Monday 21 November 2016

[Poem] Empathy?

I see the tears in your eyes
In a broken voice you share your pain
I offer comfort
My words sound hollow
Even to me
For within me too lies
A crater
A void
Where pain and self doubt
My eyes rain tears
And hurt wrecks my heart
You are of this earth and so am I
I can neither feel you pain
Nor halt its return

Yet, I say the things you want to hear
Hoping, praying
it will bring you lasting cheer

Tuesday 23 August 2016

[Poem] In the Land of Sindhu

Proudly flows the Sindhu river
In the land that is named after her
And today that same nation, voices in unison
Your name in one breath, lauds your mission
You, the young star on the horizon
Have pirouetted the country in jubilation
India, your women have finally arrived
Sindhu's Silver, our birthday present, delivered Indian style!

Tuesday 21 June 2016

[Poem] Adrift

We live in troubled times. There are approximately 65 million displaced people who are fleeing their homelands either because their country is in conflict or because they face persecution or are poverty stricken. The 19th of June is observed as World Refugee Day.
This poem originally appeared in the online portal Different Truths. 


The monster roars
Dropping shells
I now know what shell-shocked is –
Shell shocked is to lose a neighborhood
Friends, familiarity
In one stroke
To have history erased
In one stroke
Shell shock is red paint splayed on a domestic scene
Rough hearts wipe my canvas clean

Streets become rivers
Ferrying the dead and the living
I desperately pray for a branch, a log, a twig
To anchor me to my land

Death drops its mantle on the fortuitous
Hope gathers up the dammed in his folds
Oh! This foolish hope
Oh! This foolish wish to live
Riding a wispy fate I flee
I run for days
And drift over seas

I had a job, a routine
I had hopes I had dreams
All in an another life
Now I am a cell in a mass of surging humanity
A nameless hopeless spectre
Without an identity
I am a rudderless refugee
Will I ever wrest back my dignity?

Monday 13 June 2016

[Short Story] The Diverging Road


It was early afternoon. Venu surveyed her surroundings doubtfully. She breathed a sigh of relief when she found the signboard. It read Venpani Peak. What lay ahead was a steep slope. She began the ascent, lips pursed.

She panted a little. The heavy camera that hung around her neck swayed and twisted heavily, with every stride, as she negotiated the jagged steps. Sharp branches of dead wood that grew alongside the path, grazed her elbows and legs.

‘Damn! I should have worn something more sensible!’ she exclaimed as she looked down with dismay at her sleeveless short dress. Several red marks marred the smoothness of her arms and legs. She rubbed them to relieve the pain.
She slowed down to catch her breath and clicked pictures of the golden sunlight filtering in through the curtain of leaves.
The charm of her surroundings engulfed her and she gave in to the pure mountain air, the greenery and the sound of the wind that whooshed through the trees.

Venu was pleased with herself when she finally reached the peak. She spied a wooden bench a little distance away and rushed towards it to rest her aching limbs. But as soon as she sat down, she stood up again drawing in her breath sharply. She was greeted by a sight that she had only seen in the screen savers in her computer. She ran to the brink to drink in the panoramic view of the hills covered in green, dotted with rocky precipices and straight ahead of her, lay a white, misty, waterfall that fell several meters below into a wide river that meandered and vanished through a bend in the rocks. She stood transfixed for a long while and then began photographing it all in a frenzy, eager to capture the sheer beauty and transfer it all into her camera.

She heard the soft rush of a mountain stream and set out to find it. She washed her face and drank the cool water thirstily. Rejuvenated, she moved about capturing wild flowers through her lens, all the while imagining the ripples and the envy it would stir up among her classmates, who were at the base camp. She and her college mates had arrived just that morning on a botanical expedition to the mountains and she had slipped out quietly at lunchtime for her own little adventure in the hills. Will they miss me? Would they perhaps look for me? Would Akil stall them? she wondered.

Venu wasn't the adventurous type at all, but Akil had challenged her to do it and she was never one to back down from a dare.

Thank you Akil, I have the entire hills to myself!’
She shouted hands cupping her mouth, waiting eagerly for the reverberation.

But thoughts of nature, beauty and peace gave place to fear doubt and panic.
Venu was seized by the thought that she had not seen another human being all through.

Her survival instincts kicked in.

She looked around anxiously for the path that would take her back.

But a few false trails later, Venu realized that she was completely lost.

What sort of a boyfriend was this stupid Akil?
He could have easily slipped out with me or he should not have put me up to this! She lamented.

Hunger pangs gnawed at her stomach. Just take any path downhill …it would lead to civilization, a sane voice spoke in her head.

She began her descent and came upon a clearing.

Then she saw him.

He was of a diminutive height, small made. He was brown skinned with an angular face. He wore an embroidered shawl of red black and white over his right shoulder leaving his left shoulder bare.

She ran towards him and began animatedly. ‘Oh thank god, you are here …’
She switched to Tamizh when he fixed her in a quizzical stare.
But when he continued to stare at her in puzzlement, she broke of a twig and began drawing on the ground. She spoke the words slowly and gestured animatedly with both her hands. He nodded and pointed to a pathway through the trees.
She drew money from her pocket and held it out to him. He slowly but firmly pushed her hand away.

As she made her way down hill, sending up a silent prayer, she saw another man.

He came up the stone path effortlessly, twirling a cane. He must have been in his thirties. Everything about him spelt style and fine taste, right from his khaki shorts, blue shirt to the Gucci sunglasses carelessly pushed back to his crown. An unlit cigarette dangled rakishly from a corner of his mouth. He waved at her and Venu waved back a little hesitantly.
He came closer.

'Are you part of that college expedition? She nodded smiling sheepishly.

‘Hmm… That’s what I thought, when I saw you from a distance!’

He gave an easy laugh.

‘What are you doing here all by yourself?’

‘ Oh, I am Sanjay, by the way’

He held out his hand.

She shook it with her fingertips.

‘I am a geologist … I am staying in the same resort.’

Venu merely nodded.

He continued

‘Are you lost or something?

What are you doing with him?’ He gestured to the adivasi, who stood patiently during the exchange.

‘Come with me. I could take you back. I can always come up here tomorrow. Twilight is almost upon us …’ he laughed again.

Venu deliberated for a long moment. She cast a sidelong glance at the adivasi who waited patiently.

‘No’ she began apologetically ‘I think I will go with him ... He has agreed to take me back and it would be impolite.’

He laughed.

‘Don't be silly. I could give him some money and send him away… let me speak to him.’

She turned and blocked his path. She looked him firmly in the eye. 'It's alright. I'll go with him. I am pretty sure we will have plenty of occasions to meet later on…’

She signaled to her guide to lead her and followed him, head bent.

The Noble Savage won the day.

Image Source:

Thursday 21 April 2016

[Poem] I search

Image by: HelgaMcL

I search for him
In smiles strange
In hands extended -I search
For the one touch

Through words that fall of alien lips

Sifting through tones
I search for The Voice

In the light of a thousand eyes
I scour
For the look that delights

In the gloom of the night
When dreams walk free
I hunt for reunion

In slideshows of memories
That collapse and rise
In constant auto play
I search

Tears pry open
Crumpled eyes
Sluice gates
To release
The misery
Threatening to explode
A tormented heart

Loss teaches love
Alas, when all is lost

Tuesday 12 April 2016

[Poem] Jouissance

I unfurl
A knotted self
  With scissors sometimes
 In music
In dance
 In moon tide
I lie awash in the waves
Or glide on the breeze
Till my wings burn

Into the fire I go
I step in, recoil, step in again
Over coals
Till my toes burn
The tingle of an ice cube
On an expectant tongue
Shuddering fingertips
Running over ice
The tremble and the shiver
Of cascading cold water

Rafting the rapids
Scaling mountains
Diving oceans
Planking the wind
My body arched
My curves
Pulsate to release
To transcend

I am
Always in search
Of the essence
The ineffable

Sunday 10 April 2016

[Poem] Inquietude

My listless quill rummages an empty pot
Gravelly scratches stain the sheets in stone age toil
Heart in turmoil
Infants still born- fall to the ground

In the stony void life stirs and dies
Insipid the wind
Kites fall limp 

Meandering a maze
in a daze
Words clump and eddy in muddled drains 
A dread most foul engulfs
As words stutter, stall
 Flutter away in the wind

Despair is a frozen mind on a pathless road.

Image sourced from the internet

Thursday 7 April 2016

[Poem] Grief

On Dec 23 2015, a BSF plane crashed within 5 minutes after takeoff  killing all 10 on board including 2 pilots and 8 technicians. The pilot detected a snag in the 21 year old plane, but was told to ignore it by the ground control.
For more details please visit:

A daughter asks
Why did you let my father die
Why did you make him ride
An old rickety plane?

Repeating the question
Shaking the stone faced official
 Her throat dry
Her voice hoarse
Eyes streaming
Squeezing out every drop from her body
No one answers
Of what use the answers?

Her father
 Will never return 

 TV crews shoot
Ten tales of ten homes
Their humble facades
Once happy now scarred for life
An uncle who was an inspiration has died
A baby all of two months old
Too young to know the enormity of its loss
An inert bundle in its inert mother's arms

Wives whipped by shock
A heartrending spectacle
Of a son's vigorous slaps
To awaken his mother
Her glazed eyes
A face bereft of life

Ten lives lost in all of ten minutes
The inquiries will come
So the commissions
Public funds
Will once more line coffers
Rich with perjury

The press will move to other stories
Leaving the families alone to grieve
They will recall
 In cruel time warp
How ten men set out one morning
With smiling faces
Carrying lunch boxes
With modest meals
For another day at work
And how cruel apathy
Tightened the screws
Of their coffin in the skies

The pathos of a vacuous pleading
Refuses to leave my head

Image: The Hindu Online

Wednesday 6 April 2016

[Poem] Fame

Aim high
Writes the bored school teacher
 In your note book

Strive hard
Make a mark
Says dad

Touch the pinnacle
Bless the womb
That housed you
Says mum

Zeal is born of the ashes

Some seek fame
Fame seeks some

So the arduous climb begins
Many fall by the way side
Some go relentlessly on
The fight is on
It’s a marathon
And you are your own

But the spot at the top
Isn’t all that rosy
It is just frenzy, tizzy,

Yes, there are thrills
The ego swells
Warm, the embrace of public gaze
The pleasure of recognition
Spears and spurs The One

Later though, it thaws
Privacy it robs
Robs dignity
Steals friends
All it stokes is jealousy

In the sad pursuit of distinction
Lives have gone into extinction

Acidic fame consumes its own
When the aura dies
It tightens the noose
Upon the recluse
When fame fades
Life is a mere charade
One is often driven
His death to hasten

So why seek fame?
When your destruction
 Is its aim?
Image source: Internet

Sunday 3 April 2016

[Poem] Did Ever Anyone Thwart Him?

The Dark Knight walks
Dark is his mantle
Misty his breath
Blending into the shadows
Sweeping across the land
Pitchfork in hand
Mowing, hauling
The withered and the thriving
With each strike

A twister- swirling
Mopping up agitated dust motes
Like an industrial cleaner

Sometimes he creeps in
On stealth mode, a panther
 Dangling a rope then changing his tack
Licking lips in anticipation
As icy hands inch to crush

White becomes black
Black becomes white again

I have seen boundless love grow cold
Anguish oust hope
Hate replace warmth
Doubt supplant faith

And the tears rain down
squeezed from hearts gone dry
Broken twigs toss about in despair
Driftwood and flotsam desperate for anchor.

Image source: The internet

[Poem] Chisel

The Maker kneads, shapes and chisels
With loving hands
Smiling at His handiwork, he lowers
His creation in to the world of men

She will have a smile that stirs the human heart
Her soft voice will please a tired ear
The ministrations of her gentle hands will provide succour-
Many shall rest in the shade of her heart

She is a fawn that dances
Lightly on the morning air,
She is the whale that rides the ocean of her dreams;
She is the dove that coos at the ramparts of the firmament,
She is gentle, soft, pliable and oh so vulnerable...

So they tell me...

Play with your dolls child
Deck yourself up in jewels and clothes
Keep yourself indoors - no muscles, no tan
I shall weave you tales of fairy lands
Where handsome lads shall pledge romance
Just sing and dance and look pretty

So they tell me...

 Kneaded, shaped, chiseled
A pliable mind and body 
At the cruel hands of Reality
Crumples,withers, wilts,
 Ironically doesn't have the guts
To school daughters into Independence

 Hope swoops in and scoops
Ferrying fools to Purgatory.

Friday 1 April 2016

[Poem] Breakthrough


Beaten by noises the senses weaken
Children at play
Music from a few houses away
A television’s uproar
vapourize in, through barred window(s)
Assaulted by
 Pounding rains
Telephone rings
Mail alerts
Whatsapp pops
Messenger pings
Twitter trammels
The writer writes
Ofttimes pure drivel
I lock a gregarious me
In a tower of black and white 
Immured, however late the hour
To unlock, unleash a tale
 For the world to devour
Like a solitary hermit
I withdraw
I cede my share of delight
I plunder personal time
Combat exhaustion and sleep
No ties with the world is too deep
Friends can wait, so can family
At the Altar of Perfection
In the service of fiction
The first heads to roll
Are sadly the closest
Tagged a narcissistic self-centered anarchist- 
 I am, but a simple misunderstood idealist.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

[Poem] A hospital waiting room

A stillness,
 like a clear Austrian Lake-
the light dim
the TV plays a flat channel
on volume close to 2
lending light and nothing more.

A mobile sings gently,
Rippling the silence
An inaudible whisper
A swish of clothes
A form rises,
a muffled adieu
Drifts upon the air as it leaves.

A black clad form floats in
 a hushed greeting
settles down in the void.

In waiting rooms,
Women don't talk of
The weather

They stare intently
at bags shoes and phones
May be they meditate
Or ruminate
over home, quarrels, finances, children...

Does illness make one taciturn?

Tuesday 1 March 2016

[Book Promo] Summerita Rhayne's His Christmas Delight

Promoting a friend's book. 

Caught by Santa!
For Myra, Christmas means supporting her friends. They rallied round getting her back on her feet after she lost Pete, her husband, so she's always ready to help any of them. No matter to what lengths the challenge makes her go. Only she didn't expect to find Santa almost catching her in her wrongdoings. Then she finds that the handsome Santa is Jay, her old high school friend. Now he's changed from a gangly geek to an attractive stranger. After missing out on the dating scene for a long time after losing Pete, she feels the first stirring of desire. But Jay is playing hot and cold, refusing to admit the attraction sizzling between them.

He’s back in Goa just for Christmas
Jay knew Myra as his best friend's girl. Now Pete is gone, but Jay is finding difficult to let go of the scars he picked up in Coast Guard service. He’s home only to help revive his brother’s toy shop. When he finds himself making excuses to stay, he knows he’s crossing the limits he’d set himself. What’s the purpose in taking this further when he knows he cannot be the one to give her the happiness she deserves?  But no matter how hard he tries, the scorching flames of wanting only seem to get stronger. How can he keep on denying the attraction between them when she insists on coming close?...
Book Link at Amazon:
Goodreads link:

Sunday 7 February 2016

[Poem] Reflection

Winter engulfs me
Icy, twisted tentacles
Touch and tint
My world in grey

I lie
Eyes glazed,
limbs tremulous- tethered in ether

float about
in stupor all day
I await
A second amnion
Dark and gnarled is the bark
that threaded through life
Dark and worn it lies
Filling my vision

Shrouded in grave silence
A sputtering dyslexic
I have made my peace with Time

Time lingers
An annoying shadow
To reflect
Time and again
To regret
Time and again
Would I delight?

A light floods the room                       
A voice speaks
'Stare not closely at your feet
Or at the closing world

Don't miss the sunshine
The many surges in the sky
The flecks of delightful hues
Springs at the trampoline
Laughter and birdsong
Flower showers on your pastures

Your memories
In amber crystals
Shall forever live
In treasured caches'

Image Courtesy: Nathan Vaidyanathan

[Translation] ஆண்டாளின் நாச்சியார் திருமொழி - கற்பூரம் நாறுமோ

    What form does bhakti take? In deep veneration it evokes intense spirituality. Can one express romantic love towards the divine? Great s...