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The Faded Dreams


Other Poems


Ravinder Kumar Soni




Ravinder Kumar Soni


The Faded Dreams


Other Poems


Ravinder Kumar Soni




Ravinder Kumar Soni










The Faded Dreams

and other poems











The Faded Dreams

& Other Poems

First Indian Edition 2019

© 2019 Ravinder Kumar Soni


All right reserved. No part of this publication

may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or

transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic,

mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without written

permission from the publisher.

Published by: Ravinder Kumar Soni


Ph.: +91 9871626005

Printed at: Delhi




















Select Poems




Ravinder Kumar Soni































*Listen To The Emptiness



I must listen to the emptiness

That is within me

And surrounds me all the time,

Then I can know where I belong,

Why I live and die, and procrastinate

My rides and tides.











*My Poem


Past midnight, as we stepped

On to the empty dark street

I heard him recite my poem

That I wrote only three days ago.

‘To ward off fear,’ he softly said

‘I read aloud your lines.’












*The Faded Dreams


Faded dreams

That is all now I have

As memories

Bitter and cold

Sans delight.

They have seen me through

The roughs and toils

The daily grinds

And seasonal bites

Retaining their hold

Keeping me whole

In a vestibule

Narrow and dark.


Emerge from it

I will one day

To see the sun

Glow brilliantly

As ever before.

*The Book


The book, my dear Father,

The one I hold in my right hand,

It is the same

Old orange calico bound book

You gave to me on my 12th birthday,

I am now preparing to celebrate

My 76th this year;

Then, I had just learnt to read and write.

Your gift does not contain fables

Or heroic tales of adventures,

It talks of waging wars

Against the unrighteous,

About controlling and calming

Mental tendencies and turbulence,

Discovering own strength and morality,

Finding a forgotten self;

All this couched in simple terms

The entire process is simple.

I have followed those guidelines

But you did not stay long enough to guide me

Till its end

Now I have no one to tell me

Whether I have reached that end.

O, Father! Why did you leave me alone?

To fight this world of extremes!













*No One Believes Me


No one believes me.

I have just returned

From the other side of the sun,

No one believes me.

I should not speak about my travels

From one end of the universe to the other,

The journeys that I make all alone

To strange worlds.


I should not tell them what lies in the Beyond -

A sea of delight;

Their small reach

Does not allow them to believe me.






*On A Wet Morning


On a wet morning

Scared of getting drenched

He did not venture outdoors

To go to work;

It had been raining since midnight.

He was disturbed

By the speeding gallop of falling raindrops

Striking hard and noisily the tin-shed, he called his home,

The ruckus caused did not let him go to sleep


The day had dawned rather late.

By then, he had grown tired

Counting the remaining minutes to sunrise.

The dampness of the air

And the loneliness in his room

Was extracting its toll,

He was feeling drowsy

And, badly needed sleep.

His morning cup of tea could wait,

He was fond of preparing green tea.

With this thought creeping in

He rolled over and went to sleep.















*Begin With Me


I thought

My long wait is over,

The solution found

I need no longer pay heed

To the approaching footfalls

Nor listen to the old songs

Or stories often told;


A voice, loud and clear,

Asks me to retrace my steps

And commence the beginning

That began with me.






*Find My Perch


O My fanciful thoughts!

Do not pick on me,

Be fair to me,

Please do not berate me,

Do not call me lazy or maimed,

I am neither.

You gave me the reason to live,

Because of you, I survive.

You made me bury my past,

Look forward to the future

And count my little gains.


You have brought me very far,

Now do not displace me

Or injure my pride

For having walked the path

Paved by you

Curious and investigating.

Keep me adrift,

Make me fly and roam the sky,

Let me find my perch.

















*Missing the Fun


One late evening

In front of the mirror

Finding myself talking to me

I said -

Do not be fussy

I know the shadows are lengthening

The night approaches silently

Soon we will fall asleep

You are missing the fun, is it?

That I in the mirror said -

You know dreams are not tailor-made

You cannot order them long or short

Lie down and close your eyes

Imagine riding a bike across barren Ladakh

Facing biting cold and gasping for breath

Wanting to be on the Marina Beach down far south

You find yourself

Admiring the rock-cut temple at Ellora

In the sculpted heaven listening to the music played

By the Apsaras on their veena

And yourself writing a parody

Would you call that funny?

I kept quiet.














*In Awe



The silence broke

I heard a piercing cry

A cry of pain

Intense deep-rooted pain

I wondered

Why it was not

The sound of laughter

Or the note

Of a lilting melody

That broke the silence

Surrounding me

I still wonder






*At The Gate


He did not wait

For the bells to sound

Summoning him

Yet came,

Sat cross-legged

Outside the temple-gate.

He did not enter

Nor circumambulate,

He was in possession

Of his heart and mind;

He was free and fearless.

He was his temple,

He did not seek

To escape himself.





*Easy Way


His walk is brisk,

He must reach the riverbank,

A boat waits for him,

It will take him sooner

To the more promising other-side

Where there are more trees seen.

He knows,

The boat leaves in an hour’s time.

He is in a hurry.

You do not want him to tire

Or give up his quest,

Do you?


He had asked you to join him,

Share his joy,

Instead, you chose the easy way out,

You stayed

To write these lines

To immortalize him.



I sat dejected.


Patience, she said,

Will win the world for you,

Gifted you are

You make words you write

Work for you,

As they dispense meanings

Sought by you

And create the worlds they intend;

I shall keep a watch over you

Even when you are asleep;

I will not forsake you,

I am your pride.








Though reluctant

He was walking alongside

On the very path

I had bragged about

That leads to nowhere

We were the only two nobodies seen

Laughing aloud

Hoping to earn a name

By descending low and

Exploring the depths of nothingness

As the two ranked outsiders.






*Unforgiving Nights


The one thing I long for most is

The peaceful dreamless sleep

Like the sleep of the dead.


My painful hope-filled eyes

That have seen many quiet nights

And without respite

Scan the dark sky

Studded with stars unable to sleep

Because of their endless dreams,

Their mind as unsteady and restless

As is mine.


I do not seek their pithiness

That will make me brood more

And never let me sleep.

I do not need these twinkling stars

But I cannot wish them away either.

Can I?


Can I ever lose sight of my heart?















*Lonely Cloud


O Cloud!

Nasty people,

Wicked and mean,

Roam the earth,

Ignore them.

Take me with you.

Take me

To wherever you go,

As a happy dream.

I will narrate tales,

Revive gaiety,

Release new songs,

Fill hearts with love.


No one will be sad.

Take me with you

As an arguable thought

That is wispy as a dream,

Warm and nosy,

To find and unravel

The secrets

Hidden from you

I ask you

To tag me on to you.

O Cloud,

Make me a part of you.













*My Love


SMSed in three words

I had told her how I felt for her,

In just three small words

That said more than a million would

Had I written them filling reams and reams

Mailed to her packed in many fancy boxes

She would not have even bothered to open.

She is a wise waif

Aware of my weak grammar and spelling errors.

Why should I remind her about her beauty?

She sees herself in the mirror every day.

Why should I reiterate my love for her?

She senses my presence even in her deep sleep

When I am somewhere far away.

I know she loves me

And she knows that I love her as much.

On second thought

I need not have SMSed to her

Those three small light words,

You do agree, my friend!

















*New Beginning


Once again,

The same old dark shadow

Lurks surrounding me;

I know it to be Death

That tirelessly protects

And waits for me;

As a true companion

It stays with me all the while,

Watching me at work and play,

Never guiding, praising, scolding

Or hurrying me on,

Never instilling any fear;

Easygoing is Death

Knowing it is

The new beginning for me

In wait.




*Way to Bliss


As before,

This evening too,

I have stopped to watch

The roll of the waves,

Listen to the sound of the sea,

Breathe the salted air,

And wait for the Sun to set

And the night to descend.


As before,

The daytime spent

Had been hectic and harsh,

A very tiresome grind

Of talk and wiles,

Urges and find

With the rise and lows

Weighed heavily on the mind.


As before,

Even now,

Standing at the beach

I do not seek the Moon and the stars

Nor the depth of darkness

Fearsomely quiet,

But a brief rest

For my aching bones

And exhausted mind.


And as before,

A little rested,

Tension eased,

I will commence my walk,

Then board the bus,

Hate the snarling rush,

But reaching home

Be greeted by wife and kids,

And in their midst

Enjoy the bliss

I simply cannot describe.


*Happiness of the Liberated


It's raining heavily again;

Again the downpour

Threatens to flood the streets,

The bazaars and the homes et al

Rendering the rich and the poor,

The young and the old,

Those who act and the non-doers,

Worthless and immobile,

Make them suffer

And pray to the Rain God.



Across the street,

A half-naked boy runs out of his house

Skids but falls flat on his back,

Unrelenting rain drenching him;

He is unhurt and laughs aloud,

Knocks the earth with his heels

Splaying wet grime

And opens his arms,

Shouts for his brothers to join him in his frolic

And share the pleasure he now enjoys.
















*The Spell


The lilt

Get used to it

The melody I weave


Will never change

The look on your face

Your veneer

Will never change

My love for you


Will never change

These are eternally bound

Through notes

Sweet and fine

Through syllables

Clean and pure

Through words

That silently speak

Till their meanings are altered

Our love will not die

Our eyes will continue to seek

Our arms will continue to crave

Our hearts will continue to throb

You need never speak a word

Let this spell last forever.













*Dirty Stones


The enormity of my choice

Even baffled me;

My path across the park

Was strewn with many stones,

I had picked up the dirtiest one;

Once cleansed

It was the bluest sapphire

I had ever seen.

An unlucky stone to possess

My friends said;

But I kept it for me.

Three days later,

I had no place to live

And on the fourth,

I lost my benefactor

And I lay hungry on the wayside.

Then I sold it to a merchant

Who needed such a gem

To ward off evil.

He paid me a hefty amount.

I was rich.

Now, I can see my friends

Frantically searching

For the kind of dirty stones

That made me rich.












*My Teacher



He whispered into my ears

The forbidden words,

The secret

He never wanted anyone to know;

I was taken unaware.

He said -

He had no desire to live

The kind of life he lived.

He was a village schoolteacher

Who lived by himself.

A teacher does not live for himself,

He activates future generations,

His responsibility is immense.

He knew that much.

I told him to be with me,

His favourite student.

Soon he went into a shell

And entered me.

This happened

When I was a child

Seventy years ago.

Since then,

Residing within me,

He has made me learned and wise.










And finally,

We were the two left,

Me and I, both watchful

Still battling with our fate at stake,

Repeatedly throwing the dice

With more and more force,

And gambling away

Our awareness and mind,

Our sight and might,

And chaste designs

For the sake of numbers

No one can ever possess,

Where the smaller denominations

Get included in the bigger ones;

We have already crossed the Rann,

That hot and arid wilderness,

In the hunt for those numbers

At Dholavira.


*An Ode To Darkness


O Darkness!

You are present from the beginning.

You occupy this wide universe


I am the son of a learned person

Aware of the modifications

Each life must experience.

Even though I dwell in light

Where ever light does not reach

I can see you.

I do not fear you.


I see you through my mind,

The mind is that which has desires.

My act of seeing you covers you.

Whatever I see projected

Upon you

Does not last forever.


O Darkness! You neither change nor age

Existing as you do now

From before the beginning of time,

You are the eternal bond.

Of what use is the light that shines if it instils fear

Makes me hide in your folds,

The same light that also tells me about grief

Makes me seek relief in you.


Light can hide you, O Darkness, but

You cannot conceal light.

You are my origin,

One day, seeking a merger with you

I will walk towards you.






*Eerie Silence Of A Windowless Room


Within the closed confines of my windowless top-floor room

Hidden in a dark corner away from the door the room's only opening,

That had never allowed the light-rays to enter to brighten the room

Sits bent and folded a brooding silence not to be heard or talked about

Within the wide and narrow array of ordinary senses which create new worlds.


As though seeking a companion and waiting for all noises to settle down soon

That silence, patient it is, does not push or nudge, tease or tear, for there is

No one who can hear its speech if it were to speak, and there are displayed

Its language, words, idioms, logic, and reasoning that when combined

Give it a form that is otherwise difficult to comprehend and replicate.


I spend time in that windowless room and expect the door to be opened

By someone who could speak the same language without uttering a single word

That depicts any sound or tweet, harsh or pleasing to my hearing and feel,

And for me to respond to the silence which by now is aged and distorted,

Enable me to hear and address, and revive my drooping dozy self.











*At Lothal, City Of The Dead



I have returned to where I belong,

I stand in my ruined past

Amidst the burnt roofless low brick-walls;

Rubble litters the empty streets.

There is no fire in the kitchens,

No water in the basins;

No doors and windows;

No dust clouds;

No people and tellers of heroic tales either.

The trees that stand beside me

Stand on guard still and silent,

There is no rain or wind

To brush the dust off their leaves

And the sun rays beat down harshly.

The dead are not here anymore to scare,

Those who once lived and breathed here are gone,

And no stray mongrels roam in their search.

The dock is dry as is the connected river,

No ship has docked or sailed ever since

I had left Lothal four millenniums ago.

For whom should I shed my tears?

I know no one and, my story is brief.

I was alone then

And I am alone even now.













*About Bees and Birds


Intrigued by the constant hum of the bees

Gathering honey

And the chirping of the singing birds

I left my room and stepped outside;

I found the air had a different smell and feel.


I wanted to know about love,

What it promises beyond its spelling and sound.

I wanted to explore its essence,

What it means beyond the reach of my heart.

Persons like me who have never experienced love

Neither speak about love

Nor can they express or spread love,

Their hands are already full

Untangling the strands of being alone binding them.

Perched on a branch of a pomegranate tree

There is the mynah that had once peeped in

Wanting to educate me about love.

Then I had only heard that there is love

A sublime noble feeling

Permanently ensconced in the hearts and minds of living beings.

I was not so sure about this

Therefore, I had shooed off the bird.


I stand before the same bird

Asking to know about love that transcends all barriers.

The mynah has asked me to taste the honey the bees collect

And also

Transcribe the songs the songbirds sing.

That love is the rhythm subsequently felt, it said.






*Lost Identity


I have a given name

But all the while

At different hours of the day

My friends call me by different names

Each name coined to change me

Re-do my premise

They have not


No one calls me by my given name

It seems lost

It no longer appears in any glossary

Have I lost my identity?

Have I ceased to exist?

Even I do not remember that name





*Not That I Care


I created you to serve me

To be with me

Without you

With my breath and pulse

My actions do not vibe

There is no meaning or purpose

They do not rock my world

With any jolt or pace

Rhyme or reason.

Not that I care

If ever I lose you, O Hope

I know

You will never abandon me

You will always return

To keep your grip on me

On my works

And their outcomes

To ease my burden,

My life.

*My Dreams


It has started to crumble,

The castle I built in my dreams.

I can see its ramparts tumble,

Its windows and gates shatter,

All this will soon be a pile of dust.

No one will dig out its ruins,

There will be no ruins.

Such are my dreams

They are light,

Sometimes nasty.

Are they? Can they be re-worked?

I could not.

Only last evening I told my wife

I had been to Paris for shopping.

Where are the gifts you had promised?

She screamed.

I did not tell her I was dreaming

Had I

She would have swooned.

*My Unease


I was tense.


Something was amiss,

A heartbeat perhaps

Or a light sensation

That touched the heart.


My eyes did not detect

Any change.

They could not have,

They did not see inwards.

There was no light.


I had kept my doors open

For fresh air to blow in

To replace the stale,

I have possibly failed.


Why am I lost?

I am not myself,

I am not able to perceive

The truth.


Where are the birds gone?


They were singing a song,

In words that described my past.

I can recollect those words

To write a new song

Soothing and sweet.










*The Knock at My Door


The knock at my door

Revives my fears,

Makes me shake and shiver,

Do you know why?

Because I am lazy

I do not exert.

He will make me leave my comforts,

He will make me walk and run,

This I detest.

I do not want to chase dreams.

He is the dream peddler,

The one who knocks at my door.







*Long Sleep


There is a small crowd surrounding me

With me lying on the floor on a straw-mat.

People gathered are staring at me

Talking in a low voice.

I heard someone say

That I had died late last night

When they were fast asleep

And could not see me die.

Death is painful, they said.

They seemed very pleased


When I died, I did not disturb their sleep.

I did not call out for help.

The milkman found me lying on the floor dead.

And now,

I miss the wetness in the air;

People usually weep when a dear one dies.

No one has shed any tear;

No one has mourned my death.

To them

My death was a forgettable event.

And, I made no attempt to rise,

I felt very tired and relaxed;

I wished to enjoy the long sleep

That has come my way.















Pain purifies, he said;

Inflict pain on yourself.

Why should I?

I despise torture,

I dislike hate and bloodshed,

I have done to me no wrong

To suffer self-inflicted pains.


I know not the grammar of life,

My responses are uncertain,

The obvious is difficult to perceive,

The moments of my quietude are brief,

My mind does not rest,

These pains I already suffer,

Now, what else?




*Walk With Him


I know,

Someone has walked past me

Silently invisibly.

I know him,

I can sense his presence,

There is seen his mark upon the air

That now moves about briskly

Around me.

He could not have walked alone,

No one does,

He could never be alone

Unless his thoughts had deserted him;

His thoughts were for me.

His thoughts are for me alone

I know,

I can never be alone,


Did I walk with him past where I stood?




My very existence has made me suffer no end.

Left alone to converse with the blank walls of my room

Each morning I have asked

When will I be free?

When will the gate and the windows open for me

To see the outside world filled with people and things

And to gauge the outcome of joy and pain

Writ large upon the canopy called the sky,

Ignore all protests and threats,

Relearn to walk and talk,

Seek fresh adventures and be ready to fly.


I was born free.

No sooner I opened my eyes I became aware

And found me in a narrow room built by my mind;

I could not demolish the mental walls

Without damaging my mind.

Held captive by hunger and thirst

I have struggled with my memories and instincts

That line the alley I intend to explore,

It has only one opening.


I know I cannot run away from my mind,

I hear no footfalls,

I have no need to beg or pray,

I am a prisoner chained to my mind's walls,

Here I have to decay and die.

Words no longer guide or surprise me,

There are no songs for me to sing


The surrounding silence cannot comfort me.





*End Of The Race


Suddenness shines

Where the hurried crawl

Inch by inch

Minute by minute

And only for them

The bait waits

Securely tied

To a tallish pole

That has its top

Split and frayed

Wrapped to that

A ribbon sleek

Black and white

Gently floats

Signaling to all

The end of the race

In a shady way.





While I slept

I felt a sharp nudge

At my right side,

It brought me awake.

A face I knew

Peered down at me,

Asked me to vacate

The bed I occupied.

He needed it, he said,

The caretaker of daylight

Very tired and burnt out.

He wasn’t happy,

He knew why

He had disturbed me,

The patient groper

Of the dark nights

And their secrets,

He could not banish.


*Only For Me


I can feel your love

In the air that flows

Around me.


I can feel the warmth

In the songs, you sing

Arousing me.


I can feel the depth

Of the love you have

Only for me.









Like I said,

One day the sky will fall on us,

It will come crashing down.

Has that day arrived?

The sun is burning brighter,

Its heat can melt the glue

Fixing the sky to its base

That is a thin mesh.

With the sky removed

I can clearly see

What all lies in Beyond.

I shall wait for

The sky to fall.





*The Connect


Firm it up,

It connects us

To ourselves

And the world

That we see

As one

Aware and pulsating

And repeatedly

Feel its rhythm;

We know

Love binds us,

It is the living hinge

That connects us

Makes us move.







I woke up late

The sky overcast

The Sun did not shine

Upon my face

The warmth I needed

Was not there

And the chirping of the birds

I did not hear

The knock on the door

Told me

I must rise

The morning cup of tea

Has arrived

Its warmth is not the warmth

I yearn

I need my eyes

To open wide

Take in all sights

Revive me

And make me ruminate

Gather stray memories

Retie their knots

And find my voice

To speak out my heart

About my desire

About my want

About my love

Only for you

That stays congealed

In the dark space

Within my heart

Waiting for you

I have no place to hide

I am astir

I have the fire

The longing for you

Burning within me

It gives me warmth

Makes me move

And retain the urge

To seek you

I seek you

The morning is still young

Please call my name aloud

For me to hear

And locate you.













*Needed Death


Only those

Desirous of worldly things

Pray for a long life,

I never did.

Long life is a bane

As are all worldly things.


I never dreamed

I would live this long,

Suffer endless pains

That do not subside.

Had my life been brief

Most mental and physical pains

I would not have suffered.


I had prayed

For a brief and active life,

My prayers remained unanswered.

And now, for a very long time,


I have sought and desired death,

Death alone can end my suffering.


My restless mind is not willing to die


Death is avoiding me.

I know

If I were to shut down my mind

Death will soon creep up to me

To free me from my pains.

Now I pray

Someone must quickly teach me

The way to silence my mind.









Dimly shines the moon in her tearless eyes

Highlighting the pain, she endures

While she waits for the return of happy times

She cannot forget even if she tried,

Her eyes scan the horizon and the sky.


No smile plays on her colourless dry lips,

The fountain of tales that had always overflowed

Is also dry, the words she spoke are silent,

Even the tall trees do not make the wind sing,

She survives because of her memories.


As she sits at the window surveying her world

The dos and don’ts play their roles,

She knows time must move on,

Over-ride all pretences and joys;

Her world must pulsate and make things count.


*The Trick


When I gazed at my palms

I did not see my cheerful face

Only a faint shadow swept by

As though I did not exist


In broad daylight

Sunbeams hide their flaws

In nooks and narrow clefts

I can never be visible to me









*Fatal Blow


The dagger was new and shiny,

It was long and sharp,

It proudly pierced my heart,

I felt no discomfort or pain

As it parted my ribs,

Only a sort of wetness of a bloody kind.


I died rather peacefully,

Without raising a cry for help.


At that moment

Only one thought,

One thought pestered me –

I had been foolish,

My greed had killed me;

I wanted to own everything

Other than my faults.



*On A Sunny Afternoon


On a sunny afternoon

I sat in my wicker chair

Reading a letter

Posted some three months ago

When winter had just drawn its fangs

And compelled the air

To bite sharp and deep

Into my skin and mind.


The paper I hold is still cold,

The written words, icy and shrill.

I am accustomed to reading

More bad words said about me

The good ones are few,

To my surprise

The letter I hold in my hand contains

Many words of praise.

I usually earn praise

When I do nothing and stay idle


Week after week.

Small pleasure.


I have not seen Paradise,

My retired life cannot be any different.

But my friend who wrote this letter

Is not happy,

His name is not in the list of state awardees.

He is disappointed,

He is a good writer though.

I love reading his poems,

I must pay him a visit.








*It Has No Name


In a darkened room,

Between two walls

In a deep recess

Covered by a thick curtain,

A shadow lurks.


It fears light,

Fears the call

To emerge

Which would mean for it

A certain death.


It cannot survive light,

It will soon evaporate

Without a trace;

Therefore, it has no name,

It melts away.






You still talk in riddles;

They are old and mouldy.

Your laughter and tears

Have not refreshed them.

They make our lives

More complicated,

They are a ruse.

Do not make me infer

The impossible

To solve them

And lose everything that exists.

Do not irritate me.








You faced a problem

You say,

I had blocked you.

You could not talk to me

About yourself;

You found me talking to me

Open and frank

About my experiences with you,

As though to a trusted friend.

Of course, you know

I am closest to me

When I am not with you.

O, my aspirations!

Do not crowd my wit,

Bear with me,

Why make me stay away.



*My Name


And the last word he uttered

Was my name

And then

He died

He was not old enough to die

Nor had he wished to die

He died with my name on his lips

It was cruel of him

Till then no one knew me

He had made me immortal

Late in the day

When the Sun was about to set

And I needed sleep

I could not sleep

That night

There were no dreams to lure me

Everyone knew my name

He had disclosed my identity

This disclosure kept me awake

This knowledge made me wish

I had died too

All memories die

On wearing the cloak of death

He did not want to think of me

Not even my name















He was in great pain,

His eyes told me all

About his suffering and toil

That he took in his stride

In his repeated long run

To the other side

That he thought was richer

And bright.

He did not complain,

He had no reason to.

Confident of his reach

He could turn the tide

He knew that I knew

He will bide his time.

His eyes are dry.






My garden of delight, variously hued,

Some eager dolts often invade it,

They want to be heroes

Victorious in battles.

They will soon trample the grass,

Uproot flowerbeds,

Slay imagined foes and demons

With their shiny swords.

Years ago,

I would have been one of them,

I am wiser now.

These invaders

And their demons roaming about

Do not bother me.

Those that hide within me

Scare me -

My fears and doubts;

These I cannot see with my eyes.


*The Encounter


On meeting you

I have experienced the Immeasurable,

The genuine feeling of totality

And the eternal sense of release

As the fulfilment of all longings

And desires,

I have nothing more to achieve.

Your silence has given me this experience.

You have watched me grow,

Now in silence, I too stand before you

Not feeling any pleasure or pain.

You have made me actionless

Therefore I do not move

And I cannot be moved

There is no urge left within me.

I am contented just as you are.

After a long wait

I met you last night

At the close of my life’s seventy-fifth year.

*His Fault


His fault, you say

It is grave,


He has aged gradually

That is his only fault,

He did not want to grow old,

Having aged

He has become anonymous.

He knew,

No one cares for the old,

No one remembers them,

No one comforts them.


He could not avoid growing old

Nor could he delay this process.

He could have sought an early end,

He did not.

He thought he could be famous,

He desired immortality,

He aimed at the impossible.

This morning

I saw him shuffling between two rooms

One room was brightly lit-up

The other left dark to confuse him,

The ruse did not work,

He remained uneasy.

He did not deserve a punishment.














My friend,

Strong-willed he was,

He had surrendered.

He tried to change

In his favour

The course of Time.

He remains impatient


He did not want me to intercede,

He did not call out for me.

He knew I have aged with Time,

Although he believes, I can

I have never thought

Of changing its course

To suit me;

I never will.

What next?

More he contemplates

More uncertain is his wait.



He could not scratch his head

He wore a colourful headdress

Starched stiff

He adjusted it

But to his annoyance

The itch persisted

He could not remove his turban

The Sun had climbed high

The desert sand was unbearably hot

There was no shade for relief

He had even left his staff behind

He has come to meet her all alone

At this place without her knowing

She would find him he knew

The daydream he had abandoned

Long ago




*Seek Out


Come with me, he said

I am off to the mountains

In search of peace and happiness

Not found anywhere else

I did not accept his invitation

Peace and happiness exists everywhere

Even where I stand, I told him

He was not convinced

He was eager to conduct a search

In the mountains

He did not go

He had never tasted peace

And happiness

How would he know he had found them?

I took him to a potter

Spinning his wheel

I find peace and happiness

As the wheel spins, the potter said

My friend did not understand

I asked him to fetch a mirror

He did

Now look into the mirror

If you see your face in it

You have a long way to go

If you see nothing not even your face

You have found peace and happiness

With these words, I left my friend

He was staring at the mirror











*An Outing


I did not hesitate

As I headed south

On the familiar route

That took me seawards

Where the golden sand

Supporting tall coconut trees

Waited for me

All along

I did not harbour doubts

Nor any fear

I was confident


Time passed

Whereas the days got heated

It did not rain


Although I did not lose my way

I did not reach the sea

I did not get to feel

The golden sand

The Wind and Light

Had forsaken me

The tour guide

The much-knotted thread

I held in my hands

A sudden gust of wind

Blew it away














Atop the low green hill

My house painted white

With doors and windows in blue

The roof red-tiled

Bathed in sunlight

Stands out

I live there alone

It is not my home

In there, no one receives me

No one sees me off

When I stare at its walls

The house stares back at me

No questions asked

Nerves not strained

Silence reigns

My life goes on

According to familiar lines


Unperturbed and un-noticed

*The Uncaring Magistrate


Off to the dungeon Rogue

With your foul breath

You have sullied my court,

Shouted the Magistrate,

I am sparing your life

Spend it there, he concluded.

The previous night

In the local tavern

I had wined and dined

Also created a major ruckus

Broke one or two bones

Failed to stand on my legs

And suffered bruises.

The Magistrate

Did not like my face

It was grime-covered

He had not seen it before,

The sparkling teeth,

The sharply chiselled face

Men envied and made women swoon.

Only I needed to shave my beard, a bath

And a set of fresh clothes,

He should see me then.

He did not permit me,

The uncaring Magistrate.
















The last words, he said;

Hear me speak of the goodness

That is in you

That you do not know about

You never cared about,

The evil left in you has not let you feel

The rhythmic twinkle of the stars

That enlivens your mind

That adds fragrance to flowers

Creates ripples on streams and lakes

And lets you sleep peacefully

In reward of your kindness and love

That makes others gladly live.






*He Wept


It was a severe setback.

He had lost everything that was his,

The only thing he valued.

He had lost belief in his being,

And convinced he was because

He was not where he ought to be.

Pithy darkness now covered him,

He knew no new day would dawn for him.

His head resting on his knees

He squatted shedding tears,

Copious tears.







*I String Her Gently In My Mind


As she approached me, she covered her face

With a veil which failed to hide

The many scars left by Time.


Her eyes bespoke her journey's tale

Ridden with doubts conjured by dreams

Pricked by fears and jealousy.


She had travelled along the very path

I had knowingly walked to help her stay;

Aware she is of my destiny.


She is the meaning of the written words

I use to express and convey my thoughts;

I string her gently in my mind.


The words I write will forever live;

She will stay with me till the end of Time,

My caring muse of poetry.

An Ode To My Goddess


After I die there will be no one to love you the way I do

Nor dream or think about you;

No one will then speak to you the words that fill my mind

Nor look at you the way I still do.

We may have ignored our deepening wrinkles and swiftly greying hairs;

We may have together matured and grown old;

And with our faith in us not changed by the whims of the changing world

Sought each other dreaming the same dreams of our ageless world,

When I am gone, there will be no one to take care of

My long stretch of memories about you and our playful togetherness:

I need not worry,

Even though I am not timeless

For me, you are eternity personified,

You are the goddess I have silently worshipped;

You have made me forget all else but you;

And, I know you will never die,

All my memories about us will remain safely entrenched within you.















*An Old Ode To The Wind


Make, for the Sun and me, a spacious pathway to travel O Wind!

I am the thought-impulse and he the giver of light;

Allow us to retrace the footsteps and feel the bond

To experience the affluence long-withheld;

Far and far-reaching indeed are your favours.


Release us from the upper bonds and untie the lower one;

Pay heed to our calls and appreciate our longing for help;

Fill up our sails and lead us beyond the range of light;

In the sky, heavenly fires are all burning bright.


We wear your robes and sing in celebration of your endless strength;

The leaves, the waters and the sands await your instructions;

Ask them to stay still and not disturb our aim;

Do not let them laud the unworthy strains.


Undo the drought and let rapturous joy spread and rule;

Remove the gathered dust dimming visible radiance

And in a single flourish re-burnish the old golden hue covering all space;

May not your nimbleness curb our zeal O Wind!

Blow away all cobwebs of doubt and apprehension.










*An Ode To Fire


O Fire, the resplendent illuminator worthy of being seen,

You shine in all dawns because of truth and justice;

You shine being full of knowledge emerging as rising upwards,

Lighting up all directions in the worlds open or hidden.

Because you know the future, you burn at the behest of time

As the guardian of all that which exists and the right path,

As the forward-looking first to behold the universe,

United with the Sun you pervade all events and things.

O Fire, as you persistently sizzle and roar

Give me the words that please you most.

Make me sing the glory of the ultimate truth.

Make me aware of your glory.

Keep my mind purified and impelled

That I may practice with you steady thinking

And shine alongside me all the while.      




















I know

I am not in the crowd

Missed I will be by those who need me;

I maybe ravaged by reckless desires

That I never did invite,

I would still prefer to loiter here and there.


I am vulnerable.


In the wide-open, I cannot hide from the evil gaze

Of the grand multitude

Driven by greed, jealousy, and hate that can affect me;

I have no wings to fly

But I cannot stay indoors,

Its four walls cannot cover me,

They cannot also hold me back

And I am not afraid.

The world outside vies with the world within me,

Both are dear to me;

The otherness they cause by their struggle

Frequently leads me astray;

It makes my life motivated,

Creates many twists and turns

To complicate and excite me;

In these confronts      

Who ultimately wins does not bother me.









*A Connection Redefined


He said –

‘I know you to be the gentle waft

That has touched me with its varying swings of mood.’


I was then busy ruffling the trees

And watching the branches, shaken and torn,

Drop their blooms upon the grassless ground.

But he knew me to blow intermittently,

At times hot and other times cold,

Convinced about my changeability

Like that of the flickering flame

Of a lighted lamp placed near the window sill.


Though admit I must, and I do,

My gentleness is not the gentleness of the doves

Or the tenderness of the flower petals,

But a cover for my determination

An effort to seek and feel the unreachable

Bends and sounds.


While I have remained the same everywhere,

I have roamed the glades surrounded by leafy trees

And cooled the hot jagged desert-sand,

Admired the loftiness of snow-clad peaks,

Streamed with rivers nourishing the plains

And rode the waves and churned the seas.


These are not merely the swings of mood

But my efforts to gather my wispy trails,

My attempts to expose the unspoken words,

Define my being in simpler terms

And end the confusing plurality.






*A Peep Into My Mind


A moment ago

The bright sun

Peeped into my mind

Lighting it;

I wonder what it saw.

Many sagging hopes,

Broken dreams,

Indolent aims,

A doubting pride,

And a madly piled

Confusion, isn’t it?


It only saw

A laborious mind

That needed a respite.




*Avoiding Fears


Mother! Why is the night always so very dark?

It fills me with fears I do not comprehend.

Why must I close my eyes and invite sleep?

Tell me! Why must I forget and then dream?


Hold me close to your breast and not put me to bed,

Without you, these dark times I cannot survive.

Let me hear your heart pound the familiar way;

It protects and lulls me to a deep long sleep.









*Beyond The Hills


Why did you hesitate?

You held on to my hand

And looked at me for long

With deeply wounded eyes

That showed the nagging pain

And your efforts to seek relief

From the bout of dithering

And incessant doubting

That has plagued you ever since.


You have asked for your place

Amidst the gathered crowd

Eager to hear and weigh

The songs of love you brought

From a far-off cheerful land;

Their words are clear and sound

And your fingers strum the strings

And dig the common notes

And make all lonely hearts

Quickly flutter and sing.


A roan horse nearby stands

With its saddle touched with gold;

It is ready to take us both

Over the yonder knolls

Beyond which the birds fly low,

The flowers remain in bloom

The deer romp about

In wait for you and me.












‘Pick up your pen, my friend,

In a single word write on my palm,

What actually ails you?’

I had asked,

He complied.


I looked at my palm and there written on it was

That one word I had never wanted to see.


My friend was sincere when he wrote thus,

He knew what he had written for me to read;

I have known him ever since both learnt to crawl.


Curious and eager,

We have shared our experiences as we matured.


I do not doubt his understanding and judgment,

I know he cannot be wrong.


I even grabbed a towel,

Moistened it to erase that word,

I have not been able to rub it off my palm.

That one word my friend had written I cannot hide

Has slowly begun to haunt me,

Shake my faith and belief.

To ease my pain

I must reveal that word to you -

That word is - ‘Hunger'.

Hunger is Death.







*Do Not Leave Me


Sweet dreams!

Stay with me beyond the rise of the new day.

Have no fear; the sun will not scald your wispiness;

It will not affect your moonlit tenderness;

I have asked the sun not to harm you.

Do stay with me.

You have come to me after a long wait

Given me joy.

How can I lose you now after you have filled my eyes and mind!

You have shown me what I wanted to see everywhere,

The colours of love bright and beautifully displayed.

Do not leave me ever, O Sweet dreams.





*Blissful Hope


You have sown the seed of happiness

In my garden rich of soil,

Come Spring that plant will bloom and spread

Most pleasant smell and joy,

The clouds will gather and shade the buds

From day-time's fiery heat;

Then you and I wanting to sleep

Can find the cozy grass

That's lush and green ‘n' fresh and wet

Laid out as satin moss.

My hopes and dreams, my life's delight,

Along with yours will read

Our heartiest tales of faith and bliss

Written in the sky.





*Drenched In Light


He said -

‘Take hold of my hand,

Have no fear;

I shall lead you to the source of light.'

I was thrilled and could not suppress my delight;

I had eagerly waited,

For freedom from the darkness that covered me,

Invaded and held me in a bind.

I felt his assuring hand; it was warm and friendly,

As was his voice.

I could not see him

Did not know where we stood;

I asked him -

‘I have not known light as yet;

Brightness could hurt me.

What would I gain on knowing the source of light? '

I could feel a slight tremor and tightening of his hand;

He was battling a thought.

I heard him explain –

‘Light aids visibility

While it conceals Darkness.

Once the source of light is crossed

Both - Light and Darkness cease to exist,

To overcome pleasure and pain

And conquer Life and Death.'

I gripped his hand and found myself

Drenched in light.











Everyone asked

Who covered his face?

Why is the lifeguard still asleep?

There in the deep water

Float the three who want to live

They will certainly drown soon.

Why does he not wake up?

Why has he not heard their cries?

Who will save the poor three?

Shouted the agitated crowd.

A voice broke out,

‘Papa, he does not move

The lifeguard does not move.’

The boy’s father climbed up the stairs

‘Yes, the lifeguard does not move,

He is not alive.’

Why did he die?

Who could have saved him?

No one seemed to know

The gathered soon melted away

Leaving the three to drown.



















The azure sky

Burnished and clear

Waits for light

To reveal the truth.


Truth remains

Covered by gold

The golden glow

Shuts the eye.


This noble sight

Meets the eye

As the early morn

At each sunrise.





*Grammar Of Life



The people gathered below my window roared in approval,

They were happy and no longer confused;

I had shown them the way to balance their thoughts and words

And synthesize sound for proper extraction of its meaning;

I had taught them the grammar of the mind.

I had revived their urge to know and learn.

I was happy too.


And then,

A child hidden within me raised his head

And asked -

‘Of what avail is this grammar if the grammar of life is not known?'

I had anticipated many questions but not this one,

The child within me had not lost his way,

He knew about the struggles that life held in store,

And about the uneasiness,

And he knew about the tussle of the mind with life

That involved the belligerency of two opposite forces.

I knew the child within me had lost his innocence,

He had seen my efforts to overcome my being.













Not far from the bay's shore with a book in hand

I don a worried smile and stand to brave the biting wind,

There lies the island that was coloured more emerald than plain green

Where the houses built with jewel-studded gold bricks lined up the streets,

Neatly shaded and filled with laughter,

Criss-cross the well-fed towns peopled by the mighty and the bright.

Valmiki has said such a place does exist ruled by a tyrant;

He also spoke about the war, general destruction, and the death

Of that ruler and his evil clan.

I wonder how and why the mighty and intelligent of that land

Allowed suchlike creatures to rule.

Behind me, I can still hear the woeful cry of hunger and pain,

The same that I suffer

And wait for the boat to take me across the bay.

















*End of A tryst


Last night he did come to me

He did not say why

He did not appear sad

He did not want to speak

I did not dare ask why


He was my elder and a wise one

He had taught me the way

To walk the path of life

He had died more than thirty years ago

I adore him as the lone God I knew

He gave me life

I have no other object of worship


I need not have wondered

Had I read the signs prominently displayed

On the sky and the earth

There was no tumult

I need not have worried

Had I been awake and seen him approach

He is fond of me

I was asleep then


I sensed his presence I had come awake

I knew he wants to take me

To the place where there never is any night

That the perpetual light will not blind me

He had promised me

He would come at the right time

Accompany me on the last lap of my journey

I could not tell him I was tired


He was a good teacher

He had kept me prepared

I could surrender my mind

I could control my breath

I had no other preparation to make




*Eternal Love


Seven days will do

Twenty is too many to woo her

She can be mine

Every day

I shall send her a bunch of fresh roses

Soaked with my love for her

The roses will not wither

They will smell the same all-day

I shall stand in front of her window

Sing to her new melodies fine

And get a glimpse of her

I know she knows me

On the seventh day

She will open the window

Smile and wave at me

I shall approach her then

She will open the door

And emerge dressed in her best finery

And fall into my arms

I shall hold her very close

Enamoured by the radiance of her face

The brightness of her eyes

And the softness of her lips

I know seven days will do to woo her

She will be forever mine













*Growing Old


‘Help me descend the staircase.'

I had asked;

He took my hands and gently guided me,

My grandson is my closest of friends.

He knows about my sore back,

That I suffer pain and much unease,

Without my cane, I cannot walk around.

He wanted to take me to the park

To make me relish the evening breeze

And meet his school-mates who lived nearby

I did not protest.


Soon I settled on a wooden bench

Surrounded by pairs of inquisitive eyes;

I could gauge their differing curiosity,

They wanted the child in me to emerge.

Only a child can read a child’s mind;

They quickly knew I was a child

As careless and free as one can be;

Those innocent eyes could find my start

Hidden beneath the pile of congealed dust

Many thousand years old,

This is that made me old and shy.

I did not close my eyes.
















Using an old steel pliers

He extracted the entire goodness out of me

And hid it in a leather-pouch he carried

I bled profusely

The pent-up evil burst forth to attract more of it

And the white marble floor was a dull grey

Where I stood to wonder what else was there

Inside me that I could easily lose

There was hardly any goodness left to protect me

I was worried

My eyes sought the last flicker of twilight

That seemed to have vanished all of a sudden

But I did not see any evil or noble apparitions

Floating about

Fear had not set in yet

The air had not acquired an acrid stink

A stink rises from the soot-covered pot in which

Brewed morbid thoughts stagnated

Outside the leaves had yellowed

And the talk was on to ignore me

I had expected summons issued by the keeper of Time
















Be brief O Wind, when you describe to me

The outcome of your flow across lands and seas,

About the people you meet,

About their constant struggles, conflicts, and strife,

About their plentiful dreams and lingering hopes,

About their worn-out smiles and salty tears,

About their words of praise, and anger and hate,

About their fervent swells and listless waits,

Describe to me all these while I sit in wait

To hear you speak, O Wind, most eagerly.

I have never been there where you have been many times before

Nor seen those things that you have seen time after time.


Silence greets me instead; I feel let down,

You have declined my call O Mighty Wind,

Even when I know the sustaining fact,

You are the light and the life force,

The sound and touch are your attributes

You are stable as the sky you roam.

Your refusal I find is sarcastic and sharp indeed,

You blew over me as though I had no ears

That I would not hear your scream loud and clear,

Other than me who else is here with whom you can freely talk;

I know you have, ignoring the roar of foaming waves,

Asked Time to stay still,

And also told the clouds to hide the luminaries

When those possessed of eyes do not see or hinder,

And you have gone by without telling me anything about

Your recent dares that I had very much wished to know,

But wait I shall for your return,

O Wind!



And, thus it was -

When I ventured forth to seek you, I faltered;

My stride unsure I missed a step

And stumbled,

And upon reaching you

I could not behold your presence,

My dazzled eyes could not see you,

I could not find words to hail, praise or describe you

Or seek help or tell others of my strange plight;

My lips were dry and painful,

I could hardly breathe,

My limbs were numb,

And no longer was I hungry or angry;

I was in emptiness I could not describe.

I found

That things I thought were mine were not so;

There was a feeling of distinct nearness,

But there neither was light nor darkness,

There were stillness and an unspeakable quiet.

I seemed to have lost my bearing and track of direction,

I could not locate my starting point,

I found all avenues closed for me;

In your presence, I had reached the place of no return.












*Heed The Voice Of Destiny


I heed the voice of destiny;

I know that voice;

Muted thunder,

It does not agitate hidden fears.


The spell cast,

Spots removed,

Wrinkles eased,

The clothes I wear now cover me.


Dazzled are my eyes

By the brilliance and glory

Of what they see;

The process of learning initiated

My mind rejects dreams;

It has found meanings in the heard.


I know the Truth,

O Waters do fill me!

Protect me

I cannot see my body

It should not die.
















*House On The River Bank


There is the house on the riverbank amidst thick trees,

It has been my home all my life come rain or sleet,

The river-waters splash in a rhythm I always follow

The birds flying about tweet the songs I write;

The fish dance while in search of love the butterflies

They scamper hither and thither flaunting their colours,

Caressing and kissing each flower and the deer run about

In the garden, my favourite place to rest

My tired bones and sinews after walking up and down

On the path leading to my home and towards a heath

Where silence dwells undisturbed and peace prevails

And some lonely men, like me, freely explore its spread;

There, long hours I have spent inspecting a deep trough

Filled to the brim with my old tattered wants and aims

I have replaced them with new dreams I mean to realize;

I can divulge my dreams only to those who seek to know.















I never thought

This could happen,

While flying

I had captured air

By my wings

And did not let it go,

And fell.

I saw a resume

Of my life spent


Flash past.

I was proud

Of my being

But could not stop

My fall;

I was indeed selfish,

I intended to possess

The air I rode.


*I Am Always Alone


I have grown old,

My hairs are all white,

And my eye-sight is failing rapidly;

I no longer trust my body.

I am now left

With the strength of my mind

And the will-to-live

Which make me think and reflect

Over my past-experiences.

The intimacy with myself is rent

And I have never cared to inquire

About the kind of world hidden within me;

I have never thought

About my final moorings

And I have never been informed

About the sweet nectar of true happiness

Available everywhere.

I have tried to wander on my own

And refused miracles,

But where ever I go

I swiftly follow me

As if I exist yet do not exist,

To remind me that I am always alone.

















A mysterious void

Deep within me

Awaits an intrusion

I am game.


My mind is light

It has filled the void

And scraped its inside

Thoroughly clean.


Mystery solved

The same void now

Surrounds me;

It infuses fear.


Come! Tell me

Who will extract me?



*Let’s Talk


Let's talk about the world existing beyond the Sun,

Beyond all thoughts, dreams, and imagination;

Let's talk about the world that is beyond our reach

Controlled by a single invisible entity.

Let's talk about the world existing beyond beliefs and premise

Beyond conjectures and wildest speculations;

Let's talk about the world beyond the range of sight

Where only the sightless dare venture deep.

Let's talk about the world as the reason and base

For the learned and the seekers to work and gain,

Let's talk about the world from where no one returns.




*Lone Recourse


Your fidelity is in doubt,

Any mention of love and constancy

Made referring to you, my love,

Would it not have shamed you!

You ask me to recite

My plight of separation from you,

That I cannot;

I do not remember

The pain I had suffered

Even when watching you walk away;

Ask me if you will -

Whether I am eager to wait

For your return.









The woman, selling glass-bangles on the pavement across the street where I reside,

Suddenly raised her head, looked at me with her left eyebrow arched and held high,

And asked -

‘Why do you suffer loneliness?’


I have lived here ever since I was born, and I knew this woman to be sensible, intelligent and educated,

This world was her classroom and each trinket her teacher.

Even the bangles she sold had told her about their brightness, transparency, and brittleness.


But, I did not know why she found my loneliness intriguing.

I had never spoken to her about the loneliness I enjoy.

I have no surviving relative or any friend to talk to or about.

Because I am in silent conversations with the mind

I am never alone.


When I told her this truth she slowly lowered her eyes,

Quietly stared at her wares

And smiled,

To let me know about her loneliness.












*Somewhere To Somewhere


Somewhere here and there lie scattered my dreams

That I had often revised to suit my needs and whims

Such as sheer playfulness to anger, gaiety to shame.


Somewhere in this wilderness lies buried my hopes

For a better tomorrow, brighter days and life of ease

Ready to tackle might with rights, wants with feelings.


Somewhere rests in the darkest corner of my heart

An unravelled notion of high being and foremanship

I haven't cared to own, implement or seek its repair.


Somewhere high-up atop a tall tree an eagle's nest

Waits for the eggs to hatch, for the chicks to appear;

Must I watch the hatchlings vie for food and notice?


Somewhere high up in the snow-clad mountain chain

My mind dives and soars as preying eagles often do

Not in search of food but in search of a new thought.


Somewhere in my mind, the churning of past deeds done

A thought has begun to take shape and steadily grow;

It is exciting, revolutionary, independent and progressive.


Somewhere in the vast crowd, there is an eager person

Ready to share, and study my thoughts and let me know

The extent of its veracity, intensity and essence distilled.


Somewhere though from far away, I still hear a sitār strum

The Rāga Bahār at midnight during the season of joy;

There is the spread of colourful delight for all to taste.














My friend was narrating

Her side of loneliness

And, all of a sudden

Without a word

Walked away into the dark night.



I found her,

Lit by starlight,

Standing on the river bank,

As it were, measuring the river flow;

There were no tears in her eyes,

She seemed reconciled.

Fate could not always be cruel;

She must wait for better times

Which she knew was not far off

Now that

She had seen the dawn smile on her,

In it seen his face aglow

Like when he often crushed her in his arms;

She knew his love for her was alive.

And quietly,

She turned her face towards me;

The glint in her eyes

Betrayed her heartfelt relief.













*The Third Eye


The wind tells me - ‘I am visible.'

I can feel the briskly moving formless air

Brush by my side and touching me,

Caressing and goading me;

This much is its visibility.


The air, the carrier of sound, is also formless.

A conch-shell tells me - ‘The sound I gather is visible.'

When I press that shell to my ear

I can hear the gurgle and the gush

Of water rolling down the hill-slopes,

I can even hear the sounds of the rushing wind.

This much is the visibility of sound.


The rose tells me - ‘The odour I spread is visible.'

I can smell its drifting scent carried by the wind.

The bird now resting on a branch tells me -

‘The song I sing is also visible.'

I can hear the measured lilting notes of that song.

This much is the visibility

Of the aroma and the notes carried by the wind.

All these are visible to me because of my mind, my third eye.












*Seeking Reprieve


They were a group of four,

Variously seeking -

Wealth, power, long life and fame;

I was their guide.


I had warned them

Not to retrace their footsteps

Fearing water and wind,

The sprawling space,

And the fiery tongues of fire;

They paid no heed.


They were impatient

And could not wait,

To which anxiety

They soon succumbed

And I did not save them.


Here I am,

At your doorstep,

Worried and dazed,

Seeking a reprieve.
















*Sideways Glance


Your sideways glance tells us all

Things we had done in haste have all gone wrong

Efforts wasted

We have achieved nothing we could boast about

Utter failures we both have been we do know now

We can already see the world laugh at us jeeringly

The people gathered whom we trust

They have not rejected us yet


They mean to exploit our plight

We ought to have clung to our ancient beliefs

And not spiked our thoughts with turgid un-naturals

Avoided facing the roaring waves of change headlong

Held on to the dirty sheets covering our nakedness

And not for a moment lost sight of the sinister flames

Erupting from deep within

We ought to have been patient

We ought to have waited for our eagerness to subside

And rechecked our aims

My friend

Your sideways glance says it all















Do not serve me your wine

It is not as exciting as your eyes.

I have come to forget forever

My present and past

And all my old dreams,

A load that is difficult to bear.

Help me build my memory anew

That is elegant and easy,

Does not have any dark side,

Lightning flash or decorations

Even so, filled with our love.

My mind is yours

Take hold of it,

Carve it, as you will yours.




*Forsaken Place


The place where we often met

Found each other young and dreamy

Sat on the green grass

In the shade of a mango-grove

Spoke of love through our eyes

Chose body touch to convince

Convinced together gazed at the stars

In search of one such cheerful world

That would accept us as we are

Peaceful, happy and full of love

Alas! It is a deserted place now

Not even a blade of grass grows

There are no shade-giving trees

No flow of wind that excites

Maybe the stars have also dimmed

The sky receded furthermore

Even though we who loved still live.





I stand between two rivers

That mocking logic and reason

Flow in opposite directions

And make me laugh;

Stretching my arms wide open

I keep my palms skywards turned      

To sense the rushing air

And curb my laugh.


The nights are invitingly gentle

They offer peace and calm

And a rejuvenating silence

That makes me laugh;

Sitting on a pile of sand

While counting the lit-up stars

I watch my shadow lengthen

And loudly laugh.


*Jewels In The River-bed


‘Pebbles, the jewels of the river-bed,

Hardly move and do not shine during day-time,'

Said the little bird

Perched on an over-hanging branch of a mango-tree

Whose shadow now fell on the river's rippled surface;

‘They stay wet and muddy,

About which the river-creatures do not complain;

After nightfall, these jewels are not visible even to the very keen eyes.'

She added.


I had just befriended the Koel, the dark Indian songbird.

I had stood on the river's temple-side bank

Taking in the Beas not in flood peacefully flowing,

And marked my return to my paternal village after more than six decades;

I had spent my childhood here, at times, picking up and storing these pebbles.

Even though I have retired from service,

My friend, Satnaam, still runs a bakery in the village;

I have come to attend his daughter's wedding.

When I left the village to continue my studies and then find my place

He had gifted me three unique pebbles cleaned and dried;

These three pebbles have remained with me wherever I have gone.


He had then said -

‘Ravinder, this black shiny white-streaked pebble can be the object of your worship;

It can relate you to your personal God;

The green teardrop-shaped one is more expensive than diamond;

It will reveal the good and the bad in you, and the intensity of your love and devotion;

And lastly the third, which is milky-white with a few grey spots on it,

It will make you inquisitive, healthy, wise and contented.'

His explanation had not lasted more than four minutes;

Satnaam, then almost my age, was a young wise child;

It took a long while for me to realize this truth.


From the first pebble, I learned about the various perspectives and viewpoints involved

To realize the good qualities that exist and needed to be imbibed;

This was my primal education;

My learning prepared me for the knowledge of the opposites

Signified by the green teardrop-shaped pebble;

And by the milky-white one,

The mastering of the process of knowing the opposites made me inquire more,

Cleansed my mind, keeping it healthy and intense;

My journey has not been easy.


The pebbles I see on the river-bed need never shine;

The live water flowing in the river has made them absolute;

Watching this engagement has made me a possessor of fortune,

I too, having discarded all other thoughts, am equally complete;

I am these pebbles and also the water flowing over them;

I am the same bird willing to guide.











*Lost Memories


This morning when I woke up

I felt whatever I had was lost

Try I did I remembered nothing,

Not even my name and my home,

Or my familiar street and its sign-post,

The differently shaped doors and windows,

Opening on either side

Probably hiding the inane quietness and loud cheers,

The laughter and the whispers,

And the tracings of old meaningless social and physical conflicts

That had always invited cultivated taunts and jeers

Seen boldly etched

On the grey surface of slates that line the block.


Someone had stolen my memories,

The memories that pleased me

They were also those that pained me;

These memories had helped me sort and count

My days and nights, my needs and deeds,

My rights and sights, hopes and dreams,

Expirations and inspirations,

And goaded me to live and let live;


I never needed to have my memories erased.

But as the sun is seen descending

The person within me tells me -

Not to lose faith

But wait for the night to recast its spell,

Recall my oft-repeated dreams;

Dreams that are memories

They join hands with open and hidden intents

And revive old memories again and again.







So be it

I must hear

The silence,

I heard myself say

Unto me


It is destined

I must hear

The seldom heard


Meant to awaken

The real me


That silence

Sharp and single

I did hear

It entered me

And brutally

Tore away

From me

My mind


I was not injured


At once

I found my true self

And savoured peace


I needed

Nothing else









*Scent Of Rose



Coloured pink and red

And their rosy fragrance,

They liven up my dreary world

By adding love and zeal

And making all else glow.

But, their sturdy thorns,

They too are present

Deadly stiff and sharp,

And tell a different tale

Of danger and distress,

Of varying pain and wrong,

And divergent surmise.






*The Void


Across and beyond the baffling maze of torturous thoughts

There is the void strange and fearsome,

Dark and dingy, cheerless and seedy, dry and rabid.

No one has tried to breach it

Or fill it with ideas and dreams;

Thus I was told when I had barely learnt to think aloud.

Ever since,

Failing in my attempts to locate it anywhere else outside

I had long ago turned inwards

And dwelled deep and deeper,

With eyes closed and mind relaxed

Blindly probed the pithy inner darkness

In search of the invisible indicatory ray of light

That leads the way;

I found -

This was indeed true

That the kind of void which I could not ordinarily see

Did exist polluted

By my implorations and reservations amiss,

Which void I had to cleanse,

Make it agreeable to my unsteady urges

That continues to block my view and my progressing maturity.

I also found -

I did not harbour any fear or anxiety,

Doubt or misgiving,

Or lost my nerve and hold, hope and standing;

In some complicated way,

I would have reached the place I needed to be.

The verification I sought

Was not an immediate essential

The tastes and scents that lingered did not vary,

And that,

Regardless of purpose and faith,

Purity and truth,

Throughout the course of my existence

The mind-created void would still exist.

Therefore, with my being neatly sealed

And left alone in my self-created wilderness

I had no choice,

I could not escape from myself.














*To ______


O Pretty face, tell me how my love affects you,

I cannot otherwise know about its truthfulness,

I cannot have the measure of your attachment,

I cannot have the feel of your sincere response.

Your eyes are a deep mystery difficult to solve

And your quivering lips let out no words that can

Erase the accumulated doubts that plague my mind.

Why do I harbour doubts at all I wonder and fret;

Your aloofness and silence I am not able to bear;

Your drooped eyelids seem to have shut the door

That in a fit of frenzy I had opened wide to allow

My thoughts and emotions to hold you close to me.

How else could I have told you about my love's reach?

How else could I have told that you are dear to me?

















*To my Wife


Just as I thought,

It was you who peered through

The parted curtains you had stitched

And saw me sitting at my desk

Write a song to you;

At once I knew,

Inside you,

You could hear me sing that song;

My songs make you sway with their beat.

Our love is surely not fragile;

Strongly entrenched,

It seeps through our pores,

Scents the air with itself

And enamoured

We find ourselves in each other’s arms

Very closely held

As though inseparable.

And, now as always,

The flamboyant gulmohar-flowers and the parakeets

During the day-time,

And the fragrant jasmines and the nightingales

Through the night,

Narrate our tale again, and again;

They fill the air with our songs.














*What If I Had Never Moved


When I moved they thought the world would move with me,

They were all narrow-minded,

The parts of me that were fast asleep.

They had closed their eyes and their ears too

And did not wish to see me stir or hear my cries,

But wanted the world to move with me

After I had changed my demeanour to suit my pride;

They were willing though to see me take this slide.

What if I had never moved?







*Valley Of Faith


The peel of bells

Resound in the valley

Of faith

Where there is no fear

No doubt and no anguish

But a serene flourish

Of Belief

Their sound, pause and rhythm

Draws me to the place

Where I will surrender

All that I have

I will reach there

My mind attuned

Will not protest


It will seek me

To merge with me

And make me complete

Once complete

I will find my identity

I must hasten my pace.

















*Vacant Sky


Must I look at the vacant sky

And deepen the rent I have already caused

By my cries and screechy wails

In tune with the thunder of the gods.


I have used my eyes to scrape the sky,

Nary a drop of blood is seen to flow

Who will now sow doubt again

Alienate once more the searched and found.


The blueness of the sky cannot change;

I see dark clouds gather,

The solar heat that governs their birth

It will not fade overnight.


I must not look at the sky.




*Vagueness Profound


My mind infected by doubts and fears

Unable to decipher even common words

And unable to reveal the hidden truths

Does not care to lend its helping hand.


My heart affected by a feral defiance

Much confused it seems has lost its way

No longer able to maintain its rhythm

Has made me ask - Whither I am bound?


I stand listening to the sound of waves

Trying to find the meaning I seem to miss

The ebb and flow of the sea known to me

It has made me probe its inviting depths.


I do not wish to leave the cosiness of sleep

Nor wish to wake up at each sunrise

Or hold on to the strands of strewn thoughts

Because of my various likes and dislikes.


Light shadows slowly creep up the hill

They blur the ruins lit up by the stars

An owl hoots loudly for its mate

A snake slithers up to the treetop.














*Till They Shed Their Petals


There are the sharp thorns

Protecting the rose buds;

I shall not touch those buds yet,

I shall not risk shedding my blood

But give the buds

The needed time to open,

Sprinkle scent,

And show their colour

To the bees and the butterflies

That flutter about in wait.

With the buds in full bloom

I shall sit beside the roses,

Admire their colour,

Relish their fresh aroma

And be inspired

To write an ode in their praise.

But I must act fast;

I should not wait

Till they shed their petals.

*The Drift



Tell her -

It is her indifference

That has let my love for her

Suddenly die;

All my intense feelings and resolve,

They too in tatters lie.

It is time I must finally end

My enduring wait,

And forever destroy

My hopes, longing, and dreams.


Need I be angry?

Need I be harsh?

Need I punish myself?

When I know –

She is the one I deeply love;

The very thought of her

Brightens my day,

All things appear pleasing and inviting;

My countenance is cheerful

And I have many tales to narrate.

How can I ever forget her?


I cannot end my wait -

My hopes and dreams,

They will survive to haunt me.

I cannot end my wait -

My voice will still echo and respond.

I cannot remain quiet,

The trend of my narration cannot change;

Sobriety and sadness will prevail.

Must I put up with this plight?


The very thought -

Whether she loves me or not,

Does not bother me;

I only know that I love her.

Why should I fret?

I can live with her memory.

If you must go to meet her, my friend,

Tell her nothing about me

And my love;

If she were to inquire

Tell her -

I do not exist.














*The Pain


The pain I endure O Mother it refuses to subside.

I did not know about pain gifted to me at birth

I had cried out aloud,

Sought attention, help and relief;

Your soothing touch made me forget the pain,

I closed my eyes and embraced the darkness.


Each moment I have lived ever since carries the scar

Caused by the variety of pain peculiar to those moments;

Happiness too has come my way but sparingly.

The torment of pain has limited my range of vision,

I am unable to accept, contradict or negate the proven and the unproven,

I am unable to deliberate, reason or discern

I am unable to turn back the clock that continues to tick

Though I have always wanted to know -

After planting the seed how had my father protected his self now within me?

Why did he choose to experiment through me?


My father was a good teacher,

He had brought me awake and made me gradually aware

Thus initiated in me the ancient quest to know and extend my finds;

I know my existence, it is limited by space and time

Abiding by his instructions, I have learnt and indeed grown wise.

I know that birth is painful, life is painful and death is painful;

I know that pain is at the roots of good and evil,

As the prompter of all actions and discoveries,

As the scarcely noticed cause of all emotional bonds;

Therefore, I have boldly borne the pain of life

But tell me, Mother,

Why should I suffer the impending pain of death?


I have travelled far over three scores and eleven years

That I have lived

My limbs are tired, and my body and mind endure pain,

You are here with me.

I want you to hold my hand,

Help me close my eyes and seek anew

The primaeval shelter that was mine,

The familiar darkness I had left long ago.










*The True Bend


Yesterday, a feature ran

From page to page

That spoke about my breeziness,

Extolling virtue of romance

In simple words and loving feel

That made my wings to sprout and spread

To fly across strange hills and dales,

And rivers and lakes,

To richer fields and paradise,

A virtual feast for open eyes

To view the world as we see it.

But, there are those who never fly,

Who cannot see, who do not see

The written word that initiates;

Even though they can hear

The chosen word

That tells the tale

Of many deeds

Of daring done

By faceless men of great prowess

Proud of sprees and mindful bids,

Reminding them of their pains

Wasted and in vain.

For those who listen but do not see

Such tales have neither life nor give;

They dull their mind,

Diffuse the spark

And turn them blind;

Without any name or any form,

They do not see how Nature works;

Their eyes and smiles have lost their gleam,

These two jewels no longer shine.









*The Swan In The Lake


You are mistaken, O Swan in the lake!

From behind the cover of your closed eyelids

Do not say you can actually see and feel,

That you are aware, knowing and just,

And have performed your duties and works;

You cannot be the better judge of your mind.


Do not befool yourself, O Swan in the lake!

You have not left your watery perch and flown away;

You have not reached out to those who care for you

If you do, then you will certainly know why

The surface of your lake is very still

And at the lakeside covered with trees

There is no one to share your worries and beliefs.


You are a very lonely being, O Swan in the lake!

















*The Unknown Force


An unknown force

Keeps alive in space

Resounding in all directions

A lone primordial note

That binds and soothes

All vibrant objects moving about

Tracing varied paths

In search of new horizons!


The same unknown force

Granting sight to the sightless

Though attitudinally feared and liked

Makes them see the lit-up world

Which it intrudes and covers

Continues to weave patterns

Upon the invisible and elusive

Fabric of Time!


And the same unknown force

Seemingly devoid of purpose

But seen frolicking with

The two opposing extremes

Muddling the middle

Momentarily forgets

Its might and reason

While creating variants!


It is the same unknown force

Whose whisper is often heard

When a person is alone

Guides ideas and things

Towards their fated goals

It is the voice

That emanates from deep within

And emulates the lone primordial note.





Unforgettable Smile


After forgetting your name

I am asked to forget your smile,

Your smile that had made me

And others in the crowd sprightly and bright,

Reminded me of our extensive gaiety and profound relief

The traces of which can be found in the brick-red corridors

Where celebratory shouts and screams still resound;

Those were the days of my bold and playful youth.

I have forgotten your name

But tell me! How can I forget your face and smile?

Till this day its mere recollection revives fading dreams,

Impels my urge to search and find

The foible I had earlier hid;

I am unable to remove the fault called curiosity

That endangers trust and belief and fails to cement my place

Among those able to see the Unseen;

I know, you have never smiled to yourself

At least help me look for the infinite tide.

















He said excitedly

‘You know the way

Let us quickly walk up to the sky

The domain of the one who sees everything

And does not miss anything

Let us invade that domain

And steal the thunder.'


Halting he gasped for breath

He had come running from below

There darkness reigns

And all is quiet


He had remained confined

For very long

But now assured of release

Could not contain his anticipation

He thought he could rule the world

Tense he was

Blood rushed through his veins

Good fortune won his freedom


Gently I held his hand

And guided him up to the sky

His eyes dazzled by its brilliance

He could see nothing else

Not even the world he had just left












*Where Are The Words


Through open windows and the door

A refreshing air from my garden has just poured in

Filling me with promises and invites

I cannot ignore

Because I have tended the flowerbeds

And waited for flowers to timely bloom,

Seen them sprinkle colours and scents,

And sing in my mind love and life

These I mean to preserve for eternity

In between the lines, I am about to write.

How else can I describe sincere and open intensity!






*Where I Live


My friend,

You need to help yourself,

All other means are outmoded;

Try to find me earnestly

Instead of asking me again and again

To let you know where I live;

You want to be with me, this I know.

I live within you and outside too

As a grown-up and as a child,

As a learned person and as a novice;

In whichever form you see me in that way

You are bound to find me here and there

And immediately beside you,

That is where I live.

I live everywhere.

For me, there is no space and no distances

And no boundaries,

The whole creation is where I live.

Your form is my form,

And at any given moment

I am all the little and big things that exist;

I have never been difficult to find,

You will see me everywhere at all times,

Where else can I be?














*Winsome Anger


Roused all of a sudden

From her deep sleep

She did not complain

But stood aside to verify

If that particular hour had come

When she was free to ignite

Those very emotions

That had been infamously inflamed

By the few evil pretenders

Armed with virtue and truth;

She was in no hurry,

She knew the firmness

Of her resolve

To destroy

And also oppose any rebuild.


I asked her -

‘Aren't you associated

With unreasonableness? '

‘I am, ' she said,

‘I am known as anger,

The forerunner of hurt, discord, and bloodshed;

Unreasonableness feeds my fire.'


I simply stared at her face,

It was beautiful and enchanting,

I could trace no evil;

I looked at her eyes,

They were bright, calm and peaceful;

I did not sense fury or terror.

Believe me,

I could have forever held her in my arms.








*You Have Called me A Pearl


You have called me a pearl,

Neither black nor white or grey,