The Escape


He stared up at the ceiling, the room closing in around him. The fan whirled painfully humming through the heavy air counting the muffled seconds with him.

“Thirty-eight, thirty-nine, forty…”

His fists clenched, his joints tense waited restless in bed, aching to move. Two weeks, fourteen days, he had waited; crawled through the minutes of exercise, therapy and the slop they called food. Waiting for the fortnightly shift change, the day with fewer of them. The creak of the wheels brought word of the cart, the check of the night. The wheel rattled on the hard floor worn down by years of watchful surveillance. Three checks, three checks; they felt he warranted. The wheels clattered closer, footsteps behind it audible now, faint. He was expecting them so he heard them earlier than usual. His hand closed over the cloth bundle at his side feeling his tools, his plan; the broken spoon, the razor blade, the pen torch he’d stolen from his son the last time they’d met.

The wheels paused outside his door, a shadow passed, it was Muriel, he’d know her anywhere, that bulky large head with that frizzled shock of hair that hung over her shoulders, her frame was unmistakable. The wheels scraped on, his eyes flicked to the rafters splitting the ceiling; he’d once considered it, letting it all go; only if I fail he thought rising slowly as the sounds faded around the corner.

Continue reading “The Escape”



Glass dust flew,

around as the machine whirred,

Sweat dropping, scented on the opaque plate

Muscles rippling, ran down the face

of glass cutting a straight divide

Pressure rose, a sudden crack

Lines like borders random split,

Their edges struggling to meet,

Cut; smeared blood, painted tainted glass.

Learn to be Still



Inspired by – “Learn to be Still”

Artist: The Eagles

At SunOn my world flooded with light as the shutters were drawn up. I stretched, invisibly rising to a new day. Around me my brothers and sisters rose with me. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Bennett, Bennett 443 if you will. The number behind my name is my age and identification mark. It’s the only way to tell us apart and identify our parts. This is very important in our world. You don’t want your leg on someone else’s body now do you? The worst is when they interchange the heads. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen often now thanks to our id numbers.

We live and work on the second floor of Bangalore Central. There are four of us in all. Bennett 647 is the oldest of us, his body creased with the dirt of ages, slightly more bent than the rest of us but you probably won’t be able to tell. He stands farthest to the left.  Bennett 522 is next; she has a bad hip and leans slightly on Bennett 422. Bennett 422 and I are the youngest of the lot.

Our routine never varies; we are monotonous to a fault. At SunOn we wake, are dressed and fussed over by our faithful servants and after that work begins. Work as it almost always is, is never easy. We pose all day for photographers without cameras who drink us in with their eyes. People are always around us, looking, glancing, and gawking at us.

Continue reading “Learn to be Still”

फ़र्क/The Difference

My First Bilingual piece, Scroll down for the English version –

“सालों ने क्या किया, इस बार तो हध ही हो गयी. कौन था, पता चला? पक्कड़ के ला छूतियों को. हाँ ममाजी की दुकान के पास.”

चार लड़के खड़े थे भीड़ के पक्कड़ में, निराश, खोए हुए, सहारे को ढूँढते हुए. मैं वो मेसाइया तो था नही.

“साहेब, ग़लती हो गयी, हमने नही मारा….”

“खाना नही था साहेब, क्या कर….”

मेरा एक चमात ज़ुबान खींच के रख दिया

“ऐसे नहीं समझेंगे, बाँधों सालों को, भोंसड़ी के, मा पे हाथ लगाता है.”

Continue reading “फ़र्क/The Difference”

Red and Blue

He crouched lower behind the bush, the dirty green of his jacket merging with the scraggly brush. His eyes narrow searched for them in the gaps between the leaves. Nothing stirred in the soft afternoon breeze. The ragged stones of the footpath stretched out in front of him, uneven, bumpy, chequered by the sunlight filtering through the leaves. On the far end beyond the lawn he saw them, four shapes splattered with red, silent, motionless, slouched against the tree; spread-eagled on the ground, waiting, waiting, waiting.

He turned away sinking back into the bush, the leaves rustling softly. How did it go so wrong, his plan? Well it was easy enough to figure, they had Arjun and Rahul. Individually they were fearsome enough, together it was suicidal to go up against them.

A few metres to his left was the garage, the one that was their fort, their stronghold. Its shutter had been drawn low, rusted now into a permanent open yawn. On this once white shutter, blotches of red sprayed across, memories, reminders of battles won and lost. Mostly lost though, it was a sobering sad sight.

Continue reading “Red and Blue”

Kabali – A Review


Kabali fever has gripped the nation. Offices declared holidays, airlines paid for first day first show tickets, theatres opened before sunrise, torrent sites collapsed, bus strikes were declared in Karnataka, schools were closed, Kabali da the only explanation.

Swept away in the wave of fandom, not wanting to miss out on what was surely going to define dialogue, thought and catch phrases for the nation I too trooped off to a multiplex to be part of the phenomenon.

From the very beginning, I realised that this was going to be different. Rajinikanth’s films to me were loud, melodramatic and overtly stylish to a fault and pure entertainment. But this was different. The quiet introduction of Kabali in a cell reading My father Balaiah promises intelligence, subtlety and much more. The style quotient of Rajinikanth is there but drastically cut down; gone are the cigarette flicks and the shoulder towel stunts, here is a cooler, suaver Rajini. Dressed to the nines in every scene, credit to the fashion designer for creating suits that stood out, yet fit in; just the right amount of sass.

Rajini is comparatively subdued for most part of the film, his style reduced to sitting cross-legged on chairs and uttering ‘Magizhchi’ with pointed nods and gestures. Playing his own age has enabled the actor to sink his teeth into a role and he does justice to the part. A near-permanent scowl on his bearded face, that breaks into a smile without warning adds to the persona of the feared and revered don. No songs and exaggerated action sequences break his character and most fights are with guns or props that ensure physicality is not questioned (exceptions exist though).

Continue reading “Kabali – A Review”

The Temple Within

I stared out of the window, fields shot by as the car bounced from narrow street onto ever narrowing lanes. I hated temples, always have. The only thing I liked about familial visits to temples is the feel of the stone floor. Cool, rugged in the shade, burnt, scalding under the sun; I often wondered if this amorphous yet persevering nature was why stones were worshiped.

Through high school and college, I’d always wormed, squirmed and fought my way out of temple trips.  Coming from a family that barely ever visited temples and actively encouraged me to abandon our sacred threads, my rebellion and agnosticism was welcomed into the fold.

But this trip was different, very different. I had to come, no questions asked. We were to go our ancestral temple in Mangudi ergo middle of fucking nowhere village. All the cajoling, blackmailing and begging had brought me to this nauseous seat in the back of the still bouncing Scorpio.

Cackling overstuffed relatives, mind-numbing familial puns and never ending stories of bumbling relatives flooded through my ears as I fervently hoped and prayed to be back in my calm, controlled Emergency Room.

Continue reading “The Temple Within”


(c) Manchester City Galleries; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Manchester City Galleries; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

From far below, from the shade

Up into the leaves she gazed

Sunlight dazzling down, shone

Chequering across her face

Red globes of fire burnt,

With swathes of green, embers

Calling her, the breath of the wind

Reaching fingers, branching bent

From far above, from the shade

Down into the world I gazed

My light dazzling down shone

A sense of awe on my very face

Perfect, beautiful, plentiful, below

Meandering blue, green, brown swirls lay

My breath whistling between and around,

Something amiss amidst I found

Continue reading “Eve”


Inspired by –


Vaazhkaiye – “Ellaam ingae oru bramaye
                               Ellorumey oru bommaye
                               Yedhum illai ada unmaiye
                               Kaiyil micham oru koppayin verumaye

“All that is here is an illusion
All here are mere toys
There is nothing which is true
All that is, is the chalice of emptiness within

Oh Life…”

Theme Song of Film – David”


Dreams cloud our eyes

Vapours of days to come,

Our minds;

Clamber up ladders of smoke

Jostling, greedy

Fighting for rungs, footholds

Clawing for inches,

Continue reading “Gravity”

The Choice

Fail (verb)

  • to fall short of success or achievement in something expected, attempted, desired, or approved
  • to be or become deficient or lacking; be insufficient or absent;fall short
  • to fall short, to be or become inadequate, to be unsuccessful.

Succeed (verb)

  • to happen or terminate according to desire
  • to accomplish what is attempted or intended
  • to attain success


One exemplifies reaching dizzying heights, the other giddy in its depth. One describes achievement, fulfilment; the other inadequacy and incompetence explains.

Continue reading “The Choice”