Two New Poems


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1. SOLITUDE

I linger unperceived
in the labyrinth of solitude,
not knowing the onward path
or the path of my return
I see a flight of stairs
a portal to a past forgotten
the contours of shadows
create a landscape of dreams
something forgotten stirs,
a lost memory returns
from between somewhere and nowhere
seeking something nebulous
that is always out of reach

 

Copyright Tikuli

2. INSOMNIA 

two a.m. on Delhi’s post-rain Sunday
I try to wash away the sleepiness
from my insomnia laden eyes
pick a fresh sheet of paper
spread clean water till it sheens
like fresh snow on a sunny day
clean and load the brushes with colours
drop and watch in wonderment
as the colours bleed and waltz
into the white stillness
the ripe colours of autumn,
a drop of sea, the harvest fields,
the washes of sunsets layer after layer
and a moon laid on lake waters
a tender breath of green
a river filled with apparitions,
here now—then gone
wet roads winding around echoing hills
the crisp autumn breeze
floating across the valley
steam rising from a coffee left at the deck
my eyes closed I feel the calm glow
of lights at the water edge
the silent shadows
the peace of the submerged river banks
I dip my brush again as the pigeons rise
followed by the squirrel
and the upstairs neighbour
pounding fresh ginger for morning chai
the trees rise, the day rises
night slowly walks towards summer morning

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एक शहर ये भी – कविता 7 – रात आईना है …


 

रात आईना है इस शहर की बेख्वाब आँखों का
शाम ढले जब धुप का आखरी उजाला
पेड़ों की टहनियों में सिमट जाता हैं तो ये शहर
किसी पेंटिंग की तरह रहस्मयी हो जाता है
बची खुची रौशनी लैम्पोस्ट के नीचे
सिमट जाती है और समय अँधेरे कोनों
या भूले बिसरे हाशियों में छिप जाता है
सूखे ठूँठ सी खड़ी इमारतें अपननी थकी आखें
बंद किये अँधेरा ओढ़ अचेत सी सो जाती हैं
और फिर उभरने लगते हैं अक्स उस दिल्ली के
जो दिन में अपनी तन्हाई समेटे ताकती रहती है
टुकड़ों में बंटे एक अजनबी से आसमान को
शहर की इन बिखरी सड़कोंऔर सुनसान
चौराहों पे मैं भी इन्हीं अक्सों में ढूढ़ता हूँ अपना
खोया हुआ वो अक्स जो अपना सा तो है पर
है फिर भी बेगाना, ढिबरियों सी टिमटिमाती
रौशनी में आता है नज़र आता है स्लेटी खंडहरों के
खूँट पे टंगा तनहा सा इक शहर उतार फेंका था
कभी जिसे और आती है नज़र एक सांवली सी नदी
राह भूली बाँवरी सी, पेड़ तोड़ देते हैं क़तारें
स्याह सड़कों के किनारे, चहचहाते डोलते हैं
पंख सी बाहें पसारे, सप्तपर्णी सी महक
उठती है हवा, रात में ही सांस लेता है शहर
थकन की चादर बिछा कर, फ़िक्र ज़माने की छोड़
है कोई सो रहा वो देखो चाँदनी को ओढ़
कुछ ख्वाब औंधे हैं पड़े उस पुराने बरगद परे
गीत कोई गा रहा है याद के पनघट ख़ड़े
सड़क किनारे बैठ पी रहा है कोई ख्वाबों की चिलम,
उठ रहा है धुआं सुलगते आलाव से कहीं
लिए सोंधी सी महक एक गुज़ारे वक़्त की
दिन की दमकती जिल्द में क़ैद सफहों से
झांकते हैं सूखे हुए लम्हे, कुछ भूले हुए
रुकए और मिटटी के सकोरों सी बिखरी
हुयी कुछ यादें, रात आईना है उन्हीं तवारीख़
के टुकड़ों का, तुम भी कभी खाँचो में बंटे उजालों से निकल
थाम लेना स्याह सा कोई इक छोर और फिर मिलना
उस दिल्ली से जो कभी हमारी थी

 

Poetry Prompts With Kaafiya


I am working on some poems and a few other things so not very regular here. Today while going through my drafts I realized I had not shared these poems with you.

Kaafiya had a Rhyme along with Adil Jussawalla poetry prompt session on their FB page as part of their #KaafiyaMilao series in May 2017. The Poem I submitted was among the four winning poems selected by their editorial team.

The Prompt was from his beautiful poem Turning Seventy  You can read his poem by clicking on the link.
Prompt – “My body is a pile of papers left behind on a bench.”

Here’s my poem :

 

 

There was another poetry prompt last year in April with poet / Writer Abha Iyengar. The prompt was a line from her favorite poem. Here is Abha’s poem which I copied from Kaafiya page .

Prompt-

Two poems
And a conversation

Poem-

What we have is
A table.
Two poems.

And a conversation
That neither of us began.

But as we speak the lines
We say everything in between.
We spill
Over the distance of the table
That separates us.

We move our legs back
Under and behind our chairs
Scared of touching
That which lies
beneath the lines.
Knowing that we will overflow
Over and above
The table
Knocking it over
Sometime
Anytime
Even as our bodies strain
To keep back
All that drives us forward.
Two poems
And a conversation.

 

And here is my poem that got selected along with four others.

This what Abha had to say about the poem,” “Tikuli talks of how an innocent outpouring of the heart into poems, and the doubts and assumptions that riddle a married life or a relationship bring an end to everything.”

This poem is also a part of my new book ‘Wayfaring‘ . I did a few changes to it before publishing  and I am grateful to Abha for allowing me to include it in the collection.  The book is available with all online book vendors worldwide so please go order your copy today.

Do look up the Kaafiya Page and follow them on Twitter to participate in their weekly prompts and other good things they do.

I will be sharing a few important posts soon. Just getting into the rhyme and rhythm of things around me.

Stay with me here and keep sharing your valuable feedback.

 

Art, Poetry And Conversations


Many of my readers asked me why I have stopped posting poems and short fiction on blog and if I was making this a food blog. The answer is, No. It is true that I post a lot of recipes these days and that is because I send most of my poems as submissions. Almost all magazines accept fresh work so I can not post them here. As for short fiction, I am not writing any these days.

I am trying to take charge of the life I left behind and really working hard to get out of the vicious circle of anxiety, depression, fear and worry. It is a hard task for me but I am making those lifestyle changes that I can to be emotionally and mentally well. We will soon talk about that in another post.

One of the things that I found really therapeutic is art. This is the first of the Warli art pieces I did. Warli painting is a form of folk art from Maharashtra. Traditionally drawn by the tribal women belonging to Warli and Malkhar koli tribes.

Warli Art

I did some digital art and a few acrylic on canvas but never seriously pursued it. Since last few months I began to draw, color, paint and experiment with various mediums and art forms. I have not shared them here but you can view them on my Instagram page  . It started when a very dear friend began to share her Madhubani art. I was fascinated and asked her how she did those. Then through a lot of research on line and after watching videos on YouTube I made some and shared with friends. I found the process very calming so looked further and discovered Warli. A new window opened for me and in those dark hours of desperation I would immerse myself in those intricate  patterns and figures but something was still waiting to be discovered. My elder son is a fantastic artist and he’s been doing water colors lately. Now, I painted with water colors in middle school so it’s been 35+ years or so but the thought of dipping my fingers in color again was too tempting that I bought myself some paint, sketchbook, micro pens and brushes.  Adi was very encouraging and it gave me real boost to launch forth and just do something that would make me happy.

Again a proper research on techniques etc began and this time on Instagram too. For days I just watched wonder eyes the images emerge on the white sheets of papers, canvases etc. I was thrilled.

After a few failed attempts I am now beginning to get the hang of it. There is nothing more therapeutic than doing something you love. Art like writing has made me stronger though I still slip down and get those panic attacks now and then.

I am very happy to have finally found my linchpin.

Meanwhile two poems got published it my favorite magazine Cafe Dissensus. Always happy to find a place in this fabulous magazine. This is my first submission after the release of Wayfaring.

Here’s an excerpt from one of  the poems :

“the river hears her hurried footsteps
with rapt attention, at its bend
under the shade of the mangroves,
a boat and a promise patiently wait
ready to carry her away.”

You can the poems HERE.

Wayfaring is very special to for many reasons and if you haven’t got your copy yet please do. I would love your feedback. The book is available with all online book vendors worldwide including Amazon.

Here is an excerpt from a recent review that got published in The Sunflower Collective .

Poet/Journalist Abhimanyu Kumar says,

” Organised in seven sections, the poems cover a wide range of emotions and experiences. The book opens with the section called Trains. The poems included in this section set the tone for the rest of the book, in a sense.”

Do read the full review.

Blogging is still my first love and many of you know that I won the Indian Blogger Award for poetry recently. I finally got my certificate from Indiblogger and here it is. Makes me so proud of my journey as a blogger/writer/poet. Now you can call me an award winning blogger 😀

The Indian Blogger Awards IBA2017 were announced at BNLF and Valley of Words International Literature and Art Festival, Dehradun in Nov, 2017

I won the special VOW award for poetry and got my certificate today. The Google Chromecast was received by an author friend on my behalf on the day of the ceremony.

I’m humbled by this recognition. Thank you team IndiBlogger, jury members and all those who appreciated my work and still do.

It’s been a great journey so far.  My second book is being read and appreciated world over. Some poems from the books were read by Poet Dominic Albanese in Open Mic in Florida where he stays. A much awaited review is coming up soon and some more publishing news is awaited.

I will be starting the Monday Memories series again and try to be regular here so keep visiting and do please leave your feedback in comments.

Let’s hope it rains soon till then I am watching the changing color palette of the sky.

एक शहर ये भी – कविता 5 – महरौली


 

 

बचपन में दिल्ली रिज पे रत्ती बटोरा करते थे
कॉलेज में दोस्तों का हाथ थामे किसी टूटी मुंडेर पे बैठे
क़ुतुब मीनार को ताकते या आवारगी के आलम में
युहीं फिरा करते, कीकर, बबूल,बिलाङ्गड़ा, पिलखन
के दरख्तों और जंगली झाड़ियों के बीच
हज़ारों बरसों की यादों को सहेजे मेहरौली की
संकरी गलियाँ, दरगाह, बावड़ी, मस्जिदें और मक़बरे
हमें शहर के शोरशराबे से दूर सुकूं का अहसास दिलाते,
आज फिर सोहनलाल की खस्ता कचौरी खाने निकले तो मन
रबड़ी फालूदा, समोसे चाट पकोड़ी कबाब, नहारी,
कोरमा और खमीरी रोटी की खुशबुओं में खो गया,
अलाई मीनार के पास निगाहें चुड़ैल पापड़ी पर
सदियों से बसे जिन्नो को फिर ढूढ़ने लगी पर
नाग फूल पर जाकर अटक गयीं और फिर
बड़े पीलू की बूढ़ी हड्डियों से सरसराती हुई
बेर के पेड़ में उलझ गयीं, बस यूँही पेड़ों की
परछाईयों में लुकते छिपते तुम कागज़ पर
नामों की लिस्ट बनाने लगे- ढ़ाक, रोंझ,
करील, देसी पापड़ी और न जाने क्या क्या,
तुम्हें पेड़ों से लगाव था और मैं मेहराब, गुम्बद,
दर-ओ -दीवार, झरोखों और जमाली कमाली
के खंडहरों में खो जाना चाहती थी,
जहाज महल, ज़फर महल, औलिया मस्जिद
की रूह को छूना चाहती थी, सैरगाहों, इबादतखानो,
हवेलियों में बीते कल को ढूढ़ना चाहती थी,
मोहम्मद शाह रंगीले की रंगों में रंगना चाहती थी,
मैं इस शहर की नब्ज़ टटोलना चाहती थी,
मेहरौली की वक़्त से भी लम्बी दास्ताँ इन धुल भरे
पत्थरों में ज़िंदा हैं और उसी की नब्ज़ पर हाथ रखे
हम चल पड़े,आँखों में रेत सी चुभती भद्दी नयी इमारतों,
कूड़े के ढेर और झाड़ झंकाड़ के बीच आखरी सांसें लेती,
अतीत की उन अनछुई दस्तानो को परत दर परत खोलने
युहीं घूमते फिरते हम सूरज गुरुब होने से पहले
पहुंचे ख्वाजा बख्तियार काकी की दरगाह पर,
सैर-ए-गुल फरोशां की यादों से मन महक उट्ठा ,
लोभान और गुलाब की खुशबू ,पेड़ों पे पंछियों का
कोलाहल, जाली में बंधे मन्नत के धागे, रौशनी की दुआ
के सजदे में झुके सर और क़व्वालों की गूँज से मुबारक
समां में बंधे हम मोहब्बत और अमन की शमा दिल में लिए
शाम के गहराते सायों में घुल गए और यूँ ख़तम हुआ
एक और दिन दिल्ली की गलियों में

Two New Poems On Love


MOSS ROSE 
I want to place this red blossom
in your hair just behind your ear
as you stand by the window
in the shadows of morning
people think we are close friends,
brothers even, so long have they seen us
laughing together
soon they will know we are lovers
I want to walk along the street
holding your hand, your hair with its flower
giving spring to the town
in the heat of summer
( Inspired by a photo and caption posted by Onir on his Instagram story )
****************************************
MY LOVER IS A WOMAN 
I couldn’t love so I wrote
words became fingers
the paper her skin, raw, sensual,
quivering with desire
my love for her became a protest
love – a weapon, a tool,
an agent of change
I wanted to rebel with poetry,
with dreams, with colors,
with Kohl lined eyes,
lips upon lips, with spring pollen,
with rhythm of the rain,
a bit of summer sky,
the seasons of the city spilling in her veins
– her body an alchemy of color palette –
Gulmohar, Jacaranda, Bougainvillea
 It is in these words I found her
and in turn found myself
and since then I can’t stop coming out
I want to come out in all possible ways
I want to come out and love
unabashed and unapologetic
I want to come out in rainbow colours
and say out loud –
yes, my lover is a woman
and you can put me behind bars
but never back in the closet

एक शहर ये भी – कविता 4 – भूली बिसरी यादें


आज कुछ सायों से मुलाक़ात हुई
पुरानी यादें थी साथ हो लीं
दरयागंज में गोलचा सिनेमा के पास
संडे बुक मार्किट में किताबों के पन्ने पलटते हुए
पुराने दिन याद आ गए, भीड़भाड़, किताबों, सिक्को,
कपड़ों की छोटी छोटी दुकानों से गुज़रते हुए
हम दिल्ली गेट पहुंचे, यहीं सड़क पे जाती एक बस से
याद आयी डी टी सी की वो डबल डेकर बस
जिसमे हम कभी कभार छुट्टियों में
अंग्रेजी फिल्म देखने जाते थे
तब सिंगल स्क्रीन सिनेमा हॉल का ज़माना था
और फिल्म देखना एक लग्जरी
दिल्ली में तब हरयाली ज़्यादा और
भीड़ कम दिखती थी और अक्सर
इन बसों की छतें डालियों की मार से
डेंटेड रहती थीं
१४-१५ साल की उम्र में इन
डबल डेकर बसों से दिल्ली शहर
कुछ अलग ही दिखता था
ये समय था फटफटिया, लम्ब्रेटा या वेस्पा स्कूटर का
सड़कों पे ज़्यादातर फिएट और एम्बेसडर
ही दिखती थीं या फिर कभी कभी किसी
रईस की फॉरेन गाड़ी सर्राटे ने निकल जाती थी
राजपथ पर साइकिलों का मजमा एक आम बात थी
ये वो समां था जहाँ सेंट्रल दिल्ली के पेवमेंट
जामुन से रंगे रहते थे और हम ठंडी मीठी गंडेरी
चबाते नीम की छांव में गर्मी की शामें काटा करते थे
ट्रैफिक के शोर से परे वो मीठी आवाज़ें कानों में गूंजने लगीं
“लैला की उंगलियां,मजनू की पसलियां, ताज़ा ताज़ा ककड़ियाँ”,
” फालसे काले काले, मुझसे भी ज़्यादा काले”, गंडेरी गुलाबवाली
मीठी मीठी मतवाली”, एक दबी सी मुस्कराहट होटों को छू गयी
और हम चल दिए उन्हीं गुलाबों की भीनी सी खुशबू लिए
शाहजहानाबाद की सैर को

Crossing The Threshold – A Poem


 

 

in the half light of dawn the breeze-

laden with the scent of mango blossom-

drifts in from the courtyard,

calling her thoughts to the waiting river;

quietly she leaves her bed,

gathers her unkempt hair in a loose bun

then pauses for a moment,

listens to her husband’s measured breathing,

then silently tiptoes out,

tucking in the corner of her sari at the waist

she hastily collects the fallen Parijatak in her pallu

placing a few in her hair at the same time,

the red from their stalks rising to her cheeks;

beside the well the empty pitchers wait,

nearby the battered clay stove

recalls her own scars,

for a split second she wavers, then crosses

the threshold, her heart frantic with haste,

leaving behind the walls

that had risen around her brick by brick;

the river hears her hurried footsteps 

with rapt attention, at its bend

under the shade of the mangroves,

a boat and a promise patiently wait

ready to carry her away.

 

WAYFARING Review in HT City and other stories


I have been fortunate to connect and make friends with writers and artists from across the globe. Social media channels have been a big boon to me as far as my writing journey goes.

I have had some wonderful reviews in mainstream newspapers / online journals and websites for my books but the small notes of appreciation that come via Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads etc mean a lot and are equally special and cherished.

Matthew Bialer is one of the brilliant writers I met on FB. We have not met in person.. not yet. He is an exceptional photographer and painter too.  Sometime ago he posted a mini review of WAYFARING on GoodReads but it appeared under author Siddharth Gigoo’s review as a comment. I missed it then but found it later. Here’s what Matt had to say,

Some more writer friends I admire are reading the book. Chandini Santosh sent me a reader’s Pic and Dominic announced the arrival with a small note.  I will write more about Chandini and her  books etc in the next post. I am excited and nervous about her feedback. She is one of my favorite writers and needs to be read by all. More later. 🙂

Dominic Albanese is a poet and a war veteran from Florida. You can checkout his work HERE.  Most of the books can be downloaded for free. He’s been writing poetry since 1966. This is what he wrote on FB:

 

Twitter has got me many followers on the blog. I have come to know a lot of bloggers/writers/artists/ filmmakers there. Here’s an insightful review of ‘Wayfaring’ from a Twitter reader friend. A poet and translator himself though he prefers to be in the shadows. Thank you Ayushman . Do click on the link to read the full ‘tweet review’.

 

The biggest news came yesterday when ‘Wayfaring’ found a place in the National Daily Hindustan Times’s City Supplement, HT City of 28th March.

This is my third media mention in HT. Two of them for Wayfaring and the earlier one for my blog. It is a very special feeling. Encouraging too. Thank you Nabanita  for your short yet  insightful review.

This what she said about the book:

“…emotions so vividly expressed that it’s difficult to move from one verse to the other.” 

 

All this good news means celebration. I have an appointment with the dentist tomorrow. I’m scared and fretting as usual but I know he’s one of the best. Keep me in your thoughts. Hopefully it won’t be a major procedure and I’ll be able to celebrate my mom’s 88th birthday the next day. It would be such a joy to have all the children / grandchildren together under one roof.

Here’s to Poetry 

New Poem – The Convergence


she stands among the ancient trees,

hair fluttering protestingly over her full breasts,

strings of beads resting around her neck,

draped in red cotton her dark skin glistening in sweat,

her kohl eyes like fiery embers,

a sliver of sun on her forehead,

behind her, smeared in symbolic vermilion,

the Goddess sits cross-legged,

leaning against the matted roots of a tree,

defiant, wise, independent,

the power stemming from her womb,

non-conformist, non-submissive.

from a quiet corner I watch them,

fierce, unapologetic; both born of the soil,

somewhere beyond the hills a river turns red,

an embodiment of the eternal truth –

sa’ham asmi

the Aashad clouds gather

beating their ancient drums

as the earth receives its first rain