What do I do?

As you go through life, you accumulate theories and models – of how the world works, how people behave, how you behave, what you like to eat, to do, to listen, to read and such. Granted, most of these theories are coded into our bodies, into the way our mood shifts when we think of doing a task or the way our face breaks into a smile when we think of a place or the way our body rebels when we are with someone. These are the theories we live by, often unconsciously, because day after day our embodied mind makes a decision regarding what to do about many things, with no effort from us. So if you smile when you remember being in a place, you will seek that place out. But if you cringe at the thought of a person, you will avoid them.

None of this is new or earth shattering, but this is just to say that we all have a whole “body” of “literature” (pun intended) to base our decisions on. But sometimes your reflective mind takes over and over rules the decision of the embodied mind. Then there’s an impasse. Which do you listen to? What do you do?

I like to think of these situations as “hypotheses worth investigating”. Anytime your personal literature is not clear about what would happen in a situation, how you would feel, you need to do an experiment. You need to test the hypothesis, because otherwise how would you know. How would you add to your body of literature? How would you grow?

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The Surface

a one-year old stands in front of a mirror,
smiles at the baby in it, who smiles back at him,
gurgles a few words of hello, and
reaches for his friend trapped inside the mirror world.

the shiny surface thwarts his efforts,
he bangs on it with his small yet forceful palms
and later, with a toy he finds lying around.

a single crack forms from one edge to the opposite;
the boy keeps striking to liberate his little friend,
until the glass breaks and falls at his feet;

now his friend is lost forever.

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a length of thread, a small wooden ball –
3 cm in diameter and 100 gms in weight –
tied to its end, suspended in air
at a 35 degree angle, on the top of a mountain

the wind wonders
whether to make it swing back and forth
or tear the ball from the thread and send it downhill

and the thread waits for its fate.

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The Wait

pieces of water,
their molecules colluding with each other,
keep their secrets close
and adamantly lounge within their tender home.

far away in the mountains, an old forlorn tree,
her branches stooped and fragile,
and almost on fire in the June heat,
wait for them to move.

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words from another poem

there are poems buried under sand dunes

in the desert, she walked on the burning sand,
pushing hard against the soles of her feet,
while words flew from chapped lips;
with nowhere to go, they fell on desert fires.

the desert wind heaps sand all over the words
and time makes poems of them
for explorers to unearth.

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The fading of blossoms


the grumbling sounds of clouds at 2am
seep into my pain-ridden sleep, reminding me
of ice-cubes clinking in a glass of whisky
before the alcohol numbs your consciousness.

rain leaves the clouds and becomes a soundtrack,
alternately gentle and turbulent, to my midnight desires;
i stare through barred windows as the vertical streams
break reality into neatly spaced squares

and i imagine the fate of the gulmohar blossoms –
proud, red, fiery and morally upright –
they make a canopy under my normally blue sky,
but did they have a chance tonight

against the bullets of water that shoot into
their velvety red bodies? i imagine them
crumpled and lifeless on shimmering, deserted streets
lying with their comrades, all of them collateral damage,
to the parched dreams of you and me.

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This is ti-
me, it never caresses
us, it blazes our skin, burning
our bated breath, turning our
cheeks red;

This is a spa-
ce between you
me; it grows, like the roots of an
old banyan tree

that our children will swing on
one day;
long roots, strong roots, but
none bold enough to tie

and us

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