(Getting a stylish haircut, a smart pair of jeans and a “presentable” appearance are only 
at most a month away; there are other things, like our grey cells, which we have been 
grooming over the years, if not for decades. Why not attempt to make them lasting?)

You saw his dull hair, dishevelled
Atop his square and bland face;
You saw the melanin on his skin
From lying under the sun, bare-
You saw him grow beard,
Made you sneer as he neared.
You saw his lacklustre lips
Which he purses whilst anxiety grips;
You saw his glasses, discolored,
Gathering dirt from every line
Over which he brooded.
You saw him in clothes fit for a Bedouin-
Untrimmed nails, chisel teeth,
An unpleasant countenance-
And fashion miles away.
You thought he needed a makeover-
“Manicure and pedicure are no panacea”,
He said, “for ignorance, the real malice,
And I’ve been training to reach out for peace.”

Beauty or the beast?

When the storm had its way
Dust turning the blue all grey
The face of sky blood-red
Drizzle apparent- run for the shade!
Signs of destruction- they thought,
Forgot the chill it brought;
Sheltered under the roof of a nearby store
Where I went to buy grocery and more,
Saw them running for cover
With their heads lower, (in respect?)
Birds flying off the tower;
Ah, just can’t wait for the shower!

And then it came,
Pouring without a shame;
Who dares to tame?
The iciness, the sigh of relief
Even old men in disbelief,
A kid, hands on his hip,
Like a commander-in-chief,
And still, not a cause of grief!

As the rain subsided,
We, recovering from the dread,
Walked away, enjoying the bliss
Nature’d gifted her nephew and niece.
A display of atrocious power
Or a feast for the eyes?
The rich walked back, happy
While others blamed their fate
The thatch had blown away,
Unprotected by any crate.

As poets sing hymns
And musicians translating in chimes
For the beauty of the beast,
Spare a thought for the ones
Who now have their least.

The Postcard

I cannot recall when I last wrote a letter on that cheap, yellowish, thick, cardboard-like paper. It was called the postcard. The Indian postal service was kind enough to provide a page and a half of writing space in just 25 paise. That is, barely a decade back. Even if it costs eight times now, it hardly matters to those who write letters. The problem is: very few actually do; and so, even fewer care about it, unlike the case of hike in railway fares where you find loud confused uproar from all sorts of unlikely politicians.
Well, returning to the question of ‘space’, anything you get for such a small price is actually like a football ground. So, cheerfully, you start writing, and very soon, you realize that there is a serious dearth of space. I will give examples of two opposite situations. During examinations, when I did not know the answers to most questions, I have been tormented by my invigilators: “Do you need an extra sheet?” I had to politely nod in refusal, while cursing him or her for such a sadistic attitude. And when I have been asked to summarize something exquisitely philosophical and esoteric, I did not have the liberty to use as many words as I like. In bold letters, is a warning: Word limit: 100 words! That’s how you feel when you write a letter on a postcard. You have to be overly cautious not to exceed the “space” limit. Thus, you cut short the interesting incidences you wanted to share with your septuagenarian Grandpa. Now, you cannot reduce the size of your already-tiny alphabets, bearing in mind his senescing eyes.
Plus, you have a format to follow; something you learnt in school and which earned you a few marks even if you left the body of your letter blank. It had to start with a “Dear” or “Respected” and end with a “Yours lovingly” or “Yours faithfully”. You say, that doesn’t take up much space? Think again! You have to leave spaces before and after these ‘special’ words, no matter how scarce the writing space is! To compensate for the lost space, you have to move from horizontal space to vertical, along the margins- left or right. The words push and shove one another to make space for themselves while the reader has an agonising time following the sequence.
Now that you have managed to somehow fit in words- the most unsuitable ones in the most unsuitable places as part of the space management- you have to worry about privacy. Yes. The postcard is an “open” letter; the postman can read it at his leisure while it is on its way to the intended receiver. So, one has to be cautious; in other words, if one intends to broadcast an “interesting secret” to the world, there is no better way than to mention the same in your postcard letter. The reverse page is shared between the concluding section of the letter, the address of the receiver and the postage stamp. And while you have a space crunch, you have to tolerate the address written in clean handwriting, enough spaces for the aging postman to read and deliver your “open” letter to the right door.
Having said all that, writing a letter on a postcard was a real test of your classroom learnings (remember, the elaborate format?), vocabulary (remember, shunning verbosity while resorting to brevity?), management skills (space, I reiterate) and ciphering ability (privacy issues, you know). This is in no way meant to insult a form of a once-very-popular system of communication: letter-writing. As telephone wires (and wirelesses) have gathered strength, the use of postcards has plummeted. And so have postmen. The khaki-uniform is barely seen riding the bicycle. You wrote a half-correct address and still the postman identified you by your name. He shared a relationship with your family not defined by the boundaries of PIN codes and streets. And he never actually read your letters (That was just to scare you off). He was a paragon of trust; simply exemplary. Compare and contrast: now, telephone calls are being tapped! We have certainly come a long way: from penmanship to articulation, from paper to radio and from trust to helpless doubtfulness.


(This is my vocab practice space; readers are requested not to bug me about this)

Of ancestral amnesia
Of benign brouhaha
Of Colossal connivances
Of didactic deities
Of eloquent efforts

Of fascinated Fascists
Of gluttonous gourmands
Of high-profile hysteria
Of innocent inanity
Of juvenile jests

Of kinky karate
Of lukewarm logic
Of mellifluous music
Of nubile non-sense
Of opaque ostentations

Of playful pulse
Of quizzical quests
Of rightful righteousness
Of successful sonnets
Of Tolstoyan teachings

Of Utopian utterances
Of venomous verve
Of woven worries
Of xenophobic X-ray
Of youthful yorkers
Of zeros’n’zyzzyva


(Readers are requested not to bug the author, asking for interpretations of 
such meaningless scribblings)

Of thoughtful reflections,
Of old chats, friendship, love and terror-
Of timid strokes of brush and random imagineering,
Of comely dawns and procrastinating afternoons,
Of themed decorations on awkwardly beautiful backdrops.

Of past, present and future
Of freedom, of choice, of force
Of myriad emotions
Of theatrical dramatics
Of art, of dirt on art,
Of philosophical interpretations of miracle
Of time, of timely happiness,
Of troubles rekindled from happiness.

Of amateur craftiness
Of thrifty flamboyance
Of jammed ears, on jammed roads
Of confused souls,
Of untold truths,
Of secret confessions-
Of the precious thing that never was.

(One thing I have learnt on the first anniversary of my blog is: 
write your heart out; it’s your own space, sponsored by an American giant)