Piya basanti re, Kahe sataye aaja

Piya basanti re, Kahe sataye aaja
It started on the backseat
of a scooter
My father was superman flying me through Cloud nine
Singing piya basanti re like he had just fallen in love again
It started on a rainy Sunday morning,
When I woke up to the sound of a
tiny grandfather transistor playing Jab deep jale aana
I was five and a half
And I knew this was my father’s favourite tune
So I sat beside him and his chai
And learnt all the words to the song,
Music was more than an endowment in the family
It was the sword bequeathed from father to daughter, saving her from pain when her heart broke like the lime toys she guarded all her life,
It was the kind of fairytale where Belle never wanted the Beast to make her happy,

It was me and my father against the world , one song at a time
And just like that, we developed a language of our own,
We spoke Leonard Cohen on days we found a yellow butterfly on a lemon tree
And Kishore Kumar on hillside picnic trips, kahin duur jab din dhal jaaye, saanjh ki dulhan badan churaye, chupke se aaye as the sun set while we raced down the hill to hug mummy
Kenny Rogers buying me a rose with ice cream when it was past my bedtime, and I couldn’t sleep
I remember him taking out his guitar from it’s leather cover the day my street dog ran away and I had cried the whole evening,
His guitar was the perfect shade of ocean blue giving hope to a deceased heart
and he sang to me Frank Sinatra
That was the day my father saved me from the afflicting after-storm of separation, for all the times thereafter

My father learnt this trick from his father
Talking was never a verdict in love’s favour at his home,
So he imagined music as a refuge cave,
When feelings rained cats and dogs outside
He made a fire with humdrums of abandonment buried deep inside his heart, to keep him warm
He said to me , darling, You can’t escape feelings without acknowledging them
So here is some tujhse naaraaz nahin zindagi, hairan hu mai for days you want to cry till the first light of dawn appears
And here is some pal pal dil ke paas , tum rehti ho, to tell you it’s time to love again.

Papa, I have stopped listening to the songs we sang together
As you may have noticed, we have stopped talking too,
I have gone from Elvis Presley Can’t help falling in love with me on a starry night to Bitch Don’t kill my vibe in a closed room at 1 am
And Believe me, I know a trainwreck when i see one
I have mastered tragedy over the scale of papercuts to five beer bottles and a whiskey shot,
But losing the language with someone you love
Still feels like drought struck your tongue and dried your heart away.

I learnt this trick from my father as an aberration,
Like it was a repeated aberration
away from feelings,
And now I substitute emo songs into empty chat conversations,
newfound languages to convey love, pain, desire, heartache to people I barely know
Some of them understand the kind of music I listen to,
Others think of me as Mad Hatter
With oh so many earworms stuck inside my head
None of them know that I seek to resurrect
Our long lost language
With each one of them.
Somewhere in the middle of nowhere,
I often recognize a familiar tune,
And with blood racing inside all the veins, I hum along
Piya basanti re Kahe sataye aaja


Into the wild

Into the wild, a clover field calls for help
it hasn’t seen daylight for six months straight

dew drops are on metronome duty again
and stalagmites play xylophone to spirits
of solitude

I walk right through souls with sangria breath
The hunt for four clovers is as natural to me
As lying facedown in damp thistles
How does fate work when fate designates
who picks up the four clover of good fate.

My breath forms mist that lies low:
And through white shadows, a father an a daughter
Crouch low over a Nymphalidae-
one on the ground and a hundred and eight million
in the wind inspiring tornadoes to incarnate.
The daughter learned to write songs in those trips
to the wild.

From the temple of the cedar trees,
Dryads sing and dryads dance,
And in a flutter of the butterfly wings, the mist is gone.

Through the shadows, an apparition is all that remains
It looks just like the Father,
after a prophet’s trip to Medina.

I know overcorrection is an art conquered by
victims of defection,
the daughter writes songs with cigarette ashes too
And yet every once a full moon,
she seeks the apparition of the dying Nymphalidae
under which lies the four clover
of a rotten fate,
Every once a while, it’s easier to sing songs to the dead.


I played hide and seek in a
shopping mall once,
Plight of brightness drawing curtains
Upon eyes that loved shadows more than light,
i hid behind a burgundy sheer skirt,
And everything was purple
like the sky right before dawn,
I stole glances at the anti-light mirroring off of
White manequin heads
And wondered if they heard
white sounds of mothers
scolding their daughters for choosing
noodle straps or crop tops
that were too revealing,
or husbands telling their wives to cut the cut sleeves crap
There had been too many fights today,
But interfering for it’s sake
Would be hearsay, so the manequins
don’t utter a word.
I liked to imagine they kept still
to count
upto ten, or twenty
or hundred emotions that run
wild inside my heart,
a hundred racks of fake redressal,
of costumes needing to play characters
in my own life’s play
Like a broadway show,
people pay all kinds of prices to see
And critique these characters
that change with differing agilities each night:
Pink is for my promiscuousness,
Red for my lack of integrity,
Black for arousal,of anyone’s but mine
And the white dress,
it has blood stains. White cries,
it screams in bed each night,
it is the prisoner of despoil
reeking of a cologne that poison her veins,
Once again, white is for mourning.
The manequins whisper stories to the ones who pass,
The manequins know everything
that happened in the Tinseltown
Outside their glass house
Last night.

I will never be mad enough to wear a little of myself today,
Or tomorrow.
I sighed inside the rack of the burgundy skirt,
eyes shut with the pressure intensity of a piston,
they sting from the tears
that grieve the death of my desires.
But the manequins disagree:
I was mad enough to play hide and seek in a shopping mall, they say
I am mad, they say
Like Gretel, stuck inside a glass house
When all i need fearing
is me not fearing.
I open my eyes,
and the pupils dilate in the purple hue,
And still with tears
And still with madness
I draw the burgundy curtain,
for once and for all.
It’s not night anymore,
It never will be
Ever again.

There’s a park
Right around the corner of
Mulberry Street
There’s nothing special
About it,
Just a park
With o’ergrown thistles
And rusted lamps
Along the
Broken path-
Which had often been
A river
Between mountain benches,
Or a valley
Under lava attack
Traced with chalk powder,
We skipped on stones
To escape.
A broken path
With broken things,
That led from nowhere
To nowhere.
I was happy to go nowhere then.
I still might be.
There’s a swing set too
And a see-saw
And a slide
Beside a monkey bar,
From where we ruled
A happy kingdom
Each evening
Singing bibidy bop,
As we scribbled
Our names on the swing
Scrapes of red paint
Sticking inside fingernails.
And I wonder
Who sits on
The throne
We abandoned
Long ago.
There’s gravity
That I can see
In here,
And yet I levitate
To a time
When three #friends
Two ditsy girls
And one shy boy,
Sat atop metal bars
And beyblades.
Even without phones,
They would always know
Where to find
Each other
At half past five.

It’s half past five now
By a broken swing set
With tunes
Of bibbidy bop
In an abandoned park
In Mulberry Street,
And as I stand up
To leave,
Three children
Two chirping boys
And one little girl
Trailing behind,
Enter through
the creaky gateway
Of their kingdom,
And in reflex,
I look towards
Our scribbled names
Only to see
That they remain
In spite of time,
Saved perhaps
By three little children.
I smile
And take the broken path
Once again,
Turning around
And sneaking glances
At the three little children,
That now sit on
The metal bars,
Until I turn the corner
Of Mulberry Street.

#friend #yqbaba

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I am

I am fresh dew drops over cold windshields on sullen wintry daybreaks

I am Sunday morning coffee served in bed with extra cream,

I am Midsummer Night’s Dream, a couch and a blanket on wild stormy days

I am not a three-course meal in a fancy restaurant,But

I am homemade candlelight dinner at midnight after a long work day.

I am a month long poetic spell, with the right amount of emotion elixirs and word potions.
I am comfort. I am calm. I am cold. I am warmth.
I am the light that emerges from within your eyes when the bulbs go out,

I am the hue of petrichor rising from a parched earth,  

when monsoon lets down it’s gaurd.

I am the sound of a flute when hard rock starts hurting your ears.

I am a muslin cloth against a coarsed skin

I am an ocean,

reflecting and refracting light,

translucent in the day and coloured at night,

perpetually moving

and yet, unmoved.
I am acceptance. I am glow. I am spirit. I am strength.
I am the colour brown,

and not the latte or the cocoa brown that is devoured by men,

I am the colour of earth,

I am silt, that brings life to reapers.

I am dust, that rises for droplets to coalesce around and fall as rain.

I am clay, that takes shape on a potter’s wheel to tend to dearth,

I am sand, that adorns a soldier’s forehead before entering a battlefield.

I am the Sita who never waited for Ram to come,

And yet,

I am also Sati, and parts of me have been burned for far too long,

Charred by the soot,

Mucked by the ash,

I am black now.
I am hurt.

I am scarred,


I survive.

Because I know

I am my pair of ghungroo, striking the hard floor at all the correct beats and

I am my feet that balances me perfectly on hundreds of one-foot turns.

I am my diary, dissolving in the numbness of my being and

embracing the ink flowing out of my pen.

I am my pain,

That eventually leaves.

I am my breathe

That stays.
I am alive.


I am willing to show you why.

I am regret.

I am power.

I am hope.

I am myself, in all the conjectures and bones.

And I am an endless expanse of I am’s:

I am Countless and indecipherable,

Like the number line stretching from minus infinity to infinity.

And only fools think that

I am measurable.

I am the soul:

Eternal and absolute.
But for now,

I will tell you this


I choose to be confined

by my mother’s dal,

by my father’s scolds,

by rare hugs.

I choose to be finite

in the fleeting moments

when someone spends them on me.

I choose to be bounded,

by love.


My mother told me once,

That lovers see a different moon

than those who never loved.

It glows a little more for them,

and the moonlight caresses

the curves and crevices of their bodies

to take their image on a misty white film.

She said, the moon plays a photographer

For lovers, far away.
I stagger onto your silhouette

when I look at the moon tonight,

The lady of the night

blooms on a distant wall,

fragrance and serendipity linger in the air,

indistinguishable from the cologne

you used to have on your neck.

I close my eyes and dig deep into both, 

As I used to do.

And yet, when I open them,

I know the moon and these flowers

are battered liars,

And you are no more mine to see

Or touch

Or feel,

But how can you not be mine to love?
I wonder if the moon knew this all along,

That I was never loved the same amount.

Not even half,

I don’t know if I can trust the moon,

Ever again.
I can feel magma coursing through my blood,

in a body of daunting hills and dainty valleys,

Ancient ruins are etched deep 

on a soul charred by neoteric decieves​,

And yet,

The luminescence of the moon,

Still enlightens the temple of Cupid inside my body,

On some nights.

But I don’t​ visit this temple anymore.

And even when I do,

I stand in the archway

to burn memories in front of his alter,

And when the black fumes from the flame go up 

To touch the roof,

I wonder if Cupid was never an angel,

But a demon fallen on Earth.

After all,

Love is the most savage monster.

And if it is so,

Who is more evil-

Cupid or the moon?

Or worse,

The man I loved? 


Khushiyan alag alag rangon mein aati hain,

Kal hii ek narangi khushi

mujhe apne gaanv ke santaron ki yaad dila gayi,

Aur Lal, meri maa ki maang mein lage uss rang ki,

Jisko aksar main apne haathon mein lekar khela karta tha.

Aur phir aaj hi ek ladki ne mujhse peele aur neele rang ki khushi khareedi,

Maano usse baarish ke baad khile

Uss aasmaan ke rangon ko dekhne ki jaldi thi.
Do rupayi ki yeh khushi,

Bade chhote golon mein aati hai.

Jebon ki mehmaan hai ye,

Mujhe kuch ameer kar, aur gareeb kar jaati hai.

Gar kisi roz

Kismat meherbaan ho, inn jebon ka maalik bana deti hai

toh shayad main bhi Company Park ke saamne khade

Ek bachche se ye phugge khareed lun,

Aur kya pata,

Shayad mai bhi tab inn phuggon ko gubbare bulane lag jaun.
Mai yeh aksar socha karta hun,

Ki helium se bhare woh phugge

Jo udd gaye, woh asal mein jaate kahan hain?

Jab galti se koi dor mere haathon se chhoot jaati hai,

Toh meri nazrein tab tak uska peecha karti hain,

Jab tak woh baadalon ki parchhai ke peechhe chhup nahi jaate,

Ek sukoon sa milta hai unhee dekhne mein,

Maano zehen ki ek khushi,

ko aazaad kar dia ho.
Tumhe sach bataun,

Toh aksar bina galti ke hii iss dor ko chhod deta hun.

Tumhe sach bataun,

Toh Khushiyan bohot hain mere paas,

Par aksar ye khwaish rehti hai,

Ki kaash inn khushiyon se main khush ho pata.