the last sin
  pale ashen sky
a bleary eye
clouds of recurring screams...
i am a zoo
  an octopus leviathan
tentacles into an ocean
of unformed emotions...
syphilis and love  
  syphilitic pall
stifles the clear blue
i contort...
shell and pearl
  amidst highs and lows
in life's ocean flows
a shell peony-mouthed...
i am an unmarried mother
  fed on stings
of barbed milk morality
my child-plankton...
the lovers
  cell upon cell
bridge of their union
hung on the pillars...
  ogre of age
and time cavil
at a warm picture...
the young today
  innocence thaws
at the altar
of ambition...

Ramayana revisited

so it was an opportunity to enact Ramayana
a solo performance hopefully a tour de force
in the making maybe some myths
could be shed some reinforced
the audience was agog with expectation
such is the effect of the legend
remember those Sunday mornings
when streets were deserted
like a loveless life
and televisions were worshipped
the ritual redefining living
he was understandably cocky
he knew the epic so well
why wouldn’t he
brought up on the diet of yearly ramlila
in the local Dussehra grounds
oh those exciting wintry nights
with shawls wrapped around tiny shoulders
and peanuts to munch they relived the magic
Lakshman--Parasuram samvad
Sita Haran Lanka Dahan

myth and faith rolled into one
it was all coming back to him
and sometimes in that small window
in the decrepit haveli facing the stage
they would all huddle
and get consumed
so no rehearsal was okay
but then how do you explain this:
when the play began
he was still in the audience
checking some last minute detail
and then ran as he saw the curtain going up
the stage was to be his pulpit
he rushed up the staircase
but there was no way to go further
it was a Rubicon that refused to be crossed
only steep edges that would allow
but a toe-hold
he ran and took a different route
meanwhile the opening music
had come to an end
and the audience was stunned into silence
he tumbled on to the stage at last
but lost his voice
he wanted to reconstruct
but memory failed him
total blackout
stage fright
edge of the parapet situation
call it what you may

pity Ramayana was not told
with a different incline

( 18 September 2003 )