Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tim's day out in Falmouth (Cornwall)

As the sleeper moves more south, more west
of London, some place names come weird, the
rest you just cannot say (what we don't know
(Cornish) we let it lay), it halts at Taunton an' Truro,
an' Looe an' Learkside, an' when you pass all these,
you reach Gyllyngvase, if you please. Tim had to give
a lecture; that done, earlier in the day, he goes out
into the evenin' sun, obeying what his supe' had to say,
'Cornwall? perfect, don't forget, once you teach, go hit
the beach, they don't come more blue.' That was true
enough (Tim saw some surfers too) but he'd always
been skeptic of small towns, never could stray from
the centre of things, for him, it was always either
London or New York, cities which call a sfork a sfork,
where you shout (you want to) when you talk, look out
(you have to) when you walk, not these one High Street
towns, damn, 'what to make of Falmouth,' Tim frowns,
'these small Cornwall seaside downs,' so much so that
he feels a bit dismayed, when the owner of the guest
house where he stayed, says 'Back from the beach?
So you goin' to hit the town?' 'What town,' Tim almost
said, then felt silly, might as well, 'can't just sit here,
shaking me willy.' He went out, and in about half an
hour, he was glad he was there, the street was full
of the seaside air, not many people but under these
lights, this night felt different from all other nights.
He walked into a pub where 3 men sat, 'let's try,' he
thought, 'some sort of sea port chat,' he was afraid,
though, that it would not click, all sea-talk he knew
was in Moby Dick, but Tim, you see, flirts a lot when
he's on a trip (he trips a lot, that's another thing, when
he flirts), but three pints down, he forgets the fear and
turns a little loud when speaking to one third of the crowd,
'What's your name,' he asks the red shirt, 'Chris,' 'new
around here?' and then that is that and this is this,
they talk till they are well past the intro, and are now
poking fun (at each other, when did he do this last in
London?) they ask the full names of the other. 'Chris,
Chris Weizenbaum', Tim laughs and says 'what's sort of
name's Chris, for a proper Jew boy like this' 'Why, what's
wrong, did you expect Jacob or Moses?' 'No no, that's too
much, but at least a Leo,' Tim went on, when he thinks Jew,
he thinks talent, he thinks of Jerry Seinfeld or Woody Allen,'
and slightly tipsy, Tim imagines them passing their
baton on to Chris, and all of Manhattan (Jew paradise)
is suddenly this, and this, here, the Falmouth night
wears on, the nip in the air enters the door, the
barman here, seems to be done, 'we'll close now,
sons, it's already one,' (urgh, small towns!) they walk
out, more like, they flow, in a bit, Tim gets to know
that Chris is Irish, he laughs, 'Are you thinking what
I am thinking? Gay and Jew, and Irish too, think of
all the cards that you can play.' 'Well it would seem,'
Chris says winking, 'all three have come to use today.'


(Thanks to Howard Jacobson)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Returning from the Piccadilly Cinema

Tim thought it slightly odd
that, after a movie, he would
think so much of him. To
overreact to a film might
seem a little sad to you,
and so it did to Tim, but
movies, they do that to you.
Walking back, he thought of
those days with him, 'what's
the point,' he asked, 'of looking
into the past, it only tells you
how long misunderstandings last,'
yet this twenty-five year old
kept on chewing the plot in his
head, the guy in the film, he
remembered, said 'I love you
still, there is no point lying,
in the end we're all dead, or
dying,' on his way back, Tim
did not think of anything as
far as tha', but wished he
knew, tonight, if not how to
set right what now was riven,
at least to know how much he
had to forgive and be forgiven.


(Thanks to Vikram Seth)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

मेरे शहर कि आदत है

मेरे शहर कि आदत है
मेरे रंग में ढल जाना,
कभी हसूं, तो गलियाँ
भी बारी-बारी मुस्कुराएं,
रोऊँ तो चौराहों कि ये
सड़कें तक सिमट जाएँ,
गुस्से में स्ट्रीट लाइट भी
जल-बुझ जल-बुझ करे
और गर शायराना हूँ मैं
तो पूरी सिटी मुझपर मरे,
शहरों कि आखिर यही तो
ख़ास बात है, जो भी मूड हो,
साला शहर अपने साथ है

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Tonight

The thirsty caravans pitch their tents, they dream of wine tonight.
You are the stuff that dreams are made of, come in mine tonight?

‘Who’s there? Othello?’ ‘Ay, Desdemona.’ ‘Will you come to bed,
my lord?' 'His eyes roll so,' she thinks, ‘Othello, be kind tonight.’

God, in his loneliness, has put his love up for auction.
Satan, last guest to arrive, will you be buyin’ tonight?

They say all things lost go to Brighton. Really? My way
must be lying in those pebbles, can you find tonight?

"Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me, aren't you?"
“You always thought I was nice, I see no harm tryin’ tonight.”

How can you, Vladi, string such a cruel story for swans?
Odette waits, and for Odile, the Prince will pine tonight.

Even a little bit of light reminds me of you, Lalita.
Moon, don't roam in my lane, would you mind, tonight?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

सुलझ जायेगी ये भी सालों में, अनबन हि तो है

सुलझ जायेगी ये भी सालों में, अनबन हि तो है,
मौसम ये भी बीतेगा, आखिर मौसम हि तो है।

पच्चीस साल के लड़कों को दिली दांव समझ लेने चाहिए,
जो अब गवायेंगे तो कह न पाएंगे कि लड़कपन हि तो है।

अरे ख़ुशी तो हमको भी है उनसे दूर जाने की,
क्या हुआ जो उनकी ख़ुशी से ज़रा कम हि तो है।

गर कभी सोचो, अखिल, इसके बाद रखा क्या है,
पीछे कायनात पूरी, आगे तमाम चमन हि तो है।

Saturday, January 1, 2011

An Acrostic

Light, you said in class, was God's first
And sky was the second, poor old guy,
Lewd, a bit, sly, a lot, but when he got
In the mood, he mixed all the sunshine
That he could find, with all the laughter
And made you; we, happily, came after.