Sunday, March 13, 2011


               He, as usual, is out on his evening-walk. And again he has arrived at that point from where his eyes slowly ascend from the ground to the top of a hill which stands just a few paces from the right flank of the unmetalled road. The road runs along the gently receding slope of the long range of the hill. Down to the left is a stream gradually enfeebled by the approach of winter, and clumsily gliding down on its serpentine path.
            At the point where he has arrived, a small part of this hill has so enormously bulged forth that the cleavages at its right and left look like the arms of a bulky giant. This part of the hill appears to have its own top that looks so lovely and beckoning. So to say, it appears to be another small hill resting, although uncomfortably, at the lap of the huge one behind it.
            Strolling along the road he has often stopped there and observed its inviting top. He has been, in a way, unknowingly fascinated by its top that seems to have been smoothly carpeted with soft grass. The slope of the hill is covered with green ferns and yellowish brownish shrubs and cut-brushes. He has often thought of climbing up this hill. Such hill-tops always attract him. He feels elated to be on hill-tops. Any hill-top.
            He stands still looking at the top of the hill, quite enchanted. He has never walked past that point without being allured by it. He is now again overwhelmed by the idea of climbing the hill. And today this idea is simply irresistible. He just wants to be on the top and enjoy an aerial view down and around from there.
            A slight tickle of hesitation ran through his body. But the moments of hesitation passed over. And he approached to the steep hill just as a Lilliputian would do to the high and massive Gulliver.
            A frail wavering mark of men’s frequent treading tapered up the hill and faded reaching half way. He followed the streaking mark up. A few meters up, and he was now climbing on all four. Up and up he clambered clinging to shrubs and stalks.
            “Some people must have tried up to this”, he said to himself reaching halfway. “Today I will complete the rest of the upper half left un-trodden”.
             Then he raised his head upward and pushed himself up.
            Clutching and trampling the shrubs and grass with hands and feet, he is moving up and up. He is panting now and his body is thoroughly warmed up. While stepping upward he raises his head intermittently.
            “I have covered three quarters of the distance”, he thought. He felt like stopping there for a moment to look down. The upper part of his body slowly turned round. His eyes suddenly slipped down the falling slope. The hill sloped sharply, indeed. It did not look so steep from the ground below. Now his heart shrank a bit. His heated body sensed a clench of an eerie chill. It would be more difficult to climb down, he thought. A slip of a step and he would tumble down, down on the road. Then again carefully turning round he slowly raised his head upward viewing the remaining part of the hill. The top, still enchanting, was not far. It was rather close to him. A few more jolts, and he would be atop, he thought.
            He then collected his courage and resumed his clambering. He is now much slower than before. He has got to maintain his balance more carefully. But move upward he must, for he has now no courage to set his legs downward. Even the thought of it makes his legs tremble. He must reach the top where he would surely find out the way that would lead him to a safe return.
            Now his ascending was but for his safe descending.
            Come on, man! You are treading the untrodden, you are great! He encouraged himself. In a few minutes he would be atop. How joyous, how thrilling it would be! The top must be a spacious enough to lie down on and toss leisurely to the left and to the right. He would playfully lie down there now on his back, now on his belly, being caressed by the last rays of the setting sun, he dreamed for a moment.
            He is thoroughly recharged again.
            Up and up he clambered clutching at the ends of grass. His forehead, his napes are watered with sweat. Although panting, he is not quite short of breath.
            Don’t cast your eyes backward and downward, he said to himself. Just keep on moving up till the lofty head of the hill is beneath your feet, he said aloud.
            Gosh! His left foot dropped a step down. The earth it trampled was little loose and a fist-size stone rolled down. Keep on, man, you are about to set your foot atop. You must accomplish this small challenge. Push up….up…. Ah! His right hand now reached to clutch at the grass on the nearest edge of the hill-top. Now his right leg rose up and stamped on the hard earth….then the left one. Ah! There….there….atop he is at last! But….what is it? Is it the same hill-top that looked so enchanting from the ground below? Where is that beautiful top he so passionately desired to playfully lie down on? He was utterly disappointed. There was, in fact, no such hill-top as it seemed to be from the road below. What he found there was only a small relief in the sharpness of the soaring slope. Here the slope was less sharp, but the inviting top viewed from below turned out to be a mirage only. There was no recess even for a comforting repose. Only a little less steep and the hill from there continued to ascend even more sharply.
            Quite at a loss, he stood there, dumb and desolate. His eyes, now dilated as in horror, turned to the left and to the right. There was no way out but only the deep cleavages on both sides with their dark mouths agape. It seemed that the ever-ascending hill stood high over him like a giant cobra with its horrific hood ready to strike on his head.
            Completely at his wit’s end, he doesn’t know how he will find way to his safe return.
            No one knows what he’ll do up there.
            The sun is already down behind the hill.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Time: Twilight: Threshold

Too fatigued,
Time at the twilit threshold
crestfallen and numb,
looks like an old woman's sagging breast.
And at this moment
terror-stricken face of our poor Prahlad
is like a blank sheet of white paper.

Power-drunk Kashipu
blindly strikes the mute columns
that stand patiently bearing
the whole burden of the roof.

Look! Columns are cracking and breaking
but Narasimha Avatar hasn't come out as yet.
Only a still and hazy dusk stands
like a sterile woman
and lying flat is that naked eunuch threshold
where, like a diseased hen in its hatching roost,
the time squats down, tired
waiting to be rescued

But only a motionless murky evening is there
and the sleeping eunuch threshold
that goes neither in nor out.

Phoenix of Love

Phoenix of love
rising from its own ash-heap
flies in the sky of passion.

You can hear the flap of its blue wings
in my heart-beat.

Ah! once again, while it's raining,
a young couple of an endless myth
under a single umbrella
are walking on this prehistoric street.

Teeming crowd of the market-place
cannot block these eyes
woken up with dreams.
Their vision has opened the caves
of Ajanta-Ellora in me.

This crop-field of passion
ever irrigated by the primitive river of love.
How little can I harvest!
Endless are the lines of lyrics
and poems in this field.

It's long since I forgot the definitions
of poetry learnt to pass examinations.
Rather the sunny smiles and pains and a few tear-drops
come spontaneously to my memory.

Forgot all I read in the paper at my breakfast.
Shall I rather recite to you some Rubaiyats
and sonnets of love and languishment?

Valentine's Day

Market of hearts
Hearts sold and bought everyday
But much bigger is the market today.

I have brought a heart
pierced with Cupid's arrow -
a gift to this fashionable age.
It contains ready-made words
of sugary feelings.
No need to rack your mind.
Ready-made feelings have much value in the market.

In these days
Cupid's soft arrow cannot pierce
the lumps of flesh called hearts.
It rather bends tickling the flesh.

My girl-friend had invited me
to celebrate this love-festival last year.
A heart of red ballon
hung in her room.
While coming out
I had pricked the excitement-filled balloon
with a pin of my sadist humour.

I have to plant a valentine kiss
on the belly-button of my present time. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Under the Night

A night cold like iron
Under the night a road unconscious
By the road a naked tree
stands in a strange dance posture
in this chill

The night is absolutely detached, indifferent
The road unconscious
Only the two are active here:
        The masochist tree and sadist chill
How abominable it is!

The chill comes with its thorny whip
and strikes the naked tree
swish... swish... swish...

These are the sounds
the loud breath of beastly lovemaking

Ah! How the tree responds excitedly
to every stroke
swish... swish...passionate
and then lost in the orgasm

Oh! Perverted state of things!
This sleeping road
and the suffocating indifference of the night.

Calcutta: A Collage

Perching on the top of an old building
under the faded sky
screams an eagle repeatedly.
On the side of a street
two ragged women and a few crows
are busy in turning the heap of garbage.
Like a beaten dog wailing in pain
an ambulance is running off.
On the next street traffic is halted
by a long rally that goes endlessly
shouting slogans old and effaced.
Over their heads is stretched a flyover
where runs the cars flogged with the whip of hurry.
Like an abrupt cry of a palsied child
a siren is heard
and a dark-glassed white car flies past,
the Tricolour on its bonnet
violently shaken by the wind.
Endless movements of worms
in the stomach of the city.
Chronic diabetic are the buses
that eat and eat without getting satiated.
With the burden of advertisements all over the body
an old tram like a bonded labourer
crawls along the track of wretchedness,
often tormented with a guilt
of killing Shakti Chattopadhyay unknowingly.

Venturing like ants
tiny human figures endlessly come and go
along the streets and lanes.
In spite of crossing hundreds of zebra-crosses
the legs haven't reached the other side of the road.

People's restless mobility in the heated city
the rice -grains boiling in cauldron.
An enormous manifastation of the present
that keeps rising in vapours from
nose, mouth and scalp.
Vapours have swallowed the sky.
But on the ceiling of the Birla Planetarium
sky is reborn - hazeless and smokeless,
conjuring up the night that falls over broad daylight.

On one side of Esplanade
old and new demands sit for hunger strike
bidding festoons and placards to shout slogans.
Protests storm the streets
defying even the water-cannons and teargas.
Protest sometimes make bonfire
of buses, trams and leader's effigy.
Moments throbbing all the time
flooding boiling springing
past and future rippling
in this ever flowing present.
Liveliness of present reverberating
on the feet of old rickshaw pullers,
in the hawkers' trade cry,
in those hands that have no time to rest,
in the eyes with no time to sleep.

Millions and millions of bubbles
on the suface of this metropolitan sea
break and emerge and break and emerge growing more and more..
So full of life
So full of presentness
this ever present Calcutta...

Invasion: A Few Clippings

To separate earth from earth
Mephistopheles' agents come.
Children of the fertile field stand
to protect the mother earth.
Out of the mouths of those agents
suddenly burst uncomprehendring words --
                                               tut.. tut.. tut.. tut..
and the field's lap is soaked with blood.
No, it's not her period
but a forced operation
to drain her period dry.

In years' interval
locusts in swarms come,
clear our crops and return.
But this time
machines came to eat up
not the crop but the fields.
And before gobbling up the land
they ate up the peasants.

This time
it rained hailstorms of red hot lead.
The soil is terribly writhing
and the earth trembling.

From a drawing room of the city
lightening struck spearing the breast of lamplight.
Village was drowned in darkness.
Gorky's mother collapsed.
His sister raped by a gun is buried
in a muddy pit near the field.

To resist those who, thrusting contraceptive pills
into the mouths of fields, want to have sex,
lumps of earth rise up.
But suddenly from the other side
machine's cruel guffaw is heard --
                             bang.. bang.. bang.. bang..
and the field turns red with earth's blood,
much redder than your dyed red handkerchief.