You write in Runes*

Must no mortal  disparage your tranquility,

For although you speak in tongues and write in runes,

Your mien inspires in me good graces.


I’m beholden to justify your metaphysical excesses,

Verily so, good stranger for I do not yet know you,

Even so, I am preordained to venerate your incomparable being.


You have been assigned august appellations,

And I allow myself be steered, unhesitating

Into your teeming, unsighted, middling cohorts.


*Having meant to write for some time now on the phenomenon of hero worship.

Will I always be daddy’s little girl?

My Grandmother;

Many years reside

In all of the grooves,

Etching her face.


My Mother is not

Her little baby girl anymore.

The mirror reflects

The lines in her face too.


Worth diminishes with time,

Or so we learn;

Reproductive worth,

Physical worth.


Then,  I wish to be a Sequoia,

Where every concentric layer attests to my value,

As I stand witness to millennia,

If not, I wish to be forever, Daddy’s little girl.

*This is about growing older with one’s parents. It is also an observation on the negativity our culture ascribes to  growing older. The social order  accords immense value to children but not a corresponding value, to people aged.

The Acid Attack – An eye for an eye

Molten lava, careens down

The angular lines of his chauvinistic face

Etching, engraving, chiseling a linocut of it

With crevices, nooks, crannies

Chasms of the Grand Canyon

Just as deep

Sizzling as the skin crisps

He can feel his eyes no more

He feels as she felt less than a decade ago*

He wants to scream but cannot

There is no word or voice for pain such as this

Mind blank,

Eyes blind,

Deaf as a stone,

But not unfeeling,

For now he feels with his face,

Not his organs of lust and mind of vengeful hate.


*Sonali Mukherjee is still fighting for justice, 9 years after her three attackers rendered her deaf, blind and disfigured with acid.

The Post Mortem

Meet the Jane Doe of Uttar Pradesh,

The Jamuna Bai of the autopsy wards of Bulandshahr.

Sets in the overpowering stench of putrefaction,

Her corpse would be placed on the outskirts of a village.

Burned to cinder by the caste meant to do it.


Smell the putrefaction systemic

In the health care farce of India’s Cow belt .

The doctor deigns to sit in the other room.

The stench of the cadaver alien to his Brahmin olfactory senses.

What colour is the spleen? He shouts out.


The ward boy answers or/and perhaps the sweeper,

As they cut, splice, slice, chop, and stitch.

Consider this the outsourcing of medical attention,

To a different room, to a different class of employee,

To the Harijan of the hospital.




When you get labelled a thief….

Having stolen a crumb of bread,

You get branded a thief.

Also that crumb speaks volumes of you,

That you are a dirty filthy rat,

With rags on your back,

Possibly stoned,

Soaked in the stench of your own urine,

You personify failure.


People don’t glorify failure

You reek of it. Are judged by it,

They think you have no skill no trade,

Made bad decisions which landed you here in the first place

You lack discipline, as wayward as the wind,

Don’t fit the meritocracy of todays aristocracy.

Different thing if you didn’t have the opportunity

Ask a person sinking in a bog to try stand and walk.


Like it were easy without a lifeline,

The world cares that you must be lazy.

The rest of us need expensive psychotherapy to deal with our traumas

And a good deal of Prozac to make us happy again

You must do with sheer will power

And will yourself out of this situation.

Perhaps, only perhaps, if you stole a crown,

They would celebrate you a king,

Celebrate your intelligence, your foresight, your ability to outwit,

Why not? Everybody would want to be like you.