blog archives

good people

please don't
your blood and sorrow
at my front door

she said

with a patient smile
creasing the nicely made up eyes
and slightly pudgy fingers
making little dancing movements.

please don't
ring the bell
in the middle of a sunday afternoon
telling me your woes and troubles
as if i haven't heard them before
as if
i don't have any of my own.

please come round
to the back
to the servant's entrance
we are good people
you know
and always give alms
and a glass of water in the summer.

this landscape i call home

this landscape i call home
refuses to call me son.

it laughs at my accent
tenderly developed and pruned,

pats my khata peeta belly
that ascends the hills in elevators,

peers into my back pocket
that jingles with an alien sound,

smiles politely while i take pictures

and sighs at my pitiful understanding,

feeds me meals reserved for guests
and makes tasteful dinner conversation,

and then packs me off
back to where i came from
and goes back
to washing dishes.

a few of my favourite things

songs with the sound
of broken glass
poems with the rhythm
of a quickened heartbeat
pictures with the blood trail
of a leather whip
stories with the taste
of earth and grease

mornings with the smell
of change

clear, cool, pool


with water that tastes
of musty roots
and bits of leaf
and mossy rock


with water that smells
of cold fresh dawns
and tepid noons
and dusty dusk


and in a corner
by the log
half dragged onto
a sandy bank

he sprawls.

shot through the head.

rebel. informer.
brother. friend.


[published in
blackmail press 26]

leave us our hills

goddamn you chinky rebel fools
(who water these hills with our blood)
goddamn you indian army goons
(who water these hills with our blood)

leave us alone, you bastards,
to eat and sing and dance and sleep
a quiet meal
a happy song
a drunken dance


constant, constant, constant

of your
goddamn guns.
and bloody countries.

leave us our hills.
all you bastards,

[published in blackmail press 26]

run, baby, run

powered sunset

ugly birds in a row


giant wheels of sound

wired tree

through a grill, darkly

wood, rust, steel


wet dog
under a
wet tree
against a
wet wall
on a
wet street.

i guess even freedom has a price.

bottle, broken

it's just a bottle,
broken by time
(encouraged by
a wandering brick)
streaked with scratches
(like your newly
purpled hair)
and tossed out
on the garbage heap
for rag pickers
to make a rupee off.

it's just a bottle,

but once upon a time
it held good wine.

and it now holds
green light
and magic
and the sweet sour smell
of memory.

and while i cannot grudge
a rupee earned
i'd rather keep the bottle,

traffic lights


hobble hobble
clink clink


walled off
by a
rolled up
(fast! before she reaches us!)

hobble hobble
clink clink

orange... (honk! honk!)

green! (screech!)

hobble hobble
clink clink
hobble hobble
clink clink

a bottle full

a bottle full
of sunshine
pretty pretty
dark dark

a bottle full
of sunshine
happy happy
blood blood

a bottle full
of sunshine
three days

wind horses

neon gods 1

neon gods 2

water, please

my favourite left foot

candle in the darkness

bottled sunshine


old friends

creative resistance!

i love this article. this is the kind of creative, direct action i'd like to be part of. beautiful!

Standing beside two parked cars, two men in dark baseball hats wait for the signal.

It's broad daylight and nearly rush hour on Bloor. A woman in paint-stained jeans sprints ahead of the men, scanning the street. Another stations herself across the road, surveying the speeding cars for police. The thumbs-up sign is given.

The painting can begin.

Seconds later, a cardboard bike stencil is thrown on the road and the first of seven cans of hot pink paint is emptied on a stretch of Bloor St. W.

"Putting in a bike lane?" asks a teenage girl cycling by.

read the full story here.


there's a certain arrogance, a certain naivety in thinking that one can change the world, a certain pig headed stubbornness in continuing to try. sometimes i think the buddha had a point. you can never change the world around you, you can only transcend it. the examined life is a little over rated-it only causes pain and confusion. leave the world to itself-it has figured its own way out before. before i came along with my story book idealism and hope. leave it all.

then again...

soon, soon, the dawn

i hear the muzzein's call to prayer
and watch the wind horses catch the breeze
soon, soon,
the dawn.

i hear the tractors start their engines
and watch the pale moon slowly fade
soon, soon,
the dawn.

i hear the rumble of growing anger
and watch the fists and voices rise
soon, soon,
the dawn.

the politics of singing through your nose

posted a day late.


I’ve never been a great Dylan fan. Sure, I’ve listened to his songs, and have liked quite a few. When I think of Dylan, there are three things that come to my mind. Long, long songs; bits of great poetry; and the fact that he seems to constantly sing through his nose.

So I googled it, that singing through the nose bit. And got 'about 368000' results, most of which (I went through 25 pages) seemed to give rather detailed information on how NOT to sing through your nose!

And then, one wonders why. Is it that the sound is unpleasant? Is it reflective of an ambivalent attitude to doing things the ‘proper’ way? Does it display a lack of culture, of refinement? Is it non-sexy? I don’t know, I’m asking. And that leads to a few more questions. How does one define a pleasant sound? Whose perspective? Do things always need to be done the ‘proper’ way? Is there another way of doing it? Is being ‘refined’ important? Whose definition of refinement do we go by? Is it important to be ‘sexy’? And the question that, for me, it all seems to lead to-is there something one is saying when one sings through one’s nose? Is there a message somewhere? Is there a politics to singing through your nose?

If one were to sing, as Dylan sometimes did, of the poor, of the oppressed, what would it sound like? Would one try to make it pleasant? ‘Proper’? Refined? Sexy? Is that what is important? Or would one sing a song with jagged edges, like a broken bottle? Songs that smash through the middle-class complacency we live in? Songs that will hurt and shred and tear at the walls we have built around ourselves? Songs sung through one’s nose?

And today’s the man’s birthday. So hey. Have a nice day, old man. But more importantly, tomorrow is the anniversary of the movement in Singur against forcible acquisition of land. The land that is being used to build the Nano-the car that will solve India’s transportation problems. That is the epitome of the great Indian dream. That is being built by the company that has an image that it cares for India. The marvelous one lakh car. The people’s car. The car that is being built on stolen land.

I don’t know, honestly. I still am not a great Dylan fan. But I’m beginning to think maybe, just maybe, it’s time to start singing through my nose.

murakami illustrated

haven't read much murakami, just the one(s) that kabir introduced to me. nice one here though!


i called mark a few days ago, and asked what was happening about the mautam (famine caused by an increase of rat population, linked to the 48-50 year life cycle of the bamboo) in mizoram. he said it was the best thing that happened to politicians in 48 years. the corruption in mizoram being what it is, one worries how this year is going to be. while i cannot find statistics to support that accusation, there is a very strong perception in mizoram that officials are corrupt. this is a small society, and people tend to know each other quite well, and lifestyles are easily visible to others. there is an article on the govt of mizoram's information and public relations department's website that seems to take this corruption for granted!

an action aid
report says that the mamit and lawngtlai districts are the worst affected so far. sinlung has a rather grim report on the sutuation, dated april 1st. mizosoft talks of a rs. 7.37 crore loss to farmers. in mizoram, that is a lot. and the situation can only get worse with the rains. while there are reports of the government releasing funds for aid, i wonder how much will reach the people who need it the most.

shantanu has written a rather good piece called
'silent tragedies we ignore' on mutiny. the last mautam that happened, btw, was the one that led to mizoram's declaring independence from india. and the indian government, who could not be bothered to send food, found it quite necessary to send the airforce and the army, giving mizoram the dubious distinction of being the only state in india to have been bombed by its own government.

this time round, however, it does not look like mainland india is the one screwing the people over, it is our own people. fathers, mothers, uncles, aunties, cousins. all ready to make a quick buck out of other's suffering. maybe there will be another revolution, another attempt at freedom. but this time round, who do we fight against? who do we declare freedom from?

to twist one's neck

two versions, don't know which i prefer!
[to twist one's neck]

how would it to be
a feral pigeon
with carrot red feet and
aquamarine collar
a nerolac advert
in constant motion?

to swoop and circle
through city days
to twist one's neck
in unlikely ways?

how would it to be
a pariah kite
with raptor claws
and raptor beak
and a scavenger

to swoop and circle
through city days
to twist one's neck
in unlikely ways?

[to twist one's neck]

how would it to be
a feral pigeon
with carrot feet
and aqua ruff and
doubtful love of

to swoop and circle
through city days
to twist one's neck
in unlikely ways?

how would it to be
a pariah kite
with raptor claws
and raptor beak
and a scavenger
in appetitie?

to swoop and circle
through city days
to twist one's neck
in unlikely ways?


baruk feddabonn
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baruk feddabonn
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baruk feddabonn
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IIM-A study praising Lalu’s Railway turnaround was paid for by Lalu’s Ministry

old news, but interesting! thanks to cutting the chai for this!

Responding to an RTI application filed by The Sunday Express, Ministry reveals: For 26-page report on ‘turnaround,’ IIM-A was paid Rs 4 lakh plus research expenses plus overheads; author was hosted by Railways across the country. It was IIM-A which rolled out the red carpet for Lalu after which Harvard, MIT came knocking

click here for full story

resistance notes

“give me a place to stand and a lever long enough and i will move the world”-archimedes, 220 BC

we have the place to stand-it is right under our feet. all we need now is a lever.

(big heap thanks to shuvam, ex-boss, for this one!)

“India to set up National Rehabilitation Commission"

article on iGovernment

1) " minimize displacement of people and to promote non-displacing or least-displacing alternatives...only the minimum necessary area of land commensurate with the purpose of the project should be taken, and the use of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes should be kept to the minimum...and irrigated land use should be kept to the minimum for such purposes...

none of the 'minimum' in this article has been quantified. who defines the minimum?

2) in my experience as a trainer, i know that adults are damned hard to teach new things. it even takes a good bit of drilling to get people to say 'sorry'. the government, however, seems quite confident that a few weeks (maybe, it isn't quantified either) training will successfully turn a farmer into what, a jhakkas tailor? a smart security guard? an expert auto driver? (no, that has not been quantified either)

3) "...preference to groups or cooperatives of the affected persons in the allotment of contracts and other economic opportunities in or around the project site..."

how many "affected persons" will have the skill to handle the 'economic opportunities" around the "project site"? for instance, how many of the displaced marginal farmers in singur would know how to operate the tata plant canteen? and even if they were 'preffered', how does one check the quality of their work? and do they get sacked if they don't perform?

there are aspects of this policy (on paper) that i like, though.

1) "The benefits under the new Policy shall be available to all affected persons and families whose land, property or livelihood is adversely affected by land acquisition or by involuntary displacement of a permanent nature due to any other reason, including natural calamities."


2) "Besides, the policy talks about housing benefits including houses to the landless affected families in both rural and urban areas."

...and the joke goes on...

listening to grasshoppers

from 'listening to grasshoppers', arundhati roy. apart from the content of her essays, i really love the way roy uses her prose to jab and thrust and parry. poetry in motion?

"Ironically, the era of the free market has led to the most successful secessionist struggle ever waged in India—the secession of the middle and upper classes to a country of their own, somewhere up in the stratosphere where they merge with the rest of the world's elite. This Kingdom in the Sky is a complete universe in itself, hermetically sealed from the rest of India. It has its own newspapers, films, television programmes, morality plays, transport systems, malls and intellectuals. And in case you are beginning to think it's all joy-joy, you're wrong. It also has its own tragedies, its own environmental issues (parking problems, urban air pollution); its own class struggles. An organisation called Youth for Equality, for example, has taken up the issue of Reservations, because it feels Upper Castes are discriminated against by India's pulverised Lower Castes. It has its own People's Movements and candle-light vigils (Justice for Jessica, the model who was shot in a bar) and even its own People's Car (the Wagon for the Volks launched by the Tata Group recently). It even has its own dreams that take the form of TV advertisements in which Indian CEOs (smeared with Fair & Lovely Face Cream, Men's) buy over international corporations, including an imaginary East India Company. They are ushered into their plush new offices by fawning white women (who look as though they're longing to be laid, the final prize of conquest) and applauding white men, ready to make way for the new kings. Meanwhile, the crowd in the stadium roars to its feet (with credit cards in its pockets) chanting 'India! India!'"

read the full essay here

oh, the grand old prez of india,
she had ten thousand men:
she marched them up to the top of the hill,
and she marched them down again.

and when they were up they were up,
and when they were down they were down,
and when they were only half way up,
they were neither up nor down.

happy republic day!

mine is as big as yours

have a happy 'mine-is-as-big-as-yours' day!

singur bloody singur

ROFL. this really cracks me up. the calcutta high court has dismissed all 11 petitions against singur and the tata's car plant. the communists, of course, have applauded the systematic state led destruction of people's rights by a rich bastard corporation.

but the best part is this: "in a statement, chief minister buddhadeb...described the verdict as one that would...also help in efforts to raise the living standards of the people of singur and adjoining areas. alternative means of livelihood for those whose land had been acquired would be explored" (the hindu, jan 19, 2008)

"...WOULD BE EXPLORED"??? they have decided what they want to do with the land, ratan tata has been hailed as the goddamn messiah of middle class india, and the are going to "EXPLORE" what they are going to do with the displaced???

i used to think the communists cared about people. i used to think the tata's were built on some sort of ethical bedrock. i used to think the 'rule of law' made sense. now i realise it just depends on the money. all of it is for sale or rent-it just depends on the 'investment'. the law is a whore, and i could go to jail for saying that.


it's not fair
is it-

you tear
the land
in search of food;


i tear
my hands
in search of rhymes.

someday, brother
i will stand with you
someday, sister,
i will sing with you

someday soon i will

and sing.
and get beaten.

baruk feddabonn
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the people's car

... and like every good car, we have variations...

baruk feddabonn
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ironic points of light

deepthi r'krishnan
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pictures in a wall

baruk feddabonn
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bottle coast

baruk feddabonn
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sitting in her twilight glory
singing of the lost
telling tales of wonderwalls
and how to pay the cost
it's a little bit ugly
a little bit sad
it's a time for confidences
with friends i never had

marina's speaking of the devil

asks me if i've got a joint
would i like some tea
ask her what she's running from
she just smiles at me
it's a little bit crazy
a little bit sad
it's a time for confidences
with friends i've never had

marina's speaking of the devil
marina's speaking of the devil

should i sing a lullaby
is your crib too hard
sleep now my little darling
i'll try to stand on guard
it's a little bit lovely
a little bit sad
it's a time for confidences
with friends i've never had

marina's speaking
marina's speaking
marina's speaking

yeah she's speaking yeah she's speaking
of the devil

download audio

baruk feddabonn
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almost september

jackfruit and mango
sing your summer song
'cause i'm dreaming of december again

wish it were two days from christmas
and three steps from home
most of all i wish to see you again

you called up to tell me
your father just died
it didn't really make a difference
but you broke down and cried
now it's almost september
and soon we can rest
don't you think that would be best
i guess

ryan just asked me if we were coming today
said that i didn't know but i might pass that way

now it's sunshine in teacups
destiny and beer
how i wish you could be here

download audio

baruk feddabonn
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gun in the hand of

if each of the crackers burst today
were a bullet from a gun
in the hand of a child labourer
in sivakasi

would we finally listen?

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