Ratna

Bharat

Spiders and geckos, and sweet mango pickles;

Roses and lilies, and buses with ruffles;

Lights at odd times, and sounds of all things;

This is the wondrous place of my dreams.

Elephants training and bulls guarding temples,

Weavers of all kinds, and all of their thimbles;

Rivers that rumble, and mountainous streams;

This is the wondrous place of my dreams.

When it cyclones, when it monsoons;

I remember these: clouds will soon disappear,

A sunshine is always near, glimmering through the trees.

Lefty

Sacred Heart

My right hand is your left hand

My right hand is my left hand

My left hand is your right hand

My left hand is my right hand

I see this place differently than you

You see this space differently than me

I live in this place, along with you

You live in this space, along with me

Just opposite, directionally

Just parallel, dimensionally

Across from you

You Across from me

India

IMG_0883

Once you accept the overwhelming heat, humidity, smells of all kinds, and just simple randomness – like a religiously-clad man leading an even more religiously-clad bull down a city thoroughfare, asking people for money – there is something divine about India.

There is something very erotic about India. Once you get past the unhygienic nature of urinating in public – hundreds of thousands of Indian men very proudly unzip and relief their bladders everywhere and anywhere. Just as many walk around without underwear, wearing only a piece of cloth or a lungi.

There is something oxymoronic about India. In the same communities where the Mother Goddess reigns religiously supreme, women are subjected to subservience – female infanticide and various assaults on the blatantly feminine occur every day and receive impunity.

There is something incredibly real about India. Here poverty means living on the streets with your family, fetching food from dumpsters and begging for change from passersby. And prosperity can be found right next to it in the Rolex shop – their customers do not carry change.

I am strangely familiar with these social discrepancies, yet find them so alien. I am not rejecting as I would have been had I always existed in a sterile environment of the ‘First-World.’ But I am constantly flabbergasted by these reminders of being from a place as dichotomously cohesive as the Cosmic Dance.

On Earth

I

I am from earth.

I was born to India and raised by America.

I was born in India and raised in America.

I am from earth.

I live and breathe.

Sometimes I think – most times I don’t.

Other times my pendulum mid-swings.

In a place between time and space.

I live and breathe.

Some same mistakes I repeat.

From others I learn something new.

How to be, not to be; want more or need few.

Here on earth, on my two feet.

I live and breathe.

Police Abuse

Rise

 

It cannot be that the very institution founded for the general welfare and safety of society turns out to be the oppressive baton slamming down upon innocent students exercising their right of expression. It cannot be that the police oppress the very tenets they were created to protect. This simply cannot be.

But it has become so – because we have allowed it to be. And it has happened over and over again, in shantytowns and school buildings, in Jadavpur University and the Colony Arms Building. An epidemic of institutional abuse has transcended borders and oceans, continents and governmental paradigms.

A police force must only operate to protect the rights of citizens. Any police action that inhibits, suppresses and abuses citizens’ rights and dignities violates that very purpose. And in that instant it loses its credibility, its moral, populace-based authority. And it must be upended and recalibrated.

I asked a friend why and how this can be; he aptly said, ‘because they can.’ The responsibility falls upon each of us to say, ‘no, they cannot.’ No, they must not – because if they do, the society we faithfully call civilized will be humanity’s biggest fallacy. No, they cannot stampede our God-given right to be free.

Fighter

IMG_0816

Death is easier than life – but easy things bring less satisfaction. I welcome death; I am burdened by life – but I keep living, I keep trying. Every breath I take may be labored, in lament I may soak my entire life. But even this – as hard as it is – life I cherish, I nourish, I fill to the fullest with my dreams and hopes.

Yes, death is easier than life – but I refuse to be easy.

Cloud

Owl on a branch

If I could lay outstretched, my every atom laid side by side, from Kashba to the doorstep of the Carbide Building – if I could only, it would be my most glorious existence. But I can only imagine and dream of that time and space. So, unsettled, my heart string rings – my mind wanders from place to place.

My body is my prison. My happiness I carry within me, I use this ration sparingly – in momentary bliss I thrive, revive my dichotomous identity. I belong neither here nor there; I am an outsider everywhere. I am familiar and a stranger all at once. But this, my omnipresent discontent, is my singular solace.

Between two worlds, engrained with myriad forms and functions, I am the rainbow – and the rain.