ShubhchintBig Leela.This Happens in India 001Tegore Rachnavali - coverBullockTitleThe Last Flicker - originalNirlajjKomagataMaruDoojaPBigDoorstepBigA Journey With The Endless Eye -coverBlueMedBig


Stroll in a Particle

If you can find
a path into it
there is enough
space in this particle
to stroll for a lifetime.

Take My Hands

Take my two hands
make eight feet of them
give them to the spider
I soaked in hot water in
my kitchen sink.

I will hide my arms
in long sleeves, will
finish the last painting with
brush in my teeth
but take my two hands.

If the spider
curled up into silence, dies
she will weave her next web
in my soul
will travel with me
through all the lives
eighty four hundred thousand
and more

If you can find
a path into it
there is enough
space in this particle
to stroll for a lifetime. 

Your Dream

If you have forgotten your dream
don’t worry
I saw it with my own eyes.

The figure that stood before you
with a bouquet of fresh roses was
not me
The arm that wrapped round your
waist tightly was not mine, nor the fingers
that stroked your hair.

The umbrella that suddenly escaped from
your hand and disappeared in the sky
was me
leaving you free
in the rain
to walk, laugh, run and slip
before you awake.


 Kalli followed me eight miles
to the market where
animals were traded like slaves.
Cows goats bullocks camels 

Kalli was black beautiful and six
prime age for a water buffalo.
She was dry. Repelled bulls as if she had decided
never to go green.
Hard to afford, my father decided to sell her.
She obeyed as I led her by the steel chain,
one end in my hand  the other round her neck.

I was fifteen.
Her nervousness was over
soon after we entered the market
where sellers occupied their given spaces
like matrimonials on a large weekly page.

Kalli sat down with no emotion in her eyes
like an ascetic close to nirvana.
I sat stood walked around like a neglected calf.
Nobody bought Kalli.
She followed me 8 miles back home

I wasn’t sure if Father was sad or glad
to see her back.
He just looked at her
like a family member
who had missed the train.

Mustard Flowers
If you see an old man
sitting alone
at the bus stop
and wonder who he is
I can tell you.
He is my father.

He is not waiting for a bus or a friend
nor is he taking a brief rest before
resuming his walk.
He doesn’t intend to shop in the
nearby stores either
he is just sitting there on the bench.
Occasionally he smiles and talks.
No one listens.
No body is interested.
And he doesn’t seem to care
if someone listens or not.

A stream of cars, buses, and people
flows on the road.
A river of images, metaphors and
similes flows through his head.
When everything stops
at the traffic lights it is midnight
back in his village. Morning starts
when lights turn green.
When someone honks his neighbor’s
dog barks.

When a yellow car passes by
a thousand mustard flowers
bloom in his head.

A tall man passes with his shadow
vanishing behind him. My father
thinks of Pauli who left his village
for Malaya and
never came back. A smile appears
on his lips and disappears.

When nothing interesting seems to
happen he starts talking again:
where were you born, and where
have you come?
Shall you ever go back?
It is all destiny, yes a play of
destiny, you see.
He muses
and nods his head:
and where will you die my dear?

The thought of death is most
interesting and lingers on
He stops talking and thinks of the
Fraser Street chapel where he
has attended many funerals:
He thinks about the black
and red decorations and
imagines himself resting peacefully,
a line of people
passing by looking at him
for the last time.
His eyes are lit. Perhaps
this is the image he enjoys most
before it is demolished
with the rude arrival of a bus.
Passengers get down and
walk away briskly like ants.
The bus leaves.
He looks
at the traffic again to see
if a yellow car is passing by.

A Little Extra Hug
If you hug a woman
a bit longer than she expected
you will be instantly rewarded
with scores of possibilities.

One of which being
that this will be your last hug
with that woman
or with any woman.

On the other hand,
I mean if you’re lucky,
she may turn into a grown-up child
looking silly
face covered with lilies
ready to fall in love, go further.

See how little it takes to experience
one of the myriad forms of love
if you know the amount
of that little extra hug.

The Moon

Shall I call the moon female
or male
who pushes the cloud away
and extends its hand
quarter million miles
to caress your body
as you undress
the bedroom window

Once She Dreamed
Once she dreamed she was Mileva,
the long haired Serbian girl
who married Albert Einstein. She
quietly watched when Einstein twisted
the absolutely
flat space with his hands.
She watched
when Einstein broke the absolute
flow of time into pieces and
spun them around at different
She was there when Einstein
reconstructed the shattered universe.
As he became greater and greater
he grew modest and tender.
When finally the world came to
touch his hands
Mileva smiled and left.
She said she still liked to live
in her own absolute space
and move at her own pace.

Once she dreamed she was
Francis Gilot.
the young woman who married
Pablo Picasso.
She saw Picasso with the tip of
his brush
tear apart the calm, surrounding
the objects on his canvas.
She saw faces turning into cubes
and cones.
When Picasso was engulfed
in cubes of fame Gilot left.
She said she wouldn’t become a cube.

Then she dreamed of Jeanny,
who married Karl Marx.
Jeanny read stories to her
hungry children
as Marx fed the hungry of the
world in his imagination.
As his beard curled more and more,
Jeanny saw Marx grow into a
prophet trying to unseat the lords.
When infuriated gods came
upon him Jeanny stood at the door,

Last night she dreamt nothing.
The man she married
had quietly disappeared.
She says he was confused, depressed
and needed care.
A sad vacuum expanded in her
and burst.                     

Knock gently
Knock gently
when you reach the cottage
of my soul.
The door shall fling open
a flood of light shall
wash your tired feet.

Genetic Solitudes
Nothing is perfect
so there will be questions,
ever, he said.
Perfection is courage, she said.
If you accetpt it’s perfect, it is.
Even the crack in my heart
has followed a perfect path
leaving undisturbed
the quarks
spinning with all their degrees of freedom
in my genetic solitudes.

The baby
just born into this
world has been greeted
and well taken care of.
Already a variety of
labels have been
etched on him.
One for race.
One for color. One
for religion and maybe
one for a caste.
At the same time he
is told
you are born into a free world –
The baby smiles and
accepts every thing in
good faith.
One day when he grows
into a boy and the boy
into man it will suddenly
dawn on him;
no body knows him
but the labels.

Those Times
Children will read
and wonder
what times on Earth
were those
when people sent
their love and
best wishes in
white and black
their yards grew
yellow red lilac
Every summer they
celebrated a new color
yet human face of a
different color
they barely tolerated

The Sphinx In Me

It is our dining table.
My little daughter
pulls a face, says
she wasn’t chosen to play fairy
in Cinderella.
I was better than Cindy,
it is not fair she said.

I gently move away the curl
falling on her eyebrow and say,
lose or win is the thing
you have to learn
your are a clever kid
next time will be your turn

The child forgets and
goes to bed to walk on a lake
full of stars. My eyes stay open.
Slowly a sphinx rises inside me
and throws the riddle:
was it or wasn’t it the color
of your child that robbed her
of the chance to play the fairy?
Knowing my fate if I fail
I ponder over the talents
of my daughter and
the morals of her drama teacher.
Could he be a racist?
Meanwhile the monster inside me
expands to full Giza size and
demand an answer.

With my soul squeezed to a dot
and my heart flattened to the skin
I get out of the bed and hurry
to my basement library.
I nervously examine the books
to find the common roots
of mankind, to attest we are all
the same, to establish the school system
is fair, to affirm it wasn’t the color.
At times like these
history books become
most relevant

You wonder why
Indo-European is not taught
in every  school
and you long to touch
feet of Darwin.
At times like these
you fall in love with primates.
I hurriedly pulled out
most beautiful picture
of a chimp to hang on my
daughter’s wall.

Genes of chimpanzee, I knew,
travelled over and over
million times to survive
in me in my daughter,
Cindy, in the drama teacher.
The chimpanzee
was the great Oedipus
at whose feet I thought
the sphinx will collapse
Feeling light
I turn the light off
and turn back to climb the stairs
The sphinx sat
at the door laughing
Size larger than
his Giza avatar

Blue Beaks

There was no temple around and
he didn't miss one
Father simply bowed in the open 
and started working.  
Every year he sowed wheat 
in the dark brown soil
of his fields   

Before he buried the first seed 
for his family 
he took a fistful 
scattered it and said 
grow for the birds.  
The second he scattered 
for the wild animals, a
nd the third for the travelers 
who might pass by and want to 
nibble raw grains 
As he started pouring the seed 
behind the plowshare 
pulled by a pair of white oxen 
I walked beside him
captivated by the opening and closing 
of the furrow. 
Present and past happening 
in the same instant.  

Later when he moved
to the Fraser Valley farms
of Western Canada
he picked blueberry
Sometimes he paused 
took a fistful of the fruit
hurled in the air and uttered,
this one for birds. 
A whole bunch of song birds 
ran riot in his head.
Beaks blue with half eaten berries.

Little Steps

Over and over he heard it
from his children
that Earth is round
But it never sank in
For him
the Earth was flat
benevolent and forgiving.
Little doings of his hands
and feet hardly mattered

Until the day he stepped
on a coiled snake
The folk song
dried on his lips
He knew no mantra
nor of any snake deity
he could pray to
Tied a piece of cloth
round his leg
and hurried back
to the village
before it was too late

And as poison
worked its way up his ankle
it occurred to him:
little steps on Earth matter

Meditation With Feet

Father meditated with feet
in a pan of warm water 
before sleep every evening. 
He never expected my mother
who brought him the water to kneel.  
Rather than wash in hurry 
he wanted his feet left alone
let the dust particles loosen
as he quietly thanked his feet, 
and a supreme being 
he vaguely believed in 
Dislodging particles 
spawned sensations he could experience
no other way 
Not even from the touch 
of Mother's caring hands 

Slowly his feet calmed 
forgetting the bare-soled work in 
the rugged fields where 
I sometimes joined him 
to help end the day 

Meditation must start in the head 
said Hegel
Head is where the mind is
and mind is where
impure spirit waits healing.  
Father had never heard of Hegel 
and his dialectics 
striving toward spiritual perfection 
Nor of guru Patanjali who said
your body is your mind 
stretched into bone and flesh. 
It matters littlew
here you start the meditation 
Father simply dipped his feet 
in warm water every evening. 

Playing with Big Numbers

The human mind
is essentially qualitative.
As you know,
we are easily excited by
pinks and purples,
triangles and circles
and we endlessly argue
over true and false,
right and wrong.

But quantitative analyses
rarely touch our souls.
Numbers were invented mainly
by men to trick each other.
I am almost certain women had
nothing to do with them. They
had more vital tasks, survival for example,
at hand.

But playing with big numbers
could be interesting.
In fact it could be really fun. Say
if I were to sit on a gravel pit and
count one billion pebbles non-stop
it will take me some 14 years;
or if I were to count what Africa
owes to rich
foreigners – some 200 billion dollars,
it is impossible. 
I will have to be born 
40 times and do nothing
but keep counting 24 hours.

Although things could be simpler
on a smaller scale. 
Suppose as a result
of the debt, five million children die
every year , as in fact they do,
and each dying child cries
a minimum of 100 times a day
there would be a  trillion cries
floating around
in the atmosphere just over a
period of five years.
Remember a sound wave once
generated never ceases to exist
in one form or the other,
and never escapes the atmosphere.
Now one fine morning, even if
one of these cries suddenly hits
you, it will shatter your soul into
a billion pieces. It will take
14 years to gather
the pieces and put them back
into one piece.

On the other hand, 
may be all the
trillion cries could hit your soul
and nothing would happen.

Coffee in A Clear Glass Mug

It was the first time
I made coffee in a clear glass mug.
It was fun
and a bargain.
The gray coffee beans I bought
were absolutely fresh,
and cheap.

I poured the boiling water with all
its bubbles, sounds, and hisses
into the mug.
No color yet.
I put in a sugar cube
and couldn't resist watching
the cube slowly dissolve and turn
into an irregular shape.
Sweetness traveled
to every molecule of water without
muddying it,
like an affectionate touch of
a child's hand traveling to every
corner of grandfather's soul.
It was beautiful.
I dropped in a few beans of
roasted coffee.
Light brown color emerged,
turning slightly darker around
the beans.

To my delight a display of
Grey shades began. The infinite
variety of shades between
black and white fascinated me.
A stem of color rose in
the center, branching irregularly
here and there.
There were shapes like flowers,
and thick dots like coffee fruit.
It was indeed a branch of
Arabian coffee with flowers
and seeds.

Soon more color rose from
the bottom, adding richness and
expression to the plant.
I added a few drops of rum at the
side to make it a coffee royal.
The plant trembled, and
strangely enough
it now looked like a human figure.
Was it a coffee picker
from Sri Lanka India or somewhere?
It indeed was a coffee picker
with reed thin legs,
a loin cloth, no shirt and no waist.
(The likes of which you see
sometimes on tv to evoke sympathies
in the would-be donors) 

I picked up the mug and had a
small sip. Curiously enough the
coffee picker was still there
although slightly thinner. After
another sip the figure was
still recognizable.
Shall I swallow it?
Why not. I smiled.
If those burger sellers can make
baby faces on the burgers and
lure my children to eat them, why not?
Children, after all, are much more
tender hearted.
The thought suddenly made me
upset. What are they doing to our
Still engrossed in the baby faces
and burgers I picked the mug to finish
the remaining coffee.
What am I
doing to the coffee picker?

The Maharishi And The Baby

The maharishi whispers:      
the flesh is maya, temporal,
the soul is eternal,
the truth.
The baby
inside the starved mother
insists it must come out
the mother has to eat.
The maharishi
and the baby in the womb
stare across
into each other's eyes.

Spanish Banks

The grey sands
invite me to follow the
receding sea water
to recognize a clam shell
that could be the house
where my ancestors began.
I walk slowly with respect.

Try A Red Hot Coal

Try a red hot coal on your palm
your hand may not burn
The sun that rose faithfully
for a billion years
may not rise tomorrow
The table in front of you
stuck by the force of gravitation
may fly to the ceiling
any moment.
But my imagination has refused
to circle around the sun