with time

& timing

its own

solitary decay-

My sensual

and spiritual




She appeared-
as my hope for the colors
of the ghetto’s narrow labyrinthine lane
a noisy dullness-
teeming with men and veiled women
Her white scarf-
green-blue flowers and fringes
draped over her head and shoulder
A jacket-
dark blue
A long skirt-
kaleidoscopic print over pale white
The stalls-
selling clothes, bangles
and other adornments
fluorescent, or incandescent light above them
ensuring their bright appearance
She walked slowly-
not looking ahead
bending over a little
looking more closely
Her small, deft hands
over bangles
At our closest distance-
I saw the calm grace
of her face
A sudden sparkle
from her nose-pin-
broke my gaze

Colors that reached my eyes-

reflected subtraction
 of the absolute light
Colors she kept behind
to herself-
painted a mystery transfiguring
I was back again
to the dullness
My holey boots-
in the crowd
over my hesitant shadow
with hands inside my pockets
Inexplicable to my mind-
the afterglow of colors
of her nose-pin-
revealing itself
as my clear moment
with the light.
*Batla House is a Muslim ghetto in Delhi.

Touch Deprivation

The other day I was reading at the Café and was going through the same page of the book probably for the third time. Maybe the language was too difficult or maybe my heart was not at it. I was aware of a mild headache. That was a kind of headache when you feel some weight on your head. I caressed that part of my head with my hands.
On my left a man explaining a business plan to another. Repeating again and again that poor people remain poor because they do not change their ways. I tried to avoid his irritating talk, but he was loud. On the other side of the glass wall that is on the open terrace of the café, I saw this rich looking couple. They were well dressed with undeniably attractive bodies. Their bodies have the presence of the kind Walt Whitman talks about in his poetry.
While the lemon slices were floating in their colorful drinks, the woman was stroking his hair and face like he is her child. I started observing other people around to see how many are touching each other. The touch I thought has whole philosophy to it. Perhaps those around me not touching each other might be touching each other through words or unable to do so. After all, one can be very specific about who they allow to touch and where. Touching could be a way of understanding each other. It is how we transfer healing warmth from the one body to the another.
I was looking at that couple again. I was thinking that these two must be enjoying closeness to each other. How healing it must be for him to feel her breast, her hair and her face so close to him. Edward Munch would not have created his ‘Madonna’ without experiencing such closeness. I reached to a conclusion that my headache might be out of a deprivation, especially the touch deprivation. I liked the precise term I coined for my sickness. I can borrow money to have coffee here but I cannot borrow a touch.                  
This is where my failure lies?
I carried on with my reading.