Breathless Love…


Passion cried the Sitar,

Duped them the Morning Star,

Misbehaved their tiny boat, in tosses scaled the river,

No oars, no boatman, no direction to bother,

While the monsoon moaned to its wettest climax,

Tucked and tied inside, they sat glued to each other,

Lashed, spanked and drenched them, the water,

Deaf to thunder bolts echoing the tidal grove,

Unfazed, entangled in arms, they challenged Nature,

Till the clouds cleared with an embarrassed Sun’s signature,

Deserted on the backwaters of Kerala,

Many a breath, then breathless they made Love…




Image Credit:

The Postman


Cycling crooked on cobbled ways,

Jingling metal, tinkling bells to another May,

Buttoned in uniform, the postman rides away,

Through coughing houses, withering crude,

The wailing Mistress of Longing, “Wait, take us too”,

Through old aberrant grills,

Locked in greenhouses of mediocrity,

Combed and robed into a stranger with the happy look,

Desire’s young labour plead freedom true,

Glimpses of shadows drooping out of the balcony,

Spitting out rusty lessons, throwing up sanity,

Postures on windows, miniatures once, then magnified,

One by one, they all disappeared for their seeds to re-appear,

Only altered the tone, rang the same wails,

Familiarly helpless beamed through grills old, stares new,

His spectacles caught passing reflections all,

For messages unstamped, he could never spare moments few,

He’d kept himself busy, chose to breathe important all the while,

Probably, he’d always known he would soon run out of time,

Till this day, he has served focused blind,

Could divert him none, could distract him none,

When the witch cried, he’d never looked back,

He made it alive to the gallows of Innovation,

Now, at his ceremony of Extinction,

He stands broad-shouldered, proud and firm,

Done with flashing his dutiful spine,

Lands a wreath on the grave of the Telegram,

Kindles lamps of a billion memories, nationwide,

Bows in front of the evergreen Goddess of Change,

Then, wears his golden swim suit, holds on to his pulse,

Ready for the plunge into the quicksand of history,

Into those blue waves of time, he leaps out of sight…



(This post is dedicated to the dying postal service in India.  The 163 year-old telegram services permanently closed down on the night of July 14, 2013. For more, visit:




Image Credits:

Driven Blind


Release that clutch of yours,

Let that support go,

Can you then stand through that ride on the metro?

You could if you weren’t driven that mad,

Driven tipsy-curvy, halting screechy, driven that bad,

In search of that killer smile, that stranger crave,

Into that wardrobe of shoulders,

Scrolling past those slinging bags, young eyes on a survey,

The laptop man glances smart,

Shares his eyes to the screen and her,

Nodding, she raises over her partner’s shoulder,

Eyed is her hero anonymous, sketched erased,

Sketched erased, her moments of dark fantasy,

You see we’re too busy,

We’ve to ride through,

Blue-eyed through our blues,

To rub some life, win some dough,

To win the best of hers,

Then oil her chocolate, melt down her raised eyebrow,

We‘re safe and satisfied at the hands of the driver,

Ones that we handed over our matchless screwdriver,

We’ll let them run us, ruin us their way,

Steer us blind in our own lust,

Then bottle us, labeled the hottest sauce on display,

Weren’t we the ones in for a change?

The hot blooded, fearless of the lull after the rains,

We’ve never bothered to let that clutch go off and see,

To despise being driven, being at their mercy,

We’ve never bothered trying to run the show…




Image from :

Pink Paharganj


Dusk licks the old Banyan,

Shuts her pores with a kiss,

Ogles at the crows to send them cranky, alarmed,

That deity resting on that vintage stump is served her lamp,


Lights flick white in that dingy sea of trade,

Reflects in eyes, shining ready for their prey,

Confident of languished hungry visits from the brightest of minds, gone astray,

Some Bags on the go, some await hooked, some packed personal, some for sale,

Stranger eyes are read, flung across are ropes of trust, unsaid,

When a ‘need’ sounds good, it is then understood,

Fools you the stoner’s paraphernalia, peace t-shirts, cargoes on the row,

Action turns into those narrower lanes, shoulder-wide alleys,

Hazy deals, suspicious frowns, then broader smiles and hugs,

Slither sly; make it hush and quiet, in and out in dying daylight,

A fresh wait, a fresh hit, no bait’s needed in this hole of the sphere,

Sucks you to those minstrels of pleasure for a share of their concealed treasure,

Hands in hands with the God of Urge, you tread in here,

The evening calls, triggers her daily moan,

Hails you for more, a Pink Paharganj…



(From the streets of Paharganj, the hippie back-packers paradise in New Delhi, India, known for its concentration of affordable hotels, lodges, restaurants, dhabas (North Indian road-side eateries) and a wide variety of shops catering to both domestic travellers and foreign tourists, especially backpackers and low-budget travellers. Over the years it has become particularly popular as a haunt for international cuisine and everything that a soul on the lookout for fun and pleasure can end up thinking of. For more on Paharganj, visit: )



Images from :http://darkhartetravel.wordpress.comhttp://shafisaxena-sightseer.blogspot.in



Beneath the gloomy cosmos dark,

Tornadoes and tempests continue to ravage my chest,

Sabotage my heart,

Do they lash, bash, cause tremors within,

O Boundless River,

Show me my sins,

You have me sinking,

You’re inundating me away,

O Boundless River,

Your rage shall devour me,

In you shall drown my ruins,

No boundary seems to disarm you,

Not one to confine,

Soon, you shall have me, sunk,

Shall have me, inundated,

Irretrievable from your bottomless shine…


Not an end in sight,

No banks, no crook,

No shore can I see,

My boatman, row carefully,

We’ve to keep afloat,

Pull out some dexterity,

Mine’s a broken boat,

O Boundless River,

No limit seems to restrict you,

Not one to block you, have you restrained…


Your currents might dump me,

Into calm tasteless waters,

Or, into tides of the mighty ocean,

O Boundless River,

There’s something that you should know,

You’ll waste your anger this time,

Shall sail on you, only an empty tin in motion,

To your waters, have I lost the rest,

Golden years, souls the best,

Helpless, you forced me watch lame,

Gaze in tears at my life’s timepieces floating away,

Have had them sunk in your depths,

And see, now you don’t even remember,

The way it is, no one knows,

No one notices,

Our futile surrender,

O Boundless River,

No boundary seems to disarm you,

Not one to confine,

You have me sinking,

Soon, you shall have me, inundated



(This piece is inspired from the famous Bhatiyali * track, “Amaye Bhhashaaili Re (You’re inundating me away)” with lyrics by the famous Bangladeshi poet, songwriter, prose writer, folklore collector and radio personality, Jasimuddin, originally sung by Abbasuddin Ahmed.

* Bhatiyali – Bhatiyali is a traditional boat song, sung by boatmen while going down streams of the river, as the word Bhatiyali comes from Bhata meaning ebb or downstream. It is a traditional form of folk music born in undivided Bengal, having roots both in West Bengal (India) and Bangladesh.


For more on poet Jasimuddin, visit :,

For the song, visit :

The original village version:

For more information on this genre of music, and Famous Bangladeshi Singer, Runa Laila’s version: )

For the lyrics (In Bengali, a language of East India, and Bangladesh): )


Image from :

Her Majesty revisits!


Could be a coveted Mumtaz,

Or, an alluring Cleopatra on a tour of the Taj,

In reflections of her cautious soul,

No eye could miss that touch of gold,

Behind that sweet rage, fluting red in her eyes,

Slithered from an exotic past, tales untold,

For few could sink into that marble glare,

Withstand the Tibetan Turquoise’ aesthetic flare,

Few could save winking blind,

Such was the fiery grace of that Lankan Sapphire,

To fit into that Mughal garden, stretching eternal,

A Paradise, in perpetual bloom, its chrome flowers,

Seducing every retina, flashed sight, those Persian vines,

Vowed the Marble, white, by its polish, Immortal,

By its Jewels tarnished Priceless with love, it swore,

In perch on her Crystal floor,

Flashing her belief in its plasters,

Its strength to shield a historic amour,

From the darkest tempests of time,

To render it imperishable against all worldly climes,

With an indigo sheen on her aqua feathers,

Was no spirit, humdrum,

Even, Nature took a lull,

Chose a humble surrender,

Frowned summer, hid her brows,

Held hot winds away in shame,

Ensured shade amidst those steeples,

For it too, sensed her divinity,

Her unchallenged charm,

Royalty dripping from her feathers,

A vintage taste familiar, it felt it too,

No fowl to snatch the peacock’s crown,

This was some lustrous Queen from the past,

Only, failing to conceal her oozing virtue,

Now balanced proportion by the Taj,

On its intangible, yet indisputable scales of beauty,

She flapped her lashes, blinked with pride,

Awaited her ambrosial chance,

For her worthy King in a lame democracy, her true admirer,

To recognize whom, shall suffice her single glance,

The one with a vision in this sea, blind,

Amidst souls dangling futile to short-lived trance,

The one chivalrous, elegant and clever,

The one that craved glory in permanence,

The one that could engrave her love, forever,

Fly along, beak in beak, feather on feather,

Into the time-ridden lands of amaranthine romance…


(From surreal courtyards of the Taj Mahal, Agra, India.)



Image :

Ride of Pride??? (Chapter 3)


Six compartments, insufficient,

Swelled the walls,

The tube almost inflated,

It was bursting with pressure,

Unable to hold the human sea inside,

Stops to have its entrances opened,

Ones with their noses, lips and foreheads rubbed against the door,

Out with a gush, barged outside,

Force of a hundred behind,

Hurled the leading players out,

Dumped them almost to the platform center,

Those, still awaiting their chance to step out,

Landed up in a soup, raged a war against the internal flow,

Scrambled their way through heads refilling the tube,

Once again stuffing it up to its brim,

Capturing every inch of fiber, plastic and steel,

Queues to the train, to all its twelve doors,

Were just mirages of how things should have been,

Tidy moments before those doors opened,

Before drivers called masses for some action,

The family shoved aside, out of the line by uncouth passengers,

Forcing their way in from the sides,

Blind to the queue,

As if only fools could be waiting so orderly,

It was impossible to put their feet in,

Confused minds, nudged inside,

Thrown in, out of support, not a rod to catch,

Squeezed upon the public,

Passengers confident of making it,

Still, ran in, pushed themselves into the boil,

Into the already compressed herd within,

Rubbed against, scratched, butted,

Breathless, they were jolted,

Every time a station came by,

Swayed on the public with screeching brakes,

Flocked out a few,

Flocked in more limbs, shoulders attacking,

Then, balance stripped bodies toil on them,

When the ride takes off again,

She hung from his chest, held him across his waist,

While against a stinky armpit,

Locked, and smothered their son’s face,

They stood helpless,

Cribbed over the overloaded AC, crying meek already,

Over hands almost groping her back and belly,

Over station-less pauses,

Overcrowded suffocation under dark tunnels,

Over the voice from speakers pleading to be forgiven,

For inconveniences for those delays,


It was all her mistake,

Angry eyes hid from her husband’s,

The last and the first time,

All this wasn’t meant for them, she was so sorry,

But there wasn’t a way out very soon,

To reach that door on time, they needed more practice,

Rather, awaiting the last station, was a wiser choice,

Till then, they’d to hold it in surrender,

Completely at the crowd’s mercy…



(Based on the plight of an NRI family in the peak hours of the day, while traveling along with me by the Delhi Metro.)



Images from :

Ride of Pride!!! (Chapter 2)


Smartness not on their cards,

Stranded in a long long queue without smart-cards,

Serpentine, it crisscrossed the station,

Ones on the tail had their feet down in the stairs,

Unfortunately, all not smart enough this time,

They were indeed, running out of patience,

Big notes for small fares,

Quarrels for balances,

Exchanged are red-eyed glances

Verbal tussles through the token counter glass,

Staring out of his ways timid,

The official in blue did put up a lot of fuss,

Amongst swarming security, he was confident, he was protected,

“Impossible! No change! “, he often quoted,

Possibility crept in late,

Slower than a snail,

Amidst irritated whines, and angry wails,

The queue moved ahead,

Though, feet ceaselessly added,

Two other counters, two chairs and two computers,

Remained closed, remained deserted,

One man for a thousand travelers,

One by one, killed peak-hour minutes and seconds of daily passengers,

Made sure its length remained the same,

Made sure you remain pissed,

Throughout, your mood’s unchanged,

Chirping among themselves,

The multitude murmured dissatisfied, restless,

Played a constant multilingual hiss,

Awestruck, stood the family,

Felt as if they were pleading a ride for free,

She looked down in dismay,

She’d never expected it to begin this way,

For her it was hard to swim out of a sea of delusion,

“Wait n’ watch, there’s more in store, honey,

Only time shall clear your confusion,”

Read her husband’s face,

As he rejoiced her disgrace,

Her grin of pride mellowed down,

Now it only lingered below her frown,

In thirty minutes, and some more for the ticket-man,

Accentuated English flows from behind the glass,

It took him some more time to understand,

Finally could they reach those soldiers in green, booted brown,

Squeezed their pockets, jerked their flesh, shook their spirits unstable,

Squeezed his belly, rubbed their thighs, and legs, frisked them for metal,

For seconds, with legs wide apart, they were made to stand,

Out of her curtains separate, scared of her absentminded family,

She chose to preserve the riding coins in her bag, carefully,

Towards the platform, smiles back on face,

For, these were their moments, in grace,

Three minutes to the train,

Little aware of what’s coming up next,

Those fancy earphones on his ears would be hanging out of place,

Busy on his phone, the young lad will soon end up depressed,

He would rather choose not to fiddle with his gadget, or try to text,

Coming up was a ride that would simply blow away their brains…



(The NRI (Non Residential Indian) family (on their first trip to the city, ever since the lady left home for shores abroad, while, still a child) will soon board the train to realize the age-old myth, once again, “All that Glitters is not Gold.” )

To be continued…



Images from :,

Ride of Pride!!! (Chapter 1)


Shooed away her car,

Packed away her driver,

Her mood longed to bask in the Sun for a while,

Quench her thirst to engulf stills from her city,

One that she’d left as a child,

Her family, shied away from the crowd,

Pausing to stare at their foreign manners,

Aware of their accent, strange to Indian ears,

Conscious giggles leaked out,

Wrinkles smiled unbeatable out of layers of her thick make-up,

She pulled her son to her side,

Pointed towards the tube-station,

Her shoulders crumbled beneath sacks of pride for her nation,

“Look at the tube’s speedy crawls,

Through tunnels underneath, her glory,

On electronic bridges ruler-marking the dusty sky,

Out of stations sculpted from polished glass,

As if, green-flagged out of a shopping mall…”

Her husband in grins, then annoyed by her pinch,

Looked down in frowns, pulled too, he wouldn’t stir an inch,


Came up her taunt, splashed at him were buckets full of sarcasm,

“You call this ‘cheap transport’?

And, now have a look at the base, my dear,

You wouldn’t rate it less than an airport,

For my country, you no more have to worry,

For my city, you no more have to lament and fear,

They’ve stairs for fitness freaks,

Elevators for muscles lazy, bones weak,

Gone are only glimpses from the past,

My roots are shining,

Catching up with the world, pretty fast,

On high-end wings, we are riding into the future,

You’ll learn more as from South to North we soar,

As we reach out to my town’s heart,

To the face of Delhi, through beneath its belly,

Unseen this time, on this underground dart,

Miles in minutes, switch on your stop-watches, you can measure,

Come along guys; let’s go for a ride,

This one’s an experience to treasure,

Nostalgic for me, my family on my land, now or never,

I wouldn’t want any of us to miss out on this slice of sheer, Indian pleasure…



The NRI (Non Residential Indian) family, on their first visit back to their country, head on towards the metro-station for a ride…

Harsh reality awaited them inside…                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          To Be Continued…





Image :,,

Lend them your Senses…


O Maestros, Masters of trade,

Royal bards presented factories of bread,

Fingers that pluck strings of gold,

Pen down verses that never grey,

Never grow old,

Lend your ears to the flower,

Step into gardens, fresh,

Away from limelight, the yellow haze,

You might discover green grief,

Hear petals mourn,

Butterflies scream,

Kneeling down stamens weep,

Moaning summons of concealed ovaries,

Lend your eyes to the flower,

You might find pistils trying to watchtower,

Stigmas acting scented radars,

Sepals craving an embrace,

Waiting for a role in your songs,

Waiting to step out off mortal boundaries,

Into your verses perennial,

O Maestros, Masters of trade,

Dig some time for their songs,

If, not mine…


Let my songs wither away,

Ring unheard till my last breath,

Let me croak out my years,

Like the forgotten toad,

Unsee me,

Miss out on my colors, my unique existence…


Step into wilder lawns,

Rest your bare soles on undisciplined grass,

Beautify young, new pastures,

They join flowers in lament,

To weave Utopian wails for you,

Hoping, Longing,

Someday, they reach you…


Widen your stare,

Reach out to nooks and corners, once in a while,

To the unlit gardens,

Waiting to gift you a smile,

Taste unscathed honey,

Plummet in virgin talent,

O Maestros, Masters of trade,

Lend them your senses,

To their unattended mystery,

Dig some time for their songs,

If, not mine, before you sediment away into history…


(A poet, wandering lonely at the talent fuming, Jaipur Literature Festival, 2013)




(Image from : )