But Pleasure.

Pleasure. Haah!
What is pleasure
I ask of you?
Is it the thought
of that one time
when you embarrassed yourself
in front of a dozen people
and the reminiscence
of it, way into the future?

You know you have grown up since then.

Or is it the thought
of a dream come true
and the daily excuse you give
for not being able to sleep
and term it as insomnia,
and late into the night
when you are alone with yourself
you look into the mirror of your eyes
and see yourself standing there
your dream come true?
You know you’ll never grow out of it.

Or is it that subtle pain
that you ignore each day
with regards heartbreak
or a cup breaking in your kitchen
as you do the dishes;
when, though the noise is not the same,
you know that both are now useless
as for what they existed before?
You know you’re growing
by the second, after each first.

Is the pleasure in those firsts,
or the past of the last?
Or is it in the fact
that there is nothing,
for those who seek,
but pleasure, but pleasure, but pleasure?

The Magic in a Word

‘Splash!’
the fish dives back
into the ocean
like a word
that jumps out
from the depths
of an ocean
and springs a thought
in the vastness
of the reader’s mind
like eddies
that disturb
a true picture
of the sun
on the calm surface.

But the eddies
are too small
and the fish
too insignificant
to the ocean,
but look
through a painter’s eyes
and you’ll find
what magic
the fish just created.

And thus, a word,
individually,
or in a sentence,
or a phrase,
paragraph, chapter
and as a story
in its entirety,
pleads the reader
to catch it
with a rod
and delight
in the universe
of possibilities for it
to be made into
‘magic’.

At the Battlefield

You there,
all of you!
Stand by my side.
Be my arms,
and allow me
to be your shield
and remember,
that with each strike
which blows your way
I’ll have a chest
blocking it.

But do stand,
firm, by my side;
for even though
I have a few stars
in addition to yours
and you have
a few medals scarce,
you are my strengths.

And then too,
no bullet pierced a man
counting medals or stars
and no sword
cut shallower
on he who stood affront
but he who stood alone
died, for sure
at the ground
where we stand now.

So, let me be a friend
and invite you to feast
on my spirits
and dine on my arms
and drink my sweat
and blood,
but do bring empty,
bottomless chalices
for each drop
that falls on the earth
is a spirit
of our enemies raised.

Do take a pledge
to live today
but do swear
to yourselves
that you’ll die
if at all,
on your own terms,
and, if you stand,
today, beside me,
you’ll die, as it is,
standing.

Now go ahead and live
each step that you,
running forward,
can, before you find death,
and remember
that a soldier’s life
is best lived short.

Live with me today.

I Love You, Too

She knew loneliness. She knew it through the hand that slid under the blanket to find nothing but her own cold body each winter morning; she knew it through the aroma of the coffee in the mug in front of her, lying, for an hour now, right next to the one that she drank; she knew it through the stationary swing that she was sitting on, hoping for a gentle push; she knew it through the dust that covered the thrillers in the racks above those that had her own books neatly placed in them, which she would dust every now and then; and she knew it through the unserviced car which was overdue to be looked through its engine for a while now.

But each rainy evening, sipping on some hot tea: her eyes glued to the words of a novel but her mind ridiculing the author by not enticing her to visit the world which he created in his literature, she would take off the plain platinum ring which she had on for more than four decades now, and, to ward off the loneliness, would strike at it to hear her dead husband’s “I Love You, Too…” in the most loving of voices.

Communion with Men

I just couldn’t but pity the state
of the feather that was forced
off its choice to brush against
a sandpaper, time and again.

But then, options are scarce
for those with a metallic bosom
and skinned are they, to shreds,
who are hostile to dominance.

And, thus, but for condolence
the white cloud of an angel
expected nil, from those that,
out of empathy, ever noticed.

I could have, of my accord
reveal her legitimate hope
of a touch of a frothy mist
that radiated her own delicacy.

I could have, that and more
had it been a bit approved,
except, negative criticism
is not what charity deserves.

So, despite helpless remorse
I was tied, hands, feet, teeth
and, in all the traditional revelry
I let the lesbian get married.

What is Happiness?

What can be better compared to death
than-

the tender laughter of a newborn
that oscillates between shrieking cries?

the moment of truth, of triumph
of an infant as he walks without a guide?

the elevation of a misery prone
heart before a crash in a separating tide?

the solemnizing of heavenly oaths
in the ignorance of blatantly told lies?

the grip of your own seed, in hope
that his tiny fingers’ll be forever tight?

the welcoming home after the last
day of toils hoping it a final goodbye?

the expectant eyes of loved ones
around you, despite inevitable demise?

-happiness?

The Dawn of Death

Freeing themselves
from the clutches of darkness
and embracing light
the eyes took a few moments
to find solid ground.

It wasn’t every morning
that the eyes were blessed
to such tranquility,
or had a chance
to experience utter serenity-

as if they were walking
through an orchard
of white roses
or snow covered cornfields
on a monsoon evening;

or as if,
walking through cotton groves,
they heard the call
of doves and found themselves
in front of a wan hued lake;

like the brush of a father’s
hand through one’s hair
or a mother’s gesture
of taking a son into her arms
after the toils of a sunny day.

There had been mornings
when they couldn’t wake up,
and those they didn’t want
to awaken, and then there were
mornings that came and went.

But this was a special dawn
when the eyes did awaken
and woke up quite fresh
but the new day’s start
didn’t equate to a morning.

But then I hope that such dawns
are not exclusive to me,
and then, after life
each one is blessed
with such a dawn of death.

The Kingdom of Death

I shall walk
through a petalled pathway
snaking between thorns
into the kingdom of death,
where only those live
that have sacrificed life
and have learnt to breathe
in the wake
of an inevitable demise.

The pathway that treads
towards the kingdom
is the purgatory
after I have been liberated,
and before I learn
to live in the freedom
that had me chained
from the boundlessness
that lay ahead of me.

So, hold my hands
and let me be led
by those that I lead
and we’ll all cross over
beyond the chains
that restrict our souls
to the humble dichotomy
of heaven and hell
and let us all run
into the kingdom of death.

ज़िंदगी के बाद की सुबह

अंधेरे की गिरफ्त से निकलकर
रोशनी को गले लगाते हुए
आँखें कुछ देर दंग ही रहीं…

ऐसा हर सुबह नहीं होता था
की इतनी शीतलता नसीब हो,
इतना श्‍वेत दिखाई पड़े उन्हें…

जैसे सफेद गुलाबों के मैदान से, या 
सर्दी में भुट्टों के खेतों से निकलते,
कोई बरसाती मौसम की शाम देखे…

या रूई के बागानों से गुज़रते 
कोई बतखों की आवाज़ सुने
तालाब किनारे पहुंच जाये…

जैसे पापा सर पर हाथ फैरायें 
या मा तपती दोपहर के बाद
घर आते ही गले लगाये…

कयी सुबह मेरी आँख ना खुली,
कयी सुबह खोलने का मन ना हुआ
कयी सुबह आकर चली गयी…

पर येह सुबह शायद खास थी
जब आँखें खुली तो खूब खुली
पर लगा नहीं की सुबह ही हो…

काश ऐसा सिर्फ मेरे साथ ना हो
काश ज़िंदगी के बाद एक ऐसी ही-
मौत की सुबह- सभ के नसीब में हो।

A Tale of Entwined Souls

The bricks seemed old,
the paint worn and torn
and the crevices on the wall
had green wild springing up
in the godliest of manners.

The old house had seen
many a sun, moon and cloud
in the centuries it had lived
among the other, new ones,
that had taken birth recently.

To any passerby, it was an oddity,
a misfit old orphan, a reject,
a lame being in a marathon
and a blind in a painting school;
it was clearly not meant to be.

And thus, the humans around,
(it laughed boring new cracks
each time it thought of them
as humans… for it, they weren’t)
had planned to lay it to rest.

The humans, (“hahahaha…”)
had heard of an old man, who,
though residing in the building
had rarely been seen outside-
not even for a pound of fresh air.

And thus, when they were ready
to euthanize the centuries-old,
they first, wanting to make sure
that the man was safely evacuated,
entered the building, covertly.

Their plans to lead him out
had them surprised as they saw,
lying peacefully on the sofa,
an old man but recently dead.
Some souls really are entwined.