to write or not to write?

ok. that has to be the worst title this side of sekspiar (watch me lapse into the assamese, kids!) the problem with a cliche-it says eXACTly what you want to say.

just finished looking around the blog world again, and guess what. half the world blogs. most of them blog poetry. most of the good poetry bloggers do things (for a living) other than write poetry. which is making that expensive (very very) and self indulgent (very very) degree in creative writing look like the kinda thing paris hilton should do.

but i can't stop writing, can i. i could break more bottles, i guess. argh.

wings on the wheel

It was quite an unlikely combination. A Liverpudlian environmental activist and bird expert of Irish-Scots descent who works with a project in Lebanon, on a Czech origin two stroke, loud, smoky and rather battered Yezdi (Iranian name, if you were wondering); uncertainly steered by a novice biker of Mizo-Malayalee descent who trains for the Call Centre/BPO/Software industry in Bangalore. Colin can tell the difference between a Great Cormorant, a Little Cormorant and an Indian Cormorant. If that isn't bird expert enough for you, you are welcome to go find your own. That be as it may, we were quite an exercise in international understanding!

We were headed for Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary near Mysore, and had decided to ride there and back, assured by a travel guide friend that the trip would take 2 hours at the most. Considering we left at 0600hrs and reached at 1000hrs, those were the longest 2 hours in Colin's and my life. Though warned by "them" that the Mysore road was in bad condition, I managed to cross the 100kmph mark multiple times on that road. That speed did not make for much conversation, but Colin and I managed to size each other up on our multiple idli-wada-coffee breaks. I had tried to get other riders of the Yezdi club interested, but none could make it. Pity. There is something about the smell of dawn on the highway and the taste of wind in your teeth that longs to be shared. One sometimes flies best in a flock.

Ranganthittu has a rather small area, and seems quite welcoming of the Sunday picnicker. A group of young men in a car wanted a picture taken with Colin. They were not so keen on me-I should have said I was from Brazil. We did see quite a few birds, though not as many species as Colin would have liked. Plenty of Black headed Ibis, and fruit bats I initially mistook for weaverbird nests. Though I like collecting feathers, I am not really a birder, but Colin's enthusiasm had my interest peaked. The Black Headed Ibis (or the White Ibis if you follow Salim Ali) is definitely a beautiful bird. Quite similar, apparently, to the Sacred Ibis of Egypt, and distinguished by markings on the underside of their wings. More international relations for you. The Flying Foxes (fruit bats) were rather active-seems not all bats are completely blind! It didn't take us too long to finish the sights, and just in time too-we were beginning to be swamped by busloads of rather noisy tourists. Sigh. The Great Indian Tourist. But that is another story.

We headed back towards Kukrebelluru, a village that has the distinction of being a nesting ground for Pelicans. We also expected to find Painted Storks there, though we didn't see any. The villagers were quite blasé about the two strange looking people trying to get decent photographs of the birds. Matter of fact, on the 12 km stretch after the turn off from Somanahalli we had directions shouted out to us without even having to ask!

All in all, it was a good trip. Apart from the fact that Colin's backside and my shoulders ached in ways we had never quite experienced, we came home quite satisfied. There is a philosophical link, I think, between the ecological movement and the motorcycling attitude. There is an understanding of one's vulnerability, a certain searching for the intangibles, a willingness to be inconvenienced in search of a good trip. Through grimy face and bleary eyes, I have learnt a new respect for birds and their world, and Colin, I hope, will someday actually consent to get onto a motorbike again. For information on Colin's work, go to, and for info on the Yezdi, to

Creative Commons License

whom should i fear?

whom should i fear?
the virus,
or the spam i get from people who would protect me?

or the harrassment from the people who would protect me?

while superman saves new york

while superman saves new york,
terrorists kill 179 people in
the mumbai train blasts.

while superman saves new york,
11 people die in bihar floods.

while superman saves new york,
3 more farmers commit suicide.

while superman saves new york,
bhopal still begs for clean water.

while superman saves new york,
narmada oustees beg for a place to live.

while superman saves new york,
yet another army jawan rapes
yet another woman in manipur.

superman is too busy saving new york;
me, i want my money back.

Creative Commons License

green tea

i only really like tea
(green, and the colour of sunset)
on the second brew,

leaves a little jaded-
that can afford to look
at the funnier side of things;
water a little cooled-off:
politically neither hot nor cold,
just appropriately steaming;
the faint taste of bitter
filling the mouth
with vague happy memories
of deepthi's chocolate;

i only really like tea
on the second brew.

Creative Commons License


i have been talking for quite a while about resistance for the sake of resistance. just like india needed an opening up of the economy, the older free economies seem to be getting out of control. point being-if one gets stuck with a particular ideology (in this case capitalism vs. socialism) it hardly serves the purpose, as both systems (like ALL systems) are capable of easily turning into despotic ones. i know circles where drinking (alcohol) is taboo, and others where non-drinkers are looked down on. both sides are silly.

point being. i've been thinking about piracy, and how it is the most popular and most accessible form of resistance to the "big corporations". i walked into a levi's store the other day, and saw a pair of jeans i liked. the price tag? rs. 9500 something. with that money, i could go back to shillong and buy 9 pairs of the same damn thing (travel included). yep. pirated. with ANY label you want. and the same quality.

thing is, thats buying into the same damn dream, no? whether i wear original or fake levi's, i am promoting levi's, and feeding the lie. so. look for quality jeans, just avoid the brands.

damn thing is...easier said than done!

the little magazine

the best bits, i suppose, will be in the print version, but some rather nice stuff in the web version too! definitely worth a dekho.

for akshay

so we sit
and throw our tantrums
crying like spoiled children;
for justice.

while the mai-baap government
plods steadily on
grand as a sunset
and inevitable
as death.

Creative Commons License

black hole sun

another old one-the one because of which AC called me an anarchist, and which i used in 'black hole sun' (yes, yes, i know soundgarden have a song by that name. quite like it, actually). should re-do that sometime.

the gods are dead, their chariots fall
from grey uncertain skies
eternal truth is now a never ending bore-
drown me in seas of red that i might thirst no more.

i walk the streets, i search
for signs of flaming blaze,
but all i seem to find are crackers damp with rain.
i watch my tired feet
until there's no more pain.

Creative Commons License


an old one...

commit your mortal dreams
to this undying flame
and scream

the rabid angel's song
is fading on the rise...

the eyes
the eyes!
steamed up windows
and hung to die

Creative Commons License

Art and Fear

this is here becasue i want to read it. and i want to read david bayles and ted orland's "art and fear".


linking in to a poem ryan sent me. by a chap from sohra (kynpham sing nongkynrih). no, not all of us are terrorists, you know. we even have poets.

reading live

'fraid i stole this handy link from andrew burke's blog. least i can do is link to his, i think. unless he asks me to take it off...

indian folk art

interesting-ish essay on indian folk art. i've never been a fan, myself...indian art has always been to 'flat' for me tastes. in "a passage to england", nirad c. chaudhuri talks of how the sunlight falls differently in the more northern climes, and how things look more "rounded" because of that. he compares that to india (specifically north india, i think) and how the sun overhead makes things look 'flat'. makes sense t me when i look at indian and english paintings, though i do not know if he had that in mind.

having said that, though, i love cave paintings, and the really raw manifestations of indian folk art-example the worli art. ( is a sample.

mamma had a book of dalit poems, transalated from marathi, that had a fantastic piece on the cover. it was a face and hand, and the hand was squeezing out the sun. wish i could find that piece again. am so sick and bloody tired of indian art being so stuck up and gallery based. when will we have a banksy?

i want to write poetry

Creative Commons License

[7:56 PM 6/13/2006]

suddenly have this insane urge to ride. from shillong to cherra, specifically. considering i'm stuck in bangalore, AND running late for a meeting, i'll content meself with posting another bit o "work".

Creative Commons License


might as well start with this! written a while ago, but me first writing in a while.


Evening winter sunshine on glass. Glass. And shards of memory invade the quiet smoke under the trees. Like the time she wore the jasmine garland around her neck. I should have kissed her then, ignoring the weekend throng on MG Road. Maybe if I did things would have been different. Shards and bits of stained glass maybes. The stained glass window we made of thermocol and bits of plastic, reflecting our earnest satisfied faces in its afterglow. It was always Christmas and never winter. How love grows and changes! Sometimes fresh and green and breathless like a pine sapling, or warm and mellow like the sunset we watched on Om beach, with the sea lapping at our toes and the crabs scuttling first this way then that, scurrying about like hassled managers in the long call-centre night. It has been stormy, bringing rain and lightning; it has been hot and dry and parched. Someday, I hope, it will stand like the old hotel in Wellington, rock solid and covered in ivy, and people will look at us and feel beautiful.

We make strange traveling companions, she with her poetic name and uncertain ancestry, I with my poetic pretensions and uncertain efficacy. I lost our way in the woods in Kotagiri, and was happy enough to find another way around. She was upset that I’d lost the way. That was a strange trip. This whole thing, now that I think of it, has been a strange trip. The telephone is supposed to bridge distances, to bring people closer. I am sorely afraid it has driven us apart, keeping me from crossing the seas in my desire to be with my love. It is too easy to make a call, to send a text message. A poor substitute, true, but enough of a substitute to keep me sane. Even a cursory reading of Shakespeare must show that sanity makes for poor romance. But holidays do make for better love-making-talking, and we happily have our share of those. Strange, and mostly happy.

And now we are at a crossroads. She always wanted me to write a song for her. A little jealous of all the other female titles in my songs. I am rather superstitious about that-I really want to stay in this relationship. I tell her that she is my song. She refuses to believe me, but Lord knows she is.

Change, they tell me, is a good thing. I don’t know about that. But I do know we have changed. For better or worse I could not tell you. She has been out there, winning wars and saving lives, while I sit here at home and till the earth. Not that I have much to show for it. What I have gained is an incredible itch in the seat of my pants to ride, ride, and ride a little more. Does a membership in a motorcycle club indicate a portent towards settling down? No? How about a motorcycle club that does more e-mail sending than actual riding? Wouldn’t that qualify? Evening winter sunshine and online agony aunts would still say no. I could convince the sunshine to shine on a chromed silencer pipe instead. But she probably has more access to the online aunties.

Creative Commons License