Sunday, July 31, 2016

Kaanwariyas are good for the night-life of Delhi.

Don't you think so? Around mid-night at ISBT
Kashmere Gate, which otherwise would have fallen
silent, they set up stalls and play red & orange songs.

Boys distribute water to those who are carrying holier
water on their shoulders. (Does holy water weigh more
than regular water?) Even I, on my cycle, am offered a pouch.

There are more than usual police-men at ISBT, going in
and out of urinals, perhaps because there is more than usual
cruising, because a festival is doing the rounds of the night.

Around 1am at Malkaganj Chowk, which is dressed in lights,
in boys dancing, in groups of women sitting out late night,
a kaanwar stops me and asks me the way to Gurgaon.

(Does Shiva reside in Gurgaon?) A little away from all this,
near the old ice-factory, a few kaanwars open the dikky of their
scooter & bring out the rum, and then I guess, bol bam bam.

Many kaanwars are running a relay race, passing the Ganga
water like a baton. They are jogging with knee pads, looking out
for each other. It is, if you don't look around it, all pretty admirable.

The dance, the boys, the women. The late-night-ness of it.
But there is one thing this year which I've never seen before. On
their bikes, their tempos, their trucks, apart from the saffron flag,

this time there is also the tri-colour. Racing in the air. Why does a
God need a tricolour? Why does the lord of destruction need a flag?
Why is a flag of a country on a pilgrimage in the hands of little boys?

Friday, July 29, 2016

Do you have Facebook addiction?

Do you keep trying to leave it
but lack conviction
and keep coming back?

No sweat, I've got a hack.

Just say anything about Kashmir
that's even remotely true.

Then sit back,
they'll deactivate it for you.

Sunday, July 24, 2016


they say, are made to be broken,
but only promises kept end the night,
like love, true to all it betokened,
like from the jaws of years, plebiscite.


Sunday, July 17, 2016

कृपया मोल-तोल न करें

मुझे मालूम है कि दिल्ली हाट में
कश्मीर स्टाल पर मोल-तोल करने का कोई फायदा नहीं;
उनके रेट फिक्स्ड हैं।
क्या खूब चीज़ है न इतना यकीन होना 
कि आपकी क्या कीमत है,
कि आपको क्या चाहिए,
क्या बिलकुल नहीं चाहिए --
औरों के लिए 
कितना सरदर्द है।  

tr. from Ankita Anand's 'No bargaining please' 
अंकिता आनंद

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The lake

is silver.

The mountains
are filigreed with snow.

The shikara breaks
the water into chords.

Cops throw tear-gas shells
in Emergency Wards.

Sunday, July 10, 2016


a resonant word,
a tear-gas-shell of a word,
written on stones, flung on streets,
a twelve-young-men-killed-in-a-day word,

as hard as the bones
of the young they cannot kill

like that other word:

Thursday, July 7, 2016

My friends've gone dancing

and I am sitting blue,
& what I feared would happen
is all coming true.

The room's too small for me,
the small heart is cleft,
for those who'll do the leaving
& those who already left.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

"मिनिस्क्युल माइनॉरिटी"? "मिनिस्क्युल माइनॉरिटी"?

जज साहब,
लगता है आपको समझाना पड़ेगा,

किसी संडे शाम
आपको पालिका पार्क ले जाना पड़ेगा।

Friday, July 1, 2016

Spring Cleaning

Old shirts.

Some don't fit,
some are faded,
some out of style.

They say parting
with gifts from old lovers
can be difficult.

Try making a pile!