down as the train begins to move. You start swaying again, the train racing with vehement force and your handwriting begins to go haywire on the page. You get distracted by some voices, and shamelessly overhear their conversations. After a while you lose interest in their lives and lies, and give in to the voices inside your head. And so it begins, stepping into someone’s head.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


And it went on, the breathing fell and rose. She gasped, in bursts--shrieking out dryly. If she could have she would have rather drowned in ice waters instead of bearing the pain that wrecked her. He watched, helpless, slightly indifferent, yet hurting. He tried to find a place for that feeling, for the person in front of him.

It rained heavily around them, she was growing pale and the woods looked a dark slithery green. Like velvet moss. The sky above was like the ocean, white clouds foaming and churning. The picture was silent, heavy with dry ache. There was a storm halfway, the needles swaying to the right. There was golden light around them. The frame was intricate, heavy with gold and wood.

The door opened and she peeped in. A hesitant smile on her face, enquiring. He looked back, eyes laden with exhaustion. As if he had stared at the sun for hours from under the sea. Something was getting in his way and he was going blind. She closed the door behind, gave one last look, waiting for a nod, or a blink, but none came and after a while he could only see her back from the corner of his eye.

He got up with sudden rage, and threw whatever he had been holding at the wall. He ripped the sheets out and tore them. He peeled off the posters stuck to the wall. As he reached the windows, he pulled the curtains down and shook the grilles. He seemed to be trying to bend the bars and go after something. Something flying, just outside. He screamed threateningly at the sky outside. The music that blared from within the room sounded like a war cry heralding the arrival of the bravest armies. The music rose higher, and he recoiled, as if stung by hot light. He was retreating, and rays seemed to be feasting on him, fraying him.

He was falling, lightly, as if through space, with a small cry just hanging over his face. His eyes seemed to roll back into his head. He was disappearing into the golden light and silence fell, like dust on furniture.

The gilded frame kept the light trapped on its borders. The sky was violent, like a woman in labor. It poured on, making the canvas look as if someone had splashed water on it in delirious anger. The tall trees seemed to be blurring at the edges. That blur seen enveloping ghosts.

She lay there on his knees, her legs spread at an odd angle on the ground. Her face was a mirror reflecting some horrible poison's flow through her. His head was bent, an indecipherable expression on his face marked by the creases on his forehead. His hand held her neck delicately while his other hand is on her face. Her hands were clutching on to his brown shirt. They were locked in that hush of time.

There was noise outside, a wave of voices crashing at the golden sand. People moved from one frame to the next. Whispering loudly amongst themselves, telling the other what the painting meant.

"It is as if I'm looking out of a window into some other world, it's so real", said the old man.

Jane looked at him with exasperation that comes from hearing such things eighty times a day. If it was another world, it wouldn't be a reality she thought.

"Well, paintings do have a life of their own." With that she shoved her tour group on to the next work of art.

This time it was a bride dressed in red with a goat playing a violin floating in blue.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Into the Bin.

It was on the table, under the keyboard. I took the keyboard on to my lap and saw it fall.
There it lies on the ground. An old piece of luck, of memory, of things returned.
It will be swept away tomorrow. And everything with it too. Into the bin.