Friday, October 25, 2019

Us on the beach

The afternoon sand touches your feet
Giving way under the heel and toes till
Gently the high arch comes down upon it.
It stays firm then embraces the foot
As if this intimacy is its sole purpose.

It rubs your heels and papers away
The limpets of time and tiredness.
Gently upbraiding them
Till they are gone

These uncountable skeletons of tiny beings,
That once were the life of the seas.
Were brought to rest by the tide
And pounded by the waves
Until this coarse powder was all thats left.
Now its at your feet.

My gaze shines on your feet, ankles and shin.
Luxuriating, living in the moment,
We are here together
Sharing a small little forever

Now you sit in the sand
And fill your hands with it
Look at me and say
Take a photo
And start building a castle
With the beige, brown sand

I look for the right angle and moment
when there is no one else in the frame
To capture just you
You, My truth in this frame of lies
designed by my blind mind
To add to the deprivation of those who see it.

And I take another picture
Of your hands, just your hands
That ended in the slender fingers,
Cased with the rings I'd bought
For each time I was away
Somewhere else,
Gazing at a beautiful vista
Alone,
These lovely fingers
with these rings of guilt, of loneliness

I sit with the Sun behind me
So that i can catch the light on your face
But you are looking around
For more sand
without cigarette butts, straws and bottle caps,
And then you look up and smile,
Just a bit to show me
That you know what I'm thinking,

Your castle is all done
A sand castle
That's how it is
dreams built
With what others leave behind
Of their impermanent existences

And at night the sea will come
To remind these patted and shaped remainders
Of how things are.
Lest they forget the lesson of millenia.

Monday, May 20, 2019

No knuckles on the chest

They were making faces. From behind the glass doors she could see them laughing at her as she tried to find cover in the awning with her youngest on her hip. The weather in North Carolina was sure getting funny. Unseasonal rain. In this cold summer day it was the last thing they needed.

The people on the other side of the glass were families and groups of children would come to see them. Her. Flora and family. Her brood. A brood she gave birth too now that her partner Jack was dead. He died escaping. He managed to get just a little away till a guard shot him.

Flora was concerned that her youngest should not catch a cold. If she did, they would take Baby away from her. Just like they did with Amy. She never returned.

The rain grew slowly and ignoring the crowds indoors behind the glass wall, Flora kept Baby on her hip and sat down under the meager protection that a small overhead ledge offered against the rain. Chewing a blade of grass she looked out across her pen. Born and brought up in this pen that she inherited from her mother, Flora had become inured to human visits and inspection. The only time they took her out was when she was very young. They had taken her away from her mother to appear on a TV show for children. She was introduced as a silverback gorilla from central africa. She wondered what Africa would be like. She had never been there. Her mother like her grandmother had been born in captivity. They spoke rarely but it was clear that Flora had always been resigned to her fate of captivity and performance. Her only channel of education after her mother passed away was a small tv screen that she would catch reflection of sometimes.

She sat still for hours trying to make sense of what she saw in it. In it she saw A world where there were many like her.
Roaming free with many trees. So many that there was no end to it. Africa.

She had started watching these things just to avoid looking at the humans and the stupid faces some made looking at her. They also made sounds like macaws or stupid monkeys. Maybe the monkeys were teaching them their language.

But the more she watched the screen the more she  grew aware of her captive status. The more she was aware, the more she resented it. And didn't want to have such a life for her young.

But she learnt. The rain was getting heavy and most of her troop was getting very antsy. Gingerly moving about under whatever protection was available. The humans somehow found it funny and they started doing what they do in such
Situations. Laughing and looking at each other as if to see if the other is seeing the same thing or not. Some clapping. Children screeching with joy. Why don't they clap and laugh when humans run for shelter in the rain? Why should we be so funny? With these thoughts she rose and saw that the doors of their den had finally been opened and she took Baby and went inside. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

In the dark dank cave water had already found its way. But it was just a trickle. Yet.

A scream and then another and then many more. From the viewing gallery. fearing the worst Flora went out only hoping that the juveniles had not got into a serious fight. She came out slowly, cautiously. The mobile cameras that are in any case out and working in this enclosure were all pointed at a spot in the pen. Still she couldn't see what caused the commotion. Humans sure had small hands. If they were to make mobile phones for gorillas, they would be much bigger, like a tablet maybe. But the few that dropped in the pen scared her as she was not used to seeing her reflection.

Ah there it is. Immediately, Flora sensed that this could be deadly situation. A human baby had fallen in the pen. Her first thought was of Baby. She looked at the opening of the den. No one. But she knew what she had to do. She slowly went up to the infant and kept her distance. Back to it in fact. Looking out for the juveniles. The moment they came she gnarled at them so hard that they jumped scared. The eldest wasn't having any of it and  gnarled right back. This could get deadly any moment. Flora kept ignoring the infant and focused on getting the males inside the den.

She had to fight and growl and do all the things males do. Finally, she got them inside. There's nothing stronger than curiosity in a gorilla. And with such behaviour, Hector the dominant male didn't like it at all. Inside the den, he launched into the juveniles. They didn't know if he was angry for their curiosity to see the human child or anger that they listened to Flora and meekly walked in. Must have been the latter as he stepped up to go himself. Flora knew better than to come in his way. She did however yell a warning. Royally ignored. Nobody ignores you like a giant male silverback gorilla.

Two juveniles wanted to follow him but she stood in between. She could take them on easy. And she was saving lives. Theirs. The door of the den shut and all she could do inside was listen.

The roar of Hector.
The guns going off.
The humans screaming.
 The dying screams of Hector.
It was all over in a flash.
Silence.
Then a massive cheer.
The humans must have recovered the infant.

Flora sat quietly long after the doors were re-opened. Hector's body would not be there. There would be no knuckles of hers touching his chest in the final good bye. You live your life together and then leave like that. Maybe this was the human way.

She clutched Baby tight and just wanted no other human to fall in her pen.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The elusive password

(Long read)

Once in a while it happens to me.
I have been in a few hotels of late and this time in new city I want to get the internet and that too not on my mobile data plan. Because...Just.

The last hotel I was in did not have wifi services. But this one did and I was adamant that any late night mailing, chatting and meaningless video watching will be on the hotel wifi only.

After ordering a tea to perk me up after a very long day only to not get it delivered, I went out for my pre-parandial walk in the hotel parking lot. It also served as the gathering place for the patrons of the hotel's restaurant and a group of young women quite curiously looked at me as I went brisk walking in my slippers. There was a gym too but I wasn't that motivated. The group tittered and then laughed. One of them had cracked a joke I couldn't hear, but it wasn't difficult to get it.  An old guy with a gut trying to walk it off. Why didn't I lay off the rice then ? Or maybe something stronger, possibly more biting.

Nevertheless, I finished my walk and went to the reception. The clerk looked sharp for the time of the day. Must have just started the night shift. Literally everything was tight. The hair stretched back painfully in a bun, her shirt was stretched as much as my patience is these days.  Even her smile was a struggle between a grin and a purse. Must have practiced it. She had dimples. I gave the kid a break and smiled at her, and very politely asked for the wifi password.

Half expecting to be told that the password is your last name plus your room number or another such auto generated thing. But no. She stopped and looked frantically at her co-worker. Who was the brown equivalent of the dumb blonde. She shrugged a 'whatever' and returned her attention to the urgent demands of her whatsapp chat.
The clerk's initial panic was replaced by a deliberate calm. Training taking over. She didn't try and ask anyone so it meant that the seniors had gone home. After excusing herself she went into the back room and came back and purposefully lifted the lid of the scanner part of the printer. There lay a thin green envelope that lit her eyes. Her smile widened and she pulled out a chit. The chit fell on the reception desk. Under the card swipe machine. I immediately wanted her to give me another one. But restrained myself. Besides the guys were waiting for me to start dinner. I would have to go to the room, wash my face and keep stuff then come to the table in the 5 table restaurant. Rather ambitious if you ask me. It was a kitchen with a few tables attached. And two soft drink fridges dominated the room, displaying their contents brightly in this victory of commerce over aesthetics.

The restaurant is interesting. A full service was laid out. Full. Salad fork, soup spoon, butter knife what have you. I mean I looked it up while writing this so some items were missing in there but you get the point. And the glassware was exquisite. I would say wasted on almost all the people who came here. Even the cups in breakfast service were very nice. It's too bad the water poured in them was seldom hot. To come back to dinner, it was a specially prepared pre-plated thing.

A mound of rice the size of Mt. Kalsubai and two hard baked pieces of dough masquerading as rotis that could be easily be used as grinding discs. Some greenish brown veg glop and some heavily tomatoed lentil glop. But we were thankful we got something to eat and finished our meal joking about the fact that we almost never eat as many chillies as people think we like to. I had heartburn to consider. Just thinking about it gives me some. So I asked for some yoghurt. Thank God for yoghurt. Is it short for yoga hurt?

Dinner over, I came to my room. And went to pick up the wifi password slip. I had kept it with my room key and the rather large key tag. Lifted the key tag and something came off it and disappeared mid air. Loki. I knew it. The chit had already shown me it's colours at the reception desk. And I knew it. Had to do the procedure.

Carefully moved items one by one from the writing table to the bed. Shaking my diary. Nothing, moved my leather visiting card case without opening it. And my hankie, wallet and everything till the table was bare except the Bible on it. It would be a bit much even for a Norse God to hide a Muslim's password slip in the Catholics book. Plus he's not that subtle.

I couldn't just admit defeat. For him to establish his superiority over me I had to go through the logical search. So I lifted the table. Turned on my phone torch and peered behind it. Clean as a whistle. Except dust of course. Same thing under the wardrobe. And behind it. By now I was exceeding the boundaries of the flight of an unpowered unfolded piece of paper and getting irritated too. But I knew the answer. I would not find it. Now.

I remember the last time Loki took hold of my things. One pair of clothes actually. I had packed everything and come back from Delhi and at home my wife had said that a pair was missing. I mentally retraced everything that I did before leaving the house in Delhi. Had gone for a bath. Picked up clothes brought them and kept them on the suitcase. Changed and kept the clothes inside, packed, had breakfast and left. But  you may be doing battle with the Norse God of Mischief but your wife will be the one you heed. Called him up in Delhi and he said if its here it's ok. i will wear it. Of course it was there, otherwise why would he say something like that. I knew about Loki even then but wasn't sure he'd take an interest in my mundane life.

But password hiding games? That's a new low. Then what do gremlins and gnomes do these days?

Or about the time my full battery phone died at the airport just before I had to show the ticket to enter. Sheepishly had to come to one side and restart it. Thank God (Him, the God! not Norse mischief monger) it started and I got through.

After a proportionate search I settled in bed and after reading a few mails, set my phone aside and went to sleep. Loki won. I didn't get to surf the hotel wifi.

Why didn't I just get another one? Because that's not how its supposed to be played. You're it and you're the seeker. He's the hider. Other people would have gone and asked for another one and got it. But that's why Loki doesn't play with them.

The next day when I arrived at my base, I wondered where I would find it. For I would find it. That's part of the game.

True enough. Neatly tucked inside the card case between 3 cards was the password slip. I hadn't bothered reading the password when she had handed it over. It was I3O7.  Read it upside down. I tossed it into the bin and unpacked the rest of my things.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Patr

Monotype लघु लेख

शबनम  और शाहिद दोनों बहुत नाराज़ थे।  सकीना और अस्लम भी मुंह सुजाये बैठे थे. शबनम बोली "ये कैसे लेखक हैं? अपने पात्रों को इतना स्टीरियोटाइप कैसे करते रहते हैं? इन्हें कुछ पता भी है के नहीं? क्या किसी दुसरे ग्रुह से आये हैं?" शाहिद ने चुप कराने की नाकाम कोशिश की,  वो गुर्राती रही "अरे जैसे चाहो बना लो, जो चाहो करवा लो, फिर भी वही हकीम की बेटी, कसाई की बहु, बुनकर की बीवी और तलाक की मारी अबला ! और अब नकाब की मारी लड़की! हद्द है ! मुझसे तो अब न हो पायेगा... " शाहिद बोला "अरे हम क्या कर सकते हैं? मुझे तो अब मुल्ला या गुमराह टाइप का बेकार लफंगा बनते ही ज़िन्दगी निकलती नज़र आ रही है. कभी मन करता है की ऑफिस जाऊं, बड़ा बाबु बनूँ, पर लेखन पे लेखक के सिवा किसका ज़ोर चलता है? हम कुछ नहीं कर सकते! किस्मत में ढाक के तीन पात है तो है ! तू ज़्यादा परेशान होकर कुछ नहीं कर पायेगी".  शबनम बोली "अब कुछ करना ही पड़ेगा" शाहिद का हाथ पकड़ा और दोनों निकल कर सड़क पर आ गए, वहां से बस में बैठ कर आये और मेरे दरवाज़े की घंटी ज़ोर ज़ोर से बजाने लगे।  मैं अपने कुछ पात्रों में व्यस्त था तो दरवाज़ा थोड़ी देर से खोला, जैसे खोला दनदनाती हुई अंदर आ गयी शबनम। जान न पहचान में तेरा मेहमान वाली सिचुएशन बहुत दिन बाद हुई थी मेरे साथ. मैंने कहा कौन हो तुम लोग और इतनी रात गए यहाँ क्यों आये हो?

उनके लेखक से उनकी नाराज़गी , मुझसे नए व्यक्तित्व की गुहार और एक मेकओवर की डायरेक्ट रिक्वेस्ट. मैं सुन कम रहा था देख ज़्यादा रहा था।  देखा पुराने कपडे न अह्म छुपा पा रहे थे न अंग. शाहिद ने मुझे शबनम को देखते हुए देख लिया और आंखें मीच के मुझे देखा।  मुझे लगा इनके बीच में कुछ है। फिर सोचा हो तो हो, ... अपने दुसरे पत्रों को एक एक कर विदा किया , सब चले गए लेकिन मिस्सेस डीकोस्टा को निपटाने में कुछ वादे करने पड़े । आगे जाकर उनकी कीमत अदा करनी पड़ेगी।

मैं अपनी मेज़ पैर लौटा और लिखने लगा।  शबनम को अंग्रेजी बोलने वाली, पीएचडी करने वाली लड़की के रूप में कहानी में एंट्री दी. शाहिद को आर्किटेक्ट बनाया। दोनों को फोर सीसन्स के एयर लाउन्ज में पहली बार मिलवाया। गोवा घुमाया। शाहिद को पोलो खिलाया और शादी करवाने से पहले मेरे संपादक की नज़र इनकी अधूरी कहानी पर पड़  गयी।  "क्या बकवास लिख रहे हो क़तील" उसने कहा, "घेट्टो नेम्स डोंट डांस इन द बॉलरूम। यू नो दैट" मेरा मन कहा की कहानी लिख कर अपने पास रख लूँ , पर ऐसा करने पर पात्र मर जाते हैं।  उनके नाम काट कर दीपिका और रणबीर कर दिया। 

शबनम आज बाजार में सब्ज़ी बेचती है और शाहिद मोबाइल रेपियर करता है।  उनकी ये वाली कहानी सुपरहिट हो गई . अब वो मुझसे कभी नहीं कहते की मेकओवर चाहिए. पर कभी कभी बाजार से लौटते वक़्त शबनम वाल्ट्स के एक दो स्टेप कर लेती है.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Pets left behind

You think they will evolve one day? Dess asked? Go laughed " they're meant to be pets! Next, You will expect them to speak! Making them aware of their nakedness and clothing them is all fine for playacting but these are animals. They will never be civilised."

Dess sighed and kept putting on the new outfit she got for Eve. Eve was frisky and not very cooperative. Moving about quite a bit, but not getting away totally. Dess remembered the day she had got Eve from the shelter. Thin and frail. With big saucerlike eyes.  Now that she had filled out, her eyes seemed not as big. Still her neck was turning back to the window. Actually it was a glass wall. The whole house was built of glass. Dess knew what Eve was thinking of. She smiled. Eve was fertile, very fertile. She had boundless sexual energy.

Like many Eve had taken to wearing clothes after some adjustment, but Dess  was sad that the rest of pets went around without any clothes on. Just a leash. Nobody else minded, thats how things are. Dess had to keep reminding herself that these were not her children but animals and an entirely different race. Intelligence of a 5 year old but their emotional intelligence was far higher. Sometimes Dess felt that Eve was the one who loved her the most. Her rudimentary efforts at communicating were yapping around while jumping all over Dess. She loved it.

But it was time for Eves walk. Dess put the mask on her own face. Slender face on a slender frame. this pollution is getting too much. Though it didnt affect Eve or any other animal. But all the people had to now wear a mask to go out. The earth's environment was changing too rapidly. With all the technology, the worlds leaders could do nothing. Most didn't even seem to get the seriousness of the threat.

Eve on the other hand was immediately energised when out. She strained at the leash till finally tired of holding back. She pranced around the garden and then went inside the secret place. Once inside Dess knew she wouldnt come out anytime soon. What is the blazes was she upto there? Dess knew all too well didnt she?

Once she had crawled inside and shone a light in the dark stinky place. But in the beam she saw Eve with another animal. In the light they froze. And Dess felt like she was intruding. Besides, with animals who knew what they would do if interrupted like this. Dess retreated and after that day never followed Eve inside.

Despite her mask Dess felt tired today. Suddenly she was dizzy. 'Mr. Go' she shouted but immediately fell...the next thing she knew she was laying in a room had a gas mask on and health workers were looking at her. They hadn't seen that she was conscious and she pretended to still be out.

"It's getting bad. Across the world.  We are running  short of the masks and in any case they cannot handle the load, the pollution is too much." Dr. Ravi was saying. Mr. Go had his hand on Dess forehead but his eyes were closed. He was trying to channel his Oneness, Dess knew.

Dess's thoughts suddenly went to Eve and she panicked what will happen if she comes out and finds her not there. She will panic. She cannot fend for herself. Dess calculated that she would have to stay in the hospital for at least two weeks. "Eve?" She asked Go. Just getting the word out tired her more. But she struggled to not sleep before hearing Go's reply. " With Maia. It's the best i could do in the short time. Don't worry she will be there when you return."

Dess worried. Maia is a pet fiend. She is extra nice to other people's pets and she would do her best to get Eve to like her. And Eve had already spent time with her and liked her. But she knew Eve would not love anyone like she loved her. Maybe Go. But no one else.

Things happened very quickly after that.

Dess was now old but she remembered how they had all decided that they had used up all the sustenance the planet had to offer. A new planet was found. It could sustain them. It was in the same solar system in another dimension. So far they could only communicate with the teams that had found it. But could not bring them back. The second team had confirmed that it could easily sustain life and the captain had insisted they should all leave immediately.

The leadership dithered till they finally decided when the President's wife died due to pollution. Some decisions need sacrifice.

D Day arrived and one by one thousands of giant spaceships were leaving the earth. With each ship the news was getting better. The air is as clean. Initially their bodies after decades of pollution went into some kind of shock but they adjusted quickly. and Dess was excited but her happiness at finding a new home was tarred by the Stipulation. They could not take their pets. All pets had to be left on earth.

Some who tried smuggling pets with them were caught and incarcerated. As a result the interplanetary immigration officers became stricter. All passengers were subject to a biowash to prevent contaminating the new planet.

Dess knew Eve would have to stay behind. She thought that she could help make it easy for Eve as much as possible, so she left enough food, pictures in that cave of hers, because she felt that as soon as she left Eve would be in that cave. Some kind of wild genetic coding.

It's been years since she left. And while it was all as clear as yesterday, Dess wished she could see Eve again. But she was probably dead by now. Pets had approx 20 percent of the lifetime as people. Except the turtles. She missed the animals. The pets. Earth had become inhospitable but had plenty of animals. Here it was beautiful and healthy but monotonous.

But sometimes when lying down before she fell asleep. She would imagine Eve running towards her.

Golden hair, bounding on her two legs, her forearms all synchronised with her legs. As beautiful as a horse in full gallop. Golden hairless skin and flat stomach. Small nose, red lips, big eyes, she had breasts too later on and when she ran they jiggled. It was funny and awkward at the same time.

Sometimes behind her the animal from the cave was also there. Same body but thicker, hairier and with a funny mane around his face. Most of the time he would be playing or scratching his private parts. Like a giant ape but not as strong.

On Otherearth, Dess often stared into the night sky, wondering what happened to Earth and its beautiful creatures. But had global warming not increased nitrogen by so much and reduced carbon dioxide by so much, they would still be there.

With a sigh she would turn to her side and fall asleep. Life!

Quateel Ahmad
2 Feb
2019

Sunday, January 27, 2019

YOGI THE FISH

It wasn't all roses for Yogi. But he didn't know it was worse for the others. Others  that didn't live in the deep waters of the Poorna Lake. High in the Himalayas, the Mahseer abound. But most of the fish in Poorna die of old age. nothing else.

The few locals who live here are seasoned fishermen. They fish only as much as they need. And for that there was plenty of fish. Mahseer, silver carp, trout and many more kinds. in large numbers.

Yogi's youth was energetic and he swam merrily among rocks and learnt how to hide in the shallows and dive in the deeps of his lake.  He ans the rest of his brood looked up to Chandu and Chandni, two of the biggest fish he had seen in his life. Yogi fantasised that they were his grandparents but who can tell these things... Parents is easy to know. they are the folk who keep swimming close to you without trying to eat you...
Life was all good and the water cool.

Till one day men came. In large numbers  not like the village fishermen. These were lighter coloured creatures and the fishing rod was very different from the bamboo ones Yogi used to see.  Soon enough there were insects of various types floating just below the surface. Not like local critters these were and Yogi danced around a few curiously. He saw Chandu swimming alongside and he seemed absolutely mesmerised. His eyes glassed over and he seemed like in some trance. 'Careful, that might be bait!' shouted Yogi. but it was too late. Chandu with twinkle in his eye bit it and said 'so what? If it is, I will snap the line! And then he swam powerfully away bait in mouth. Till he almost reached  his den. Then the line tightened. Chandu tensed. This was new. No village rod had that long a line.
The line started pulling Chandu back towards the shore. After a while, Chandu went to his classic move. Instead of pulling against the line he swam towards the shore faster than the man could reel and then reversed and jumped in the air before pulling away. But instead of snapping the line held firm. The eagles over head almost got him when he jumped and he realised how stupid he was to so that this early in the day. Yogi was watching all this mesmerised. Waiting for the line to break as it always did. Chandu had swam quite far away this time but the line went taut again and the reeling in began. This continued for quite some time and Yogi popped his head out to see who it was. The pale men were all standing around one fellow who had the rod and was furiously reeling it in. No spring chicken the man had a huge belly and was wearing black eyes. Chandu was furious. More at his inability to break the line than at his stupidity of taking the bait. Chandni always teased him with his penchant for shiny things. The battle raged. And Yogi watched fascinated. Chandu took the line ad zigzagged between the rocks hoping to snag it and get it stuck so that it breaks. But the line came out smoothly from the crevasses.
By now the panicked chandNi got into the act and did the only thing she knew. She went after the line. Bit hard on it. And nothing. Absolutely nothing.
 Bruised she let go. Haplessly watching the huge Chandu lose his strength. It was soon clear that it was just a matter of time before Chandu would be reeled in and made into dinner. Chandu managed a grin when he looked at Chandni his  eyes showed his fatigue yet he smiled crookedly because of the hook. And said. ' see ya on the other side my love.' and he let go. For a while the line didn't move. And he got another wind but the fight had gone out of him. He just wanted there. And just like that he was gone. The line was reeling him in speed.
And then he was out of the water. All the fish just watched. As his body left the Lake and was gone.

Yogi decided he would follow as much as he could. So from under the shade of a shrub overhang he watched as the men pulled Chandu out of the water. Cut the hook and stood around a group.theyball seemed to be looking at the man with a camera. Then they took turns to hold him and finally Big Belly got him back to hold. No one looked like they were in a hurry for a good meal. Big Belly caressed him. And the very dehydrated Chandu looked up. 'what's going on? This is not right' he was thinking.  Yogi instinctively knew what was going to happen. And the second thing he knew was he couldn't stop it from happening. Big  Belly magnanimously returned Chandu to the water. It was too shallow. For far too long. Yogi could only look on as a somewhat dazed Chandu swam for his life. Towards his den. Towards Chandni. But in one fell swoop, two eagles picked him out of the water with pincer claws and flew away from each other, literally tearing him in two. Some bits fell into the water too. And Yogi finished his soundless scream.

Chandni had turned to lead and lay at the bottom like a rock. Her shock was not to go away for long.

Young Yogi went to his mother and asked "why?"

"Why do people hunt us when they do not even want to eat us? They are not hungry. So why hunt? "

His mother looked at her son. She knew he would grow to be as big as Chandu if jot bigger but suddenly didnt feel like he would grow that old. She replied, "Because they can".

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Wwhat do i do?

Vacuous sage
Immorality rage
What do I do?

Insipid gestures
Huddled creatures
What do I do?

Angry  streets
Dismay greets
What do I do?

Border tortures
Recipro-culture
What do I do?

Widening gaps
Waterless taps
What do I do?

Cheaply sold
Girls I'm told
What do I do?

Unbroken

After all is done and the banks paid
And all the loans to rest are laid
You and I across the table
Recall the moments in price we paid

The Sunday spent working alone
Unbought the dress with shining stones
Holidays taken nowhere together
Gaping at empty neighbours houses

The car that went for a longer ride
The one that the mechanics deride
The house, tuition and pension
the three horsemen of hypertension

Skirted danger tempted fate more
Insurance got despite a horrible score
Age brings all factors to the fore
It's just a numbing, lifelong chore

It's put our lives to paid we know
We'd aimed for a better life to show
those that never cared for us
But I, would have chosen death to life

A few moments alive to long days of strife
It's too late now for us you see,
We're unbroken but bent, dear wife.

21/07/2013

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Qview: Sarkar 3

An old man running out of time. An actor running out of expressions. A director running out of touch. A writer running out of ideas and an audience running out of patience.

The story of Sarkar 3 is one of things running out. There is something about the franchise, yes it is one, that manages to pull in at least some audience. But like the last one, this one's let down by the writing.

There are some scenes I enjoyed. Many had Amitabh Bachchan and some had Manoj Bajpai, especially his speech scene. But there were simply too many scenes to sustain my interest. And most were very badly written. The dialogue leans on the original like a drunk on a lamp post. Sarkar, soch and aadmi are repeated adnauseam. The Marathi portions are shaky if not downright stilted. As regards the Plot(haha) I could give away the entire story and you would not curse me if you saw the film. It's that kind.

Technicals now, editing is non existent. This film could seriously use an editor. Even now isn't too late. The camera work swings between trademark and gimmicky. Though I quite enjoyed the dining table and the on the rocks shots. Atleast there is some thinking happening there. The art is pedestrian. The imagery focuses too much on a Lord Ganesh wall hanging in a rather eerie way. The Lord of auspicious beginnings overseeing many an end is a rather odd thought that comes. Later on I justify it with his Vignharta role.
By now I'm used to loud Ott soundtracks in movies. But the Govinda refrain And the Sarkar one grate. Badly used to create drama where there is none.

Acting is fine for those who have decided to do some of it in the film. AB, Manoj B, and and and yes the dolphins.... That's it. Those who didn't try included Sadh, Shroff, Gautam, Dhabolkar and pretty much everyone in the film.  sadh gets the honours in the trying to act but failing miserably award. Every time he came on the screen, the film's standard of acting reached a new low. The film has too many bodyguard extras... Like those in Sarkars new teeny weeny compound strutting like defective peacocks on display.

And styling, why is everyone so anal about sunglasses? Which brand has sponsored? And who styled the women? So so 90s it's not funny.. the Moll event went swimming in her lingerie. I kid you not. What RGV, you thought we wouldn't know? Maybe you need a touch of KJo in your films. Trust me they could use it. As it is this one is far from the gritty brooding genre it is supposed to belong to. At least be a proper deviant.

I wish someone would give AB a role meaty enough for his ambition because he is raring to act. But he's like a batsman given a broken stick to bat with. So you will see a lot of thespianic flailing about. Felt bad for him. Not too much though for the will pick himself up and move on.

Like I will. It could have been a good turn in the larger story. But it is what it is.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Aimless Restless Evenings

Aimless restless evenings 
lead to peaceless calmless nights
shapeless hopeless mornings follow
that baseless endless afternoons build upon
and this ceaseless cycle of ennui repeats.
Today somewhere a song plays
'Live is life'
Later they'll say I had smiled.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Expressway


Going by the expressway sights abound
Gently rolling lands by craggy hills bound
Layers of haze scatter the low sun's light
The cars they race by like a cat with fright
Black rock walls with long, dying grasses falling down
Like black supermodels with blonde locks not brown
Steel mesh nailed to the side of the cliffs
Fashion bandaged to a victim's midriff
The car glides on the expressway's incline
a magnetic marble down a serpent's spine
A stop for food that is fire on a plate
Red powdered bites of vadas that are great
Long are these journeys, in a day two
sun's down now and sights sleep too
Quateel Ahmad
18.11.2015

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Like Water For Concrete

Advertising. Would I have become a part of the industry had I known what I would be doing? Probably not. All I know is that if you did your non-IIM MBA from anywhere outside Mumbai, agencies such as Lintas would say, Don't call us, we'll call you. Possessed with no mean mind but no special literary or artistic affinity except the need to read, I found myself often wondering what I should be doing with my life. I don't have an answer yet. But advertising was something that I had to do. So I did. Did my summer training in it, my dissertation in it and sat home till I found a job in it. I worked in advertising agencies. Started as an account executive and stayed in account management till I joined a manufacturing company with own brands. It was fascinating work. Advertising agencies were not the skeletons they are now (sorry to whoever is offended. but the truth is the truth and it shall offend). The media deptt was still a part of an agency and not a separate agency. Clients paid full commission (15%) and creative charges were separate. In fact when I moved to the brand side (as it was called) it was to retain relationship with both, the media and creative, as they were being split at the agency end.

But account servicing as a function is quite a thankless task. You bring up a baby mostly someone else begat, sometimes you helped with the naming, sometimes it was the creatives who did, and often it was the client's wife. Why the baby cried was supposed to be known to the planners, while the creative and media people were the doctors. People saw you as a kind of go between (I'll get back to you and all that). A salesman. A manager. A coper. Interloper. Jokes were cracked by creative types who smoked too much and had too much coffee while producing too little creative work and that too of suspect quality mostly. Not all, but enough to make that a cliche. They were usually sulking over the last great campaign of theirs that the agency couldn't sell or the stupid client shot down. But you worked. So I did.

During my entire career especially the 10 years in ad agencies, there have been countless instances where the line had been written by me, the logo design dictated by me, event conceptualised by me, name given, this designed, that ideated... but with no credit to me. It's crazy. That's something that I think most account persons have endured. If you think up of something you're just doing your job. And if someone else does, what a wonderful job they've done! The hypocrisy came so easily and naturally that no one minded or objected. Credit has been taken by seniors, juniors, bosses, clients so many times. Everytime it happened with me, I felt charitable and didn't bother, I will get more ideas I thought and so far I always have. Thankfully.

My late mother, was always confused about what I really did. My account group head designation not helping at all here. when I showed her a few campaigns where I had written the copy she got it. But later on, when I showed her the campaigns she asked me what I had done in those. She pointed to the picture. Had I taken that? No. The words? No. Logo design? No. She kept pointing to each possible element. I gave up and started thinking. Then a few days later. thought of a brilliant answer ( I thought). So, I went to her and asked her that did she want to know what I did? She said yes, my sister had told her. So I never got around to telling her. The answer has helped shape my life since. Its simply like water for concrete. No structure possible without it. And after all is built, there is no trace of it. No cement, sand, iron can make a pillar stand without water. Yet when you break it down there is no trace of it. That's the kind of role I had Ma.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

one by one the rockers go

One by one the rockers go
life snuffed, stars are dust
tunes play my head no more
the grey jukebox almost bust
going are those riffs and tights
and eyes blinking wonderlust
few left that strut and pout
with curly mane and pelvic thrust
though no label can preserve
listeners young and old must
the stars that have gone to dust

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Dependence Ports

Dependence Ports
The doorbell rang. It never rings at this time of the day she thought. After her husband had suddenly passed away, she had been so busy trying to keep the kids schedule as unchanged as possible that she didn't even really grieve at peace. The shock and loss of it was all that she had registered. Then the numbness of chores took over. But reality was peeking in from the corners. Savings were all but over. Relatives both his and hers were suddenly talking more about their problems whenever she spoke to them. As if she and her kids were going to pile onto them!! Oh! Vivek why did you have to come home so late from work that night. At least in rush hour people can't speed and run over others cars.
She went and opened the door. A chap was standing there. Smiling but looking like a fool. Two chaps wearing shirts with ties and sunglasses indoors were there with him.
The fatter of the 2 spoke. He's your new husband, he said. She looked at the three incredulously. Was this a Faustian joke being rendered with a gujju accent? the chap explained that this new improved husband not only had a better job than her deceased husband, he was more educated too, and from the same caste and gotra as him. Many cosmetic experts had claimed him far superior in look and build too. Had no vices at all, while Vivek was known to smoke occasionally. He is extremely fond of kids too according to his mother (but she stays in another city and would never visit). He has no affairs and will never be unfaithful.
Seema looked at them amazed and open mouthed. Screams rose and died within her head. she needed to thrash these 3 people, her husband was killed by a car owned by the chap who owned these minions and now he was buying her silence. She didn't speak. Just sat down in a dining chair.
Taking this for assent, the 2 oilies in ties sat down, while the new husband wanna be came and sat next to her. He had by now wiped the fake smile off his face. He sat opposite her and told her that he would not be replacing anyone. He himself would not be allow himself to be a replacement. He looked at her with genuine concern and said, I could probably marry someone else, but you too are young. The children are young. And if you go looking for love it may be too many stressful days before something materialises. Maybe never at all. After all, she did have an arranged marriage. Except for the circumstances in which they met, they would probably like each other had they met elsewhere. She did not have yto answer immediately, she could meet him for a few days before deciding. She scornfully replied that if she said no to him, would the oilies send another chap!? In all seriousness
He said yes. They could and would.
She gaped at all in a dazed manner but her mind was working furiously. This chap was sent by the man whose hands are tainted with her husband's blood. Should she not call security and have them thrown out?... But how long before she herself would default on the rent? What then? Term fees in the school are also due... But what can be done. Certainly not this idiotic option.
Was it so idiotic? Even if she got a job will she keep the kids in the same lifestyle as before? Was she really ready to rough it out in Vivek's memory? Was their love not already strained due to his work comes first lifestyle? She heard herself saying something. Like if she agreed to give this guy a shot what would she have to do? Drop the case, was the pat answer. But its out of my hands now, she said. The police will still pursue it, they had warned her. Don't worry about the police they had said, the driver who did this had already surrendered and justice will be carried out. You just sign here and leave the rest to us. They pushed some legal papers towards her. Suddenly, she said, what if he backs out then. He grabbed both her hands and said, I won't. But the two oilies also replied, he can't. You don't worry everything will be first class.
She took the pen.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

imarat

Imarat
Main imarat hoon uske makaan ki.
Use meri haalat dikhaayee nahin deti
Wo makeen hai malik nahin
Na meri marammat uske bas ki hai
Na ab mujhse door jaane ki wo sochta hai
Wo to mujhe Ghar kehta hai
Jisme wo paida hua, khela, badaa hua,
Tab main jawaan tha, mazboot, rangeen
Mujhmein apne qad per naaz tha
Kitni shaadian mere aangan mein huin
Kitne jashn manaaye gaye
Jhagde bhi hue
Khatarnaak jhagde bhi hue
Kuch khoon ke dhabbe aaj bhi rang ki parton ke neeche dafn hain
Jhagadne waale kab ke chale gaye
In subooton ko yahan dafnaa kar
Meri seedhiyon per pyaar bhi parwaan chadhaa
Chhat ko jaane waali seedhiyon per
Bichadna neeche hi hota hai.
Barsaaton se muqaabla karta raha main
Per waqt ne halaat ne ghaflat ne
Mujhe kamzor kar diya
Ye ek shakhs jo aaj mujhe ghar kehta hai
Ek waqt tha aisa bhi ke yeh
Mujhe chhod ke jaane waala tha
Per jab iski maa ki mitti yahan se uthi
To wo jaise yahin baith gaya
Shayad apne maa ke aks to dhoondh raha hai
Mere un tukdon mein jo ab har manzil se girne lage hain
Kya usey nahin maaloom main to bus ik bejaan imaarat hoon
Uski kami main kahan se poori kar paaunga
Per mujhe pata hai uska dard
Jab wo raaton ko sota nahin hai
Apni maa se baatein na kar paane per
Jab wo apne bachhon ko kahaniyan sunaata hai
Wohi jo usko sunayee thi uski maa ne
Jab wo us sandook ko kabhi kabhi khol kar rota hai
Jisme uski maa ne kapdon ke tukde yunhi rakh diye thhey, aadatan
Jab wo har khidki se us barsaat ke intezaar karta hai
Jo ab kabhi na aayegi
Ab koi us georgette ka dupatta pehenta hi nahin
Jiske kone se uski aank poochi jaati thi
Jaise regmal ka kagaz mall gaya ho
Per surma lagne se pehle bhag jaata tha wo
Maine sab dekha hai
Main sab jaanta hoon
Per main to imarat hoon
Uski maa nahin hoon
Mujhse jitna ban paayega ho chuka
Ab main bhi tukdon mein mil raha hoon
Usi mitti se jisper mein khadaa hoon
Per yahi soch kar khada hoon ki
Apne is makeen ko kya kahun
Iska kya karun
Isse yeh bhi to nahin keh sakta main bezubaan
Ki wo jo iske saath apni zindagi guzaar rahi hai
Wo jiska bachpan kisi aur imarat mein guzra
Kharch ho rahi hai jo iske saath resha resha paravrish ke bazaar mein, baccho ke wastey
Wo bhi to hai meri tarah, kabhi teer ki tarah seedhi
Ab umr aur humsafari ke bojh tale jhukti jaa rahi hai
Iske bachchon ki maa
Main to uske baare mein soch ke pareshaan hoon
Main kya karun
Ye kahaani mujhse phir na dekhi jayegi
Main kya karun

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tha ek kagaz kora sa

Tha ek kagaz kora sa, 
kuch dhabbe roshnaii ke
umad'te arzoo-on ki khalish, 
kuch khaab rihaee ke

ik nigaah palat'ti hui 
pard'on mein simat'tee hui
kuch inayat hasrat ki, 
kuch pinjare duhaee ke

dooobti hain khwahishain
Girne se us nigaah ke, 
faaslon mein dard ke
hausle qaraar ke

pareshan hai kehkashaan
dil lage sambhaal ke
daud na jaye phir se ye
Lamhe chand visaal ke

Saturday, July 25, 2015

sher Misaal

Hum misaal banne ko hi paida hue thhey goya,
Main maar diya gaya, tum maar diye gaye

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Bhantai Ghazal


BHANTAI GHAZAL

Ek shaq hai ek jo apne ko roj kha raila hai
Time pass hai ki time apun ko kha raila hai

auto ne band bajaa diyeli hai traffic ki 
Aur shareauto full, bus khali jaa raila hai

Malum nahin is sheher ko agla kaun choosega
Jo choosta nahin wo siddhaa khaa raila hai.

Omlet pau ko raste pe laane ke baad punter
hotel mein ja ke vada sambhar kha raila hai

Ye phoolon ki sej bhi solid hoingi nahin?
Apun to jaanu ko fattar per le ke ja raila hai

Beta din bhar gaadi mein babes firaa raila
Aur baap roj local se Marine Lines jaa raila hai

Waise mere dost sab type ke hain lekin
Jo building nahin banaa raila wo film bana raila hai

Waise ye shehar kisi saanp se kam nahin "Quateel"
Apne ko paida kiya abhi roz kha raila hai

22 July 2013

Friday, April 10, 2015

R K Laxman - A Tribute

"No but you write about all those things. roads, cables and fire brigade bambas. Why didn't you write about him? He's a great man."... it was then that I decided to poke fun...'But is he a patriot? .."yes"...He was not at the border with a gun so that we could sleep peacefully. And you know there's no other kind"..that got his goat. My friend with whom I was having this conversation is one of those people who post pictures of military martyrs,  personnel, ex-forces politicos of a certain hue and then give them lakhs of 'salute'. This net widens occasionally and only slightly to include other people, but mostly no other living members except of some dubious freedom fighter, a nameless anonymous do gooder, and except APJA Kalam and Ratan Tata (who is on course to be our future President). Sometimes he will rediscover 'LB shastri' with such arrogance as if he is the onlly one who remembers him. Of course no 'liberals' or 'socialists'. Seculars? Hahahaha. Sometimes I feel sorry for him, sometimes I envy his simple outlook. Other times I pity his programming.

So here he was asking me if I hadn't grown up with RK Laxman's cartoons.
And if so why hadn't I also written an obit-like piece on my wall. He of course had in his self righteous, pompous way with all the attendant sirs and salutes. I told him I didn't feel like it. Which is something he didn't understand. He had on previous occasions said in passing that he didnt care much for what I wrote. So I was piqued by his asking why no obit?.. Oh he had liked that review of PK where i'd panned it. But I guess his reasons were different. 
So here goes. Much delayed and much affronted.
----------line drawn here-----‎
Death has a cleansing quality. Sanitising. It precludes the chance that the deceased can do any damage beyond previous work. Laxman while ill and paralysed could have uttered something while alive that the likes of this fellow would have disliked. And this fellow's type takes offence easily. Even easier is for him to ban things. The last I heard he had banned brinjal in his house. Not forbiddden, banned. Ban is a favourite word. But dead all Laxman has left is a legacy. Praising him will accrue to the praiser Laxman's  belief of free speech. Simple. It will hue others preception of the praisers personality with Laxman's wit. And darken the shadoows of doubt that exist on the praisers motivation.

I remember waking up to Laxman. In a no morning tv India his You Said It was the one bright spot in a kids morning. You Said It was often the most entertaining satirical thing that Times of India carried. All other times it was carrying the candle for the establishment and the Indian express was carrying the torch to burn that candle down. But we never read the Express.

On Sundays the treat was in the form off a much bigger cartoon! Subconsciously his targets became my targets and they kept moving. In one while Indira Gandhi was trying to cope with a problem child, in yet another she was the problem. His cartoons drew circles around both government and opposition, the majority and the minority communalists, the bureaucrats and the mob. The Indians and the foreigners (yes there was a time when we had a foreign policy and we did not call it a strategy)

His work introduced me to the tenets of democracy and free speech. Criticism was fearless and elegant. And it didnt differentiate. 
But today, I suspect those virtues would be seen as meddlesome. Despite the advances in media, we have made even more advances in bigotry, parochialism, trivialism, and all other isms. Acolytes of dummy leaders would have banned him and burnt his house down. 

What I now like about him was how he went about his work. Letting it speak. Not presuming for a moment how his work impacted others. Appreciate it more when i see a television anchor, the flaring nostril of self righteousness and keeper of national know how without reservation announces that 'Twitter meets Arnob!'. Its as if the mountain came.

Laxman's felicity did not stop at exaggerating the features of the leaders. Morarji's ears, Indira's nose, Rajiv's expression which we have now learnt is Rahul's trademark. Kapils buck teeth, Amitabh's lugubrious-ness all were driven home without a doubt. He excelled with Malgudi days too. Asian paints mascot Gattu was his creation. I for one would have liked him to do a comic strip. Like Spiderman. But that was not to be. Like many things in life. Mine and his. 
I have been suitably impressed by his obsession with crows to in my way adopt it. Those incredibly urban squabblly squatters. Sometimes it is a taxing tribute.‎





Saturday, January 31, 2015

Koi karta nahin vaada nibhaane ko

koi karta nahin vaada yahan nibhaane ko 
aur bhool se jaan leta hoon main zamane ko 

Jo baha aaya tha main samandar mein 
wo tere khat aaj laute mujhe jalaane ko 

tere peeche kisi se roothta bhi nahin 
ab na aayega koi mujhe manaane ko 

pata hi nahin kab saans rok di meri wo haath aaye thhey sar dabaane ko 

vehshat hoti hai jab khamoshiyon mein 
bachchon se kehta hoon shor machaane ko 

humare darmiyaan faasle ki kami na thi 
so main bhi chal padaa use mitaane ko 

'Quateel' koi rasta nikalo ki manzilein 
milti nahin raaston ke diwaane ko

Auto Reverie and Rant 2

SUV Sporty Urban Vehicle (warning: This may be indirect and long) 
Sleep deprived people should write things of more creative nature and import. However, having once seen the picture, I have realised that the world has now crossed a certain point of no return. The old order can never be restored. So let me lament. Bentley wants to make an SUV.( If that is not a very big deal to you, please stop and read something else. this will be boring.) I saw a picture of a prototype. Planned to be the most expensive SUV in the world. This beautiful defeat of logic and reason will probably sell out. And be acclaimed as a unique achievement. But for people like me who have admired the brand even when it was a means for Rolls Royce to shore up failing numbers, its another sell out. To know the true story lets rewind a few years back to another country and another marque. Porsche, the partner in crime for balding dentists provided them with chick magnets like the 911 which were death traps in more ways than one and only those of a recent vintage got a decent steering system. Recently in my book is 20 years ago. But these were cars people salivated over. Porsche like a few illustrious marques was desirable. Crazy yes, impractical yes, but by God! people wanted one. The only ones you saw were bright, bug eyed, had a loud roar and an old guy in it with a young woman. So what did the Porsche people do? Porsche had one best seller, a few middling ones, and nothing selling the numbers they wanted. So they ( greedy parents Volkswagen) decided Porsche would be in all big segments of automobiles. Enter the 4WD devil, the Cayenne. I can see Mephistopheles having to hire a truck just to carry away the Porsche contract. He was true to his bargain and soccer moms and other such low motoring castes who buy an obscene number of cars started buying the practical Porsches. The sales went through the roof, still are very high and likely to be like this in future too. Not content with committing this sin, the accountants who run Volkswagen decided to launch another vehicle in the biggest segment. the Sedan. By the way, their own luxury Volkwagen Phaeton despite being a very good car could not sell enough pieces to survive. Enter the Porsche Panamera. Uberluxurious. Superfast. 4 door. Nausea inducing sight. I learnt that it's more spacious than a regular 7 series! I am reminded of the tale of the man with the goose that laid golden eggs. The 911 has been compromised. Do these people think at all beyond one development cycle? Are sales numbers so important that the future has to be mortally wounded? Is the sports car market a stagnant one? No. Maclaren, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Noble, Spykar and God knows who else is making progress by selling more cars than before. So its not like the segment is shrinking. But people like the folks at Volkswagen/Porsche are not thinking straight. One question. Where do luxury brands emerge from? answer: Some company or investor takes over a small sometimes unknown brand making say shoes and nothing else. very small and very exclusive with high quality craftsmanship and service. No matter how high the price the revenues of this business will never be like Bata will it? its happening right now with Berluti, the Italian uber shoemaker. But i think now they (LVMH) are going a bit easy on the 'massification' (read that as opening hoity toity stores in cities such as Shanghai and New Delhi and selling everything. from scarves to wallets to bags to pens to clothes and of course shoes). so they will wait a bit longer. better but not by much. So back to Porsche and actually back to Bentley. But it was not a Bentley whose picture I am talking about. Everyone knows the Italians and cars have a good relationship. Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Lamborghini are all stars of automobile history but none enjoys the prime position that Ferrari enjoys in the mind of the enthusiast. And while we may consider Ferrari as a product of pure passion only, there are many reasons why the marque has been so for decades. It has made mistakes but on no account has it deviated from the straight and narrow. We were taught how it never advertised. and how its events were the only marketing it did. It didn't need to do that. Its a bit like Harvard. It has enough alumni who if they just send their kids, Harvard will not need students from outside this network. So if Ferrari enthusiasts love the marque it is not just because of the model they owned, it because of the entire story, experience, exclusivity of the brand. The magic. The chap who understood this and ran Ferrari on these lines for many years, Luca Cordero de Montezemolo (we'll refer to him as Luca, as we are always on first name basis with him) never messed with the brand. He knew what Porsche did was delayed suicide. He knew that his audience wanted a car that stood for what Ferrari means. But the Bosses at Fiat Chrysler (once great, now like Marge Simpson's two sisters who get married to each other) decided that he is not implementing strategy. So he should make way for someone who does. I wouldnt be surprised if Ferrari sometime in the future launch 'the worlds raciest 4 door'... Vinashkaale vipareet buddhi. ( it means when your destruction is fated, your power to think goes away first.) So far I haven't heard any news of an impending launch sedan or suv from Ferrari, but i fear that with Luca out of the way, it's but a matter of time. So the picture I would have seen is not of a Ferrari. So what was the picture i saw,? It was about the soon to be launched Jaguar SUV. soon to be the world's SUV. I was immensely disappointed in JLR when I saw that, but as I come to the end of this piece, I realise that unlike other makers Jaguar never promised great exclusivity. And I remembered that they are owned by Tata Motors. Which isn't a car company in any case. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Chuim Village

Chuim Village
Taras jaata hoon pedon ki chaaon ko
shahar kha gaya mere chote se gaon ko
phool kaanton waali jhaadiyan hui ghayab
ab to keel hi chhubhti hai paon ko
pardes jaa kar bas gaye yahan ke poot
chhod girte gharon mein maaon ko
khaane ko machli bhi kahin aur se aati hai
koli ne chhod diya pani mein le jana naao ko
Shor ab is qadar badh jaata hai aksar
mann dhoondhtaa hai gair panaahon ko
tera jeevan to yahin guzra hai quateel
kaise chhodega in namkeen hawaaon ko

This is about my village in mumbai, where i lived all my life. and also the problems of all villages within cities.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

We are still beautiful

We are still beautiful
Yes our bodies bear the brunt of unkind times
And raiment torn and tattered
But our words shaped with beauty still
No lack of cursive form or embellishments
Our lips kiss poisoned seasons 
Faces are smoked and withered
Under flames of countless vigils
Our sundered dreams 
On earths of invisible islands
Lie in disarray
Like the wreckage of ships
Played with by merciless storms
And thrown onto shores in pieces
Were that blood raining 
Or desires of self destruction
In the journey of torment
What season did not come
And what season did not bring
Tears to our eyes
Solemnity to our tone
Yet not dirge escaped our lips
Never were we mournful 
Our hearts are like the 
Unworried smiles of children
We are still beautiful
Its been ages since we left
Those beloved lanes behind 
But still
Many known un known fellows
And the humane captors of their dreams
And the ledgers of the migration of their loves
Come to us from faraway lands
When the sun of rose tinted afternoons
Steps onto green velvet just emerging
And scares life into frozen beings
And in bodies long frozen
Rivulets of warming blood begin to humm gently
The bird of silent sadness
Under the bough of overwhelming grief chirps up
And a grief long forgotten
Becomes a fester afresh and seeps
That is when it seems
Our words
Are the faces of voices alive
We are still beautiful
Our pleasant demeanour guides 
the countenance of the righteous
And that is why we wounded existences
Live in the memories of their yesterdays
For they recount what they endure
Our wordsmithery is yet
Lovelier than life itself
The language of poetry 
Is for those who are grieved 
And wounded of heart in love
And faces like roses in bloom
With lips like ripe luscious fruits
That with sandalwood hands 
On the footholds of Love and Devotion
Write our names
All pain that was unkown
Becomes an ally
They are partners in passion 
Yes the imprisioned ones
And when they go to the slaughter
They sing our songs 
Of them everyone is proud
Everyone that shares this tumultous journey
On our limited existences
And our wounded compositions
Now we sign our names on pacts of our elimination
Now we are the treasure of the skies 
Now we are the needs of the earth
We are still beautiful
Quateel Ahmad
27/09/2013 01:46