Poetry has a Complaint!

I share the anger of the Divine who frowns upon exclusive claims to owing Him.

They- the pundits of poetry- are new fanatics like the advocates of human genetics, whose territory is populated by the chosen few.

They- the literary elitists- have the effrontery to assume it’s their privilege
to own me, to define me, to mark me up as if I’m a cloth cut out for dummies in fashionable stores, while my robes are infinite, far and wide
fluttering over oceans and seas, drenched in rivers, revivifying in sunshine–
and they contend that I no longer dwell in nature
(for nature itself is a cliche to them!)
that I have moved from the countryside of fields to city conclaves,
that I go by trends; that time, space, seasons and fashions can chain me!
They think they can determine whom to give me away like a father
marrying off his daughter to the man worthy in his eyes.

But they should know I have had dwelled in the “mere” utterances of saints, social reformers, revolutionaries, reformists for I have had been the architect and they my willing artisans.

They should know that I refuse to be cast in their careful, effort-driven, strenuous practice of inducing complexity and, on the extreme spectrum, in the lightness of their design of offering me oblation in the form of wafers on paper plates.

I steadfastly proclaim my right not to be tied up to the effigies manufactured by degree programs— chased, worshipped, popularized, made saleable by elitist presses
which make me feel as if I’ve been hollowed out
by their mechanics that celebrates hogwash–
unmindful of my delicacy like a newly-wed bride
at the mercy of her partner–
by the intrusion of insincere characterizations, spilled over by their ready kit
of nouns and verbs- disconnected from my soul.

Let me ask them should they be enraged:

Can you awaken an angel in the demon? Can you cause tears and wipe them too?
Can you reproduce hills, mountains, flowers, trees, vales, ponds–
know that it’s the majesty of the poet to make them drift along and settle in his colony!

I assert it’s my sole  privilege to define myself, discover myself, invent myself;
to decide whom to shower myself on with divinity
(Ah! Divinity is not in your lexicon, designed by the vanguards of modern creative writing).

So, be ready to hear:

To stir, to cause, to exhort, to shake off: none is among your strengths
for your craft is an aristocratic woman inside her gem-engraved mansion!

Poetry has a Complaint!

The Philosophy of Laziness

In a heavily packed hall, a famously lazy person was invited to deliver a keynote address on “The Philosophy of Laziness”:

Ladies & Gentlemen!

In this world marked by feverish activity and mobility,
peopled by practitioners of neatness and quickness, promptness and alertness,
I’m among the chosen few to be bestowed upon the gift of laziness!

Laziness is the calmness of the soft breeze
negligent of the wild fire in the vicinity;
laziness is an adamant refusal to be intimidated by calamity,
unyielding to the necessity of order, of completion, of fruition
for it doesn’t take command, it’s the master of its own will-
the will to do Nothing!

In its purest form, laziness is an extreme tolerance
of Dirt, of Dust, of Messiness, of Odor,
of the under-arm colony of hair follicles- which to me is a township-
of the unkempt sheet resembling a ravaged town
with cobwebs in bed rails- which to me is an exotic landscape-
of one’s own poor breath and residues in cavities,
of the stains in the cup- ready to be used the next day.

Laziness is the vanguard of stillness, the vessel of acceptance,
patiently welcoming of each day and night’s gift of sweat,
taking in with ease and comfort the diversified modes of existence,
piling upon each other, clinging to each other,
overlapping with each other, mingling with each other,
eating into each other, rubbing against each other:
the pen in the shoe, the toothbrush in the bathtub,
the knife hanging out with the jar, the lid of the jar
stuck in the mouth of the sink,
the sink swelling with pride over molds and algae.

Laziness permits the rarest of the rare acceptance of diversity–
the diversity of disgust-causing, vomit-impelling
sights, objects, entities, attitudes, habits, outlooks.

It’s the highest state of the unperturbed mind
that safeguards its territory from human obsession
with perfection, with caution, with action, with attention;

It’s the perfect yogi who finds solace not in meditation,
not in sleep, not in contemplation, not in concentration,
but in doing NOTHING- the most difficult state to achieve!

The Philosophy of Laziness

                The Hide-and-Seek of Poetry

When she’s not in the horizon and is more of a hallucination,
when she approaches and flees
when she lives like a dead in a tomb roaming around at will-
and a ghost isn’t still

When patterns of her arrival and departure confound,
when shapes evolve, advance, and relapse into crudity

When no privilege of persistence is assured
even though the feel is majestic,
divine sometimes,

Her emergence is a flame through the wick soggy and cold;
the assemblage of her material an episode in the making:
the handiwork of an occultist in the pilferage of sorrow
to pour into the lamp
the oil.

                The Hide-and-Seek of Poetry

India: From the Lens of History

Here is the land:

Where millennia back, the divine larynx sounded the precept of Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam,
stirring the cosmos into joining in the chorus to glorify
the unified soul of the world:

cosmopolitanism required neither common threat nor enticement of fruits of partnership,
to justify itself.  

Where a civilization awed us with marvels unparalleled for its age:
town planning, artistic seals, overseas trade, orderly life, urbanities dexterous.

Where the treasure of Vedas and Puranas, predating fascinating inventions,
holds out the promise of enlightenment, like a billion suns stored in a casket.

Where the orb of innovations and inventions in science, mathematics, astronomy
shone across an onyx firmament.
Where the births of Sushrut and Charaka- pioneers of surgery and medicine-
kindled human faith in recovery.
Where the creation of Ashtadhyayi  mirrored morphology of a high order.
Where to cognitive therapy, the Yoga tenet of the conquest of mind
formed an unrecognized umbilical cord.

Where saints set out to discover the truth like a bird that soars to the Heaven
on a wingless flight,
and lifted up the curtain of sensory perception,
sharing the glowing omniscience freely with the world.

Where hymns merged with Nature which man harbored no ambition to conquer:

Samudra-Vasane Devi Parvata-Stana-Mannddale |
              Vissnnu-Patni Namastubhyam Paada-sparsham Kssama-Svame*

 Where the spirit of self-government sprouted in Vaishali, before anywhere democracy dawned.

Where masterly statecraft Arthashastra had injunctions for the king:

“In the happiness of his subjects lies the king’s happiness, in their welfare his welfare”.

Where a monarch despised his own victory, and abjured the war
at the sight of the blood-soaked vanquished,
and lavished compassion on humans and animals alike.

Where architectural ingenuity envisioned bringing divinity to Earth–
celestial beauty, wrapped on intricate structures, breathed in crisscrosses and mazes on walls, windows, ceilings, and floors.

Where the mighty bowed to the enlightened, the affluent to purity,
where death wasn’t feared;
the promise of bliss and peace was assured to every soul.

But O’ it is the land
where the glaze of prosperity dazzled the outside world,
like the beauty of a woman inviting trouble.

It stumbled, it was plundered, it bled.

It is healing, rising again.

May we know its resurgence is tied to the rediscovery of its soul:
enlightenment, harmony, spirituality, peace
for it is the land where at the confluence of moral dhamma**
the streams of knowledge, military might, and commerce
once met.


    O’ Mother Earth, forgive us for touching You with our feet

** Law

Source: Excerpted from the Letter from the Editor, HAQ, Vol.16, 2014.

India: From the Lens of History

The Quagmire of Quickness

So persnickety about management of time,
we need fresh research into a normal heart rate.

We need to determine if the earth is slowing down
and has incentive to rotate, when we happen to treat
days and nights alike.

A dear I asked for her mailing address for my handwritten letter.
She preferred an email, saying: “That would be instant!”

The verbena with which I had embossed
the periphery of the fragrant paper
and the hand-drawn smiley circumscribed by stars
must have felt inferior to the efficient e-mail text,
which I spruced up with a couple of emoticons.
The soul of the letter I couldn’t replicate
as I set down regretting
the wastage of time over careful calligraphy.

And in the early morning, the grandma’s portrait fell down,
as if she had her own complaint:
“I have been grappling with understanding RIP!”


(Published in The Tower Journal, Fall 2013)

The Quagmire of Quickness

A Family Bond: Devotion versus Consumerism

Family MattersA family is founded when commitment triumphs over
the cleverly vile logic of sexual compatibility.
And the heart refuses to keep tenants:
couples realize they’re Humans!

and it is products—a cloth, a shoe, a toilet tissue —
that are gracefully suited for return,
vindicating the trust in a consumer’s sense of satisfaction.

A family then is “felt” when there is no complaint of boredom
with an existing relationship, whose bloom survives a partner’s death.
In this family, the child gets the lesson in willing sacrifice;
where the meaning of “bond” is seen beyond
its epistemological veil, since this is the bond
that the members have cemented and ably sustained,
unlike quick-fix solutions based on exigencies.

And that’s why in such a family, a wife can wait anxiously
for her husband who has been languishing for decades
as a prisoner of war in the foe’s jail:
and it is not the loss of delightful nights that she broods over,
but her’s husband’s safety. And there, unfortunately, might be people
who label her willing devotion “female subjugation”,
since to them it is predominantly
the loss of a night companion.

Family, indeed, matters as it can work both ways,
depending on what brings the couple together:
love or mere lust; commitment or convenience.
And the difference manifests here:
children might behave as tortoises that shut themselves off
when a tragedy hits the family;
and they might appear as swords
that out of sheaths assert themselves to slay adversities.

The minor nuisances, of course, I know of such extreme bonds
when crazily you eat, upon a flurry of insistences
and receive a thousand instructions on safety,
or in a foreign land you receive a call from parents who ask:
“Have you put on a warm jacket?”
And when you go back home, the neighbors—the extended family–
dare ask: “What’s for me?”

I love Indian family!

Source: “Family Matters” (anthology), Nivasini Publishers, 2013


A Family Bond: Devotion versus Consumerism

What Does a Girl Want?

 One who listens, and knows she may not be cheery all the time,
for giving mere pleasure her talk will not be destined for.

And he must heed her broken sentences uttered in grief,
 her incomprehensible words issued from joy,
 her apparently nonsensical questions emanating from curiosity,
 her imaginative stories and complex verses.
 She’s no cruel to test out his patience,
but he must be willing to leave her wondering what more to say!
What Does a Girl Want?