Of Monsoon, Mumbai and Love

Part 1

The word monsoon comes from the Arabic word mawsim

When the Arab sailors would come looking for riches in our lands

The winds of the east would change directions holding them back

Forcing their ships to wait – pining for Ihla Da Boa Vida (the Island of Good Life)

The Dutch would do the same after four months around Africa

Chasing stolen maps, they’d reach these shores only to find “moesson”

The trade winds of the east making them wait

For these clouds to change their hues

The British would time their deaths to it

Claim no one survives two monsoons in this godforsaken island

Yet they stayed – for death in Bom Bahiya – the Good Bay

Meant they were war heroes – in their battle for a British India

***

Do you ever think about me – your poet?

Everytime you look at the monsoon slashing at your windows

Do you stare at puddles in potholes

Imagining a different reflection of me with each ripple

I’m a lot like this island, you know

I’m not a part of the whole

I show my love the same way

By longing for you oceans away

You’ve tried reclaiming me from under the sea of solitude

Many times at your own expense

Yet you fail to claim me

I am and will forever be submerged in my silence

So – you wait out my monsoons

And descend with your ships of thoughts

When the clouds in my mind have cleared

You bask in the glory of sunshine

While my thoughts like stones drown me in my procrastination

Your love is a silver lining

And my love – the cloud

While you sigh at the smile on my lips

I just want to rain my words on your joy parade

Part 2

The brave they landed

The Parsis, the Jews, the Iranis – the Runaways

The British they were just a rubber stamp

This was and is an island of rejects

I often wonder how does the city not burst into flames

When every one in it is a firecracker?

Instead its lights from the sky,

Quietly guide our souls home every night

***

I like this, city keep my flames inside

Quietly burning from the inside out

While you – are always on fire

Forever warming my cold feet

You celebrate my empty rooms

Win my silence like a trophy

And I keep my longing for you packed in boxes

We will love like this forever I suppose

Dreams of Amsterdam

amsterdam

I see it in my dreams

My vision of the perfect city

It wades through my dark thoughts

Like a shining mass of something pretty

 

I walk down Leidseplein  

Humming tunes I have barely heard

Showing my favorite friend around

The city’s night time herds

 

I walk into Van Gogh’s world

Out into the glistening dusk

I even saw the De Wallen

Spreading around in a friendly lust

 

And when my lazy morning breathes on me

I wake up with a rare shy smile

My dreams of darkness have given away

For I know I have left Amsterdam only for a while….

The City of Lost Souls

I walk back down this path
I see a city torn down
I look at the pain underneath
And slowly touch the heavy ground

The old man who sleeps by the road
He smiles in blatant rage
He has seen you here forever ago
Flaunting your golden age

You wonder what story he’d tell
What past he lived
You wonder if he ever took what was his
From a world with nothing to give.

The city is in shackles
Of some silent pain
Most of us on the streets are dying
Some of us are insane

Where would I hide in dark of the night
Where would I go
I have come far from nowhere
In this city of lost souls

Ramblings…

I haven’t been here for a while. And well it has almost been as if I were cheating on someone. Like this book that stares you through from the corner of the eye and then jeers away the moment you turn around. So here’s starting with an apology to the mirror, I have been living far away from you for a lack of emotion.
But for the first time in many years, I do not have a feeling of extreme. No joy, no real sorrow. I am just trudging along an existence. I have made new friends, rejoined the old and through it all one thing remains – my renewed faith in life. Oh, Great! Now  I sound like I have come right out of an Elizabeth Gilbert book. But this is not a claim to being a romantic (I saw that in my mirror a long time ago)
This is just a diary entry that everyone should write once in a while to remind themselves of the beautiful people around them. A few days ago this cousin of mine left her humble origins at my dad’s village in Kerala behind to do her masters at one of most prestigious arts college in Chennai. Her neighborhood at the village wasn’t exactly the most conducive environment for studying; in fact the biggest ambition in the family was perhaps to go work in Palakkad (the nearest town). For girls, in particular, the ambition starts and ends at a marriage.
The education system in Kerala doesn’t really help the undergraduates if they want to leave the state. My cousin’s biggest fear is not being able to understand her class as even though she studied in an English medium Arts college in Trissur, the classes were mostly in Malayalam.
But despite of all of this, she is here. She is scared, is tentative about the course but nonetheless she is here. I feel proud, scared and this incessant need to constantly call her up to check on her and I wonder did my elder sister ever feel that anxious for me? Perhaps she did and never showed it or perhaps even better she had such belief in me that she knew I’d do well wherever I’d go.
Sisterhood is difficult, because you aren’t allowed to be as clingy as say a mother to her child and yet you can’t help but worry about the little girl or boy who walked in your shadows all your life and then one day decided to step up to the sun. The feeling was till now unknown to me for I was the little girl in the picture. But the past few days have been pretty different.
I often wonder had I been in my cousin’s place would I have had the drive to be anywhere close to where she is. To be driven when the whole world around you is asking (sometimes begging!) you to succeed is easy. But to look for greatness when you are really surrounded by none is the biggest challenge. This one is a tribute to my little warrior! Hope she prevails the big bad city!