Wednesday, February 16, 2022

More Prose Poems

The doorbell rang
The courier handed
Me a packet, a book
And I thought that
It was the book in which
I have a story and a poem
And I reach the kitchen
And cut it open
To find a book
That the husband had
Ordered for himself.
My monkey mind
Had jumped so far ahead
Of actual reality
I was, in my head,
Posting a photograph
Of myself with the book.
Sorry folks, you'll
Have to wait a bit longer!

3rd February, 2022

I cannot, in good conscience,
Listen to Rolf Harris any more,
Or to the Gundecha brothers,
(Although their Jhini Jhini was sublime).
I also cannot stop the spouse
From buying a book by a certified creep
Who, I am so glad to say,
Lost the defamation case
He had slapped on the woman
Who accused him of molestation.
The spouse was reading the book
In the car, and fell asleep, snoring.
The book lay face down on the seat,
Infringing upon my space,
While I shrank away from it,
Distressed by the presence in my life
Of that ugly, beastly, name.

We didn't meet Vishakha this evening
(Her husband was one of our teatime guests)
But used her name to educate the spouse
on the guidelines of the same name.
The second set of visitors
Included my staunchly feminist niece
So the spouse was further educated
On the 'Me too' movement as well as
The creepiness of yesterday's author,
And other famous folks
Now infamous for their lechery.
Waiting for him to bury that book now!

4th February, 2022

Pre-dawn this morning
I hear the mellifluous notes
Of a magpie robin
Piercing the silence, briefly.
Then silence again.
Did it go back to sleep,
To snooze until dawn?

9th February, 2022

Treasure Hunt
For the past few days
The spouse has been
Missing a book which
Was on his bedside table
An unspecified while ago.
It was a book of Hindi poetry
A paperback, with a green cover.
Poet unknown, name of the book
Also unknown.
I say 'missing a book' deliberately
Because looking for a book
Seems to be too tough a task
For one whose mind is almost
Always preoccupied
I was willing to look, no easy task
In a house as privileged as ours
With many books in many shelves
Often in double rows.
I needed more clues.
The spouse had a photograph
On his phone, of a page
From this book.
Perhaps the font would help.
(How, I wondered, could it?)
He had shared this photograph
Of a poem with a friend,
Who wanted to know
the name of the poet,
Hence the need for the book.
And then, he saw that the photograph
Showed a strip of the adjoining page,
The edges of English words.
Eureka! This is one of
Javed Akhtar's books
Transcribed and translated
Into Hindi and English,
That much I remembered.
I thought it was Tarkash.
Into his study, into the cupboard
Where the overflow of his books
Is stashed, and I spot
The mustard spine, no green anywhere,
Of a book called
In Other Words, by Javed Akhtar.
(Hindi on the left hand page,
English on the right).
I hand it to the spouse.
Happy Valentine's day!

14th February, 2022

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Random Recent Writings

1st February, 2022

Today I morphed into a gyaani
Publicly offering wisdom
to the young man in the bank
Young man with a maroon knitted cap
Who just had to get a cheque 'received'.
He tried jumping the queue
But the counter clerk told him
To join the line like everyone else.
The two customers before me
Had time-consuming dealings
And this young man, just behind me
Was grumbling away,
about how useless and
terrible this bank was.
With all the kindness (and patience)
That I could summon up,
Overcoming my natural diffidence
I spoke to him, telling him gently
That today is the first of the month
A busy day for bankers,
And if you are in a place
Where you have to wait for a while
Curb your irritation, and use it well
Think good thoughts, remember God,
If you happen to believe,
And do not let your mind
Be agitated and restless.
He listened, perhaps stunned
By this strange, masked woman,
And said that he believed
In his Thakurji.
I then spent half a minute
At the counter,
Getting two cheques 'received'
And left, exchanging with him
A warm and friendly smile.
I sometimes surprise myself!

21st January, 2022

When there's not enough
leftover rice to put away
or to give away,
and which you don't want
to throw away
the pigeons come to mind
as avian waste disposal
Put it on the outer edge
of the balcony railing
Whitey comes along
with a lean and hungry look
This winter has been a harsh one
others follow,
and you find yourself
reaching for a stale roti too,
wondering if you are being a fool
inviting the pestiferous pigeons
into your territory.
The squirrel comes along too,
foraging, charming,
as desi squirrels are.
A quick look in the fridge
finds a forgotten lump of paneer,
stale and smelly.
You break it into pieces, and leave it out
and wonder if it will be eaten
The squirrel sits there quietly
whiskers aquiver, while 'suspigeons' wonder
if this white stuff is food or not.
You come back after a while, and its all gone,
as are the squirrel and the pigeons.
16th January, 2022

The spouse sometimes has
Two hardboiled eggs
For breakfast, or dinner.
I knock them together
To shell them, and have observed that
The egg in my left hand always cracks,
Is the 'hittee', to coin a term
While the one in the right hand
Remains whole, the hitter,
Till I crack it on the worktop.
Is this a metaphor for life?
Hittee and hitter are both
Sliced,salted, peppered

12th January, 2022

In the cold of winter
In the midst of the gloom
The limes are ripening
As new flowers bloom
Many leaves are browning
There is much decay
But there's the promise that spring
Isn't too far away

3rd January, 2022

The sickness and rot
Spreading like a cancer
Through minds that know
No grace, no love
A cancer fostered by
Impunity pumped within
This sick system
Dehumanizing all
But the few they consider
Worthy of survival
In mera Bharat mahaan
Excluding many
Targeting minorities
The underprivileged
Underdogs, who ache
To survive with respect
Just a modicum of it,
As human beings
As equal citizens
In a country that belongs
To us all.
My heart aches
At the rot, seemingly
Please prove me wrong.