The grind of money, working their way to the dreams that are rocks and stones made out of the small particles of sand, shining all sparkly as if they contained magic.
At my temporary staying place here in Chandigarh, there’s a family from a small village in Punjab staying in this city. My maternal grandfather gave them a room in the confines of this big bungalow that belongs to his big brother, who lives in London. Because it’s a big bungalow and needs taking care of, because it’s empty most part of the year, this family happily took grandfather’s offer to stay without paying any rent. The man of the family Kartar Singh, is a 28-something youthful person. He does the job of a night watchman at a school nearby. His father left his mother to marry someone else almost without emotions, leaving them in the grind of dirt and poverty. He event put up legal battle to drain them of any ancestral property that they have. The battle is on going in the court. His mother has been doing odd jobs ever since – stitching clothes, making food for PG girls, 100s of them and more. His wife does the work of serving small children their mid day meal (a government scheme in India) in a local government school. They have two kids, one is 5, other is 1 year old.
One day, a charity organisation came up at the gate and I took out 50 rupees to give to them. Kartar Singh’s mother (I call her naniji), was roaming around at that time. When I gave the money to the charity boys, her eyes were a strange mixture of awe – A sparkle but with a frown insinuating something very silent but clear.
I’m scared of a prospective listener,
because they might be online, and
the fact that most probably I would never
meet them, is all the more, scary,
like a dream where you’re doing what you want
but you wake up either to an alarm clock
or a bladder bursting its boundaries to pee,
or a glaring parent wanting to wake you up,
who doesn’t know that everybody’s body clock
There were these fliers around the internet
on How to become a DIY Poet.
I read them to the end, flabbergasted
finally knowing what I needed to do next.
But I can’t write awkward break new line poetry
on Instagram or Twitter or Medium or where ever.
I can’t make people want to listen to me.
marketing myself as a brand as if I was a commodity.
I’m not a brand, I’m a human being, this
known from the fact that I never will
be able to know Sarah Kay or Sierra Demulder
or Rabia Kapoor or Hana Vaid
in actual lives, because they would never
open up with you like they do with their friends.
Instead I write poems sometimes, which talk about
things like how every turn on a mountain road
is a miracle, spread across instantly, like the
gorges and ravines passersby, watching you,
about how an SUV’s tyre on an uphill,
with the water scrolling downhill, splashes it
on itself like you spill your food on yourself.
I don’t have many friends, it’s been 8 months
since I’ve talked to anybody of my age, so I
write conversations about inanimate objects,
that surprisingly turn out to be funny.
I’m not depressed, neither I’m a victim
of any other mental health problem.
I’ve an understanding about them, I’ve
a brother whom I encouraged to write
poems about his OCD. Now he performs.
But sometimes, its frustrating, that
so many poems just focus on them, and
there’s less space for you to tell people
what happened in a gurudwara,
just having fought with your mother
for not letting her take my pictures with a rock
which had Guru Nanak Dev ji’s impressions on it,
when I’d suddenly started crying after I closed my eyes.
I’d like to tell people why, and listen to them.
Given I’d have more people to talk to.
My mum cringe at seeing me unbathed
at 3 pm in basketball jersey and shorts,
I can’t imagine if I’d had a sister,
who’d have had my habits, she
would have been terrified, either that,
or my mother has an OCD for cleanliness.
There are no pubs or clubs
no stages, other than vast forest stretches
of pine and deodar trees,
there are no getting together with people
and sharing hugs and kisses and stories
in the most of the mountain ranges.
There are rains and winds and falling leaves
and nettles leaves which will make you feel
lucky that they didn’t touch you where it’s not supposed to be.
There are primulas, rhododendrons and other flowers,
that I got to know the names of from Ruskin.
And wild observations sprinkled with fog that could spread miles
I’m very thankful to Kommune that telling stories there, doesn’t take along a need to get stuck to a particular form of poetry or writing or anything for that matter. It’s a respite from the platforms that do.
I got introduced to Kommune when Shamir, Anu and Ray visited NYPS in Bengaluru. I was there both days. Keep up the awesome work that you people are doing 💛