Monday, January 14, 2019


We meet, everyday.
On way to office, way back home.
Sometimes we share a cab too. Odd.
We frequent the same cafes and kitchens.
Albiet, our orders have nothing in common.

We also stare at each other, longingly often.
I know your name, but I don't seem to remember it.

And when we touch,
Odd brushes of fleeting human centuries,
Seem cold to me. They are accidental. The centuries.
Like they were never meant to be.
Oddily enough they were willed into being.
I overheard you one day, talking to somebody
In a place far away.
You seemed to be looking for an organic machine.
Alas! I wish you knew.
There are no hearts.

Friday, April 13, 2018

I am Sorry!

Koi kissa kahani nahi kehna chahti,
Roohein roz bikti hain yahan,
Aur humne outraged ho kar khoob dekhein hain tamashe yun hi.
Mai khud bhi ek tamashbeen hi hun.
Har raat dinner par News channels par fikre kasti hun.
Outraged hoti hun media par, society par, religion par.
I get outraged on myself for I do nothing.
Nothing to stop cities becoming game scapes,
Where they hunt down dreams, and hopes,
Pick one after another to put a claim, no, no
Stick it at us, that they have won.
Wo jeet gaye hain ye batane mein ki,
Ek ladki ka jab rape hota hai, use maar diya jata hai,
To ek msg jata hai desh bhar ki un ladkiyon k naam,
Agli tum ho sakti ho. Kabhi bhi, Kahin bhi.
BUT; When daughters are raped, and they are killed,
The message is for the whole society.
Kyonki kisi beti ka rape, uska murder.
Ye batane k liye nahi hona chahiye ki kaun taqatwar hai.
Who has the power to wield authority over the essence of being alive?
Who is setting the rules of the game, and just like always…
Which religion is better than the other?
Aur kisi ma ko, baap ko, bhai ko ye nahi lagna chahiye ki…
Meru beti hui hai… Maar dun use nahi toh koi aur maar dega,
Maarne se pehle use nauch khayega,
Fir use sabke aage tamashe k liye chhod jayega…
Its high time we stop getting outraged
And start saying sorry.

I am sorry.

Thursday, October 05, 2017


Ek panne se dusre panne k beech ka faasla ho
Bistar ki khamosh silwaton me chupi karwatein ya fir,
Darwaaze par lagi doorbell se aati Teri dastak shayad,
Intezaar ki tick tock me guzarte hon lamhe 
ya fir.
Adhuri nazmon ke beech atki hui guftugu Hai shayd,
Gazal k intezaar me bhatakti ho koi mausiki 
ya fir.
Benoor seher me ho qaid roshan mehtaab
Khaali kandeel dhoondta ho roshan falak 
ya fir.
Aus ki boondein timtimaati hon sitaaron par shyad,
Band lafzon me jhilmilaate hon lakhon ashq 
ya fir.

Teri saans se bandhi Hai ye uljhi girah shayad,
Ishq Hai, junoon Hai, Hai ye Zindagi ya fir.

Thursday, August 31, 2017


left to time, it withered,
like a dead corpse hung from wall,
after the sentence.
no poems to defend, no stories to tell,
no anecdotes to share.
she was there, waiting for someone to give her name,
someone who would speak, her.
She, is always there.


Monday, August 28, 2017


and the rats nibble and nibble,
and scribble and scribble.
the endless fates,
of hungry futures and parched pasts.
gums bleeding ink.

poisoning the paper.
mediocrity stacked high at the altar,
where screams rumble into silences,
and gongs are heard,
for things undone.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Ram, why did you kill Ravana,
I was dishonored in your palaces by thee.

Forced out of the womb, I yearned for a home
Janak made me a princess whilst I wanted to roam,
I learnt and unlearnt to belong, to be;
Before I understood myself I was married to thee.

With a heavy heart and moist eyes, I left behind,
A home not my own, new places to find.
We came to Ayodhya and I was lost to all,
Till I wowed to find home in your banishment as goal.

Forests frightened yet gave me a calm I never had,
Each day brought me near to myself, I was glad.
My home was now all earth, skies and sea,
You were dutiful to me, I learned to love thee.

While you kept busy fighting demons as they say,
I became me, happy and free, I must say.
Till the he came, took me away, and ran,
Imprisoned me in his gardens to avenge his clan.

Fates decreed, he fell in love with me,
But I had forever bound myself to thee.
He pined for me, I pined for thee,
You worried for your honor of the palace not me.

You won me back or did he loose me,
I was dishonored, not by him, but thee.
Had it not been for him I wouldn’t have known,
I was sacred, yet scared, yet strong when alone.

Banished, broken, betrayed I trudged,
The same forests and it was him I grudged.
The flowers wilted, the leaves all dried,
The trees all bent down with me and cried.

Clouds pregnant with water, earth ready to receive,
My birth as a mother and a woman who grieves.
Birds fed me water and grain I survived,
Wrapped in my grief day and night I cried.

I knew not why, what agonized me more,
If it was you or him or myself I am unsure.
In life, after death, he marked me with his name,
Sacred made by his love and not by your fame.

Oh Ram, why did you kill Ravana…

You loved honor of the kingdom you owned,
Where I was dishonored and shamed and scorned,
He owned my honor and you my shame,
Neither of you could ever own my name.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

To ban or not to ban; this is not the question.

To ban or not to ban; this is not the question.

Wasn’t long back that Wendy Doniger’s book The Hindus; An Alternative History was withdrawn by The Penguin, forcing people to talk turkey. Strong opinions, exasperated comments, inflated egoistic remarks; everyone has something to dish out. The out of court settlement with the right wing lobby, high talk on religious sentiments has had all of us involved in a bull’s session. However, what is the real question? Is it, how important it was to ban her book or how the book is detrimental to our society? Is it about author’s scholarship, quality of work or the colonial hangover she might have carried, if any. One may also question the attacks on the book, the rightist attitude towards condemning anything slightly negative towards religion.
At the same time, it is also important to question ourselves? Are we as Indians being pseudo secular banning away books which are non-normative? Whether it is Satanic Verses (1988) or A.K Ramanujan’s (Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five examples and three thoughts on translation) in 2011 or The true Furqan by Al Saffee and Al Mahdee in 2005 to cite a few.
It is also important to question our modernity, for it is us, who stand united, up in arms, against Valentines Day celebration; condemn girls wearing jeans to college and resort to legitimizing Kangaroo courts in the name of preserving culture.
Also important is to question the neo liberal agenda which feeds us scraps of cultural leftovers from feasts enjoyed by right wing politics, corporate and sponsored media; leaving us to enjoy a simulated holy war against an invisible threat, deliberately constructed in our psyche.
It is also important to question the world of glittering voyeuristic pleasure we revel in. Addiction to Yo Yo honey Singh brand of songs or applauding the flamboyant display of performances replete with double entendres, sexually obscene gestures and suggestive body language. It is important to question an audience that watches its own younger generation sinking its teeth deep into voyeuristic pleasure and devouring it with delight.
We, the biggest democracy of the world, with ancient religions dating thousands of years should perhaps also question the formation of such a collective; with fragmented identities and hollow value system trapped in a state of perpetual unrest and discord within. The intoxicating celebrations of our neo-liberal world are marked by a ruthless display of ‘symbolic and cultural capital’ one has amassed; recreating and ‘reproducing’ stereotypes.
It is important to question the pervasive hypocrisy of our society rendering it susceptible to violence as is experienced by a Nirbhaya everyday or when a new Mujaffar Nagar is destroyed every once in a while.
It seems that religion is such a frail entity that any little investigation will lead to its downfall and destruction. This obsession with sanctity and a fortified conservative attitude towards the sacred is bewildering. This insecurity to preserve rectitude is confusing. Academic work of any kind, if at all ruffle some feathers; should be taken in the right spirit and religion should be able to defend itself for its believers.
Though I haven’t read the book myself like many others condemning it; I still want to defend the author’s freedom of expression as much I want to defend the religion’s inherent strength to answer back to its detractors.
It is important to question, Why are we afraid and of what?
Religions are not weak, nor are human beings foolish. If we have a society which has grown up to be able to deal with Honey Singh and the likes; the potential damage such lyrics may cause to society; an academic article can cause no harm. Should a religious entity not be able to hold fast in the wake of such dissent voices?
In fact, such a parallel discourse must exist, so as to provide a chance to the believer to rediscover the strengths of her religion and eliminate its weaknesses. Our religions are not in need of rightwing bail-outs. Wendy Doniger’s book should not be seen as an offensive limitation. 
It is time, to look within, and lift some bans off our soul than ban questions which do not have easy answers.


We meet, everyday. On way to office, way back home. Sometimes we share a cab too. Odd. We frequent the same cafes and kitchens. Alb...