Atop the water tank


Sitting atop the water tank
Sitting atop our 3-storied lives,
I flick a finger on my tongue
And half-raise my hand, politely
Seeking permission to speak
With the passing morning wind.

I had been trying for an hour
To get my 6E indigo kite
Takeoff from our potted runway.
Crossing the wind the wrong way,
My hopes wheeled down each time
And crashed head-first with a clap,
Reminding me that spines break
And bodies tear aloud, though
The strings remain attached.
I am left with just the spool
To wind my bonds in silence,
To throw it all away again in
A corner of a memory bhaad.

The wind is too busy, I guess,
Sweeping the smoke of burned out lives.


Sitting atop the water tank
Sitting atop our 3-storied lives,
I get a glimpse of ashen green
In a corner of a cremation field,
Just beyond the head
Of that old phallic temple.

I see in the afternoon haze
How many Hindu souls, vaporised
Before their time and consent,
Glide around with complaint forms,
Extending a queue I read on the news
As Air Quality Index.

Elsewhere, they showed the finger to
Every buried “privileged” Abrahamic,
Who “invaded” more land in passing on
Than inherited by the “underprivileged”,
Who are stuck with court claims,
Extending a queue I read on the news
As Aggrieved Quarantined Individuals.

They are partitioning sorrow again
To roll the saffron carpet for Acche Din.


Sitting atop the water tank
Sitting atop our 3-storied lives,
I point my finger at the stars,
Counting out my frustrations
Against their twinkling mischiefs.

Their guiltless, white indifference
Sprinkles the night in its milky way
And bothers not to respond to me.
I’m too insignificant, infinitesimal.
If smoke signals of an entire nation
Burning in 1.35 billion buried flames
In a forgotten corner of space and time
Are light years away from reaching them,
What chance do my words have
Of flagging some personal grievances?

And say I reach them and tell them
How it hurts to burn so on the inside
Every moment before my pyre is lit,
Am I even being sensitive to them?
Hasn’t my enlightened education
Taught me manners not to parade
My misery before someone whose
Very existence and meaning of life
Fissions and fusions around that misery?
Would I tell a seasoned politician how
Vexed I am with a fly in my daal ?

I just need to get over myself,
Climb down from this moral height,
Put my finger on my own lips,
And find lit in my lit up heart.
Word by desi word.

Don’t we call it the uni-verse because
It’s all just one infinite line of poetry?

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