Castles in the air - they are so easy to take refuge in. And so easy to build, too.

आम्हां घरी धन शब्दांचीच रत्नें | शब्दांचीच शस्त्रें यत्न करुं ||
शब्द चि आमुच्या जीवांचे जीवन | शब्दें वांटूं धन जनलोकां ||
तुका म्हणे पाहा शब्द चि हा देव | शब्द चि गौरव पूजा करुं ||
- abhang of Tukaram Wolhoba Ambile of Dehu

There's No Freedom Like That of a Child's Imagination

கடலுக்கு உண்டு கற்பனைக்கு இல்லை கட்டுப்பாடு

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Weeds - A tapestry poem with Shernaz Wadia

Shernaz's poem


we bloom invisible, undesirable
among your well-laid out ornamentals
you wage war on us wanting our annihilation

rejected root, stem and flower by you
we areat times privileged to be
someone else’s invaluable blossoms;

if replanted tenderly, we flourish in
the warmth of nurturing hearts and homes
our healing powers redeeming their emptiness


My poem


"Clear off” they said, "no space for beggars,
VIP movement is on, move on, move on”
So we moved on, and that wasn’t such a problem

for we’re the flotsam, the jetsam, the unwanted
c/o footpath; we’re the ones with the tangled
hair and the red-eyed looks outside Gucci stores

hoping for a tenner that’ll get us a tin of shoe-polish
that’ll keep the hunger away until you throw away
that stale wadapao. No problem, we’ll clear off.


Tattoos – Tapestry


"Clear off” you said, "no space for beggars,
VIP movement is on, move on, move on”
So rejected root, stem and flower by you
we moved on, and that wasn’t such a problem

You wage war on us wanting our annihilation
for we’re the flotsam, the jetsam, the unwanted
we bloom invisible, undesirable
among your well-laid out ornamentals -
c/o footpath. We’re the ones with the tangled
hair and the red-eyed looks outside Gucci stores

We could be someone else’s invaluable blossoms
worth the warmth of nurturing hearts and homes
if replanted tenderly; but we are at times privileged to hope
for a tenner that’ll get us a tin of shoe-polish
and that stale wadapao you throw away;
those will BE the healing powers we flourish in
that keep the hunger away while redeeming our emptiness.

No problem, we’ll clear off.

(First published at Rate My Literature, 1 September 2016)

What is tapestry poetry?

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

the taste of sea breeze

Our e-book, the taste of sea breeze, was published as a celebration of two years of IN haiku Mumbai. This anthology contains haiku, tanka, senryu, haibun and renku, alongside a form which we think we invented - the renbun (haibun linked to each other on the lines of renku).



Available on Amazon.in, it is edited by Rohini Gupta (who also did the cover), with contributions from Paresh Tiwari, Mahrukh Bulsara, Brijesh Raj, Gautam Nadkarni, Sandra Martyres, Kasturi Jadhav, Rochelle Potkar and yours truly.

Read the reviews here.

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Tattoos - A tapestry poem with Shernaz Wadia

Shernaz's poem


she survives your spitefulness
inked indelibly on her tattooed psyche
past years mute alibi to the sting

with your spiky jibes hematoma
has discoloured the dermis of her mind
it’s scarification is grossly brutal

but the poison of your reprisals
has not crushed her courage; her doughty
spirit has in fact devastated you


My poem


All they need is a young mind, raw from within and
hurt by the deep scars of history. Some come as
india ink on paper - called Koran, or Bible or Geeta -

indoctrinated into the brain by incessant repetition.
Some as the chants of priests and monks, in strange
intonations often accompanied by incense. Or blasted

from loudspeakers, a call to arms against imagined foes.
They all leave scars, fresh for a new generation to be
inked. Not everything requires a sterilised steel needle.


Tattoos – Tapestry



They survive your spitefulness - young minds,
raw from within, hurt by the deep scars of history
inked indelibly on their tattooed psyche;

and past years mute alibi to the sting. Not
everything requires a sterilised steel needle: all
you need is india ink on paper, called

Koran or Bible or Geeta. Hematoma has
discoloured the dermis of their minds,
indoctrinated by incessant repetition of

your spiky jibes. They all leave scars, fresh for a
new generation to be inked. The scarification,
 in strange intonations often accompanied

by incense, is grossly brutal. But the poison of your
reprisals – some come as the chants of priests
and monks, or some as a call to arms

against imagined foes blasted from loudspeakers
into the brain –  has not crushed their courage. Their
doughty spirit has in fact devastated you.

(First published at Rate My Literature, 26 June 2016)

What is tapestry poetry?

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Summer - A tapestry poem with Shernaz Wadia

My poem


This summer I made a bonfire of my loves.
Beneath the pregnant clouds and still air
Of the sweltering nights, as the breeze died,
My remembrances of us together – yellow
Like the oleander, thespesia and laburnum—
I let them burn, and lend themselves to the ash.
They scatter as the rising wind whistles, playing
Chinese whispers with the fresh-leaved trees;
The dust has a new smell: rain at last, rain at last!


Shernaz Wadia's poem


ferocious heat scorches villages
the debris of funeral rites
and cadavers adorn river beds;
parched throats vie with the aridity
of cracked earth and barren fields
Ah! the murderous inclemency
fuelled by man’s rapaciousness!
Aircons buzz, fans whine in urban homes
And water runs wastefully from taps


Summer – Tapestry


This summer, as aircons buzz and fans
whine, the dust has a new smell: of
cracked earth, barren fields and
cadavers in the still air of sweltering
nights; parched throats vie with the
aridity of ferocious heat; the murderous

inclemency — fuelled by man’s rapaciousness —
even though water runs wastefully
from taps in urban homes!
My remembrances of us
together scorched me; in the dying breeze
I made a bonfire of my loves, I let them

burn with the yellow-leaved oleander,
thespesia and laburnum that adorn river
beds; They lend themselves to the ash like
debris of funeral rites. And scatter as the
rising wind whistles, playing Chinese
whispers: Rain at last; Ah! Rain at last!

(First published at Rate My Literature, 11 June 2016 and republished at tapestrypoetry.webs.com)

What is tapestry poetry?

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Monday, June 27, 2016

The asexual atheist's dictionary

At the nth party (a social obligation) someone comments that they've never seen you with a female partner. Then someone else will sensibly point out that you've never been seen with a male partner either.

Catch the rest of it here: http://www.bonobology.com/features/226/relationships/the-asexual-atheists-dictionary

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

सिद्धार्थ

क्या मेले के गुब्बारे कभी ख़ामोशी की तलाश में भटकते होंगे? क्या पूनम का चान्द कभी अमावस की आस रखता होगा? शहर की बसों ने कभी ढूँढी होंग किसी गाँव का रस्ता? क्या सागर की मछलियों ने एक दिन किसी वीरान कुएँ का ख़्वाब देखा होगा?

मैंने न तलाश की न ख़्वाब देखे हैं,  इन सियाही की लकीरों में मैं कबसे गुमशुदा हूँ|

पीपल वृक्ष —
एक त्रिकोण पत्ते
में समक्ष भू

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Tall Tales

My first public storytelling performance. Tickets Rs 750, at the door.

The Barking Deer, Mathuradas Mill Compound, Lower Parel, Mumbai.

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