Tuesday, December 16, 2014


“Mama, why do they call coriander cilantro?”
“We call it that too, sometimes.”
“No, it’s Chinese parsley.”
“That sounds like medicine!”
“Only if you get your medicines from the Hakim.”
Those are witch-doctors, but Ayurveda is a real science.”
“India never even had witches. Hakims are just herbalists.”
“Something has to give: 
     tourists spend exorbitantly for those homeopathic sugar-pills.”
“Whatever you say, but none of that stuff lead to fMRIs.”
“Maybe it did. Even if they don’t publish about it, allopathists still eat it!”
“You know that coriander is actually medicinal right? 
     There’s empirical evidence.”
“Yes. Grandmother used to put kothimbeer on swellings,
     and they went down right away.”
    “Is that coriander? The guy at the bodega calls it dhaniya.”
“Google says they’re both Hindi; just like English has two words for it.”
And it’s not a bodega. He’s a street vendor.”
Sabzi-wallahs can be street vendors or not—”
“Mine comes over if I text him; beats the queues at Reliance FreshMart.
“—Thela is what we call it. Yes, and it’s healthier, straight from the farm.”
“That’s a cart. A street-cart.”
“Well, it’s not exactly a cart…”

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Evergreen Creepers

New creeps up,
Behind your ears,
Over you shoulder.
You will hear yourself-
In someone else's voice.
Smile, with a pained heart:
Pending disapproval,
And the elusive, 
skating-rink which is acceptance. 

When new creeps up:
Love yourself like you never could.
Who else is there to love? 
The time of hope and butterflies
Has flown too far away, 
Just like you have.
Horizons are just lines today, 
They are not borders that represent:
Fresh starts from withered heights, 
Where life continues, stubbornly on. 

Yet, when new creeps up, 
You too should be onwards. 
Pointed ahead, heedless of the fact that 
Change never tells you:
That it's the person standing right behind you, 
In every forsaken supermarket line.
Old friends are old questions.
Or, suddenly in your hand
Metal is a savior
From empty conversation; 
In rooms that are portraits of
Nostalgia, not truth. 

New creeps up
and asks difficult questions:
Maybe I'm really a cat person
Maybe I never was in love 
I don't know if I'll ever be?
There are no answers. For:
When it innocuously knocks, 
You will find out:
Lovers are worn concepts,
Carpets, who see too much footfall.
Cats are transient multitudes 
Of lives plagued with
Ifs and buts. 

New creeps up: 
It saunters over, to help you realize
That home lies 
in two or many places.
Your heart's somewhere in between the
Polar forces
of familiarity. 
The forces that take form in all those
Invisible waves and teleported voices,
They seem to repel
All the warm bodies with foreign accents, 
Who home vitality in their strange cadence.
Gravity is meaningless, 
when new discreetly arrives.

New creeps up, and
There are no easy decisions.
Time won't stand still,
Not even for me
(Not even in a daylight-saving land).

But as a cold, shrewd, kindred soul once said:
Regardless of which (equally) fatigued path you tread, 
Tomorrow is always a new day. And
Every uncaged bird will tell you that there is
Agony in bearing an untold story. 
Let me say:
There is nothing more excruciating 
Than conceiving an unlived life. 

So be polite and greet her, 
when new creeps up. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014


Watchful, as a hawk above a golden field, 
I see myself in your arms. 
It is a dream I cannot shake, 
A thought that once could have passed; 
But now has settled, 
For the long stay. 

Frost-- the world has ended in ice today:
Yes, and your bitter cold is silent. 
Frozen words are sharp stalactites, 
Unseen, they still pierce the heart. 
Yet, I ask: who ever arrived 
that did not depart?

Let us be on our way, and