Sunday 26 February 2006


Your Gangu is ill?
I'll write the medicines
But I have no hopes.
It is not my fault
And I cannot help you.

If you are poor
And your children die,
It is no one's fault.
Why should anyone
be blamed for that?

You don't want to die?
Go to the great Mumbai
Sweep the streets or,
Make chapatis for the rich.
Atleast you will be alive.

Ha! You want your dignity?
Then be here in Nandurbar,
And watch your children die.
You will sicken and starve,
But you'll have your dignity.

Friday 24 February 2006

'Bargirl murdered in Chikpet'

A bargirl died.
Found in her hovel;
her throat cut,
lying in a pool of blood.

I read this,
on the left margin
in the crime section
of my newspaper.

A jilted paramour
was suspected.
Police was hunting
for him, it said.

Some days later,
the culprit was found
and charged for murder.
Next day I forgot it.

I don't know
whether he was hung,
or imprisoned for life.
I don't even know he was tried.

There were lurid details,
of other murders in the papers.
No boring court reports.
How does it matter?

Someone was murdered.
She didn't concern me,
Why should I care?

There are murders everyday.

Gangu (in Marathi)

"आई बघ पान्ढ्री कोंबडी!
किति सुन्दर आहे| मी घेवू?
मी खेलीन तिच्याशी|"

गंगूची आई:
"अग गंगू!
का त्रास देतेस ग?
शालते जायाचे नाही?"

"नाही आई|
बाई ओरडतात तिकडे|
मला कोंबडी बरोबर खेलायच आहे!"


गंगूची आई:
"अहो डाँक्टर,
माझ्या गंगू ला काय झाले?
ती बोळत का नाही?
ती फक्त पडून आहे|"

"तिला बर्ड फ्लू झाल आहे|
मी औशध लिहून देतो|
(पण मला काही आशा वाटत नाही|)"


गंगूची आई:
"माझी गंगू गेली रे|
कानाचा अशोक गेला|
वार्क्याची सुन्दरी गेली|
आम्च्या मुला मुलींना काय झाला होता?
त्यांनी कोणाचा काय केल?"

"तुम्ही गरीब आहात|
हीच तुम्ची चूक|
तुम्हाला कोण विचारणार?
हे नन्दुरबार आहे|
प्रधानाचा दरबार नाही|"

"जा! मुंबईला जा!
तिकडे तुम्चे राजा गादीवर बसलेत|
नाच तमाशा करताय्त|"

"महाराष्ट्राची कोणाला फिकिर?
सगळे खुर्चीचाच विचार करतात|
तुझ्या बोर्या बान्ध आणी जा मुंबईला!"

"न्याय मिळेल कि नाही मला माहित नाही|
पण तिकडे कुणाच्या तरी घरात झाडू मार,
पोळ्या बणाव|"

"हेच तुझ्या अस्तित्व|
तू महाराष्ट्र आहेस|
हेच महाराष्ट्राचा अस्तित्व|"

"नन्दुरबारात नाही,
दरबारात बस!"

ही कृति उमर बहुभाषीय रूपांन्तरक चा मदतीपासून देवनागरी मधे टाइप केली आहेत|

Persian Prayer

Lord! I asked of you to give me paradise.
Lord! You gave me the boon of heaven!

Lord! I asked of you to give me strength.
Lord! You gave me the boon of faith!

Lord! I asked of you to give me wisdom.
Lord! You gave me the boon of a teacher!

Lord! I asked of you to give me peace.
Lord! You gave me the boon of love!

Lord! I asked of you to give me security.
Lord! You gave me the boon of yourself!

Lord! I asked of you to give me paradise.
Lord! You gave me the boon of heaven!

Tuesday 21 February 2006


Local trains
Cutting chai
BEST buses
pudhe sarka
Marine drive
Salty air
kanda pohe
Lalbagcha Raja
- my forsaken homeland

Monday 20 February 2006

Prayer (In Persian)

Khoda! Man az to dua-ye-ferdaus kardem,
Khoda! To az man dua-ye-jannat dadi!

Khoda! Man az to dua-ye-zor kardem,
Khoda! To az man dua-ye-Iman dadi!

Khoda! Man az to dua-ye-danesh kardem,
Khoda! To az man dua-ye-moallem dadi!

Khoda! Man az to dua-ye-saleh kardem,
Khoda! To az man dua-ye-mehebet dadi!

Khoda! Man az to dua-ye-hefazet kardem,
Khoda! To az man dua-ye-shoma dadi!

Khoda! Man az to dua-ye-ferdaus kardem,
Khoda! To az man dua-ye-jannat dadi!

Thursday 16 February 2006

La Raçaillaise

Why do we humans bother to make nations and draw boundaries and have national identities? What ever happened to the Stone Age, when different hunter-gatherer bands roamed around, eating food, playing games and making love and war just the same as we do in a 'civilised' manner today?

Do dogs do this? Do they were to constitute republics and elect leaders? Have they a national anthem?

I asked my friend Puppysingh, and he told me in his language. When they collectively bay at the moon, they are in fact affirming their national solidarity. Here is the translation of the anthem of the Mangy Republic:-

La Raçaillaise
by Chiennoir deRues

In streets and dingy alleys where
Our fathers fought before us;
Inder staris, in hollows where
Our mothers had littered us;
O'er rubbish bin and gutter filth
A republic of dogs we build!
We affirm a mongrel guild
We claim a canine commonwealth!

No collar, leash or metal chain
Shall hence inhibit our will!
Our freedoms o'er all terrain
Is proclaimed from every hill!
At the moon gaily we bay
And snarl and bark and hiss and growl!
No human dare call us foul
Now a dog shall have his day!

Wednesday 15 February 2006

For I.I.Sc.

You may still the breath of our lungs.

The excitation of our nerves,
Agonies of screwed-up gels,
The somnolent labmeets,
Sessions with boss,

Journal club inanities,
Cold hostel rooms,
Bad mess cooking,
Paper-rejection angsts,

Debates over coffee,
That nervous colloquium,
That boring thesis-writing,
The rising thrill of discovery,

That hasn't changed. You failed Mister.

(In response to the I.I.Sc. terror attack)

Sunday 12 February 2006

First day at school

Daughter went to school today.

Her first day of education.
A milestone –
The ‘first time’ of everything.
Not long ago,
She had said her first word.
Looked into my eyes, smiled,
And said –

And not long before that
She took her first steps.
She stood on her own legs,
And walked to daddy.
And daddy…
Well daddy was crying.
It is in tears
That joy blossoms.

And today baby went to school.
Is she already so big?
Will she soon be
Fighting with boys?
Competing with girls?
And one day
Tell me that so-and-so
Will be her life-partner?

That will take time,
She just went to school today.

All smiles for a new dress –
Striped white blouse
Kerchief tucked in neatly
Navy blue pinafore
And matching ribbons.
Shining black shoes
And socks to match.
Mother’s proud daughter.

Bright new school-bag,
With gleaming buckles.
In it a drawing-book,
Pencils, crayons,
Rubber and sharpener.
Fancy pencil-case,
With pop-up animals
And the sounds of a piano.

With sandwiches
Biscuits and chocolate.
All for the crows;
My daughter is generous.
Filled with her favourite
Hanging by her side.

There is a skip in her tread
A new day, a new joy
For a soul untouched
By textbooks and indoctrination.
Some new adventure with daddy.
But daddy – daddy is grim
A brave new world to face
Exams, homework, report-cards.

The school gates clang shut.
Daughter is inside, crying.
Daddy is outside, crying.
The first pang of separation.
My little daughter is alone
It’s a big, bad place out there.
A harsh, thoughtless world
Has imposed its first lesson.

Daughter went to school today.

Wednesday 8 February 2006

Haiku - The Weaver

I glimmer in joy
Through tearful kaleidoscopes
To weave a rainbow.

Wednesday 1 February 2006

Knight On A Black Stallion

"I love you! Marry me!"
"Give me three reasons why."
"I've a tragic history like your favourite fiction hero."
"Like what?"
"Well, I was bullied at school."
"Give me a better reason!"
"I saved your honour."
"That party, when I had just the shade of nail-gloss you wanted?"
"I'm a knight. Ain't I?"
"You don't have an armour."
"I got insurance."
"No gleaming sword."
"I got a plama-screen."
"Where's your black stallion?"
"I got a black limousine."
"You're crude."
"I love you."
"Go away."
"Be honest! I am your knight."
"Done. I'm going to ask your father, and we're marrying next week. It's not the same as a black horse, be we can still ride into the sunset in my car."


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