In Memory

they lie.
Mother Earth
inhumes them all.
Sistersa misweaving
their colourful carpets.
Even the red dye flowing
through our throbbing lives cannot match
what the Sistersa initially wove.
And their tender smiles- ever more- unmatched.

Note: This is an etheree, a non-rhyming ten line poem, where each line has as many syllables as the line number.

a: Sisters of Fate

The death of kings!

Since King Abdullah died, I recall a poem which I’d read many many years ago. It was by Hur Chandra Dutt, and was titled, Aurangazeb at his father’s bier.

Aurangazeb was the sixth Mughal emperor- after Babar, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. He’d adopted the title Alamgir. Indian historians- often governed by the far right ideology- hardly have anything good to say about Aurangazeb. However, one must remember that at the end of the day, he was human. No person is wholly good, nor wholly bad.

But that is all, by the bye. The following poem is the poet’s imagination. It talks about Aurangazeb’s remorse on learning that his father, Shah Jahan had passed away. Shah Jahan, after the death of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, had become senile, and was more often than not, drunk. While his sons battled for the throne, Aurangazeb had emerged victorious.

I searched a lot on the internet, but I was unable to find the poem. So, I’m reproducing it from memory. 12 years is a long time! I may have missed a line somewhere, perhaps the 13th, but then, I wish to draw the reader’s attention to the last stanza.

The monarch lay upon his bier
Censers were burning low,
As through the lofty arches streamed
The setting sun’s red glow.

Still grasped he in his hand the blade
Which well fought fields had won,
And Aurangazeb beside him knelt
Usurper, proud and son.

Remorse had stricken his false heart
And quenched his wonted fire,
With gloomy brow and look intent
He gazed upon his sire.

Hot tears burst from his eyes,
As thus his grief found vent in words
To the warrior trains surprise.

“Father thou were the goodliest king
That e’er the scepter swayed,
How could I then lift up my hand
Against thee undismayed?

How could I sent thee here to pine,
usurp the peacock throne,
O! had I perished in the womb
That deed were left undone.

Look all is changed that was estranged
Awake my sire, my king,
Look soldiers in their war array
Thy son in fetters bring,

Thy rebel son who will abide
Thy word whate’er it be,
Fearless meet the rack or steel
Rise up once more and see.

Thy will not hear, thy will not speak
It is the last long sleep,
And am I not a king myself
What means these stirrings deep.

O! foolish eyes what means these rheum,
I will not call them tears,
My heart which nothing e’er
Could daunt is faint with boding fears.

The past appears! A checker’d field
Of guilt and shame and war,
What evil influence ruled my birth,
What swart malignant star?

Why did I barter peace of mind
For royal pomp and state?
Mad for the baleful meteor’s gleam
With worldly joys elate.

Remembered voices speak my name
And call me parricide,
The murdered Dara beckons me
he was thy joy and pride.

And thus I fling this dear bought crown
but wither can I fly?
The awful thought still follows me
That even kings will die.

Another Year!!!

I’m supposed to be doing something important.

I’m supposed to be doing something of significance; my mug of coffee sits right next to me, for I intend to work through the night. While others, outside my apartment, revel in the celebration of the upcoming year, I have to get some work done.

But as is wont, I have decided to throw caution to the winds. And instead, I recall a poem that I’d read a while ago… The poem in question is by William Wordsworth- the great romantic.

November 1806

Another year!—another deadly blow!
Another mighty Empire overthrown!
And We are left, or shall be left, alone;
The last that dare to struggle with the Foe.
‘Tis well! from this day forward we shall know
That in ourselves our safety must be sought;
That by our own right hands it must be wrought;
That we must stand unpropped, or be laid low.
O dastard whom such foretaste doth not cheer!
We shall exult, if they who rule the land
Be men who hold its many blessings dear,
Wise, upright, valiant; not a servile band,
Who are to judge of danger which they fear,
And honour which they do not understand.

When Wordsworth wrote this piece, he was obviously referring to Napoleon’s victory at Jenna which began the process, starting mid-October, of the overthrowing of Prussia.

And although the poem does talk about an era gone by, it interests me that the verses still reverberate, over ten score years later. Another mighty Empire may not have fallen in 2014- not directly, Ukraine being an exception (but let’s face it, it wasn’t mighty), but I submit that Emperors, and by extension, Empires have changed in the time that has elapsed between Wordsworth and us.

From a society that lived in communities, to a society that revolves around the individual, we’ve grown to becoming emperors of ourselves. And hence, when each individual right has been snatched in the year gone by, an Empire has fallen. In ourselves, safety has been sought. In our unity, we’ve tried our best to show our foes the power we hold, united. Sure, our battles have been lost- but then, the war isn’t over.

But then, the fall of an empire doesn’t necessarily imply vacuum. The fall of an empire, more often than not, has led to the birth of another. It isn’t always as Marullus exclaimed, “What tributaries follow him to Rome?”.  And in the year gone by, rose an empire- if we may call it so- but unfortunately, its leader is a thug; its foes are thugs and its supporters are thugs. So, what reason is there for us to exult? The men, who rule the land hold no blessings dear. Their twisted understanding of politics and theology makes them unwise beings… their disregard for human life makes them cowards- for in their desire to keep their subjects under servile fearfulness, they reveal their dishonour.

Which eventually brings us back to the land that claims civilisation. A land that has oft’ emerged as a winner- and hence its historians tend to paint history in with their colours. But to be rational, must one not disassociate oneself from one’s surroundings and look at things from a distance? What difference lies between us and them? In both places, the subjects are neglected. In both places, human trafficking exists. In both places, human life is devalued- especially if it belongs to another race or faith. And yet, we’re told that “they’re different”.

True, another year has gone. And another deadline has been missed. But the broken world that we wake up to, the fragments created by our boundaries, the irresponsible use of our vetoes that has devalued human freedom, makes the world ache.

One hopes that a new world order is on her way. One prays that Arundhati Roy’s hearing is sound, when she said that she could “hear her breathing”. But until we confirm the veracity of that, “We are left, or shall be left, alone.”

In solitude I sit


Slowly, silently, slithering through the city’s
shadows, sword drawn so high,
that I could see,
it shine
under the silent skies.

In solitude I sit,
waiting for some respite
from the fears that follow
my mind. In solitude I sit,
waiting for some sweetness of
her grace. In solitude I sit,
anticipating the dawn of
the rising moon.

So, then, should I run
and maintain my silence
when I see the gun,
blood and violence?

Slowly, silently, slithering through the city’s
shadows, someone calls,
piercing through the darkness, names
so scary, that I could hear
myself shiver
under the soundless skies.

In solitude I sit,
waiting for some respite
from the fears that follow
my mind. In solitude I sit,
waiting for some sweetness of
her grace. In solitude I sit,
waiting for the clouds (so
dark) to disperse.

So then, should I sit
and quietly whisper,
supplicate a bit,
make my mettle crisper?

Slowly, silently, and surely it returned,
shattering through the city’s narrow
domestic walls. Swords sheathed
and guns holstered. And I whisper
to the ground, all fours.

In solitude I sit,
and bit by bit,
as I bite my lips,
my hopes eclipse
the darkness there is.
The great Seer
won’t let this disappear.
The great Hearer will not tune down
the noise from the town.
Tears flow down my cheeks now
and what was once an aue
is now a source of strength
slowly but surely, at arm’s length.

The wait…


As the mist came
With the dawn of the rising moon;
And the dull grey spread
O’er trees, bazaars and runes,
On an empty street, silent and


The old man walked the streets-
A wooden leg.
With a letter clutched
Firmly betwixt his fingers;
His heart as light as a


His pocket watch
Rolls along, with the arrow
Of time. And in the corner he sees two
Bright lights. A sense of fear comes
O’er him. Then he hears a dog


He walks along, frowning at
The cur. The letter now,
Soaked in sweat.
He wishes to see his beloved.
Reaching the end of his walk;
He looks up at the sign on the


The clock tower
Rolls along, with the arrow
Of time. And in his dreariness, he
Walks to his wife. There she lay,
Pale and alone. Empty.
He lies then beside her,
And waits…

On unwanted relationships



Black and tiny, it decided to
Separate from its tribe and hide
In the company of whites.
While the rest of its pack went about
With their businesses, fulfilling their
Purpose, it remained stuck in its place.
A place where none could reach:

Damp, dank and stinky.

Causing a mild discomfort to the
Owner of the place, for the owner
lost his empty space.
With strong muscles he tried,
But black and tiny, would not budge.

So much so, that when his muscles got tired,
The owner decided to give his muscles a rest.
But he never gave up.
The more he tried, the more black and tiny
Lodged itself into the owner’s property.
The owner was reluctant,
And would never give up.

And black and tiny, was adamant.
He would not leave.

Until finally, the owner, having no other option
Decided to use a weapon- a sharp needle
Which could go into the annuls of his
Teeth and get rid of the black and tiny seed.

With the seed dislodged
From between the teeth,
relief came over the


 His tongue, now lonely,
Still searches for the seed.