Archive for the ‘Poem’ Category

Sharada, fog of mercy

In Arts, Music, Music, Poem, Social, Women on September 7, 2013 at 7:24 am


O Sharada!
Your spotless white saree,
wraps your broken shell;
A gauze bandage
covering cigarette-butt burns.
I can’t see ’em,
My injured Goddess.
You hide them just well.

Above the river’s
turbulent waters,
Sunlight drenched,
you dazzle, you float.
A white mist, a fog
Of mercy you wear
like a white cloth.

Your Vina’s
Manicured music,
hides a string-bend,
pulled beyond it’s limits.
I strain to hear it,
O Sharada!
I thought it was music all along.

Are we ecstatic,
In your presence?
Are we blind to your cry?
Do we not hear
That your music
Is one of pain?

Should I lightlax3
My protest vigil candles
At your feet, Sharada?

Or if you so wish
Some fragrant mombattis
May cover the abuse
Just as perfectly as you have
All along.

Wealth and wisdom flow
much like a river gush.
Your discerning swan, though
sinks with a puzzled blush.

Take my eyes off from,
your broken face.
I need a loving smile.
Glossy calendar art,
Focus, help me pray
on godly things.
Of rituals I must complete

Here’s some talcum you may need,
to look just like her.
Take it, my gift to you.
A touch-up, a cover-up.
Sharda, a dab will do.
Read the rest of this entry »

Alaipayuthey – My heart’s aflutter

In Carnatic, Music, Poem, Religion on July 7, 2013 at 9:27 pm



Kudamaloor Janardhanan – Flute

அலை பாயுதே கண்ணா
என் மனம் மிக அலை பாயுதே
உன் ஆனந்த மோஹன வேணுகானமதில்
அலை பாயுதே கண்ணா
உன் ஆனந்த மோஹன வேணுகானமதில்
அலை பாயுதே கண்ணா


My mind is all aflutter, Oh Krishna, listening to the joyous,
enchanting music of your flute, My mind is all aflutter!


நிலை பெயராது சிலை போலவே நின்று
நிலை பெயராது சிலை போலவே நின்று
மிக விநோதமான முரளிதரா
என் மனம் அலை பாயுதே


Transfixed, I stood there like a statue, oblivious of even the passage
of time, hey, mysterious flautist!


தெளிந்த நிலவு பட்டப் பகல் போல் எரியுதே
திக்கு நோக்கி என்னிரு புருவம் நெரியுதே
கனிந்த உன் வேணுகானம் காற்றில் வருகுதே
கண்கள் சொருகி ஒரு விதமாய் வருகுதே!
தனித்த மனத்தில் உருக்கி பதத்தை
எனக்கு அளித்து மகிழ்த்த வா
ஒரு தனித்த வனத்தில் அணைத்து எனக்கு
உணர்ச்சி கொடுத்து முகிழ்த்தவா!
கணைகடல் அலையினில் கதிரவன் ஒளியென
இணையிரு கழல் எனக்களித்தவா!
கதறி மனமுருகி நான் அழைக்கவா
இதர மாதருடன் நீ களிக்கவோ
இது தகுமோ? இது முறையோ?
இது தருமம் தானோ?
குழல் ஊதிடும் பொழுது ஆடிடிடும்
குழைகள் போலவே
மனது வேதனை மிகவோடு
அலை பாயுதே கண்ணா
என் மனம் மிக அலை பாயுதே
உன் ஆனந்த மோஹன வேணுகானமதில்
அலை பாயுதே கண்ணா
Read the rest of this entry »

The call of the Greater Coucal

In Poem on June 12, 2013 at 11:52 pm




I look to the left
I look to the right

A shy bird easily frightened
I watch, I hop
From low branch to the next
I keep low flight like the drone above

Left right, left right
Stomp comrade boots
Rifles held high
With both hands

I am dark
Tribals, comrades
Am I a crow?

My wings
They gather
A rusty tinge
My black dispelled
By dawn’s sunrise

The girls below
The boys below
Keep alive Mao

Their eyes burn red
Just like mine

Where’s home comrades?
Mine is right here

Left right, left right
Stomp comrade boots
Rifles held high
With both hands





  1. Bird Ecology Study Group – Greater Coucal Calling

  3. D. Bandopadhyay – Development Issues to deal with Causes of Discontent, Unrest and Extremism – Government of India, Planning Commission

  5. The continuing tragedy of the adivasis – RAMACHANDRA GUHA

  7. The crow-pheasant is a very shy bird. It flies low. It’s called Periya Shembagam in Tamil – பெரிய செம்பகம். In some parts of india, it is associated with black magic
    I love to watch this bird, with it’s long tail, foraging for food. On a rare occasion, I have seen four of them together.
    In this poem, I mix metaphors. The coucal is looking down from a branch and watching a Maoist’s drill taking place in a forest. It’s own color and identity is as mixed and confusing as the tribal-maoists it is looking down at.
    Read the rest of this entry »

A snail’s pace

In Poem, Writing Assignments on June 9, 2013 at 11:29 am




Snails speak in
eloquent silence

They are at home
With themselves;

Loud chatter
Of silent thoughts

Echo within
their mollusk shells

Are they slithering
Towards something?
Or even away from it?

What does it matter
When they wear a home
As loose and
Easy jacket?

They are not too different
from the water lilies
The pond too,

The noiseless ones are there
To tell us something,
There’s vigor
In a silent hue:

Creation’s hum
Barely heard,
Leaves behind
A slimy wake


I need to master this art
To quite down, to go easy
And to be at home
For my own sake

This snail sparks courage
As I stand speechless,

A squirrel darts hurriedly
Between the snail and me,
Ruffling dead leaves


  1. This poem is directly inspired by an iconic poem by Robert Frost : Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. The squirrel here, represents the horse that gives the harness bells a shake, to ask if there is some mistake.


Other poems
tucker raghu vatican2
Karma’s chameleon The mannequins of Mumbai The embrace



Karma’s chameleon

In Poem, Writing Assignments on June 8, 2013 at 9:34 pm





I’m karma’s chameleon
Dictator of melanins
Commander of colors

I’m a spatial creature
I decide what’s up
I decide what’s down

What’s normal,
What’s usual,
I view upside

Hold my head high
or even down low,
Face adversaries
at very odd angles

Heady plume
Burning red.
Like a Roman soldier,
I go to battle

I cock my head
To a bold
New angle

That gentle sway
Of extinct forbears
Amplifies my threat
To T-Rex’s

I am karma’s chameleon,
Recycled patterns
Of greater ships
Riding times’s arrow
Piercing rainbows

I drop from the sky
On terrains not envisioned
By marksman
Or me


Other poems
tucker raghu vatican2
A snail’s pace The mannequins of Mumbai The embrace



The mannequins of Mumbai

In Poem on June 1, 2013 at 12:17 am




Monsoon lashes out
East Andheri soaked
Upturned umbrella
Spikes angrily
At outpouring heaven

Kaali-peeli taxi wala
nursing cut glass chai
Dark deluge, red tail lights
mannequins unfazed


Banned and drenched
runs across the street
Knocks at taxi window
For shelter, warmth, ride

Dissolves at car door
Plaster of Paris


  1. Mumbai municipality has proposed a ban on lingerie clad store-display mannequins. As the fierce monsoon unleashed it’s fury today, I visualize a mannequin looking for shelter after it has been banished from being a store-display model

  3. Sex is not the ultimate prize when it can get you thrown out of the group. Despite all those hormones running amok in my friend Casanova [a male monkey], he was able to keep his head and think about the consequences. Even a monkey has the power to overcome his hormones.– Kayt Sukel in “This Is Your Brain On Sex”

  5. The FirstPost article regarding this issue

  7. Theme music from The Godfather. Shamelessly noodling on Am scale, I try hard to salvage a forgotten skill on the fabulous Canadian Seagull S6 acoustic.

  9. Gul Panag, actor activist, says social heterogeneity can pose challenges


Hum Ko Man Ki Shakti Dena

In Music, Music, Poem on May 21, 2013 at 12:10 pm



Album Title: Divinity 4 – Spiritual Music for Peace
Artists: Akhlak Hussain, Ashit Desai, Rakesh Chaurasia (Flute), Sunil Das (Sitar), Ulhas Bapat (Santoor)
Hum Ko Man Ki Shakti Dena
This very popular devotional and sacred song is from the 1971 movie Guddi. This Hindi film song is sung as morning prayer song, in many schools across India. Lyrics by Gulzar, composed by the late legendary Vasant Desai in raaga “Kedar” and sung by the child prodigy Vani Jayaram. This song won several national awards at the time.

हम को मन की शक्ति देना, मन विजय करे
दूसरों की जय से पहले, खुद को जय करे

O Lord, grant me strength of mind and heart, that it may be victorious
Before I persuade another to victory, help me master and dominate my self

भेदभाव अपने दिल से साफ़ कर सके
दोस्तों से भूल हो तो माफ़ कर सके
झूठ से बचे रहे, सच का दम भरे
दूसरों की जय से पहले, खुद को जय करे

Let my heart not discriminate
Let my heart be forgiving
Save me from that which is untrue, and let truth prevail
Before I persuade another to victory, help me master and dominate my self

मुश्किलें पड़े तो हम पे इतना कर्म कर
साथ दे तो धर्म का, चले तो धर्म कर
खुद पे हौसला रहे, बदी से ना डरे
दूसरों की जय से पहले, खुद को जय करे

If I find myself on a difficult path, do this much for me:
Walk with me if my cause is right,
and if I must walk, then assure me my cause is right,
That I do not lose faith in myself, and fear no evil
Before I persuade another to victory, help me master and dominate my self


  1. I took some liberties in this translation. This line in particular, posed an interesting challenge:

    दूसरों की जय से पहले, खुद को जय करे

    From a Christian perspective: Jesus tells his disciples “remove the beam from your eyes before you plan on removing the speck from your brother’s eyes”. His tone here is one of admonishment.

    Gulzar however, puts a positive spin to the judgementalism in this verse. I find that very interesting. Maybe he meant it to be child-friendly? I translated it thus:

    Before I persuade another to victory, help me master and dominate my self



Other poems
tucker raghu vatican2
Aaj jaane ki zid na karo Hey Bhagwan – Raghu Dixit Aye Maalik Tere Bande Hum


Aye Maalik Tere Bande Hum

In Arts, Music, Music, Poem, Religion on May 18, 2013 at 7:27 am

The song ‘Aye Maalik Tere Bande Hum’ is from the 1957 classic Do Aankhen Barah Haath directed by V. Shantaram The song pleads for the strength to be virtuous, embraces death as a reality, accepts human fraility, and implores God to take all our sins and weaknesses. The lyricist Bharat Vyas penned this eternal classic.

Album Title: Divinity 4 – Spiritual Music for Peace

Artists: Akhlak Hussain, Ashit Desai, Rakesh Chaurasia (Flute), Sunil Das (Sitar), Ulhas Bapat (Santoor)


ऐ मालिक तेरे बन्दे हम
ऐसे हों हमारे करम
नेकी पर चलें और बदी से टलें,
ताकि हंसते हुए निकले दम

O Lord, you are our creator
Our deeds are the outcome of
a righteous path we walk and evil we shun
we smile fulfilled till our last breath
O Lord, you are our creator

बड़ा कमज़ोर है आदमी,
अभी लाखों हैं इसमें कमी
पर तू जो खड़ा, है दयालू बड़ा
तेरी किरपा से धरती थमी
दिया तूने हमें जब जनम
तू ही झेलेगा हम सबके ग़म
नेकी पर…

Frail is the human being
With a million shortcomings
But you who stands tall, is forgiving
The world exists by your grace
You who breathed life into us
Will surely bear our burdens?

जब ज़ुल्मों का हो सामना,
तब तू ही हमें थामना
वो बुराई करें, हम भलाई भरें
नहीं बदले की हो कामना
बढ़ उठे प्यार का हर कदम,
और मिटे बैर का ये भरम
नेकी पर…

When put to the test
O Lord, hold us firm
To our evil-doers, we are kind
May there be no desire for revenge
May every step ahead be for love
May every thought of enmity be wiped

ये अंधेरा घना छा रहा,
तेरा इंसान घबरा रहा
हो रहा बेखबर, कुछ न आता नज़र
सुख का सूरज छुपा जा रहाहै
तेरी रोशनी में जो दम
तो अमावस को कर दे पूनम
नेकी पर…

The world is engulfed in darkness
Your creation is afraid
He is uninformed and blind
The light of peace and happiness is hidden from him
Such is the strength of your presence,
a moonless night glows bright


The original song The movie online


  1. First translation to the prayer
  2. I saw a bit of Akira Kurosawa in this classic. An early part of Bollywood history, effectively indigenizing a western media/format with song and dance. The song presented here, is woven as part of the movie’s fabric, not in isolation but very much part of the story. It’s as memorable a hook, by Indian sensibilities, as say the theme in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
  3. Some Kurosawa elements in this Shantaram movie:
    The season as guide: Shantaram takes his convicts into a barren place. With the fury of the summer sun giving way to the joy that rain and spring brings, he highlights the transformation of beasts to men.

    Wilderness meets Village: Like Kurosawa, Shantaram toys with civilization meeting the frontier. This is a cusp where rules are flexed. It throws up surprises. The frontier convict does not know how to handle a villager.

    Ambiguous ally: The convicts are reluctant participants of an idealists’ open air freedom project to reform prisoners. They actually want to kill him and escape to freedom.

    Challenges to change: Shantaram gets deeper here. His convicts have not experienced freedom in a long while, and so when offered it, they cannot sleep in peace. They tie their legs with heavy weights, so it feels like regular leg irons, thus inducing “normalcy”

    Fake Opponent: The seller of toys is their unwilling partner. She turns around and imposes higher moral standards that the convicts adhere to without much resistance

    Sacrificial leader: The protagonist eventually gives up his life in saving the work of the convicts. He trades his life for his ideals.

    The transforming talisman: The idealist’s two eyes are looked upon as the watchful eyes of a jail warden, ensuring that the convicts do not escape. This trope in the end transforms itself in the eyes of the convicts. They no longer look at it as eyes that will catch them doing wrong, but as benevolent eyes that look down from the heavens to protect them.

    There is another transforming talisman: the dead tree: The convicts after their morning ablutions at a tank, take mouthful of water and spit water on a dead tree, more in jest than anything else. In the end, this tree grows leaves and becomes a beautiful blossoming tree. The convicts take flowers from this tree and gift it to the superintendent of police. This tree represents themselves. Society spits on these convicts as murderers and cheats. In the end, they are transformed to become useful citizens of the same society that ostracized them.

    Of deeper psychological interest are the talismans: Not only does the talisman transform the convict, it transforms itself, or in how it is being viewed over a period of time.


Other poems
tucker raghu vatican2
Aaj jaane ki zid na karo Hey Bhagwan – Raghu Dixit Hum Ko Man Ki Shakti Dena


The embrace

In Poem, Social on May 11, 2013 at 12:07 am


It’s tragic and at the same time beautiful.

Painful but liberating.

Personal and now public.

Disturbing but serene.

Dead but still life

To the unknown garment worker, you made known.

To all the dead, a memory.

For our contribution, a little guilt.

May you souls find peace and some rest.


  1. The photograph
  2. The post at PRI
  3. In a recent interaction with the photographer – Taslima Akhter:
    @Taslima, – On behalf of all of us here, our deepest condolences for the loss of your fellow citizens.

    there is an intense human need to know how the two people in your picture are related. At the same time the unknown relationship lends a tragic anonymity that maybe is important to maintain the picture as representative of all the garment workers that perished on that fateful day, not just representing a personal tragedy.

    As a photographer, were you criticized for having made this private moment public? If so what was your response?

    Taslima Akhter @Peter Thanks for your comment . I don’t know what is the relation between them or who they are. .Actually I don’t think it’s a private moment, I think they tried to save each other , when the collapse happened. Our owner, govt and international buyer all are responsible for this death. And they try to make workers as object who can make profit for them, But I think this image can speak that they are not ‘other’, they are human being like all of us. They are not only object or cheapest labor in the world they are human being, they have life-relatives- dream like us which are precious …


Calling Muruga

In Media, Music, Poem, Religion on April 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm


Koovi Azhaithal, Poet Vaalee, Valaji Ragam, Aadhi Thala

Koovi azhaithAl kural koduppAn, Kumaran,
Param kundram Eri nindrA KumarA, endru…

The one who stands tall on the divine hill,
will listen to my cry

poovidhazh malarndharuL punnagai purivAn,
puNNiyam seidorkku kaNNedhiril terivAn (Koovi…)

He blesses with a blossoming flower-like smile,
He appears in front of them,
who perform good deeds,

Deviyar iruvar, mEviya guhane,
thingalai anindha Shankaran magane
pAvalar yAvarum pAdiya vEndhanai,
pon mayil Eridum Shanmugha nAdhane (Koovi…)

Oh Guha, loved by two divine damsels,
Oh Son of the God bathed in moonlight,
Oh King, every great poet sings your praise,
Oh Lord Shanmuga, mounted on a golden peacock

  Read the rest of this entry »

Pieta Carnatic

In Arts, Music, Music, Poem, Religion, Women on March 30, 2013 at 6:42 am

A Good Friday reflection, set to the Carnatic raaga, Jounpuri. Aadi taalam
Mahakavi Bharathiyar, wrote this poem when he had misplaced a photograph of his mother. He pines to see her face again. I have set this poem and it’s lyrics to the sorrow of a mother who has just lost her son.
The Shroud of Turin, was made public after 40 years. It is assumed to be an image of Jesus. Mostly wrapped in controversy and mystery! Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, signed it’s public viewing, beginning Good Friday 29th March, 2013. The need to see a picture of the divine christ, bears an uncanny but easy human parallel to the poet’s intense need to recover his mother’s picture. It is this intense need that keeps the Shroud of Turin very real for many believers of the faith, irrespective of what science confirms as true or untrue.
Good Friday commemorates the death of Jesus. Pieta is a marble statue of Michaelangelo that depicts a limp and dead son in his mother’s arms. I wonder if these words of the Mahakavi, did not pass through a grieving mother’s mind?

Aasaimugam marantho pochey,

Alas, I have forgotten love’s very face,

idhai yaaridam solven adi thozhi;

My grief is unbearable, my friend;

Nesam marakavillai nenjam,

My heart remembers the tender affections,

enil Ninaivu mugam marakalaamo;

Memory cannot fail me now;

Kannil theriyuthoru thotram,

I perceive him in my mind’s eye,

athil Kannan azhagu muzhuthillai

But I fail to capture his beauty in full;

Nannu mugavadivu kaanil, andha

and I find his eyes,

Nallavalla sirippai kaanom;

Wanting of his winsome smile;

Read the rest of this entry »

Dancing queen on rope

In Arts, Poem, Women on March 1, 2013 at 6:33 am


Suspended, a dancing queen, in mid-air

walks a tight rope, little girl
as we squint at the bright sun and gaze up
she moves, she sways to the drum beats
of an equally hungry father

she moves, he moves from
and we cannot see the pillar
or post up-ahead
she makes progress, she stops


she feigns a tumble
a misstep and we gasp
how bold, how brave, how young
we do ask relevant questions
relevant to us
a village circus ekes out a city life
it can’t, but we won’t, tell them

we have pinned her forever
to the sky
one less to worry about here on earth

she helps us navigate
boredom of ground realities



This is poetry of the damned. Poetry involves risk taking. One has to be a bit depraved or deprived of something to actually make an impact as a poet. They are personal and leave you vulnerable. That is the reason I stopped taking these risks. These risks are scary to me and I cannot sugar-coat them. But I intend to take some now. This being a revival attempt after I left the poetic form alone 25 years ago.

Ardh Satya – by Dilip Chitre, narrated by Om Puri

In Poem on December 17, 2012 at 10:56 pm


This is a poem from one of my favorite movies – Ardh Satya (Half Truth).  The poem in Hindi is by the poet Dilip Chitre.  Here it is narrated by the protagonist of the movie – Om Puri.  His gravelly voice lends this poem it’s unique character.  For me, the poem and it’s narrator make for an unforgettable composition.  So here is Om Puri narrating Ardh Satya:

Ardh Satya – Half-truth

Chakravyuh mein ghusne se pehle,
kaun tha mein aur kaisa tha,
yeh mujhe yaad hi na rahega.

Before I entered this maze,
Who was I?
I will not remember.

Chakravyuh mein ghusne ke baad,
mere aur chakravyuh ke beech,
sirf ek jaanleva nikat’ta thi,
iska mujhe pata hi na chalega.

After I entered the war-maze,
there was a life-threatening
proximity between the enemy and me.
I will never come to realize this.

Chakravyuh se nikalne ke baad,
main mukt ho jaoon bhale hi,
phir bhi chakravyuh ki rachna mein
farq hi na padega.

Even if I earn my freedom,
and get out of this maze alive,
it will make absolutely no difference to the maze itself.

Marun ya maarun,
maara jaoon ya jaan se maardun.
iska faisla kabhi na ho paayega.

While within this maze,
to die or to kill,
to be killed, or to take someone’s life,
can never be fairly judged

Soya hua aadmi jab
neend se uthkar chalna shuru karta hai,
tab sapnon ka sansar use,
dobara dikh hi na paayega.

When a man awakens from his slumber,
and starts to walk again,
he relinquishes his world of comfortable dreams.

Us roshni mein jo nirnay ki roshni hai
sab kuchh s’maan hoga kya?

In that light of wakefulness which illuminates his choices,
will there be fair and equal justice?

Ek palde mein napunsakta,
ek palde mein paurush,
aur theek taraazu ke kaante par
ardh satya.

Balancing impotence, on one side of the scale,
with manhood, on the other,
the needle of this perfect balance points us
to a half-truth



  1. A traslation
  2. Chakravyuha Demystified
  3. A soul baring from Nihlani and Puri
  4. Lust for Life – life and times of Dilip Chitre
  5. Govind Nihlani on Sadashiv Amrapurkar


Other poems
tucker raghu vatican2
Aaj jaane ki zid na karo Hey Bhagwan – Raghu Dixit Pieta Carnatic


Krishna Nee Begane Baro – Colonial Cousins

In Music, Poem on December 9, 2012 at 7:18 am


The picture above is that of a Muslim offering Friday prayers in Egypt’s Tahrir Square. A daybreak sojourn in a standoff between Mubarak’s military and the citizens during Arab Spring’s defining moment.

India’s brand of secularism is facing extensive challenges. The three religions that have existed in harmony for centuries are wondering if there are new equations for co-existence.  There seems to be an uncouth political stimuli meddling with these equations and shaking the foundation of peace on which all the religions are founded on.

The Colonial Cousins powerhouse duo of Hariharan and Leslie Lewis, picked up a traditional Carnatic composition of Vyasaraya Tirtha in the raaga Yamuna Kalyani.  This song is in the Kannada language and it simply means “Krishna, please hurry and come my way”.  The pleading for Krishna’s intervention to help overcome life’s challenges, appears to be the last vestige of forgotten prayers for the modern world.

They have drawn on the traditions of all three of these religions to render an uplifting melody and thought.



Krishna nee begane baro
krishna nee begane baro

Darkness coming round
And everybody fighting with their brothers
Everybody wants control
Don’t hesitate to kill one another
So come back as Jesus
Come back and save the world
That’s all the future
Of every boy and girl
Come back as Rama
Forgive us for what we’ve done
Come back as Allah
Come back as anyone

Krishna nee begane baro
krishna nee begane baro

Religion is the reason
The world is breaking up into pieces
Colour of the people
Keeps us locked in hate please release us

So come down and help us
Save all the little ones
They need a teacher
And you are the only one
We can rely on
To build a better world
A world that’s for children
A world that’s for everyone

Krishna nee begane baro
Krishna nee begane baro

Time is the healer
Time moves on
Time don’t wait for anyone
You tell you’ll be back
But that will take some time
I’m waiting…
I’m waiting…
I’m waiting…
I’m waiting
Yea…. Yea…
Come back as Jesus
Come back and save the world
We need a teacher
You are the only one
Come back as Rama
Forgive us for what we’ve done
Come back as Allah
Come back as anyone

Krishna nee begane baro
Krishna nee begane baro

Come back and save the world
That’s all the future
Of every boy and girl
Come back as Rama
Forgive us for what we’ve done
Come back as Allah
Come back for everyone

Govinda bolo hare Gopal bolo….

While the above is a fusion rendition, here is one by K. S. Chitra in it’s classic form.


Aaj jaane ki zid na karo – Urdu poetry by Faiyaz Hashmi

In Arts, Music, Music, Poem on October 29, 2012 at 1:45 am

Once in a while you hear a soul stirring rendition that stops you on your tracks.  That makes you forget your past and your future.  Actually makes you forget the present too!

This piece here is breathtaking for multiple reasons.  The singer Rohini Ravada, the clarinetist Shankar Tucker, the Urdu poet Faiyaz Hashmi collude to bring time to a standstill.

Faiyaz Hashmi’s innate genius is on display here:  taking what appear to be commonplace words and infusing them with extraordinary depth of meaning.

Shankar Tucker is an American jazz clarinetist who has successfully crossed genres:  Western and Indian.  That’s no easy feat considering the fact that Western jazz accords an unrestricted freedom and Indian classical music has it’s incredible but inspiring restrictions! An accomplished Hindustani and Carnatic musician, he studied under the classical Hindustani bamboo flutist Pundit Hariprasad Chaurasia.  Shankar calls Chennai home, but is globally popular for his YouTube videos at ShrutiBox, and locally much sought after by his India fans during his India tours.

Yes, he loves the Kolavari song, especially the nadaswaram piece and mimics it “pa pa pa pam” with a smile.  Cross over artist, he must be!


आज जाने की ज़िद न करो
यूं ही पहलू में बैठे रहो
हाय मर जायेंगे हम तो लुट जायेंगे
ऐसी बातें किया न करो

Do not leave me
Come, stay by my side
I think I’ll die, or be lost, if
you insist on leaving me tonight

तुम ही सोचो ज़रा क्यूँ न रोके तुम्हें
जान जाती है जब उठके जाते हो तुम
तुम को अपनी क़सम जान-ऐ-जान
बात इतनी मेरी मान लो

Think for a moment
Why wouldn’t I stop you? Because,
every time you leave me, I am left lifeless
Listen to this one request of mine,
Don’t insist on leaving me tonight

वक़्त की क़ैद में ज़िंदगी है मगर
चन्द घड़ियाँ यही हैं जो आज़ाद हैं
इन को खो कर मेरी जान-ऐ-जान
उम्र भर न तरसते रहो
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Mumbai dreams

In Poem on July 17, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Motion blurs at Zaveri Bazaar

It’s evening and we are headed home

But suddenly a flash and then two more

Still life for some with

No direction home

In case of bombs, show resilience

But I am dead now

Diamonds clenched in my fist

Saved from fire and flight

Nine lottery tickets in my back pocket

Saved from Mumbai rain

Blood and evidence washed away

Sanitized for evening news

Hand them over as my only belongings

To the resilient survivors