Sunday, 30 April 2023

Day Thirty #NaPoWri Mo 2023

Dear Readers and Poets,

It's Day Thirty of #Na/GloPoWriMo 2023. The last (optional) challenge of this year asks the poet to write a palinode – a poem in which you retract a view or sentiment expressed in an earlier poem. For example, you might pick a poem you drafted earlier in the month and write a poem that contradicts or troubles it. This could be an interesting way to start working on a series of related poems. 

Alternatively, you could play around with the idea of a palinode by writing a poem in which the speaker says something like “I take it back” or otherwise abandons a prior position within the single poem.

I've opted for the alternative option of abandoning a prior position within this poem. It's called

how to palinode

how to palinode

in haiku kept us awake

our restless silence

broken by bird song when dawned

a tanka -- upon spring moon

a tanka -- upon spring moon

gliding in between many


pause. still. lines emerge to show
how to palinode

I'm tempted to say more about the poem but I'll keep quiet for now. I look forward to your comments and views.

I missed out on a few days' worth of challenges this year. But with all the fabulous resources and prompts shared by Maureen Thorson throughout April, I'm sure May will be blooming with new poems too. 

Thank you Maureen and all the poets who shared their beautiful poetry. A very special thanks to all of you who visited this space and read my poems. And an extra special thank you to the lovely ones who left comments:) 

Wishing you all a beautiful Sunday.

Saturday, 29 April 2023

Day Twenty-nine #NaPoWriMo 2023

Dear Readers,

The (optional) prompt on day  Twenty-nine of #NA/GloPoWriMo asks the poet to start by reading Alberto Rios’s poem “Perfect for Any Occasion.” Then write a two-part poem that focuses on a food or type of meal. At some point in the poem, describe the food or meal as if it were a specific kind of person. Give the food/meal at least one line of spoken dialogue.

The poem I wrote for Day 29 has expired. But I leave you with this photo of Kashmiri Kahawa and an older poem that fits the prompt. It's called. 'He carried dirt under his fingernails.'



I wrote and performed this poem a few years ago. This is about food too. I hope you'll find the time to listen or watch 'He carried dirt under his fingernails'.

Thank you for stopping by. Wishing you a wonderful weekend. As always, please share your comments and views here. I look forward to reading them:)

Friday, 28 April 2023

Day Twenty-eight #NaPoWriMo 2023

Dear Readers and Poets,

An escapade of sorts conspired me way from poetry on day Twenty-two. But now that I'm back to my favourite spot in April, i.e. here, I'm eager to press on with the prompt of the day. I hope I can cover up the missed days in May. I'll keep you posted.

Day Twenty-eight of #Na/GloPoWriMo 2023 states: I challenge you to write your own index poem. You could start with found language from an actual index, or you could invent an index, somewhat in the style of this poem by Kell Connor. Happy writing!

 The Colosseum, yesterday.

This poem has expired. Leaving you with a shot of the Colosseum in Rome which I happened to visit last week.

Thursday, 20 April 2023

Day Twenty #NaPoWriMo 2023

Dear Readers,

The prompt on Day Twenty of #Na/GloPoWriMo goes like this:

Have you ever heard someone wonder what future archaeologists, whether human or from alien civilization, will make of us? Today, I’d like to challenge you to answer that question in poetic form, exploring a particular object or place from the point of view of some far-off, future scientist? The object or site of study could be anything from a “World’s Best Grandpa” coffee mug to a Pizza Hut, from a Pokemon poster to a cellphone.

It's Eid break in Doha and I will be travelling out of the country this evening. There's laundry to be done and a bag that needs packing. So, I'm sharing a spoken word piece that I wrote and performed in early 2021 because it fits the bill (I think). 

It's called "Yesterday is not alive." It's a long (ish) piece but I hope you'll stay till the end.

I'm sharing a spoken word piece that I wrote and performed in early 2021 because it fits the bill (I think). It's called "Yesterday is not alive." It's a long (ish) piece but I hope you'll stay till the end.

Our conversations are going to bury themselves
deep in the earth’s womb,
for they’ve failed to adapt to the thunderstorms
of Cricket scores
Market trends
Covid haul and the phone screen addiction
of the human race.

“Yesterday is not alive.” they say. “Live in the moment, for today.”
What should I do? Tell me!

For my world is alive only in the past.
The world I shared with you when we spoke to each other face to face, eye to eye.
I live in those yesterdays--
when you gazed into me and read me like poetry.
In those yester nights when you sprinted to the phone booth of a rain-soaked Calcutta gully,
just so you could hear me say ‘Hi’ from Chennai.
In those afternoons gone by when we held hands--
you used to caress my palm with your thumb, tracing our destinies across my creases, imprinting yourself on my heartline.
I live in those touches still.

But you’ve moved on… to a phone screen.

Even the poets these days only write about separations and distances.
No one pens down the belonging—the togetherness
of long-standing marriages.

I sometimes wonder if these poets prefer to carry on alone for the sake of their poetry;
sacrificing companionship on the altar of rhymes
just so they can continue reciting melodies of virah and longing.

Imagine: if the one they pine for in their lines
starts living with them one day-- dwelling in their dawns, dusks and nights
but, brings a phone along
for updates and company.

Their lover, them and a phone screen—
a tiresome threesome
that assigns a simple eye to eye
conversation to the realms of fantasy.

But poets don’t like to write about long lasting love. Do they? Why?
Well, it has no drama, no pining, no moon to gaze at, no clouds to fill the sky.
They want love like death—instant, dramatic, unquestionable, slam dunk!

Married love is so ordinary.
It flows like life--day after day after day in the gutters
of routines, packed lunches and bills to pay.

Till 2020, I didn’t mind this step-motherly treatment of the modern romantic poet towards reciprocated love.
So what if our love didn’t make it their pages but sat silently in the margins waiting its turn to be noticed one day?
Our conversations kept me company. That was enough.

But now even the margins have been marginalized.
This phone screen addiction has erased me.

I want to talk to you.
Your attention is elsewhere.

The words set forth from my insides to seek you but you’re not open to receive them.
Like orphaned kids, they trundle back seeking refuge
under a tin shed from the hailstones thundering
Of cricket scores, IPL roars, Covid tolls, political polls.

My orphaned words-- they bound
back inside through my ears and run amok
like ruffians
running noses, tattered clothes, wreaking havoc
wherever they go.
They spray graffiti inside me. The ink bleeds and hurts me.
My words clamour to be heard.
Caged inside, they can’t breathe.

They find an escape at last. It’s through my fingertips.
They make them dance on the keyboard and write and write and write: poetry or prose or gibberish-- I don’t know. I don’t care. They are the warriors on a mission of resurrection. They will not stop. For they can see that in this era of one-sided posts and opinions, death awaits all impromptu conversations.

Our conversations will soon be assigned to the endangered species category. Once they’re gone, humans will try to recreate the nods, the pauses, the silences and genuine smiles using AI, perhaps on these very same phones.

They’ll curate our conversations and display
them in virtual museums.
Our children and then theirs in the future will log on and see
how you and I could sit together for hours-- talk, tease,
taunt, agree and disagree without
any phone or technology.

The margins have blurred.

Love is Death.
Love is Life.
Love needs words to survive.

I live in my past and bring my yesterday alive.

Perhaps, when our conversations are truly buried and gone,
the poets will write a few lines about how these exchanges were guillotined
during Covid times.
We will read, share and subscribe to their poetry
and proclaim it to be sublime,
sitting next to each other bound by love--
long-lasting, married love.
Your hands will hold your phone. Your eyes will not know how to seek mine.

We will come alive in our yesterdays in the future in someone else’s lines.

We will come alive in our yesterdays in the future in someone else’s lines.


If you've stayed till the end, thank you:) I'll be here to read your comments. So, do share.

Wednesday, 19 April 2023

Day Nineteen #NaPoWriMo 2023

Dear Readers,

I came to the prompt late in the day on account of something happy that I will share soon on the blog. 

The prompt on Day Nineteen of #Na/GloPoWriMo states:  For this challenge, start by reading Marlanda Dekine’s poem “My Grandma Told Stories or Cautionary Tales.” One common feature of childhood is the monsters. The ones under the bed or in the closet; the odd local monsters that other kids swear roam the creek at night, or that parents say wait to steal away naughty children that don’t go to bed on time. Now, cast your mind back to your own childhood and write a poem about something that scared you – or was used to scare you – and which still haunts you (if only a little bit) today.

When I sit down to write to a prompt, I let go. I start typing and let the prompt guide the flow of my words. Sometimes, the poem changes course and surprises me, like today. It took me to ancient India and brought me back to myself.

This must've happened in my mother's womb.

I don't recall a day, a time. Was it sunset or dawn when 
the most potent weapon 
used by our fore-fathers, fore-mothers and their
blended with amniotic fluids that kept me afloat
sank deep inside my yet-to-be-born-thoughts,
my identity.

The Curse. C.U.R.S.E.

"I curse you." many a sages uttered those three fateful words 
and demolished Kings, Kingdoms and Princes;
stories my grandparents unfolded on the kitchen floor
and warned us, don't make anyone cross. EVER!

The weight of five-thousand years of our heritage
bore down upon me. Then one day, the stories jumped 
from the floor to flicker on screens.
That's when matters became worse. Scary.
Nymphs turned to stone, handsome folk into horrendous
creatures with no voice and no form.

I was young, what did I know! It was all make belief. Made up.

Lessons learnt in wombs, Beji said, are carried till the tomb.

The cursed on screen wailed piteously, "O! you who watches our plight,
pay heed. Be obedient of the ways
of authority. Look at us. Be warned.
Surrender to the rules of civilized society."

Don't speak up or you'll be cursed.
Don't stand tall or you'll be crushed.
Don't be different, or you'll be shushed.
Don't question the status quo, especially the rich, the pious and the powerful.
Think within the box, live within the confines.
Stay within the lines we have borrowed from our great ancient civilization
to keep you tethered. 
Don't complain or frown. This is for your good, your safety, of course.

Walk the beaten path. Fear the curse.

Decades passed. Every time I failed a test, or when a loved one got cancer,
I blamed the curse. 
I must've hurt someone in my past to deserve this. That's the logic
of the curse. It moves from myths to movies to young, impression forming foetuses.

Then one day I grew up. I broke free. Stood up.
Five feet, one and a half inches tall and shut the lid on
Pandora's Box.

Enough is enough.

Raktabeej met his end when Kali* showed up.


You can read about Kali and Raktabeej here: the juggernaut

Curses  and boons may sound mythical to you but when they are woven in the fabric of ones childhood, in the warp and weft of stories told and retold with frequent embellishments of real-life examples, they become the basis of ones beliefs. It's not easy to look at ones ancient roots and snip away the decay. But, it must be done.

Thank you for reading the poem. I'm all ears for any comments or views you'd like to share. 

Tuesday, 18 April 2023

Day Eighteen #NaPoWriMo 2023

The (optional) prompt on Day Eighteen of #Na/GloPoWriMo challenges the poet to to write an abecedarian poem – a poem in which the word choice follows the words/order of the alphabet. 

Yesterday a friend brought her twins over for a quick visit. Something about the visit jogged an old memory. So,  I shared it with my friend. 

"You know I've never had a clear image of your mother. You've mentioned her in passing." She said. 

It made me reflect on how much of my mother I remember still. After thirty-two years.

I'm not sure if the poem I wrote today is an ode to my mother or an ode to my memories of her.

The poem has now expired. But, the moon will shine for sometime on this page:)

Thank you for visiting. If there are thoughts or views that you'd like to share after reading this poem, I'll be here.

Monday, 17 April 2023

Day Seventeen #NaPoWriMo 2023

Dear Poets and Readers,

The prompt on Day Seventeen of #Na/GloPoWriMo challenges the poet to  write a poem that contains the name of a specific variety of edible plant – preferably one that grows in your area. 

Begin by reading Sayuri Ayers’ poem “In the Season of Pink Ladies.” Also, include at least one repeating phrase.

The poem has expired but here are some pictures of neem flowers that are in bloom at the moment.

The neem, like some other native trees of the Indian subcontinent, sheds its leaves for a brief period in spring. In early summer, new leaves emerge, followed by the most intoxicating smelling bunches of white flowers. It's an absolute joy to be around/under a neem tree in April. One can't help but dance and sing.

Neem flowers, harvested, dried and stored.

You can find out more about the neem tree by clicking on the link. Its Latin name is Azadirachta indica. It's a wonderous tree. Its leaves, bark and flowers have medicinal properties. 
As always, I'd love to know what you think of this poem. Thank you for visiting.

Friday, 14 April 2023

Day Fourteen with Emily Dickinson #NaPoWriMo 2023

Dear Readers,

The (optional) prompt on Day Fourteen of #Na/GlaWriPoMo challenges the poet to write a parody or satire based on a famous poem. 

But before I share what I've written today, I'd like to point you to Lisa Takes Flight 's brilliant and funny poems. She was the featured participant today.

My satire is inspired by  Emily Dickinson's "I'm Nobody! Who are you?"

I'm Everybody! Who are you?
Are you - Everybody - too?
Then there's a world of us!
Shout it out. They might sign us up - you know!

How dreary - to be - Nobody!
How private - like a Platypus -
To keep so mum - All lifelong
To be SO anti-ambitious!

The above is a commentary on how 'visibility' on SM equates success in the world today.

Upon googling 'the most solitary animal', I came across this list. Platypus comes in third after bears and the black rhino. Thought you may want to know:)

Happy Friday poets and readers.

As always, would love to know your thoughts and views about this poem.

Thursday, 13 April 2023

Credit Card and Hemingway on Day Thirteen #NaPoWriMo 2023

Dear Readers,

The (optional) prompt on Day Thirteen of #Na/GloWriPoMo asks the poet to first read the three short poems on the page by Bill Knott and then try to write

" a short poem (or a few, if you’re inspired) that follows the beats of a classic joke. Emphasize the interplay between the form of the poem – such as the line breaks – and the punchline.

I quit my job almost six years ago to pursue my love of writing and travelling (with the kind support of my husband). But, lately, I've been feeling the itch of not being able to support myself via my writing. The first poem is my current state of mind as I start the process of updating my CV and applying for jobs that pay.

Credit Card

The Bank of Poetry                                                                Where dreams dare to dream  

                                                         Every line of poetry you write                                            

                                                         can be exchanged for food and                                          


                                                         But, if it's a sari or a trek you're after,                              

                                                         you'd have to find a poetry-loving sponsor.                    

 Arti Jain                                                                                                               VIZA                

the fine print: 

This bank takes no guarantee your poetry will find a lover, ever.                   

 Please be advised to find a job that pays your bills.                                             

Remember, you can dream to reach us anytime. We value your custom.    

The second short poem wrote itself. I played with words on the cover (bottom) of the book. It's lying next to my laptop.

The book in the background is "River of Colour The India of Raghubir Singh"
another gem from Oxfam bookshop

"Men    w   i     t    h     out
   w o m  e   n
                                  f   u   l   l   y 
 g  O  O d 
      n O   
             O n e
                                    can deny
t   h     e    i    r

The Nation
I'd love to know what you think of my play-with-poetry-presentations. Were you able to find the beat of 'classic' jokes these two attempts are referencing? Tell me. I'm eager to know.

Happy Thursday:)

Wednesday, 12 April 2023

Day Twelve of #NaPoWriMo 2023

Dear Readers,

The (optional) prompt of Day Twelve of #Na/GloWriPoMo challenges the poet...

to write a poem that addresses itself or some aspect of its self (i.e., “Dear Poem,” or “what are my quatrains up to?”; “Couplet, come with me . . .”) This might seem a little “meta” at first, or even kind of cheesy. But it can be a great way of interrogating (or at least, asking polite questions) of your own writing process and the motivations you have for writing, and the motivations you ascribe to your readers.

This poem has expired.


Tuesday, 11 April 2023

A Big Fat Indian Wedding on Day Eleven of #NaPoWriMo 2023

Dear Readers,

Day Eleven of #Na/GloWriPoMo challenges the poet

to play around with the idea of overheard language. First, take a look at Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem “One Boy Told Me.” It’s delightfully quirky, and reads as a list, more or less, of things that she’s heard the boy of the title – her son, perhaps? – say. Now,  write a poem that takes as its starting point something overheard that made you laugh, or something someone told you once that struck you as funny. 

a mandapam

At a Big Fat Indian Wedding

Aunties in saris and uncles turban clad,
a toothless granny, cousins, Mom and Dad
gathered together on the flowery mandapam
to bless the newlyweds: a radiant bride and her shy groom.

"Was it Love?" asked the aunt with a golden bust.
"Na. Honestly Maami-- it was purely lust."
said the groom without blinking an eye.
I swear I heard a collective-connective sigh!

Of course, there was silence for a split
second. OMG! Dammit...
What guts. What clarity! 
Hurrah! I say, for such confident morality.

I wish we had more of this on display
at cocktails and dinners and soirees of midday.
What fun to know what you really think
about life, her dress, this venue, your drink.

And if ever such a day shall dawn,
sign me up for every party on the lawn.
But, if you will continue to hide behind niceties and blah,
I'm telling you now, I won't come. Mwah!

My day started with a doctor's appointment (nothing serious) and a momentary loss of memory. I forgot where I'd parked my car in the parking garage next to the hospital. All's well that ends well. I found my car. 

What a contrast the evening has been when the prompt unlocked a very old and funny memory. I enjoyed writing to the prompt. 

Monday, 10 April 2023

A Sea Shanty on Day Ten #NaPoWriMo 2023

Dear Readers,

Day Ten of #Na/GloWriPoMo has been the hardest prompt thus far for it challenges the poet to write a sea shanty.

I'm of the mountains. I do love the sea but to write a sea shanty! Well, that's another story or poetry.

In order to connect to my inner-being, I closed my eyes to conjure up seascapes or sea songs that would gently tide me over to 'lets-give-it-a-go' port.

I live in Qatar--a nation proud of its pearl-diving heritage. Suddenly, an idea flashed. Why not look at some of the pearl-diving-sea-songs for inspiration. 

Going down rabbit holes of discovery is a favourite and fabulous thing. I found out that the lead singer of sea-songs is called the nahhām.

According to this article on QDL, "The nahhām was a paid professional singer, regarded foremost important on every boat and ship."

The following is an attempt ...

Doha, Qatar

nahhām nahhām nahhām 

The song you sing of love

is the kohl, her eyes

becomes the night

They ask me when 

the tide will turn

The hearth and the fire

have just one desire

nahhām nahhām nahhām 

The song you sing of longing

is the jasmine, her hair

O! the mighty waves

She un-braids just for me

The debts are not yet paid

She says, but come home anyway

nahhām nahhām nahhām

The song you sing of pearls

is the promise, her embrace

The salt I taste makes me thirsty

May Allah have mercy

Pray and sing His praises

She's seeing the same moon as me.

nahhām nahhām nahhām....


"Generally, lyrics are derived from literary and colloquial Arabic poetry." states the article. 

"While the lengthy rhythm cycles remind the listener of the temple music in Kerala (south India), the communal bourdon singing recreates an atmosphere similar to the music of Tibetan monks or Sattya Hindu monks in Assam (north-east India)."

Like a true sea-voyage, I ended up finding pearls of wisdom from the songs of the sea. I hadn't set out to find any of this. 

Here's a sample of  Sea Music from Qatar: 

Sunday, 9 April 2023

Day Nine #NaPoWriMo 2023

Dear Readers,

Wishing you a fabulous Sunday and Happy Easter to all those who are celebrating.

The(optional) prompt on Day Nine of #Na/GloPoWriMo encourages the poet to write a sonnet.

But first, I'd like to share a poem I read a few minutes ago. It's the featured poem for Day Eight on NA/GloWriPoMo site and it's unmissable. You can read it here : To Create...

There's something about structure that makes me want to rebel. But this year (perhaps it's a sign of ageing or acceptance--I don't know) I'm giving structure in poetry a go.

The sonnet I wrote follows the general rule of 14 lines and it's about love. Plus, I tried to follow the following rhyming scheme: ABBA, ABBA, CDECDE.

I've removed it from the post as it's a first draft of sorts. 
picture taken in July 2021 in Oregon.

I'd recommend reading Adam O'Riordan's article, 'The Sonnet as a Silver Marrow Spoon' published by Poetry Foundation if you'd like to write a sonnet yourself.

Saturday, 8 April 2023

Day Eight of #NaPoWriMo 23

Dear Readers,

In order to give my April attempts (first drafts, really) a fighting chance to mature into good enough poems to submit to literary journals in the future, I've decided to remove some of my poems (those that I feel have potential to grow) from my blog after a day. I have to thank Romana for planting this idea in my head.  Submission processes are rather exacting and at this point in my life, I'd like to find nurturing homes for my poems.

The(optional) prompt for Day Eight of #Na/GloPoWriMo challenges the poet to use all of the 'Twenty Little Poetry Projects" (originally developed by Jim Simmerman) in one poem. 
You may want to click on the link Day Eight to find out what these twenty projects are. 
In order to get myself in the mood to write to such an extensive prompt, I visited some of the poets who'd written and posted their entries already. I must say I was impressed and motivated in equal measure. 
I've taken my poem down but have left these beautiful roses from a garden in Srinagar, Kashmir (clicked in August 2022) to wish you Happy Easter Sunday.

Friday, 7 April 2023

Day 7 #NaPoWriMo23

Dear Readers,

In order to give my April attempts (first drafts, really) a fighting chance to mature into good enough poems to submit to literary journals in the future, I've decided to remove some of my poems (those that I feel have potential to grow) from my blog after a day. I have to thank Romana for planting this idea in my head.  Submission processes are rather exacting and at this point in my life, I'd like to find nurturing homes for my poems.

And on to Day Seven of Na/GloPoWriMo. The (optional) prompt prods the poet to 

"Start by reading James Tate’s poem “The List of Famous Hats.”  Now, write a poem that plays with the idea of a list. Tate’s poem is a list that isn’t – he never gets beyond the first entry. You could try to write a such a non-list, but a couple of other ideas would be to create a list of ingredients, or a list of entries in an index. A self-portrait (or a portrait of someone close to you) in the form of a such a list could be very funny. Another way into this prompt might be a list of instructions."

I'm sharing two poems today. One that I wrote just now and one from last year.

The new poem has been removed. But the one from last year awaits...

Topikapi Palace, Istanbul, April 2022

This nonet from Na/GloWriPoMo 2022 is a list of instructions:

How to make love ( a nonet)

Un-button the what ifs, the why nots

mindfully. Take the layers off. Now

wriggle out of all mistakes

you ever made. Let go.

Bathe in forgiveness.

Hand on heartbeat.

Close your eyes:

dhak… dhak…



Thank you for visiting this page. I look forward to reading your comments. Have a lovely day.

Monday, 3 April 2023

Breaking everything #NaPoWriMo23

photo taken in Spring' 22 in Istanbul.

Hello Readers,

April arrived in the middle of home renovations and work-related travel. I was quite sure of not reaching my favourite space (i.e. the blogging world) at all this month but when the Day 1 prompt of #NaPoWriMo23 prodded to me to go-on-give-it-a-go, I accepted his annual ritual gleefully. 

But Day 2 stumped me. I didn't write a word. I could have but I chose to finish the day with a glass of red instead; watching home renovation programmes on a loop with my daughter. We loved it.

Here we are on Day 3. Birmingham sun is falling in big, warm squares on the wooden floor of my daughter's flat. I'll be making my way back home in a couple of hours. There's a train ride followed by a flight on the day's horizon. But for now there is e.e. cummings.

Two days ago, while browsing in the Oxfam book shop, I chanced upon a book of 'selected poems' by e.e. cummings. This poem (untitled, of course) fits in perfectly with the Day 3 prompt which encourages the poet to "Find a shortish poem that you like, and rewrite each line, replacing each word (or as many words as you can) with words that mean the opposite... (It’s sort of like taking a radio apart and putting it back together, but for poetry)."

Winter is like a sure foot

(which comes carelessly

out of Somewhere) scattering 

a window, out of  which people look (while

people stare

disarranging and unchanging placing

carelessly there a known

thing and a strange thing here) and

unchanging nothing carelessly

winter is unlike a perhaps

Hand in a window

(carelessly to

and fro keeping Old and

New things, while

people stare with little care

holding on to a perhaps

fraction of flower there placing

a pillar of earth there) and

without healing anything.

The original poem by e.e. cummings:

Spring is like a perhaps hand

(which comes carefully

out of Nowhere) arranging 

a window, into which people look (while

people stare

arranging and changing placing

carefully there a strange

thing and a known thing here) and 

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps

Hand in  a window

(carefully to

and fro moving New and 

Old things, while

people stare carefully

moving a perhaps

fraction of flower here placing

an inch of air there) and

without breaking anything.


Thank you for visiting my blog on Day 1 and for leaving your wonderful comments. I'll be visiting your spaces as soon as I'm back home -- I promise:)