Between Two Denials

I don’t believe in brave,

Until nothing else begins to stand; anymore


Over conversations, I said it; I wondered and spoke out. More like spoke out as much as I could and not as much as I wanted. Little fears cloud around and carry heavy rains; peculiar rains; no water, just destruction. 

I asked, what would I choose – opportunity cost or self-loathing? One that visits sometimes dressed like a memory or the one that seeps through every vein of lived out life? What is to never choose and live and live but never choose. 

What if I say I heard him talking as if he knows everything; words, his words, pulling their own meaning down. How much of meaning my words have given to him. Words, my words, making up for everything left unsaid. 

There are rains, heavy rains, somewhere above the skies of Delhi, waiting to unleash. There are things in between, though; things that make the rains and us seem invisible to each other. So, I say much too much of dried up lives; their hearts, heavier than heat and lighter than moisture. 


Art: Miroslav Sasek


First Writing Since…

As I begin to think, I see

What was that drunken, sunken, 

Love forsaken grin, and

The smiles in between, all smiles

And no meaning. 

As I begin to think, I write,

scream in the silence of words, sing

In the language of form, I begin 

To see myself, outside

Of self. 

First writing since, First 

Love after life got done with all that called itself love

First words since that morning, of

Waking up to the death of 

Those who lived till yesterday, Unlike myself,

When was the last time I lived

Till yesterday?

Words be words, since

Since it began in curiosity, now all

All, of it, all, 

Just languishing, I’m dragging, it’s unmoving;

 Unloving, maybe?

First matters Since, the

First fights and reconciliations, of first

Everything but love. 

I see you in pain, I can see

You looking at me in want, in desire, in 

Everything but love. 

First writing since I saw you looking at me

With someone else, in smiles, in warmth, in 

Everything but love. 

Words, upon words, upon verse, I build,

I build every day like a house of cards,

You say you see me but you don’t, you never did, I

Though, am aware of your


Am aware, of

Your presence, your calls, your texts, your words, your drives, your stares, your

Everything but love. 




Art: Fotini Tikkou


Decadence Of Contestation In Philosophical Discourse

The contestation in philosophical discourse has shifted from being ‘idea’ oriented to ‘school’ oriented. In this unnecessarily amended battlefield, a considerable amount of intellectual energy is getting wasted in operational investments. Today, my understanding of good might not interest you as much as the school of thought I might employ in my demonstration. In all of this, nothing irks me more than the passion with which Raduntz criticizes the inability of post-modernism to bring about social change.

First thing first, I do not despise affirmations to different strands or schools of philosophy. Neither do I prefer one over the other. What fascinates me is the inability of subscribers who are finely demarcated from each other to even ponder upon what we are losing in this interscholastic battle. It may be right to focus on the political potential of a structured discourse but what are the political ramifications of not respecting a dissipated one? The fear of differentiation is a bigger cause of dismantling of discourse than actual dissipation. In a constant hunger for contextualization, where are we positioning our respect for consent? What if a woman clicked to be a symbol of modern day liberalism does not wish to be liberal at all; or is irritated of her ‘identity hijacking’ by larger political narratives that reduce her to a mere pawn of propaganda. There’s a fundamental difference between one’s belief in a particular school of thought and one’s choice of being associated with such narrative. The overemphasis on politicization of discourse cannot be deified on the expense of the varying degree of association the constituents of discourse choose to accept. The institution shall not suffocate the idea, but that is precisely what is happening.

So what is there if not contextualization; maybe de-contextualization or multi-contextualization? If one may still choose to stick to the rigidity of institution-based analysis, they might call it decadence of post-modernism; a sense of cynical-anarchism. This is precisely where they get wrong because the most intrinsic characteristic of this viewpoint (if it is one) is hope. The strength of one’s political nature is not dependent on one’s continuous and sometimes involuntary association to a macroscopic structured thought-institution. This is even truer when one’s nature is not anthropocentric but is cosmopocentric; or what one may say, an external construction. An interesting observation here would also be to see one’s identification with a school as a flexible journey and not as an irreversible process. Affiliation will not affect the political nature of the discourse if the same is not given the significance it is given today. So, a gay person can subsequently become straight and vice versa without making himself a subject matter of identity politics mudslinging.

So where do we go from here? If not non-disciplinary inquiry then at least towards inter-disciplinary respect. It is not the validation of institution and the theoretical schema of the same that enable our true understanding of virtue or in the maintenance of a strong political representation. The same, is rather, achieved by active empathy and the meta-relation of inter-sectarian understanding of things. There is politics in my understanding of my own context and non-context; my own body understands its representative potential without being actually physically represented. After all, what is right based politics without representation (of consent).  

On Regrets in The Process of Becoming

We ponder upon regrets, or more like let them linger because we see ourselves in this journey of becoming. Like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle, we see our present as a part of a larger destiny; an element in the life optimization process. 

Transcience, as preached by Buddhist philosophy mojo, is the only reality of life. The only thing that never changes is the change itself. When life is lived in moments and every passing moment is marked by a sense of decay, every thought about the ‘decayed’ is just a hindrance to the process of becoming. When we regret, we force to recollect and relive the moments we will never capture again. Such is the weakness of regrets. 

When Edith Piaf agreed to perform at her last concert after the death of her most beloved person, she chose to perform a song titled non je ne regrette rein – which translates as ‘I have no regrets left’. It’s fascinating to see a person who has met with such a profound incident of loss denying even an atom of regret in her system. Edith tells us that regret is not natural and is definitely not connected with our material reality; it’s never about what we have become. Regretting is a hedonistic activity of indulging oneself in the artificiality of the past. Such is the frivolity of regrets. 

So as I was talking about life goals with my dear friend and a fellow law student, my only advice to his long drawn out plans was to move away from the linearity of these very plans. It doesn’t matter how you would feel about your career when you are 90 because the happening of that very event in future in nothing more than a contingency. If we will dwell in anything other than present, we will be taking away our energies from the phase that matters the most in the process of becoming. And that is – now! 


Picture: Regrets by Jasper Johns

One of Those Starbucks Stories

I think I always conflicted with an idea of having a single identity. One name, one man, all leading to one destiny. I’ve always seen myself as a diacritical sort of a human. One that grows to fill certain voids, then go on to outgrow those very voids in search of other. It is in the fluidity of meanings, the ever evolving spaces of reality, that I find some sort of sense. Maybe, my peace lies not in rest but in mobility.

As I take slow sips of my hazelnut latte, extra caffeine and not usual, I don’t find my answers in the space that presents itself to be real to my senses. I find it in the melodies of old Hindi songs. As I feel the long raked up unfinished thoughts  surfacing to scratch the walls of my brain, and probably my heart, I immerse myself in a dialogue with the voice of Lata Mangeshkar. I don’t think I can ever restrict her songs to compartmentalized meanings of aesthetics. Like my own identity, I see these songs transcending structures of predefined voids and conquered territories of reason. I see them forming a new representation system that feels personally customized to engender within me this catharsis of sorts which is not of heightened degrees of emotions but of calming sensibilities. I can feel my thoughts getting reorganized, things being cleaned and sorted, and during this process, emergence of some lost things that I don’t even remember losing but recognize their importance. This voice, these songs, are nothing less than a revelation to me.

So, as I wait for my another cup of coffee, I don’t expect to be called out with my real name. Yes, I have multiple Starbucks names. I don’t know whether it’s even significant or not but it feels good to be someone else for a while. No matter even it is for few seconds. Well, why call it being someone else? To those who tend to outgrow, this is just an another form of being oneself.

On Apathy, and Others.

I see faces that are happy,

Lips that lock, tongues that roll

Into and deep, I see

Love where I don’t want it

To be seen at. I

Think, I am,

Over and above this idea of forgetting, of

Melting oneself in another, in this

Soul searching in else’s heart,

Warmth of warm felt against the cheeks, and eyes shut to

Live one’s dreams in reality, or reality

Lived in dreams, of

This whispering in the ears and then

Giggling, to explore the

Never ending mysteries of the bodies

Of each other, to idle away in pictures, clicked, again and again, then

Making it all feel like the night never befalls,

But stars does, and the moon

Never wanes, I

Don’t see myself falling for that

I don’t need love,

I can’t stand love,

It reminds of my voids.

The “In Betweens” of Life

So, how do we start sentences when there’s no one left for us to hurt, no one, left for us to please? Maybe, talking about mornings is a good start. After spending good couple of weeks in sinking deep into quilts and reading vintage spy novels ( more of non fictional accounts of a condemned PoW), I was yet again pushed by life to stand somewhere in the middle of the queueing up crowd of Delhi metro. 

It’s so unveiling of capitalism to put such diverse stories that move all over the metro premises into contexts that suit its definitive convenience. So much so, that a broken heart would rather roll with the corporate rush rather than rolling in the deep. 

Standing on escalators as they transport me on and off the concourse, I wonder how would I just end up staring at one place for so long.  How could I zone out to the most insignificant of spaces knowing that I’m still dwelling in a world where I’m in the process of fulfilling a practice. But I do. And I do it to the railway track across the concourse I’m standing on, or sometimes, to the long black handle of the escalators. 
Off the station and on the roads. It’s sad that even though you change your spaces you can’t seem to escape the contextualised rush. Well, not always. I tend to get hit by random shreds of unexpected happiness quite often. While on my way to work, riding on a rickshaw, I met an orange butterfly circling me for good. A few seconds of  beauty that has become so rare in the city life was enough to touch me deep within and force a smile somewhere from the inside that I knew would not be tapped upon anytime soon. 

So, I guess the trick to start a sentence without involving others in it is to make yourself the other you always want to have these moments with. There won’t be any quantifiable analysis of the magnitude of happiness you gain from seeing a butterfly but I’m sure that it’ll be your very own. Since it doesn’t subject itself on someone else, nobody would ever take that away from you. 


Note: This poem has nothing to do with an unborn child or a mother or their relationship. Kindly comment below about your interpretation of imagery.


I was coiled to my content, my eyes
There on your lap, I
Had reduced myself to your devices
And you,
Coiled to the life that held you close
Almost clutching you,
To this tryst that you never thought of
Or wanted.
I could feel myself growing, swelling
I looked just the same, but feeding
Onto what was yours at the first place.
And you,
You just let yourself change, become
The misery that you thought
Was a privilege. Was happiness.
Your heart beats to my heart
Your existence runs through my veins
I’m attached to you by a reason
That will be removed and
Thrown away.
Our connection,
Pale and lifeless.
So, who are you in all this
What makes you the thing you are
When I get fathered
By this long drawn mistake of yours
Who mothers you?
Since it has mistaken you.
So I will leech on to you until I outgrow
The strength of your patience
The space of your care
The limits of your love
I’ll be on my own to this world
I don’t know enough to despise,
Or love.
But I will not remember you anymore
Won’t understand who you were
Until you subsume yourself into me again
And rest my head for love.

The Next Call

Next time when you pick up that phone

And go on to put words to a conversation that never ever sounded like one

You will end up being the same girl from last night

And the night before, and one before that, or probably

You don’t even remember how was it the last time

When was it the last time,

That you let your words speak the tale you have gone through

A voice that could quite convincingly reason the reasons of your bad phases

But you won’t run that risk

Next time when you pick up that phone

And choke your windpipes with a fear stronger than who you are,

And what you want,

You’ll always wet your pillow with silent sobs of disgust

Like a faraway dissolving sun, you’ll sink yourself into the sea of distractions

The things that maybe, make you smile a little,

A song you relate to, perhaps.

But the song’s going to end, and your moods don’t run on loop

You’ll touch your reflection on the mirror and run down your fingers to the surface

And just keep staring at that reflection

Thinking about how well would it fare

If I start talking about myself in the conversation that is between us

You’ll sit in that balcony, rubbing your thighs

And probably look at the night sky, contemplating your stars

Is this my happiness?

Next time you pick up that phone

And you restrict yourself to consequential giggles and comforting flattery

You won’t be comforted ever

By the voice that comes from the other end of that call

Your laughs won’t sound like yours anymore; neither would they surface out of you

They’ll be forcefully pulled out

By your sheer belief in keeping this relationship alive

By pandering to what he believes is needed to be talked about

You’ll see your tongue swelling, your knees weakening

You would hold it back just for one last time

But you don’t want it to last

So can you?

So when you pick up that phone, the next time

And put words to a conversation

Girl you’ll make it happen

You’ll let the rivers flow from within your heart, piercing through your head

You’ll stand up from that bed and start walking

You’ll go from being a microphone to using one for yourself

So what if it nooses up against your neck or arrests your chest

Your bra does that to you everyday

Just put protest to your rebel

And feel the sinister pleasure of unloading your mess on the one who caused it

Because, if this is not the space where you’ll speak up about the desires

That excites you to levels beyond righteous speech

You might never be able to speak up for yourself ever again

You might not be able to recognize yourself

Or touch yourself, with pride,

Ever again

So next time when you pick up that phone

And put words to that conversation

Show him,

How a real woman talks like.


Art – Olga Gouskova (Russia)