Saturday, April 14, 2018

Mr Sudarshan Murthy has bought a penthouse.
Thirteenth floor,1301 Garden Views
a whole floor to himself, his wife
and two sons.
On his left is the Parsi Tower of Silence
on his right a crematorium.
In front, a lake obscured by a flyover,
and below, tree stumps, debris and endless rows of cars.
and i wonder
does Mrs Sudarshan make sambar
while looking at vultures eat Mrs. Battiwala?
or perhaps her brahmin cook,
(having purified the vessels and water with vedic chants),
wonders at her employers’ wisdom.
Does Mr. Murthy, in his study,
reading the latest in IT,
let his thoughts drift as he looks out
at the black smoke of the crematorium?
Wasn’t Sharan cremated there?
28, software engineer, hit and run.
good fellow, lots of potential.
must visit his family for condolences.
‘Come, come, see the views of the lake Mr. Jacob,
excellent bird watching, so much greenery’, he says
walking his guest through the five bedroom penthouse, study and terrace garden included.
He has worked hard for it.
Saved every bit for it.
360 degree views,
supermarket,
jacuzzi,
clubhouse, gym, conference rooms,
guest apartments for visiting family,
golf, billiards, swimming pools.
Everything is in Garden Views.
His sons Karthik and Shyam
IIT, IIM, leaving to study at Yale.
drink shots at their farewell party,
for every funeral held that week.
Pestonji, Homi, KS Radha, baby Jia
(Just today)
‘We’ll end up drunkards, man’,
‘Dude’, says Sneha,
leaning over the balcony,
looking at the roof of the mall
the hospital, the wedding hall,
the winding flyover,
hazy lake,
smog,
human ash, mixing with car fumes.
Carbon with carbon.
‘Dude’, she says,
‘You really have it all, don’t you?.

Asifa,
I do not know if there is a Jannat.
and if there is, are your beloved horses there?
are the mornings mist laden
and the mountains snowy-blue?
your wounds, have they healed?
do you laugh now,
as you chase butterflies
in valleys of a thousand flowers?
Me, I think we are just carbon
(a poet may say stardust)
and after a life lived (or not)
in this world,
we become dust or ash.
But for you, Asifa,
I want Jannat.
You chirped like a bird
and ran like a deer,
your mother said.
So may there be a heaven
where you are far,
so far away from this pain
to which living is bound.
Where you are safe
from violating hands
where your face fills with
your beautiful smile again.
Arm teachers with guns,
train them in military combat,
make them sharpshooters,
who target practice in the school gym
every morning after registration.
Arm them with grenades
(better to be safe)
and bullet proof vests will help,
though don't you want heroes
bullet ridden, bloodied, dead?
Arm teachers with guns.
we'll add that to our lesson plans
to after school meetings,
yearly goals, appraisals.
to Managebac, Haiku learning, Google docs,
to Seesaw learning, to inclusive learning, differential learning.
'Dear students, today while I teach you about sound waves
I'll pull out my gun,
hide under the desks,
don't tweet, WhatsApp, post on Facebook,
it's just a drill.
I'll run up and down the corridor,
aiming my gun here and there.
not funny, don't giggle,
you'll thank me later'
Arm us with guns, because guns don't kill,
people kill.
Mentally ill people
those with autism,
single parent kids,
foster kids,
isolated, marginalized kids,
the loner, the quiet one
must get rid of such ones
Not guns. Guns don't kill.
Arm teachers with guns.
When 12 O clock casts its shadow,
Over the hot afternoon,
A cat slips through a crack in time
And slinks into my room
She thinks I don't see her,
(Or maybe she doesn't care)
leaves wisps of rainbow fur,
Little dents in the pillow,
Fallen books, hairclips askew, startled dogs,
So I know she is there.
(but she doesn't care)
Shadow cat, she steals into my dreams,
And I glimpse her Fey world,
Of witches and cats, of elves and owls,
Of things wonderful and things foul,
Things that thrill, things that scare,
(oh but she doesn't care)
For she is a shadow cat,
Who slips through the cracks
In time, in space, through dimensions,
To visit humans like me,
To bewitch, to charm to haunt
To entwine, to play, to prance with glee,
With her many worlds and people,
To show us what it's to be truly free,
(oh but she doesn't care)
I am sorry dear cow,
For I ate you too.
As a little girl, I wanted beef:
Keema, meatballs and stew
Cooked to perfection by my mother,
Who became vegetarian at twenty but cooked for me
Because ‘I could not live without meat’.
I am sorry.
I am sorry because when I would meet you on the road,
I would stop to pet you, nuzzle your muzzle,
Look at your wide-wonder-open eyes,
While you chewed
Cud: noun
partly digested food returned from the first stomach of ruminants to the mouth for further chewing.
My textbook showed me a cow chewing cud with piles of grass around her.
Some CBSE or ICSE textbook with those badly inked sketches.
(But I went home to eat kebabs with Kissan tomato sauce)
Now I know you were chewing garbage cud, while plastic choked your four stomachs, one by one.
"The cow has four stomachs and undergoes a special digestive process to break down the tough and coarse food it eats. When the cow first eats, it chews the food just enough to swallow it. The unchewed food travels to the first two stomachs, the rumen and the reticulum, where it is stored until later."
I am sorry beautiful gentle beast,
For even after I gave up meat,
I drank your milk.
As chocolate milkshake,
As Ceylon tea,
As paneer kofta, as toast with cheese, as butter ( that melted in my mouth).
As chocolate cake (rich), as baked potatoes, as rasmalai,
Because I really did not like the taste of plain milk.
They told me you were ‘gau-mata’
That you liked giving your milk.
That ‘a cow sacrifices her own milk for us and does not give it to her calf’
Because, gentle one, I was told, you loved me more.
Because you are Kamadhenu, the wish fulfilling cow.
“Namo devyai Maha devyai,
Surabyai cha namo nama.
Gavam Bheeja swaroopaya ,
Namasthe Jagad Ambike”
Years later, I stopped milk too.
Because someone told me
About how you are kept pregnant for me,
Kept lactating for me,
Your son killed for me,
Your daughter, fated to live the same life you did,
For me.
And then slaughtered so that I can have:
Leather handbags,
Leather shoes,
Leather sofas,
Leather car seats,
Leather wallets,
Leather belts,
Leather jackets.
So I stopped using leather.
But gentle one,
Your life did not change.
I am sorry.
Advertising made you glamorous.
‘Doodh,doodh, doodh, wonderful doodh’
‘Doodh hai wonderful, piyo glassful’.
‘Amul cheese, yes please’
‘Kuch khaaas hai zindagi mein’
You were a Happy Cow
Who gave slim milk,
Toned milk,
Or ‘gara’ milk for the tandarust.
What type of milk did your calf want?
We even took away the colostrum.
Posu, kharvas,Junnu
Desserts for the ‘pure vegetarian’.
I am sorry, gentle one.
I am sorry for your son,
Who, to prove his manhood
Has to fight a hundred men,
Who poke him, prod him, blind him with rage and alcohol,
So that when he emerges, victorious among other bulls,
He, Nandi, is king among them,
Son of the village,
Treated like a god,
Given to your daughter,
And then to slaughter.
(shhh! How dare i say that? How dare I question tradition?)
But I am sorry.
For you did not ask that manhood be proved of your gentle son.
Nor did he.
Nor did the hundreds of sons who died as soon as they were born,
Because you know #vealisthebest.
And now,
When yellow and orange flags fly high,
And the air fills with screams of your protectors,
I know that I still must say that I am sorry
Men have died, slaughtered like you,
Their blood filling the streets,
Families bereaved,
Sons killed,
And those not killed, their bones broken, spirits crushed.
In the name of protecting you.
I should be happy.
I should praise your 'protectors' Your saviours.
I cannot.
And for that too, I am sorry.
I am sorry that you, gentle one,
Caught in this hail of hate, not of your making,
Not of your choosing, continue to suffer.
Your protectors, drunk on entitlement and your milk,
Do not care.
They do not care that you
Search the streets for a patch of grass,
A tiny bit, just to change the taste of rotting garbage.
They do not care that you moan over your lost children,
Who must also stumble, hungry on streets, looking for you.
They do not care that you, with infected teats and oxytocin cramps,
Want rest. Want love. Want cuddles.
I am sorry, gentle one.
For I, when I see you on the road, dodging cars,
Shaking off flies,
As your bell tinkles,
Can do nothing.
I am sorry, gentle one.
“On Monday giving grass, food, agathi keerai, banana to cow will cleanse us off mathru, pithru dosha,
On Tuesday giving water and food to cow will provide housing and land purchase opportunities
On Wednesday giving food to cow will give advancement in professional life.
On Thursday giving rice porridge to cow will remove purva jenma dosha
On Friday doing cow pooja will shower us with the blessings of Sri Mahalakshmi
On Saturday giving grass and agathi keerai to cow will remove us from the shackles of poverty.
On thuvathisi worshipping cow and giving food will provide punya of annathanam( offering food) to 1000 people”

Wednesday, December 11, 2013



A friend shared this link on FB and so the story.

The old woman of the forest could no longer deny it. Waldeinsamkeit had hit her hard after those pesky children had left. With deep Iktsuarpok, she would look out of her cottage, looking for weary, lost travelers who might stop by to ask her for soup and bread and perhaps a place to stay the night. Komoreb filled her morning room when she sat there to have tea and Komoreb filled her evening room where she cast spells and sang old songs. ‘Such a shame that there is no one but me to feel such beauty’, she would think as purple and gold bubbles spilled over the floor. It was a long time since she and Baba Yaga had a Sobremesa and she wondered if she should call the batty woman over. The only thing stopping her was Baba Yaga’s Jayus.Nor could she put up with Baba Yaga’s Depaysement. ‘Oh well’, she thought. ‘Someone is better than no one’, and began to cast a spell for creating a Mangata. Panapoo! What could it be! What could it be! Something in the spell was missing, another door was opening. The old woman groaned, the old woman moaned. In walked Ariel, that infernal Pochemuchka who always left Cualacino all over the cottage!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013


Now-a-days Red takes the car and drives the long way around the forest to reach her Gran's house. The new, shiny, tarred highway is marked only by the occasional carcass of a dead deer or wolf. She always slows down when she passes these silent, still bodies, death spreading entrails and blood with precision, making patterns, splatters on the unyielding black. How real and how strange is death and how innocent. She does not ever tell Gran about the bodies or that she slows down. Danger lingers, leisures on highways, lazily waiting for lonesome travelers.

On this morning, the mist still hangs, invades, exhales on the windshield. Red drives slowly, headlights on full, the aroma of buns and cupcakes filling the car. She sees something on the road, a shape, dulled black by the mist, indistinguishable almost, from the road. Roadkill. She swerves and looks as she passes by. Breathing?. Movement?. Imperceptible almost, imagination and pattern recognition. A few feet ahead she stops, gets out the torch and walks back. It’s a wolf. Bleeding. Gasping for breath. Dying.
She picks him up, carries him to the car and lies him down next to the basket of buns and cupcakes. Wet fur, blood, poop and the aroma of cupcakes. She is nearly at Gran’s. A turn to the left, a bumpy ride down the mud path till the trees almost close in and she is there.

The basket of bakes is forgotten in the car. The wolf is next to the heater and Gran is cleaning out his wound: a big gash along his mouth. The jaw is broken. ‘He will recover’, says Gran. ‘Let him stay here’.

A week later he is dead. Red still drives down to meet Gran. Alongside her runs a silver-black wolf keeping the roads safe from huntsmen.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013



This is for day-2, poetry challenge by Terri Windling ( http://windling.typepad.com/blog/2013/10/poe.html#comment-6a00e54fcf73858834019affe630ba970b)



The Hag and I


The Hag and I,
For a living
We make rampion salads and spin gold.
To pass the time
she tells me tales
Of her sister‘s
love for mirrors,
or of her aunt’s cottage of candy,
I listen while I chop the herbs and vegetables,
But only she mixes the spices,
Secret, scented, seductive.


When I spin endless reams, she says
‘Careful, do not prick yourself,
Like niece Beauty did,
We really cannot afford a hundred year sleep.
Times are tough and even gold spun by a maiden
Has few takers’.


When she goes to the village,
I look out into clouds.
Far below,
Peasants and nobleman pass,
Look up furtively, hurriedly,
I wave but no one waves back.


In the evenings, I throw down a rope
Of gold,
And the Hag climbs up,
Takes out her pouch
Counts out the copper,
Dines on unsold salad,
And then it’s time to spin again.


‘This evening’s tale is about my brother Rumple’,
‘Stop me if you have heard it before’.
Nimble and swift, her bony fingers spin,
Fine threads of gold,
And I see,
Moistness and tenderness,
In old wrinkled eyes.



Tuesday, October 08, 2013



There are maidens and there are wolves,
And then there are the rescuers.
Big, burly, brave,
They burst in, uncalled,
Unasked,
Dragging with them death,
In bloody trails.

But the forest is old,
I, older still.
I have walked these paths,
Known each tree,
Known each beast,
And held their magic,
In me.

Know hunter, when you kill,
And spill life,
I am watching,
Waiting,
For you to burst in again,
Unannounced.

My grandmother and I,
We are readying a feast,
Wolf is by the hearth,
The fireplace warm,
Outside storm clouds gather.

You are lost, hunter,
Tired you drag
Feet weary and hands blistered,
Fingers caked in mud and blood,
You seek us.

In a lone cottage,
A welcoming light shines.
Inside two women and one wolf,
Ancient and endless,
Wait.

Wait, hunter,
For you.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I have been asked to mourn you,

to feel each thing that I said I did not feel.

Feel grief,

feel pain, feel the tears leave wet trails

along their downward journey.

Feel the despair, the hopelessness, the fear.

I felt nothing when I saw you, dead.

I held you,

hoping to feel warm.

I felt the softness of your fur,

the stiffness of your limbs and the paper thinness of your ears.

I picked you up, my mind scanning for space in the garden,

too full of the dead. I did not mourn.

A creeper, a rose, maybe a herb bush,

or some catnip.

But most importantly, for a few months

a heavy pot, I would have to find a very heavy pot to place

on top, so you would not be dug out, rotting and ghastly.

I did not mourn you.

I cannot mourn you.

My shoulders shrug,

I sigh.

What can I do?

I do not even remember the times together entirely.

You, asleep on my bed, purring.

You, heaped up in a pile of others, a rag patch purring quilt.

You chasing shadows and butterflies.

You hungry at 5 am.

You on my lap,

You, soft and prickly,

jumpy and purry,

crazy and wise.

I did not mourn you.

I have not mourned you.

I hope that it is not important to mourn, for you and for me.

I just hope that it’s a Dr.Who universe,

and you are there,

and a crack in time

will widen

and we will meet.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

For a 50 word story challenge from Cafe Muravyets. It has to have the following words in it: downpour, moronic, mercifully, snagged, ripen

In the downpour, the Queen of Hearts mercifully became pulp. ‘Better than getting old and getting wrinkles that will ripen her into a prune’ said Alice. Having snagged the Queen's plans, she now wants to move on and get that moronic Mad Hatter captured and say ‘Off with his head!’


so have a look at: muravyets.wordpress.com for other stuff, wonderful and suchlike.