6am to 10pm

Don’t don’t don’t copulate,

Between 6am to 10pm

Don’t don’t don’t masturbate

Between 6am to 10pm

Don’t sell condoms between

6am to 10pm I said again

And turn on ‘Astha Channel’

Hey Yogi, did yoga today?

Cow stretch? There come Gau-rakshaks

Don’t don’t don’t speak

Between 6am to 10pm

Sex education? Excuse me?

Not between 6am to 10pm

Take that business to your home

But not between 6am to 10pm

However if you want to buy some condoms,

Buy between… ‘Hey where’s your Aadhar?’

Did you link it to your ‘ahem-ahem bill?’

Not between 6am to 10pm.

What did you say?

1.6 Cr abortions in India?

81% at home?

Nah, not between 6am to 10pm.

50% pregnancies unintended?

Not between 6am to 10pm.

Peacock doesn’t cry between 6am to 10pm.

Cow doesn’t give birth between 6am to 10pm.

Modi doesn’t…. Ahem-ahem. Sorry!

What? 4-year old boy molested a 4-year old girl?

Nah, not between 6am to 10pm.

‘But sir, school starts at 9a…’

‘Ahem-ahem’

Padmavati, Padmavati Padmavati…

‘But sir, 300,000 farmers protested in Delhi…’

Padmavati.

Not between 6am to 10pm.

‘Government is giving Chastity belts for free’

‘But I don’t want it.’

Brainwash, Padmavati, Shambhulal, Cow, 370.

‘How the hell it came on my genitals,

What the… Why can’t I open it?’

‘We linked it to your Aadhar.’

Sigh. ‘Let’s enter the Aadhar number.

What the…. Why can’t I still open it?’

Not between 6am to 10pm.

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In The Pile of the Ashes

They said we’d bring you a new light

But who cares if they shut the old off?

In the colors of black and faded white

They added red like a burning tar.

And if the sound is broken in our hearts?

Do we really care if this world smothers on?

Hinding in the cavities of our faces,

Do we really want to rage to win this war?

And hide in the nights not to be a victim,

And speak our mind without a question,

Are we here safe and sound from the wolves that we’ve fed?

To tear something else apart

But now they’re not in their den

We’re scared of holding pens

They’re scared of us holding pens

Ink still is stronger than the sword.

But do we need it on our papers?

Or need it on our faces?

When Rookies are with the guns

And killing off rising Aces?

The beast we’d fed has turned his back on us

It’s grown bigger than our faces

And peace is hiding in the rust.

Red is over all the places.

They say that we’ll move on,

From the heartache and the pain.

But all the suns that set,

In the cold blood of the slain,

Will it echo ever or not?

Will it be the one of the ones we forgot?

Is it out of our hands now,

What we brought out of our heads?

Tell me how do you sleep

Backstabbed in the bloodstained beds?

Are we leaving this one off

Or running from within?

The wolves will devour all they’ve got

Are our maiden names is Sin?

Do we really care?

Is it okay, is it fair?

There goes one more down,

In the pile of the ashes.

The Counsellors

I don’t know how to start

Or where to find my words

The hold on these burning sensations seems to be engulfing me now

Once upon a time I was better

Perhaps, now I’m good

But am I good enough to write better now?

They said, ‘don’t use inconspicuous words’

I guess I stopped it

And then someone said that maybe you shouldn’t rhyme that much

Following the trail I reached where they said,

‘Don’t try to be too technical’

Oh my goodness, where am I now?

The pillars that supported me once,

Did I have to forsake them all for t’ sake of all?

I wondered once upon a time

And now I wander that I wonder no more

My grammar is bizzare

And rhyming scheme has this azar nadir

Have I stopped being the poet I thought I was?

I don’t feel like writing now,

And if I do, it’s just some basic stuff that’s been reprocessed a hundred times over

My lines are no more short and have no brevity

They are uneven

Why do you think I must write the way you think?

The way you want me to?

Why do you all have to suggest something?

And tell me how alienated I write?

Is this alien to you now?

Do you find it extremely poetic?

Do you find it sweet and pleasing?

No, I bet you’ll find this stupid

Piece of shit, you say?

Not something very impressive?

Banal? Oh, I’m not conspicuous.

Shit, I did it again.

What has happened to my art?

Wait, I was filling your colors in it.

Find this good enough? I’ve incorporated what everyone says in one single poem with no metre or rhyme.

Look at this prose, is it a poem?

Look at this poem, is it a poet’s work?

Look at my rhyming scale, metre, brevity, overtly laid alphabets.

I swear, it’s distorted.

Or maybe it isn’t.

Judge this one too.

Is this poem too long for you to read?

Is there too much going inside of me?

Flowing out, have you read it this far?

It’s some stupid creation, no?

But it’s my heart right now.

It’s my head right now.

Do you like it?

Do you like how I write now?

A poem of another naive poet.

A jumble of conflicting cataclysm of my selves.

Tell me something now

Let me be stupid again, a little bit more.

Are you an expert?

After-mornings

The moon on the top of our heads

The warmth of your after-beds

The blank blankets and loveless lights

All may shiver in the snows of these nights

When I’ll take the after-mornings of your gone

And the sun of our hearts will break at the dawn

Tears will be around the garden in the dew

In a million of heaven’s, ours are a few

Will the echo of this falling star

Be one of all those fallen stars

Will the bruise on my breath be yesterday’s scar

So long as we’d gone far

Will there be a perpetual name

Stronger than mine, of grounding game

With all the tears that I’d write this one

Might disappear and we’ll have none.

Inquisitively, do you see beyond my eyes?

Of mountains and books and faces and tries

May I dive and clean your mirrors up

While world does wander tying trouble up

Put then the strength in my hands

I’ll put the power in your heart

And hope will take the dreams

To one more heart apart

Till my name be forgiven

And your heart be in spring

For all that it’s given.

सितारा

जैसे हो झिलमिलाती सी धूल में एक चमकता सा सितारा

और रौशन हो उसके दीदार से हजारों जहां

बनना ऐसी ही तुम,

ताकत

जिसकी बुनियाद उसके खुदके दिल में है,

और तुम्हारी आग तुम्हारी मुश्किलों को चीरती हुई

दिखाए अपना वजूद, अपनी दुनिया में

तुम्हारा मन हो सितारे की कोख सा,

जिसमें बनती है नई दुनिया के लिए कुछ नई चीजें

और हो तुम्हारा तन उसके ओज सा

कि केवल उसी ओज का उसे कुछ छू सके

आवाज़ को बनाओ सितारे से निकलते उन कणों सा

कि रंग फैलाएं वो सबके मन को आत्मसात कर

बन जाना तुम ऐसा कि आसमान भी झुककर छुए तुम्हें

हवा खुश हो तुममें उड़ान भरकर

और जमीन भरे अपने जख्म तुम्हारी छुअन से।

देना दुनिया को और खुद को भी,

सितारा हो तुम,

मेरा उजला सितारा।

पता है तुम्हें आज जब तुमने मिलने को कहा
दिल सूखे पत्ते सा हो गया
जिसको सदियों बाद निकाला हो किताब से
चुरमुरा, खूबसूरत सा, तुम्हारी आंखों के जैसा
गम था एक सुबह से, छोड़ आया रास्ते में
मिलना जो था तुमसे

तुम कहती हो मैं कुछ कहता नहीं
हर बार तो बात बीच में काट के खुद बोलने लगती हो
बहुत कुछ होता है तुम्हारे पास कहने को
आज भी था, मैं भी चुप हो जाता हूं
सुकून जो मिलता है तुम्हें सुनकर
तुम्हारी बकबकी तर करती है मुझको

हाथ पकड़कर कहना चाहता था कि तुम मेरी ताकत हो
पर रूक गया ना जाने क्या सोचकर
सात साल जो हो गये हैं, आज तक नहीं किया ऐसा
इतने आजाद होकर भी, कि शायद किसी और के साथ न हो पायें
हम आजाद भी नहीं हो पाते, पहेली सा है ये सब
और मैं जान-बूझकर उलझा हुआ हूं

लगता है तुम ही मेरा आखिरी प्यार हो, जो सबसे पहले हो गया
और अब ना जाने कितने और तलाशने पड़ेंगे
खैर आखिरी को पाने‌ को पहले वाले खत्म तो करने ही पड़ेंगे
क्या अजीब सी उलझन लेके आयी तुम सुकून की तरह
अब रास्ते से वो गम उठा लूंगा और घर चला जाउंगा
जिंदगी यही है जो तुम्हारे साथ बिता लेता हूं

शायद साथ में बूढ़ा होना ऐसा ही होता है
खो जाऊंगा अगर चली गयी तुम
जो भी हो जैसी भी हो, हो तो मेरी ही ना

A Tale of Morning

Mornings are said to be brought by that old man

Who had no faith, no hate and no hands

They say he had a tail

And the bigger teeth

And his shadow walked below

Ground the underneath

And he tolled the night

Long and neverending

He waited to pull it up

With fangs and tails and legs

And strength never spending

They say it was a long era

And millions of nights had died

And the stars were shaking

Out o’ his mighty fright

And years then rolled

And creatures not now slept

In the misty atmosphere of the shivering Earth

All Pariahs gladly wept

Mountains roared and clouds did thunder

Trees screamed in Valhalla under

And then came a golden thread

A thing of beauty unseen before

The corns were corns and fire red

Everyone was screaming in joy

The snake that came from frozen mountains

A crocodile across from farland river

A tree from the valley of nocturne fever

And the owl ocean-side

All had appeals, all had rejections

And then came hovering the second thread

The panic rose high and some of them condemned

And now the fire was yellow

And the snow was melting low

Then the third thread, then the fourth, then more

Chaos touched the peak and everyone cried

Some at beauty, some at horror

With watery eyes they looked now farer

Old man’s fangs glistened

And tail twisted, legs stepped back

Then came the burning sun

And cold was forced to be mellow

Everyone stopped and some went to sleep

At the edge of the morning some did profusely weep

And then the fangs fell

Like diamonds slithering through mist

And tail turned to a hundred petals and to melting wind

The skin then shed to dust

And came a spirit that touched a few creatures

Then the morning rose and smiled

And from those who screamed in horror and those who screamed in joy

They say we all have come from them

A Nursery

In the graveyard of stars

A shell that shrills and streaks

Hurls to the side on the large

Zens for eons, for months, for weeks

Go to the puddle the reflection of fires

Younger the dust and new wind

Forging a place for a million choirs

Xenon the silence in the new grind

Everything expands exponentially

What would wage without wonders

Dragging daunting days daily

Vivaciously varied vast vendors

Call the life and life sparks maiden

Under the graveyard, a nursery in mayhem.

पहाड़गंज

आज तुमसे मिलकर लौटते वक्त ऐसा लगा जैसे धूप है

हांलांकि ये दिल्ली है और यहां रात को तारे तक नहीं दिखते

और बस ऐसा लगा जैसे छांव छूट गयी हो

शरीर तप सा रहा था,

ऐसी तपन जो कोई और महसूस नहीं कर सकता सिवाय तुम्हारे

क्यूंकि तुम तो छांव हो ना

एक पल को तो ऐसा लगा कि सांस हलक में अटक जाएगी

रूककर, जमाने को दरकिनार करके तुम्हें चूमना ही पड़ा आखिर

पेट में जो भूख थी वो कम सी हो गयी

और फिर अचानक से बढ़ सी गयी

मन तो किया कि चादर सा ओढ़ लूं तुमको

अजीब सी भूख थी कमबख्त

भूख में भला कोई कुछ ओढ़ता है?

मुझे पता है कि तुम्हारे अन्दर तक बसता हूं मैं

और तुम्हारे अन्दर तक बसना है।

हाथ भरे थे मेरे लेकिन खाली से लग रहे थे

तुमको डर लगता होगा कि अक्सर तुम्हारे बारे में लिखता हूं

और ये सोचकर भी लगता होगा कि तुम्हारे लिए नहीं लिख रहा हूं।

लेकिन जब तुम इन खाली हाथों में नहीं होते हो

तो बस कलम ही होती है

और दिल में प्यार, स्याही, और चुपके से कुछ समय के लिए तुम आ जाते हो।

बहुत बड़ी सी दीवारें हैं तुम्हारे चारों तरफ

उनको चढ़कर उस पार आऊंगा मैं

और तुम सहम से जाते हो ऐसा देखकर

हो सकता है कि मेरे हाथ पांव टूटें गिरकर

लेकिन तुम प्लास्तर के साथ बैठे उधर इंतजार कर रहे हो किसी के आने का

पता है मुझे।

क्यूंकी मुझे पता है कि अगर कल मेरी रूह मेरा साथ छोड़ देती है

तो मैं तुम्हारी सबसे खूबसूरत यादों में से एक रहूंगा

शायद प्यार इसी को कहते हैं

तुम्हारे दो नाजुक से हांथ

बहुत ज्यादा बोलने वाला मुंह

और एक ड्रम सा बजता हुआ दिल

और इन तीनों को छुआ है मैंने।

Rockets

If the moment is not gone and I’m still there with you, standing at the bus stop, holding your hand or kissing your lips, and letting you go home with that small carton of big rockets so that I could go home and reflect on how terribly I’m going to miss you dear, celebrate today. Celebrate this festival, not for your dad, neither for your mother, sister or brother, no, not for me, but for yourself, for your tender beating heart that thumps against my shivering hands. I will tell you why. Because your heart beats instead of being wounded, because your heart loves instead of being tired, because your heart is full of truth and full of warmth. I know, I have seen that person behind that beautiful face.

I know why you heal people, you guide them to find the peace and protection, you think that healing them will heal your heart somewhere, that your heart will be set free of the rue of your past. But healing people isn’t going to heal your heart, healing your heart is going to heal your heart. Though your love is fearless, your heart needs to breakfree from the fear yet. Those wounds aren’t going to heal themselves, that beautiful heart deserves your kindness, dear.

So if the moment is not gone and I’m still on your skin or standing in front of you and smiling stupidly while staring at the perfect symmetry of your face, if the moment is still there in the gaps of our crossed fingers, go and light these rockets today. And with each of them, rid your heart of the most excruciating pains and watch them shoot to the sky and blast away like bubbles. Just believe that you tied the weights of your heart with those flying crackers and let them burn. I know I might sound stupid to you when I ask you to do this. But then you know that you sound stupid to me too when you tell a few alien things, but I believe them because I put my faith in your palms which I kiss so tenderly as if my lips could hurt them. I do not trust yet, but I believe. There’s a difference between trusting and believing. Trust requires proof while believing requires faith. In time I’ll get there, I’ll start trusting too. But for now, I believe. You know that it’s all about believing. So believe me and burn those rockets and let everything, every pain of your past go blast with them. Maybe the number of your pains would outrun the rockets, but we will get to the end of it, you will get to the end of it once you start. And save the last rocket for your newly found love, not me, but the love that you’ve found with me. The love that makes you strong, save the last rocket for it. And take a deep breath, let your tears roll and bless the sky, like you bless everyone, bless yourself that you are capable of loving and living, bless yourself that your heart needs to let go, bless yourself that you are bigger than those who hurt you, and then light the last rocket, watch it shoot to the sky and the universe will know that you’ve forgiven yourself for being so harsh on you. I want you to celebrate, to know that this festival is for you too and that a new light is coming to you and you will find your own way to a happier life where the past won’t haunt you anymore.

So if the moment is still not gone and you are breathing on my face or holding me closer to your chest, I want to whisper in your ear that I love you dear and it is going to be a great year and I love you.

Go, celebrate this festival and burn the old house down, we have to build a new home. Make love to your heart.

PS- the rockets may not blast, so just close your eyes and pretend that they do. It’s all about believing.