Gauri Lankesh- haikus in tribute.


She broke away, a

distributary at the gap-

ing mouth of Ganga.


White snow flowing down,

from mountain pedestal to

burning plains’ grassroots.


Her blood, now a river:

tributary to the quiet

trickle of dissent.





Stock image of laxmi puja
Tendrils of coconut fiber flew up from the flames

Of camphor, slithering around in air like snakes

Looking for prey to land on; it settled its midnight
Body onto the boat-shaped petal of canary-yellow

Flowers that let the tendrils slide into them like

Drops of water; the flower was tenderly lifted up,

Rising to the heavens, rising to adorn God on his

Golden throne, God stuck on glazed paper, in swathes

Of industrial ink; it lay like a mouse in a corner

Of a room- in the corner of the portrait, looking 

At God with its periphery vision, it lay still and 

Silent. Nobody must know. Nobody must know.

Incense and marigold fought to display their most

Appreciated assets of nauseatingly sweet, cloying

Smells that swung in tandem with the smokes of

Camphor, like porpoises swimming up from their 

Fiery coral, coconut husk, like a murder of crows

Flapping away from their perch on an autumn branch,

And incense sticks that simmered up silvery clouds;

All of which settled on the skin, skirting the rivulets

And ponds of sweat like parched grazing animals,

The hordes of which cascaded into the watery

Ocean of saliva, mixing in and sweetening it–

Juicy coconut flesh-fish teasing the coral-taste bud

And sweet banana-eels making them smile.

The golden clapper struck against the chipped 

Bronze edges, fragments of it that had been lost

In older houses with different people, its vibrations 

Playing with the smokey glossary of animals and

The tangy-sweet air; and amidst this, right then

And there, the world lulled itself to a dying-charcoal sleep.

Puja= a Hindu ritual that involves giving offerings to God in the form of coconuts, bananas, money, et al that involves the burning of camphor and incense sticks.

Diaphanous Dreams

A sweet cloud of cotton candy descended

Upon us like the sticky steam from a sauna

Bath; gently the wisps of sugar curled around

Our free, rotund figures, prying its fingers

Into cavities and grazing its elbows against

The layered crevices and eroded escarpments-

Quietly we accepted it’s unmentioned yet

Recognised protrusion like a sanskari naari;

Softly it’s threads burnt against the heat 

Of our skin– heat stolen from the 

Laal-jhanda minions stuck in the fluid

Local Transit of plasma on tarred roads.

Soon, the sucrose shed it’s guise and an

Ugly caterpillar broke out from the butterfly’s

Cocoon and creeped around leaving trails

Of its bitter, caramel excrement camouflaged

Against my historically ironic complexion-

(Prejudiced against yet clamoured for)

And I so sweetly smelt your nose-hairs dreaming

The same dreams I was taught to be an

Attribute to; and so I fell into the flight of our

Silent, sweaty, secret, little rendezvous.

Sanskaari naari= a woman who follows “traditions”

Laal-jhanda= red-flagged, a reference to communists