Beneath the Surface

When all the masks and facades fade

And all the lies are on the platform

For the world to see and judge

And you’re down on your knees

Begging. In your naked form.

 

You’re seen now only as you are.

That part of you carefully hidden

Scares me as much as it scares you.

Was the whole tryst worth it

That is the question.

 

You’re a human being

And human beings are filled with

All the evils imaginable

And do not open that Pandora’s box

Unless you’re prepared for the storm

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On wisdom

Hey stranger

Don’t promise me as you do

Don’t talk about eternal love

And don’t mention about forever.

You seem to be new to society

And the way humans interact

Not idly did my hair get this gray.

Don’t be so silly, don’t be so thick

That you actually believe in forever

Everything is fickle. Be a chameleon.

Live in the now, the present,

And no past can teach better

Than unkept promises of permanence.

Shopping

funny how the same four walls
flaking paint
sweet and sour counters 
and signs written in terrible english
can cause two people to make
two different journeys
back in time
childhoods and barely adulthoods
where things in singular become
things in plural

I had to stand on my toes to peek
over the counters
reaching for the bhakar vadi and khandwi
that would come to me anyway
I never have to stand on my toes nowadays

Except to stand in front of teli gali
in front of pallavi hotel and modern stores
and that medical store dude who gave
mum discounts because she spoke
in gujarati (it seemed)
that random podar p-22 bus
lakshmi vilas bank and seth doctor
visanji school and the milk
running from the strays
and to look straight down that road
into and above the traffic
the concrete and the memory
to catch a glimpse of something
i’ve shared with people I’ve never met
are they doing the same?

thanks for the vada pav.

Murder

I have woken up dead

with your tears still

melting my ice

more times than I care to remember

 

When it comes to killing myself

I’m a bit of an expert

I’ve casually toyed with the ghost

of my twitching body

as if it were play dough.

 

And then there are the paper-cuts

scratches and wounds I watch fester.

All these scars have left me feeling

alive, because death doesn’t hurt.

 

I guess I am a bitter man.

I will kill myself just to

see you cry.

 

This isn’t about me.

This is about the things I’ll never be.

This is about the things I’ll never know.

 

Your dream tears have sustained me for too long.

I write to explain myself to me.

But here I am, run out of time

run out of excuses.

Like my dreams, this paper stretches on,

the ink won’t run dry.

 

Here I am,

prince of my own kingdom

master of my own doom

stuck in a dream

between sunrises and sunsets.

On introspection

Each one of you

 

Is some percent void and some percent light

And forever the two poles are at war

Your soul is the general of both armies

And your consciousness is the only buffer.

 

You are biased, aren’t you?

Some days the void wins.

Some days the light prevails.

 

Only you can stop the void from consuming your consciousness

Only you can stop the light from bleaching away your mind.

 

Only you can maintain that crucial equilibrium

Only you can preserve yourself in peace.

On memories

Not a hundred bad days can take this from me

This moment of euphoria. Unhindered gaiety.

The kind of laughter that hurts your tummy.

After a while, you don’t even need a reason.

Your mind can make you laugh at anything.

 

‘Tis a fleeting moment, frozen forever in time

Etched in my memory like a quaint carving

And although so many memories blur and fade

This remains crystal clear, and recurs readily

Filling the daily monotones with hues of respite.

 

Not a hundred bad days, a million mistakes,

No kind of hurt, and no amount of pain

Can take the beauty of this moment away.

 

On humour

 

So many layers of smiles, laughter

Laughter that reaches your eyes

And stays there like an imprint

Your very own brand of sarcasm

Ready wit, and non stop puns.

 

And underneath layers and layers

Is a scared little boy crying.

 

Who thinks himself worthless

Who would never show his hurt

Unless it is masked as a joke.

So the world will laugh. Only laugh.

Like your life is a joke. It’s not.