Tuesday, October 27

Quatrain : Second Chance

We both stood there, divided by the black conveyer belt,

Unclaimed baggage, our divorces, the septic pain we felt.

We remained distant, as though our pains would react

to each other, and char our recently drawn pact.

Pact that defined pain, its extent detailed

Permissible hurt was defined, clear and dry.

To cross these, would mean, “we failed.”

Our caution typical of once bitten, twice shy!

Monday, October 19

Poetry Assignment -3

In this assignment, we had to read up Aidan Andrew Dunn's workshop and write a poem on a mundane object. I, ofcourse, cant reproduce the entire workshop here but I can provide the link of an extremely powerful poetry by Aidan Andrew Dunn.

My own attempt is a feeble one, but my tutor Mac,says keep writing and keep re drafting.

So this is the first draft

This chair, made of the finest Burma wood,
belonged to my great great grandfather
handed down to me through generations of
poisoned grand fathers and snake bitten uncles

This chair, once a shrub, in an illegal plantation
meant for a tropical rainforest, reduced to log
Brought to India, by the sea, where men died
tired of their vomit, their bodies let into the sea.

This chair, lay alone and offended in a godown
in old Delhi, from where my great grandfather
brought it, and our carpenter, an underpaid
talent, smothered its sadness into a chair.

This chair, stayed with the family, is family.
It rested my great grandfather, the vain landlord
as he smoked the water pipe and ordered
his child bride, her breast full of longings

This chair, where my grandfather full of his
British education and ideas, sat, with pride
The "Rai Bahadur", admonishing his boys
For their lack of English grace and etiquettes.

This chair, sat vigil against the dark door
when my grandma, a lady of steel, huddled
behind, to avoid the nocturnal police raids
For an uncle caught on the wrong side of Raj

"This chair", my senile grandma gushed,
"was where my father was conceived" in a
toothless grin.” “A very unlikely thing", said
mom and did her best to change the mood.

This chair, where I saw my father, sitting
A fading bureaucrat, with my mother sitting
across, in a fiber chair, their defunct marriage
lay across the table with their three children

This chair, I brought to my lonely apartment
from my home of twenty years, I sat in it
sipping wine, happy with my Bombay life
the old town holding me back in the chair

This chair, stayed with me, in it I saw one ex
his head buried in a pair of silicon implants
I threw him out of my life bag and baggage
And wiped the chair clean for new beginnings

This chair, I have decorated with an orange
cushion and lovely mirror work, bought at
Jaipur, it will be my witness, my testimony
That I led my life well, with love and dignity.

I need to rework on this and especially the ending which I think is Maha cliched.

Poetry Assignment - 2

Potrait of Helena

My face is a monument.
Tourists visit me, seeking
cheap relief. Scholars, to
unravel the layers beneath.

Do you see where the brows
meet? The asymmetrical
crookedness came about
through deep conflicts.

This charcoal grey around
me, is no stroke of artistry,
It is the chaos, the mayhem
that is my ash - grey history

The contours of my face
Are undefined geographies
Plundered by races for greed
I stand deprived of sanctity

This streak of red is blood
and not some cheap lip-gloss.
A testimony to man’s instinct,
I am no painting on the wall.

Tuesday, October 13

Iambic pentameter and laundry

As part of my poetry course with Oxford University I am supposed to produce a line from where I was sitting. I was forbidden to use imagery, rhymes or any other poetic form.

I was sitting on the sofa, with my chocolate colored bean bag in front of me, my laundry for the last 2 weeks lying on it and my domestic help in the hospital. ( for all you essential humanists, she is doing fine now.)

so this is the line I produced

My laundry stares at me to stake a claim

and then I completed it like this.

My laundry stares at me to stake a claim
To my here and now, crawl on all fours
To me, tug at my skirt, jump and jeer, till
I pick it up, pull it by the ears, and throw
it in, with a handful of washing powder
to a whizzing silence, where it gets mauled
into cleanliness, dignified, and stain free.

Ofcourse i have drifted from the form atleast in 3 lines in this poem, doesnt matter, i think this sounds reasonably fine.

suggestions on bringing it back are welcome.

Sunday, October 4

A passing thought

Today somebody wrote to me across the time zones. It must have been really late in the night for her.I knew her from work, we had shared spaces in a 200 sq ft bench in an MNC office for over a year. Heard each other's professional and personal conversations over the phone, read official e- mails and did spell checks for each other.She is a lot younger and I am quite fond of her, I see a lot of myself in her. sans the scars. sans the loss. For starters, we went to the same B school, lost our fathers before we got a chance to know them better, share a deep interest in Literature, love to cook, travel, blog.She wanted some information and I gave it to her. We exchanged some moments and then this girl who must be half a decade younger told me not to waste my life in HR.You're cut out for writing, she said, when are you going to sit down and just write and come up with a collection of poems ?

She made it sound so matter of fact.As though I call in tomorrow at work and say, I am sorry, there's been a mistake, I am caught in a wrong job, from what it looks. I would rather sit at home and write poems or may be stories, whatever makes sense. I may or may not be the best poet around or even a technically good poet or writer, but at least when I sit and write I don't clock my work. And that makes the difference.

A decade back when I chose this I didn't quite know what it meant. I didn't know it meant that I have to pretend to do something I was quite indifferent to 10 hrs a day, 50 hrs a week, week after week, months after months, years after years. It seems like a lot.

At 24, when I got my job, I was very flattered. Being good at what I do was fairly effortless. May be I have the aptitude to be an HR person, its the indifference towards what I do everyday that I cant cope with. And I know one day, someone is going to see through the pretence. Someone will be able to spot the smirk on my face or the loathing at the corner of my mouth. I am scared of that.

And when I write I just love what I do to words. I may set out to make something with words, hold on to one chain of thought and I may end someplace else yet I enjoy the journey. I read so many blogs and some of them do make me realise as to how much I need to unlearn and learn. I am painfully aware of the mediocrity of my written word. But that does not make me scared.

I know I want to learn. After every 3 months I go into what I pompously call " writer's block or shall we say " blogger's block", as much of what I write is "on borrowed time" but that hiatus fails to scare me. I know it will come back to me, words, lyrics, poems, they will come back and fall into place.

There are times when I write something and I am a little unsure and I call up these few people who read my blog come rain or sunshine to know how they felt about it. I disappoint them quite a number of times, but I am not scared of losing them. I have an uncanny feeling that they would be part of my blog for as long as my blog is around or I am around.I know they would read what I write and when I write. I didnt lose them when this blog , now 5, had died a natural death.I didnt lose some of my blog friends to the onslaught of facebook, they will be around.

I may not ever write a book, may be the only thing I would ever write is on this blog, an average of 15- 20 pieces a year, half of them superficial updates which no one is particularly interested in but I would always be a writer.

That's my first vocation. This feeling is really matter-of-fact for me,but there's that something that holds me back to pursue this irrationally.

I wish I was unreasonable with myself.

And on that note I look forward to the ides of October. HR, my day job intends to keep me very busy and I only hope that I can moonlight on this blog.