You’re the light: light of all lights

You’re a quintessential summer song
bittersweet, mixed with a soft humming.
How my heart beats, almost lonely,
without your hand in mine.

You’re that red wall with the window
from where the glitter seeps in
and turns me into a labyrinth of lights.
Forever the favourite one.

You’re that melodic old radio
that sometimes sings and
Sometimes makes noises like a hullabaloo
How do I love the noises and songs alike.

You’re an album of photographs.
If I open too much, I drown too much.
If I let it closed, my heart is closed.
When I speak to them, they sing back,
same way as you.

You’re like a secret box full of old books
that makes me a child
always running for you,
for the graves of your naive little poems
you saved from the world, dearly for me.

You’re like an evening walk.
I can blabber everything and not know
I spoke to another soul.
You wear my thoughts on your heart,
same way grass covers our harsh feet.

You’re like that swing I miss.
Every touch of you that I remember
swirls everything in my stomach,
like a pool full of fishes
embracing every drop of me.

You’re not you anymore
How joyously do I see us
A you and a me
running into the wild
with sky above us, infinite.

What makes us choose Salman Khan’s heroism over the ruthless rape culture?

Do you know how may Salman Khans we can possibly find in a single glance around us? It infuriates me to the hilt when the heart of the matter becomes ‘how Snapdeal was almost boycotted when Mr. Aamir Khan made an obnoxious comment, apparently’ and ‘now, would you ban Salman Khan films?’ and not to forget the bhaai bhakts, what do you want to say now?’

The core of the problem shifts paradigmatically to chauvinism again. Social media is talking about ‘Salman Khan made an obnoxious statement’. The actor is being blamed while only a handful understand the crux of the matter which is: how prevalent rape culture is in our society.

It’s easy to fight against a problem, a human mistake. But a culture that has seeped down to our bones and made our hollow minds so captive to the heroic manhood around us, I suppose, now needs a civilisation to end and be reborn.

The language we talk in is male-centric. What kind of a process do we enter by calling ourselves ‘awakened’ and ‘activists’ while the language we use, the ideas we hold are so unconsciously blotted with silhouettes of egoistic heroism that only romanticises the wrong idea of manhood? A woman can be compared to vices, marriages are made fun of, ‘colour’ and ‘shape’ are open to judgement, women are ‘rated’, sold and bruised mentally, physically and emotionally and this culture is not even a problem.
A man who has made a prolific mark in Indian cinema and has almost claimed power over the Indian judiciary makes a statement which is obnoxious and walks off. The problem doesn’t end here. A single statement that has outraged each one of us is not going to make much difference to someone like him. Audiences will continue to watch his films, he will remain the bhai that he is. Banning his films or not following or admiring him for his work is not the solution one is looking for out of this controversy. I wonder what kind of difference that is going to make.

The right question, I guess, would be: is it possible that he repents for what he said? Would he realise how his ideas about women are shaped by the false grandeur about manhood in his life?

But are we still talking about the right problem? It’s not about Salman Khan. It could be any man in the corner of your street or even in your own house for that matter because rape culture has innumerable victims. It’s about how, in spite of the fact that women have entirely changed the scenario from being the sacrificing figures to souls full of voice and justice, it is so easy for a man to make have an image of women this low in his mind, publicly talk of it and live as conveniently as he wishes to.

Another side of the story that I happened to read was about how Salman Khan compared his ‘tough’ schedule to the suffering of a raped woman: ‘It’s not simply tough for a rape victim, the experience is traumatic and deadly’. And how I beg to differ on that! Why is a raped woman a ‘victim’ in the first place?

I remember activist Kamla Bhasin asking in ‘Satyamev Jayate’ that if a woman is bitten by a dog, who would be the culprit. It’s the dog. Undoubtedly, it’s physically painful and outraging. But under the given understanding of the idea of rape, it is mentally and emotionally difficult for a woman to come out of it. I feel it’s high time that we stopped ‘sympathising’ with a raped human, making him/her feel like a ‘victim’, building a discourse that holds rapes as the end of someone’s dignity or sexual and emotional life. Isn’t empathising a better way to let a person cope with rape? Sympathising with a raped woman somehow presents her as weak, someone to be felt sorry for. But in reality, weak is the man who raped her, not the woman. Feel sorry for a man who is a coward and not for the rape survivor.

The problem here is not a celebrity but the inbuilt mindsets we have inherited and carried forward without introspection and questioning. Rape culture is prominent around us where without thinking and realising one can normalise every aspect of rape.

Nobody exactly knows what kind of a day it would be when we would stop talking in the language of films, stop considering celebrities as gods and know the art of raising the right questions, the right way. Had this been understood for its root issue it would have not been called the ‘Salman Khan controversy’, simply because it is not.

Also published here:



Not everyone’s father is a hero

Not everyone’s father is a hero.
They kill childhoods with whisks of drunk nights and sullen, hollow homes.
They never gift doll houses, sketches or books.
They never remember birthdays as celebrations; rather it’s a day embarking a sorrow.
There are no summer holidays together, not even a Sunday brunch.
They leave imprints of violence, abuse and several nights of suffering and tears.
Their children never see galaxies and stars and rainbows, not even their favourite cartoon films on TV.
They crush under the silhouettes of dominance, ignorance and lies, a daughter’s dream tale, her voice and desires.
They roam escaping family, an absent figure.
They are not the ones children wait for, I always felt so free when he wasn’t at home.
His room and work place took no space when he wasn’t there, quiet like a lonely song, how well I could empathise with them.
They are unknown and unheard.
And yet the grief for a lifetime remains: it’s irreparably painful to forget them, abandon them.
Give them the same pain back.
Their children grow up with a heart full of rage and rebel and do you know whom do they wound the most?
Not everyone’s father is a hero.
~On father’s day……

Some days the sunbeam fails me

Love is only a sunbeam gifted to us too briefly.

Sometimes I can smell eternity in this light, so deep that it makes home in the core of my stomach turning me into a silent bubble floating around the world. Bleeding away the wounds and healing like I own the secrets of the universe. Above the ground, somewhere in the middle of the air taking no space, numbed with a sense of euphoria.

And other times I cannot even look at the light. Neither within nor in the whisks of the fruity air around me. It fails to remind me of flowers and mandalas and poems that otherwise fill me up with life songs. I feel I dissolve in the backdrop of my life. I become one of these lonely things around like a balloon or a dried old tree or a noisy wall hanging. Some days the sunbeam fails me.

I wait for the rain

I wait for the rain all day long.
I’ll smell the sky,
mud in the pots and old red walls.
I will forget everything
Of broken heart of the black bird
shooed away for her colour.
Of small crooked stone like particles
that made my eyes red and teary.
Of waiting for a home standing alone
but never too lonely amidst
tall trees all around and a lake
of green water how I saw in picture books.
Of longing for the end of this loop
they tell me is life and I,
I do not believe and I will not believe
for life is for now in the rain and
in my desperateness
to wait and wait and then to forget.

I wait for the rain all day long.
Summer starts stinking
no way different from people crushed in
small big houses with minds still alike
and their wraths and dooms.
Dust covers our faces as if before it
we stood naked and raw and
our minds not so corrupt.
I wonder, I wonder if summer intends
to make jokes on us and
laugh every season on our broken bloom.
Hot air we breathe but bones still frozen
and I wait for the season to match with
how my heart feels.
May be then my songs and sorrows
will drown together into one another,
may be the same way first rain drops
sizzle on the wet old heated floors.

I wait for the rain all day long.
Vast summer lands stand lonely,
but do they look betrayed?
Sun burning for whom?
What grandeur has he ever owned?
Muse is always that moonlit sky
under which the lovers sleep.
Those strokes of hot but golden light
that fall on the dirty footpaths
are eaten as sausage with dry wheat rolls
by beggars enrobing their dreams
with sky full of lies,
every night, every night.
Who knows these lies are their only shimmer, the only gold of their life?

I wait for the rain all day long.
Everything is wrong, so wrong,
but everything will be right when the sky
is not too bright,
a little dull and a pause without funerals.
Waiting remains but
seasons change;
But a man never said four seasons
be enough for escapes and
when have we not asked for more,
but a little more?
An unseen solitary ocean is waiting
in my songs for a few drops to wet my face.
I wait for rain all day long.
I wait……

"….all artists, regardless of degree of talent, are a painful, paradoxical combination of certainty and humility, constantly in need of reassurance, and yet with a stubborn streak of faith in their own validity no matter what."