Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Hidden beneath these
naked wrinkles of an aged skin,
Like black pools
of trapped, stagnant water
after the flood has receded,
Are left some breaths

And these probes
at my breasts,
suckling life away

A forked tongue
slithering up my spine
slowly, surely

And every cell
like a traitor
with the mysterious call
from unknown

I want to puncture
this blind old skin
and peek ouside

(this was read at New Bombay read meet of Caferati on 20th Feb '05)

Echo of a Prayer

Like a seed that's sprouting
insignificant, little green hands
from deep down my womb

Holding on to a feeble beam of light
from a window, too small, too far above
the sound of my prayer tries to reach out
seeking God somewhere, out there.

And bouncing off
the merciless walls of skin
returns unanswered.

Its echo sounding like a twang of a bow,
in the hands of a gallant warrior
his arrow just missed

At least, the echoes are here
till the walls last....
What happens to the sound of prayer
when the walls of skin are shattered


don't tell me,
who adorned these breasts
with flame red tattoo!

the marks,
of Spring's nails
I recognize too!


When I get lonely
around me, I create
a crowd of words

The risk I take
trusting those strangers
with my emotions...

what if they falter...
what if they carry?


this dusk
like a demented mother
cradling the corpse
of darkness in her arms

sun goes down
her venomous breath
releasing slowly
the dark poison
into night's virgin soul

in this dark
abysmal night
not gems
of twinkling stars
nor dreams
of distant dawn
of light

Love You Hate You

"I love you" she had said, while we were jostling to enter the
classroom. Her fourteen year old eyes sparkling with mischief.

"Why? Why do you say that?" I had asked, blushing crimson. My
heart missing a beat for the first time in its fifteen years long life.

"Because I don't, you stupid!" She was practicing a new language.
'Reverse speak' they called it, she had explained trying to keep a
straight face.

"You mean one thing & say the opposite."

"But why?"

"It's the cool thing going around, don't you know?"

Saw her yesterday, in a queue at a bus stop.
Almost didn't recognize her.
Sparkle drained away from those eyes,
worry lines cut deep in that once smiling face,
a few grey strands to mark the years gone by...

Stopped my car and got out.
"Hey, recognize me?"
Yes, she did, reluctantly.
Offer of ride, silently rejected.

Just as I turned back, a voice from the past calls out.
Faint hint of that sparkle in her eyes
leaves me in eternal doubt,
as her eyes say,
"I hate you..."

Hairy Tale

Yet another day, yet another morning. I stand before the mirror, razor in hand. I squeeze the shaving foam bottle but nothing comes out. Only last week I bought this stupid thing! Gone already. I stare at the face in mirror, with its nightly crop ready for harvesting. A crop that will feed nobody, and yet cost me a fortune over my lifetime, shaving it daily.

Why do we have hair? What is the great design of God or Nature (take whatever you like) in giving us humans this disgusting growth of hair everywhere? Speaking of design, the designer should have spent some time testing the prototypes, before launching the product in market on such a huge scale. I don't think it is such a great design after all. Which engineer/architect worth his salt would design recreational areas so close to waste disposal?

Some may argue that this hairy growth is a remnant from evolution. When our forefathers were bored with swinging in trees, they stepped out of the jungle and started building homes. That’s why their tails dropped off. No use having a tail, when you are not swinging from branch to branch. By the same reasoning, hair too should have vanished long ago. In that era hair was the protection from weather. When we started building homes, wearing clothes, having air-conditioned homes/offices/cars, what's the use of having hair?

Look at the economic impact of hair. Every day men (a large section of them anyway) have to shave their faces. Now calculate the money spent on razors, scissors, shaving foam, gels etc. Then every month, the usual hair cut/trim. Add to that the amount spent by women on hair removing creams, epilators, hair dyes, hairsprays, hair oils, combs, brushes, stylers, and what not! Add to that the value of man-hours lost in shaving/maintaining hair.

If you add all these amounts spent yearly by men & women from all over the world on account of hair, I am sure it will equal the annual budget of a medium sized nation. Hundreds of thousands of schools, hospitals, libraries, homes for the aged etc. can be managed in that amount, if somehow we could get rid of hair. Some poor nation could use that money to buy a few hundred atom bombs, hydrogen bombs, fighters, bombers, carriers etc. for welfare of its citizens.

See what hair is costing humanity? I am all for developing a hair-bomb using all this money. Drop the bomb and have a permanently hair-free world!

Some poets may oppose this idea. But once all the women in the world are bald, the poets will start writing poems about shiny domes, I am sure.

(c) Rajendra Pradhan

Doing It Right

The Valentines' Day Special Love Poem?

her eyes lit bright
and hair in flight
such a pretty sight,
kissed her whole night

then in the morning light
holding her close & tight
"how was it my love?"
I ask the question trite

she ponders briefly
and gives me a fright,
"You are okay honey,
but your brother does it right"

In Search of Tantra

Raoul looked at the dog sprawled at his feet and then looked away. There was nothing to look at in this world anymore, he thought. Outside the rain was still going full blast like a drunken old sod. Why did I let Chloe convince me in accompanying her and Chip to this damned place called Cherapunji in India? This godforsaken place on earth, where it rains for weeks without a respite? Nothing to look at but this bleak rain outside and this lazy dog sprawled here at my feet inside this cottage. The old fellow has some teeth broken, probably from a fight over mating rights. 'He won’t have to fight with me for those rights over Chloe, that bitch wife of mine. I would give those rights willingly to any blind dog that wags his tail even slightly at me'; Raoul thought and surrendered himself once again to the three week old issue of Times of India on his lap.

Raoul didn’t want to look at the newspaper either. He loved looking at only beautiful things such as cavities in molars, root canals and dental decay. He loved creating beautiful craters where teeth once stood, proud and erect as if challenging his own masculinity, and then filling the craters with his own creations of implants. ‘Drill out the teeth of the world and then fill those gaping holes with divine implants, bridges and fillings from God’s own dentist’; Raoul had always wanted to advertise on TV. He would have but only for the prohibitive advertisement tariffs. His son Chip’s obsession for Satanic worship and cults of the East had brought him & Chloe to this place. A whole night and day’s journey away from Kolkata on the eastern coast of India, Cherapunji stands in the hills in Assam, infamous for world’s highest rainfall and also for tantric rituals of the ungodly.

Chloe too was worried about Chip’s obsession of satanic cults around the world, but she had dragged Raoul along. "Can’t you see, he is our only son Raoul. We must be by his side whenever he needs us. And looking at his area of study, he will need us anytime. Can’t you take a week off from that clinic of yours?" She had gone on and on and finally Raoul had agreed to accompany her with Chip on their son’s study tour of the oriental occult in India. The week had turned to three weeks and still the incessant rain prevented Chip from making the ‘contacts’ with underground of the local cult. Chip was interested in interviewing a tantrik yogee, a leader of the underground cult who was said to possess powers to enter anybody’s mind, even animals’! It has been four hours since Chip walked out in the rain searching for that tantrik. Just having finished her lunch, Chloe was taking a nap in the tiny bedroom of the cottage. Devoid of any open mouths to look into, Raoul was re-reading the same newspaper he had read several times in the last three weeks. No newspapers delivered here until the rain stops, the inn keeper had said. What are Bush and Kerry doing out there, he wondered. No way to know, with the TV short circuited and the batteries of his transistor radio sodden wet.

Raoul got up, to go to bathroom for thirty seventh time since morning. All this rain and its noise on the tin roofing of the cottage had made his bladder very weak. When he was unbuttoning his pants, he thought he heard a noise outside. He wanted to investigate. But he couldn’t control his bladder. Not now. Later. It must be Thor, that stupid old dog Chloe had insisted on bringing along. A long wait and then a weak stream. ‘Ah pure bliss!’ Raoul finally buttoned up his pants as he stepped out of the bathroom. And then he stood there with his jaw falling open. Chloe was lying on the floor, petting and kissing the dog, her clothes astray. KISSING THE DOG! Raoul wanted to speak, rather scream. But his jaws just stayed open as if he was sitting in the patient’s chair at his own clinic. "Chloe, what is going on?" he finally managed to croak. Chloe looked at him once and barked heartily.

Suddenly, Raoul’s knees gave way. His back was to the wall. He slipped downward until the floor accepted him. The last thought in his mind was, ‘how the hell this dog has all his teeth back in place?’ He didn’t remember doing any implants on the dog. ‘Then how the hell….and why this sudden clasping pain in my chest?’ Just as Raoul was closing his eyes for the last time, he heard the dog say, "wait Mr. Raoul. Welcome to the land of Tantra. Don’t go yet. See the fun. She thinks she is a bitch! Isn’t that what you always thought?"

(c) Rajendra Pradhan