Monday, November 15, 2010

Walk tall

It’s dawn. I’m walking down Mumbai’s Marine Drive. It’s strangely warm, despite the drizzle. My left eyebrow itches. Suddenly, the Queen’s Necklace is switched off.
I turn to the sea. The Arabian ocean. It’s glassy, but somewhat revolting in appearance. I can’t understand it; I love the sea. I love the sheer sense of space – an expanse of wide open water. Today, it just seems so pale, like a corpse. There’s no colour to it. It’s a pasty body of water.
A million thoughts are running through my head right now. There’s no order to them, they’re random, popping up like conversation blurbs in a comic book.
I look down at my toes, I look at the bollards, I turn a full circle, taking in the odd morning walker. There’s a bum coiled up in a corner, a stray dog next to him.
This is Mumbai, capital of the world.
Dead on a Saturday morning.
I cough and spit out the sputum. I hate spitting, but I can’t keep it in either. One more thought: you’re contradicting your self. You hate people who spit. Oh please, shut the fuck up.
I’ve been smoking again.
There’s a slight breeze, but none of the early morning gusting I remember. Even the wind isn’t in a good mood. Somehow that sets the tone.
I try to arrange the thoughts.
I don’t want to be a martyr. But I don’t want to live in fear. I want to walk tall. Yeh mera desh hai, behenchod, I curse at no one in particular.
You can’t change the world, sonny boy. Your fists won’t solve every problem. My father’s voice echoes in my head. My ears are ringing with it.
I wish I could make a living monster out of all the things I hate, and beat it to death. With my bare fists.
But Dad is right. Dad is always right, isn’t he? He’s seen so many more moons. I’m his son.
I look down at my balls, and it makes me laugh. I adjust my underwear, more to reassure myself my testicles are still there. The same testicles which will one day sire a child of my own.
You’re the perfect candidate to leave this country, a well-meaning NRI told me as I dropped him to the airport on Thursday. No, I say, never. But why not? You can’t do much in India. You’ll be far more successful abroad. I can’t and I won’t I retort, because of some misplaced sense of patriotism.
That’s it then, isn’t it?
Some misplaced sense of patriotism.
I almost joined the army after high school. Fauj mein rakha kya hai, all the ex-army uncles told me. So did my Dad.
Then I went to engineering college. Graduated, and decided to become a cop. Laugh, oh how they laughed. Your career will be finished before you know it, they mocked me.
And now, here I am.
Scratching my balls on Marine Drive on a Saturday morning.
Fuck this shit.
I try and construct the monster. Pakistan; Nehru, if he were still alive; Raj and Bal, for a bit of ridiculousness; the IAS joker on tv; the stupid, over-hyped female journalist; those damned militants of course; and sundry other politicos and babus. A chaddar party would be perfect.
The bum is now awake. He fastidiously collects his meagre belongings, climbs over the promenade, picks his way among the bollards, and sits down to take a crap. Craps in the Arabian sea.
I sit on the promenade, perversely looking at him as he takes a leisurely crap, beedi in hand.
The little dog is now barking. Someone is walking a happy golden retriever. The retriever makes me smile, I see him often. As they pass, I whistle and he comes to me. It’s like a semi-ritual now. I scratch his ears, he licks my fingers and scampers off after the middle aged gentleman who owns him.
As I get up to leave, I hear a voice. Sir, can you please give me a cigarette? The bum asks in perfect English. He has wild hair and a wild beard, but he doesn’t look like the wretched beggars I see so often. He’s thin, but he looks like he eats regularly. And he’s standing ram rod straight.
I open the pack, and hand him one. He fishes for a matchbox in the waistband of his pants and lights it. Thank you, he says, looking me straight in the eye.
I hand him the pack. He thanks me again. There’s that eye contact once more.
He turns and walks away. He’s not hurrying, but he’s walking with purpose, the scruffy pooch at his heels.
He’s walking tall.

Friday, May 21, 2010


it stumbled. stalled. stuttered. sparked again
would it be all in vain?
he new it mattered little
but thoughts of walking away
caused too much pain
"you walk, and walk away, keep walking"
the voice told him
why should i care?
he thought for a moment
it was harder still, to stand the ground
songs of victory, AND memories of toil
"this is my land, my soil"
i will fight
stand my ground
"burn, ye heathen,
torched you shall be"
the vile lie vanquished
in truth, there's victory

Monday, March 22, 2010


Does Pathos inspire or conspire?

Is Time enough?

Does Guilt wane?

Does Hurt fade?

Is Forgiveness real?

Is Love everlasting?

Are Pain and Longing the same?

She, The Sacred Feminine


it needn't have been this way. it needn't have. oh, you fool.
the loss and longing
the courage and the cripple

the human male is but a drone. the progenitor of life, the maker of the home, the tender to the hearth and heart is Woman. and when you find her, cherish. relish her. love her. respect her. want her and make her feel wanted.

you, Man, exist but to be Hers. It is She who gives you worth. And meaning.

The Night of the Living Dead

the knot was tight
it closed around me
the emptiness

the crime, grave
the penalty, harsh

spoken in a moment
contemplated over time

the sentence was swift
the plea, over-ruled

the cell was cold
questions of heart and head
made no sense

the heart seemed alive
the head, dead

the dawn was slow
there weren't any pieces to pick up

the water was tepid
the shower, rapid

contemplation with the car keys...
u-turns made
and made again

the aimless drive
early morning sunlight

the door opened
She knew...

clasped to Her bosom
my tears seemed to flow

She wouldn't cry
She couldn't
She had to be strong

that tenderness was so poignant
it hurt even more...

i left
living, but felt dead.
From a million miles away
Like a waking hand
The touch of a sun's ray
A flower understands
Like a smile it opens wide
Blowin' rainbow kisses
To the skies...

- Sudheer


in between heartache and a kiss,
maybe there lies love, beauty, peace, truth...
for ours to find, ever