Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Last Days At A KPO/BPO/… (or, How To Make Your Employee Write His/Her Own Pink Slip)

Yesterday, on the local train, I met a friend who had left his job. That is what he told me though I suspected that he got the pink slip. He was with one of the BPO/KPO/service centers of an investment bank (are there any left?) and this is an extract from that conversation:

I : How was it like ?
He : What was what like ?
I : You know, recession, credit crunch, pre-/post-Lehman …
He : (silent)
I : Come on, you know, living with the threat of a pink slip, loss of job, money, …
He : (laughs) Heard that some pensioners in Japan lost some money and a few people in US and Europe.
I : You are being insensitive.
He : (after staring at me for a while) Where I was, we made money. Yeah, we did not get a pay hike but we got bonus. Nearly 30-40% of fixed pay. And for some, an additional bonus to be paid in the course of a year – 100-200% of fixed pay.
I : Wow, if I am getting a lakh as fixed pay, I will get bonus of a lakh or two.
He : Yeah, if you are getting 20 lakhs, you will get as bonus 6-8 lakhs plus 20-40 lakhs. And that’s just for lower management. And, they can’t chuck you out without paying - unless they can prove that you have been bad.
I : (a little dumbstruck) Then …
He : Now, as for pink slips, there are smart ways to get the job done – and, without paying bonus or any severance amount.
I : What ways ?
He : Let’s assume that I am your boss, a non-technical manager, and you are a conscientious employee who reviews/manages the technical work done in the group.
Now, what will I do:

(1) Divide & rule. Make you co-head with another less technical person; I will route all communication and opportunities to that person and neglect your progress.
(2) To the others in the group, you are visibly not even a co-head. Even if the junior associates abuse you in public, I will do nothing about it.
(3) Increase neglecting you to the extent that you do not get a chance to talk to your technical manager for 5-6 months.
(4) Assign tasks/assignments to you that are low on priority, involves heavy work and lots of time.
(5) I will assign to you associates (if any) for projects who are allowed to keep very flexible timing (say, come to office at 11 am, leave for lunch at 1:30 pm, return at 4:30 pm after siesta, etc.). If you still manage to make the associate do some work, I will allow the associate to go for a long vacation – without even asking you. When you have done most of the work and the associate returns after vacation, I will shift you out of leading that project to completion and allow the associate to take credit.
(6) I will do nearly everything without even talking to you – and further, assign you to a new task rejected by others in the group.
(7) I will reject your request for leave – even for 2 to 3 days. If you manage to get the leave application approved, you are assigned a task which has a deadline clashing with your vacation.
(8) Now, if you are still around, you are assigned to a task in the London office for a period of 3-4 weeks. And due to urgency, I will advise you (verbally and never written) to take from India a business visa rather than a work permit. Recent UK immigration rules are fuzzy about this - at least, fuzzy as far as you can gather from local sources. You are going to work in London on your account or someone else’s account on various trading platforms and systems but you will state that you are just going for tutorials or training. Now, will you make it through Immigration at Heathrow airport and will you return to work with me?

I : But surely there are people who take care of employees … like HR …
He : (laughs)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wish I Could Say Something True, To Me … (1991)

If the words do come from within,
If the hand that writes is mine,
If the thoughts spelt make sense,
If my heart pours into each mark,
If all that I do were truly, truly
For me, then I could say with cheer
“I am not alone”. But the tragedy
Is in the final dot, for it speaks
Of the loss of clarity, hope and care,
For these scattered dregs of sweet life
Seem to be for another’s – not mine.

The Garland (1993)

Behind wrinkles her merry eyes twinkle,
Weaving the low-down string through jasmine;
And I to weave another tapestry – a travesty,
Weariness to be dust and the day’s disgust
From the armour well worn, of self-assertion.

The garland’s wrapped and it’s time for the parting chat.
For the expecting wife she prays, and me she praises-
To have each detail is her part till I depart.
A boy or a girl? A baby – the reply to please, maybe;
Of trying trivial troubles, of morals, money, mortals;
Ration, labour, savings, in-laws and to-be-siblings.
Forward she stretches, and closer attention she fetches:
“A grandchild! You are now man enough for them?
Your ancestors arrack-dealers, hers by royal stealers;
And now by no coconut grove or royalty, but in the ministry;
Do they now complain of the miscast match?”
Awhile in pregnant hush, I spot a blue scar she masks in a rush;
Queries are not for me to utter, of her mate she dare not mutter.

It’s time to part, and she nods at my pining heart;
And hands me the love-pack, the saviour from the rack-
A husband’s tensions of how to please; she mentions
Of how it differs, from those of early customers
For greedy monetary gods, and here to love, the God.

Here, at my walk’s endis the lover, father and husband;
The padlock never oiled creaking, the door never open, complaining;
To sit on the floor of cold stone, to count the moments alone,
The garland still in my clutch, dreams before decay are such.

Seasons (1994)

Summer’s heated passion lingers over,
Among sweat soaked sheets, like Past –
All alone. Could it have been better?
Shriveled residue like a shrunken raisin,
Awaiting morning dew to fill and cry.
So light is the air, it cares not to caress,
As in winter’s cold, wrapped and fondled.
Spring and Autumn – awaited lovers:
To break the fidelity to lonely extremes.

Setting (1992)

Cursed be this son – victim, vandal or voyeur?
Each fleck of ash from the pyre be sin’s attire!
Blame the brother – of bondage – that be the mortal excuse!
But seeking no reply – each cry, tear and look forever accuse!

Gentle vines, dew tipped leaves, tender branches fanning over,
As waving tresses, joy laden lashes, caring limbs to reach forever;
My face laid against Her – past’s pleasure pains present – to hear,
A lullaby, of Life lingering about Mother’s womb for solace dear.

The gentle breeze brought songs from them in flight – like Heaven’s rite,
For a newborn era – as I gazed at my love in yonder hills clad in white;
Across green vales – bejeweled, fluttering like a dainty maiden – to meet,
Did we not walk together hearing the river ripple like whispers sweet?

And here I watch! Those tresses by the roots shorn of a mute mangled prey,
Limbs scarred, pained bosom heaving, shattered within – and I merely pray?
Clarion calls as dreadful dirges deafen, the river gutted, black – Death’s haven,
Poisoned air to rupture sight; my love gone, gaunt, grey – and silent heaven…

On hearing a woman sob in Cargese

It is 7 pm. I am hiding in my hotel room.
Next to the road, on a thread-bare bedspread,
Thro’ cheap curtains, there’s no view but I’m OK.
Then I hear a woman sobbing. I repeat, sobbing.

This is not the place for a woman to sob.
There’s the sea to soothe (with a few irritants ashore).
It is scrub land (but city folks’ paradise).
One is loony to be alone (now you know why I hide).

But with savage tourist instincts,
In the land bereft of natives, with the French speaking English,
With the tired cleaning lady covering her bra,
To eat paella or burger? Who cares to be naked on a nude beach?

This is my first touch with life, hurrah!
I listen to the woman sobbing for 10 minutes,
Probably her dog has flu, or her bikinis are wet,
But for the rest of my stay I could think.

It hurts to see beauty (Nov, 1998)

It hurts to see beauty
with eyes that run dry.
A blood-stained collage envelopes:
a fettered body below azure calm,
tormented by sunset, scared for a while,
you by my side with bindi-
strange calmness between us, forever.
But darkness will rescue-
from feigning, from laughter,
(it is strange that there are no smiles)
from this madness called life.
It is beauty that hurts.

Fading (1996)

Eyes peered
at his
blooming rose;

but how
he feels;
for now,

they have

fade, for
it hurts

Awakening (1997)

Say not, again, “…it’s but your choice…”
does any mortal choose doom?
And never “…you never understood…”
let me laugh at such mirth, may I?
Speak not “…but you are…”
in your ignorance let me be deaf.
Simply selfishly say “…stupid…”
How so … I know … you utter so well!

Did I really love you?

Did I really love you?
Were you just a creation
of a moment’s fancy?
But I did care for you.
But I did worry about you.
But I wanted you helpless and mine.

No! I did not love you.
I did not rejoice
in the moments of strength.
You were just not clay to right mold.
Then why do I think of you?
There’s nothing else to do.

Friday, July 24, 2009

10 People To Meet At The Coffee House

· Ingrid Bergman
· Caravaggio
· Pierre-Gilles de Gennes
· Nadine Gordimer
· Aung San Suu Kyi
· Vanessa Paradis
· Ayn Rand
· Arundhati Roy
· Erwin Schrodinger
· Oscar Wilde

These are not people I revere (if there is such a list). These are the people who affected me – maybe, with character, with elegant writing, with an image or a style, with their philosophy or the way they pursued their philosophy. I might not agree with them but I would like to sit across a coffee table, to have a brief discussion and to recollect that which shaped my life.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Crime As A Hobby

Recently, I attended a job interview where I was asked to name my hobby. Reading crime novels, I replied, and added that I specialized in reading an entire series and that I focused on novels from UK/Europe written post WW II. Now, does that sound like a candidate’s specialized topic in the BBC quiz program Mastermind? They did not ask me for further details. Like some people with a hobby, I want to be a persistent bore, convert a few to this path of crime and provide a short note – straight from the heart, a cliché to excuse errors, chronological confusion, completeness and paucity of academic points – say, dummies’ guide to crime novels.

Similar to the classical pranamam, the foundation is laid with the works of Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and bits of G.K.Chesterton, Josephine Tey, Ngaio Marsh, Margery Allingham and, that is of course, just naming a few in the pre-WW II era. Then comes P.D. James’ Dalgliesh (personally, I preferred the early books about this detective-poet who survived the loss of wife and child rather than the later novels with more romantic sentiments) and Ruth Rendell’s Wexford (the family man with his devoted wife, weight and heart problems, daughters who reflect the changing times and the equally well-formed sidekick Burden). This is one instance where my favourite novel of the latter is not one of the series but the stand-alone The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy (writing as Barbara Vine).

Next, one should try the more contemporary (from the late 70s to the 90s) novels by Colin Dexter, R.D.Wingfield and Reginald Hill with their respective detectives E. Morse (working class background, never completed studies in Oxford, loves a good drink, classical music especially Wagner and crosswords), Frost (people are more familiar with the TV series but the books offer a better character though a less politically correct one) and Dalziel & Pascoe (the gross Fat Man whose wife left him and the refined assistant with a strongly opinionated loving wife). Like Reginald Hill’s novels, Peter Robinson’s Alan Banks (divorced, two kids, likes rock & blues but dislikes country music) series are based in Yorkshire. Minette Walters does not have a series with a hero but her books which deal with contemporary issues, and wronged misunderstood individuals are not to be missed. From Scotland, we have Val McDermid and Ian Rankin. Val McDermid has three series of which I prefer the Tony Hill & Carol Jordan lot (psychiatric profiler with lots of problems of his own and a successful policewoman). Rankin’s Rebus is divorced, loves his daughter, lonely, well-versed with rock music, drinks, smokes, abhors promotion and works best alone. From across the Atlantic, we have Michael Connelly’s series with Bosch who is similar and tries to come to terms with emptiness and hopelessness. We have less misanthropic heroes in the series by Elizabeth George (Peter Lynley), Martha Grimes (Richard Jury) and Anne Perry (William Monk).

Now, crossing over to the Continent and elsewhere, one should start with the Swedish husband and wife pair, Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall and the Martin Beck series of the 60s and 70s. Beck (divorced, two kids, favourite pastime being miniature ship building, methodical, hardworking) and the other interesting characters are used to give a picture of the Swedish society and frustrations of that time. Following that tradition, we have Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander (divorced, one daughter, difficult relationship with father, struggling to control weight and relationship) series. I started with the stand-alone novel The Return Of The Dancing Master where the protagonist is trying to come to terms with cancer and mortality, and later got hooked onto the series. With Rebus, Bosch and Wallander retired, the serial reader is left wondering about future works of crime.

The atmosphere is quite similar in Arnaldur Indridason’s Reykjavik series. From that part of the continent, and straying from series, we have Peter Hoeg’s bestseller Smilla’s Sense of Snow. Here, I admit that I preferred his lesser-known non-crime eco-related novel Woman and the Ape. Quite recently, volumes 1 and 2 of the Millennium series by Stieg Larsson have been posthumously released. These novels are quite different from the other crime novels mentioned here and, the protagonist is an oddity.

Moving to warmer climate, we have three interesting series from Italy. First, the more serious and pondering Aurelio Zen series from Michael Dibdin who died recently. Second, we have Andrea Camilleri’s hugely popular Inspector Montalbano series set in south Italy. Third, we have the Commissario Brunetti series from Donna Leon. Though I will not describe the protagonists here, I recommend trying out Brunetti as appetizer, followed by Zen for main course and Montalbano for dessert. Now, how can one leave Italy without ever trying Umberto Eco’s The Name Of The Rose?

Finally, shifting from Europe, one should try Qiu Xiaolong’s Inspector Chen series which is set in Shanghai. Reading about certain Chinese dishes in Red Mandarin Dress is itself an experience. Now, try these site from the Telegraph or TimesOnline for a better list.

By the way, I did not get the job – surely, that was not a cliffhanger.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

To My Son – Beneath The Mushroom Cloud (1993)

“…lived happily forever!” And now, sleep sweet son,
Though in darkness I’ll be. Kindle that flame at dawn.
With the frailty of this hard age, I’ll watch over,
Sentinel over hope’s tides, wary of the silence of the rooster.

Did you have your fill of ancient lore this night?
Or did you sight the charade of this modern knight-
While my breath match my hope, or my tear shorn eyes
Stare within the dark globes basking in the glow which arise?

Let these gnarled fingers cuddle you to my bosom-
A white rose never prey, I pray, to the awesome;
The self same fingers by morn bent over buttons
Ready to spear an invisible foe when another summons.

Your gentle breath and smile of peace,
Sweet nectar that flows- such sweet release!
What will I leave for you- a past you shall hate,
A present to hide, a future none or just too late?

What will you inherit- my son, cherub, love and heir,
When this clay’s shattered while your’s smoked in fire:
Charred earth, graves’ estate, or blind by what you saw,

Will you be dead, deaf or dumb by what I sow?

I see the world (1999-2001)

I see the world in a reflection.
People reading the book
the epilogue the preface
and the climax a catchy start.
These people seem so close,
close enough to touch.
Shall I? Oh, let them read,
if they wish, which they do, I think.

I see the world through a peep-hole.
People with strange shapes, but
still a form to invisible footsteps
and like the tide, my hope.
These people too come close,
close enough to open my door.
Shall I? Oh, let them go away,
If they wish, which they do, I know.

The Oldest Trade (1997)

The trade be the oldest, they say,
By the street side, enticing,
promising, little maybe, but enough.

Bargaining in subtle ways,
Presents or gentle chatter,
never to hurt, never the truth.

The clock is set,
And the alarm shall ring,
Heed it not
But the sudden awakening,
Shall ache the head.

The same customer,
The same way,
The same time?
Maybe yes, maybe not,
Expectations nought.
But competition leaves
nagging Solitude…

Treasures in the attic-
affection (they said),
That be the name of the trade…


an unknown person
in an unknown place

sans form sans name
i will pass on like a dream

or maybe
a nightmare

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Morning News (Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo): July 18, 2009

I keep searching for news/columns that I want to read.

This week nearly belonged to Goldman Sachs and the second quarter earnings (in these times of recession, I turn to the financial page after reading the sports news instead of trying to prevent Alzheimer’s with the Sudoku puzzle of the day). The estimated average compensation at GS touched roughly USD 600,000. I am informed that USD 600,000 is still a huge paycheck in those parts of the developing world.

Everyone seems to be unanimous in admitting that the GS guys are great at what they do. To reflect (and, possibly dampen over-enthusiasm), it is worthwhile reading Paul Krugman’s “The Joy of Sachs” and to remember taxpayers (who?) with Allan Sloan’s “Goldman Sachs bites Uncle Sam’s hand”.

It seems like it was yesterday when Dick Fuld said “Until the day they put me in the ground I will wonder”.

Next, I raced past the madness of the Jakarta bombings (I suppose the bombers are trying to be media savvy by targeting 5-star hotels but irrespective of whether 5 or 500 are killed, whether it is the rich or the poor, it is still madness).

Then, Cherie Blair caught A(H1N1) flu and there was the fury of the monsoon in God’s own country. You might call it insensitivity but I preferred reading about the feast of 46 jumbos described in The Hindu “The heavier the rain, the merrier they were. Waving their ears, they raised their trunks to sniff the air as the scent of food wafted up towards them…About 500 kg rice was mixed with ghee and honey to prepare a delicacy for elephants. Turmeric powder was thrown in as a digestive. Organisers had garnered more to tickle the jumbo palate. The elephants avidly chewed up loads of sugar cane, cucumber, pineapple, bananas and corn.”

Have a great day!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Meaning of Life: What, How Or Why (1999-2001)

Have you heard about dead great men
And their quest for a way?
To them, in times of mirth,
I too find something to say.

With the rest, it’s why, O why. Or,
A train of how, how to live.
Trading bread and pride, lost,
Nameless with nought to give.

That’s not the truth, maybe.
Most likely a passing fancy;
If you ask what, how or why,
A half-wit’s smile’s a clever lie.

There’s a purpose, I suppose,
For faith to walk on hot coal,
There’s a whisper “nothing there”.
I laugh. My feet feels plenty there.

To & From & In Transit

The clinical psychologist placed three photos on the table and asked me to tell him what I saw.

At breakfast,
I tilted my head,
To the left and the right;

By lunch,
I gathered my thoughts,
On paths of subjective loneliness,
On certain objective materialism;

For tea,
I stalled time’s direction,
Without disorder,
Without To-From-In transit;

There’s dinner,
I will pray for love, farewell, etc.,
With mounting insecurity & faith,
I will fear & forget to live.

I placed the three photos on the table and, told him what I saw – nothing.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

From Cargese To Akathumuri

Even He could have been more imaginative. Well, what else can I say about my July vacation, the only one in a long time? Come on, give me a break. Being the chaperon of religious girls in bikinis who talk to you about their boyfriend isn’t exactly a break, is it? OK, I could have made the situation better without getting into a schizophrenic frenzy, either the recluse or the talkative social bore. It is good to be in the arms of Solitude before she changes her name to Loneliness.

At least, the flight is leaving on time. The crew is going through the drill. The plane is half-empty (more mentally correct to say half-full) and I am stuffed in a window-seat overlooking the wings. Across the aisle is a lovely lady and her kid. The brat is hyper-active and she seems to be tolerating it quite well. She is fair, sexy and young. Around my age, I think, if I were a few years younger. Blue jeans and white blouse. Brown eyes, black hair and lovely lips. We have exchanged smiles, with the help of the brat. He seems to have taken a liking for my comic gestures.

The choice of cheap beer and wine has come and gone. And I need to piddle. Luckily it is not one of those flights in which I would have been locked in my seat due to turbulence. And, there is not too much of a queue. I light a cigarette to suffocate my lone companion.

“Excuse me, can I borrow your lighter ?” It is the lady-from-across-the-aisle. Without a word and with an idiotic smile, I hand her the lighter. She lights her cigarette, twirls the cheap lighter on her long fingers and lets out the smoke.
“He’s finally decided to sleep.”
“Lovely child. How old is your son ?” Very clever.
“He’s not my kid. You seem to like kids.”
“Well … not exactly …” I think I saw her right eyebrow rise a little. I could never do that. She signaled that the loo’s all ready for me to escape. With cold water on my eyes and the shirt tucked properly, I returned to my seat. The little one lies alone across two seats. Poor orphan. Well, he doesn’t seem to know. I start counting the number of flaps on the wing. Makes me feel intelligent.

“Do you mind if I sit on this side? He seems to have taken my space.”
“Were you playing with him because you thought I am his mother?”
“I guess so.”
“What did you expect?”
“In reality or in dreams?” I am getting smart.
“Which is better?”
“For whom?” She smiled. What a smile. A smile with laughter echoing silently. And, she can look straight into my eyes. Without blinking or rolling her eyes every other way. It has been a long time. When was the last time? Who cares? I am resisting myself from talking about myself. You know, the works. Books, music, film, places, names. A whole lifetime can go by with such friendly stuff. “You are lovely, you know?” Now, that’s original. My first time.
“I know.”
“Lucky you.”
“Lucky me.” The same smile. No, not exactly. This is a gem that I have tried in vain. A pregnant river shadowing its own depths, the clime above trying to let the smile peep thro’.
“I suppose you must have been told that a million times.”
“Since my first boyfriend.”
“In school?”
“No, in school, all they wanted were my boobs.”
“What did your boyfriend want?”
“At 18, he wanted me.”
“Noble guy.”
“Ambitious guy.”
“Oh, didn’t he get you?”
“In the beginning, yes. At the end, he didn’t want me.”
“Is that consolation or do you pass judgements easily?” Ooops. This lady is tough. She continued “Small town kids with big city habits. To be seen and admired. In those days, we couldn’t jump into each other’s arms and kiss every other moment. The game was more subtle. Three years. Some time around the middle of our final year, it ended.” I decided to keep my mouth shut. My hands made a steeple, my eyes heavy with the load. “We were going home. By train. For a change, we were in an empty compartment. Empty apart from the two of us and a gang of racist maniacs who we had not seen when we got on. At first, they started abusing my boyfriend with obscenities. To me, all they said was “Sister, why did you choose him?” Then they started smacking, punching and kicking my guy. And the poor idiot, believing in some inner strength, kept trying to get up and look at his predators. This infuriated them even more. Shattered, smashed, soiled he lay. Finally, too weak to think, and to pray, he tried to look at me and them. They pissed on him and left. At the next station, I went to the police and they took him to a hospital.”
“Did he die?”
“No, he did not even file a case. Some stupid ideas. After that, he left the place. Got married to a rich girl, I heard. Lived happily ever after.”
“He must have been in trauma or something like that.”
“Maybe. But not regarding me. Our time was coming to an end. Marriage was, is a different business.”
“It must have been awful for you.”
“I don’t know. I got married within a few months.”
“Yes. A successful rich businessman. Families liked each other. For me, it didn’t matter as long as he allowed me to pursue my career. He is very supportive. That’s how I’m flying around.”
“Good it ended well.”
“Ended? Well? I am married, yes. He is a good man. And I think I like him too. At times, he is a sexual brute but I can’t have everything, can I? In the beginning, priorities are different. When we were engaged, he asked me if I would have sex with him. Later, he told me that it was merely a test. On the first night, I had fever of 104 and rashes due to a reaction to pills. He asked me if he could have sex. I undressed, I bloodied the sheets, I vomited, he slept. With time, I realized that the hurt reduced. After all, I did enjoy sex most of the time. Bolder, older, with a new list of dreams, I went thro’ it all, buggered thro’ and thro’. I am a lovely woman, ain’t I? And, a lovely woman has to keep her man, right? Yes, it ended well. I think I even love my husband.”
“But there could be…” My steeple had crumbled, knuckles like gravestones jutting heavenward. She looked at her hands. I looked at her. “Other men, other people?” Pauses are strange. In that void, there is little air to breathe. Not a charade. Not a lie nor truth. Only time shrugs and moves ahead.
“I am going back after one. A poet. Tender soul. It is nice to walk in strange cities with him. To museums and cinema. History feeds him stories, the present’s a grief and the future’s non-existent. He strives for penury. That is his glory. And for freedom’s sake, his own emotions revolve around his words.”
“But, wouldn’t life be better with him?”
“No. He is gay and he needs me to know a woman and I need him to know a poet. We are not lovers. We have others for that.” She smiles. It is the old one this time. She likes my steeple and the heavy drugged look. I knew that she would like it. I keep nodding my head. Slowly. Sieving thro’ the stuff. Understanding, people call it. It has the right appearance. “I have talked a lot. First time I ever did.”
I nearly said “Glad to be…”
“Do you always speak so little?”
“You are the first to say so.” Why did I admit that? She deserves it.
“So, was this your dream or reality?”
“Dream, I suppose. Reality never happens.”
“Are you trying to be clever?”
“Tell me about yourself.”
Oh no, lady, you don’t really want to get me started, do you ? “Well …”

The little one woke up. With a surge of adrenalin, he cried “Mama …” “Yes, love.” The lady went back across the aisle. And I resumed making comic gestures at the kid. April could be the cruelest month but July comes pretty close. It is a long way from Cargese to Akathumuri.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

His Story : Epilogue: To Her (1991)

Part 1
Part 2

I need not spell your name, dear one,
I need not paint your form, my friend,
For my emotions and passions for you
May lie in vain in a chant or an idol.
Many a time have I stood mute as a praying nun,
Endlessly seeking words to suit my desire’s trend,
But what could this simple man review
In want of words true but unknown to any mortal.

Pained I am to be so far from your self,
Yet to be crushing near with our heart;
All I have to ease my ache and remorse
Are memories of your gentle smile and eager eyes.
Every time my senses lie blocked, your words awaken my self,
When the body is in wasteful repose, promises made fire me apart,
Doubly fueled to meet life – whether gentle or coarse,
To rush to the day when we meet – to a proud surprise.

So friend, beloved – whatever you maybe to me,
Know how much I love, I care – I owe my life to thee.

what you want me to be (1999-2001)

There’s a guy who speaks French,
as a rule, to his kids;
his wife searches,
in old romances, for a word.

There’re two girls, one in bikinis
hates the other for wearing a headscarf;
conform, she says,
the silent reply hides thoughts far ahead.

Who am I ? I am. I am. I am.
A murderer of love, faithless in lady luck;
a beggar, for some a loser, a loner?
Alive, I ain’t what you want me to be.

Sailors' Custom (1993)

The cold wind lashes my brittle heart,
My friend, I pray, don’t drift apart;
But it’s time for the rites of the high seas
When by lots we shall decide whom to cease;
You, me or the others, whose blood shall soak,
Whose flesh shall fill; let mind go senses broke.
If it’s me, feed on me
without a qualm,
If it’s you, shut your eyes
for they might break this lunatic calm.

Somewhere, there used to be a sailors’ custom when they are stranded on the high seas - of taking lots to decide who to eat.

His Story: Searching and Finding (1991)

Part 1
Alone, wandering, searching in the vast expanse-
The air spoke past’s agony- the night before dawn.

I was not alone for I could hear a gentle sobbing-
Another lonely heart; breaking rules, the like did attract.
Away in a mansion- dark but for a single lamp,
It’s flare flitting restless, drops of oil aflame fall as fiery tears;
And beyond it lay a corridor, lit shadows treading a measure
Giving form to the moment’s tale to the rhythm of woeful passions.
This stifled light crept along the corridor,
And caressed a form lying by a shuttered window.
The stroving eye has met its mark, the search is over
For there lay my dreams moulded in mortal clay!

But? ….

This quill can never trace my heart’s treasure.
But with confessed cripple, let me say “O dainty maiden!”

Her dark hair straying across that beauteous fair face,
Those tear stained cheeks glisten as moonlit waters,
There were creases strange on her brow, selfish-sorrow-scarred;
The black eyes filled dim, but no power could mar that wonder,
The long wet lashes like reaching branches dripping dew,
Yet, through the full waters, there lay a light – from yore, or hope of morrow.
Her bloodstained lips trembled, lucky breath to kiss her tender;
Her face rests on a step, flesh on stone, warmth on cold-
The rivulet of tears trickled till they dropped on her heaving bosom,
The unfelt cold, for her heart seemed afire with passions too fiery.

Why? …

There she lay still but for her straying eyes
Which looked out into into the night, looking for …

How I wished to break that troubled repose!
And then, as if thoughts spoke, she turned, startled-
Our eyes met, questions not asked, answers known;
I stepped down and knelt by her, but not touching-
Not to harm her gentle self, but with yearning,
And as per heart’s decree, she set the password of the moment:
She smiled.

O love!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

If she knew …

Lessons, near forgotten, guided my fingers:
at the back of the neck, a tense spot,
was that a murmur, or a sigh, or sheer comfort?
Down the spine, at the sides, up to the front,
a kiss here and there, a nibble once in a while.
How she loves it, certainly not an act;
her nipples rising to the touch, selfish ones,
forever seeking attention, ebb and flow of the tides;
down below, further and further, her eyes close.
Relax, relax, relax. Whispered words,
caressing touches, sucking, tasting, going on.
“My masseur”, call me that I tell her,
but she does not wish to speak, not bothered.
In her mind, I suspect, thoughts far from that I wish;
In my mind, if she knew, she would cry rape.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

from Thinking about the future (1983)

Thinking about the future
Not knowing what will happen
Waiting for something to happen.
Lying and wasting
Precious time.
Something is bound to happen
Something exciting
Something interesting.
With pleasant thoughts
Of the future
Thinking of great things
That is not
Going to happen.
Just thinking about the future
What a waste of time.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Going Insane (1991)

See the star and the fire within.
A drum
With no drumsticks
But throbbing beat.

Tearing me down.
How long does it go on
As long as the stars
Or just