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Barbarians at the Gate.

My heart went its own merry way,
carrying water and making food.
tick tock tick tock,
fast goes the clock.
fall in love
eat your fill
find your dreams
make some money
love your job
love your life
fall in love,
contentment
all that shit
first-world-problems
stand in a queue
mosquito bites
faster and faster
make babies
raise a family
wipe their tears.
War, they are whispering,
“barbarians at the gate”,
you say with a sneer
and tousle your daughters hair,

and then

BOOM!

Everything stopped.

I search for my daughter in the rubble
blood is there.
blood is everywhere.
Find ways to console your little one.
another bomb falls
you lose your house
you lose your shirt
you lose your wife
you lose your meaning
contentment? what’s that?
water? oh yeah, a few drops left
music, whats that?
sleep under the stars?
Romantic you say?
I will take a roof any day.

Answer her questions
where is mother?
mothers gone for a walk, darling.
where is food?
food is coming to us darling.
why are you crying?
these are tears of joy, baby
make her sleep, hungry
rub her little belly
steal food from other children’s plates.
camps can be fun,
you teach her
all sleeping together
squashed
religion gives a hoot of laughter
I got you where I wanted, motherfuckers!!

your little one sitting under a tarpaulin
covered in grime
some bastard’s telling her, I will give candies
she comes asking
why he touched her there
and there and there
she feels violated
hold her
feel that anger rise
kill that kid-toucher when he is sleeping
Find yourself hunched up
hiding under a fallen roof
crying and clawing at your hand
to make it stop
make it stop!

Aah Politics!
Aaah Humanity!
Such a parody!
War is my reality
This is what hell feels like
But the joke’s on me
cz I know the worse has not even begun.
big people talk about countries
and regions and black money
and currency devaluation
and obama and modi and osama
and trump and hillary
and yemen and palestine and israel
india and pakistan
little people we are
cant find the luxury to like our life.
Nationalism, they say.
I need to love something that rapes me!

Don’t you bloody patronize me!
feel that violence burning inside you
Is it anger or hunger?
they all seem the same after a while.

Laughter lines, you say?
Bloody fancy name for wrinkles
on a 12 year old’s face
she has fainted!!!!
there is blood on her pants
there is blood on her hands
please, god, please
save my little one!
But the last hospital got bombed
all of those little suckers dead
but.. but what about hope?
Is that what we call
this twisted joke?
Papa, you said, its gonna be alright!
She closes her eyes. 

Look in a broken glass
wipe your last invisible squeezed out tear
in a choked out eulogy.
War-bred.
and now you are the
“barbarians at the gate”.
hahahahaha.
hysterical laughter
oh, i see!
thats how you create a monster!

That is how we started,
and that is how we lost.

war8

Stranger Things.

Our hands they went
fast and slow
here and there,
explaining our ridges
in the joining of our bodies
Our contours, changing with each other.

Carving letters into our skin
changing our stories in incomplete ways
We will never be the same again
my subconscious tries to gather
strands of sanity
that are clinging too far away
for me to really care.

Time was timeless
and shapes, shapeless
words appeared out of o’s of lips
bursting out and flying of in the
overflow of these feelings.

Lights have danced in darker places before, baby..
and candles have flickered in dangers worse than this
but looking into those bottomless eyes
in the enclosure made by our curved bodies
I was enfolded in the embrace of my nightmares
loving it till it spread it’s wings and then,
You seemed to be the daemon burst out of my sins.

difficult

Darling!
Stranger things have happened,

than you and me
falling out of love..
But in the tragedy of it,
That seems to be the strangest of all. 

 

Featured image is by Space Ink via Tumbler.

Wine for Two, Glass for One.

Wine glass in hand,
we sat across from each other,
far in the corner of the
crowded room.
Silence prevailed,
bitten back words,
nails chewed down
to stumps,
bloody eyes,
unshed tears
from unsaid words.
They screamed at you,
my emotions,
my fears,
banging against the
delicate wall I had
built to keep them in.

Scream and scream,
bang and bang.

2


The table was round I remember,
with small holes gouged into the wood,
maybe from other nervous fingers,
ghosts of memories floated up to us
like question marks.
Has the wine loosened our tongues yet?
I certainly am ready to spill
my heart
but how do I stop the flood
that will drown me,
drown you,
and so, drown me again?

We thought ‘you’ and ‘me’ did
not exist and that
we were but one,
but suddenly here we are,
a table between us,
“two” bottles of wine,
one yours and one mine..
Our fingers, inches away from
each other’s,
like kept at bay by an invisible wall.

Seems fitting, doesn’t it?
When everything about us is
coming to an end?
When you will be somewhere
and I,
I will be somewhere else?

“The name of the poem was suggested by my lovely friend Christian Roca.”

One Flag to Unite them All!

Really I see you my flag
In all your resplendent glory
of the three stripy colors
the wheel in the middle
sitting like a proud king in its chair

I see you my flag
on this day when I remember
I remember a bloodied history
bandied about as non-violent
while being torn apart into countries
which will forever be suspicious
of babies sent through the border

What is a “country” you say?
You see people bending down
in front of you,
a piece of cloth
while they never mention this word
what is a country, you ask?
Do I stand for something?
Am I not the only thing you should worship?

And thats when I realize
most of all have not come far from our past
we are still simple pasturers and herders
who have bitten off more than we can chew
idol worship is all we understand
and blind faith comes easily to us
all those genetics we proudly proclaim
to set us apart from baboons
and the humans of the past.

We call ourselves homo-sapiens-sapiens now
cz we have evolved beyond any doubt
while all I can see is that rocks and stones
have been replaced by flags and phones
we need a mascot
to pray to
and a mascot
to place our blames.

Yes, lets lynch the idiot
who wore a flag on his body
yes, lets lynch the idiot
who said he did not want it
lets lynch the idiot who said
we are all a bunch of monkeys
lets lynch the idiot
who wants to unveil our games
Lets get offended by all and sundry
lets proclaim very loudly to be equalitarians
who then go around gunning feminist men!

Today we understand the letters of the 
word
“Country”
and we understand the letters of the word
“Mother”
But do we really understand what they together
stand for?
For even though we have come far my, people,
we can never escape the one truth,

For those of you who know
and those of you who do not,
Hear me now and mark my words,
for this is the legend of the Flag:

25 different states for the country that was fractured
7 and counting for the number of religions and faiths
18 for the languages if we count the least

One for the mother that wanted to keep us
In the land of the diamond where the river Indus flows
One flag to find them all, one flag to unite them
One flag to love them all and in the light, bind them,
In the land of the himalayas, where the river ganges flows!

For even though we threw out people who wished to enslave us,
we have still not become completely free,
Human nature is enslaving us,
For it knows,
United we stand
and divided we fall!!

 It is 15th August, and I, just like the rest of india, is swept away in the celebration of the glory of our freedom struggle and the achievement that sits on top of the head of the image of our diamond shaped India “Maa”.

I wrote a whole post about what we must and should do and what we must strive to achieve. But then deleted it in one single stroke for I decided I am going to put together what we have already achieved and the greatness of this nation state which has resisted attempts of disruption again and again to stand tall and proud.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 1.57.46 PM

To understand at what cost we got our freedom and why we must respect it, we can watch the above beautiful video here.

Here is what I see in the light of our freedom. We won it at a great price and we must be able to justify it. Freedom of Expression: check. Freedom of Speech: Check. A constitution that must strive to uphold the unity and integrity of our nation state built from the edifice of the sacrifice of so many people of so many different faiths: Check. Of course all of them come with caveats and all of them stand at risk from extremists.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 1.45.03 PM.png

This independence day, when the Olympics games were so close and so many female players are represented our country and brought laurels to it, we are slowly progressing towards a changed mindset from the hard to uproot patriarchy. Actresses such as Priyanka Chopra have taken us to the international arena, Scientists such as Ashok Sen have been awarded the top most awards, we have movies based on the lives of mathematicians such as Ramanujam. We have sent the first successful and cheapest mission to Mars, Indian born people are becoming the CEO’s of companies such as Google and there are always leaders and revolutionaries born who are continuing the struggles in the country against issues ranging from the abuse of females, corruption, unequal hostel rules as well as farmer suicides.

In the words of Jignesh Mevani,

“What is with all those religious groups who think they own the place? Here’s the thing, dummies. The country that came to be on August 15, 1947, belongs to everybody. There was no one monolithic group that fought for our freedom. Our freedom fighters were Agnostics, Atheists, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Jews, Muslims, and Sikhs. People of different castes, races, and sexualities stood up to the British together. They were ordinary people who gave everything to the freedom struggle, including their life, without any fanfare or notoriety. Therefore, no single group can call dibs on the entire country.”

This country is diverse, a small glimpse of which is provided by its cuisine:

indian-cuisine-map

On this date when Dipa placed our country on the map of the Olympics, being the first Indian to have qualified to the finals, we forgot that she was a woman and saw her as a human being first. My heart soared every time I read the comments and saw the tweets: We as a race, know how to encourage and be happy when we put our minds to it and we as a race who have at times hated our cricketeers for not winning in one match, gave our hearts to this athlete who finished fourth. This is one of our greatest accomplishments: Love. Dipa made us open our hearts up, unite and took us back to our values and morals: of encouragement, contentment, tolerance and love.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 12.40.57 PM

We belong to the land which boasts the world’s oldest university, the oldest way of life and the some of the oldest epics as well as scripts. The land where the Indus valley civilization flourished, the land of “Athithi Devo Bhawa” welcoming people from each and every part of the world at some point of time or the other and the land which boasts some of the most delicious cuisines. It is time we learn to walk forward head held high, not in pride but in humility and promise. It is time we rooted out the false politicians and gundas who manage to ensnare people with a cunningly crafted mixture of lies, half-facts, psychology, stupidity and “pseudo-intellectualism” and embrace ourselves to be what we are and what we will always be.

We are a mixture. (just like the mudhi-mixture we eat 😉 ) , we are a nation-state, we are a religious cauldron which swirls together to produce the “Indian” way of life which is ever-changing, questioning, accommodating, tolerant and loving.

“We are Sunny Leone and we are Deepa, we are Tendulkar and we are Mangeshkar, we are Haldar Nag and we are Gandhi, we are Irom Sharmila as well as Rabindranath Tagore, Gangadhar Meher and Arundhati Roy, Chetan Bhagat as well as Subhas Bose.” We are all and we are One.

There is one more thing: I5th August is not only India’s independence day.

13880257_10207182605900313_5133838369123560634_n

On this day, we must also remember about Partition, for freedom did not come without a cost. We must remember our brothers who are now our neighbors and we must rise against what false history indoctrinates in us. We must remember to heal the scars of partition.

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Read this here.

In this 70th Independence Day, let us remember that we are a people of one faith:

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 1.06.00 PM.png

Watch the above beautiful video titled “One Faith” by Terribly Tiny Talkies here.

And above all we must remember that we are humans, and we all belong on this planet called the “Earth” which is our first and foremost country.

On this note, a beautiful world “Hamza” flag was made by my friend Nicole:

hamza hand

Read what Nicole has to say about her creation here.

There are some things we must strive to go away from, one of which is perfectly encapsulated by this:

2016 - 1

And so United we must stand or divided, we will fall!

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 1.28.48 PM
Watch this full video here.

Born behind bars

My mind is caged behind brown bars
rusted with time yet holding firm
It was drilled from me from the day I was here
in this world
the noise of the drill drowning out memories
of love and wilderness
I was becoming human
i must have done something good
in my previous life
to be here in this orange garb
pretending to be a higher intelligence
there must be something big behind
all that I can see with the naked eye
souls trapped inside this mask of limbs
opposable thumbs seem to be a big thing

hands-behind-bars-sticking-out

There must be something deep behind all this bravado,
all I can see is ego clashes and thumbs being used
to twist someone else’s away,
Love is a confusion,
freedom does not come free
If I had not been born,
would i still have perceived music?
I am told,
the greatest minds are not normal
I must be missing something
why this body sets us apart
from everyone else that roams the earth,
it hurts to feel so deeply,
this soft heart that beats so fast,
seems to respond to everyone’s bruises
maybe this feeling is something that’s supposed
to make me strong,
But it hurts! It hurts like hell,
maybe humans are the lowest of the rung,
Hunting mindless is surely
easier than this?
The only hurt I must feel
is when someone else ends my life?
Or maybe there has been a glitch,
maybe my neurons joined a different way,
just by chance,
a gift gone wrong,
But it seems like the power is in the
wrong hands,
they are killing my land,
There are women and children
writhing in agony,
men forced to slavery for their worth

But light shines through my cloudy thoughts
Sometimes, night makes the orange look white,
there are moments, moments when you kiss me,
moments when I see them smile,
moments when I feel something else
other than guilt,
a huge range of these feelings
that seem to claim me as their own,
and I manage to smile
sweeping all these cobwebs aside,
Thats when I manage to forget that
we are all born behind bars,
that we are all swathed in lies.

Stalemate

stalemate

I look at you
I think the winter looks great on you
Your lips, just so slightly chapped,
yes, right there
makes me think about whole worlds
connecting me and you
in three minutes
red wine with that slight edge
in my subconscious
i want to slip off
to a place
where we make love with words
and eyes
with barely touching
elongating that drum-roll
making sure we never lose that
talking with mere gazes
grazing each others skins
goosebumps from a stutter
of uncertainly when we
let a little passion
lose
drugs, to me
were always those moments
in which we pushed and pulled
like a red queen
running out of breath
just to stay where we are.
Figuring out,
was not the hard part
it was just that
i did not want us to,
why would i?
when i was addicted and intoxicated
by what we did not have
mixed with just a hint
of what we could.

My Dreams

My dreams
were never in big sunglasses
walking in Gucci high heels
on the streets of LA or New York
with a Prada on my hand
and red wine at evening “high”-teas
while I sneak in some rum for
lonely midnights
fame and beauty, adventure and life
My dreams were etched in charcoal
and chalk and broken cupboards
overflowing with books
while I sit among them in my dress
from the nineties, snug yet comfortable
from the many generations who wore it
some pickles on a plate on the floor
and ink on my nose
a heritage of my brimming notebook,
carefree

walking barefoot on green grass
and dancing among trees in
rain and when its windy
people watching, while having coffee
from that road-ride dhaba
and dosa’s from my fav dosawala
evening outs with my sister
on the back of my scooty
laughing at our foolhardiness
and anyone that we could not understand
bringing food home to mom and dad
and cakes to my grandmother just
to see her smiling like I made her day
My dreams are never that picture of me
living in the most expensive house
outside of town
no, it was staying in an apartment
where my roommates are my friends
and we spend the whole time
complaining about our shitty lives
but managed to make it seem fine
Or maybe that house with my family
which somehow has a big library
but also that big tree in the garden
we used to have
and loads of sand where I used to build
caves and kept earthworms
pretending they were snakes
and a neighborhood who were filled
with grandma’s and grandpa’s who saw
me as their doll
Conquering the world
was never an agenda,
for who wants the world
when you have everything you need?
dreams were always fantasy
and i hoped that i live
to see some magic.
A love that swept me away,
a poem that made me swoon,
a storm that flew me to
Oz,
a speech that made me
change the world,
and a weird little hidden
heirloom.

Expiry Date

Somehow, somehow
I do not know why
when I looked in the fridge today
and looked at those crusty bread molds
which we never threw out
till they are disgusting
it reminded me of you!
It struck me today, darling
that we have come far, yes
but we have come the wrong way!
There is no light in your eyes
when you look at me
and all I can think of when
I look deep into your eyes,
is whether I have any other
interesting book
to keep me from being lonely.
But that’s okay, you mustn’t
panic.
We reached the fork in the road
sometime back
and decided to not take the road
that was new
while desperately cutting through the
thick of brambles.

soul mate grow apart (1)We cannot go back, no!
but let us now walk on
opposite sides,
keeping close to the trees
on either side
and look for a path through the trees
we will move apart, yes
but long afterwards,
when you are walking on your
golden road to Oz
and I am on mine,
with someone new
we will meet someday
and give each other a smile
that we will actually mean.

Oh Darling!

Oh darling! What did they tell you
that your eyes, so beautiful are
as if touching the hem
of your floor length gown?
That your legs are always crossed and
you are sitting prim as a rose
looking so like a blooming lily
unless one looks deep into your soul
where tears brim like an ocean
and rage is tumbling around
your spirit that they caged along
with the hole that everyone seems
to make such a hell of a fuss!

Oh darling! what did they tell you
to make you put up your odhna
every time your in-laws come over
you put up a show
to prove that “you” have paid
good price
for what they bought?
and you cook and cook
to find a way to your man’s
heart
only to have him force you over and over
again in the dead of the dark?

Oh darling! What did they tell you
to make you quietly listen when
your children start to talk back to you
and echo their ancestors
caring nothing for your career
and demand that you be at home
every time they are back,
in the guise of motherly love??

tears_girl_glasses

Oh darling! What did they tell you
to make you count to ten
and rein in your temper
and not disrespect your elders
when they are the very ones leading you
to your living grave
(with bells and a veil
and a glittery bridegroom
who is probably not gold)
whilst
holding your hand and
blackening your face
and crying as if it’s the work of someone else!

Oh darling! Why oh! why do you
act so helpless
when you can bear the pain
that can push out a thousand babies
from between your thighs
from a one inch hole?
When the epics were made
due to the designs of woman,
and you are the culprit
they say who brought
down the world,
why don’t you finally do
what you were blamed for?

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