Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Numbers and I
never get along
More so
this nine

Time helped
even healed
Did it really?

Then why do I
still get goosebumps
when I see a familiar
arm drive a car
right next to mine

Or the times when
calm, composed me
gets overpowered
by emotion
when I think
the word "Dad"

Or a simple glance
in the mirror
reminds me of you
the squint et al

Frost taught me,
"Life goes on".
Perhaps it does
but never
the same way

Next year,
I am faced with ten.
That'll be
a decade
without you

Like I said
Numbers and I
just don't get along.
Darn this ten!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Washing my hands off

I look at it everyday
I try to become a part of it too
But I have realized
Perhaps, I am not meant to

So, today I wash my hands off this world
One that as a child I wondered upon
Feels like it never was mine
Only a utopia that tempted along

I see it every minute
Grow more complex than ever
But I sense now
Maybe, it was portended to fleet away

So, today I wash my hands off this world
One that I built my dreams on
Seems like it has a mind of its own
Keeping no space for hearts like this one

I think of Lady Macbeth
And the blood on her hands
But such are the worldly ways
They scar and stain one and all

So, today I wash my hands off this world
One that I once loved
Looks like it enjoys playing
Inconsiderate of people

I sense the despair
Of the anguished and the wronged
And this cannot go on
‘tis time to call for change

So, can I really wash my hands off this world?
Perhaps not.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The book I hope to write one day!

Just wanted to share this little piece I wrote about my Father. I keep adding bits to it. Hopefully, I'll tell the entire story one day.
"Give yourself a month, Yakub," said the senior doctor and friend. And that's just about what he did.

It's the littlest of things you may be experiencing with a casual aloofness, without attaching much value to them that you actually end up remembering the most. Growing up, I remember, hearing of these interesting historic tales from my father. On the word 'historic, by no means do I refer to the grand events across the seas that have shaped the world to what it is today. Quite the contrary, these chronicled snippets were far too small to make a significant difference to anyone but a world of difference to us. The stories were about him, his childhood in a village, his growing up under the 'far too indulgent to be strict eye' of his parents, his struggle to find a footing for himself, basically his life until we happened. Each told with a delicious tenacity that the scent of his happiness combined with the sweat of his hardships lingered on even after.
Dadaji, a very tall, lanky, villager from an even lesser than humble gaon of Pokhrapur was known less for his aam ke bagheeche but more for his vocational pursuit of being a wrestler. Pa would recall, "Pitaji would get up at 3 am everyday to take a bath in cold water. All set for his vyayam, he'd spend hours at a stretch doing the various kasrats in the openness of the night only to finally oil his body to make it relax and glitsen in the rising sun." The joy I'd feel on hearing this tale would eventually get sort of glazed with disbelief when my eyes would meander on to the quite corner where Grandpa sat somberly wearing his signature pristine white kurta, dhoti and the traditionally Maharashtrian netaji topi. His golden HMT watch, with its well-worn khaki-coloured straps in a way that their current state added more character to them than before, ticking as he turned pages of his Arabic-in-Hindi prayer book. The calmness of his personna just refused to gel with the flamboyance of a pehelwan in the eyes of a kid. But that was the title he enjoyed long enough to stick. Well, this gentleman of a person used to go by the name of Yakub Baddruddin Shaikh for the roughly 65 plus years he lived.
Married to my grandmother who was lovingly called Ma by all who knew her, not necessarily just her children, he lived through a happy but childless phase of approximately 10 years. It took a lot of prayers at various mazaars, dargahs and blessings from the elders for Dadi ma to have been borne with her first child, my father. So one fateful day, Gulphat Bi gave birth to Shaikh Shahajahan Yakub. I still cannot fathom why the family surname exchanged places with my grandfather's name, which was added to Pa's name in accordance to the Marathi standard of baby christening. My father celebrated 1st June ever since 1956 (most probably) as his birthday, so did most kids in Pokhrapur. Blame it on providence or the simple fact that the pathshala ran a new session from June every year and the parents were far too entangled in their rustic existence, lives of their neighbours, participating in weddings which like festivals lasted days together; and for some, basic issues of. human survival than bother to remember the actual date of birth of their young 'uns.
In spite of such fragilities, my father was brought up a total brat. One could owe it to the fact that he was a few shades fairer than most of his compatriots in the village, or could it have been his high level of intelligence, or perhaps it was because Dadaji was having good business from his aam ke bagheeche, or maybe because his next sibling, a sister, followed some five years later and the last one to land on earth 14 years after that 'fateful June day' in 1956; and that he enjoyed the monopoly of being the only one and later the eldest one for a long long time. Only time would tell how the same prerogative would cost him in his later years.

Times change. "I want my children to enjoy things that I couldn't," would sometimes rue my father. He had come a long road from the carefree yet bright days in the village to the hard but fruitful ones in the city. I am told that my father had soon realised the limitations of living in a coccon. He far wanted to leap across it but was not permitted to. The jawar ki roti prepared in much earnest and with a lot of skill held him back. It was really Dadima who simply refused to part with her eldest on whatsoever terms. Now that I think of it, it must have taken my father immense courage to have jump right over those walls of love and attachment.
Having suffered constant loss in business, Dadaji's aam ke bagheeche ended up being wistful subjects of Pa's tales of yore. Hard times had come. The eldest was about to turn eighteen and was itching to make his mark on the world and the means were starting to fall short.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Winter has Arrived!

The sun has shined its brightest
to the joy and woes of many.
Some thrilled by the sight of it
while rest shied away in scrutiny.

That’s a sign, because
Summer has gone!
So, let the winter morning air come in.

Mercury played truant enough
creating its own bridge of sweat and sighs.
None were thrilled by the scorching heat
as relief was far from nigh.

That’s a reason to celebrate, because
Summer has gone!
So, let the winter morning air come in.

Done plenty just your own way
but were you learning?
Look at yourself from
another man’s sterling.

It’s time to welcome a change, because
Summer has gone!
So, let the winter morning air come in.

Written at 8 am on 21.10.2012 sensing the smell of winter in the air

Simple Story of a Sad Heart

My heart aches in all its fullness
With all the love it has
Wondering what is it
That it has done so terribly wrong

Trying to think, but nay
It fails for it was made only to feel
Wondering what is it
That it persistently does to win such scorn

Blaming the maker or the potters

Or the one who holds it in her bosom
Wondering what is it
That turned a loving rose wooden

Remembering Neruda’s

“I could write the saddest lines tonight”
Wondering what was it
That drove the man to be so torn

Recollecting all the love it has given

The faults it has overlooked
Wondering what is it
That would take the human to be forgiven

Seething with anger

It even tries to fight back
But wondering why should it
Break a habit that does no one any harm

Sadly, acknowledging perhaps it does

For reasons known and unknown
Wondering what it would be like
To be a different form

Coursing a change of heart

It stills to steel
Wondering even more than before
Will everyone love me now?

Realizing its new found existence

And beating truthfully to the new ways
Wondering when is it
That love will finally happen

Alas! If only the life of a heart

Was as simple as this tale
Wondering when will it realize
The new faults are underway!

Wrote on 30.09.2012 while contemplating about the worldly ways

A Drop of Heaven

Of that bench I often think
and will,
perched on the edge 
of a new high 
I'd never experienced before.

The one that opened 
its arms 
to the sprawling 
like the coy but sturdy 
village maiden
sitting in a quiet corner 
I'd often wonder at

As if nothing existed before
or mattered after
such pure, 
untouched beauty
soaked one in

Whitest white clouds
breezed about 
without knocking 
shaped by 
the vivid imagination
of that innocent child
biting into
sour green apples
straight off a tree

Never did I realize
the state of blank
can be one of 

T'was the closest 
one came to 
heaven on this earth and
taste of the sparkling
elixir flowing in the brooks
still lingers

A dedication to my first visit to Churaah, Himachal Pradesh in June 2011

Photo Credit: Tariq Khan

The Last Sigh

Like leaves falling
from a tree
withered, dry
and dissipated
some even Free.

Soaring high
with the winds
going where they take.
A second view of the world
it tried so hard to make.

But nothing matters
as they settle to the ground
with a peace...
never felt before

Sight of the green
(shorn of any
signs of living)
Reassure to lead
a path - full,
to it unlikeness
and some more

Written on 13 April 2010