Saturday, December 22, 2012


A glass of water to my lips
Clasped tightly, taking a toll,
My eyes closed, as I sip;
Yet, for the first time, in control.

Blocked from the fire that I've caused,
Guarded from the city ablaze,
I embrace support, my life a pause.
I pray it's just a phase.

They tell me of the empathy,
They congratulate me on my fight.
They search for those blameworthy,
Seeking justice for my plight.

But I don't think of those in hiding,
Or the passion of those who care.
I strive to shut out the horrors residing;
Myself I must repair.

The glass of water I have withdrawn
And as they celebrate my progress,
I know I must live, and move on,
For what choice do I possess?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Punya Mati

In light of the excitement surrounding the upcoming pujo season, I was recently asked about why the punya mati, or ‘virtuous soil’, that is included in the making of the idols of Maa Durga, must be taken from nishhidho pali (forbidden territories) – in other words, begged for at a courtesan’s doorstep. I’ve never really paid attention to that ritual. I was first exposed to it when I watched the movie Devdas, and it didn’t strike any curiosity chords in me then. Being asked and not knowing the answer got me inquisitive. 

As I do with anything and everything that I don’t know enough about, I looked it up on the internet. It turns out that no one seems to know for sure. One of the common explanations I got was that when men entered such places with sin on their minds, they left their virtues at the door; hence, the soil from a courtesan’s doorstep contains the purest of virtue. Now I don’t know if you see what I think is so wrong about this explanation. Firstly, such men probably left their homes with sinful intentions, thereby having left their virtues behind in their own houses. Secondly, I don’t like or identify with the idea of discrete locations of purity and virtue. 

An alternatively offered explanation was that this is done to include the even most excluded types of women in the making of the ultimate divine feminine figure. Now, if that were true, at least on that superficial level, I should think that part of the punya mati would be taken from leper communities as well. They’re equally excluded in our society. 

But this category can be explored further. Perhaps the soil from these areas is taken to include one of the most potent forms of femininity in the making of a wholesome female entity. If there is a woman behind every successful man, there’s one behind every fallen one as well. Femininity is the most powerful weapon that a woman has. Important men have made big decisions based on their weakness in front of female potency. A wife cannot always be seen in this light; women living off their bodies might more accurately represent this side of womanhood. And who are we to judge another human being? Every form, every roop of a woman is to be celebrated. After all, Durga represents the pure, complete, omnipotent female.

While discussing this with a few of my family members, we came up with another possible explanation. It was suggested that perhaps this ritual is done to rid a man of his guilt. Keep your minds open for this one. Going by the old ways of society, a man could be unknowingly related to the courtesan he will get the holy soil from. When this man knocks on her door, he does not know how to address the woman – she could be like his mother, or like his sister, or his aunt, depending on how frivolous he or his male relatives have been – so he does not know how he may or may not be related to her. So when he pays his respects to her by begging for the mud, he respects her, not in respect to a relationship or any stereotypes of society, but as a woman, and a woman alone. In a patriarchal society where women are either someone’s daughter or someone’s wife, this unconditional veneration might be considered to be the purest form of respect anyone can have for a woman. 

I don’t know if people today even know the reason we have this ritual at all. I definitely don’t, and didn’t find any conclusive answers on ever-knowing Google either. If we start to demand the underlying reasons behind all the rituals we have for festivals these days, we will find a large percentage of them to be utterly irrelevant to the workings of society today. But, you know, who dares question?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Poetry update

Hey yall,
Just wanted to let you know that my poem 'Sanctity' has been published in a Blogspot e-magazine called The Brown Critique. Check out the August 2012 issue below (and my biodata at the bottom!). Yay more Google search results :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Death of a Salesman

Another slammed door snarls at him,
And he hurriedly embraces inevitable defeat
As now it is what seems to be second nature.
He hardens his face, unsmiling, grim,
and lugs his bag in the unrelenting heat
Seeking the next wound in his stature.

He finds a bench he wishes to rest upon,
loosens his tie and peers inside his bag
to evaluate the worth of its contents.
As he ponders his predicament, the thought spawns:
"Is it the appropriate method I lack,
or is it a delusion that my fate laments?"

Perhaps it is only a matter of choice
that will determine the man's future
As to whether he gives up at this umpteenth sore
to pursue another calling of his inner voice,
Or resumes his attempts to break this stupor
and be found selling himself at the next door.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The fine line

Ill-advised is the man
Who dwells in his past,
His progress hindered by the yesteryears.
At the unopened door of choices he stands,
His stance wavering, his eyes downcast,
Wishing back the lost glory he holds dear.

Delusional is the man
Who looks too far ahead,
Dreaming of a future yet to come.
He walks forward with an outstretched hand:
Eyes closed to the trail on which he treads.
A simple diversion will leave him stunned.

Yet, in the continuum of linear time
Whilst lost in the sea of regrets and dreams,
To open one’s mind to the ticking of today
And discover the present in that fine line
Takes exceptional effort, it seems.
But that is where the keys to life lay.