Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Nohkalikai, Again*

The first in the series of three travel-poems

Goosebumps, turning skin into prickly mounds
And the mist, like white smoke
Settled on us, chilling the clouded noon.
Shaking ourselves, we laughed nervously
At our adult fear of ‘spooky’ tales
But the glass was a thin fence
Hardly holding off the wails of Ka Likai
That followed our slow tread.

Mist and shadows and clouds curled past
A lone woman walked by,
Her flailing arms, her trailing clothes
Her snaky sinuous hair
Her slow measured walk to the precipice.
Clutching the ends of red-blue fingers
And green betel-nut leaves.

No tears, no voice, we heard nothing,
Only a frenzied flicker of the tongue
Erasing the taste of incestuous flesh
Settled like rancid fat on the roof of her mouth,
And a gut that refused to spurn
What the soul could not digest.

She is the powerful fall
Of mighty waters
Crashing off edges
Forever leaping off into
The void below
Crossing in leaps and bounds
All the borders that flesh of her flesh
And a hungry stomach had blurred.

*Nohkalikai translates as the Fall of Ka Likai, also the name of a waterfall near Cherapunji in Meghalaya. The chilling tale that gives this fall its name was narrated one June afternoon by my excellent storyteller friend Isa while we drove to visit the place. Ka Likai loved her daughter a lot and this made her husband very jealous. One day, when Ka Likai is out, he kills the daughter and cooks her flesh. When Ka Likai comes home, she eats the tasty meal made by her husband, only to discover her daughter’s fingers in the betel nut basket. Mad with loss and disgust at what she had done, the tale ends like a Greek tragedy, with Ka Likai’s jump off the cliff.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Neologisms, like ‘Love’

It started out, a four-letter-thing
Just another profanity, a pubescent fling.

A ‘crazy’ cultivated irreverence called ‘love’
Among others like ‘cool’ and ‘fuck’ and ‘faff’!

In the beginning, was a hollow gut pain
A quickening and then a long-drawn drain.

Dreary afternoons, and much of the moon
Of nights framed by windows, passing too soon.

A burst of pure feeling, states we didn’t know
Hidden nights, dreamy days, secrets like the big-O.

Now, I am glad we bartered youth and that year
To earn this bare-boned beauty, bought dear.

This thing, we leave nameless, utterly ‘virgin’,
Elusive, we frame it in tangential neologisms.

Thursday, 3 October 2013


Some exciting new publications coming up in October and November with the UK-based web journal www.atavicpoetry.com who recently approached me. Meanwhile, check out what they did with my poem 'Poetry' for National Poetry Day celebrations!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Home Alone


Lizards throw scurrying
Shadows, the walls stretch endless
They have far to go.


We seek redemption
Or something close to it, at
Street corners, all alone.


The slow crawl of hours
The creeping minutes of night
The long wait to dawn.

Monsoons Arrive

Musty smell
Of mossy sheen, like
Another skin

Growing, over
Nights and days, monsoons
Arrive, late.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Memory Book

This landscape of memory,
And the portrait of one
Posing forever, frozen
In some sepia world;
The margins cleared
Of remembered words,
A text of desire paginated
Into an easy understanding
Of the wise ways of the world,
Hard-bound now against
The despoiling of time;
Crisp pages, each
Chaptering new moments
Whirled in continuum
Of infinite whiteness
And traces of ink
Scribbling away
New lines about
Old die-hard tales.

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