These branches,
by some divine accident,
dropped an elusive pearl
by the corner of my hands.

It possessed dew’s succulent moisture
and a mischievous hint of the clouds’ restless shapes.
A bit of nature’s fragrant script
and a touch of my own flowing tears.

But these were tears of joy.
These eyes were filled with an experience.
Eyes that saw this city of lights
removed from its age-old precepts,
like the world’s fair
dazzling bright
by the evening’s perspective.

And these eyes found lights scattered
like a celestial vision
when their colours flanked waves
and filled the river with hues of adornment.


Beauty truly lies with the beholder.
And the one who beholds is You,
windows of your vision
open like the universe.

There is the smell of ‘itar’
fragrant in each memory
and evening’s delicate, moonlit
charm is in the day’s mirror.



‘itar’ refers to the fragrances that are popular in Lucknow.



(In memory of Lucknow’s tragic, historical figure Mallika Kishwar)


A siege of blackguards
has come visiting upon Rumi’s artistry
All worldly affairs
and kindred affinities
have remained in prayers
counted on these last fingers.

What status hence?
What is the nature of this pang?

I’ve felt Gomti’s languid currents
divert their way towards
the distant sea.
All might to be affixed
with the Crown
and the Tazia
has disappeared with this sudden storm,
within my very sights.

A state of siege
remains in these breaths,
an aura,
morbid and languid,
beyond expression.

The Imambara seems to echo
with my muffled cries,
calling out my beloved son,
“come to me,
listen to your mother’s plaintive exhortations.
Across seven seas,
disrobed from Awadh,
she has no shore to herself”

she isn’t beholden to shackles of patriarchy
or her bowed head.
disrobed from the heart of her country,
she is just a pigment,
like dried ink along pages of an unacknowledged history.
Just a forgotten name
leaning by an unfulfilled stature.


* ‘Rumi’  here refers to the iconic Rumi gateway in Lucknow.

* Gomti is the river that runs through Lucknow.

* Imambara refers to the palace and now mausoleum in which the royal family of the city lived including the subjects of the two poems here.

* Tazia refers to the religious procession taken out during the holy months.

* Awadh is the region in which Lucknow is situated.



( In memory of Wajid Ali Shah, Mallika Kishwar’s son and his tragic exile from Lucknow)


A storm of the senses
aligns with autumn.

I’ve let all jewels of my desire flow
and go deep in the river’s depths.

These banks are merely composed of wet mud
where remains of my silence will be found and excavated someday,
in some fortituous era.
Only if you,
removed from reminiscences
of this populous city
and its complex expanse,
would search for this animated soul,
almost sentient in the present.


you’ll find
a peacock feather first,
one or few manuscripts among them.

I entrust you now
my skin.
My reign.

I surrender my artistic vision
to illumine these final stages
which unite Melancholy and Romanticism
as unlikely allies and lovers.
And this boat is trembling
upon this most tranquil river.

Can you hear me?
you mystic boatman,
with a song perpetually dawning and retreating with your horizons.

My beloved flute
has become one with the river’s unclaimed melody
and Awadh’s voice
is crying languidly in a hidden corner
to keep its tragedy a secret from centuries.


A storm of the senses
aligns with autumn.
I leave now.


The above two poems are based on the familial strains of two historical figures from my legendary hometown of Lucknow whose hope, zeal for human goodness and naivete stood out in a sea of colonial apathy and continues to inspire millions.


In the year 2016 as I was finding, enhancing and sharing my literary voice with the world, I wrote a poem titled ‘Talkhiya/ Bitterness’ in Urdu, a tribute to my beloved hometown Lucknow.

At the same time, I translated it into English myself and self- published it as ‘A Farewell to Bitterness’; the poem was favourably received by readers and was subsequently published in another capacity on a prominent platform two years back.

Today, buoyed by one of my strongest literary champions and friend Ajay Kumar who prompted me to someday share the original Urdu version, I heed his word. Here it is. Thank you Ajay for creating a blueprint by writing and publishing your prolific body of poetic works and making the art of translation your biggest strength. This is my gift to you, my friend.



In talkhiyon ka sahara
na de mujhe
ki main abhi aabaad nahi.

Tile wali masjid ke sirhaane
de mujhe bhale hi shabhashiya
par utha na tu alfaaz
Jo barbaad sahi,
Jo abhi aabaad nahi.

Lucknow se jo naya sarokaar hai
jo tumne bhi seekha hai parakhna
usi naye-purane, maddham afsano
ki raah par
tu apni talkhiyon se kar jung koi
Ki main abhi,
Tu bhi abhi aabaad nahi.

Tinke maine bhi aakhon me band kar liye hai,
darwaazo aur diyaro wali galiyon
ke giraft me jo panapte hai.
Dhool-mitti se raundi
hai yaade apni
is talkh mausam ke mohalle mein.
Ab to maine bhi aabaad hone ki
aas chori nahi
ki tu bhi
aur main bhi abhi
aabaad nahi.

Chor in talkhiyo ka sahara
ke ye sheher dobaara
aabaad hua hai.
Chal un tinko aur
sahuliyaton se
chune hum ek ghazal koi,
ek ghazal nayi.



Do not give me the support of this bitterness,
For I cannot yet prevail.

Towards the Great Mosque’s head, you may riddle me with false proclamations,
for the sake of good faith and His eyes upon you.
But do not raise words from the remains
for they won’t prevail.

The new union with Lucknow,
which you have studied well and observed,
walk towards the tender cadences of stories old and new,
wage a war against your bitterness on those lanes.
For I do not prevail
You ,too, are far from prevailing.

I have enclosed pollens and floating straws with my eyes,
they emerge in the arms of bylanes,
bylanes with doors and abodes.
I have trampled memories with the mud and dust,
in this bitter colony of seasons.
I have gathered my desires to prevail,
for both you and I are still far from prevailing.

Leave behind crutches of bitterness
for this city prevails again.
Let us craft poems from these straws and shared vocations.
A new everlasting poem.



Mr. Strider Marcus Jones has done it once again: proven that prolific artistry and championing of other fellow poets is something he truly abides by.

A few months after two of my poems graced the Lothlorien Poetry Journal’s Anthology around November, 2022, he has once again ensured that three of my works grace the latest edition. To have ‘Ringlets’, ‘Mt. Luna’ and ‘Part One’ be a part of a print anthology now is a feat made possible by him and his dedicated team.

Kudos to all my fellow poets who are part of the anthology owing to their stellar craft. Thank you for this trust and continuous support, Marcus Sir. May our quills be eternally soaked, inked with ideas and meaningful words.




You can also go one step ahead and buy the book on That will be wonderful.


‘LOOK WHAT I FOUND’ & ‘LITTLE GRENADES’ are now part of Rhetorica Quarterly

I had written these two poems specifically for the themed issue of my departmental journal ‘Rhetorica Quarterly’; it gives me great honour to share that they have now been published in it.

Above all, I’m so glad that the editorial team at Rhetorica chose to publish them in their raw, unedited form which really means a lot to me as a writer. To have that trust is truly humbling. Thank you for this gift of trust and literary abundance.



Look what I found!
It’s a helmet
with no name
or date.

Military green
with a chin strap,
it is an artifact.
An anachronism
that the war happened
under our forebears’
aquiline noses
and that Uncle Paddy
had indeed been the pacifist
in the family,
a dangerous propaganda
and nationhood.
And that our contacts
had saved our men
from the barbarians’
gospel of martyrdom.

I’ve heard
folks say
that if one leans
close to the helmet
a history of combat
and searing pain
can scream out
in the ears.
Maybe we can
even hear a ghost’s name
or two
Or the senseless
dragging of that soldier’s
who lost his sight
and speech
and then his ears too
felt a din of silence.
He died in his mother’s home
in ’48.


You can sway this helmet,
play with it,
kick it on its head
in a mock drill.
The one who wore it
is now the soil
on which
our crumbling estate

The elegiac soul
of this village
is not unfounded.



The doctor
gave me a strange little
for my back pain.

There were little red
grenade-shaped plastic pills
that I had to uncork
to drink the mushy olive
meant to provide
me relief.

It’s funny at first
and sad
that the pain
of another, massive kind
had to be symbolised so nonchalantly
in them.

A war is killing thousands.
Another centenary
and memorial
is coming soon;
a young man’s beheading
and a brave girl’s death under custody
is a present clarion call
to whiplash all muezzins.

The war rages in pockets of nonchalance
until red pills
in the shape of grenades
show us
our shock and dismay;
The shape of it
The duality of it
The way it is about broken limbs
in a battlefield
erroneously simplified
in a liquid for back pain.
The real thing
made into little toy guns
and little plastic grenades
purchased from the chemist’s.



This work is an English translation of my own Hindi poem originally titled HARIYALI I had written in July, 2022. VERDURE/ GREENERY is the English form of the word.

A photo taken by the author.


is walking away from me.
The old familiar
held by
the headless landlord.

Drink the third day’s rain
as it pitter-patters from
the tin-roof
and giggles on our tongues,
Fill up the earthen bowls
with water for birds;
they will fly back
and look towards this bureau,
bathe outside on moist mornings
and embark with inaudible wishes.

With these desks left behind.
With this courtyard emptied.

Only let this verdure
grow around your body
that moved like a salve
when indolence yawned
and misled us
around the last
edified days of June.


Tell verdure
to change
this course of humanity.
To not take away
this establishment
and its fixedness.

use a miracle;
produce in the human mind
an awakening,
a commiseration
with us.

Send on those cold citadels
your earnest summons.
Instruct those contractors up there
to delay this division
of the land.

This is not the time
to let a new land
spread its soil.

This is not the time
to count seeds
for compensation.

This is not the time
to condemn
dreams established
around this site.


It’s not the time
to bury and fill
verdure with brown earth.


Here’s presenting my thoughts in verse on six cinematic works, taken from diverse eras and styles, that left positive impressions on me as a cinephile.



Now, voyagers
laugh a little
bicker and nag
protect and part
on notes unheard
but strong enough
to last a century.

at last
it happened
when troubles
of the world
to become
from the light banter
and sardonic gold
of two.



The pianissimo of
culminating days
hits plangent notes.
I’ll hold on to
these last months.
Let me not succumb
to despair.
Don’t cry for me.

here’s your chance
to claim youth for its last rite
of passage.

I will go away
on my own terms.

Let it come
when the Vermont winds
sleep with my
last breaths.



Arch your spirit
to march to this drum beat.

Allies and foes
stand in line here.

choose your arsenal
from the storehouse
of wit
or expectant resignation.

Beyond the
there is more
to you
and us
than stripes and stars.

There’s a life.
There is a smile
that illuminates
these barracks.

Arch your spirit
to make your own
line of merit.



Celebratory bells toll
Four siblings in tow

It’s a wonderful life
that we imbue
with enquiry
ready agency
and kindness
that our
don’t ever
fall short.




How different is your tale
from those preceding your
storytelling hour?
How distinctly
do you recall
that day at the beach?

They see
you lumbering
through claustrophobia,
at the end of your rope.

If you’ve done one thing right
then it is
to call for love
and a friend’s true counsel
before the bright lights
at the end of that dark room.
They lift you up.


SHE SAID(2022)

But steady

Yet bursting
to the fore
with manifestos
of womanhood


Come out
Speak their truths
and mark
as their
ultimate ally.



Did You See? – A Poem.

Tarshi- In Plainspeak is a journal that emboldens one to delve deep into challenging social issues.

For its latest themed issue based on ‘Narratives and Sexuality’, my poem DID YOU SEE? has become part of the published corpus. It gives me hope that my written output, culled from my own experiences and spread towards a collective of abuse and silence, will help others to come to terms with their own shielded histories of non-verbalised, unwritten personal life-scripts.


The following poem sprung from deep-seated memories of the boy whom I had as my ‘best friend’ for almost a decade during both our formative years. But his roots ran adjunct with his mother’s fallacious pride and the friendship pretty much was left hanging by a thread towards its last legs.

Below the poetic form is employed by me to grasp the sense of betrayal that some people take no accountability for.


Go into the crevice
and find the friend who
comes out with his
last words
and rotten tracks
through time.
He has the last portion
of his birthday cake
left for you
and his mother carries
an eternal side-eye
& calls your home- ‘small’.

Where do you go to
or look back from
if he
is a darkling
who calls
for your invisibility
on the forums?
with the beast of hauteur
and his mother’s fallacious pride,
as spots around his body.

You only look at your own spot
as a starling
on an abandoned nest.


Real dispossession
is to know
that he could question your
& make amity’s natural affections
It was easy
for him to dethrone
his privileges
for affected weekends
& refuse to offer you
a seat of trust.


Hello Mother,
you have read through
the years
the obligatory side-eyes
you had given out
like societal circulars
when I failed to obtain
a seat at the table.
it was yours.
Your son
from bringing
a dreamer and survivor’s
flowers for your golden vases

he gave me a farewell
through an obligatory invitation
at the cinema
and I finally said ‘no’
to the arrangement,
a grand estimation
for both your places
in the city.


We were children
and I was the youngest
of all.

How do you meet
my gaze now?
To make your son’s
than it was
for all those years past.


Go into the crevice,
maybe he’s
hiding there
with the flakes
of ants’ storehouses,
keen to pick one cover
of naivete
or innocence
to make me an
overcoat with.

He awaits
to meet me
at the school auditorium
where we once beheld
the sun of our youth
greater terrains
than this future
or your disapproval(s)


Go into the crevice.
Go into the crevices.
You may find us there.