Dear Person

I sit at the table beside you
we stare at glowing screens
never once looking to the side
trying to forget what reality means

You type, I type
leather bound diaries discarded
to make way for plastic squares
and pixels waiting to be loaded

You swipe, I swipe
a double tap to show your love
a tap to say you liked
how many taps to feel alive?

You talk, I talk
into the little black mesh
hurting is so easy now
when it’s not in the flesh

You confess, I confess
through our keyboards
these machines, our friends
we’ve told them all our secrets

You script, I script
Ctrl+C Ctrl+V, make it presentable
Alt+Tab and spacebar on VLC
Why does the escape button work only on the terminal?

You stop, I stop
Shut Down and don’t forget to Power Off
Pack it in and sling it on, it’s been so long but
Neither of us knows where the other heads off

I sit at the table beside you
let’s go out and stare
at hidden places and pretty faces
for once, without a care.

 

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Museum of Goa
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Too Late for Later

I wouldn’t like to write NET and work as a lecturer,
staring at the faces of those who don’t understand that I too, am a dreamer.

I wouldn’t like to write GATE, get an M. Tech in IIT,
for the security does not compensate the lack of satisfaction of a job in IT.

I wouldn’t like to write GMAT, get an MBA in America,
join the booming crowd of those who’ve lost their roots in Asia.

I wouldn’t like to do a PhD, for the sake of being called a doctor,
a paycheque that leaves you in want for happiness, just like any other.

You might think I’m one of those kids whose romanticized dreams vary
from day to day, never down to earth but on the contrary,

I hope it’s not too late to start a business
in renewable energy, climate change never out of my focus

I hope it’s not too late to educate people on the impact of their actions
on the environment, how it’s important to clean up their nations

I hope it’s not too late to make music that makes you think
and not bass with autotuned vocals meant to make you unthink

I hope it’s not too late to create a chain of goodness
and not more worldwide chains like McDonald’s

I hope it’s not too late for later.

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Museum of Goa

Genie in a Sheesha

I saw my Patronus emerge from the Hookah pipe, shapeless at first, then the silhouette of a tiger, prancing, fading once again into oblivion. I inhaled, breathed it out slowly, hoping to see her again but alas, the smoke danced its way into the sky, in long drawn out curves, like the strokes of a Japanese painting. I had hoped for a genie to appear from the confines of the decorated glass bulb, grant me three wishes, maybe more, and then leave without asking for naught. But that, dear pipe, was asking for too much, was it not?

 

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Death by D

Have you heard the shutter on an SLR, not knowing how the picture turned out, not caring either because that shot’s over and there’s still so much more to capture? Have you seen beauty through a viewfinder, no pixels, just real life, focused, alive only to feel the disappointment of realizing your film roll is over? Have you squinted through a Loupe at a negative and painted it with colour in your head? Have you walked in the rain to your favourite Kodak Studio to get your negatives developed, wishing you could go in and learn the process, meddle with a little hypo? Have you waited for days with bated breath, imagining how the pictures turned out, rolling the next reel nervously? Have you felt the excitement of receiving that envelope, carefully sliding out one glossy photo after another, marveling at the science of it all, how reels and moulds of plastic gave you memories? Have you spent hours labeling and organizing your photo albums, real, live ones made of paper and not on flickr?

Have you felt the pain of watching the dust settle on your SLR, its life treated to a slow death by the letter D?

 

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To a Bong.

She and I
we bonded over
communism and chai.

We converse in English
for our disoriented Hindi,
‘raha’ confused with ‘rahi’, wouldn’t satisfy

Pineapples and rum,
as we talk of beef and hinduism
and the remnants of colonialism.

We revel in our mutual aversion
to BJP’s and Congress’s brands of extremism,
and say Amen to our passive atheism.

We fell in love
with our love for literature bred in two states,
though we’d never touch Two States.

Kafka in Kolkata
Murakami in Idukki
and us at Dona Paula Jetty

What more can one ask for
When you find a kindred spirit,
someone who’ll always bring the perfect bottle of spirit.

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Cafe Mojo, Panjim

Mistral Gagnant

The smell of oak, the touch of polished teak. I paint a picture of a gallery, a cafe, a bar, under the moonlight, under the stars, sheesha smoke rising from the dimly lit tables, a profile of faces, of mysterious people, speaking in soft voices, the essence of the place like roasted almonds glazed with dark chocolate. A dusty piano in the corner, a dancer drawn by the sounds and the smells, moves, spins, stretches and bends. An endless night as we beg the morning not to come, take your time, dear Sun, give the moon her night in the limelight. You, a mirage, a mind that I yearn for, a body that I long for, a soul that I have not yet found the words for. Hand painted tiles, stone floors, plants in glass bottles and yellow lights framed in nests. You paint a picture of a cafe, a bookstore, a bar, under the heavens, under the open sky, rusty voices rising from the bar counter, people who seek happiness at the bottom of the beer mug and people who’ve already found it. ‘My very own brand of single malt whisky,’ you whisper. Dreams we dream, never to turn into reality, the thoughts fade, like sucking on a candy till its gone, but the taste lingers, like Mistral Gagnant.

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Milky Way by Wellington Parmar

Goa

I saw the crumbling walls partake
In a tango with Death
Never to be fully alive again
But never short of breath.

The gold plated pillars of the Basilica echoed
With the voices of the faithful
But the real prayer rose from the shush of the garden,
the blooming trees eternally grateful

For they were yet to be felled as their kin had been
to make way for casinos and resorts
where the trees are of a different pedigree,
always trimmed and shaped, ready to greet foreign passports.

An old man selling trinkets, pulled me aside
showed me rosaries and garlands from all over the nation
Can you blame him for taking part
in an ancient trade, the business of religion?

The museum displayed its wares, the stories
In granite, polished and taken,
Its makers long dead, their lives a prelude
To a fugue of events lost and forgotten.

In Altinho the roads twisted and turned,
framed by mansions, each with a magnificient balcao
‘This land that once was ours, now beyond our reach,’
thinks the boy pushing along his cart full of pao

I heard the locals sigh with relief
‘Off-season at last, the party animals won’t be back till December
Now it’s time to welcome the monsoon
let’s hope climate change doesn’t frown on us till September’

The lakes, the waterfalls, the little spaces
that act as escapades for animal and man alike
from the monstrosity of globalization, the new mall
a new eyesore, like a head stuck on a pike

Bicholim, Sanguem, they’re untouched, they say,
no tourists, no drugs, peace and quiet they say
but little did they expect visitors in the form of giant red gashes
the hills torn open for iron because who can make do with clay

Off season for the whites, in-season for the browns, from the concrete cages
of Mumbai and Delhi, with their aviators and chubby brats in tow
they arrive armed with their selfie sticks
‘If you haven’t clubbed at Cabana then what do you know’

‘I studied in Miramar’ he says, ‘I grew up in Sanquelim’,
the tremble in his voice betraying the thoughts he would not name
‘There were no ugly buildings here in my childhood, no garbage.’
‘Some say it’s the tourists but I say we’ve only got ourselves to blame.’

Maybe it’s time you stopped and looked
at the prostitution of Miranda’s art,
or the exploitation of the old world charms,
at the way this land has been made to sell its every part

Maybe you’ll see the wounded land partake
in a tango with Death
Never to be fully alive again
but never short of breath.

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Houses of Goa, Porvorim