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On engineered fraternity

We shared a leaf between us both
Of us it made a kin;
And no one knew -
They knew of you,
Of me they’ll find out too.

Unwilling birds together shared
To bring us both at once;
For us they died -
Who died hath tied,
So blood could claim we lied.

We crushed a seed with borrowed hands
We both found in it calm;
Over it spill -
And spill at will,
Of times awaiting still.

The ages of 18 through 20, my college years, were particularly precious. It was a difficult time for me because I had left my hometown of Dubai, and relocated to Goa, India, which is where I'm supposedly from. It's difficult for a teenager to leave his entire world behind, and move to a whole new country. And not just any country - India. I did not feel like I was moving forward, I felt like I was moving backward. On my prom night, I was saying goodbye to friends who were moving to the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand - or just staying in Dubai. I was the ONLY ONE moving to India - and I was gutted. My world was my colony where I grew up, my friends, my then girlfriend. It was everything I had ever known for 18 years of my life - and now it was being taken away. A day after prom I was on a plane to India with my family, that's how quickly the move happened. And on that plane, I thought about what was in store - which was nothing. As far as I was concerned, nothing was in store. I was not excited. This was not going to be a new adventure. I was not going to return to Dubai with tales from the land of the Kamasutra. As far as I knew, I was being punished, and I did not know why.

The first few months were torture. I missed everyone. I would scrounge for change to make ISD calls from phone booths. I would send 140 character SMS messages that cost a fortune. I even wrote letters. And received them. But at some point I realised that by doing that, I was just holding on to something that I didn't really have, and probably never would. Relationships that were bound to evolve, most probably without me - and there was nothing I could do about it, because life goes on. And so I started making new ones. If I was going to have to survive in this new place, whether I like it or not, I had to make new friends and new relationships. This poem is about one of those relationship. It was not a romantic relationship of any kind, but one that holds a very special place in my heart. The person I wrote this for was there for me in so many ways during those initial months. He was a mentor, a brother, and a friend with whom I had some rather strange, albeit interesting adventures. The kind I was convinced wold never happen to me in this strange land - and yet it did. In the almost 15 years since we first met, we've grown apart, fallen out, gotten back together, gotten married (to other people), added new relationships to the fold - grown the tribe, and through everything, made my life what it is today. Really what it is, is a testament to the fact that change really is inevitable in the world around you. You can choose to change with it, or you can choose to stay still. You can stop, or you can continue to move forward. But ask yourself, would you rather be the seed? Or the flower it becomes? The choice is yours.  

If you met God

If you met God today
What would you say?
What might he look like?
What might He say?

Would you tell him you’re sorry
For the things you’ve done?
For the people you’ve cheated?
For the lies you’ve spun?

Or would you just stare
And say nothing at all?
Scared that at last
The wicked would fall?

Or maybe you’d explain
The cause of your plan,
And fail to forget
The one who made man.

God is in the word, and the Devil is in the detail. It's a very interesting concept that I discovered while reading the works of the inimitable Paulo Coehlo - though this poem was written long before I picked up any of his books. This I wrote way back in 2004, when I was 18, but while reading this again, it made me think of The Alcehmist and Brida, and the nature of people who are good for you, and those who are just vile.

I'm sure back then I had a different reason for writing this, but now, all things considered, 18 year old me has nothing on 31 year old me. So much has changed. I've grown, physically and mentally. And every experience has thought me something. The most important thing that I have learned is that the Universe is greater than all of us - the creator of the universe is greater still. But yet, as insignificant as we are, God is in us all - and in the words we speak. For the words we use are the greatest weapon known to man. It has the power to create relationships, and break them. Every war that was ever fought, was fought after words, and ended because of them as well. How we use our words is so important, because God is in them. But interestingly, we all know it's possible to say one thing, and mean another - and that my friends, is where the Devil resides. In the details. Details like intent, sarcasm, deceit. We think we're being so smart, but the one who created us is the smartest of all. And if you were to meet him after all of this, do you really think you can pull the wool over his eyes as well? If God resides in all of us, then do you think you can truly deceive your partner, your co-worker, or your friend? You can try - make up a story, spin a tale that after enough repetition could possibly fool you as well - but remember, you can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time - but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. And that's my take away from this. If you don't have something good to say, don't say anything. Let your actions speak for you. But if you do have something to say, let it be something good. Something that will build bridges instead of a wall. Something that ties bonds, not breaks hearts. Your words should not be a weapon, it should be a tool. Tools build, weapons destroy. Use your words to build. 

The locket

She gave her a locket
And told her “my girl,
This is precious, hold tight,
Keep it safe from the world – 
Till the day you meet someone,
Not tomorrow, but soon,
Who will promise the world,
With the sun and the moon.
But be wary, for words
Sell for less than a pound
And if your locket is lost
It will never be found”
So with caution she held it,
Her locket of gold
To never be opened
To never be sold

To be continued …

You have to be living under a rock to not know about the incessant rape culture that has enveloped this country. What was once something that was carried out and later discussed in the shadows, has now made its way into the light - broad daylight. Everyday there are instances of rape across India, and the most unfortunate part is that it doesn't show signs of slowing down. At this point, let me just say that when I speak of rape, I am referring to sex that is not consensual, be it a woman, man, animal, or child. If either one party has not agreed to the act, then for all intents and purposes, it is rape.

When I sat down to write this poem, my head was buzzing. I started mulling over this concept a few weeks ago, and it kept evolving. Till finally when I sat down to write it, I decided, I wasn't going to write out the entire poem. In fact, I was just going to start it, and when my mind clears, complete it - give it an ending. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll continue the story, while I decide whether or not this story has a happy ending. Because isn't that what rape is? Doesn't it start one way and end another? And does the rapist know going in how this is going to end? Maybe he or she will get his or her way, leave the other person there, and flee the scene. Or maybe the other person will not take it lying down, and the rapist will have to make the decision to kill that person so that there is no evidence. Or maybe, the victim will fight back; overpower his or her attacker and bring his or her own justice because the system that was put in place to do just that has failed. You don't know unless it's you in that situation - and I pray it never is. This will also be continued ... 

Etsy Sale!

So Etsy has turned 13, and I'm taking part in the festivities. Till the end of June, you can grab a copy of Fallen at 10% off - no special code required, and with international shipping. So no matter where you are in the world, you can get yourself or someone special a copy of my first anthology of poetry. Click here to go to my Etsy shop.


Fortune finds itself surrounded by beggars
Cloaked in the shadow of guilt – 
Wretched bodies of men, thrown to the stones
On which this city was built.
Ashes to dust, your phoenix was slaughtered
By invalids covered in grease,
And through the streets and underground tunnels
You wait for the moaning to cease.

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