The truth about mommy


While in Thekkady, we had a bit of an ant situation in the bathroom. Not surprising, considering we were practically at the edge of the Periyar wildlife reserve. I was forced to flush them away – for reasons of self preservation, but I was sitting and obsessing constantly when I noticed my niece listening and grinning.

‘What?’ I asked.
‘You are so nice!’ she giggled. ‘My mom crushes ants for fun!’
‘I do not!’ – she, indignantly.

I don’t know if this exchange had anything to do with it but she wrote this decidedly un-filial poem about her mother and singsonged it to the family soon after. Enjoy!

She says she is veg
And she only eats egg
But I have a suspicion
That she eats people too!

Today at noon
I went in her room
And found the remains of
I don’t know whom!

She was riding a broom,
Inside of her room
I think she’s a witch
But I don’t want to be a snitch!

PS. I messed up the drawing by going over it with a thick, black marker because I couldn’t find a regular pen but I really wanted to draw this one. Anyway!


A translation

शहर बसाकर, अब सुकून के लिए गाँव ढूँढते हैं,
बड़े अजीब हैं लोग हाथ मे कुल्हाड़ी लिए, छाँव ढूँढते हैं..

To find peace of mind, we fled the cities that we made*
Armed with our sharpest axe, in search of the nearest shade

*A translation. Not my own. Just an appeal for responsible travel

The Night Of The Monster

I just saw something creepy
After that, I can’t feel sleepy.
Aaah! Those blood red eyes!
That green and gooey slime!
I’ve escaped it before but not this time.
His body reminds me of cries.

I know because I read it now
In my comic “Survival, How?”
It has killed many after shocking ’em in fright .
A sword, a gun with bullets 45
Is all I need to stay alive.
But none lie within sight.

It was coming for
Me, I lay down on my bed in horror.
Everything other than my bed had broken.
I froze in fear,
The end was drawing near,
Then, I awoke.

I was wondering, where
Could it be, it hadn’t left a single hair.
Did it have the power not to be seen?
I was paralyzed in fear,
Did it have the power to disappear?
Then it hit me! I’t was a dream.

Springtime in Bangalore


Our summer displays are full of flowers
Jacaranda, Tabebuia, Copper pod laden trees
But before we welcome those April showers
Springtime is all about the leaves


Glowing emerald Honge hearts
Like sparkling jewels, carelessly strewn
Tipped with purple-white amethyst like
Fragrant, blushing, brand-new blooms


The darker bunches on the ancient raintree
Are mindful of their symmetric canopy
As they push forth shiny, dazzling things
Sap green with floral feathery pink


The poor stump of the Ashoka tree
Beheaded to make way for a billboard
Pulls out a fiesta of dancing wings
Determined on an encore

Even the venerable Peepul
Inured to these childish displays
Cannot resist a few sprigs of youth
As he bows pilgrims out on their way


My curry tree is not far behind
Beset by ants, so ruthlessly pruned!
Now bursting with new and glossy life
To the season’s beat, completely attuned

What a vision they are! A sight for sore eyes!
My spirits soar, all sorrow dies
These glimpses of tomorrow, impossibly lovely
Catch at my heart, but they are not me

Do you see that leaf hiding way back behind?
With yellowed tip and frayed hemline
Toughened by the seasons, right through the years
Faded in harsh sun, drenched in rainfed tears

That feeds the tree
The squirrel. The bee
The flowers and the leaves.
She feels something like me

When spring comes by, in a couple of years
These duties no more ours to bear
Lighter than light who knows but we may be
The sprinkled carpet at the foot of this tree

Don’t sweep us up, don’t bear us away
We still have one more role to play
As the summer showers wash out the dew
They’ll fall on our drying mulch bed too

And turn us to a crumbly mould
Pure black and even purer gold
Once more we’ll feed the mother tree
My friend the leaf, and also me

And maybe as the seasons go
We will soon be glowing once more
As baby pink leaves sprout tenderly
Once again on the eternal tree


This one is for all the amazing people of Bangalore who won the battle against the steel bridge and fought to save the trees on Jayamahal Road in their heroic bid to preserve the Garden City for our children.




The fountainhead of this outpouring
is the edge of land, a curious thing
Too slippy and shifty to be solid ground
Not yet water – that is further beyond

The pull-push forces of Newton’s theories
on that strip of sand, experimenting on me
The waking cries of restless crows
Sheets struggling to cover intransigent toes

A kettle comes on with urgent hisses
A child soothed back with paternal kisses
The restaurant wakes up with the clinking of spoons
iPads switched on to inane cartoons

The minutiae of my life on their usual track
Implode on me, demand me back
Break in on my peaceful reverie
But the waves are still calling out to me

Soar crash sigh, soar crash sigh
Like a gently repeating lullaby
Pulling me in towards the deep
And infinite silence of the sea