Entering a contest and I need your help


Couldn’t have been a more blatant plug, no? I need a hand. Or hands. Or clicks.

Submitted a poem to the Tata LitLive MyStory Contest. Here’s the entry:http://wshe.es/TrfxIv2i
Do click on the link above and vote if you think the poem is good enough; Of course it’s damn good 😉

The line breaks seem to have been lost with the submission. Here’s the original entry:

Being blind is not always as bad as it sounds

I must have been ten or eleven then,
I remember some mornings being coloured
by blood stains outside my home,
Thick red spots lining those narrow streets that developed organically between matchbox sized homes,
those streets crisscrossing around and between houses,
Streets where goons may have passed in the uniformly black chaos of the night,
fleeing from rivals or chasing them,
we never knew which was true.
After all, voices shrieking,
footsteps stumbling, stuttering in the middle of last night could only tell so much
and there was only so much sound
the blood dripping from their sweaty terror struck bodies
could have made.
Now that I think back of it,
Being blind is not always as bad as it sounds.

Those mornings when we walked to school,
We’d tiptoe around red trails,
trails that could be mistaken for paan except that these ran longer
and took more time to get washed away.
It took even more time to wipe off the memories.
No one talked about the blood we had seen,
as if it would stop existing if we did not mention it.
At school, we learnt of Edison and Shivaji and Gavaskar,
resolving to rise out of the morass that stood beyond the school walls.
There was also a bit about Houdini, the escape artiste,
and years later I wondered if I had understood the subtext of that chapter.

Then one day, while I rushed to fill in exam sheets,
racing to beat the clock,
cops gathered outside on the field that was used for football, sometimes.
There, the men in khaki stood around what looked, from the classroom window,
like a river, of guess what the same colour – red,
flowing out of a man.
I was to learn later,
the river had sucked the life out of him.
Some claimed to have seen the dying man stretch his hand to grasp the last shreds of his receding breath.
Some had frozen, paralyzed by the sight of grass getting smeared with the colour of violence.
Again, no one talked about it,
their silence almost willing the bloodshed to never have happened.

But still some stories, some sights stuck in our heads even though we tried bloody hard to ignore them.
The cops, we were told, had snipped the Achilles tendons of a thug they wanted to keep in check.
A severed tendon could let you walk, but not run; how much fear could a limping mobster instill in anyone?
In the summer, when the school ground would swarm with cricket teams,
and it became hard to distinguish one stop-gap pitch from the other,
on field spats could escalate
beyond verbal shouting matches,
and sometimes, stumps would become substitute weapons,
testosterone pushing boys over the edge
where they thought they became men.

I wonder what happened to these guys
who saw everything
and soaked all of it like a sponge,
giving in to its colours,
letting them seep through their pores and into their heads,
drifting with the stream unaware of where it would take them.
I wonder where they are now.

And there were those of us who learnt to look through it all and still not see a thing.
I guess we did fine.

Now that I think of it,
Being blind is not always as bad as it sounds.
I don’t know how I would have turned out otherwise.


Keeper Of Storms


You stand still,
caging whirlpools within yourself,
holding them together under the envelope of your skin.

There might be storms raging within,
Your insides rearranging themselves,
Chaos shifting from one form to another,
and yet,
you stand still.

You stand still,
like a monolith,
like a monument of calm.

And us outsiders,
we look at you with awe,
wondering how you hold all of it inside,
letting nothing spill out of the box
where air and water collide,
and yet stay hinged to their walls.

We envy you too,
you are perfect.
Even with all the churning, the straining,
you haven’t lost your sheen,
you don’t have scars to block the light.
You don’t have a crack,
no drop of the turmoil
drips through your walls.

The vortex inside spins like clockwork,
neither slacking nor stepping up the pace.
I know this must stop,
physics won’t let you stay in this perpetual unrest.
But then,
I have been here for so long I have lost track of time.
There are others too,
all of us waiting for the moment you will break,
and shards of water will fly out in a spectacle.

But hang on.
We have been so lost being an audience,
so lost looking for splinters and fractures,
so lost looking for a kink or bump,
so lost looking for a place the sunlight breaks you down,
so lost..
we’ve forgotten we are keepers of storms ourselves.