Notes from Warsaw – 4

What happened here, at this very place —
did someone die, did someone kiss, did
someone leave with a mouth full of
goodbyes, did someone return, wordless,
arms cradling improbabilities? I wonder
why I am here, now, watching trains
crisscross the Vistula. The river answers
in a language I cannot understand. The
moon into whose eyes I dare peer from
my own rooftop, looks away, showing
bones, a line of jaw, tense, broken. Are
we more forgiving of unanswered
questions in the place we label ‘home’?
Long ago, someone with my voice, with
the same dark eyes must have wondered
why he was in the place he stood, bow
in hand. He was taught to kneel. To press his
forehead to the earth. I turn my face. Stand
taller. My cheek pressed against the cold
cheek of the moon. Another train passes.
A march of yellowed windows toppling
squares of night like dominoes. Somewhere
else, there is a warm moonless morning.

(From the Świętokrzyski Bridge)

Also in this series:
Notes from Warsaw – 3
Notes from Warsaw – 2
Notes from Warsaw –



A reminder that the Poetry Tuesday prompt for Nov 12th is “New”. Read prompt details here.


I sit with my finger
pressed into my wound –
there should be pain,
there should be shock,
there should be blood.
But all I feel is a
strange sense of comfort.

I learnt this from the
earth — the way she
rips open her seams
every now and then
just to reassure herself
there’s still a fire
burning in her belly.

Print/e-book on Amazon


The Bridge

Everything is in free fall. There you are — standing on the bridge between life and death, between being something and becoming something else, between anticipation and foreboding, between then and thereafter, between what you were meant to be and what you will be when it is over.

And every word, every breath, every thought, leaves you to flutter downwards into the snaking continuum, not belonging to you before it was yours, not yours after it has belonged to you for that one moment — passing through your presence, changing you, changing itself, drifting rushing, reaching into the ever-moving. Still you wait with hopes and dreams in your sad eyes as if the tumult of the shuddering universe has taught you nothing.

sky or sea or wind –
who owns
this first monsoon cloud?



Water to Water, my first poetry collection, is now available on Amazon – US, UK and India


Somewhere Between

Somewhere between Pahalgam and Baisaran,
well over 7200 feet, the pony stopping to drink
from a leaking water pipe, the snow caps tightening
their stranglehold on potential thought, the city
fades away in the rhythm of the connectivity bars
on my phone, I feel a loss, a  distancing, a new umbilical
cord being severed- myth and history are rich with
stories of men who came to such mountains, to
such forests, to meditate, to find neat answers
to ponderous questions, as if it needs turning away
from the world, as if it needs seclusion, as if it needs this
quiet in which even leaves and snowflakes pause
before they fall, like taking off their shoes before
entering a temple, like an inexplicable prostration,
as if effects are buried so far away from
their cause, as if sound in itself is an aberration-
I am tentative, introducing a memory reluctantly into
this alien perfection, testing its skin, its taste, it’s give,
an unfamiliar shade of blue in the unflawed light,
a sharp pain fills the silence like an old friend,
its arm around my shoulder, the city falls like an
existential shadow cast by a new sun, somewhere between
Pahalgam and Baisaran, where every morning someone
scrubs the sky clean, where the trees like cellphone bars
connect someone to something, where the birds take care
to whisper till you pass, where everything is a little too near
but a little too far away.  There. Somewhere between.


and suddenly the universe collapses into your eyes and you wonder not how it came to be but why

then you either find the revelation of your own inconsequence and know you are just random matter, trapped in a trick of consciousness, that will be destroyed just as it will be recreated in another swirl of time

or you find a spark of faith that will grow until it reaches beyond the edges of what you can imagine and you know you are time and sky and everything within and without and that all you see is just your mirror

either we are nothing or everything

he paused in that moment, waiting for an answer, wanting to be sure

a tired moon yawned and stretched, night was breaking up into smudges of light

i could leave or i could stay

there were muffled voices in the stairwell and laughter, louder

i could speak or let the words slip away

where there had been stars in that square of window, there was a silent wind

i could be everything or i could be nothing

i could pretend i had a choice

There is Room inside the Cliché

there is room inside the cliché,
inside the flawed ennui of existence,
to manoeuvre insecurities,
to change the pseudonym of fear,
even to mindfully colour all the little boxes
that contain your life,
unless I am explaining this all wrong;

see, a monk lets his bowl fill with rain
not to drink the redeeming sky,
but to teach the prayers that leave his lips
how to swim,
for who can tell where they have to reach
or having reached
where they must continue their journey;

not-knowing finds new clothes
in the brocaded finery of faith,
without it, naked ignorance
fights to explain its own banality,
what purpose could an unexplained life serve
in its brief coupling with a complex reality,
the unsubstantiated doubts itself,
fears the unravelling,
folds itself into tiny boxes hoping
to survive understanding;

and that purposeless becomes a tortured cliché,
burying itself in its denial, 
smothering itself in disconnect,
one little air vent frothing on the surface
letting it manoeuvre,
letting it live,
letting it hope
that the prayers that leave its lips remember
how to fly.

This Poem is a Secret

this poem is a secret,
that will splinter into a thousand untruths,
as it leaves your open lips,
bloodied and screaming,
the salt acrid around your tongue
like a guilty sea;

this poem is a secret,
that will scatter into a hidden light,
as you read its thoughts,
new words falling in cursive shadows,
convulsing strangely
upon its crumpled sheets;

why are we here.
why are we still here.

this poem is the secret
chanted into an ignorant ear,
smelling of the heaving desert air,
of the sigh of a lone date palm,
of the shifting knife-edged dunes,
a drop of vermilion blood
whirling for a moment
in a riptide of infinitude;

this poem is the secret
that fell from frozen fingers,
with the silence of the clouds after the rain,
with the absence of the sky in the haze,
a mirage folded along an unseen crease,
the inevitable cause,
the unresolved effect;

still here.


For Poets United where the midweek prompt is “Secrecy”