Friday, December 21, 2012

Rape

“Listen, don’t cry…I agree what happened is horrible, but don’t let it get to you so deep that it disturbs you to this extent”, said a friend over phone, concern clouding his voice.

But I could not. I still can’t.

Ever since I understood rape, I’ve never been able to ‘take it easy’. I’ve taken it rather hard, sledgehammer hard. I remember when I was very young, some age in school, when I comprehended the meaning of rape. The first emotion was that of intense anger. Of mad outrage that sent me into fits of savage tears. Of blinding humiliation. ‘I’d much rather be killed than raped’, I would think. Overwhelmed with a shudder of shame, the utter loss of face. Gang rapes terrified me. The very idea of a girl set against a group…was so so unsettling that rape news jangled my nerves for weeks and months. That a man, or worse still, a group of men, should gratify themselves by such use of force on an unwilling girl – the extreme inhumanity of this act, the total disregard of a woman’s privacy – revolted me. How can anyone, no matter how aroused, touch a woman without her permission, let alone…i never had the heart to imagine the sequence of events. Hot vindictive tears would sting my eyes on hearing/ reading about every such incident. It still does.

Over years of growing up, I gradually realized that rape is not about gratification at all. Just as it has nothing to do with a girl’s clothing or mannerism. From rapes of months’ old babies to old/ handicapped women, it can be understood that a rapist is not seeking pleasure. He is seeking power. Abject power. Devilish control. Deranged domination. Power to abuse. Power to ravish. Power to push and shove and beat and bruise and maim and kill. The misery he causes in the process – the physical hurt, helpless cries and the supposed defilement – is his certificate of power.

Scratch the veneer of any rapist and you’ll find an impotent mouse hiding from light. A despicable failure whose answer to his own inconsequence is – if I can’t make my life any better, I’ll make others’ worse than mine.

So, what should we do with these rapists? Indian laws would rather not put these delicate darlings behind bars for more than 10 years. Such sympathy. Such Gandhi-hearted forgiveness (I wonder what Gandhi would have to say for rape). The provision for capital punishment does exist in our society, but that’s reserved for the ‘rarest of rare’ cases. Rape, of course, is normal. I got an erection, I gotta prove I’m a man, I’ll rape. Big deal. Un-rare. Even if means raping the intestine out of a girl, it’s un-rare. What say, my lord?

I see visuals. Of pouring molten iron in the eyes of rapists. Of shoving iron rods down every orifice of their bodies. Of cutting them limb-by-limb to ascertain a prolonged death. Of nailing them alive for public lynching. Of burning them inch by inch. Of castrating them, paralyzing them, and leaving them in a shithole to rot and die. Of parading them castrated and naked and mauling their faces. Of feeding them to hungry dogs. Of tying their legs to two trucks and ripping them apart.

But there remains a thread in me, a very strong one, which stops me from pursuing this trend of thought. It says I should not become the culprit in trying to punish him. I should not allow myself to be de-humanised. I should not fulfill the rapist’s very objective – which was to kill me within.

And now, as I sit here to analyse rape, as silent tears stream down by being day and night, I decide.

I decide to not feel ashamed for no fault of mine. I decide to live, and to want to live. I decide to be good, to try and spring back to normalcy, to prove to the rapist that his power over me was temporary and mere physical. That my spirit remains untouched. That he couldn’t mar my inherent vitality. That I will love and be loved again, pleasures he will NEVER know.

As for the rapist, a lifetime jail sentence – With no relatives, no human company (except jail guards and their batons), no outside world, no word, no sun, no breeze, no rain, no moon, no device to suicide, FOR THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF HIS LIFE, should be the least. For there is only one emotion that should occupy, overwhelm, smother and suffocate him till his dying day – REGRET.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

of oomph, passion and love - Ballet.

When you watch a ballet, you understand what ‘breathtaking’ means. It means that the air leaves your lungs, and does not return, because your body is too busy assimilating the enormity of its experience.


Ballet is an art in weightlessness. The dancer is a feather on stage, lifting her weight off the floor even before she has landed. Her body is unbelievably flexible. She can turn it, unturn it, twist it, bend it, lift it, throw it, collapse it – all with the same ease of a smooth hosepipe. You might have seen countless ballet pictures, but none of them, no matter how well taken, can ever make you travel the distance between the photo and the act. It is only when your jaw drops, when your hands rise in applause but halt midway, because you can’t afford to disturb what the eyes are absorbing, that you realise what ballet is.



I was expecting a great show when i went to watch the Russian "Bolshoi" Ballet and Marinsky and Mikhailovsky Theatres, as part of festival of Russian culture in India on November 1. Siri Fort Auditorium was bursting at its seams. Plonked in the 5th row from front, i was lucky to have a close look at the dancers. What i saw was more humbling and awe-inspiring than great. Ballets tell stories. When i sat down to watch the show, i actually sat upon the little leaflet mentioning the ten different compositions of the show. Later, when i went through it after the show, i knew i could have done just as well without it.

The show started with a group dance. Ballerinas, some of them standing well over 6 feet, thin and muscular, entered the stage in brisk little steps, walking on the tip of their toes. Their costumes, head-gear and fluid movements gave them the appearance of dainty angels. It’s another matter that behind that grace and smoothness, there was an extreme muscular balance these dancers possessed, a strength that must have come after relentless discipline and merciless practice. Seeming effortless, but far from easy.



The dancers, men and women, had a special talent at balance. They could spin and spin and spin, until claps thundered like rain and gradually died down, but they kept spinning. Sometimes alone, sometimes in sync, and sometimes, with the man helping the woman spin faster by turning her waist like ‘lattoo’! Besides costumes such as slacks and skirts (some free flowing, some disc-shaped), some women dancers wore what looked like a long evening gown. I kept fearing that they might get tangled, might topple over it. The fear was unfound. They were too exact to fall to such imperfections.



Ballet is a validation how art can travel seamlessly through ages, changing with the times, yet retaining its original charm. What i saw in the show that day went beyond my imagination of ballet. All that is smooth, soft and fluid is not ballet alone. There were compositions with aggression, with energy, with love, lust and passion, which could outdo any the modern dance forms in so-called ‘stunts’. The pirouettes reminded me of kathak. The flights of contemporary dance. The floor movements of hip-hop. The man-woman sequences of tango and salsa. It smelt of all dances. It pervaded all definitions.



A happy couple doing a sweet dance on a bright spring day (yes, they had background to match each theme). A woman meeting her lover in the moonlight. A couple dancing a recital on coquetry. A ballroom dance which turns from soft, to passionate, to nearly fierce. An amorous dance bathed in love of meeting and soaked in blood of desertion. A swan’s slow, agonising and bit-by-bit death. Ballet is for every mood. For the entire spectrum of human emotions. And beyond that.

PS - pictures have been taken by Siddharth Prahladan.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Olympics aha!



Pump up the adrenaline
tighten your grip
clench your jaw

see not the opponent's skin
for the colour of blood is red
rush it to your head.

re-define resilience
BLEED yourself
target the brink.
surpass it.

Abandon Caution.
Worship Aggression.
Chase Passion.

have no mercy
love extremes.
FOCUS.
you were born to live these chosen moments.
redeem your life.

Fight. Fury.
Slit. Sweat.
Temper. Tears.
Push beyond reason. Be mad.

When you play the game,
give it your ALL.

more than everything



More than the weight of your amazing body
thrust lovingly on mine...

more than the moist caress of your closed lips
on the valley of my bosom...

more than the hungry search of your fingers
from my head to toe...

more than the gaping brush your mouth
filling crevices of my being...

more than the biting-squeezing-tearing
hurry of frenzied love...

more that the shocking thwack of flesh
setting alight delicious flames on my body...

more than the near vindictive kiss
with my head turned wild in your grip...

more than the playful roll of your tongue
on my melting burning ear...

I love the sweet lingering smell
of your sweat rubbed off on my skin
for i end up crazy, mad, possessed
besotted with myself, enamored within.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Only yesterday



Only yesterday
i chanced upon
the wellspring of my life
only yesterday
i set eyes on
the darling of my life

he asks me what i derive
from just looking at him
my lips part in answer
in silence my eyes brim

i run my palms through his hair
and hold him tight to my chest
he's that one rain i pine for
in him i find love, in his arms, i rest.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I know you know girl



i know you feel
the weight of my eyes on your back
i know it's me you search for
when your head keeps turning to the track

i know you hear me whisper
tender words into your ear
a thread of love runs down your spine
you're immersed in me, i'm so near

i know you dream of me
tracing fingers down your skin
i fathom the depth of your longing
the line between us, so thin

i know i'm always besides you
and in every moment we commune
our chemistry inimitable, pure, perfect
an orchestra never out of tune

i know baby, that you love me
a fact you haven't and can't deny
your face, eyes and touch connote
meanings that words can't even try

some pain, is good



A certain amount of pain, of unfulfilment, is good.

it adds the passion to your dance
it stirs up the melody in your song
it lends a little sorrow to your writing
it increases the length of your breath
it slows down your gait a bit
it heightens your observation
it deepens your speech
it mellows down your temper
it replaces anxiety with patience
it makes you kinder than necessary
it makes you more aware of yourself

So, a certain amount of pain IS good.

P.S. - You see darling, you might not be with me, but you still help me grow.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

वो आखें, मेरी हैं

हाँ , वहीं.

ठीक उसी पेड़ के नीचे, नहीं ज़मीन पर नहीं, उस पेड़ की छाया के बीच...जड़ से ऊपर और पत्तों से नीचे, वहीँ कहीं रहती हैं आज कल मेरी आँखें.

एक ज़माना था जब तुम रोज़ वहां से कम से कम दो बार तो गुज़रते थे। सुबह और शाम। मुझे याद है। अगर पेंट करना जानती तो ठीक उतार देती। तुम्हारे बदन की बनावट, तुम्हारी दूसरी दुनिया की हसीं, तुम्हारे आँखों की चमक, तुम्हारा भौहें उठाकर चिढाना, तुम्हारी शहद में डूबी हुई उँगलियाँ, यहाँ तक की तुम्हारी खुशबू भी। हूबहू 3डी बना देती, अगर बना पाती. 

हाँ, तो मेरी आँखें। मुहावरों की दुनिया में सुना था पलके बिछा कर इंतज़ार करना. पर आँखों को किसी किनारे सौंप आना? सरासर बेवकूफी है।

मेरी दो बेवक़ूफ़ आँखें महीने भर से तुम्हें एक झलक देखने के लिए मर रहीं है। सुबह तो मानो एक उन्माद सा  छा जाता है उनपर. तुम्हारे पूरे इलाके के चक्कर काटती हैं। ठीक उस मक्खी की तरह जो खिड़की से बहार निकलने का दमतोड़ पर व्यर्थ प्रयास करती हैं। तुम्हे देखे बिना थोडा और सूख जाती हैं. दिन की गर्मी में पेड़ की छाओं में चंद लम्हों के लिए सो भी जाती हैं (अच्छा है, क्योंकि सपनों में तुम नियमित रूप से आते हो). शाम होते होते फिर आवारा कुत्तों की तरह तुम्हारे मोहल्ले में दौड़ने लगती हैं। रोज़ नाकामी ही उनके हाथ लगती है। रात भर सुबक सुबक कर रोती  हैं। कसम खाती हैं की तुम्हें ढूँढने को नहीं निकलेंगी. अपने शरीर में पुनः सम्मलित हो जाएँगी. फिर सवेरा आता है....और तारिख छोड़कर कुछ नहीं बदलता है।

ज़रा कोई देखना। मेरे मनाने से नहीं मानती, क्या पता तुम्हारे कहने से लौट आयें। मेरी आँखें।


Friday, June 22, 2012

leaf of hope




hope is a pale dry leaf
fallen off an autumn tree
tied to the heart with a thread
restless, tireless, and free

at the slightest hint it leaps
wakes up with a happy start
celebrating, dancing, rejoicing
in joys that do not last

time's gloomy winds
bring it back to earth
it still waits and holds out
shaken, but never shattered

lying soggy in the storm
staring longingly in the blue
that leaf of hope of mine
dies daily...and is born anew

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

shurshuri



in the curtained shadows of your room
with loving, languorous fingers
you wrote our tale of love
on my body, sending down shivers

gaseous is my existence ever since
i survive in those places alone
sinuous paths that your hands chose
every stoppage, a milestone

in those tracks, i live and thrive
now in slumber, now in spasm
memories surround me, in every detail
not a single chink, nor any chasm

your eyes follow me, your breath on my face
your being stalks me wherever i go
tufts of your hair still caught in my clutch
i smell you everywhere, i love you so 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Chocolate boy



Oh! Chocolate boy
just why do you run
for watching you do that
is so much fun!


clutching your shirt pocket
in a perpetual state of hurry
dodging traffic, speeding past
like a squirrel on a spree!


all your hair in a mess
bobbing up and down
your face a study in focus
and taut in a pleasant frown..


not until you settled
did you give out that smile
distracting me forever
lighting up my miles..


like a waif, my eyes now search
those roads 'n places, for your face
Oh! Chocolate boy, did you run away?
please do show up, my breath's losing pace..


look how even skies understand
how i can't cry despite this pain
just so i can hide my tears in drops
clouds became my eyes, and started to rain.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Haiku



fresh spring of pain
between love and longing
since i saw you again

world’s a loud silence
I’m floating in your thoughts
shaken off the balance

it had to be fate
for INTENSE was my need
to meet my mate

a half laugh, a half cry
is a wringed heart’s response
to life’s how and why

my mind in your rein
emotions throttle me
since I saw you again

Monday, June 11, 2012

Background


  ii          it's twilight
and the air is thick
with the scent of magnolia trees
we lie
entwined among shadows
clothes flapping, caught in breeze

it's raining
a musical pitter-patter
blazing roads gurgle with delight
running recklessly
laughing raucously
we're engrossed in a loving fight

it's summer
relentlessly hot
sapped of life, short of breath
lovingly
caressing with cool fingers
we soak up each other's sweat

dewy dawn
birds calling out
blast of orange, the sky is ablaze
half-awake
in throes of love
bodies melting in our passionate embrace

your presence to me
is a permanent background
like the smell of one's own body
like the hues of one's home
your entire being stays in my eyes
i'm absorbed in you, like honey in foam

there's nothing i eat
no sight i see
no breath i take
no time of glee
when i'm not immersed, deep and true
in moods 'n emotions, laden with you

in sight, touch, thought and sound
you and you alone, make up my background

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Inebriation




I lift my lashes
carrying the weight of a hundred dreams,
loaded with unspeakable fantasies,
adorned with flowers of desire
laced with luscious little plans
I lift my lashes, to look at you

oh! What I see in your eyes
is a look to match mine
the eyes of a loving opponent
challenging, luring, warning
dark secrets and darker promises
lurking in the shadow of your lashes
an unsaid confession
brimming in the twin seas of love

soon, our eyes get locked in an embrace
hooked in a dizzying stare
the world around us spins
flowing between our eyes
is a river of love

the eyes start talking
love talk
nude, hungry, passionate
intoxicating
a fire glazes our eyes
as the rest of us melts in the heat
and dissolves in the kernel of our eyes

a sinking heart
an unhinged head
a wobbly knee
and drunk eyes

…call out to you

In a land far away from our reach
beyond space and time
our eyes are seeing, and doing
wild acts of love…

Saturday, February 18, 2012

militant eyes




Unannounced
Unexpected
and
totally unwarranted

your earthy eyes flash before my face
stunned,
I hold my heart from breaking
and my throat hurts
and a knife slices my back

Flashes merge in a film
your eyes first
pure as a stream
the color of earth
love longing and loyalty
mixed in the sphere of your eyes
my then world

then your laughter
child-like but bold
loud and ringing
often breathless
in which we’d swim through life
in perfect sync

your speech, aah those words!
of rebel and truth
jagged, serrated, hitting.
as you mercilessly
and thankfully
opened the gates of wisdom
of searching and quest
to my ignorant mind

and made me me.

As I sit today
Looking back on life
I laugh
Inadvertently, meaninglessly
The paths we choose
The roads we dismiss
The persons we become
The ideals we aspire
I laugh at them all
At myself

For I know nothing.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dance



I do not know how I came to love it. What I know is that it is life to me.

It’s an escape. It’s a quick route to trance. It’s oxygen when I’m breathless. It’s love when I’m lonely. It’s laughter when I’m torn. Food when I’m famished. Silence in crowd. Stillness in motion. Magic in madness.
I could say a hundred things that it is, but not a single thing it is not. It is THAT close to my life. Someone said it’s a silent poetry. So damn right. And so damn incomplete.

Try dancing. I don’t know if that happens with you, but I can vouch for myself. See me dancing if you doubt my claim. So, try dancing. It can start from the tap of your thinking feet or the electric spasms in your fingers. Give it a chance, let it flow. Let it flood your veins. Feel it in your gut. Hear the music reverberate in your brain. Experience the gush of energy. Don’t stop it, don’t disturb it. You don’t even need to mould it. Stupid, bold, shy, uncouth, free, loud, slow…just anything. All you have to do, is let it be. And before you know, you will be dancing in full blood. You will feel your body sway with the melody, rock with the drums, and flirt with the strings. You will forget the last bad thing that happened with you. Sour relationships will fade away in the realm of forgiveness. Happiness will overwhelm you…and you will want to treat the world and its people in an all new way – sweet and loving. You will cherish yourself, and everything around you, more valuably than you generally do.

Life comes up brimming when you dance.

It’s not about public appreciation. It’s not about an audience. Definitely not about exercise. It’s about the spark in your eye. It’s about the ride of your senses. The jump of your spirit. The thrill in your veins.

Dance. The speech of my body.
Dance. The love of my life.
Dance. The prayer of my soul.