Monday, December 16, 2013


Wind swept aside
lies beneath
the voluminous shalwar
She has bowed legs

Published in Lakeview International Journal of Arts and Literature, August 2013 [pg 15]


No escaping my shadow.
Sharper the light, more
intensely she appears. In
darkness, stalks unseen.

Published Lakeview International Journal of Arts and Literature [Pg 15]



When the light-sensitive.
have departed and the wind 
storms at wooded trunk
no-one speaks of the turbulence
Published in the August issue of Lakeview International Journal of Arts and Literature [Pg 15]

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Being Untidy

Usually, I tidy up before going to bed.
A ritual of putting things in their place.
Even thoughts are filed.  I never sleep
without removing my made-up face. 

Last night, nestling against the crumpled heap
of discarded clothes; a strange comfort I felt
hiding myself in the chaotic folds.

Too tired to pick up the mess
living had created. I pressed the remote
and saw a movie
of someone else’s life instead

Published: Brown Critique e-journal
August 2012


Inadvertant Voyeur

My fountain pen needed a new nib. In search of the pen-wala
on the pavement outside Regal Cinema, I trudged from Gurgaon
to Connaught Place. Pen repaired, I walked back to my car, parked
near Hanuman Mandir from behind Allahabad bank, passing
the newly built Cervantes Cultural Institute, down the adjacent
alley where an unusual scene unfolded. I couldn’t stop to savour
its sights and sounds, as the smell of garbage was offensive. But
did notice the lone man who tended it all; sorting glass from metal
and bio-degradable, stacking them in green municipality containers,
neatly lined by the side of the street, labelled in English. He wore a
blood-red coat over khaki pants and a pointing to the sky, dirty beige,
knitted topi and sat on a rickety chair, soaking in the fading afternoon
sun, smoking a bidi. Dogs of every mongrel shape and variegated hue
were his companions, snuggling in the warmth of garbage dumped.
Especially drawn to the toekadi’s[i] that lined the lane, brimming
with fabric remnants, probably from a nearby garment manufacturing
unit, in each I spied a tightly curled up pup, its head lost in the heap;
a little mound of fur among the rags. The melodious strains of Umaro
Jaan’s “dil cheez kya hai, aap meri jaan leejiye, bus ek baar mera
kahan, maan leejiye”[ii],filled the air. I wanted to stop and stare,
photograph each eccentric  nuance in visual memory, but my heels
refused to pause their clicking stride and the odour killed my curiosity.
It isn’t a scene oft encountered and was enchanted not for the way of
life it afforded, but in realization this too is one, albeit far removed
from mine and yet not; for right there in the middle of elegant steel
and glass towers of corporate might, alongside Delhi’s churi-wala
bazaar[iii] and famed Hanuman Mandir, I was reminded by this topi-
coat-wala[iv] of my own frustrated struggle through unkempt minds,
of living amongst those who haven’t yet learned to clean up
for themselves. I wanted to ask about his family, where he was from,
where he lived and how he had come to take on this job; if he hated it
or not. Iwondered why the labels were in English, how literate he was
and what language he spoke and wanted to know how he coped with
the smell: ploughing through dirt for his trade. I thought of the dogs
wrapped in cut ends and wondered what they’d say, if I gave them  
a lush blanket in a wicker basket bought from a luxury pet store.
Instead, strutting in my high heels, tight jeans, manicured hands
and fragile nostrils, I ran as fast as I could, for I knew what a life
could be where the stench was too much to bear.

[i] Locally made bamboo baskets
[ii] From the Hindi film ‘Umrao Jaan’– “oh what is my heart worth, take my life instead, but just once oblige me by doing what I may ask of you.”
[iii] Bangle[glass] market
[iv] Hat and coat man
Published: Brown Critique e-journal
August 2012


I took a step forward to descend the stairs
when she called out – careful!
Alerted, I shifted my gaze, looking
for her face in the crowd below
when I saw your nervous fingers
running through a premature grey, that
once was a dark and rebellious mane.

Clinking glasses, kissing the air, speaking
with an engagement I didn’t feel,
the evening seemed so unreal. Yearning
to touch, to talk: you were just
a breath’s reach away, but not a word
was said and neither stole or shared
a glance nor looked away.

As strangers, we came together
in this cocktail hour of pretence.

Published: Brown Critique e-Journal
August 2012

Waking Murmurs

Birds chirping, pigeons cooing and
colliding with window panes; sharp
rasping barks, the incessant chatter
of guards and cleaners wafting  
upwards, disabling that first soft hour
as the alarm sings me awake.
Ignoring this odd symphony, I loll.
But cars honk as they tread the tarmac.
Doorbells chime. A baby cries.
Its mother yells at the maid
and that rare moment is lost
when I wanted to snuggle the curves,
caressing the idea I slept with last night.

Published:  Criterion e-journal
VOLUME III ISSUE II, JUNE 2012- ISSN- 0976- 8165