Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Verse of Longing

The early sun nudges me away from you
But where am I going to go?
Your resolute fingers clutch mine
Like a baby dreaming away

Waking before you and watching you
Feeling your breath
Remembering the old, loyal falcate moon
And the love in its light we gave each other

Now that you've rolled your eyes
And moved your lips, reaching for my name
My world's autumn
My heart's bliss

I clutch your fingers back
And still, I don’t say -

If only I could be
By your side
In your love
For all mornings to dawn"

Sunday, 25 September 2016


Like a pair of kites
We hurried to the sky
Dancing, soaring and soaking the sun
Till we understood
That there were hands that held our strings,
That swayed us

And away from each other

Monday, 19 September 2016

Peeping Between Stars


I'm drawn to guess,
Something I see amiss
When she smiles
Within she cries

A dozen expressions she holds
Mesmeric dimensions
She wears that lovely charm
Underneath gnawed by silence

I'd hence seize this chance
To humbly sing to her life's balance
It offers never, anything with ease
Nor does it intend infinite peace
When someone it makes you remember
It seals their memory forever
When for them it makes you cry
You know that your love's far from a lie
Though I lack in intellect
To tell you an explanation perfect
Why it splits us from ones
Those who are dear to our hands

Hope we must, that they're delivered
To some land where peace is forever
Here we continue to sail with our life
And call it a gift even being torn by strife

For those who leave, watch our scars
From distant spaces bet'n the stars
They know our hurt and count our tears
They'd never want us to be stuck here

Instead, they'd say, with love
'Cherish me, smile don't sob
Whenever you think of our days
A joy you must feel like the warm sunrays

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Charminar Evenings

 I saw its time-worn dusk
Gave in to its Muezzin's call for prayer
I sank in its verses and pictured,
When they were adding the bricks
And slipping mortar into the Minarets
Did it bring nights this gentle and kind.
Evoked in a soul by now humbled
The echoes of an epoch gone by
Charmed under an evening unchanged,
Through the hawkers' pleadings
And the bangles in whose sheen
Memories of swords and songs
Were shining and dying

© Anupam

Thursday, 15 September 2016

If I Find You My Friend, I'd Tell You This

The striped cat which was the sole occupant of my Quarters before I moved in will return to its habit of tip toeing to my legs as I sit on the porch in the winter mornings. It would arrive and lie down. Maybe roll over. Then thoroughly soak the sun into its gorgeous fur. Then it would stand up, soundlessly arch its back and stretch its leg and go away as quietly as it came. And all through the season’s mornings it will religiously repeat the act. I never miss its morning ritual because observing its peaceful movements reinforces my love for the mundane. Whenever I look at the creature, I want to be content with my life. Please do not think that I'm not alive to the sea of differences between the life of a cat and that of mine. But the basics don't differ that much. I mean it has to hunt for food and with increased pest control measures a urban cat has to face a far greater struggle for filling its belly than it once used to. It has to find a shelter. That isn't cake walk either. I've seen it being shunned by many. It even goes through its share of sickness and loneliness. Therefore I am led to think that in a way, within so much trouble, its peaceful movements don it with a monk like appearance. That word in turn reminds me of a friend who, vexed by a certain disappointment, fumed that he wants to give up everything and proceed to some faraway place, a sort of a refuge from worldly troubles and live like a monk. I asked him what good it would do.

“It would save me from all the stress and unhappiness' he'd answered immediately. I had no point to make to him at that time. Not because I was not in agreement with him but because there was no way I could know if he was wrong or right. When I recall that conversation I kind of feel compelled to reach out to him and tell him that I may have finally understood what it takes to be a monk. And it may not necessarily involve running away. 

As going through a bit of life has taught me, a real monk would perhaps be someone who would remain open to the idea of pain and pleasure alike. Not shy away from either. Indulge. Taste a bit of things that men are supposed to know in their lifetimes. Bond with an open heart, enjoy the flavour of those ties and let go when they insist to drift, make peace with heartbreaks that may occur because of them. Savour the uplifting sensation of victories as much as absorb the lessons mistakes teach. Nurture in our heart some compassion for the world and most importantly for ourselves.  Accept that it's alright to not be as provided for as a very prosperous friend or an affluent neighbour. Never underestimate the strength of hope. In short, live without malice. A true monk would be a man right in the heart of the world, sailing on its mysterious waters, discovering and learning and exploring and not someone who's cut off from all those things.

I doubt that if I say this to you my friend, the unremitting cynic that you used to be, you may instantly critique 'What about happiness? Aren’t we doomed to never stop looking for it in vain?’ Then I would say to you that happiness is a mirage. It may exist everywhere for some and nowhere for others. Most people think they are looking for happiness when all they really need to find is contentment. The dangers of searching for happiness also lies in the tragedy that it rarely comes when one is looking for it. As Ruskin Bond says ‘It is as elusive as butterfly and we may never pursue it. If we stay very still it may come and settle on our hand. But only briefly...' 

Old friend, I'm not sure if you actually hid yourself from the world to become a monk. And if you did, whether that brought you what you wanted. But if you’ve stayed back, I urge you to spend a couple of mornings with me at my place. Put your leg right by my side so that you can connect with the cat. And only then I can begin to reason with you, if need still be, that it takes something else altogether to not be sad than losing ourselves on a path away to the high mountains. That the clues are all here, right in the very places we live, walk and sleep in. That things that you’re worried about, things like disappointment and stress would always be. That the secret to life is living it regardless. Looking for its light and its shadow under the sky of its struggles. It always has been man's destiny.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

What We Talk About When We Talk About Forgiveness

Life, even in all its simplicity is a song that we take years to absorb fully. Its predicaments are rarely answered in a straight yes or no nor are its colors ever visible as mere black and white. Its shades are grayer than they look on the surface and only the ones it chooses to test have the good or bad fortune to discover their knowledge. In the context of recalling life's many small and big struggles I recall how someone once said somewhere that many things start anew with forgiveness. But starting life anew is not the real reason why I choose to talk to you about forgiveness today. Something that we won't be talking about for the first time. Believe me, there are reasons which make me come back to the subject. This time the reason is a sincere hope of the truth, hope of honoring it and respecting it notwithstanding the distractions and difficulties involved.

It is hard to forgive when we think and proclaim that forgiving is not our thing. It becomes even harder to find that forgiveness for persons and things and memories with whom we connect deeply and the same person becomes the reason of too much pain. My childhood friend nurtured strong resentment for someone who she thought had betrayed her. She sort of disdainfully declared that forgiving isn’t quite her thing. She is my friend and we understand each other on many levels and I even know where she is coming from here. But being her friend, I also have a duty to see that she doesn’t commit herself to things unfair. Not for a moment do I wish to lecture her about the right and wrong of things. Who am I after all. Neither have I suffered the pain that she claims to have suffered nor are my expectations shattered here. But what I must remind her and everyone similarly placed is that life’s tragedies are not always someone’s doing. Life sucks and it does regardless of us having the worst or the best people around. And we simply cannot fill the unanswered questions in life, no matter how hurtful they are, with the paint of someone’s perceived guilt. 

When we choose to walk the path of love we expose ourselves to blissful and agonizing possibilities alike. And it isn’t always the other person’s fault that things don’t work out. This sort of leads to a perceptional error of what truly is the implication of any relationship. It might be the same for every stakeholder yet one or only a few of them might consider themselves on a testing tide. This, in my opinion, is many times the foundation of so many misjudgments. And it is often after we misjudge that we make the most terrible choice of not forgiving someone.

What is forgiveness after all? Underneath the ornamental adages and solemn verses often employed to explain its meaning, forgiveness is simply the act of being able to understand. Just ask yourself if you lack this ability or do you possess it. I want you to ask this question because what really concerns me is the alarmingly large number of times there is a mistaken discernment of truth under which these decisions to forgive or not forgive are taken.

Anyone who knows the colossal power of circumstances knows what it can have you do. It can break through the most foolproof barrier of logic and rationales. So even if I may, on a rigid interpretation of things, hold him accountable, I'd still be very careful as to what punishment I sentence him to. Sometimes our acts may hurt despite that hurt never being our real intention. We can't afford to forget the difference. That difference may at times be hazy but it makes all the difference between what is fair and what is outright injustice.

But my friend’s was a heart pining in love and loss. Sometimes for a pining heart, drops of joy are squeezed away and that can trick the mind and turn the most ostensible truth into a lie. I cannot ignore how the man, my friend’s perceived tormentor is equally a victim of the circumstances. But that's a truth which is way beyond my friend's reach. Such truths are never meant to reveal themselves and we spend our lives thinking that what we have been allowed to see is the whole thing.

It is therefore sometimes a common notion that we are alright in not forgiving, thinking that we have enough reasons to choose how we choose. But are we careful enough to judge the basis of that choice? To weigh it in the scales of right and wrong? In simple words, when we decide not to forgive someone do we ask ourselves whether we know how even a short walk in his shoes feels like. What if he is blameless? Maybe not to an unconcerned onlooker but to one who is ready to understand the ‘why’ of things. Truth is, forgiveness is not as much the issue here as is the tragic perception of what’s faulty in someone’s acts. To that misconception there is the most unspeakable consequence.

We need to remember that when we decide to declare someone guilty and unworthy of forgiveness we must be absolutely certain that he deserves it. We must make sure that there is nothing to mitigate his culpability. That there is nothing hidden in the dark which we never saw, which we never could have seen, things that make an exception. The next time you decide to pull up your wits and declare that ‘I can’t forgive’ think again. There might just be a thorn in the shoe that person wears, one that makes him bleed all the same, the blood whose marks you won’t ever see.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

When You’re Implicated


Paving the way for increased transparency to the benefit of innocent citizens who often dread being entangled in criminal cases, the Supreme Court has delivered a historic verdict on the 7th of this month. The Hon’ble Apex Court while hearing a petition in Youth Bar Association of India vs. Union of India & Others has issued mandatory guidelines to law keeping agencies with regard to sharing the FIR with the persons implicated therein. To those who do not function in the realm of legal world, an FIR (First Information Report) is nothing but the first report of an incident which discloses the commission of an offence and which sets the criminal law into motion. In other words it is the FIR which lays the foundation for a proper criminal investigation. It is not necessary that an aggrieved person or a victim should file an FIR. Anyone who has any kind of information about any criminal incident may lodge a report of the same before a Police officer. There are nuances and guidelines that have to be scrupulously followed in matters of lodging and receiving FIR and the actions to be taken thereafter but that is a separate discussion altogether. What must however be clear to everyone is the great significance of an FIR for both, the informant / victim and the accused. It was naturally thus always a subject of debate as to whether in an environment where we are striving for greater information sharing and accountability, it was being unfair to the accused persons to keep them away from knowledge of a potential criminal litigation implicating them. In my considered view it was. Subject ofcourse to certain obvious exceptions such as matters of national security, terrorism, crimes against women (where the identity of a victim is of paramount consideration keeping in view her dignity sought to be protected) any and all possible accusations against a person should be available to his access.

After this verdict, which marks 15.11.16 as the final date for implementation, every Police Station shall be bound to give, within 24 hours, a copy of the FIR to the accused if the latter files for its copy either himself or through his agent. The Courts shall also be bound to supply the same within 2 working days.

The copies of FIR shall have to be uploaded on the Police website and /or the State Govt.’s website within 24 hours of its registration. This shall enable the accused to download an FIR against him and take timely steps for his defence or redressal. Exceptions are FIRs pertaining to sexual offences, sexual offences against children, terrorism, insurgency and of other sensitive category.

If a copy of FIR is not provided by the Police to an accused then he can approach the Superintendent of Police with his grievance and it shall be addressed within 3 days. Be it noted that when Police denies to give copy of FIR, it is always open to the person to move the Court where it has been sent to. Since as per law every FIR’s copy is mandatorily sent to the Magistrate’s Court after registration. Hence the accused can always also alternatively approach the Court for a copy.

Ofcourse an FIR being a public document (as per the definition of the term in the Evidence Act) information can be obtained about it by way of RTI Act. However that would only be information as sought for which is sometimes vitally different from the copy of the document itself. Further, an RTI application may be denied information on the grounds that it would hamper investigation. Hence, the Supreme Court verdict in Youth Bar Association of India has opened to the public realm what used to be a much clandestine area in the criminal justice delivery system. The only thing that troubles my mind is the consequences, both personal and larger, of having a FIR registered against me available to the viewing of the whole world. But then I recall the principles that run any welfare nation, ones that call upon its subjects to relinquish a part of their individual comforts when something sacred is sought to be achieved for the community at large.

We live in strange times, difficult no less where a part of our civilization is fighting hard to emancipate us and the other is applying its resources, for reasons best known to it, to offset that endeavor. Wholeheartedly pledging to the deeper spirit of the verdict and the benefits it aims to usher for the honest and the innocent against unscrupulous attempts against their liberties, I beseech my fellow citizens to honor that spirit and espouse what it seeks to redress and improve, an act which after all is only our solemn duty

P.S.    Readers are requested to peruse the Judgment for complete information.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Before Everything Ends

Just for a few more days
Let me have a few more hours
A few more moments
Let me soak your beauty
To whose serene layers
Melancholy clings fervently
Take the rest of my youth
And this life that's a void without you
This life which is nothing
But the tattered cloth of a beggar
Patches and stitches of pain and pining
And the scent of a mirage hiding its poverty
Pity these helpless throbs
Of my mind and my soul
Helpless, this body longs
For what was never his
Just a few more hours
Will since long captive, dreams have surrendered
This is what I've inherited
This is what I couldn't escape
For the sake of the love that we said we carried
Let’s bear this humiliation
Just for a few more days
A few more hours
Let me lie on your lap
That never failed me
There's a tiny heart inside, that's a rebel
Agony and abandon never scare it
It beats but for you
Just a few more days
Stay for a few more hours
We know that you'll go
For there is nothing to stop you
Or make you wrap your arms
Around this tattered cloth of a beggar
That pretends to be my soul

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Whispers I No More Utter

This morning is red
Even though dawn has slipped away    
These drops which leave their home
A forgotten elegy beneath
The grey slow clouds they hum

I remember a embrace like this morning
Partly full of longing
And partly ridden with abandon
How incomplete the same skies seem
No different than my immobile passing

This journey is now a point itself
No goal, no home to hope for
Inchoate our story shall be
But nothing has felt more absolute
And more complete than this love I carry within

Your kisses break at the doorstep 
Of a haunting memory of autumn
That autumn is about to knock again
And again 
The world shall immerse in blinding rain

Turning From Here

Take it away, I don't want it
Is this what it was meant to give?                
To bring in the end?
Such despair, such agony
Over things one cannot grip
Or stop their slipping away

Why does it hurt?
And so much
Why everything else falls behind
And promises crumble like ruins of time
Numbing strength of its blow
Painful than an agonizing dream

Let love never visit another heart 
In colours these grey 
Or have to part from it with grief
Take it away, I don't want it 
If this is what love is meant to give