Friday, October 23, 2015

Wisps of Winter

Today, I felt the first faint signs of chill around me. For one, I developed slight, welcome fever. 'Welcome fever' might be a difficult concept for many to understand. It is the kind of pleasant fatigue that makes you pop a pill, lie down, and willingly let go off he humongous weight of work you had been dragging along. It is the kind which tells you nothing is wrong, but this pause is good to recover strengths and smiles. It, at this point of time in the year, also informs you that the romance of winters is going to knock on your door soon, that the season is changing. So yes, as I lie tired on the couch and type it all out, I am actually quite pleased that the hum of the airconditioner is fast becoming a thing of the past.

Winters are special. They make my city beautiful, and my heart fond. They make coffee tastier, and books crispier. They bring along blankets, and consequently, warmth. They take away the irritating moisture, to replace it with a forced dalliance with cold creams. It may sound odd, but I quite like drawing on my arms when they turn parched, and a sheet of moisturiser is the eraser to this slate. A duller world, makes the self more pronounced. And I like, I like it immensely.

Here is my winter wishlist. All things basic, all things romantic. You're welcome to join me, for any, and all of these :)

1. Street shopping for winter clothes

Janpath, Sarojini and Paharganj are on my radar. Any better suggestions for budget and statement winter-wear? Drop me some advice in the comments section!

2. A book date in Rabindra Bhawan

Rabindra Bhawan houses one of the best libraries in Delhi - the Sahitya Akademi library. For a frugal fee, you get access to few of the most amazing titles from Indian, American and even Russian literature. Enough to keep you occupied. Their reading room is inspiring, and if you don't find space inside, the winter sun can give you company outside.

3. Poetry reading in Lodhi Gardens, Humayun's Tomb, Safdarjung Tomb et al

Delhi is a grand city. So many historical venues call out to you in winters to explore and inhabit them. I am eager to take Poets' Collective to all these wonderful places, and also discover some new ones where poetry can resonate and leave behind memories. Let's do poetry in excess for the next few months, shall we?

4. Early morning walk through Sanjay Van

The last time we went there, it was in scorching monsoons. Bad idea! Lal Kot and Sanjay Van seem like a winter destination for a walk along with some stories. A picnic with the close ones is on the cards, definitely.

5. Roadside Chai

It is not even winters, and we have already begun loitering about in N-Block, Connaught Place, searching for chaiwallas on the pavement. Samosas, kachoris and bina-cheeni-ki-chai are going to be my evening companions as days start getting dark sooner.

6. Statement neck-pieces and dark shades of Lipstick

I don't know much about this. But, these winters will be about understanding a bit more of fashion. Who is helping?

7. Conversations over coffee 

Do you have something interesting to discuss? If you can afford some coffee to go with it, you have my attention. Delhi has many roof-top and garden cafes. I am making a list of all the places I want to go to. May be you and I can go along together?

8. Long walks on random roads

Broke or rich, this is something I have been doing since the past few years. With or without company. Music in my ears. Thoughts swirling in my head. Greens becoming greener. Poems calling me out. I love taking walks in winters - an unparalleled fuel for the soul.

9. Reading and writing romances in my blanket 

Nothing comforts like the warmth of winters. I have my reading list fleshed out. I have my story-plots ideated. And I don't mind doing some cosy story-telling sessions at home - an exclusive all-girls, openly gender-biased gathering.

10. Letting my hair down

Well-styled or unkempt - I am letting my hair loose this winter. Winters ought to be a little wild, no?

You can see, clearly, how fascinated am I with the prospect of some chill arriving in Delhi. My winters, curiously enough, begin in the hills. I'll be heading out to Nainital to moderate a session at the prestigious Kumaon Literary Festival on Monday. I'll carry some wintry emotions back.

What are your winter plans? Would you want to join me for any of mine?

P.S. - I am also giving away a lot more free hugs in winters. Just saying.

Friday, October 16, 2015


Aadat ho
Haqeeqat bhi.

You think it false
When I say that all
I care for
Is you, and your pulse.
When I think to care
Means to be fair
To you and to me.
I'm used to you
To the idea of blues
Cherished sitting in your arms
Wooed by your charms
By the sweat on your palms
Which you run on my skin
Mixing salt with sin
Scarring salinity with the romance of ittar
To conjure a smell
Which I can tell,
Is yours, only.
You're a perfumed reality
Fast evaporating in fumes.
The scent, is on my skin
Even if you no longer are.

Aadat ho
Zaroorat bhi.

You're the rum in my coke
The haze in my smoke.
I need you, to go above
The ordinary scape of fizz
I need you, to attain
A state higher than black mist.
I want to linger on
As a bitter aftertaste,
On each tongue that sips,
The sips which scalds the throat.
And all that lies below
In my being
When seen
Staring at you
I am actually drinking through
The intoxicating fizz
I need you like rum
I need to drink you like a hum
Of that trickling elixir
Not off a goblet this time
But off that which rhymes
With lust, and convoluted, undivided, manly love.

Aadat ho
Qayamat bhi.

You can put me off alcohol
But can you put me off you?
You know you're the more potent
Of the two?
Your half open button
Second from top
Reeks of terrains unfulfilled
Of lustful glares
You'd not want to stop.
You're the terror
I abide by.
You're the disaster
I don't know why
I am giving in to
Losing in to
In a dim hope
Of finding a home
Which I know wouldn't last
You're the transitory glory
Of a love spell, now un-cast.
You'll destroy the derived
You'll unmask the perceived
You'll terrify the belief
And you'll break,
The porcelain idol
I had made
With all affection vital, and
Cherished for so long
In my heart,
Like a song,
Negating all wrongs
As if you were the only right
Right as only right can be right.

Aadat ho
Shikaayat bhi.

White faces
Sombre gazes
Tricky steps
Stable embraces
And then a distracted facade
A fragmented visage
A throbbing mirage
Pumps me out
For the want of a future
Who am I, after all,
but a present wound's suture?
Like you have her,
I have him
But you're the whim
To whose wishes
I dance, and prance, on a foot
By now you must've understood
How you're a complaint
Of derangement
Lodged in my head
But I lose sense of indignation
As you begin
My bed.

Aadat ho
Meethi se karwat bhi. 

The pretty you
The cunning you
The cute you
Then arches his back
With a shuddering climax
And turns away
Like it's a day
In his world
While I battle with dark
And stark
Between him
and Myself
The little elf
Of lust
Stifles the angels of love
As I count the blemishes
On your back
The spots black
Now my objects of affection
For your face eludes
And deludes
My overpowered mind
My powerless mind
Seeking one embrace
One gaze
Which tells me you are here to stay.

Aadat ho
Bagawat bhi. 

Each time I fight
For you
I fight for myself
Out of the haze
Out of the smoke
Of disenchantment
Which blows
On your pristine countenance
And my slurry speech
You're more precious than rum
Than a brook's hum
As it scales mad topographies
To pass out in the arms of an ocean
You're one
Of them
You're one
Of me
You're one
Of you
You're one
Of us
As I cower to the buzz
Of your disapprovals
I give in
To you. To a love true.
And to a lust truer
Than your and mine existence.
You've turned me a rebel
I listen, un-listen,
Pretend, apprehend,
Fade, descend,
I turn depression into a trend.

All for you,
For the idea of you,
For the habit of you.
I know not you
I know this habit, craving, longing
I know the pain in my heart
I know the belonging
I don't care who you are
As long as you are. 
You're a habit, once I cannot let go.

Photography - Shubhrangshu Chakravarty