May 11, 2009


The spoon scrapes the bowl
trying to find gruel stuck in the corners,
trying to find corners in the semi-sphere.

The spoon scrapes the bowl
idly, while its stalk( or stem,if you prefer)
leans out of its own accord to laden plates.

The spoon scrapes the bowl
and then stops. Decisively!
Enough is enough and no more!

The spoon is held up by
a trembling hand, resolutely.
And the voice asks plaintively:
"More, please. More. "


Dearest K, I said this for both of us.

May 7, 2009


You open one eye and look at the ugly digital clock on the bedside table. It coldly states that the time is 14:34:32 now. It must be Sunday by logical deduction and putting together the following two facts:

1) I am here, sipping my post-lunch coffee and looking at your supine body with absent-minded lust.

2) You can feel a hangover coming on, hence you must have gotten terribly bottled last night and that you can allow yourself to do only on Saturday nights.

Therefore, it must be Sunday.

All this by opening one eye. Tell me, clever one, does the word 'Denotified' mean anything to you? Does your name 'Alekha Gosavi' mean anything to you, darling?

There you go again, you have closed your eyes and turned over on to your tummy. With your eyes closed, your red spaghetti strap revealing thingummyjig riding right upto where your bra strap should have been, you look very, how shall I put it, like you eat right out of my hand and if I ordered you to, you would take your top off and parade in the street outside, no questions asked. Oh, but I know you! I know you better. In 2 mintues, you will beckon me with the curl of your index finger and then order me about to get you water, coffee, some snacky things to eat and saridon, in that order. If I do everything to your liking and I am real good to you, when I come to you with the coffee, you will smile at me, put your arms around me and let my hands go under that spaghetti top.

Look around you, darling. Do you have any idea of how immensely lucky you are ? Look at your lovely MAC Film Noir lipstick, look at your Hermes perfume left carelessly unstoppered on the dresser, look at your expensive clothes which you crumple up and throw at me when you are annoyed. Look at yourself. Look at your unwillingness to move from one room to another to get another cushion or to try a new pub because our usual one was chock-full of people or to try limiting dinner to a hurried single course. Look at you. You,a nomad? Never.
Would they ever know if they didn't know your name, that even now your cousins roam helplessly without food or education or a chance of livelihood from village to village trying to be true to the Gosavi occupation. Who would guess that your grandma and grandpa went around from house to house, begging for food, and in the evening, put all the various food items given to them in a huge vessel and that entire family including your mother ate out of that? To your ear, Mozart and Himesh are the same. Do you know, your musically inclined family used to sing customised songs for their regular patrons? You must, of course, know. If your mother has told me all this, you must know so much more.

Yet, you don't. Your miraculous escape hasn't touched you one bit. How your mother refused to go around with the family begging anymore after your grandpa was arrested for a robbery, how it wasn't his fault but they arrested him because his tribe was a tribe of habitual offenders or 'Denotified' tribes, how he died in custody and your Mom ran away to some house and started working as a servant girl at the tender age of 8. How lucky she was that the people in that house educated her and she could apply for a nice desk job after a few years! Thats why my love, you,Alekha Gosavi and I,Surabhi Venketachala Iyer can lie together naked, go to Poison on Thursday and Saturday nights and bitch about our workplaces with equal aplomb. We can, because we escaped terrible fates.

You,more so than I. Your tribe forms a miniscule part of a 7% of the Indian population of nomads and that too non-pastoral nomads. In common parlance, "beggars". How the tide has turned. Thousands of small tribes who eked a living out of music and crafts and religion and superstition, turned into "beggars and criminals" by one swift stroke of the Brits who ruled us aeons ago. Nobody did anything about it till now. Ok, they removed the tag of criminals, but still your cousins are known as beggars all over this country.

Only my mother sheds a tear for the Gosavis, she remembers. She loves to think of the little Gosavi children who used to come to her house, play some music and take whatever was given to them with true gratitude. She still cries for the Gosavis and holds up her hands feebly in protest when somebody calls them beggars. Maybe she would be happy to know that I have found a Gosavi. Maybe not. After all, one can explain away the denotified tribes, but how does one explain a woman falling for another?

Nomad, you have wandered into my life.Now I pray everyday that it should be true,what they say about gypsies. That they never steal ,but they take what is rightfully theirs without asking and without ceremony.

May 1, 2009

Miss Marple's Beaux

This is what I would call a my band if I had one. I would be the band manager and main lyricist, of course. Only some filler numbers would be written by the others. There would be a lead singer with a voice like Dolores O'Riordan, slightly raspier than that but as rich. She would be rake thin and lanky and awkward as a colt, except when she is on stage. When she grabs that microphone and closes her eyes to sing, she will become like a graceful bamboo stalk,something the angels sent you for your birthday coz you were so good last year.
There will be two guitarists, both female, one slightly dumpy looking with a cupcake in her hand all the time. Even on stage, surreptitiously, she would grab a bite and try to stuff the half-eaten goodie somewhere on top of all the equipment. She would be the lead guitarist. The other woman is nondescript.She can also play all kinds of flutes.
We have a tabalchee instead of a drummer. It is a middle aged man,who used to play for some brothel pretending to be a kotha for gentlemen. He was an innocent cherub. Really used to believe that all the those drunk perverts came there for the musical pleasure of the evening and after the recital went home quietly nursing their leftover cheap whisky and unspent desire. Then one day, the police came and raided the Meenabais and Sarlabais. When he saw the dishevelled, naked sweaty women being paraded out with their clients, he started bawling. Bawled his head off like a baby. The policemen did not want to have a snivelling tabalchee on their hands, so they ignored him. Since then he wasn't the same man anymore. He was gloomy and took to brooding on street corners where he set up his tabla and played whenever he felt like it. That is how we would have come across him and taken him under our wing. Then,of course, there is a young college boy on the key board, who is always threatening to put his talents to use elsewhere but nobody will have him coz he is so bad and we keep him on coz we have precious little use for the keyboard and he is really the only cute one on stage anyway.
That is what Miss Marple's Beaux would be like. And we would sing songs of the death of love, the flaws of human nature, hatred, poisons, loneliness, spinsterhood and such depressing themes. The music would be sweet and melodious and sonorous. Beyond that I can't really say anything about the music, coz I don't know much about it really.
Want Miss Marple's Beaux to come to life.