Saturday, October 31, 2009

Soliloquy (Nearly) On A Honeymoon

Is this world I see, with you, today
Same as that I saw, alone, yesterday?
In stealth did it come that thought
Like that childhood game ‘I see – I see not’.

Was it by the sea? Then, the weeds were
Ghosts’ tangled tresses, with frothy gurgle
Of death from dark depths with white above.

With you, the ebb and flow of pregnant tide
And my passion tread the same measure,
From green shallows till the azure faraway.

In the train? The past’s already vague -
Inert, staring blindly through grills; now,
Pressed against you, heart’s chugging along.

Around the lake? Then, with self’s company,
With blank verse to fill blank life, mute;
Now - walking, holding, living - silence speaks.

I had to tell you, it’s late I know.
I had to see your eyes when I told you.
Tired you must be, it’s late I know,

When you turn away with “Whatever”.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sketch … of you and me …

How blank this appears:
Each word seems to mar
the empty depths of truth.

From this crushed cursed cushions,
Her eyes seem to spy upon the hidden.
Image of my reflections, shy away,
Bring not shards of memory to mould,
as life prances on razor’s edge.

An apparition she certainly is?
Why do you leave your abode
of banished silence
to be by my side, to whisper, to soothe –
how it aches,
how it pains,
don’t you know?

Maiden, how careless, your hair
seems as if a thousand hands
have caressed,
tenderly tousled tangles,
wishing the one would fondle;

as early light casts a million shades
but never seems to rise,
to remove the shadow that lingers
ever growing
upon your brow –

Bruised, scarred vast expanse
that never hides
the mental torture;
each line faint upon the gentle skin,
each throb pulsates a measure –
which balm will ease you,
which hand refused,
the sacred silence shatters,
a single word would be enough
but none seems to bind
the mind
that wishes no longer
to be whole.

Cool these cheeks,
such fires burn life’s embers;
hurt not your lips so,
so swollen, so expectant;
this beauteous mould,
erase such a grimace –
sorrow by the right,
smile by the left,
place it not upon such a rack,
would understanding set it right,
would a few words do,
but what reason
could have blinded him
of this sight
of blossoming love –
how he should have plucked
and let it not wither.

There’s no place, but there
let me linger awhile –

Your hair I cannot caress,
the brow seeks balm I have not,
these cheeks I dare not hold, they burn,
these lips are not for me to kiss,
the mould of mortal clay is not for me
to mend,
to set aright;

For I am the child of your glance,
it is these depths that lure,
that which sketches more than you can tear,
Blink, little one, hold on no more,
let the tear slide along,
from furious rapids,
from scorned depths,
from discarded abandon,
from deafening silence,
from restless rest,
from love unrealized,
from innocence raped,
from time that speeds by,
from shattered mind,
from barren womb,
from bleeding heart,
let the tear slide along –
it may not mend,
it may not erase,
it may just carry
a little pain.

I shall not look further,
Blurred vision
hastened departure
but for sure you know,
that I will be
by you –
In mirth, let’s cast eyes;

who is within,
who is without?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pazhassi Raja

The movie “Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja” deserves a grade of 6.5 out of 10. It is a movie worth seeing at least once. But, will I watch it again?

One should try to bear in mind the following: (a) it is based on history (b) it is long (3 hours and 15 minutes) (c) before watching the movie, try not to be biased and try not to compare (d) forget the Hariharan-MT-Mammootty legacy.

Mammootty and the Indian co-stars are good – restrained, powerful and quite perfect for the role. Given the length of the movie, one wonders whether the characters could have been more well-formed. Is that why one does not feel like brandishing a sword at the end of the movie? Mammootty seemed a trifle stifled (especially if you know what he is capable of) and Sharathkumar who has the best role did very well. The foreign actors performed as if it was a school play and the women are unfortunately quite forgettable. At times, the scenes seemed abrupt and if I am not mistaken, by way of continuity, the second half of the movie is better than the first half. The fights could have avoided the touch of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. The orchestra in the background score seemed to lack a local flavour and the songs fitted in like fillers. The photography and the location of each scene are beautiful and picture-perfect. Since it is supposed to be Kerala, one wonders whether there is too much light and too little mud.

Can one compare this movie with Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha (OVV)? No. OVV is loosely based on a folktale and twists the tale to the extent a much-despised character (Chathiyan Chanthu) is the hero and much-adored characters (Aromal Chevakar, Unniyaarcha) are shown in bad light. Filmgoers then protested about such literary freedom but loved that product of Hariharan-MT-Mammootty. In OVV, female actors like Madhavi and Geetha impressed with intelligence and beauty and not their cleavage.

Finally, a few notes regarding the scene at the theatre. I tried the 10 a.m. morning show. The cost of the balcony ticket is INR 40, and along with INR 40 for the to-and-fro rickshaw ride and INR 15 for a packet of crisps, it is not too expensive. Since it was a morning show, there was ample leg room - quite ideal for the elderly people who kept me company. Interestingly, some elderly ladies had come alone while the old men were guided by their grandchildren. A young-turning-middle-aged man who sat two seats away in the same row reeked of alcohol - hopefully a result of a hangover rather than morning efforts. There were just a few groups of college students who hooted and whistled only a few times; lustily cheered when Mohanlal speaks in the beginning and equally well when Mammootty makes a less-than-grand entrance; and, they even shouted Bharat-ki-jai in the beginning. But unfortunately, even they did not feel like shouting that at the end. As I left, I tried to remember a scene. When I do, I might watch the movie again with the rest of my family.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Releasing blood

‘A poet’s work,’ he answers, ‘To name the unnamable, to point at friends, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it from going to sleep.’ And if rivers of blood flow from the cuts his verses inflict then they will nourish him.

From ‘The Satanic Verses’


Listen to me while I suck my own blood.
Release of that which weighs me down –
life blood!


Her dark hair straying across that beauteous face,
Black eyes filled dim, alight yet through the full race,
Tear stained cheeks glistening like moonlit waters anew,
Long wet lashes as reaching branches dripping dew,
Blood stained lips trembling, lucky breath to kiss her tender,
Yet not touching, harming her no more but silent yearn render.

O lover! What remains of that but a jester forsaken, tear torn tear -
A letter unfolded tracing creases to be folded again – does life bear?
Fools’ fate foretold – ‘Curs’d be a lover – to tears, one on one, to pain.’

And again…

Wrong mind setting thoughts right, leaders behind the masses led,
Patient pained pawns wait for death, pray gently be bled;
Deafened by clamour, he hears not the heavy tread of Death,
Blinded by tears, he seeks solace in frightful sight’s dearth;
Laid inert by gloom, he begs his brethren to swing the sword low,
But a last hope to quench life’s thirst – a manna of love from below.

Ah hope! Where was the brother – which eye did he close: that to you or his pleasure?
Images to images, rock to rock across a river, each tread to this fancied measure –
Learn for once, survival’s silent password: ‘Do unto others as they do unto you.’


Enmity, jealousy, agony, torture – of self and others – life a row,
Blasphemy, thraldom, hopeful – salvage of a wreck sunken low,
To little capsules: shadows flitting by, enticing gestures in misty night
Whence senses may seek repose sans alarm, darkness to tunnel of light;
Intoxicated in the dark, arm in warm waters, the other for the dagger,
Release to bonded dreams – refreshed breath, life at stake, soul to stagger –

What would this life be – in the promised hundred – if this be the remembered one?
Born to be one, the heart to pound alone – betrayal, pain, illusions: none!
Any company but solitude be folly, any thought but oneself is just to be sorry.

Yet, one dances on the razor’s edge,
Forsaking reason, hope on love’s pledge,
In a path in the wilds, round and round,
Losing, realizing the right path – yet nowhere bound,
That be the fate of souls mould in mortal clay,
Bruised or hurt, seeking unknown pain each day.

Releasing blood, sucking one’s in,
Hither to thither, but to abide within;

There’s no release, by one’s self.


Tired, can I be? Hoping for a wish.
Staring at scrap – old photos, old life.

Scream, shall I? Mourn, maybe.
I won’t cry, mourn, seek love stupid.
O poets, I can love. And fight wars.
Brood about a world going waste.
But the traitors, where are they?
They will say it’s an old story.
Tough they are with no hope.
With wise words to soothe or sting.
Do you know the rotten cuckold?
Or the poor guy who died poor?
And the usual death and love?
Or the tale of one with no tale?
Mortals’ usual woes, not so new.
Then, is there reason to write?
I am tired. Tired being tired.

Oddity IV

A canvas for the mind – that be life –
No marred margin mourned and gilded edge shorn;
Labour be so, too – through joy or strife –
By whim or intent it’s coloured, shaded or torn.

Much could be philosophized on the above –
Much with ignorance, much for comfort thought;
How could the defeated and rejected in love
Engrave what he knew not and what he was not?

But with surety could he fill a moment of repose
Looking at the workings of the mind – his sole guide –
In loneliness company made, in silence a tune to rouse,
In gloom a smile to blossom, in dying life to be astride.

A wayward dream to be structured, sans sense, a soulmate;
A mate who merely smiled made a rack – of torture and pain;
In pain did descend dearly into depths too black – reason too late –
Too late – fiery lines slash upon lighter blue as a growing strain.

The jasmine bought do not bring a gentle sight
Nor the dying aroma a few borrowed pleasures,
The bed is cold with sweat on this winter night
No tinkling anklets, no soothing caress nor measures.

If it’s reality to be marked upon the canvas:
Weary mind, take the leave for long you sought.
The white should speak for itself, honest, unless
It would be better suited to mark the predestined dot.