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A collaboration over too much coffee.
coffee and pen

30 August, 2005

to write, you need...

to tell stories
or you might burst
paper, pen or a laptop
as if, it were an addiction.


an eye for the bad
the good
and most importantly
the grey


a love for words
and their cosmic dance
from your pen
or mind.


hurt, pain,
loads of love
a passion for life
and everything it throws
at you


a smile and a tear
a dark heart of gold

more yoga

a need to experience
once, twice,
aw! all the time

mirchi pickle in mustard sauce

arrogance only if
coated in humility


meet aliens
at your doorstep
as if it happened
all the time

tight underwear

have sex atleast once
on the beach
to understand sand

been to a morgue lately?

fears: don't forget them
little monsters you know
fairies, goblins, elves
chudails and their cousins

a friendly personality

essential: a schizophrenic existence
walk in the park with
an imaginary pet or friend
conversations with self are normal

the ability to talk to strangers

wax your legs
if you are a guy
hairy underarms
natural eyebrows
as a style statement
if you are not

pranayams: they ease the pain

an education if you want to be a writer
none if you are a storyteller

finally, a muse
and then nothing matters


29 August, 2005



the cool marble floor
feels like heaven.
for i have walked
barefoot in the hot sun,
to be with krishna.

but the velvet curtains
are drawn shut for now.
a stern saffron-clad priest
insists on quiet, “shh!
the gods are resting”.

i hush the rustle
of my dupatta.
don’t allow bangles
to ask any questions.
and silence any answers
my silver anklets
want to give.

but how can i quell
the longing,
saturated in my eyes?

such brazen display!
if anybody should notice
they would not approve.
i lower my lashes,
and wait.
like everybody else.


i’m not like the others.
my god does not rest
but i’m in the temple.
do i know why i’m here?

no prayer beads to turn
no heaviness to unburden.
no divine intervention to ask for.
not even flowers to offer.

temples were for others.
who needed to be rescued
from one trouble or another.
“har-e rama, har-e- krishna!”

i wouldn’t want him
to take away what i’ve found
after such a long wait..
i’m delirious in love.
or is it just jasmine
and sandalwood?


the curtains rise
the collective prayers
of the people waiting
surge past me.
i stand rooted.
i don’t know what to do.

the camphor is lit,
the chanting begins.

i ought to notice
the shiny jewels
in the peacock feather crown,
the jasmine at your wrists,
and roses around your neck,
your golden flute,
that has mesmerized your flock
for thousands of years.

all that i see is your smile.
and the fool that i am,
what do i do?
i close my eyes.

only to hear
a familiar laugh
ringing in my ears.


25 August, 2005

cleaning house

if you come back,
you'll find
no diary on the desk,
yellowed but intact
with the post-it note
stuck on the edge
flagging your hurried goodbye.

i saw it last,
arc out of the window
after i had brushed
all your footprints
out of this house,
and sat down exhausted
at my writing table.

i also wiped away
your fingerprints
from coffee mugs,
and cookie jars,
from my books, my clothes,
and my hair.

i have learnt to play the radio,
loud enough
to chase the off key songs
you sang in the shower.

but every time i walk
in the rain,
your damned laugh
still rings in my ear,
and the smell of wet earth
mocks me again,
reminding me,
that i still have your tee shirt
hidden in the bottom
of the old camphor chest
we lugged uphill
on that rainy sunday morning
from the village flea market.


24 August, 2005

A Nod at Hobson

So what hurts most, I often wonder…
(your deceit’s place is beyond doubt).
My folly, perhaps, when I first fell under
your witch’s spell, before the rout?

Or the greater one, when I should have laughed
at my mock consecration as your God:
the joke revealed when you used my craft
to woo and take to bed a fraud?



23 August, 2005


(cross posted on my blog.)

The databanks glided past him like a vast procession of the dead. The gleaming spires of the world’s elite companies, protected better than some countries and infinitely more valuable than all the gold in the world. But he was there to steal right? After all, giving credit where it was due, he was the best in the business. Few people could afford his services. In fact, nowadays, it was only the mega companies that contacted him at his supra-legal and sub-orbital mansion. He had made his bones at the beginning of the digital age. While people of his age frittered away time in inane chat rooms and writing personal tripe on blogs he hid behind impenetrable barriers and searched for chinks in the primitive armors of the early cyber databases. He had learnt a lot then. He had also acquired his famous (or infamous based on the viewpoint) handle then, ‘Trimax’.

Trimax eased out of the shadows and followed the procession at a safe distance. He cut through the feeble outer defenses without a second thought. At the same time the swipies he had created activated themselves and cleaned out the perimeter defense at the back in one rapid swoop. He rushed in behind them before the redundancies kicked in. Once in, he quickly morphed into a data table and attached himself to the last databank. He was all but invisible now. But like that mythological Indian hero in some forgotten epic he had got in but there was no way back out. The tear had been closed and repaired by the swipies to avoid suspicion or raise an alarm. No sweat. Unlike that unlucky hero he knew the complete framework and could work himself back out. All he needed was a little luck. Yes, if he lucked out today he would never have to think of a job again. He would buy himself a farm on the other side of Mars and relax.

Come on, come on, focus, focus on the job, and don’t start dreaming again.

He executed his search bots and jacked them into the primary network. Now it was lying low and waiting until they found what his clients wanted. He checked his camouflage. It was perfect. Nothing to worry about. He drifted to his dreams, his only real pleasure left. Thoughts of Efwi enveloped him yet again. Would he find her on Mars? His sources told him that she had last been seen there. Would she take him back after these many years? Had she forgiven him at all? He knew he deserved her hate. For had he not left her in search of notorious fame? She was the only person who had loved him with all his faults and he had kicked her aside without a second thought when his needs had been fulfilled. The guilt never left him alone. It tormented and tortured him. With all his money and fame he still could not find peace. She was the only who had what he wanted.

beep…beep…his console chimed softly...the search bots had returned...

Time to shake things up a bit. First, he launched an elaborate decoy. Something he had never used before. Something that ought to fool the deadly geisha. They made killing unique entertainment. He shuddered at the thought. He had seen holo-views of hackers caught by them. He had no intention of going crazy like them. A self-mutilating craziness, utterly horrible.

Yes! His decoy worked. The geisha set off after it en masse. The field was as clear as it would get. He started the speed routine. He zipped in and out of the massed data clusters. Blurred surroundings whipped past him. The sensation of speed was exhilarating. He whooped silently and flashed around a corner, the destination data point looming ahead, the place highlighted with a pink sheen by his bots.

He braked and got off. This was the most dangerous part. He had to work without camouflage or protection. But with luck this should not take more than a few minutes. Ample time to steal the cube and get out. He finalized his cutting sub-routines, the precise iterations that would select the exact data piece he needed from a billion other pieces. He clicked the button and stepped back. Almost done now. Come on, come on, few more minutes and he would be done.

..and he saw her then, looking at him from the shadows, the love of his life in this of all places…

He stumbled with shock and stepped back. For a second he wondered if she was a figment of his over active imagination. No, no her flesh lines were too flawed to be artificial. It was her and she was pointing a gun at him!

They faced each other. Two adversaries connected by the past. One representing good and the other law and order. He wondered if she would pull the trigger if he tried to run. But something stopped him. He knew. He would not run again. Not from her. Life or death he would face it like a man. Death from her hands was infinitely better than the lonely death of an old man later. Like watching something in slow motion he saw her activate the gun and pull the trigger, thrice. Bright light flashed and in the next moment he jerked like a rag doll as the bullets punctured his lungs and burst his heart. He fell back, blood bubbling from his mouth. As the light around faded, the last thing he saw was Efwi looking down at him, a strange look of pity and hate on her face.

(Note: an idea that went nowhere, at least as of now, no wonder the abruptness. And oh, obvious respects to William Gibson, the father and master of cyberpunk.)

21 August, 2005

Tell us your Cloudburst stories

For the Bombaywallas

For the project I mentioned in this post, we're also looking for first-person accounts of the events of 26th July and the days after that.

Where were you? At home, marooned in office, stranded somewhere between? How did you cope? What did you see? Did anything particularly nice happen to you? Or anything really nasty? Do you have pictures?

If you've blogged it, send me the permalink. If you have an online album, send me the URL. Or email me. Accounts in languages other than English are welcome.

Mail me, Peter Griffin, at zigzackly AT gmail DOT com, and put the words [ThinkBombay] in the subject line (with the square brackets), to get past the spam filters.

Important: In your mail, I will need you to give me permission to:
1. Publish your story or pictures, in print and online, with NO payment to you. (None of the people involved in the project are making any money from it. Most of us are donating at least our time, if not more.)
2. Edit your contribution if I feel it is necessary.
You will not be giving the me or the project exclusive rights to your writing or photography. You will continue to own the rights to your intellectual property.

Update: The project is now moving faster, and further then we imagined it could. We need those stories now! Please mail me, and do also please pass this around to your friends, and link to it.

Thanks muchly.

[Cross-posted on Cloudburst Mumbai and on my blog]


20 August, 2005


it’s a good thing
you discovered my insanity
in good time,
to save yourself.
i’m too wild, too unafraid,
to care for convention.

my only security blanket,
is sometimes called sky.
so i’m not afraid for me.
my heart is safe.
it’s still enveloped in love.

but for this one worry,
i’d let you turn away from me.
who’ll make you walk in the rain?
who’ll make you forget rules?
who’ll save you from you?


18 August, 2005

Veiled Threats

Her words reek of self-righteousness
as I walk through their stuffy confines
gagging on the moral decay and
imagined wrongs, while veiled threats
I find waiting for me around corners
like sentries outside medieval city-gates.

Understanding has walked off
into the gloom, silently,
leaving me bereft of hope as
reconciliation spells too long
to effect any change in the status quo of
silence, the weapon of invisible change.

I shrug and walk away, knowing that
words will give way to time and
love will mutate into hindsight.


16 August, 2005

Are typos inevitable?

The consensus seems to be that a few typos may occur. I typed “ocur” here but my word-processing program promptly changed it to “occur.” So much for small mercies. We have word processors powerful enough to correct even before we notice the mistake.

Caferati was conceived as a forum to learn and to grow. I guess that purpose wouldn’t be served if someone says that if there is one typo in the contribution he/she was put off and didn’t read the entire contribution. That is not serving any purpose here.

I have read many contributions though they were replete with typos and were full of muddled thinking. I had to literally wade through the prose to find out what the writer wanted to say. But then I got all of what was being expressed and have commented, if, and, when I had the time, or, when I felt that my comment would make a difference.

Let us not be “holier than thou” here. Get this straight and let it remain in your heads always: TYPOS ARE BOUND TO HAPPEN IN ALL WRITING. Nobody can write a first draft without typos. But as we go along we should try to reduce the number of typos at least as a gesture of “courtesy” to our esteemed members, as somebody mentioned on this thread.

That said, in a literary forum like Caferati we can declare at the beginning of the contribution that this is a “work in progress” and therefore there is bound to be typos and grammatical inconsistencies. In this case the writer is merely “workshopping” his work for the views of the members. He is not presenting it to Caferati members for publication and as the moderators repeatedly point out, they don’t edit anyone’s contribution.

None other than Geoffrey Chaucer, considered the father of English poetry was a bad speller. Consider the following extract from his poem Troilus and Criseyde:

But, you lovers, that bathen in gladness,
If any drop of pity in you be,
Remembereth you on passd heaviness (Remember past sorrow)
That you have felt, and on the adversity
Of other folk; and thinketh how that ye
Have felt that Lov durst you displease, (made you suffer)
Or you have won him with too great an ease.

He writes “passd” for “past” and “Lov” for “love.”These notes were not made by me but were gleaned from a scholarly study of Chaucer by Michael Murphy (so, do not assume that I am being “holier than you”). Editing was so bad then that even bad spelling escaped the editors’ attention.

With technology came word processors and this sanctimonious obsession with, “give us flawless prose, or we won’t even look at it.”

To be fair to those who come on board to write and learn how to write, let us be generous and tolerate the typos and grammatical inconsistencies if it is mentioned at the beginning of the work that it is a “work in progress.” At least we must make that much allowance, in the common interest, as none of us here (I may be wrong!) claim to be above board as far as typos and grammar are concerned.

Wounds. . .

Wounds –
Festering, puss-filled –
Often like a scourge,
A private hell –
Sourly remind of a body
Rupturing with filth.

Wounds –
Like an ingratiating grin,
Skin deep or within –
Are like men
Bestowed with greed;
They just bleed.

That tongues lash
Smother hearts;
Leave it gashed,
As if pitted with
Burnt-ends of cigarettes.

And the wounds that heal?
Huh…a scar to scratch
And a dead skin to peel.

© Dan Husain


14 August, 2005

The Little Plastic Flag

(Cross-posted from my blog.)

Last year on Independence Day eve I bought a plastic tricolour. Driven into guilty feelings by a newspaper columnist, I allowed myself to 'put a smile' on a roadside urchin vending plastic flags, stuck to plastic straws. He took the five rupee coin, moved out of sight and and left me thirsting for his smile. I was left with a bright object orange, white and green, with the mandatory chakra thrown in on both sides.

It went home and rested on my desk for some days. Then as the fervour cooled off and the freshness patriotism washed off, the flag began to look like a kitschy eyesore among the tchotchke accumulated on my table top. Mother made signs for its removal, suggesting it be consigned to the dustbin now that festivities were over. I refused.

It was still the national flag, and therefore I was bound by the national flag code. It could be disposed off only by incineration, which is not a good thing to do to anything made of plastic. Still, under pressure, I moved it into the wardrobe to rest unseen.

The flag moved over the next several months all over my shelves and drawers. It attained an ungainly shape. The mast was bent in several places, and large wrinkles ran through the body of the fly. A dark blotch appeared mysteriously on the canton. It began to look less and less like the offical standard of the Indian Republic. Yet I retained for it some vestige of respect. Some of it was due to the guilt hammered in the by now forgotten columnist, and the idea that my impulsive purchase would have filled a little belly someday.

It became the butt of ridicule. On Republic Day, it remained too prostate to discharge its ceremonial duties. Mother again indicated that its crumpled form would suit the dustbin best, and that a new flag would be a better adornment. Yet it seemed sacrilege to obey my mother. The flag was returned to the drawer.

At some point of time, it must have been secretly consigned to the rubbish heap, for I can no longer find it. As another Independence Day approaches, it leaves me with a burning feeling of part guilt (of irresponsibility) and part resistance. How do we relate to our flag, if we relate to it at all?

13 August, 2005

come to my town

come to my town, my friend
the breeze is turning wind
come to my town , my friend
while the rains still remain wild

come to my town, my friend
for the turtles have gone to nest
the salt still stings the mind
and the seas are their furious best

come while the tides still drown you
come while the self still eludes
come to my town, my friend
and bury your troubles in the sand

come to my town my friend
the corals still remain to be seen
the dolphins spoil for an audience
and the volcano is still alive

come to my town, my friend
come, for we too live there

for all our friends, from rats and vij


12 August, 2005


parabolic flights
and mutinous desires
with untamed passion




09 August, 2005


"I hope the noise doesn't disturb your prayers,"
says the man come to clean my room.
His tone and question catch me unawares -
you'd think he'd come to sweep a tomb.

Which, all things considered, isn't far wrong
given the life I seem to have led.
The man's earnest, and the temptation strong
to tell him to lightly vacuum the dead.



07 August, 2005


Last week it slipped by unobserved.
Oh, not a wedding or a birth –
the weather had closed my mind,
and this probably wasn’t worth
a pause: there was little to remind
one of it, and even less that it deserved.

Two years ago it marked a typhoon’s edge.
At its rim I stood callow-faced, and paying
obeisance to a mistress out to woo. The winds
were held in check, the smiling calm betraying
no artifice, nor whiff of later violence,
with neither portent nor a presage.

But soon it blew, and its malignant force
left entire histories changed, and charts
as futile parchment – things to grace a wall,
or gift someone unlettered in the arts
of fickle seas. And all hopes of a landfall
gone with reason, blown hopelessly off course.



05 August, 2005

And it Rains...

And it Rains...

Threatening to lash out
in all their fury
Your words rained on me incessantly.

Scathing, scalding and shattering
the sheer foundation
of my being
Your words rained on me incessantly.

Engulfing my taut skin-
hurling sting after sting
Shaking the sheer foundation
of my being
Your words rained on me incessantly.

Booming like a cloud burst–
thundering and overpowering
Devastating the sheer foundation
of my being
Your words rained on me incessantly.

Uncoiling their serpentine fang-
spewing venom
Ebbing the sheer foundation
of my being
Your words rained on me incessantly.

Groping out into the darkness,
grappling with my destiny;
A steady hand reached out to me…
As your words rained incessantly on me.

Healing my septic soul
with a mere touch-
Soothing my wilting spirits;
And dissolving the fears
festering within;
Calming the sheer foundation
of my being
As it went on to rain incessantly within me.

Annihilating the scars,
your words left behind–
Burying them into the grave
of the past
As it went on to rain incessantly within me.

The Seraph of my Life-
now guides and directs me
Stirring the sheer lightness
of my being –
Showering and loving me
As it continues to rain incessantly within me never before.

(c) Natasha
5 August 2005


turn to shah rukh

have chased,
have trusted,
have discovered,
have found,
have given,

hey! stop right there.
who asked you?
who forced you?
don't whine now.
about desires,
about connections,
and don't even mention
that overused word
called 'lurrve'.

its a game, you know.
and you're getting
boringly predictable.
if you can't play the game
step out, save yourself.
besides, you're too old,
and look desperate, needy.
that's pathetic, you know.

so no writing
lovelorn lyrics,
on ridiculous blogs,
about passionate kisses
on rainy afternoons.

get yourself a haircut,
and shiny dupattas,
that match flowery salwaars.
go join a kitty party,
and have very loud,
very happy
fatty aunty lunches.
and watch shah rukh
bathe topless
in inane movies.


04 August, 2005


"In the aura of silence
my soul
to speak wise

In the aura of silence
my soul
the path to light”

(c) Natasha
4 August 2005


All about the Gherkin

A first here.. :)

You look over
staircases of blue shield
windows and tube

And scared hearts
beat in pin-splah-drop
silence, if this

Maybe the last. A forest
inside you, with
summer flowers and

If sweaty dreams of
the other half that
is sleeping in transit

Of the Earth, and all
changing relationships,
Except the one that
we have with our

And a big delicious
ugly building.


I want to talk today
about roses.
Red ones.
Roses that I am not in the habit of buying, sending, receiving, sniffing at,
or even squashing inside the fat Oxford dictionary -
just for the pleasure
of watching them lose the habit
of enchantment.

I want to talk today
about that shade of
crackly, sour, brittle,
intact -
inside the fat, hard-cover Oxford dictionary.

I want to talk today
about fat dictionaries
that cling to rose-wood shelves,
in denimesque hard covers:
the kind I no longer buy.

I want to talk today
about the things I no longer buy:
because I need not,
because I must not,
because so many others cannot,
because nobody tells me 'It's a gift... please'.

I want to talk today
about the gifts I do not accept
on account of
space issues
fabric and texture and 'will-it-last' issues
memory issues
retrieval and retractment issues.

I want to talk
of issues that have nothing to do with today
or everyday.

I do not want to talk today.

I do not want to talk today.

(C) Annie Zaidi, August 2005


03 August, 2005


Contemplating a certain thought of wisdom
on these smooth and broad gentile plains
my brain ached and remembered a room
in a familiar, strange and restless city
where as a young man I was gently led
like a sheep to the fold.
There I was but not alone,
really there were twelve of us
each one timid, fearful and unaware
only silently listening to what He said.

Silently after a little while
we broke bread and ate because we were hungry
and needed food; and we tasted the wine
which was so bitter and also so strangely sweet
that in our thirst we remembered the prophets:
what they had yearned for and,
how easily in our midst we beheld that.

This much of theology I understood
that is, how much ever I saw
not only because it was so tangible and real
but even so because I could fathom it
in my mind and rationalise its implications
but there was something else that happened
which I was not prepared for,
something which made me curiously baffled,
speechless and completely out of ease,
something which, for a moment at least,
forced me into a sudden indecision
that now on reflection I ask myself,
"Why was I hasty to have my feet washed?"

But time has inflicted a better cure
and whenever afterwards I remembered that night
always a new thought strikes me,
a new wisdom speaks to me; as if it was
God himself talking to me and telling me,
how much of myself I have to give to Him;
how much of all that I cherish I have to sacrifice
and how much more I have to lean on Him
to cleanse me and my feet
as I walk reluctantly in these chains
on these smooth and broad Gentile plains
to my inevitable death and obvious glory.


Interpretation of Good English, or, Love in Tokyo in Kerala

Interpretation of Good English, or, Love in Tokyo in Kerala

Some time back I had written an article on the online literary forum Caferati, “Your thoughts aren’t written words.” I don’t know if anyone noticed that article or cared to read it. Never mind. If you know my blog address, please be kind enough to visit it and read (as we say in Indian officialese), and leave a comment.This is a continuation of that debate. I am putting on my thinking cap and examining why Indians can’t decide what is good writing. There is a big controversy raging on Caferati, right this moment on this subject.

When I was a humble sub-editor I would get copy written by journalists who couldn’t spell or write but the content was excellent. They got the story right. We had to re-write the entire stuff for our readers.There were journalists who wrote immaculate English and instructed that only major mistakes should be corrected and they should be informed of the changes.

Both these tribes had their own interpretation of writing and we sub-editors knew this. So we worked hard around their ideas and polished it as best as we could. We made it presentable to our readers.It was fun working on the copy desk. We made jokes about each writer and his/her way of writing. Sometimes we were hauled up by the editor, the big boss himself. He had his own idea of what good writing was. We sub-editors had to paddle carefully around all those icebergs of what was “Good Writing.” I must admit, we did a decent job, given the situation, and had fun playing with language. But we didn’t let anything slip as we had a very, very, good chief sub-editor who taught us what little we know about English language.

In another job, I was fired by an editor just because I misplaced a “the” in a sentence. Not fired, actually, but the relationship worsened and I had to leave. It happened like this. I had written “Indian Patent Act” and the editor, a literary purist, insisted it was “The Indian Patent Act.” I stuck to what I had written. I didn’t know that sitting right next to him was the world’s most powerful research tool, or, the most misguiding tool. Again, interpret it the way you want. He searched “The Indian Patent Act” and found what he wanted to nail me with. But I said if he searched “Indian Patent Act” he would find several references to words strung exactly like that. That led to an argument, which ended in my resignation.

So coming to what I am waffling about, let me explode this myth about good writing. Nobody knows what good writing is. Or, to put it simply, good writing is too subjective a topic, a matter of interpretation. We all have our own concepts, colored by our own education, background, and upbringing. “Arree where going, men?” is okay to some and not palatable to others. One person’s good writing is another’s literary hara-kiri.

Even spelling and grammar. Americans spell with an “z” as in “specialized” while British spell with an “s” as in “specialised.” Indians have their own ways of expression like “time-to-time” and “preponed.”My chief sub-editor said there was something called Punjabi English, Marathi English, Malayalam English, Telugu English, Bengali English, and so on. And I agree. English is written differently by Malayalis like me than by Marathis like many of my friends.So are we agreed on one thing? That English is subjective to various influences and if you approach it with your puritanical rose-tinted glasses it will look downright odd and unintelligible. Hope we are.

So for some suggested solutions.

The solution

The solution? India has to evolve its own brand of English, which is tolerant and not dictatorial and puritanical in interpretation. If we take the colonial or Jesuit-convent-school type of English as pure English, Indians will lag behind in defining their own idiom and will not help Indian English evolve.Even Rushdie used words like “kill-ofy” in his writing. I think that is a good beginning from a Booker winner. We should follow his example and improvise.

Arundhati Roy, another beautiful (I mean this literally) improviser of the language uses words and idioms from Malayalam. She refers to “stick insect” and “Fountain in a Love in Tokyo.” Now “stick insect” is something we use in Malayalam English. Also nobody outside Kerala knows what a Love in Tokyo is.

Just to test Arundhati’s language I went to a general store in Kerala and asked for a “Love in Tokyo.”

Yes, believe me, I actually did this.

“Give this man a Love in Tokyo,” the owner of the shop shouted to his salesperson.

Please don’t misunderstand. I wasn’t buying love. Again, people, how misconceived can your interpretation get? I actually wrote “Again, people, how misconceived your interpretation can get?” That is another Indianism, putting the verb at the end of the sentence.

Instead of love, which I wouldn’t have objected to then, the salesperson fished inside several boxes in a dingy corner and came out with my “Love in Tokyo,” which is a hair clip that girls use to hold their hair in place. Ask a Malayali girl if you know one, she will concur.

Shobhaa De, another good improviser of language, is adept at Indianisms. If she finds somebody a “maha bore” I know exactly what she means, more power to her words.So when a group of Indians from diverse backgrounds get together and discuss what “Good English is,” I tend to choke. With laughter, I mean, because I have been through it enough times to make me puke with choking.

Be tolerant and tolerate interpretations is what I would like to say. If you follow British English stick to your “s” and “coloUr.” If you follow American English stick to your “z” and “color.” If you wish to sprinkle your work with a few qualified regional words, please do. But, not too much, please.Did I make my point? Again, it is subjective and subject to your interpretation.

01 August, 2005



At four they shout songs in church
I see people shining, talking a strange language,
Clapping hands in the Holy Spirit.
I grow up on books
The pictures and words etched in my mind,
The mind grew as I ran at home.
At six, I am an organist
And the music flows as I read.


The Bible I got
For being the “Best Youth” in church
Sits somewhere in the bookshelf,
I never opened it beyond the first page,
The page where the printing is faded
Stating my ownership;
My sister now takes it to church.


The picture I drew won a prize at school,
Daddy smiled,
Mummy smiles with him,
To keep them smiling
I sit silently and win more prizes;
After the second, never first,
But they don’t mind,
And I don’t care at all.


My sister comes home
Every year for two months
And at eight I sing Careless Whispers and Wild World,
I read Jeffrey Archer at ten.
She stayed home from eleven,
At the houses on Old Passport, Holiday Inn
And Airport Roads.


At school I watch the others play
I join them and their laughter
But I don’t run with them any day.
After school I go
And play the piano,
I hide for hours,
I stay alone.


I watch the Wimbledon final
And my dad pushes me
To go for drawing lessons,
He wants to see
The architect in me,
But now I draw


I go to sleep on DaVinci and Van Gogh
Wake up with a start to Dylan Thomas and Coleridge;
I took a flight on Air India,
Brought my guitar for protection,
And with a pen for a sword
I stand on a bridge,
Fight the mad pushes of the waves
Tearing the skin,
The salt spray makes it burn.