Sunday, December 26, 2010

December goes mad

December goes mad
when it snows so much.

V hangs those blinking lights
on his window for Christmas.

They are tacky, about a yard,
turn red and green, then
for some seconds, go off and
can not be seen, so that V
who would strike out on his own
tonight, finds it hard.

But when they are lit, he sees the city
between their red and green, and
nothing, it seems, is stopping it,
the cars run by and the boys on the
bus stops fill the sky with their cigarettes,
and tonight, even if it is not like in
the films, it is not much worse, and
December, V would know, is only
mad at the snow because it melts,
and, try as it might, it can not let go.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Delhi

It is two years before,
I am in Delhi again.

They’ve made me stay
at the Gandhi guest house
for the conference.

Off the Ring Road,
behind Raj Ghat, a turn
I had never taken before.

It is that night again of two years before.
At I.T.O, I board the bus back
and sit on the second last seat.

From the last row
I can hear you and me,
I am telling you he will understand,
my room-mate, come
and stay tonight.

I am trying hard to hear
but you and I are almost whispering.

It is that February night again,
of two years before.
The winter is on its last leg.

I get off the bus with you two,
keeping two steps, I walk behind.

I want to tell you, and me, to be kind
and not raise the stakes
tonight,

the night of the smallest month,
for small love.
I do not rue it, and two years before,
that winter night, I leave you two to it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Don’t bring on the day

this December night.

When Washington Sq.
is all blue.

The trees get used
to the tree lights.

When the time comes
I will lose track of you.

When the time comes,
the whole of Manhattan
will drift on the river in my city.

We will sit,
I will count out the names
of all those I love
and you will remember yours.

And once the notes are exchanged
it will be right.

But don’t bring on the day,
this December night.

Monday, December 13, 2010

माँ, देहरादून के वो दिन याद हैं?

माँ, देहरादून के वो दिन याद हैं, आपके साथ
केन के झूले में मेरी जबरदस्ती घुसने कि कोशिश,
भैय्या कि हर अकेली तस्वीर को बिगाड़ देना, उसके
फ्रेम में अचानक दौड़ कर, और जो पालतू गाय थी,
पीछे आँगन में बंधी हुई, उसके सींग के साथ खेलना,
फिर आपको ये कह के डराना कि पेट में मार डाला
गाय ने, आप पेट में निशाँ ढूँढती हि रह जातीं। और
मैं हर चीज़ में अपनी टांग अड़ाने में कोई ख़ास शोहरत
देखता। उन्हीं दिनों, स्कूल कि टीचर ने फैंसी ड्रेस
कोम्पीटिशन के लिए मुझे 'मुस्लिम' बनने कि राय दी थी
- 'शकल से तो अखिल मुस्लिम हि लगता है', घर में
सबने हस के कहा, फिर सफ़ेद टोपी, कुरता-पायजामा
और काले स्केच-पेन से मूंछ खींच कर स्टेज पर भेज
दिया था, अभी भी वो तस्वीर है कहीं घर में, माँ, कभी
दिल लगाके ढूंढूंगा उसे और साथ बैठ कर याद दिलाऊँगा।

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tim calls from Brighton

Tim calls from Brighton, panting,
I ask him what's wrong with you,
he says he wants a bit of friendly
advice but mainly needs my cue
for ranting, I plop myself on the
bed and give him the 'Go ahead.'
'If only,' he says, 'I could forget
him, all will be fine,' he's lonely,
my instinct says, but I listen to
his words an' keep a tab on mine,
but soon, Tim, without a sense
of proportion, as is usual with him,
lets his grumbling decline from
the high themes of love and loss,
to how his day had been, what he'd
read and what he'd seen, how he
goes to the gym, to gather moss,
for the hot guys, but still, hates
to get on the treadmill. We yack
about his daily itinerary, bitch
about the world, and wax literary,
'Love, you know Tim, is a bit like
your treadmill, where else would we
sweat so much, with heart-rate
gaining, think about time elapsed
and the time remaining, and run
like that (we don't want to be parted)
only to end at the point we started.'