Tag Archives: identity

Their daughters

Paracetamol legends I know
For rising fevers, as pain-relievers—

Of my people—father’s father’s mother’s
Mother, dark lush hair caressing her ankles
Sometimes, sweeping earth, deep-honey skin,
Amber eyes—not beauty alone they say—she
Married a man who murdered thirteen men and one
Lonely summer afternoon her rice-white teeth tore
Through layers of khaki, and golden white skin to spill
The bloodied guts of a British soldier who tried to colonize her. . .

Of my land—uniform blue open skies,
Mad-artist palettes of green lands and lily-filled lakes that
Mirror all—not peace or tranquil alone, he shudders—some
Young woman near my father’s home, with a drunken husband
Who never changed; she bore his beatings everyday until on one
Stormy night, in fury, she killed him by stomping his seedbags. . .

We: their daughters.
We: the daughters of their soil.

We, mostly, write.

(First published in Quarterly Literary Review, Singapore)

Deciphering a culture

INSTRUCTION #1 NAILED TO THE WALL: SWITCH OFF YOUR CELLPHONES

Keep Smiling! 🙂 This is what I got to read on ink-splattered desks one lonely day in the central Winners DON’T library of the IIT Madras. I was there waiting for someone to come and join me Frustrated and all the books surrounding me were such rigorous affairs in quantum mechanics One and ocean engineering and acoustics Sided and though I had studied science at school, I had opted out of academics Lovers for (shall we say) personal reasons.

And so there was literally nothing Association in there that I could read and understand, so I set about staring at the desks (Frustrated One Sided Lovers Association) and suddenly the graffiti made sense (Acronym FOSLA) and my reading picked up Join FOSLA da! in leaps and FOSLA: Exclusively for mother-fuckers like you bounds. Watching it was so funny I liked the picture. . . because I imagined Life begins at 40, Ice cream expires at 2 nothing in these mass of Bare! Scientific and Technical books with their !!SUPERB!! mumbo-jumbo jargons could attract me Lol! but these words I love rumour penned by different students was kind of distracting My kiss is bad and also a nice thing to My head is sad engage myself Its your love in.

So That’s made me glad I was busy straining to Help everyone! Love everyone! And yes, HATE ALL!! make out the CAT words and some of it was boring Guru is great! and Love my ass, don’t you? racy and Simran hip and Impossible breasts had self-explanatory illustrations Don’t marry be happy of naked, naked women that Asha, I love you was really Come out of the web of the world disgusting and horrific and If God has given you a rock it’s your choice to build a bridge or a wall I really didn’t know what to say I have built a wall, what you want to do for that????? and Then I will curse Him and go search for some grub (only a rock, eh!) i looked up in exasperation.

INSTRUCTION #2 NAILED TO THE WALL: DON’T REPLACE BOOKS TO STACK. LEAVE THEM ON THE TABLE.

The other words Me too are silly Me too da idiot and I try my best to take How dare you everything Om Namah Shivaiah of this civilization Morals R for Morons by just To suck the marrow of life! (not me fuckers, but Henry DAVID Thoreau) deciphering Structure of Benzyne a Boobsy culture Keep Trying but Illustration (India map) its all Point out Lovegadh? Sexpura? in vain. Quates Desk ww.hornybanana.com So what I love vaginas sunflower gulmohar Oh god help me!! When I start talking to a girl, she starts loving me. Its disgraceful. Help me! Is it your bra? Nice work Illustration Can you draw the equation of the above ellipse Take your origin as Shravati and +ve axis along Sarayu u r time starts now No cunt if you take Shrav and Sarayu as lost what will be your origin Fat Fool Dribbler, read that AGAIN. Got me? Hum angrejon ke jamane ke fuckers hain Rock n Roll Stupid Once upon a time. . . there was Anushya. . . No smoking U taste good! Hippy sex? Wanna something hot?

And I was feeling blank and looking up and repeating Wanna something hot?

INSTRUCTION #3 NAILED TO THE WALL: SILENCE.

Love and war

two thousand years ago
our word for love
was the same.

women and men
wrote their songs of love
the intimacies of inside

and they spoke of how
love was tireless
love was a fantasy feast
love was no disease
love was no evil goddess
love was a harshness, in the parting
love was
             ‘the thing that made a girl’s bangles
             slip loose when her lord went away
             grow tight when her lord returned’
love was (they sang)
             ‘bigger than the earth
             higher than the sky
             unfathomable than the waters.’
love was.

no names were named.
you did not know
             who he was
             or who she was
             or when it was
             or where it was
only
love was.

and there were
the poems of war,
the war poetry
poems on the outside

(and perhaps
because the bards
wore lotuses of gold)

there are
the poems
where the names were named
where the kings were praised
where a bard addressed another
where the guide sang to the patron
where the poet sang to the courtesan
where mothers spoke of tigers in their wombs
where the kingdom was
             ‘an unfailing harvest of
             victorious wars’
where the old women
             ‘threatened to slash their breasts
             if their sons died in battle with backs
             turned in fright’
where the end spoke of
             ‘the blood glowing
             in the red center of the battlefield
             like the sky before nightfall’

and because it has an end
war was a history.

love never has an end.
love was. and will be.

Mulligatawny dreams

anaconda. candy. cash. catamaran.
cheroot. coolie. corundum. curry.
ginger. mango. mulligatawny.
patchouli. poppadom. rice.
tatty. teak. vetiver.

i dream of an english
full of the words of my language.

an english in small letters
an english that shall tire a white man’s tongue
an english where small children practice with smooth round
 pebbles in their mouth to the spell the right zha
an english where a pregnant woman is simply stomach-child-lady
an english where the magic of black eyes and brown bodies 
   replaces the glamour of eyes in dishwater blue shades 
   and the airbrush romance of pink white cherry blossom skins
an english where love means only the strange frenzy
   between a man and his beloved, not between him and his car
an english without the privacy of its many rooms
an english with suffixes for respect
an english with more than thirty six words to call the sea
an english that doesn’t belittle brown or black men and women
an english of tasting with five fingers
an english of talking love with eyes alone

and i dream of an english

where men
of that spiky, crunchy tongue
buy flower-garlands of jasmine
to take home to their coy wives
for the silent demand of a night of wordless whispered love . . .

(First published in Kavya Bharati)