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Turn It Up.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Childhood 8 : Lessons


I was told:
I am young,
I am small,
I am weak;
I was told:
I can't sing
And can't do math.
I laugh now
But then it stung
Really bad.
Now I know
I am strong.
Being a child,
Being a girl,
Being short and fat,
Is not wrong.
I am stronger
Than you think --
My Spoken English
Made you mad
But it's not bad
Not if I speak
Bangla too
And Hindi, yes
And French, soon;
Someday I
Will beat you down.

And you who love me
But still said
That it's okay,
If there are
Boys around
To do my share,
To leave me be
Without work --
Even where
I could learn,
Even if
I need to learn.
You will see
What I can be.
There is no
My quality
Is mine alone:
No boy, no girl,
But just me.
Think sometimes
Of things you learnt
Before you knew
They existed.
They could be wrong,
I could be right.
I don't deserve
To be left behind.

I'm not a mean
Of the world.
I am a single
Random sample --
Don't work on me.
I am one,
Not the world;
Not every woman
With long hair;
Not every student
Of my age;
Not every person
From my state.
I am me,
An assemblage
Of everyone
I've ever met
And everyone
I ever was
And all I am
And will be,
All combined
So precisely
That there's no one
Just like me:
Look at me.
Figure me out.
I'm non-trivial
So take your time.
Let me teach you
What I am.

I might be
Young and small
But about me
I know best.
You'd know better
Of all the rest
But me one-o-one
Is my thing.
There's no textbook.
There are no notes.
You have to think,
You have to work.
The assignment
Is simple, really
Let me be.
Let me learn.
Let me work.
Let me grow.
Let me shine,
And wait and watch.
Judge me only
By my work
And perhaps
By my love

But not by what's
Inside my pants,
Or the length
Of my hair,
Or my age,
Or how I speak;
You must learn
Not to care
Of things outside
This curriculum
That I've built
All these years
With my blood
And tears and sweat.
If you must judge
Then it becomes
To do it right.
Learn me from me
And nothing else
And no one else.
Don't analyse,
Don't generalize.
It's necessary
And sufficient
To believe every
Word I say
When I'm talking
About me.

And then give me
Space and time
To walk the talk,
And you will find
Your all important
I am prepared
To defend
All my claims
Of ability,
But not my life:
Not my clothing;
Nor my fat;
Nor my hair;
Nor my love
For Pujo, Tagore
Or hilsa fish --
It's out of syllabus,
Forget it.
And if you need
More assistance
Ask the fingers
That scrape my head
From inside
Until I wish
That I was dead..
...told you, sir!
I'll surprise you
If you'll only
Hear me out
When I speak
About me
And dare to listen

Sunday, September 27, 2015

From observation and experience


Hiding behind urgent beats,
Drawing precious life from song;
Unfortunately, for us,
Two rights often make a wrong.

Counted syllables per line,
Verse devoid of will to live:
The world will take what it can!
We've infinite love to give.

Scratching heads, and pen and ink;
Alternating gloom and mirth;
Living long on foreign breath;
Finally witnessing birth.

Cold and wet, it's mewling cries;
But the reward's ours to keep --

At the end of labour's night,
Until next time, blissful sleep.

Fiesta 2016: sponsorship ideas welcome.

The Childhood series to return soon.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Childhood 7 : Indulgence


I wouldn't want to hurt you
And it hurts you when I cry
So when I'm with you, I promise
I'll really, really try
To smile always, and laugh --
Whatever you do or say --
And never to bother you
To wipe my tears away
But sometimes I can't help it.

At many a sunrise
How wonderful you were
Brought tears to my eyes.
Far away from home, I had
A brother by my side --
And so, although I'd rather not,
I'm sorry, but I cried.
To the extraordinary Ritwik da.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Another break

 The Childhood series will return soon.


Let the burden of the body rival that of the mind,
Because it gives comfort.
It is the burden of the righteous
And we take pleasure in it.

My verse is tired and my prose is stale,
But that is no matter
Because my labour is renewed
Every time the sun rises.

My arms are weary, my knees are weak;
But let me be strong:
Because I must survive until,
Softly, I can rest.

Because being human takes its toll.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Childhood 6 : Silent Stars

Silent Stars

I will speak of silent things:
Silent nights, silent birds,
Silent flights on silent wings...
...and whispering of silent things.

I will hear the silent wind
Silently touch your quiet face...
...softly then, and quiet still,
I'll let it fold me in embrace.

And there in that silent night
The quiet and us will all be friends
And quietly still, all our pasts
Will join hands to make amends.

To Ranjani and the CMI hostel terrace, because both are exceptionally beautiful; and also to the idea of living in the present, because there is nothing else quite like it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Twisting words for the sake of it

Since You Mentioned Freedom

When the time is right
I'll call to let you know.
However, for tonight,
You are free to go.

The wind will tell the stars
And they'll knock on your door;
But until that moment comes
Don't stay anymore.

Embers will fall swiftly
Upon your window sill --
Then you'll know. But for now,
Why be here still?

I decided to take a break from the Childhood series. The series will be continued soon.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Childhood 5 : Imagination


His night is dark, so in city lights
He never sleeps.
Having faced scarce a brick wall,
He never stops.
He slept under infinite stars: numbers
Are his friends --

The city limits us, but he is free.

In the farmlands of the hinterland,

Books don't punish.
They don't prod or goad or compel,
For they are joy
To collect, covet, play with,
Pass the time --

Opportunity limits us. He's free.

The time that we wait for to come

For him, is now.
The growing up that was never ours
Is his, by fire.
We live by clocks -- he is disciplined
By the ancient sun.

Indian Standard Time sets him free.

When spoken to, we attempt to find

Meaning and logic.
He understands words as his books
Told him they were.
We imagine the future, best and worst
He feeds on today.

Unchained by fantasy, he is free.


Dedicated to my new brother at CMI: the inimitable PBT.
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