To My Father

It has only been a year, I know, but it feels like twenty. It feels like you haven’t been around for a long, long time. I just know that I must, call those who will come, and celebrate. Laugh, talk, fuss over my guests, have a little cake, dance a bit, give thanks. (I know,…

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A Calcutta Story

When the haath rickshaa turned towards Dhaka patti, it felt, as if, for a long moment, that time was fluid and this moment suspended mid-air, waiting to drop into an ocean of other moments like this one. The momentary realisation atop that mobile throne, that here, humanity moves like one giant ocean wave, was all…

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Nom

How easy it is to write your name;How easy to make your language my own;How easily the curves come to my hands,When I trace the words on your bodyAs if your skin was paperAnd I was writing a letter to… What is my name?Do you remember?I must’ve given it to you to keep safe –That…

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é

It’s March and suddenly spring. Whatever be the tint of your glasses, there are flowers to be seen everywhere. Isn’t it ironic then, that he chose to send me a whole notebook’s worth of paper covered in poetry and what should fall off from between the leaves but dried pink bougainvillea. ‘How do I not…

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Undoing

To forget before I can remember. To end before I can begin. साथ चलो, कुछ यादें जलानी हैं, पीली धूप का अम्बी में ज़ायक़ा, हरे रंग की ख़ुश्बू उस गार्डन की, सुर्ख़, डरे ख़ूं का रगों में दौड़े जाना, काली, ख़ाली आँखों का रातों को जागना, नीली सड़कों पर तेज़ रफ़्तार बातें… रंग तो वही…

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Cliché

Yun na mil mujh se khafa ho jaisay Saath chal, mauj-e-sabaa ho jaisay [Meet me not in anger, beloved, Walk with me, like the morning breeze walks with spring] Φ A Mehdi Hasan rendition of the famous, Ehsan Danish ghazal, playing from a vinyl record, whitewashed walls, indoor plants, a carved lamp-stand, with a shade to…

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J’ai Oublié

‘J’ai oublié’ is a phrase I picked from an adorable movie called Hiroshima Mon Amour. Here, I’ve taken bits and pieces of insights about memory and its fickleness, that I’ve come across in films, in literature and in real life. Some credit goes to an elegant old lady of 82, Mrs. Banta Singh, who I met in Chandigarh once. She is the inspiration for this story.

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An Advertisement for Grief

In little measure, perhaps like salt, Grief makes life bearable. Sometimes stacked between the unimportant news items of pages 5 and 6; Sometimes, worn like an ornament, flaunted – unlike loneliness and melancholia – the crown jewel; Sometimes, a window dressing, inviting you to take a peek inside my mind, And find there, sitting pretty,…

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बारिशों के नाम

बारिश की हरी सी ख़ुशबू, धुलती हुई यादों का माज़ी – एक शाम तुम्हारे सिराहने बैठ सारे अफ़साने, सारी नज़्में तुम्हारे तकिये के नीचे छुपा कर, बच्चों की बनाई काग़ज़ी कश्ती सा बह आया

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