Sunday, August 30, 2015

'धनक' और 'हार्मलेस हग्स' के लिए

सुबह सुर्ख आएगी, बस रात चलती रहे,
बहस होती हो तो हो, बस बात चलती रहे

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Near Eros Cinema, Jangpura Extension,

the woman from Cameroon
       greets three white girls in
              French, I hear "deux ans, vous?"

The rickshaw-guy from
       Darbhanga asks the Lajpat
             aunty to pay more, she makes a मूंह.

The house broker from
       Jhung, who's been here sixty
              years, finds landlords for all the new

lawyers from Lucknow or
       Chennai, or Philly or Austin.
              The shop-cleaner from Muzzafarpur,

watches the bill-board with
       a 50 year old hero and a 20
              year old heroine that he will woo.

The taxi-guy from Greater-
       -Noida is trying to find M
              Block at midnight and cursing U-

-BER. And I am walking with his
       hands in mine, feelin' here-&-now
              and also a no-where-in-particular.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

एक छोटा सा गीत - Dorothy Parker

tr. from Dorothy Parker's 'A Very Short Song'

इक मर्तबा,
    जब मैं थी जवां और सच्ची,
इक बात हुई
    जो बिलकुल नहीं थी अच्छी,
उस रोज़
    किसी ने मेरा दिल तोड़ा था,
मुझे वैसे ही
    दुख के सागर में छोड़ा था।

इश्क़ तो है ही
    बदनसीबों के लिए!
इश्क़ तो है ही
    जैसे कोई अभिशाप!
फिर इक दिन,
    मैंने किसी का दिल तोड़ा,
अब मैं सारे
    ढोंगियों की बाप।

Dorothy Parker

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Blessing

tr. from Dushyant Kumar's 'एक आशीर्वाद'

May your dreams be big,
may they outgrow 'could have,' 'should have,'
and get to walk on earth,
may they sulk an' go crazy for
the impossible heights of stars,
may they laugh,
sing, reach Mars,
may your dreams long for the flame,
may they burn their fingers,
may they stand on their own feet
an' do their own jig, may your dreams
be big.

Dushyant Kumar

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


tr. from Dushyant Kumar's 'Suchna'

Yesterday, Ma told me --
"Her marriage has been arranged,"
  standing there, I smiled, silent,
an' back in my room, I cried, there
  will be two worlds to me now, always,
  - my room and my home.

Dushyant Kumar

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The first time has

never been easy for me,

the one in which lightness
is supposed to do the work -
I am only thinking

and there's no room for thinking
not in the walk,
not in the hands,
not on the bed, the first time,

I never had the ease
of talking, of letting talking,
of letting kiss, of letting a bed,
of letting it happen,
I never had the ease,

I will probably never have
the ease

and so these past years
I take care
and make myself unlovable,

'coz we never talked,
'coz I never talked,
an' then I just figured an' figured
an' we never talked,
and I never said, and you never talked,
an' I didn't ask, we didn't say, an' I figured
without you, I figured that I did not know,
and we never talked
then, or later,

and after that so much of me changed
so suddenly, I feared

being recognized.

Sunday, August 2, 2015


- there've been many,
and I've sworn all of them to secrecy,
hoping mattresses keep their promise.

The one in Stokey

in the house behind the
Abney Park Cemetery

to which my mother, calling from Lucknow,
had said - "When you sleep, do not lie
facing the cemetery,"

though, often
in the evenings

I'd look at our backyard fence
running against the 18th century graves

- where an angel, an urn, a lion,
all contracted in cement, kept
an Anglican hymn-maker, kept 17 year old
world-war veterans, kept a girl who
"left us so suddenly and so irrevocably
in grief" -

and I did not think it was anything
particularly serious to be
facing them while
I slept.

My German and Greek room-mates
often partied, "facing the cemetery."

A year later, the single-bed in King's Cross,

on the fifth floor,
floated above police sirens
and bus horns,

and was stuck to the right wall of
the room that I'd expressly asked "should. face. outside."

the hostel warden - this nice white guy - was surprised,
"you're the first one to ask for a room facing the road,"
"I like the noise," I said. I did not say I'm from a bigger city,
 I'd sooner die than face the "serene," that
little patch of green for more than a day.

He smirked but let me have my choice.

That bed afforded the view
 of Constable churches, of a Punjabi grocer,
a car rental and a Tesco,

and it was on this bed
where we managed to do it
for the first time,

using face-cream as lube.

Sometime that year,
the bed in your downtown house
near Battery Park,

that I knew only for a night
while visiting New York,

where I made plans which were
(presciently) smaller than my hands,

where I looked down into your city

where even
the parking-lot at mid-night
seemed unbelievable to me,

where the bed, holding my knees,
and your umber skin, as you slept,
told me that the tense of desire
is always the future,

one in which no plan survives,
no suture holds,
no love keeps,

one in which you leave me, always,
so suddenly and so irrevocably
in grief

that night after night
beds now
are of a kind,

that have very little to do
with sleeping.