I think we learned to name cities
before we had actually seen them,
Small French and English towns
states in other continents
islands peppered along the seas,
We learnt to hold them on our tongues
before we could be there
smell their air
hear the chatter in cheap street-side cafes
with red and white checkered tablecloths,
Walk their cobblestoned roads
and feel the sun shine
in a hundred different ways,
We once had the map
a hodgepodge of words in our mind
like the mush on a party plate
and that was enough.   



A mind made of photo-paper,
you can’t touch the film with skin
it scares the colours away,
and the photo evaporates,
walks out shyly through a backdoor in the camera,

and it’s as if the moment wasn’t there
you and I with blue mountains behind us,
bad lighting of a setting sun
cheap wool caps we had bought from a small shop
rolling the car windows down

we weren’t there,
you had touched the film
with your cold pink fingers,
and the photograph had disappeared. 



Trees pass by like poetries,
Planted by different travellers
Passing on the same road.
Different words for seed learnt,
Inside homes of different tongues.

Their green guavas grow,
Like secrets between lush green leaves,
A shady home for birds to sing,
A little fruit for travellers walking in the sun.





There are too many places on earth that don’t exist on a map.

A black pebble beach you can see from the top of the cliff, but cannot spot the ladder to descend to. A shop selling home-cooked lunch that moves from one corner of the station to another every day. In the monsoon, a puddle that sits in the middle of the street that you must manoeuvre around if you’re on a bike, and holds rainbow-like colours if you look at it at the right time. A small cramped space below the bridge where skateboarders meet to smoke, where a lost baseball waits.

A path in the woods that will lead you to a freshwater pond, built only by repeated bootprints and patches of uprooted grass. A village with no addresses where people eat on banana leaves right below a red dot with a name.

Google maps does not recognise the two steps before the door where you have passed timeless evenings talking to your sister about spring and moving to the city to find a job as a separate place, even though that is what you think of each time you say home. The just-befores, the in-betweens and the places you must walk to after the last bus stop. The yellow cottage you passed by on a pre-planned train journey to Scotland? Nobody will give you directions to if you drive by the tracks on another Sunday and stop someone to ask.

But if you’re lucky you might still find these places, or they’ll find you, especially if you aren’t following a blue arrow on a map that doesn’t look anything like earth, that has no awareness of makeshift swings hanging from trees, the roads that could be, a route with no pitstops to pause and stare at the cows grazing in full meadows before mango sunsets.



In Your World of Words


Dear Jane,

(Yes I chose the clichéd opening; please do not give me a hard time over this)

Let me start this beautifully:-

When girls and boys romantically held hands and snuggled on the last benches in class, we sat in one corner, newspapers in hand (which you nastily stole from young gullible juniors in school, each day without fail), eyes rummaging rows of the atypical Word Sleuth. We have come a long way from those days, sitting in the penthouse at the beach, playing Scrabble in the sun-baked veranda.

Over all those childish games I got to see the happy, patient and romantic soul behind the bold, admirable, busy and strong head girl everybody knew. The love for words is not the singular feeling you aroused in me. I am twitterpated by you – quite officially (yes, that’s from yesterday’s game, thank you for that). In a warm, fuzzy, enamouring yet cool way.  Alphabet by alphabet, these words had heedfully led me to the person you were and had allowed me to love this version with all my heart.

Despite the names of various Toms, populated cities and different boxers that I discovered through these riddles, and my consequently overgrown diction, I am at a loss of words today.

I guess what I am trying to say is that somewhere between “‘Tove’ is not even a word!” and “You cannot change the rules just whenever you want,” I fell for you. I love you Jane – your books, and all your parts summed up. And though I blacked out when you spelled “Let’s Run Away” on the board (I was too flattered I believe), internally I always happily agreed.

Packed my bags.

See you.

Yours Ever


Eagle Course


I am standing in the shade, at quite an altitude, and someone is whispering rants in my ear. Concerned, melancholic, distressful rants. I am offering an ear, and after some time I turn deaf. The sky is fair and readying for sunset: a little blue, still a little white, purple at the closest horizon. It is full of mighty black winged birds retracing their course in one single direction. They are returning home. But it’s much before their ebbing time today.

I can tell by the way they flap their wings and fly, that they are eagles. Mighty soarers, and high flying species. They are the crown-wearers of the sky, they practically reign its vast empire.

But they are retreating to their nest, sharp at six tonight. I fuse my eyebrows together, no longer concerned of what my companion is saying, concerned why. I map the sky, and it doesn’t take long for me to understand.

A huge black cloud is following their trails. Caressed and dominated by sparks of lightning on its ends. Followed by gorging thunder and colossal sounds.

The white and black clouds fuse together and stitch the little window through which I watch the mighty eagles fly back home. They do not chirp or make calls; they have absolutely no folklore for weathers like today. No warning, and red calls or music of danger, no fear of the storm. They retreat the same brave-heart, steel kings, they had gone.

The sky remains empty for a moment. Grey, and vacant yet anything but serene. And out of nowhere the eagles appear again, flying in random paths, crossing each other paths and refusing to collapse their journey for the day out of their fear of the upcoming storm, but their course has lowered. I can almost touch them. I just need to tip a little toe.

The thunder bites in. Followed by a bolt of light straight into the land. As I turn my gaze to the sky again, the eagles have vanished. They have surrendered to the urge of the storm to take over the sky. They have accepted the superiority and precedence of the rain above them. They wear the sky’s crown of steed, but the rain looms over the throne.

There is just one large black wing, making its way to shed, not flapping its way and cutting through the air current like eagles do, but flipping all the while like a mismanaged kite for the same cold wind that gushes between the skin of my bare legs, refutes it.  The wind with the silence before the storm, the wind with the same ice it has had all month, brewing into its demonise powers.

The sky is clear once again, and the eagles have withdrawn course to let nature have its way. And after a long month of cold winds, and sheer wait, the rain has transpired unto my land. The soil soaks in the water, and the snow is mixing with its sisterly love. Water spurts by me. It patters like stones of iron clad on my face. And at last, after tarrying and tarrying and hoping to see the drought end, winter has come unto my land. 

I stand still, the eagles are watching me feel delight in their rout.

Daily Prompt: