Apoorva in Amsterdam

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Tumhaare Saath

इस चांदनी सी धूप में
एक-आध घड़ी चुरानी है
तुम्हारे साथ

द पाइप के किसी छोटे से चौक में बैठ
चाय की चुस्की लेनी है
तुम्हारे साथ

सर्फटी पार्क की उस पुरानी बेंच पर
जिस पर गेस्टापो भी बैठे हों कभी शायद
कुछ मीठी बातें करनी हैं
तुम्हारे साथ

इस गर्मी का
(अगर इक्कीस डिग्री को गर्मी कहें)
आख़री वीकेंड है
फिर बारिश और सर्दी निभानी हैं
तुम्हारे साथ

उस अँधेरी ठिठुरन में
क्रिसमस के बेतुके इंतज़ार में
कुछ चीज़ें डिसकस करनी हैं
तुम्हारे साथ

In a train

Memories painted in water colours, in a train.
Flashes come back to me splashed, in a train.

“What’s the point of Marwar Junction? Just makes the journey longer!”
“So that you can have Aloo-Poori, in a train?”

They will sing of the Khwaja, and bring you closer to yourself.
Between Kishangarh and Ajmer, every morning – in a train.

What shall we make of this, and how long shall we endure?
A cop asked me for money near Dhanbad. In a train!

Kalka to Howrah was running late and we missed the party.
Celebrated New Year’s with boiled eggs and tea. In a train.

Papa once stepped off for water at what was only a whistle-stop.
My insecurities still live in Rajasthan. In a train.

That ride from Zurich to Geneva did make me wonder ‘Apoorva’.
How much further can you go from yourself in a train?

Sunday evening

The cafes are all bare on Sunday evening
Awkward silences and a stare on Sunday evening.

You’ll find this odd but all weekend I think
Just how will I fare on Sunday evening?

The smell of gloomy expectation lingers low in the tram
When I step out for fresh air on Sunday evening.

Do they actually dim the lights, make them go pale
My eyes don’t find it fair on Sunday evening.

The world comes at you thick and fast
Warm comforts are rare on Sunday evening.

Emotional eating can easily go out of hand
They ask me to take care on Sunday evening.

They’ve read my message it seems, but haven’t responded yet
I have no emotions to spare on Sunday evening.

Stars slide off my sky tonight,
The moon and I despair on Sunday evening.

I come back to you and breathe your calm
A sweet caress I wear on Sunday evening.

There’s more out there feeling how you feel Apoorva
Would they lay it bare on Sunday evening?

(Edited: April 2017)

Main hee

बचपन की उस तस्वीर में

माँ के साथ किताब पढ़ते

मैं ही था

गर्मी की छुट्टी में

दीवार के साथ क्रिकेट खेलता

मैं ही था

अगस्त १९९४ में अजमेर जंक्षन से

दिल्ली की ट्रेन

मैने ही पकड़ी थी

उस दिन सुबह जो जूते

मेरे पापा ने पॉलिश किये थे

वो मेरे थे

मेल्बर्न के मक्डोनल्ड’स में

नानाजी को निराश कर

बीफ बर्गर मैने ही आजमाया था

कॉलेज की सीढ़ी पर

पेंसिल से जिस पर तुमने लिखा था

वो जीन्स मेरी थीं

जोका में जेटी पर देर रात

जगजीत सिंह की ग़ज़ल

मैने गाई थी

मुम्बई के कामथ रेस्टोरेंट में

रोज़ दो पराठे और झालफ्रेज़ी

मैं ही तो खाता था

दुबई की बॅंक स्ट्रीट पर

दफ़्तर के ट्रॅफिक में

अक्सर मैं फंस जाता था

कल की मीटिंग में क्रोध पर क़ाबू कर

मेच्यूर प्रोफेशनल की भूमिका

मैने ही निभाई थी

र आज

आज जब आईने में देखा

तो खुद से पूछा

क्या ये मैं ही हूँ?


Love with all your heart
But understand that it may not be understood

Lend a helping hand
But realize that it shall sometimes be forgotten

Be a friend
But know that friendship isn’t always two-way

Create memories
And remember to erase them

Never again

Rejoice ahead of time – I will never again
Celebrate a bit too soon – I will never again

If it’s OK for you to see moms cry, and kids die
Then watch the news on TV – I will never again

Tulips might bloom again in Spring , the trees might go fiery red in Autumn
But take these for granted – I will never again

Our quest for cause and effect – has made our senses blind
I’ve read Malcolm Gladwell but – I will never again

She hurt herself in the kitchen, the dal burst in her face
Fantasize of food from home – I will never again

There’s no right, no wrong, OK! – but which shade of grey am I?
I used to speculate a lot – I will never again

They didn’t cut my wings – just discouraged me gently
Fly my flight of fancy – I will never again

Have you thought about yourself, your condition calls for it
You think a lot about others, ‘Mat – I will never again

Sad tonight

Laughter won’t roll, I’ll be sad tonight
You don’t console, I’ll be sad tonight

The oh-so-sweet words, that puppy face
They have no soul, I’ll be sad tonight

I show a brave face, I keep my chin up
But my heart has a hole, I’ll be sad tonight

‘Tis not their naked tyranny, but their slippery guile
That’s taken its toll, I’ll be sad tonight

The pain is incessant, I hurt from within
Walking on hot coal, I’ll be sad tonight

Is being naïve worse than being stupid?
You can take a poll, I’ll be sad tonight

A sentimental fool, an emotional wreck
Being sad is my goal, I’ll be sad tonight

This is who

I’m often asked
About who I am

I make up an answer

But this time
I did wonder

Which analogy, what metaphor
Would I use for myself?

I think I fancy myself
As a jumbo advertising balloon

One that’s high in the sky
Looking over the cityscape


I have a view
I swerve, observe

I brave the elements
Resilient, sensitive

Tethered at the base
I am secure, I can’t get lost

I am not free.


How will I get there
I ask myself
As I navigate
Through this vast ocean of life.

I do not enjoy
Playing this game
By its rules.

But I don’t go far
When I swim
Against the tide.

A Christmas Wish

As he stood alone
In that room full of suits
Doubting himself, overwhelmed
A stranger smiled at him

As they sat in that clinic
Unable to swallow the news
The old lady stepped up
And held her hand

When he couldn’t sleep
Hurting of pain and spite
She rested her head on his chest
Exactly where the vacuum was

This Christmas
I wish you a warm smile
A comforting hand
A companion who soothes

But you have to promise
That you’ll smile at strangers
Show empathy
And heal.