Monday, January 28, 2013


to hide
to seek solace
to look for
childhood's treasures
to search for
a dependable ally
a daydream
a reverie
before childhood's end

Friday, January 25, 2013

Tender is the Night

where have you gone
does it dawn
that it will be soon

my longing without you
 with an empty bottle
craving holding tight
the tender night
yearning to forget
and not to miss your touch

moist lips
mingled breaths
warming warmth

it will as quickly vanish
as the night



Charu said...
I love this photograph. It feels to me as if one were standing outside the barred gate to Eden -- or the equivalent -- but unable to enter.

Anonymous said...
The photograph is out of this world. Now you must put in adjectives and adverbs in your text which i can then use to shower praise.
Also pleeeeze tell if you were in a light enough state of mind to imitate Tony Benett when the song was being inserted in the post or before or after. You must have because i hear your voice instead of his, only it reached me a few hours late because of the distance.

Waiting mostest eagerly to know about the most appropriate photo. Which came first? The name or the image?

Ramesh Gandhi said...
First, Fitzgerald wrote the book in 1934; the movie, directed by Henry King, was made in 1962, when I saw it. I took this picture in 1973, and sang in the voice of Tony Bennett (who sang in 1962) today, to confuse you and others who have little idea (?) about the quality of my voice. Now you will know what came first and what after. Thank you for loving everything about this picture, and making such an eloquent statement.

Hemantha Kumar Pamarthy said...
Raat abhi baaki hain
Baat abhi baaki hain....

Charu said...

Tender words written so tenderly in tender night.

I like the picture, too.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


 I am stung by the experience of touching the core of human existence.

ten billion human lives
living, dying, even as
incrementally growing
per second per second acceleration
in their count, becoming countless
unless extirpated
by some malevolent swipe

all of them feel and take it as a boon
given as a bestowed favour
and benediction for the ultimate
all-assuming and consuming 
bouquet of experiences
out of the question that it be questioned
why, if it wasn't, or if there wasn't it given

poison, ecstasy, satiation
through food or sexual encounters
with meager or mega means
and humongous affluence
whether through comprehension
or lack of it, assumed to be
a given, to be taken,
kept to be lived and not questioned

the convenience emanating from
assumption of destiny
for comfort, consolation, and pacification 
in the hypocritical oddities 
of colliding vanities, deprivation,
corruption of mind or action

ought not at least a few
if such be the case
feel resentment and be embittered
with rage that life's vagaries
do not offer choices
that from birth to demise
everything in between is a caprice
so whimsical that what goes by the name of virtue
resides in evanescent droplets of dew
while evil pervades and conquers

does one think 
or is it improper to question this myth and reject it
as not a given, and therefore
not feel belittled, lost, bemoan
not having been born
not missing out most grievously
on the experience of life and living

and if not born 
and therefore not in the knowledge
of missing out on life
how is it that it is not realised
that they would not know the loss
of experiencing life
which would have only been an
expedient of contingency,
ad infinitum, contingent upon another

the question is, why not no life
and simply not know about its absence

what a sting

Friday, January 18, 2013


reasons of the heart
even the heart does not
or cannot
but it is popular
to now and then exclaim
in utmost solemnity
or jest

the heart has its reasons

is it reasonable
to apportion so much
blame or glory
to that
which pumps by turn
into its four chambers
fluids of life
under command 
from the first moment
to the last

is not reason somewhere else?

Thursday, January 17, 2013


at uncertain cost


usually side by side
or else twelve to eighteen
inches apart
in locomotion


Tuesday, January 15, 2013


fasten seat
and other belts
what more

the speed of light
cannot be experienced
or felt

apart from being
no alternative
to waiting
as no comprehension
will be dispensed

suspend belief
and expectation

Thus Spake Zarathustra, by Richard Strauss


many stories lived
inside and outside

greed lust vice
even largesse

hypnotic musical notes
punctuated by
jingling of ankle bells
pierced the silence
of the night
accompanied by muted cries
of pain or ecstasy

once upon a time

The picture above has always reminded me of Satyajit Ray's film Jalsaghar ("The Music Room"). I was haunted by the half-ruined zamindari mansion which Ray used in the film as a backdrop to a story in which insane hauteur in the tradition of pomp and musical pageantry brings ruin and death. The film was shot at Nimtita Raajbari, near Murshidabad, West Bengal. Here is a photograph of the building as it is today:

For the record, for the benefit of people who did not know Ray in the south, especially for the foreign diplomatic corps, I became the first person to launch seven morning shows of 16mm films of Ray in Madras, in 1972, one of which was Jalsaghar, his fourth film. Since there were no subtitles for the Bengali film, I wrote to Ray requesting him to provide more information. He did not bother to comply with my request, for which I blamed him for being snooty, and not showing respect for generating interest in India for his work. On the contrary, he actually blamed people for their disinterest, and refused to help people to access his films, with or without subtitles. Since he did not reply, I wrote a synopsis of all the films, which was good for my understanding of Bengali and, more importantly, of the language of cinema.

 a still from Jalsaghar

the film's poster

Charu said...

Yes, once upon a time: in its hey-day perhaps hookahs changed hands, Paan-biddas took rounds and drink glasses tinkled and nautch girls pleased or got pleased.

Some lives got made most others unmade just like this ruination, who's to know or say.

Hemantha Kumar Pamarthy said...
Dil dhoondhtaa, hai phir wahi fursat Ke raat din
dil dhoondhtaa, hai phir wahi fursat Ke raat din
baithhe rahen tasawwur-e-Jaanaa kiye huye
dil dhoondhtaa, hai phir wahi fursat ke raat din
dil dhoondhtaa, hai phir wahie
Jaadon Ki narm dhoop aur aangan mein let kar
Jaadon Ki narm dhoop aur aangan mein let kar
aankhon pe kheench kar tere aanchal ke saaye Ko
aankhon pe kheench kar tere aanchal ke saaye Ko
aundhe pade rahen kabhi karwat liye huye
dil dhoondhtaa hai,
O dil dhoondhtaa, hai phir wahi fursat ke raat din
dil dhoondhtaa, hai phir wohi
yaa garmiyon ki raat jo purwaayiaan chale
yaa garmiyon ki raat jo purwaayiaan chale
thhandi safed chaadaron pe jaagen der tak
thhandi safed chaadaron pe jaagen der tak
taaron ko dekhte rahen chhat par pade huye
dil dhoondhtaa hai,
O dil dhoondhtaa, hai phir wahi fursat ke raat din
dil dhoondhtaa, hai phir wohi
barfeeli sardiyon mein kisi bhi pahaad par
barfeeli sardiyon mein kisi bhi pahaad par
waadi mein goonjti huyi, khaamoshiyaan sunen
waadi mein goonjti huyi, khaamoshiyaan sunen
aankhon mein bheege bheege se lamhe liye huye
dil dhoondhtaa hai,
O dil dhoondhtaa, hai phir wahi fursat ke raat din
dil dhoondhtaa, hai phir wahi fursat ke raat din
baithhe rahen tasawwur-e-jaanaa kiye huye
dil dhoondhtaa, hai phir wahi fursat ke raat din
dil dhoondhtaa, hai phir wahi

Ramesh Gandhi said...
Dil dhoond mein rahta hai
Jaaye to ek dhoond se
Doosre dhoond mein

Aap apne dil ko
Thaamiye zara
Fursat ke badle
Dhoond mein
kho na jaaye

Sambhaalke gaaiye
Sambhaalke jaaiye
Fursat thaame
Raat din rakhiye
Dil thaame

Monday, January 14, 2013


made of sand
resting upon sand
into particulate sand

but still
reaching toward heaven
with billions of prayers
mindless sacrifices
in obeisance
to belief
as the last and final hope

enlightenment obscured
in the expiry of the guarantee
as well as the aspirants

so be it


enough holes 
in the four walls
for insects
and odors
to ventilate

inside outside
and a roof on top
for use by all sorts

crime planners
snakes scorpions dogs
name it

stay and leave
at will

what one does inside
from quick copulation
to starving
is nobody's business

either be in it
or keep your distance

Sunday, January 13, 2013


vice or otherwise
great honour to climb
and greater too
to reside in it

tiresome to climb
for the resident
great honour
or torment
to be invited to it
for whatever

food drink or


for his past
and ahead of his future
man, human

who is there
carry out the sentence

only arbitrators
and abraded

too mutilated
for vendetta
or to produce
shrill cries
for justice
which could atone

only nature
awaits dispensation
telling us
in many languages
how soon
but not when

just wait

Friday, January 11, 2013


what is that
it is my window
reflected in the window
opposite mine

they do not talk
or communicate in any manner
with each other

they are not even aware
that they are
and that they exist
and can reflect
without actually thinking

but the people on my side
and behind the window
opposite mine
can if they wish
be friends
drench each other
in exquisite


Not even Pallas Athena nor blue-fevered Envy
Could damn Arachne's work.
The brown haired goddess Raged at the girl's success,
struck through her loom,
Tore down the scenes of wayward joys in heaven  
-- Ovid
Arachne was a Greek woman who was an exceptionally skilled weaver. She boasted that her weaving was better than that of the goddess Pallas Athena. As is the wont of all gods, that brought Athena's wrath down on Arachne's head. Athena in rage slashed Arachne's face, and then turned her into a spider.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Day by Night

the distance is short
traversing it
simple and straight
helped as much by spirits
as by the bright lights
which pierce the night

so what is the impediment

even if the spirit is willing
the legs are back-tracking


the written word
just like the spoken word
take my word
is not always
imperatively meaningful
or an enhancer
of utilitarian knowledge

it is capable of
distilling the mind
more often than not
with misguidance
and can also
stunt its growth

but then
an enlightened
refined thought
when spread with wings
of spoken or written words
can bring within one's grasp
the meaning of gravity
Platonic proximities
or distances

not to forget
the chances are
can raise a storm
as well as

perplexity is
to choose
or be chosen

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


not in time
which is forever
and eternal
but certainly
in one's eyes
creating yearning
for time to freeze
reverse advance
all unattainable


cobbled stones
make the path
create commerce
for cobblers

by causing
speedy wearing out
of all manner
of footwear

retain remnants
of dew or rain
or other fluids
in which multitudes
of life thrive

even as the sun

and make the passage

Monday, January 07, 2013


plain and simple
by the looks of them
in 1971
maybe everyone knows
what could have happened to them


Hemantha Kumar Pamarthy wrote:

Hum Kaale hain to kya hua
Doodhwalen hain.........

My reply:

Doodh doodh doodh doodh doodh hai wonderful
Pi sakte ho roz a glassful

Doodh doodh doodh doodh doodh, wonderful doodh,
Piyo glassful

Garmi me dalo doodh me ice
Doodh ban gaya very nice
Piyo daily once or twice
Mil jayega tasty surprise

Doodh doodh doodh doodh doodh, wonderful doodh,
Piyo glassful

Doodh hai must in every season
Piyo doodh for healthy reason
Rahoge phir fit and fine
Jiyoge past ninety-nine

Doodh doodh doodh doodh doodh, wonderful doodh,
Piyo glassful

Charon aur, mach gaya shor
Give me more, give me more!

Gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme wonderful doodh
Piyo glassful doodh

Pravin Gandhi wrote:
Love these animals. Not caring, seemingly in a world of their own, nonchalant, wonder what would be an English/Gujarat word for them. sthith-pragya?

my reply: Sthith-pragya is right, and the English word, as I'm sure you know, is phlegmatic.
Charu Gandhi wrote:
No I cannot possibly know what has happened to them. I can only surmise that they have become fossilised boulders.

Salutation to the artist, Hari Krishna

and the civilisational paradox of womanhood


in the dense darkness
a tiny torch
keeps vigil

omnipresent lurking
will not only
take the flower
but also the guard
to help digestion


or is it heart
by a tired cupid
who knows
for better or verse

Saturday, January 05, 2013


gent or lady
even babies

soappers stop
waters delight
for gurgling, foaming


shed the skin
re-sell the sold soul
for its renewal

new fresh
to exist and therefore
to consume
grow, spread
never tire of reproducing
for fear of imminent
pervasive dangers
lurking in every corner
under above
from beyond from behind

live and let live
unlike humans
subsist in automated defenses
and involuntary impulses
or perish
which you will

keep renewing
sadly, but
not for long

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


if virtue is a noun
looking for an adjective in it
should not be the object

just rest with simplicity
of good and bad
ugly and pretty
light and dark

eventually hoping
that as you climb
up and up the ladder
it may be possible
to discover the object
of adjective and
make a virtue of it

if it sounds too abstruse
that is because it is
so then
we found the adjective
objective attained

let us go up now
before the fall


sans ruminations


the path is the same
has been for a long time
but many who travel on it
are lost
no one knows where
no one can care

like zillions of twinkling stars
suddenly disappearing
on purpose
or playing hide and seek
or devoured 
by black or white holes
into permanent banishment

who knows
who cares
how to care
how to know

where am I

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


is the breeze
which lofts and wafts us
as we meander
in the tumbler 
of a washing machine
often without detergent

who is in control
the machine
the electric
the eclectic
inanimate elements

even thinking about it
I am tumbling
and more
gasping for air

if you are not
if you are


there is no denying
I am incurably lazy
bicycle for two
perish the thought
as did the cycle itself

be magnanimous
and accept the carriage
which permits
only sitting and smooching

absolutely no mobility guaranteed
but then
dear Daisy
do you know where to go
and why
I do not have the slightest idea

will you step into the carriage
if I open the door


behind the impositions
of these corridors
leading to doors
and more
on daintily manicured
furniture and fixtures
power unlimited
brutal ruthless
is exercised

if necessary
for intrusion
and interference
never mind if it leads
to anarchy

venality and avarice
limitless violence
in vast varieties
are discussed
and discharged
with utmost solemnity
and nobility of purpose

fates of man animal
and in arrogant audacity
even nature
are bandied and branded
signed stamped
and discharged

there is limit
to the corridor
but without bounds
or boundaries
repose in man
the abysmal
pathetic ignorance
that despite limitless capacity
to harm
ultimately man is
powerless longing
a no longer long wait
for impotence