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A collaboration over too much coffee.
coffee and pen

31 July, 2006

Children of Qana

The world collapsed
around their dreams
with a whimper
in the sudden rain of fire
from the sky.

Reflected in their empty eyes,
the Silence of the world-
spineless, unconscionable.

Exploded eyeballs, splattered blood
scorched skin, limbless bodies,
strewn around like confetti.

So many lives, so many little lives
snuffed out
in an instant of insanity.

Who are the culprits?
Of this continual horror
Blood stained fingers
quickly rise to point to
everyone, no one.


27 July, 2006

Last Tree Standing

This is an experiment of mine, in trying to write a scenario with two possible outcomes, and so I've put them side by side. And it has also been a useful lesson in HTML.

Last Tree Standing
Mumbai, 16 July 2006

It was the last tree standing
On the prairie’s boundless ground
Harassed by the winds and rain alike
It stood alone, calm, strong
Gently holding on to its last leaves.

“More wood, more fire,
More orgies!
My power shall not stand
Diminished in any way.
The jewels in my crown,
Those trophies of battle,
That glory of being
The Master of his men.
The vile slavery of my serfs
— shall I let go of it?
More orgies, more food,
More laurels to my power!

“Shall a mere tree come in my way?
What shall I make my men do?
Eat roots when they can have pheasant stew?
That last tree shall give me wood,
And they – those serving men –
They shall chop it, and burn it.
The cooking-men will stir the pots;
The hunting-men shall find for me -
Pheasants, and deer and turtles;
The growing men shall bring me
Wheat, and rice and cotton;
The weaver-men, and the barber-men
And the potter-men and other men,
They shall all ply their trades.

“And I:
I keep the peace among them,
I throw them my table-scraps,
And they shall be fed
And be happy.
They shall not murmur
And swear oaths and secrets
Or in any manner rise against me.

“No more wood be there to burn?
What matter?
We shall burn coal.

“No more coal?
O there is some left for a year?
Good. Burn it, then.
Does not matter.
I shall be dead soon.
I’m old, and I have seen my times.
And they were good.
Let it be, for my men are happy.
Let them not stir.
Once I’m dead what do I care?
My son will face times
Of hardship and sorrow?
O! but let him face it,
I can only live my life.

“I burnt the last tree,
I’ll burn the last coalstone.
But I’ve burnt my snuff,
I have nothing more to burn."

"No wood, no fire, no orgies.
We shall do without them.

"Let the tree stand
and bear fruit and seed.
We shall sow those seeds and pray.

"And while a new forest grows,
Let us
Repent our error
And pledge to learn
Not to make them again.

"The jewels of my crown
Or the trophies of my battles,
What more are they than shadows?

"Whither my majesty, my laurels
If my people die after me
Unfed, uncared?

"Shall a mere orgy today
Feed famine tomorrow?

We shall have roots, and tubers,
And whatever else,
The growing-men can by their talents
Make the mother-earth provide.

"We shall all keep a pledge:
I shall, with my potter-men,
And hunter-men and weaver-men,
And barber-men,
Tend to our new forest
And sing to our children
Of our horror, our error.

"Our dear kindred
When it be time to inherit the world;
We hope they shall not find
Our efforts in vain.

"They shall have fruits
And shade,
And rain,And every bounty of the forest.

"Spring shall come again:
There shall be birds that sing,
And flowers and butterflies.
And that will bring joy.

"We shall have in our deaths:
Peace and happiness
That we lived a good life.

"The coal shall stay buried,
The wood stand in its glory,
And I rest
Forever in peace."

26 July, 2006


I do not know what it does for you
but this, I can guess -
It is vital to you, as vitality goes...
(and I? I suspect, am less).

They say, it is almost more
than just an organ part.
It has a head, a body, a tail -
(does it even have a heart?)

Insulin and Glucagon and
Polypeptide cells -
who would've thought of pan-creation
as a river of alkali hells?

They say, it is imperative
if you must live and lie.
(For if you live, lie you must;
you're just that kind of guy)

Now you're in need and I can't help;
I don't have healing powers.
For I can give you my heart, should you ask...
But not my pancreas.

(C) Annie Zaidi


23 July, 2006

Mumbai, Mayhem & T.S. Eliot

Last night I read Eliot.
These are strange times to read him
and more to discuss him with a friend at Marriott
as we sip wine and eat lamb-steak,
expostulate (that’s a big word) against double-speak,
heresy, hypocrisy, a bureaucrat’s bid to block blogs,
America’s complacency, Israel’s capacity to bamboozle, shock.
My friend chuckles, he’s recently been to Tel Aviv,
is well acquainted with Israel’s potential for mischief.
And then, my friend burps, sighs,
“Aren’t we lucky to be alive?”
But then trains were never our aspirations in rush hour drives.
We’re probably waiting for the Metro
for us to shift to public transport,
aspire then for a workplace
between Versova and Ghatkopar.

(…the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table

The conversation shifts to extra-marital affairs, orthopedic surgery –
Professor Matuknath Chaudhary’s love discourses for his paramour Julie.
(I think Matuknath has balls
to turn his life into a brawl
and stand for what he believes
while the news channels gloat at this sleaze.
But it is politically correct to take pot-shots
at him and I further it with parental duty, guilt.
I talk about my mother’s rheumatism, her knee…
Why is it that women suffer more from arthritis?
Has there been a medical research on this?
My friend shrugs, I don’t know though my mother also suffers from it.

(We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

The bill is paid. We step out in the early morning rush.

(Half-past two,
The street-lamp said,
“Remark the cat which flattens itself in the gutter,
Slips out its tongue
And devours a morsel of rancid butter.”

I am grateful to my friend, and
he says thank you for that rib-tickling performance.
This is the best we can offer to each other –
Moments like bric-a-brac, friendship as a tag –
A mathematician and a stand-up comedian.

I stand smugly satisfied at this sight.
The rain assumes the muggy Mumbai night…

(Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;
The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots.

© Dan Husain
July 19, 2006

*From T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”
**From T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men.”
***From T.S. Eliot’s “Rhapsody on A Windy Night.”
****From T.S. Eliot’s “Preludes.”


22 July, 2006



In your bosom I wake up with fear,
In your sky there’s only unending tears,
You always roar, but within,
Hangs silence like a shroud of death.

You are rocked, periodically, by bombs,
Yet, people go about their business,
As if nothing happened, all’s well,
Are they too dazed to protest?

In your hungry, convoluted entrails,
Lies pauper and millionaire,
Separated only by the whimsy,
Of your very partial caress.

On your skyline of sooty chimneys,
Decaying concrete, bristling antennas,
Are the sad stories of fortunes,
Made and lost, just as lost loves.

City of gold, they say, which never sleeps,
Will you stay awake, tonight,
Wipe away our cascading tears,
And give our tired bodies some sleep?


21 July, 2006

Being a writer

It's awkward being a writer. Some folks look at me and think, well, that someone should take me to a counseller and get me some good advice on getting a job and being a part of society. Other folks think I'm some kind of mahatma-equivalent, drenched in the wisdom of the ages. Most publishing houses think I won't make good sales: Why don't I write a thriller?

There are Eliot fundamentalists who will tear my verse apart. There are others who will turn their noses at my 'free-verse'. As for my short stories, the less said the better.

But what is really funny is my own set of delusions. I think I write originally. I have been living in the maya that I have my own style. I have fought heroic battles to defend that illusion. No avail.

Thing is, truth cannot be hidden. I've now decided to make a list of people whom I copy. In terms of themes, treatment, language and the like.

I like Narayan and Kipling the most. I think I can write sarky things about small town India, or grandiose romantic pieces. My style - my poor style - copies a wider range. Griffin for one, Narayan again, even Gould. O'Henry, Saki and Maupassant perhaps. I have dabbled in Shakespeareana even. I shudder to think if I have plagiarised anyone else unwittingly. I've been reading Raja Rao, I'm sure I going to write Rao-esque things and claim they are my own children german*.

Okay, I have this off my chest now. I think I can stop ranting, and go back to my dreams. And pull that cover of maya over my head again.

*Children german: my very own children, not step children. Sage bachche in Hindi. An old and useful Englishism that I found, and think should be used more frequently.

20 July, 2006

end of journey....

When did you get so messed up?
I am failing badly in attempting
To keep you straight and alive
Is it just me or is it the world
Trying to wend my destiny
And take control of my fate?
Why do you deny me again and again?
I yearn for you and it is so tiring
Is it ever going to end?
This pain and the heart ache
Some that I called upon myself
And some I never knew existed
You kill me slowly from inside
From the emotional whipping,
That mental abuse and the hurt
I cannot hide me anymore from you
Nor can I hide you from me
Take over my life I no longer control…
Oh you are so mixed up and complex
I know not what is real what is not
I am no longer sure what I must hide
And what is it that I should ignore
You scramble my thoughts so much
Nothing ever feels right anymore!
Ah you are still a far away shining star
Blinking through shadowing clouds
of shrouding uncertainty and gloom
but I found the path to reach you now
is nothing but the invincible death
that final terminus to journey of life!
That which brings the eternal peace,
you are the one I finally wait for.
To give you this life stripped of its love,
left to suffer in endless pain and agony
I yearn for you with my battered heart
To embrace me and numb me forever...


19 July, 2006

I want to give you my heart.....

I am sharing another new poem and sketch of mine...I originally wrote the poem and then wanted to sketch something that reflects the pain of a broken heart and the result was the sketch...

I want to give you my heart dear,
but it is so broken and damaged..
It was the cost of my reckless loving
which I indulged in once in the past,
that left my heart ruthlessly shattered;
bleeding with tears of deep hurt and pain!
I am now holding those fragile pieces
to patch them back and make it whole
so i can once again take and give love,
so I can once again laugh, live and love!
One day I promise to give you my heart
When it strong again to dare give love
But for now it needs a lot of mending
with a lot of care and lot more love….
Until then darling, I still need you
to be on my side and help me tend,
to give me strength and steer my will
for I need to fill my so bruised heart
with all love and hope it is so drained of
So I can give you all that you deserve
With my whole new restored heart…
Oh yes I want to give you my heart dear
but just one promise you make me now
that you will care for my mended heart
for it will never live if broken all over again!


16 July, 2006

A Monsoon Sonnet

Hurrah! The rains are here!
The dream that every tree has seen
To dress in everlasting green;
The hope of every sown seed,
Of every herb and grass and weed,
Of parched street and thirsting town,
Of starving ryot and taxing crown:
Is sated now, there is no fear.

The drops of life fall sweet and clear!
His time has come, he's waited long:
The frog croaks forth his eager song!
With joy does every little child,
Frolic in mud, get wet, run wild!
Hurrah! The rains are here!


14 July, 2006

my sketches and poems

I started sketching after many years today and then all the sketches I made inspired me to write. Here are two of them....I would like to humbly say though that I am not a professional and expert....

1) Guilty Tears

The guilty tears
Drop silently
from grieving eyes
darkened by a haze
of deep remorse…
A glistening pool
forms a binding circle
under the ecliptic moon
In the dark shadows
Of her shame and guilt…
The fading night
Throws a dancing light
On the pool of sorrow
Awaiting a cleansing
From the morning dew…
And so she waits
With an aching heart
In hope of forgiveness
By her own pool
of guilty tears…..

2) In The Prison Of My Agony

Your silent screams
You thought remained unheard
But no I heard them dear
For they stabbed me hard
through my very core
and will continue to pierce me
for the rest of my life…
I am now chained forever
in my own agony
and will never be set free
from my loss and your pain….
The helpless pain I inflicted
Most unsuspected on you
Seizes my conscience
Over and over again
tearing my soul apart
and dripping bloodless tears…
I lost a part of my soul
When I took away from you
The precious gift of your life
Oh so brutally and in shame…
All I can ask for now
Is that some day you forgive me
And I promise to join you
in the heavens above…
Until then sadly my dear
life goes on for me
In the prison I created
through my own agony…..


13 July, 2006

Ever since I joined adult literacy class

I fear rain
It will wash away
your name
that I scribble in the dust
on back of every bus
that leaves my town

© rajendra pradhan


Colours of Rain

Red tiled roofs
That breathed fire in summer
Are green velvet now

The blue sky
In million intermediate shades
Finally, has turned dark grey

Black charcoal
Orange Flames
Golden bhuttas roasting

And your lips purple
With blood
Of fresh succulent jaamuns

Rain is just water drops falling down

© rajendra pradhan


10 July, 2006


u burn a hole in my head
through which sink
a butterfly
an emerald rose
the ink bottle
our bruised lips

i walk slowly, cautiously
lest i step on to them


09 July, 2006

To my muse

[ I ]

If we met
The seas could churn
and earth might burn,
snowcaps melt,
rainbows explode.

Then words might dance
vowels thunder,
consonants blaze
a trail of surrender.

Or perhaps

waves would glide
in mellow light,
and gentle rain
soften the night?

if we but met…

[ II ]

Call me blood-thirsty leech
if you must.

I can see
what might ensue
but I need to burrow
deep, into
your warm presence,
feed off your brains
drink in your thoughts..

Dry tinder
burns fast.

When we meet
I might catch fire,
but I must die
for only then
my poem flowers.

© Alaka Yeravadekar


The message

The message is supreme;
Born in the heart,
and lilting itself
from tongue to tongue,
throwing its scent
over wind and wave;
travelling on dots
or fingers
when blindness
or silence bar its way.

It hews itself into stone
or burns itself onto magnetic discs;
it is the message that lives
and I exist
solely to pass it on.


08 July, 2006

And so you return, my love

And so you return, my love,
as if nothing had happened,
expecting the yearning
I have let you claim as your own.
You dance for me,
tap on my window,
sing siren songs from under the trees,
confident that I will smile,
and come running.
Yes, it's true
that in the past
I have forgiven anew each year
your absence,
let go unquestioned
your other dalliances;
content to love you
when you want to be loved.
But after last year,
when you battered me senseless;
after last year,
when you took so much of me;
after last year,
I welcome you ..
with hesitation,
with fear.
Yes, I need you,
I will admit that.
But it's a saner love now,
after last year.


04 July, 2006

A monsoon idyll

The nectar-laden clouds;
The earthen smell
of newborn life
the sea-spray upon my face,
the green cloak that the trees
have covered themselves in
and the steadily pouring rain
that feeds, nurtures, enlivens:
they weave beauty into breath,
The joy of being,
The enchanted thrill
And the bliss of minglement
into the bounty of the earth!


03 July, 2006


There grows a layer of death over our imaginary maps of arcadia
Silverfish crawl into the valleys and eat away the canvases we were to paint there
Rivers fade
Ashes from the bonfires we were to light smudge the road-signs
Neons flicker and die over deserted roads we were to toss away and head for the hills
Fungus consumes the lines of the beach drawn daringly close to the tent that we were to put up
And we lie awake at night wishing we could somehow lose the map where shadows haunt the dreams of a goddess mourning her priest


01 July, 2006

Without you

Without you –
I can be
but the eyes do not see
I can be
but no tears fall
I can be
but not squander my love
I can be
but not come alive
I can be
but not leap in joy

And now, I am
ready to dissolve,
let go of my resolve,
of being
without you.

© Alaka Yeravadekar