Big Bad Wolf

I try to tell stories to this girl
whose eyes sparkle and who can’t sit still
who wants to fly, who believes in magic,
but the big bad wolf always blows the house down

little miss red riding hood
is not allowed to leave her house
the forest is blood, the wolf is blood
the wolf is a human in cheap disguise

all these wolves
hanging by the door of the local train
wearing grandmother costumes
wearing their faces

hiding in plain sight
arguing over the blood like the drops are ipl teams
amma always says when you point your fingers at somebody
four are pointing right back at you

I’m sorry little miss red riding hood
if I’m not the wolf I’m the forest
we bleed the same blood anyway
I’m sorry
but the big bad wolf has blown the house down



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.


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.


in the darkness, composing sonnets for
shadows, running away from your voice
and quivering feet that beat in meter
with the music of the trees

the trees, the trees
there are no trees
except the ones in my colouring book
paper trees humming silently

i shall compare thee to summer
when it sings you rain
or is it the other way around
your words are an avalanche
there’s no point in running from you
you are the sun
you shine everywhere

hiding in silence
is not a very good idea
silence is a very harsh music
for unprepared ears


Falling stars, by movco 

message in a bottle

The snake in your room is a little different from the snake in mine
your snake being yours
and mine being mine

stuck between home and not-quite
because they are the same in the sea
we are flotsam staying up through poetry

I’m hiding in plain sight
screaming to be seen
a message in a bottle
between Mumbai and Delhi,
between oceans of stories, not knowing
how to come or go

knowing only that I must float