Monday, December 22, 2008

Dear One,

This is the round tana
our conversations shape now;
what we go around, not through.
This can now be measured
as that which we do not speak.
This is the sum total
of all that you never ask me.
Plus all that I want to tell you,
that come out in strange tongues.
This is why I travel miles some days
to see you. Who cares about the long-
borrowed book?
This is what could fill
all my silences around you.
This is what we make poignant
by the suffering to tell and ask.
This is what stays back
in the filter.
This is what never disturbs
our tea.
This is what you must hear.
This is what I must speak.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Passing clouds filtered the moonlight
and laid out on the sea
a stage
befitting only something extraordinary.
The friend on the sand did not stop
his out-of-tune singing of a stuck line.
The watery arena glistened
with my anticipation of something.
Something that would complete this day for me.
The friend could still not find the next line
in his jumble of songlines and hmmms
and la la la's.
As tufts of cloudlets drifted away
and the moon peeped out at us all,
the perfect man walked into the light
and let the glistening waters
touch him just eversomuch,
ran his perfect silhouette fingers over
his perfect silhoutte head of hair,
and exited.
Clouds closed in
and the friend on the sand
found just the next line to his song.
And we grinned.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


The pencil lead broken on the table,
the mild stutters, the slight swoon in the chest,
all this darkness when the phone rings
and throws in little flourescence his name,
with a custom tune set in days of happy togetherness.
Symptoms of guilt.

Of not having loved enough,
but having lived once like you did
and zoning out like a power cut,
Just bang. Gone.
The aftertaste of trying to sing
"I don't know why I didn't come."
It matters not you truly didn't know
why you didn't come.
You didn't come.

You can stand someone up.
You have been stood up.
They refuse to strike each other out
in a game of elementary this for that.
Sweet innocence cannot even be feigned.
This is how love is performed
by some of us who do not know
how it is to be done.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Needed this

I needed to think of you again
In the peace of a rainless night
Under a cloudless sky.
I needed to hold you and me
In the palm of my heart
for my tearless eyes to see.
I needed to feel the truth
In the shivers of my skin
weeks after you touched it.
And I needed to hear this
whispered by the universe
In the time between a wave
and another: we are in love.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And I fall in love

And I fall in love.
The mad rush in the stomach
like while coming down in
fast and screechy swings -
that's like morning coffee to me.

Madness is all I can offer
to you, my new love...
Looks like I will stay in you
and you will let me be mad.
I know there is largess
in your madness.

I can float on you forever.
Even drown.
I would like to be in your depths,
sloshing in your soft,
honey viscous love.

Neither of us can gag or kill.
We know only to grow
in each other; on each other -
I will be the velvety moss
on your bed.

I ask you to stay
and let me stay.
Catch me in a whirlpool,
if hurt you must.
And carry me with யு,
if move you must.
I am weightless already,
for I dropped my bags,
tore my clothes,
left my books behind.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


At some moment they give up on me.
Something I say. Something I do.
Then Something snaps,
Like fall twigs under shoe heels.
As simple as that.
Nothing ever is the same again.
One twig has snapped.
Nothing is ever the same again.
I am never the same again.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Bruises and cuts.
Everytime I try to climb
That slippery
to your
I am sent down
palms and knees scraping
on the massive
holdless rocks
on the way.
The time between that
and a fresh new attempt
is the time it takes
to heal. I truly wish I had
unhealing wounds to deter me
from these replenishings

Good Intentions

My memories of you
refuse to fade or slim.
They have chosen to go
by a hair-conditioner promise,
only, misplaced:
long-lasting, more volume, more shine.


With an expressionless shoulder bag
And a protective arm around it,
Walking on strange city streets,
I perhaps look like a salesman.
But I promise you I am harmless,
With only my loneliness to trade
And a reluctance to sell it to you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Virtual Let-down

This is a most loveless night.
Lobby lights go off
As some invisible clock
somewhere silently strikes

With the screen's luminescence
obscuring my face
and hiding my slow tears,
I sit waiting
for someone to come
and touch me.

When a neighbour walks in
announced by two key beeps
and happy whistling,
I wish she would come to me
and hug me
and say they sent her in real
since the network was down.

She dances to the elevator
and my network resurrects itself
to tell me
I have no new messages.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

On Frequent Intimations of Ignorance

They are not as bad as they are made out to be -
Times when silence carpets you
like fall leaves under a tree.

Between ignorance and knowledge
of ignorance
is the space and time to shut up
and listen
to the steady inward hum
of your ignorance.

Sometimes that is all you can offer
to great music - your silence.
Intimations of ignorance are such relief
sometimes. You can be quiet
and full of wonder
at what you do not know.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


There is so much love, it is almost unbelievable.
Like someone next to me jumped
Into deep love-slush
And I stand splashed all over
With love.
I see all my lovers and our loves
In the wild splatterings of love-mud on me,
But I can' t tell whose is which.
They all lie splashed on bare me
And I look like I am wrapped
In a crazy love-quilt.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Coming out

Coming out of this, coming out of that,
Coming out as this, coming out as that,
Coming out as not this and not that,
Coming out even as not quite this or that,
Coming out over and over.
Not quite knowing what you were in
That you came out of
Or came into.
Out isn't quite outright out
Since you seem to always have more
To come out of,
as and into.
We needn't go about this for long,
If we start pulling down the walls.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bengaluru Pride 2008

Photo Courtesy:

"Why is it 'Pride'?" a sceptical gay friend asked me a few days back, even as we were all busy circulating information about the Pride marches in Bangalore, Delhi and Kolkata. I said - without thinking, without my usual neurosis – "You figure it out for yourself. As for me, I am proud that I manage to live, laugh and love despite all pressures to the contrary." Though I usually find myself disowning all strong remarks I often make, I think I want to hold on to this one now. The fantastic Bengaluru Pride reinforced not only this sense of pride in me, but also my faith in the collective and my desire to breathe easy which is what happens every time I step out despite fear.

For Padma, Srivath and me, who drove down early that morning (29 June 2008) from Chennai to Bangalore, the euphoria began even as we hit the interstate highway. There was happiness inside the car. From then, to landing at Arvind Narrain's place, to the end of the Pride March was a big, rainbow, euphoric blur, and I will try to make poor words capture some of that now.

Bangalore folks were amazing. Let's stay with that statement for a while. They were amazing. They had organized everything, but they made you feel like they were so happy and relieved you had come and now everything will be fine! Airlines hotel is a usual hangout for the Good As You folks, but I do not know if the waiters and other customers are used to seeing men and women walking in and out in tshirts that say things like "God made me Gay." Plenty of laughter and camera-clicking followed as the new arrivals changed into these Pride clothes and tried the rainbow umbrellas and hats. Then, off to National College, Basavanagudi, from where the march would begin.

One corner of the college playgrounds turned into a carnival zone in less than half an hour. More and more people arrived; hugs and laughter ruled for a while. Painting of faces followed. Some people wondered aloud if they should wear the masks, or paint their faces, or just walk as they were. The decisions, I could see, were very important to all of us. Then the TV cameras arrived, with the reporters and cameramen looking with wide-eyed wonder at this psychedelic gathering of not just hijras, kothis, drag queens, sex workers, bisexuals, lesbians and gay men, but also their siblings, friends, and other allies. When the camera men went in circles, photographing and videoing non-stop, it felt like they just wanted to capture as much of it as they could, though I suspected that they did not feel equal to the job. Yes, for some of them we could have been 'freaks' worth a few seconds of satellite time, but I am sure they were a bit staggered by the enormousness of the 'freakishness.'

Then the drummers arrived. And the dancing began. With their superb dancing, the hijras, kothis and drag queens declared the parade open.. When the drumming starts, something primal in me takes over. So, for me, what happened for the next few hours was basically a collective dancing to the destination. Not a bad way to travel, I tell you. There was an exorcising quality to it.

All placards went up. In English and Kannada. Everyone carried something or the other. There were slogans and songs. Whoever of Bangalore was on the roads that day slowed down or stopped altogether to watch this procession. On one hand, it must have looked like a protest march to them because there were placards up in the air and sloganeering voices too, but they must have also been equally struck, and hence a bit confused, by the revelry, the absolute celebration of something. And everyone loves to watch celebrations. If at all the child-like wonder of the onlookers' faces changed to the way too grown-up-like grimness, we did not stay to watch the transformation that day. We kept moving on. That the most spontaneous response to happiness is happiness, testifies to what is natural and what is not.

In a couple of hours, we reached the Puttanna Chetty Town Hall. People sat on the galleried steps leading up to the hall and gave life and colour to the place. Someone stood on the pedestal to the flagpole and held the rainbow flag there. Dancers stopped to catch their breath. Drummers took a couple of reluctant minutes to click their knuckles. Very short speeches happened. Then there was more dancing.

It was with great reluctance that we dispersed. But we knew we had to carry this joy of togetherness and support into our individual lives and make them easier, less lonely, and more hopeful.

Thanks to everyone who had worked to put the Pride events together in Bangalore, Delhi and Kolkata. The specifics would have varied, but something tells me the spirit of them all was the same.

Friday, June 27, 2008


The sea is beautiful.
If stating the obvious be crime,
I would serve life sentence
for this one same crime,
for saying the same obviousness -
The sea is beautiful
over and over
beautiful now
and now
and now.
Beautiful nows of the beautiful sea.
I plead guilty
over and over.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Not supposed to!!!

A note on the poem "Last Year": the lines are supposed to be indented in very specific ways. Blogger insisted on displaying it this way, and my lack of technical skills did not allow me to figure this out. The poem was not "supposed to" turn out that way! :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Last Year

In the blue-grey of my recent days,
certain things stand out.
Like, for instance, this clear thought - This
was not how the year
was supposed to go,
"supposed to" being a quicksand phrase notwithstanding --
clarity is what is left
after you ignore the illogical traps.
Coming back to my year --
New Years are better for stock-taking;
there is enormous company.
Birthday eves are not a great idea.
You have to smile a lot the next day.


This was not how the year was supposed to go
And I am missing yahoo emoticons here.
Too much has happened
And too much hasn't.
And since I write down my plans
they now look like
compiled jokes of the year.
Some great things have happened.
So, that "supposed to" is not so grievance-laden.
It was just so you know
I plan my year - in some general way but
with some specifics thrown in.
Like if I should study or work
and where;
and how many linen trousers - expensive -
I can buy.
This year, I bought just as many linen trousers
as I planned,
But ended up working when
I had planned to study.
So you see how this thing can go.

I like to feel in control
of something at least.
So I did channel surfing on the TV
so I could gag a newsreader mid-sentence
or choose an ad over the CBI murder probe.
But the TV went grainy on me
with just that gravelly hiss of absence;
"power-cut here," the cable guy said over phone.

Our lives are so interconnected.

Anyway, Happy Birthday to me! (tomorrow)

Friday, June 13, 2008


Today, I cracked open the secret
of beach's comfort.
It is in placing and losing
my footprints on a sand ocean
of other footprints.
My worst nightmare had Time swishing
and flicking a magic wand,
clearing the sand of all footprints and
offering me the beginning
of footprint time.
I said a quick prayer
that if it comes to it,
I be calm enough to walk, remembering
that in the million footprints to come,
only Time and I would really know
the meanderings of mine...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Storms Without Warnings

Some storms blow without warnings.
Not even a muffled thunder
or an introductory lightning streak.
They cheat radars and land straight
in the heart
on a day when it is out defenseless.
Memories thunder around
and voices blindingly flash,
and paper-thin shutters of the heart
flutter wildly
and rip in the rising wind.
The storm has to pass;
to bow and not to resist
is the only way out.
If you love cotton candy clouds
and fragrant rain,
Learn also not to hate storms
that blow without warnings.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I need a blanket strategy
to deal with surprises
once for all.
Surprises round the corner
should stop surprising me.
And the ones that creep in slow
Should hurt from the start.
I also need a face
to surprise surprises
with unsurprised calm.
And I need to know the new corners
where old surprises lurk.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Untitled (February 27, 2008)

As I pull the crisp white blanket
Over me
In a strange hotel room,
Thoughts of him creep in along.
They lie faithfully next to me
Each night,
Crumpling only my heart
Not the sheet.
They leave no trace
No footprints,
Except tear trails that dry
By the night.


In the world of either-or,
Singlehood's not spared.
It was given an option
Between being a sharp knife
And a letter-opener.
My third-space fascination wanted both.
I got to cut open old memories,
And the knife kept at bay prospective ones.
But I haven't learned to see in the dark -
I end up cutting open myself
Along with old memories,
And threaten prospective ones
With the blunt letter opener.

Friday, May 23, 2008


I always blame them on the moon -
the cross-country rides of my heart.
The moon is to blame
When I fall into the slush
and when my knees scrape
on deadly curves.
Moon is the reason for breakdowns en route
and detours are somehow the moon's fault.
But when I see the moon
cloud-draped on power-cut nights,
I give her the whip and dance to the lashes

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Letting go

To really love you

Meant setting you free

From my love’s tentacles.

It meant to untie myself

From your feet and let you soar.

In your kind backward glance then,

My love stands vindicated!

Monday, May 19, 2008


Talking to you
is to me
like eating spaghetti.
I roll and roll
my thoughts
and feelings
through and between
incisive word-forks
and never give up
before having them
all over me
leaving adamant stains.
Strangely, this always leaves
me hungry
for more

Monday, May 5, 2008

Threads of Conversation

what you didn't say
I didn't say
I weave my cocoon
I boil myself so
You could see
The silk
Our silences produced

Friday, May 2, 2008

For a Friend

We are like flighty, old mirrors
To each other.
In a comic reciprocity,
We stutter like people on first dates,
But without the need to impress.
We have impressed each other so much
We have had to empty
Our receptacles of impressions everyday.

Years of loving and laughing
Hardly help like plays rehearsed.
Every time, we improvise
And surprise.
Every time, the lines change.
And if they don't, the jokes fall flat
Or - this is the best part -
We laugh at non-jokes.
I caught myself thinking today
Of what makes us grin so much:
We don't know each other;
We don't need to. To know
Is not a requirement.
Not at all.
Being clueless helps our love.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Blot and Smudge

Some days, the sea hums. It gently hums, bringing your mind very patiently from its feverish meanderings to listen to the steady hum. It also pauses for very tiny moments, when it feels like you have found the stillness of your soul.

On some other days, the sea roars. Like today. It hurls its waves towards you and roars incessantly, making it difficult for you to hear anything but its sudden and inexplicable ferocity, as if setting the pitch for something dark and nasty.

Dark clouds hang so low that it feels like I could stretch my hands up and pull them down. It is one of those moments when nature’s stern forebodings give you strange feelings of participation in something dramatic.

Drops of drizzle land on my notebook and smudge the ink here and there, as if telling me that memory and what I record here will have to go down with these smudges. This feeling is strengthened as I turn the pages and see that the drizzle has already seeped into them. Pages and pages of writing blotted by ink smudges.

As it dries, each smudge forms a small design of its own. Beginnings and middles and ends of words and sentences spreading into random ink designs. Meaning and meaninglessness thus happily coexist on my cheap-paper notebook, in spite of my mind’s vain persistence at subsuming all this into some total meaning, some coherence. Just as I start fretting over the rest of the page lying innocent in its blankness, the clouds descend without my help, and I run towards the nearest shelter, my vision rendered smudged by the rain on my glasses. I could have stayed in the rain, had I not brought my notebook along.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Under crumpled sheets, he said,
“You are complete. A complete person.”
Not the kind of thing I have heard
Under crumpled sheets,
Incompletely dressed.
He thinks, therefore I am,
I guess.
I should thank him next time,
Under crumpled sheets, preferably,
For thus completing me.

Pre-approved. Sign-up.

Imagination is for things
That are not.
Either just not there
Or had and lost.
So fantasy or pain of loss.
Tolkiens have exclusive rights
To the former
While mine is a larger group
Called the romantics.
Membership demands are
Very democratic.
All you need are problems
Of personality and
Some masochism: no proof
Of identity needed.
All humans qualify.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

For Two

It is kind of difficult
For her to cook for two.
For four five ten twenty
It is just vague head count
In her vague head.
To cook for one
She has practised all life.
But for two, it has to be just right
For some strange reason.
For this one other
Definite person
In her definite head
No wild guesses will do
No culinary risks.
Hoping she and her food
Are called perfection
In its secret realm,
She sets the table
And eats alone.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Be Warned

Being an open book is fine
as long as you are
ready for marker pens
margin notes and
page markers
sometimes the leavers
never come back to claim


Fall, they call it here.
If you are not given to subtleties
You would think
Of something colossal
Coming down impressively
And hitting the ground.
Like empires, may be.
But it is actually dry
Brown leaves
Sashaying with great abandon,
Flirting even,
With confused air
Before landing daintily
On gentle ground.
Then arhythmic human feet
Crush them down
Just as, perhaps,
They've always done.

An Aerial View

From a morning flight's window,
Things look simple.
Happiness down there is easy
To imagine.
Field squares look clean and neat
And my finger tip can connect rivers and lakes.
Mountains look like pimples
On earth's greasy face
And clouds seem close enough
To be coaxed to cry anytime.
The first pinch of bathos, perhaps,
Will be a failed bargain with an auto driver.

In the big and small of things

"Do we matter," I asked
Looking up at the drowsy moon
And listening to the waves.
Your typical romantic cliche, you know.
"Do we matter," I asked him again,
"The plan looks massive, what with seas
and moons and all. Are we cared for in here?"
He took me seriously.
"Yes, the scale of all this is huge,
Big budget," he smiled,
"But details aren't spared you know.
In this humungous project, I care for you
And you for me.
The moon cares, I am sure,
Because it hasn't stopped visiting."

Tea Break

It was a usual tea break
Where questions were cues
To keep moving.
In the fleeting pairing game,
I managed to avoid her,
Hiding behind the elephant between us,
That was dark and huge and refused to budge.
When hot tea splashed over my chest,
I cried out loud,
Not yet trained in not crying
Over spilled milk or tea.

For a Friend

We are like flighty, old mirrors
To each other.
In a comic reciprocity,
We stutter like people on first dates,
But without the need to impress.
We have impressed each other so much
We have had to empty
Our receptacles of impressions everyday.

Years of knowing and laughing
Hardly help like plays rehearsed.
Every time, we improvise
And surprise.
Every time, the lines change.
And if they don't, the jokes fall flat
Or - this is the best part -
We laugh at non-jokes.
I caught myself thinking today
Of what makes us grin so much:
We don't know each other;
We don't need to. To know
Is not a requirement.
Not at all.
Being clueless helps our love.