Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Where is God?

The Hindu goes not to a mosque.
The Muslim enters not a church.
The Christian sees not a temple.

In mosques, temples and churches
the god that is locked up,

in the beggar that begs in their homes,
in the mouse pup that hides in their backyard,
in the tall mango tree of their garden,
in the ant and fly that taste their offering
in the termite that eats their quran
in the spider that weaves its web around their crucifix

in the morning sun
in the evening moon
in the big and the small

not there not here but everywhere, as light, as complete joy
he smiles in silence.

தமிழில் -

Saturday, December 20, 2014


I wish I was in America
Land of far west
I wish I was in America
Land of the blest

I wish I was away
Alone and shivering cold
I wish I knew the way
to the dark roads of old

I wish I was alone
in some strange city
I wish I was my own
left with no pity

Beneath the neon lights
with some soulful song
I wish I spent my nights
that stretched and stretched along


I know not where I am
who are my bed fellows
I know not who I am
or why the wind bellows

I have no friend here
to speak a soulful word
I have no foe either
to drive a baleful sword

Twixt life and death I float
In this land of naught
No song escapes my throat
It was all for aught

I wish I was in America
Land afar ahead
I wish I was in America
Safe, sound and dead

Monday, November 17, 2014

A mundane fantasy

It is 6 o clock and I wake up from my stupor. As I look around, I feel a bit like one of those princes in the fairy tales who has been spirited away by an amorous rakshasi or witch during the night. It is indeed my home and my bedroom but there is a strange sense of detachment. I lie down for a few minutes working out my identity not unlike Odysseus lying naked on the island of Scherie. Like rain washing away mud, my brain has been wiped clean by the cerebrospinal fluid.

In a few seconds I remember my wife next to me and then my daughter next to her. The spell of sleep is broken and my mind whirs into activity, free from the yoke of the sable goddess' leaden sceptre. Not really free though, for it gets trapped immediately in the maze of tasks - brush teeth, milk for baby, black coffee, bath, dogs... like Parthiba's bow, they speed my mind along and press it towards their mark unerringly. My mind ever the truant, flits about a bit and manages to flirt with two parakeets, a mynah, and a few other sparrows and perhaps swallows. The lovely coucal though, evades me today.

By the time we've all had our poisons - bitter black coffee and extra sweet milk, two of the dogs have run away. The girl it seems is teaching our little boy the sweet taste of rebellion. And he, who is now an old man, revels in the excesses that this little girl provides him. When they come back finally, they stroll in without a hint of remorse in their eyes, rather there is a hint of a smirk.

I am now astride my mount. I look around a bit bidding an unwilling goodbye to my love, my sons and daughters, the home, the trees, the birds... there is not enough time to enact an elaborate farewell like Sakunthala did when she left Kanva's ashram. 

In a few minutes though, I am no longer Sakunthala leaving behind her beloved forest, but Dushyanta in his chariot. That which is curved becomes straight and that which was now far away suddenly leaps close by as I ride my steed that despite its pace does not foam at its mouth. Like Dushyanta, I too am in pursuit of a buck, only this buck is more elusive than the buck he pursued. For it is not a black buck, but a green one, one that also houses a green-eyed monster.

Pleasant pastoral scenes slowly give way to the caverns and crags of the city. Undaunted my steed pierces the ranks of traffic signals and irate horns. I have an easy victory as I slay the evil beasts catching them by surprise before they awake.

Work then opens her cavernous mouth and swallows me whole like Surasa swallowing Hanuman. I once again lose my memory and identity falling under the charms of this Calypso. Like the cursed princess who must spend her day in the stupor of death or like Dushyanta whose memory is hidden by the fog of Durvasa's curse I submit to labour and commerce. 

There are snatches of a song, whispers in the breeze that speak of love, of a hearth and its warmth. But I plo(t)d on unmindful of these supposed distractions. While the thrall of sleep is that of a lover, the thrall of work is that of a master. One clasps you in her slender arms and holds you prisoner by her lazy charms while the other whips your back and urges you on without slack.

As the sun sinks in the west, the spirit finally awakens itself and overthrows the yoke of work. "It is time", she whispers, "the birds are heading to their nest, so is the sun." And then she produces the ring of memory, slit open from the fish's belly. "Here!", she exclaims, "gaze on this token of love and hurry back to what is yours." 

I recall my wife, not the Sakunthala whom modern poets have turned into a dumb doe eyed beauty, but the Sakunthala of Kalidasa who had for a sister the jasmine creeper, who spoke to the trees and was kin to the birds. I recall my daughter who I am sure will not just count the teeth of the tiger cub like Bharatha but also heal the cub's teeth if need be. In a thrice, I mount my chariot and fly back home to fall under the spell of domesticity, of silence, of sleep.

Thus I pass from one trance of a mundane day to a mundane night carried away on the wings of fantasy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Spring's bark

Spring is in the air
In the temple priests seek god
Dogs bark How! How!


Winter night naught stirs
I am awake for a song
Caw caw sings the crow

Can't wait to die

I can't wait to die
To see what lies ahead
I can't wait to fly
Free of my carnal bed

I can't wait to burn
Merge with the blinding light
I can't wait my turn
To catch the morning flight

The stage shall come alive
The poet will find his voice
The song will then arrive
And blot out all the noise (So I can't)

For life is just a wait
To find a song perfect
And all the while I wait
To find my song perfect


I can't wait to live
To find my perfect song
I can't wait to give
To silence my soulful song

Friday, October 3, 2014


Once I had a soul full of thoughts and words
but nary a pen or paper
not a drop of ink.

So I sold my words for ink
my thoughts for a pen
and my soul for paper.

And now I still can't write.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

River called breath

Seeps from the tiny crevice called earth
Walks on the wind that rests in the sky and
runs along the shores of the heart's cave
makes verdant the shores with songs and lores
then rests in silence in the ocean of empty expanse
This breath of our life is also a river (path*)

* The dual meaning of the Tamil word ஆறு meaning both river and path is lost in English.

தமிழில் -

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A prayer to Krishna, the all powerful

You we worship O Krishna
who ages ago with your three great strides
vanquished the noble faultless Bali.
Keep us away from treachery.

You we worship O Krishna
who in another era slayed Tataka
with your cruel bolt.
Grant our women safety and honour.

You we worship O Krishna
who in another era cast the chaste Sita
with your cruel word.
Make our faith steadfast.

You we worship O Krishna
who in another era slew beastly Vali
from behind the tree.
Grant our hearts the courage to face our troubles.

You we worship O Krishna
who alone of all men won Radha's heart
and then broke it when you deserted her for the city.
Let our hearts stay true to purpose.

You we worship O Krishna
who engineered the Great War
pitting brother against brother.
Keep strife away from our families.

You we worship O Krishna
who was the king of the Yadu clan
that died fighting among themselves.
May our stock thrive in love.

You we worship O Krishna
who fulfilled the purpose of your descent
by dying at a hunter's hand without glory.
May you grant us immortality.

You we worship O Krishna
who tonight sleeps just born
unaware of all the glory
you have and will wrought
like an ant floating on a leaf
carried away in the ocean of dreams.

Grant us salvation and lead us to truth
if you may.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A song for varalakshmi viratham

Come not o varalakshmi come not you and
give not any boon nay give not mother

Give not glory and wealth of this world to me
Make no path for these to reach me o varalakshmi (Come not...)

Many are those who await your boons in this world
Go you to them and bless them
with your tender arms of grace
Then shall your duty be fulfilled and your salvation achieved so (Come not...)

A boon I have got to never seek any boon
from the sakthi to whom I have surrendered in faith
Now even if death comes it shall be a boon, best of all
is this boon greater than Vishnu and Shiva so (Come not...)


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Perfectly ignorant us

We think,
we move towards perfection ...

when ...

perfection was the beginning.


The perfect garment is the skin.
The perfect home is a cave.
The perfect job is death.
The perfect sleep is the same.

Perfect love is the lasciviousness
The perfect fear, that's life.
The perfect pleasure is hunger.
The perfect pain is the same.

The perfect word is never true
The perfect sentence a river of tears.
The perfect language is not spoken.
Neither is the perfect conversation.

The perfect dance is sunlight.
The perfect painting is the black of night.
The perfect poem is silence.
The perfect music is the same.
and ...

The perfect woman is a bitch.
The perfect man is a beast.
The perfect children, they are corpses.
So is the perfect God.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Hungry ants have torn
a hole in his sweetened heart.
He knows not moves not.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Dogs quarrel

On land that you own
with stones that you wrought
hewing trees that are your children
driving out creatures that you loved
men build and destroy their temples
and slaughter each other.

Oh insane beggar god who wears the crescent,
if dogs fight over meat that the butcher discards
what honour is there in it?

தமிழில் -

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Salvation (a false ascetic tale)

I had almost forgotten about the false ascetic. It had been a long while since I last saw him and there were enough domestic woes for me to worry about so his rotund form and disgusting guffaw had all but vanished from my memory.

And then one day, I saw him again. I was on my way to buy morning milk from the village milkman when I saw him resting beneath the banyan tree. He was resting in his peculiar vulgar fashion, one foot dangling of the podium under the tree and another folded on the podium, the net result being that his loin cloth was skewed and his genitals were on for public display. The man blissfully aware of this sat looking up at the skies with a completely stupid grin on his face. The reason for this became evident when he raised his hand to his lip and took a long drag of a smoking chillum.

It was about time for the village women to draw water from the pond nearby, so I thought it best that I warn him to present himself a bit more decently. "I think you should cover yourself up a bit ascetic", I said. (I had to refer to him by the epithet as he was yet to disclose his name.) "Cover? Why? Do you expect rain?", he asked casually while reaching out to scratch his crotch. "No, not that way, you idiot. There are women about here and they can't see you...", I hesitated a bit before pointing vaguely, "like that." The man laughed aloud, the same disgusting guffaw that showed his stained teeth and convulsed his face into an expression more grotesque than what he normally had. "Like that? Like that?", he continued laughing, "You mean they can't see a man's penis? No, of course. It is most disgusting considering the fact that all of us came from it.", he suddenly turned very sad. He sat for a couple of seconds with a melancholic expression that seemed to make his face almost handsome. He took another drag from his chillum and burst into laughter again.

I realized teaching him decency was not going to work. So in public interest, I walked close to him and under the pretext of conversation hid his body from view. "So, where were you all these days?", I asked. "There was a feast. A feast in a village..." he broke off trying to recall some forgotten memory, "lots of meat, lots of wine...many women", he chuckled. "But aren't meat and women forbidden to you ascetics? Have you no piety?" I was a little indignant that this fool was soiling the reputation of the saffron robe that he wore. "I am an ascetic..." he chuckled again "I am free from everything. So nothing is forbidden to me." he leered at me in a perverse manner. "Oh yes, that is why you go around killing innocent beasts for your hunger eh?" I was incensed. It was only yesterday we were listening to a pious discourse by the village priest about ahimsa and this man's attitude filled me with righteous anger. "You'll know. You'll know when you are born in your next life as chicken and a human cuts your head off and eats you." I wagged my finger at him and pronounced an ominous curse.

"You mean like the chicken that I just ate last week? I wonder how many chickens that chicken ate as a human in its previous birth.", he winked at me and took another drag of his pipe. "Talking of rebirth, you want to hear a story?", he asked while picking his teeth with a broken twig.

If there was one thing I could not resist, it was a story. Besides, I had to stand here as cover for this indecent rogue for at least half an hour till all the ladies of the village were safe in their homes. A story should help pass that time pleasantly. "Tell me.", I said while trying to appear disinterested.

The ascetic lied down comfortably, his right leg crossing his bent left leg as he did so. I sat next to him to block the view of his shame. "There were once 4 brothers..." he began.

"Four brothers, all born of the same mother, but completely different. This was a time before occupation was passed on by birth, caste I believe you fools call it. So each of them had their own livelihood.

The first was a priest, pious and disciplined. He spent all his life devoted to the local deity. He was well versed in all the scriptures - daily ablutions, seasonal rituals, rituals that govern human life, he steeped himself in all of this. All his life was bent towards one aim, salvation by means of purity, prayer, penitence and penance. He bathed 5 times a day and kept his body, soul and mind uncontaminated by all external touch. No sinful thought ever entered his head. No unclean human or beast ever touched his body. His mere sight was considered a blessing by the people of his village.

The second was a warrior, fierce and strong. His life he dedicated to protection of his nation. All the wealth, women and children of the nation were forever under the protection of his sword. Honour, courage and compassion were his code. He would not hesitate to face a thousand elephants in battle and at the same time, he would not harm the hair on the head of an innocent child. He won many battles for his king and in times of peace, built bridges, roads and hospitals to help his kinsmen revel in the peace that he won. His work was ceaseless and his energy endless. His men looked upon him as a kind brother.

The third was a scholar and philosopher, erudite and curious. Knowledge above all he sought. In books, tales, songs and conversations he spent his time, seeking to understand all that was. The more he learnt, the wider his heart grew, to a point where he would not harm the army of ants that carried away his grains. He marvelled in all of creation, for his education also blessed him with poetry. He often sang and soothed the troubled hearts of his kinsmen. He listened to their troubles patiently and gave them a shoulder to cry on. His advice on most matters was rounded and sound. His capacity for love extended to all living things. His was the heart that consciously understood the joys and sorrows of all creation and he ever strived to make all his actions benefit the entire world. To sit at his porch in the evening and watch him sing as the koels perched on his shoulders and joined him was a glimpse of paradise.

And then the fourth. The least blessed. This man had an unfortunate accident when he was a child. He happened to fall down what was considered a haunted well and spent a whole night there before he was rescued. The trauma of the fall and perhaps the fear of what he saw there had rendered him mad. Although, he was not really a scared man. He frequented graveyards in the nights and howled with the dogs. He used to ramble about talking to himself or creatures that his mad fancy imagined. He was offered food at times by many kind souls. Attempts to clothe him all failed as he turned violent if his body were covered. At times, despite being offered cooked food, he would cavort with the hyenas and vultures feasting on raw flesh. He slept wherever he could find shade and defecated in any place that was sandy. In short, his was a life of a beast, mad primal and pitied by all civilized folk.

The three sane brothers used to discuss their mad brother once in a while when they gathered, but it was obvious nothing much could be done for him. They did do their bit by helping him get his daily meal, which he accepted or rejected on his whim. So time passed on thus for the four brothers. Then one night, an angel appeared in each of their dreams. She spoke in a tongue that they had never heard of but understood rather lucidly. She had come to tell them of their death. Death, sweet death that would carry them all to their sweet homes, for their life's purpose had been fulfilled.

But what after death? That is what the angel had come to tell them. The priest listened with tears in his eyes, the warrior with burning courage and the poet-philosopher with eager curiousity. The madman, he barely listened, twitching a bit in his sleep as a mosquito bit him. To the priest the angel showed light, glorious light of a thousand benevolent suns bathing him in bliss. To the warrior, there was the shade of a tree that shimmered in a silvery light poured forth from a misty moon. The poet saw a throne of stone, from which all worlds and heavens were seen, a throne of stone on which silence reigned supreme. The him, all the angel showed was darkness, overwhelming all consuming darkness of a moonless starless hopeless night.

The next morning they all died.

Seven days later they all came to their new lives.

The priest was born a prince. His life was a life of luxury from the moment he was born. It seemed like he was being rewarded for all his penance, his denial of material joy with a surfeit of the same now. He grew charming and well educated. Courage was his, wealth was his, wisdom was his. He married the prettiest princess in the country and fathered many children with her. He inherited the throne from his father and won many famous victories. Then, as he grew old, he developed diabetes and gout. But even in his bed, he was well cared for by his servants and the queen. However, his sons broke out into a bloody war over the crown and he died watching them go to battle against each other.

The warrior found himself in the seed of a tamarind tree. He sprouted one monsoon and was forever steeped in the lesson of silence. He held his head high in mute pride, but his roots were gnawed at by mice. He shivered in the rain, shimmered in the sun and swayed with the breeze. He watched silently as all creatures of the world were born, lived and died under his shade. With his beatific smile, he welcomed a thousand birds to nest on his branches. He laughed when little boys and girls ran up his belly to pluck some his tangy fruit and tickled him. He gave his silent assent when woodcutters cut of his branches for firewood. He stood by not helpless, but in a stoic silence as men killed men and life in all its beauty and cruelty unfolded. Of his death not much was known. Some say he lived forever and there are some who claim he fell to the sinister stroke of a wicked man's axe.

The poet was born a dog. A mangy flea ridden street cur. He ate his fill from the garbage and whatever was fed to him by kind strangers. Food when hungry, mating in season these alone were his life. He saw nothing lofty around him. His afternoons were spent in the sunny shade of a tamarind tree and his nights were spent roving the dusty streets. His life which saw neither disease nor worry ended one night as he drifted off into a pleasant sleep and woke no more."

At this point the ascetic abruptly stopped his tale and went to sucking out the last dregs of intoxication from his chillum.

"What of the mad brother? What happened to him?" I asked very curious.

"Oh him..." the ascetic grunted. He yawned a rather copious yawn that seemed to fill the air with a rotten stench.

"What can I tell of him!", the ascetic mumbled with a rather condescending expression. Then he coolly rolled over and fell into a deep dark slumber.

No entreaties, no attempts by me to wake him up helped. I realized the man had finished his tale. I shook my head at my own stupidity for having waited for such a tale. I gingerly lifted his loin cloth with a stick to cover his genitals and walked back home.

By the time I reached home, the ascetic had turned over in his sleep, letting his loin cloth slip again, his nakedness on open display.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


There is but one God that I know.
He lives hidden in my mind.
One is the writ that I speak too.
It fills and holds in my silence.

One is the worship that I too perform.
Life it is that becomes forever.
One is the nectar, the blessing I get.
The song that flows sweet and swift.

The one God when He remains one forever,
why would I move innocent stone and flower
make temple and worship in some rite
and make Him distinct away from me?

In Tamil -

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My clan

The fish that swim the waters are my kin
When I swam in the waters of the womb.

All that wades and crawls are my kin
For I too have slithered on this earth.

Beasts that roam on four legs are friends
When I did crawl and crawl in search.

Two-legged bird and beast are my clan
For even now I walk this firm earth.

The fly that dies in a second is my clan
My eyes they do blink so oft.

Birds that wander on wings are friends
For I do fly on the wings of my tongue.

The plants that drink the sun are my kin
In penance the sun I too relish.

The trees that stand in penance are my kin
My life is my penance and it shall ripen.

The hills, the seas, the rivers are all my clan
Forever shall my song echo in this realm.

All, all, all are my clan - now
My mother, my child, my kith and kin
how shall such thoughts arise here?

தமிழில் -

Friday, April 18, 2014


Summer moon I love you so
My soul my mind I yield to you.
Your waxing curves, your limpid glow
casting life in sight askew.

Your pallid face it casts a veil
of bleary dreams, of lustful craze
on fancy's hill and sorrow's dale
in solemn blues and torrid grays.

Your fervid brow sighs hot and cold
And yet stirreth not the trees nor breeze.
They heed your songs the new and old
the trees and the breeze all ill at ease.

And then you cast your spectral sails
And drift away in fantasy.
Your pointed prow forsooth assails
rending the lies of reality.

Why must I seek and understand
or believe and contemplate,
when reality's a single strand
that fantasy does populate.

So take my mask of sanity!
Darken the day of reality!
Shine forth my moon of insanity!
And end this reign of normality!

Summer moon I see you so
a dream, a thought, a whisper hush.
"When life's mundane drone does grow
There is hope in lunacy's rush."

Monday, April 14, 2014

A moon of lust

On this summer night that swelters 

the other night when he waded undaunted
in a pool of wilted lotuses
his face aloft,
his pale body swallowed by the waters of desire,
his flowing locks holding at bay all my inhibitions,

the pale moon glows with such sublime glory
the clouds have veiled the stars in shame
unafraid of the wolves pursuing him.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The real culprit

I see a lot of dialogue on social media and news channels alike on the shortcomings and advantages of various political parties. And the more I read, the more I believe strongly that the solution for this problem does not lie in democracy or elections or reforms or activism or anything else that is being promoted. The only solution in my eyes is self-reform. In giving names and decrying all these problems, these problems of corruption, traffic, pollution, communalism, etc., we have successfully externalized them and thereby assume these can be solved by some panacea. But the reality is,

Every time me and my family buy property by undervaluing it and thereby circulating black money, a politician will swindle crores in a scam ensuring I pay more taxes than I should.

Every time I jump a red signal or pass an intersection without stopping, some celebrity or bigwig will block roads for a procession meant to give him/her gain ensuring I fail to reach the hospital in time in case of an emergency.

Every time I fail to manage my own waste, dump it into the sewage without second thought about what happens to it afterwards, some industrialist will flood a river with effluents killing my own child giving him cancer.

Every time I refuse to share my home with an insect, a bird or an animal when it causes no harm to my existence, somewhere a religious sect will conduct a pogrom in which my sister will get raped and her unborn child butchered.

Every time I try to get my license without understanding basic traffic rules and lacking the ability to decipher traffic signs, somewhere a rich man's kid will run over my elderly father in a bout of drunken driving.

Every time I get married expecting the girl's side to bear most of the wedding expenses and allow my parents to make demands on jewelry and vessels from her side (when I offer nothing from my side), my beautiful daughter will be burnt to death for dowry in some remote village. (Of all my sins so far, this I regret most.)

Every time I instruct my daughter to watch what she wears and fail to condemn my son when he leers at women; every time I fail to educate my children on sexuality, my daughter will get brutally gang raped in some dark alley.

Every time I put aside a separate vessel for my servant maid to use and think someone is inferior because they are dark, I will get emotionally scarred and brutally persecuted in a foreign country and left to die.

The Delhi gang rape, the Godhra train burning and the riots in the aftermath, the anti-Sikh riots, the Babri Masjid demolition, the drying up of Yamuna, the silent killing of Koovam and Musi, the Mumbai terrorist attacks, the coal scam, the 2G scam, the Bofors scandal, the ethnic cleansing and civil war in Sri Lanka, the various bomb blasts across the country, the dowry burnings, the female infanticides, the persecution of Dalits, the disappearance of habitat in the Western Ghats, the near extinction of the Nilgiri Tahr, the lion-tailed macaque, the Bengal tiger and the one-horned rhinoceros, the increasing man-animal conflicts involving leopards and elephants, the farmer suicides across the country...

These are all my sins, my crimes. I am responsible in every single way for every single thing that is wrong with the country, the state, the district and the very street I live on. If anybody must be crucified, hung, drawn and quartered, persecuted and penalized, it is me and me alone.

And because nobody will penalize me, I shall try my best and atone for all these crimes. I shall try and build that one thing which if present will solve all problems in the world - my conscience. I shall try to see if I can reform the only real criminal in this whole country - me.

P.S. If any of you are going to like, share or comment this post, do it after a bit of introspection. Please do it only if you of your own will believe in this post and feel you too are as culpable as I am.