Saturday, 17 September 2016

A Hand at Haikus

For me, the Haiku, that form of Japanese nano poetry, had till now meant delicately woven imagery written on shimmering silk in fine spidery calligraphy by Japanese beauties sitting under cherry trees laden with pink blossoms....!  I had not known that this poetry form is bound by certain very strict rules, believing rather naively that any short poetry comprising of four or five lines could be called a haiku. However, lately with this Times of India haiku poetry contest, I’ve been reading up a little about this ancient art form and I realised that it is not that simplistic an art. Rather it is a pretty complicated and difficult skill to master, being bound by certain inflexible rules; one, that it can be only of three lines, two, that these lines should contain only five-seven-five syllables, i.e. a total of seventeen syllables, three, that it should contain what is called a juxtapositioning of two images or ideas to prompt readers to reflect on the relationship between the two parts and finally, preferably contain a seasonal word or reference. Now those are pretty daunting rules, especially the last but one, even for the most poetic of poets. Yet there is one saving grace; that is that the haiku need not rhyme and can be free verse.
So I have been, for the last few days trying my hand at Haikus, scribbling all over my office note pads, my sticky pads , my home planner, my recipe diary and then those exhausted, resorting to using poor Other Half’s WhatsApp screen-page as my editing board! Of course, he has been very, very accommodating and singularly sweet about it except that one time when after I had sent him twelve or thirteen drafts of the same edited and re-edited Haiku, he informed me mildly that all my creations were gibberish for him! Yet still I keep using his screen page as my editing board because I feel that unless one sees one’s work print, in black and white, one can’t really critique it well. 
So over the last few days, after much brain scratching and WhatsApping, I have finally come out with five pieces. And though I myself am pretty happy with them, gloating secretly over what I believe to be quite an achievement (sic!), I couldn’t help but post it on my little blog to see what other’s make of it. So here they are, my very first five haikus and if you can, do let me know what you think of them. I’d really appreciate it. And just a word of warning : Haikus tend to be pretty abstract. So if you like Other Half , are unable to make head or tail of them, it's perfectly fine to think there is a madness in the writer's brain.....! 
And just for comparison, here is an English haiku by someone called Brendon Kent:

how fragile
our eggshell minds....
moon on water

Like I warned you before, you may find this example rather abstract. Initially I did too. But  I think my verses are much more prosaic, the imagery a lot easier to understand. Do read and see for yourself. And let me know.
The Lamp’s ode is lost
In the Moon’s incandescence:
Vain its Moon-worship!

I bade her goodbye
And only her eyes replied:
Two deep, brimming pools.....!


Silverfish dart quick
Within leaves of dusty books-
You steal shy glances


Wish you'd only feed
My thirsty , ravenous mind:
This body's anorexic!  

Summer Ennui 

Hot, sticky pages
And hundreds of black word-ants:
Frozen by the heat!


Thursday, 15 September 2016

A Black Boy Sings

Having lately been bitten by the poetry bug, I am now a well established case of what is called 'poetricaemia'. In case you winced at my rather pathetic attempt at neologism, you might be happy to know that I too had cringed while typing it. Anyways, here is another piece of poetry for those of you who are brave enough to face it.

And while I firmly believe that poetry is an art that conveys different things to different readers and that it must be left free for a reader to interpret it for his own self, I am going to give you a very brief background to today's work, simply to explain it's context.

Recently, an acquaintance of mine shared with me a video clip of a little South Sudanese boy singing a song in his native Dinka tongue. He was singing the song for her at her request and as I cooked lunch, I listened to this kid as he sang , enthralled both by the foreign music as also by his complete lack self-consciousness. My acquaintance is Thai, from the Royal Thai Police and is currently working with the United Nations as a Peacekeeper in South Sudan. As I listened to the little boy's song, it struck me how cosmopolitan the situation was, this African boy singing to a Thai woman police officer as the song was transmitted thousands of kilometres away to a small Indian town where an ordinary Indian woman listened to him as she cooked a very Indian, very everyday (and very spicy) lunch.

Because of the Internet, we now have the capability to reach out to people all over this world, and if used in the right spirit, this technology can really bind us all into one big happy family....! C'est la vien rose? Yeah I know , I agree that this thought is too simplistic.But you can't deny the latent potential of the Internet and thanks to it, maybe one day we can all say with confidence : वसुधैवः कुटुम्बकम्।

A Black Boy Sings

A black boy sings,
Sings a Dinka song.
I quite know not
He sings of what;
Yet still he sings
His little Dinka song.

He sings for his friend
This little Dinka song.
Almond eyed, his friend's Siamese,
Smiles a lot, works for Peace;
And so for her he sings,
His little Dinka song.

And across the sky it flows
His little Dinka song;
Where I listen and nod my head,
Stirring gravy with fiery Cayenne red;
As happily he sings
His little Dinka song.

And now, his song's a Bind,
This little Dinka song.
And I don't care what you sceptics say
This World's come a little closer today;
As now for Me he sings,
His little Dinka song!

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Fail Kora Meye

Jiboner report card ta dekhechhi:
Main subject guli te
Shob fail!
Tai ami aaj Fail Kora Meye.

Ei fail kora meyetake
Keu keu shudhu hela kore
Keu kore tuchchho
Keu keu dekheo na dekha kore.
Keu full of pity bole:
Porikkha guli aabar de na!

Ekti purono kotha:
Tokhono aami Fail Kora Meye hoini.
Kon ek pother baanke
Tomar shathe hotath dekha.
Tomar haanshiti aamar mone achhe
Shaanto, snigdho , ishshot koutuk meshaano
Ekti haanshi

Kete gelo koto din
Jibone fail kore
Ami holam
Fail Kora Meye.....

Ekdin hotath
Cholechhilam jokhon
Ondhokar ek pothe
Kaandhe failed ei jiboner bag;
Dekhi oi je pother baanke
Daariye achchho Tumi!
Aamai dekhe haashle abaar:
Shanto,snigdho, ishhot koutuk meshano
Shei haanshi.

Tumi kichhu bolo
Taar agei ami confess kore phellam,
“Ami kintu ekhon Fail Kora Meye....!”

“Tobe jodi bolo,
Gaan shonate pari!”

Tumi kintu shei tumi ee achcho!
Ekti baar o jiggesh korle na
Keno fail korlam,
How, why  kimba what.
Takale na aamar dike
Tachchhilye othoba karuna e
Korle na hela, dile na upodesh
Shudhu shunle aamar chhotto shei gaan

Shune bolle,
“Baah, ki shundor
Tomar ei gaan:
Mishe acche ete
Koto bhalobasha, karuna o koutuker
Shubhro taan!”

Tomar praise shune
Ami tokhon Robi Kobir Chondalika!
Mone holo
Jeno ei ekkhuni
Anondo Bhikhhu
Aamar ochhuto kyuor jol ti pan korlen.....!
Mone holo
Ek nimeshe
Jeno pass kore gelaam;
Pass kore gelaam
Jiboner joto fail kora porikkha
Shudu aamar ei ekti gaan diye!!!!

Friday, 2 September 2016


The sky is blue today
A very Indian Autumn blue;
Cloud wisps float in it,
Tagoresque in their rhythm!

The green of the trees
And of the grass
In white, yellow and gold,

Shine incandescent;
Yet pleasantly muted!

I should be happy, you know:
I usually am
On such incandescent Autumn days......
But not today.
Today I am not happy.
Not at all happy;
For you
Have turned your back on me!

Don’t know why,
Can’t ask why,
Why you have thus
Hemmed yourself within Walls;
Walls I can never scale.

"Why, why have you?"
I can’t help but ask
Again and again
Against your wordless Wall;
And then tired,
Of my own self !

Is it because you are hesitant to Give?

But Oh!
I haven’t asked Anything of you:
Not asked for Rain,
Nor for Clouds;
Neither for Sunshine
nor Stars;
Not even for flecks of Stardust
Or stray drops of Dew.....!

All I ever asked,
If one can ask unsaying:
Was just your Words......!

Was it all wrong then,
That asking?
Oh, but I thought Words were free.
Your Words,
All Yours to give.....!

But I was terribly wrong
Is it not
Wrong as wrong can be?
Words are not free.
Fettered by Propriety,
By Prudence and Pride...
Words have never been free......!

Free Words rattle Roots.
Usher Revolution.
Bring Ruin.

I am too timid;
Too timid
To rattle Roots,
To usher Revolution,
To bring Ruin.

And so I have learnt
Just like you
To Wall my Words...
To shackle, weigh, reign them in..
For my Words too
Must never never be free..........!

Thursday, 1 September 2016

I Write for You

I write for You,
That is true;
But more than that
I write for me;
These words
My succour,
My salvation
My very own symphony....

Alu and the Crown God

I had rolled barely a hundred metres down the road when I spotted her gambolling in the adjoining park. "Heyy Alu," I called ou...