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Virtual Deception

I met you and now,
I am distraught.
You said the meeting shall bring to me peace;
my peace is stolen - you lied.
I am now lost - in pursuit of you;
in Google searches - do you have a website?
A picture somewhere? A pet name?
What is the meaning of your name?
Is there a connection I am missing?
Something you said and I couldn't understand?

We have met, but I am looking for You.
Desperately, from messages to mail boxes,
I am looking randomly - did we ever exchange an email?
A glance, a harmless joke, a casual flirt in the past?
I am looking for something, just a drop of ink
that has your name, a tiny mugshot of you
buried in the heap of search results in your name -
And hey, wait, there's, finally, You -
in a blue t-shirt, against a blue door,
bespectacled, bemused, faintly smiling
I keep staring - you are the wall where I am
looking for meanings, freedom, courage,
a conversation unheard, a door unopened.

It's complicated. You said the utter desolation in your being
was clear; all I could do was accept and embrace
the colours on the canvas.
It's a reasonable picture - tempting and sweet,
just as guilt is. I see a mesh of want and distance;
intimacy and sorrow; expression and unease;
It needs some character, perhaps truth too -
I have a brush; I want to paint.
Let me colour this reluctant image in extremes-
in bleeding red of desire and darkness of sin.
You said art lives in the extremes, didn't you?

The colours around you aren't sane any more.
Look, there is gold of the inner fire; coal threads of coiled passion
waiting to be stoked. And there is me,
somewhere in the picture, flying a cuckoo.
My hands are tired; my face vivid
and songs of my youth are wrapped around my ears
in a violet headphone.
The bird doesn't sing but the picture does.

(c) Pallavi Singh.

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आमंत्रण

वो बुलाता है मुझे
आओ पल्लो, वो बुलाता है
उसकी आवाज़ समंदर चीर के
दिल के कल तक आती है
मैं नदिया सा उमड़ती हूँ, थोड़ा हिचकती हूँ
वो फिर बुलाता है - आओ पल्लो
आओ, संम्भल के आना, इस दौर की गलियों में मुड़ो
तो ज़रा देख के मुड़ना
कीचड़ जैसे अपमान हैं, फिसल न जाना
वो कह देंगे तुम्हें बेअकल,
तुम डर मत जाना.
तुम धीमा चलना, ज़माने की रफ़्तार तेज़ है
वो भागते हैं आंधी सा, पर बंध जाते हैं अतीत में
तुम आगे देखना, देखो सर ऊंचा रखना
इस अन्धकार में देखना ज़रूरी है
ज़रूरी है आशा भी, तुम दीपक लेकर आना
पाँव तले धरती है, तुम ओस की बूँद सा बरसना
थोड़ा थोड़ा देना जीवन, थोड़ा थोड़ा सपने देखना
बड़ी क्रांति किसे चाहिए, थोड़े थोड़े से घड़ा भरता है,
पल्लो, जब तुम्हारे सपने धरती से बड़े हो जाएँ
तो डरना, बहुत डरना पर अभी आओ,
 धरती पे आसमान जैसा धीरज रखकर
आ जाओ.
वो बहुत इलज़ाम लगते हैं पर तुमने किसका लहू पिया है
क्रांति के नाम पे लहू सामान धरती मिलेगी सफर में,
सदियों से उनके दाग उन्हें डरा नहीं सके
पर तुम डरना, बेशक डरना
ये भविष्य की अतीत पर जीत है -
तुम्हारा आना, डूबते हुए सूरज जैसा उनकी मतधारा को
नए भारत का ह्रदय दिखाना।
कई बार लगता…

Shame

If I were ink,
I would have fallen
on your white shirt -
in dots as big
as the tip of the nib.
would you still have thought
i were just a colour,
worth a scribble,
a useless reason for a bath?

Life at the LSE

LSE. (c) P.S.



In the long queue outside the Wrights bar at lunch hour every day, an overwhelming sense of equality grips me. It is here that I stand in unison with many to avail the benefits of scholarship: a jelly-filled dough nut for 60 pence and a steaming can of hot chocolate for another 60. Let truth be told: on any given day, this is the best I can afford for lunch on days I choose not to cook. In the inviting lunch joints on Kingsway next to the LSE, a modest lunch pack usually comes for 5 pounds. That counts to 500 in the currency of my country. I still haven’t stopped calculating every time I look at a menu. Almost always, I turn away and walk back to the Wrights Bar. The people at the Bar know me by face now – a hard-earned recognition in the middle of the madness of college life; an unintended happiness in a city where everyone’s time, including mine, comes at a premium.
Sometimes, I share a treat with a friend and classmate from A…