Separating Yours From Mine – Two Random Poems


 

I am holding a fiction inside me

if you think you know me, think again
what is visible is camouflaged
what is hidden is true
we are kind of schizoid, aren’t we?
containing multitudes within

Ah what the hell!

More the merrier I say!

**********

Reality is fragile

ephemeral

Dreams

amaranthine

And memories

vehicles of destruction

I am entangled in those memories of yours

real and imagined

I tried to disengage

cell by cell

pore by pore

nerve by nerve

sometimes I pulled a wrong nerve

and the scream shot inwardly

at a deafening speed

leaving me convulsing with pain

it is a long and painful process

to separate yours from mine

from a chaos of collective losses

I reached inside and pulled out my splintered heart

and then

I poked and  jabbed

 pulled and  scratched

I scrubbed it till it was raw

and yet

 I could not separate the part of you in me

and here I am

holding  a quivering, pulsating wound

with a little of you

and a little of me

bleeding in my hands

the spirit gone

the flesh weak

the will dead

Collection Of Chaos – My Poetry Book And First Mini Review


Collection of Chaos

My short collection of poetry Collection Of Chaos is out from a new and power packed Leaky Boot Press, England. Editor James Goddard ( himself an excellent writer, mentor, editor) has done a fabulous job with it. Without him this would have remained just another dream.  Acclaimed author and multimedia artist Kris Saknussemm has written a heartwarming foreword for the book.

The cover art  is a painting by talented artist Rachel Slade  .

Big thanks to all who encouraged and helped me break my mental barriers.

The book is now available to buy at amazon.com , amazon.in , Bookadda, uRead , Flipkart and from other online book sellers too.

While I await my author’s copies here is an initial response of a wonderful fellow poet and published authorWilliam. B. Burkholder –

“On Tiku’s “Collection of Chaos”…
I am still in the process of digesting this tasty morsel of poetic beauty.
However, the first thing that comes to mind is as follows, and for some reason, I feel that my mere words shall not do justice to the exquisite beauty with which these lines are written…

Powerful, miraculous, extreme in its undertaking to convey the heart and mind of a universal writer, who not only speaks to some, but to all.

In a far distant land, where kismet thoughts reside, and poetic verse is unleashed to quell and calm the troubled and broken hearted, the view afforded to the reader by this single poet, captures elements of the human condition and the heart. I am enthralled to have the privilege to read these works, and I am blessed to have Tikuli as a friend and poetic colleague.

If you have not already, please do yourself a kind favor and purchase this collection today.

My formal review of these works shall come soon, however, my excitement about this work cannot be contained. 

On a 1 to 5 star scale… “Collection of Chaos” rates a fabulous 6!

W. B. Burkholder”

Thank you William. Your words mean a lot.

Leaky Boot Press FB page

Monday Memories – 20 – Hot Tandoori Food On Delhi Winter Nights


Some years back I did a post on Dhaba food  which is an essential part of North Indian culinary culture.  Today while looking at some old posts I remembered the roadside tandoor, a two feet by three feet hole dug out in the ground and plastered with clay, where at least once a week I would go and get fresh tandoori rotis made. An old woman owned this roadside tandoor and one had to keep the container of whole wheat dough in a line and wait for our turn. The tandoor remained covered with an  old tin sheet throughout the day and as the sun went behind the buildings the old woman took her seat on a patched rug beside it and people poured in with or without the dough to take the rotis for dinner. One roti costed 10 paisa if you got your own dough and 20 paisa if you took it from the her. Mostly people got their own dough as hers was mainly a mix of whole wheat and  all-purpose flour (maida). Some even made balls for the roti (the size of a tennis ball) to save time,  keeping in mind the number of rotis consumed by each person in the family. Many bachelors or students staying alone just came and told amma ( as she was lovingly called) the number of rotis they wanted and then sat on the small charpai near the shed while leisurely waited for their chance. Warmed by the heat of the tandoor they exchanged news, the events of the day or just relaxed. New associations were made over tea bought from the nearby tea stall which did a brisk business along with the tandoor.

Amma was very particular about her rules. Those who had rolled out the dough into ball came first in the line, then came the turn of those with plain dough and then the rest.

She would prepare the tandoor by lining it with charcoal and once it was lit and reached the right temperature she would wet her hands, cut the dough expertly in neat sections and roll them into smooth balls,  flatten the ball a bit, dust it with dry flour,  clap the flattened ball between her hands like a skillful artist  turning it around to get the prefered  thickness, dust some more flour to avoid sticking and place it on a small cushion and slap it gently to the inner side wall of the hot tandoor. She would quickly make more rotis and place them one by one in the tandoor.  In a few minutes the smouldering embers and the heat retained by thick dry walls made the  upper side of  roti brown and air pockets began to form. At this moment she would take a makeshift skewer , a thin iron rod hooked from one end to lift the roti from the tandoor, and flung the roti straight into the clay surface surrounding the tandoor. She would count the rotis, pack them in the container brought by the customer and take the money. This process went on till about ten in the night and then the tandoor would close for the day.

Some days the crowd was less and on such days she indulged her clients by making small talks or sometimes throwing tantrums about the consistency of the dough etc.  Most of the time she remained chirpy and warmed by the heat of the hot tandoor her wrinkled face glowed with happiness. There were times when the slightly burnt or extra roties were given out to poor children who waited patiently for the business to close for the day so they could get their share.

On special Sundays one would get the lip smacking dal too. The split gram dal cooked to perfection on slow fire could beat any dal makhani served in hotels or even roadside Dhabas. One could either take the plain dal or get famous panjabi dal fry or dal tadka ( tempered with seasoning of onions, green chilli and tomatoes) . The very aroma of freshly cooked dal and hot rotis made me drool. It was the best food one could have. We had to take a container for dal which she sold on a fixed per plate rate. The simmering dal was kept at the side of the tandoor in a huge aluminium pot. Those who wanted seasoned dal had to wait till the delivery of rotis was complete. Once done amma would hold the frying pan blackened from outside due to constant use, add a spoonful of oil, toss chopped onion, green chillies and tomato , add a dash of some secret masala (spice mix) she kept in a small box and give it a quick stir. The flames would sometimes flambé the seasoning and as the aroma would begin to fill the air she would add a ladel ful of dal in the sizzling pan and then pour the dal in the container. As a garnish sometimes she even put freshly chopped coriander but this was only for those who ordered in large amount.

I would wait eagerly for Sundays to relish this sumptuous meal. As we usually made Maharashtra or UP food at home this Panjabi tadka was a much awaited treat. I was in my pre-teens at that time and learning to cook. Urad dal dhaba style was one of the first things I learned to make. For two years we enjoyed the delicious food made by amma. Simple dal and roti whose memory still lingers in my mind. As i write I can feel the taste of the meal cooked with love and passion. She was a frail old woman, maybe in her early sixties, but the energy with which she worked on the tandoor was amazing. A true artist, experienced and adept at her art of cooking. We didn’t know where she lived or if she had any family but the shopkeepers and even the policemen on duty respected her and she never faced any issues with her clients.

I had seen her putting an extra roti or an extra ladle of dal for the students who came everyday to take food. A generous person even though she lived on her everyday earning.  She even believed in ‘ladies first’ or “ladkiyan pehle” as she mentioned before starting the work. The men had to wait it out till all the women were gone. Slowly I noticed that more and more  little girls began to come with their containers. The older women hardly came unless there was no one else to fetch.

I have eaten at many roadside eateries and dhabas but the memory of those meals is unforgettable. There is a certain pleasure in simple things.  A simple smile, a simple word or even a simple meal cooked with love.

We left that government colony when mom got transferred to new place and amma was missed sorely. I don’t know how long she continued serving hot rotis and dal at such low-cost or if she was able to sustain her little means of livelihood in the midst of growing number of food joints and rising coal prices but where ever she is I want her to know someone in a corner of world remembers her fondly.

I miss those roadside tandoors. One hardly sees them in the city anymore espcially in the area I live in but I make it a point to go eat at a dhaba once in while just to keep the tradition alive. Eating out on Delhi winter nights is incpmplete without dhaba food and I encourage all of you visiting Delhi is experience it at least once.

Dreams Tossed In Paper Boats – New Poems


imprisoned in the melancholy of this long  winter

my heart is an origami of desires

no glue

no scissors

no staples

no ripping

no stretching

no crossing

just

a simple folding

unfolding

refolding

and  becoming

what we couldn’t

*********************

Torn
between magic and mayhem
need and disruption
I write
of dreams
tossed in paper boats

*****************

I am weary of being entangled

in the tangle of your customized truths
take away those distorted mirrors
those ever-changing, ever concealing masks
take your carnival to some other town
set me free, my love

**********

Even though you are gone

to another country

another arms

I will forgive you

and keep alive

the illusion of our

doomed futurity

***************

your love
was
the ‘road not taken’

the adventure is over

now

 back to writing

*********************

I had vowed not to write love poems but my fingers have a mind of their own as you can see.

Full Cover of My Upcoming Book Of Poems ‘Collection Of Chaos’


I am super excited, very nervous  and giddy with happiness.

It is time to unveil the full cover of my upcoming book of poems ‘Collection of Chaos‘ .  The book will be available worldwide from lots of online sellers by the end of this month.

The gorgeous cover art is by a very talented young artist friend  Rachel Slade. It is an immense honor to have a her work featured on the cover. The watercolor painting  titled ‘sea’ and was painted in 2011. You can visit her website here Rachel Slade Art 

Thank you dear Rachel . ˙·٠•●♥♥Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ♥♥

The Cover 

Collection Of Chaos

Collection Of Chaos

I am deeply grateful to my friend and mentor James Goddard of Leaky Boot Press , who is an exceptional writer and an amazing photographer, for providing me a platform to showcase my work and for spending long hours teaching me the nuances of writing and editing. He finally made me break my mental barriers. Well, to a large extent :p .

I will keep all of you posted about the release of the book. There are many many people who made this possible. I will write about them in the coming updates. A big thank you to all of you. I love you all.

Stay Tuned.

You and Me – Four Seasons


In memory of that love which was there and yet not.

I lost all the four seasons in an autumn I don’t even want to remember and now it is winter and my heart is filled with the agony of untold stories. I no longer understand their alchemy or follow their plots,  the strange portals that lead to them remain closed or obscured behind a dense fog that has settled inside my head. I have known these characters from the days of their inception and now they refuse to obey. The words sound  trite and concocted. Devoid of joy the projects choke for the lack of air. Outlines fill the pile of drafts.

I am beginning to understand my limitations, my insanities. Beginning to feel my cracks. my fragments and the dislocations in myself. My vials of love have dried in the environment filled with ache and isolation. I have lost the elixir of life from which were born my stories, my poems . The cup is empty, the papers blank. Their voices mute. The strings inside me have broken, a pearl has slipped away into the dusts of time. Soon others will scatter too unable to hold on to the flimsy thread. It doesn’t matter When.

They say I look anaemic, that I have lost blood. A ghost of my former self. A writer’s blood is the ink and her tongue the pen with which she fills the blank papers. I let myself loose on paper and spilled the stories of love, pain, joy, terror, apprehensions and all that was me. I  squeezed myself in each droplet of ink till there was nothing left. I have nothing more to give, nothing more to tell.

Till then read those words that await in their shadows for you. They may seem just lifeless markings on a plain white sheet to you but look closely and you may see my heart and soul stapled to them. You may feel a pulse, a breath, a drop of crimson and salt in some of them. They may cling to you, ride on your mind, make you think, look within. They may crackle under your feet like autumn leaves that died and fell from the trees and like parts of me. Don’t forget to remember the colours they brought. It was a grand finale to something very beautiful. Gather those scurrying leaves rustling with the breeze. Listen and they will tell you the stories. Each colour, each crack, each pattern a cascade of nostalgia. Words, mysterious and magical even in death.

Nothing burns like cold. Find the winter in those words. The melancholy of lonesome nights. The deepening silences. The snow flurries. The long hours of waiting. Words ice locked gripped with bitter cold. You will see them trembling inside some story, invisible under a curtain of thick fog.  Numb. The air burning with their Fragrance. Our fragrance and the fragile familiarity of it.

Watch them cling to the sadness of things like droplets of dew. On a sunny day you may even see a prism of our dreams and hopes in the morning dew as the sun fills their lives. Jewelled words, a verse, a tale on wires, grass, flowers and leaves. Evanescent  as love.

Of endless summers and flirting springs I shall not talk, for you will find them as you rummage through that autumn  long forgotten this winter. I lost all the four seasons to it, the words turned strangers just the way you did and the story-teller disappeared in her own story.

Video courtesy You Tube. All rights to the owner.