Friday, November 18, 2016


Chemotherapy is an inordinately painful process. This palliative process itself requires as much vigilance and care as that it is defending the body from. But it is also a threshold of physical pain that takes the mind to the edge and beyond. It is a shock and an invasion that undermines the defences of the body, defences that either ineffectually circumvent pain or haplessly succumb to it.

This extreme physical process differs from depression . Physical pain gives these momentary interludes of painlessness that seem like fugues. It is more that in that shortened interval the mind, consciousness is elsewhere , floating in some amniotic space where nothingness is nothingness, no longer painful but simply what it is. This space, this cavern, which is  seen infrequently but as a defense from pain which demolishes defense itself ,has this endless, timeless blankness . It is a moment, fleeting,uncapturable, ungraspable, where temporality and timelessness intersect , where there is glimpse of the possibility immanent in nothingness , not just its shrivelling.

In that sense this space differs from the emptiness of depression where emptiness, which a residue of consciousness longs for, is also feared because it is unending. Depression may very well as much be its own defense, safeguarding itself from the very absence it peeps into, fearing that absence seeping and permeating everything . And this fear, when swamped , may no longer resemble the tortuous ache of depression but the anesthetized , benumbing lifelessness of catatonia .

It would be disingenuous  romanticize this blankness of which any  view is too fitful and whose mysteries are too ephemeral to be risked with repeatedly. But certainly it testifies to the elasticity of body and mind and the ineffable quality not just of life but of a self that can withstand extreme experiences, however transiently.  These interim moments serve two contradictory yet complementary purposes - the reawaken the moment of re immersion into pain which they proffered a very infinitesimal fragment of time as an answer to but they also rejuvenate consciousness, through the evanescence of this miniscule interval, to strengthen mental courage.

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Incomparable is the the impulse that decrees
A contemporaneity above board
Aspects of the past have been discarded
With ,of new sprung ideas, an impregnable hoard
A threshold poised on the brink of revolution
And arcane concepts dissolved
Greater coherence, amid all multifariousness
All jaded hang ups resolved.
Yet the mind , with its overlapped, unintuited layers
Exerts the presence of the unknown, undiscovered hidden
Amid the emollience of unfettered freedoms
Disordered desires emerge unbidden
Impaled on a possible cul de sac of extinction
Pathologies alternate with helpless conviction.


It was with finality, blended with despair
That i saw the foundations quake
But cataclysms, ineluctable, always 
Made me, from lassitude, awake
The truth mistaken as timeless
Is but a pattern, dispersed, rearranged
Meanwhile amid the fragments of the zeitgeist
Remnants of breakthrough lie amid aspects deranged
Immense are forebodings seen in themselves
Threatening the fabric of what encloses
Yet the precipice is always flirted with
As a dangerous lover, which life discloses
Time past, time future remain, beyond a point, nebulous
Certitude amid the unknown seems unduly credulous.

Thursday, June 2, 2016


At first it began with unfamiliarity. Vast stretches of time , uninhabited by purposefulness , let me traverse the fastness of life's intrinsic queerness . Hitherto, i had been filling the overdetermined slate of my mind with patches of blankness . I sought to prolong these interludes if only to nestle inside and ensconce myself in non being where this queerness would cease to imperil my self. I placed myself against places i could be, could cohabit where this malevolent queerness would cease to induce despair. I staved it off with points of time which i made fixed points of concentrated activity. But like a dogged stray this queerness , which i can neither name nor contain which gnaws me within with unlived life and lacerates me without in a life i neither chose nor want to live. I experienced queerness as an antagonist waiting to ambush me. I fought against it indefatigably before conceding defeat , bowing out in supplicated acceptance. I acceded to it unprotestingly .
Gradually other queernesses which had soothed me, enclosed in the warm glow of repletion, both imagined and real, began making their way to conscious life. It was the ennui precipitated by submergence that allowed queerness to wash over me like a wave, eroding my defenses , smoothing my brittleness , creating and then crumbling cracks in me . I knew that with time i would disaggregate , would scatter into component parts and into dust, mingle with the saline sea. Meanwhile each inrushing wave felt, not like an onslaught that pummeled me but like a kiss, soft, whispery,feathery. The other queer sub selves in me mingled , blended , superimposed, refracted and recomposed in a viscous hue of variegation whose myriad colors dappled and swooped and pirouetted in density and intricacy of such intensity that i became multiple. I now possessed in me, as with an artist,brushstrokes of infinitesimal yet infinite alterations that would transform, reconfigure and reconstitute me in innumerable permutations. Time will ground me down, scrub off the skin i wore but meanwhile i am possessed of endless plasticity and can emerge from the chrysalis with each plunge , going under momentarily,precariously adrift and then reemerge anew , afresh , bursting with lives i can live and consigning to oblivion the fear that feared queerness thereby making my immersion in life in the here and now an adventure.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


It began with the mirror
Representing me to myself
Attuning me to a cleft
Between my self and not self
The scaffolding of self i held
To be the sanctum of my being
Revealed , in time, a conglomeration
Of things controlled and uncontrollable
Beneath the orderly 'I' i fashioned
Lay a disorderly, unruly medley of selves
Whose visitations were more like mnemonics
Beclouding the monochrome of my made self
My made self, the self i made up
Making it up anew each instant, was futile
In making out, or making sense
Of that of which i was fundamentally made
I chanced upon queer, appropriating
A frame of reference with a history
Adroitly effacing its specificity
Into a metaphor for the unknowable
Twas a theft, a remaking
By scribbling on an unfathomed palimpsest
Replete with myriad uncontainable depths
Its very own fabric of nebulosity
Coexisting in terms of equanimity
As the jostling possible blueprints
Wrested a fixed false self conception
Through acceding to the very inchoate
Hieroglyphs in the crypt
Of that which lies beyond, behind mind
I postulated , in consonance with uncertainty
Proliferating potentialities of being
Into a tangled but refracting skein
Whose crisscrossing hues deepened
An immanent unreality underpinning
What was or gets passed off as life

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


I am all packed
Jam packed
Packing is tough
In a self empty of itself
But i still pack a punch
When i pick from the pack
Remnants of neuroses
That unpack , then unpick
Pack ( ets) of resistances build up
Unlocking a chinese box
That, prepacked externally
Recedes into spiraling nothingness
It is time to pack up
Though the unpacked is forever
Packed up in the casing
Of a dimensionless , durationless consciousness


I met him at a cafe. There had been intermittent phone conversations . I knew of him, had heard a few very fulsome commendations about him from people whose views i trusted implicitly. I had scoured his facebook profile trying to crystallize my preconception of his gayness , a preconception i felt hardening into conviction. Though whether this prefiguration was simply fancy or rooted in some nebulous intuition remains unclear .
He was handsome, had a stubble with patches of luxuriance . His discursiveness , manifesting in alternating layers of self awareness and rhetoric, prepossessed me. This meeting between us, an entirely friendly meeting planned in advance was uninformed by the undertow of a simmering eroticism. I felt oddly restful and responded with costive utterances mingled with thoughtful interludes. I had a cold and waited for the glass of iced tea to becomes less cool. Meanwhile i spooned up with a spindly spoon the remnants of cherry at the bottom of the glass and chewed ruminatively.
While the surface of our conversation peregrinated myriad realms of worldliness and wordiness i myself had only one thought. And that was to extract a candid admission of his gayness. In retrospect this seems intrusive, almost as though i wanted him to correspond to the blueprint i had already promulgated. I did not even circuitously dissimulate , trying to steer through scurrilous insinuation the confirmation i didn't know why i sought. Nor did i lace my questions with surreptitious intent to draw him out. The absence of sexual desire in me, and my mindful apprehending of it pleased me. Yet there was something invidious in my desperation.
When he became forthcoming and said he was gay i felt neither relief nor reprieve. Nor any malicious self satisfaction. Rather i felt empty because this moment, an anti climax in fact, underscored the fruitlessness of ratiocination. We met, a moment of self disclosure supervened , almost naturally, thereby impugning hours of prurient speculation with no amorous intent but an omnivorous desire for appropriation. Over the next six years our friendship deepened and his gayness receded as a predominant factor. By then he also became simultaneously clearer and indistinct in that i grew to love him for him rather than because he was gay.
When we parted that day he hugged me . And i wended homewards mortified that the indecision and inner agony i had undergone in accepting my queerness and projected on to him only revealed how queer life itself is and how the most assiduous calculation or indefatigable self analysis authenticates the protean course of any unknown friendship and the futility of assumption .

Saturday, March 12, 2016


Beneath the dense texture of his experience
I located something deep
Uncontainable in a string of adjectives
Inferred more in dream or sleep
A compendium of qualitative attributes split
The gap between what is meant and said
Though it is some intrinsic probity i recall
Than memories with him, of dread
To foreground this thing i call good
I eschew the semantic muddle
Hinting at, perhaps, an unknowable quantity
That would, the most adroit rhetorician, befuddle
Sometimes a word insufficiently, reveals
What one, beyond signifying mnemonics, feels.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Causality- a sonnet

To trace the beginning when it all began
And find a pattern that makes sense
Involves surrendering the very pattern 
Whose nebulousness renders phenomena dense
The itch to find a precision
Among a series of unknown
To find, amid much that seems bewildering
An anterior whence seeds of causality are sown
Is to reveal, through the gravid agglomeration
Of arbitrary forces, a patina of omniscience
Whereas , acceding to uncertainty betokens
Anodyne but necessary percipience
What is meant to supervene ineluctably does
Making a nonsense of all other flim flam and fuss

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


The scrim of queerness
Becomes an essence
When the ought to be recedes,
Gilded by being in itself
Stipples of otherness
Felt as intimations
Become signs of precognition
Betokening a palimpsest
Except that what lies beneath
Are inchoate hieroglyphs
Deepening meaning elsewhere
Always beyond language
Moments when an irremovable despair
Tightens its eldritch talons
I breathe it in, coloring with polychrome
Hues which, intermingling, dissolving
Delineate each texture , mnemonic
As both it and connected
With the fibres of interconnection which
Dapple the human soul, without and within.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


If only i learnt that intensity
Forewarned you of fear of engulfment
I would, wordlessly, in spirit, freeze
Under the lens of that discernment
Ebbing away, imperceptible
Is the fibre that kept me going
Where answers, multitudinous pervaded
Now, there is only unknowing
Shrugging of the remnants, judiciously
Of prelapsarian hope
Knowing that inevitability will weigh in
On life's precarious slope
Attrition of all that was once dear
Is the only way to keep my head clear.

Friday, January 29, 2016


It was necessary for me to accept the fact that it was over. A part of my mind shrank from the finality of this. And the unresolved dilemma that severed me from Wazir was invariably going to bring in its wake, a flurry of self doubt and recriminations. I could clearly see that the density of our mutual incomprehension was what sustained our tenuous relationship though the weight of silence, ponderous, gravid with unconsummated longings and suffused with unspecified hopes , eventually sapped us both. He had been a fixed point for me. And at fifteen, in a burgeoning consciousness of sexual complexity i found in him, in his tall, lithe, muscly frame and aggressive masculinity a conduit for my unformulated sexual desire.

He was in my class and was eight months older than me. He was also muslim. Wazir had a curious defensiveness about him , a belligerence which concealed emotional tumult , inexpertly concealed. He had come to Delhi from Afghanistan at the age of two and he sensed a muslim prejudice . This was in 2003 , in the aftermath of the 1993 riots and kargil and gujrat. India had witnessed a growing religious schism which dated back more than half a century ago and of which the partition was the most glaring reminder. In class whenever there was a discussion about cricket, specially an india-pakistan match Wazir would vow allegiance for pakistan. One of the girls in my batch once said, after his inveterate 'pakistani team india ki gaand maar legi' as to why he felt such a virulence about a country where he lived and which fed him, clothed him, granted him privileges . Wazir's father was a successful businessman by now and  considerably wealthy. Implicit in that girl's objurgation, i now realize, was a knowledge of Wazir's otherness, his muslim identity. And ,in retrospect his vituperation seems more like the bitterness of exile, of a sharpened, heightened awareness of displacement, both without and within. And in a government school, with its alternating rectitude and openness , he found his own ambiguous emotions unassuaged by any certainty.

I had had a fractious relationship with Wazir. Because i played with girls and experienced my gender and sexuality as anomalous in a batch of ultra masculine, pimply teenage boys , i was a soft target. Wazir mocked me throughout for my femininity, effeteness, bookishness. Yet ironically he respected me for the same reasons. At thirteen, past the age of childish petulance i entered the white heat of adoloscent sexuality. At that age, the finer nuances of another personality were unprocessed though an intuitive understanding had always been latent. Wazir was five foot eight at that time, with a growing mustache . He embodied a manliness that liquiefied my nebulous pubescent blueprints. I fell in love not only with his visceral physicality but with the very masculine qualities of sportiness, aggression, a certain violence and roughness, attributes i consciously felt myself not possessing . Plus Wazir's prick, of which i had had an inadvertent glimpse when in the toilet , subsumed my consciousness. Elaborate, rococo sexual fantasies inundated my daily life. Where earlier my peevishness with Wazir was evinced by ignoring him i now began simpering self consciously. Whenever he put his arm around me or displayed his thoughtless but generous gestures of male bonding i trembled with expectancy and desire.

And then one day, going back home i traversed the school grounds desultorily, in mild disaffection. Beyond the large playground around the school was a forest, a tame urban, stripped down forest but nonetheless something contraband. Passing through a field immediately beyond the playground studded with bushes i heard a snicker. And peeking in saw Wazir with a couple of other boys from the school.

They were smoking beedi's and i felt fearful forebodings along with suppressed erotic excitement. Wazir came up to me and kissed me. I tasted the smoky breath and his raspy mustache. Then he turned me around, took off my pants and thrust his erect penis into my anus. The pain was searing, unendurable and i felt a white light of nothingness exploding in my head. All this happened behind a bush . When i recovered i found myself hunched up in a foetal position, my ass sore and raw and the boys gone. As the film of pain receded the extremity of my predicament was driven home to me in sharper focus. I was mortified by what i had undergone and full of terror. And also a vertiginous exhilaration, a quivering, throbbing, sexual energy which made itself felt through the undertow of physical pain. And that was when i knew it was over with Wazir.

Looking back i felt sullied but not violated. I had, after all, spent many nocturnal nights imagining just such a sweaty exchange. The only difference was that my dreams were luminous with the paraphernalia of romantic yearnings and what supervened was sordid . It was my yearning for a fulfillment beyond the merely physical, though mediated by violent sex , that was left unsatisfied. I did not blame Wazir then nor do i do so now,. I absolve him from moral turpitude. But he initiated me into a realism, a coming to terms as much as a coming of age. It was a rite of passage into uncompromising reality, with all its luridness and harsh actuality, untainted by prevarication or myth making. And while i learnt that i also never successfully banished a warm afterglow of that terrifying ordeal behind the bush, which even now, despite everything, gives me a certain perverse self satisfaction.

Monday, January 25, 2016


Discreet though ennobling is the consciousness
That refrains from showy display
Over what seems undue sobriety
There is, of probity, an overlay
What is understood is intuited
Beneath the sophistry of the unspoken
Though it is, in fact, wordlessness
Through which tactful intimations emerge unbroken
Integrity , in its fullness, irradiates
Amid unhurried striations of bonding
Where the certainty of regard is clear
There is no fear or wanting
Beyond the tritest analgesia of care
Is unarticulated but palpable concern, always there


On a given day
I disperse my being
Dappling what i am 
With iridescent hues
Which, though dazzling
Reflect the me i like
Though the 'I' that is me
Foregrounds the delectable
Even my ugly bits, jarring
Which might mar the landscape
Become, through rapid alternations
Polychrome and myriad
In the race to affirm the blueprint
That also re-presents through representation
Gracelessness is sloughed off
Through elegant linguistic whorls
Somewhere , submerged, immanent
Lies that which cannot lie nor be lied about
Mnemonics, unheralded , casting
A tenebrous overlay across the luminous
More or less, approximating
The being i project through language
I inveigle, unwittingly, elisions
Wherein my unknowability is refracted
In diffuse , disembodied shards
That do not blend or cohere
Becoming, instead , in their multifariousness
That which others witness me become

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Between the ought to be and is
Lay an unnavigable gulf
Meanwhile territories became truncated
As each sought a stake in their turf
Language collapsed inside out
And the stratum of emptiness , putrid
Became, in the absence of a core
Home, for rationalizations , lurid
Everything, in the spirit of its underside
Showed , beneath the soul, a posterior
Feces of nothingness spattering
Motivations, ignoble and ulterior
The idealist shakes his head wistfully, the pragmatist smiles on
Making it up as life goes along, becomes a fulcrum thereon