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Imagined in Three Quarters of a Second 


On a day when pavements smelt the salt of seas,

their city became a harbour. 

So as to keep a word to someone,

So as to bring back all that is lost temporarily,

So as to mourn some long absence,

Sea came with the raw music of a school band

and played an endless symphony of melancholy 

For those who never travelled,

Each fierce wave became the jaw of a dead lion

that came with the bad omen of revenge  

No dream was washed away in between sleeps

No crow picked up the image of a dead fish from the page

No one mistook a ship for an ancient sea animal 

Sitting absent minded among pals in our regular restaurant,

Only that song which reminded about you,

Slowly revised itself with the rhythm of waves

and dissolved secretly into the depths 
 
 

Travelogues  


1. Abode MV Tipu Sultan  

While traveling alone,

Sunset is an empty gallery. 

Standing on the deck

of a four-storied ship,

deeper than your expectation or mine is

the terror inflicted by the sea’s blue,

powerless its attempts to console the loner with vastness,

invalid its artistry in clouds to remind children. 

Toiled with distance and separation,

each clichéd visual is a painful glass box: 

Their well arranged, repetitive appearance,

As insensitive as the functional scientific name of

A variety of sea fish 
 

2. Kavaratti

. 

While seeing the giant system of lamps and lenses

Atop the light house at Kavaratti with coast guard Anand,

Memory passed like a fading signal from the distance. 

About father and grandfather

About old Kollam and its haunted beaches

The older light house at Thankassery

where silence hides a sting with vengeance in its secret hives

About the oldest of the oldest lighthouses

that set fire in its own head like mothers

to reach distant vision of its lost sons 
 
 
 

By the window of her flat 


By the window of her flat that opens

to the sea, tonight

we need to sit for hours on length

watching waves on the rock saying

nothing about violins 

Let’s talk later 

Our bodies need to intertwine sharing

their personal grievances with each other,

when a city that peeps like a voyeur sleeps 

when the farthest of memories descends

at night from some origin,

we need to reach the most distant of mountains

on top of which Chen Kaige’s blind saint* sits

singing a psalm before the war 

Bearing a bus-stand that makes

travellers gloomy on soppy monsoon days,

I need to board a bus thinking about

the roots of passing trees on my way to her 

Wearing something snug and cute for a uniform,

she who becomes free by five in the evening

would need to drive along the seaport road

and wait for 20 minutes  

Let’s talk later 

Tonight through some unknown valley,

silence would flow like an angry river 
 

Note:  

* -- with reference to the movie ‘Life on a string’  
 

 


Where the first letter was born 
 

I want to be born in those parts where

you could take a turn

and hear the sea. 

In the first village that is formed by the sea,

I want to be a divine bard 

and learn to metamorphose into meditative turtles  

To be the first to feel depths after listening to the waves,

to make silence a shield around the pain of lost love,

to think up something called time

and device a measure,

probably a sundial that could

have moved backward as well 

Nothing flatters me –

the first domesticated dog and the love

it has lost since 

the deep antique rhythm of Ashtapadi*

reminding the frozen landscape of a poetic city

that perished  

the obsessions between men and their rooms,

their jeans, cell phones and computers,

the girls that come and go from them quite often 

the windows and the images that remain

of the rainy days of July 1984

when dad decided to show me the biggest

circle in Thrissur** and took two

50 paisa private bus tickets to Swaraj round 

I want to be born near the sea:

I need to start from where the first

letter was born 

 

Note: * - A part of Indian classical music, composed on eight lines or steps

        ** - A small town in Kerala, India

 

On the beach

 

I enjoyed seeing you

scribbling on the wet sand ,

and making those sand houses, 

Far away from our prison like walls,

growing tall and blind,

echoing only ourselves,

louder and louder. 

You were shaping them

on the curves of your young hand,

the beads of your laughter 

And then including the crab holes within them,

then the road, the pastures,

the mountains, the sunset, the ever expanding horizon,

the boats in the deep sea with  people sitting in them,

their eyes, weary and longing,

looking towards the distant shore. 

But,

what I enjoyed most

is watching those eternal  waves

wash off your house,

the alphabets of your limited language,

again and again, 

With you making a new language,

a new world each time.