Her pediatrician was also her father’s good friend, so she went looking for him in his clinic. The clinic looked smaller to her adult eyes, it wore a deserted look. There was another younger doctor working, Dr. Lokanathan came in late. He was somewhat emaciated. He smiled at Madhu, she expected him to talk. Silence was ominous, austere like a cadaver making her nervous. She was familiar with an ebullient rapid chatter, like the quick breeze of a sunny afternoon from him, a sort of defeated; look as though words belonged to another world, confused her. There was an air of long standing silence here. The room appeared hollow, ready to echo any sound. There was neither accuse, nor guilt in his silence, like the silence after the climax chase of a motion picture, the silence of finality. The floor of the room was like a parched river bed of sand , when the river is dried, in that invisible river had drowned the baby cries, cooing, and occasional laughter of a convalescent baby.His assistant explained, Dr. Lokanathan was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer two years ago and his voice box was operated out. Madhu gaped, as though she could see a voice, as though it had a body separate from the doctor, recalling the resounding voice hypnotizing suggesting her to breathe out, to expire. Why would he lose that miracle, this was like deafness of a musician, how to make music which the maestro could not hear himself? Dr. Lokanathan gestured her to come near, when she sat close to him, he whispered, there was greater volume of air movement in his throat “I have learnt to speak in this esophageal voice, I only need more breath, I don’t need those cords” His eyes shone like those of an eagle, pitch black, like coals with hidden fire, defiant like those of an insolent adolescent, cupped by the halo of gray hair. His son’s photograph was lone without company on the wall. There were some withered jasmine flowers on the photo. Like the droppings of a binding vine after the flying out of the sparrows.

The ceiling fan was heavy, yellowing at the edges, the money plant behind the Venetian blinds, did not seem to be fresh. She infused her voice with an artificial optimism, talked about her education and her confusion over the choices of study for PG, seemingly unaffected by his disease. He would not take pity from her; she needed to believe in his invincibility, as much as he did. The strong  hands which massaged her flanks that tired morning, of childhood with a gentle force lay limp on his lap. Flute was indeed a bundle of holes, pain silenced even the scream, he could not groan or whimper. He was unable to even say that he was unable. Questions echoed. ‘Why’ had no answer .Science, like the confession box of a grilled chamber in the corner of a prayer hall, had speckles of light, like the gauze of a wound it could be looked through, it explained the progress of the disease, described all the pains dryly like a morbid dictionary, it justified the pain, final solution was in the cytotoxic drugs and the coffin of natural killer cells.

The net of tennis court outside his clinic seemed new, she noticed. He was in the game, though not counted for the scores. That was how little ones were treated in a serious game. When she got up to go, he also rose from his chair; she hugged him, like in her childhood. She was made to realize that faith was not blind when she had come here several years ago. Science was her faith now, facts were inescapable. His once strong muscular body, was flaccid like a flat punching bag, she felt his defenses were gone. She stood firmly, despite his bigger height, she was aware that he needed her to hold him.  His chin was above her head , he whispered “ You  reminded me of my son, blind in devotion and emotion, so clear sighted in science” She knew that her gender did not prejudice his inner sympathy towards her person, since he met her as a child. Therefore he knew to smooth the ruffled wings of that child, holding her like how a flower holds it’s own petals or mother holds her baby, a silent gentle grip urging her to extend beyond her limits, to grow. Even to outgrow him. He distanced her, holding her shoulders, tearing away from that embrace, looking at her limpid eyes he touched her chin “Putting you to sleep was my privilege, I promise to dream of you dancing before I sleep, think of me when you pray, will you?” She nodded. But she was not going to pray, she was too angry for that. Blood on the bed sheets, her father’s poems, doctors silence, she did not want a questioning mind. Questions were so lonely, she was tired.


Madhu drifted like a cloud, filled with unshed water, humoring the faces, familiar because of their appearances on screen. Layers of pancake, pan stick on the faces, shimmering eye shadows, sculpted sovereign noses, all colors of lipstick clad smiles. The foreign perfumes mingling with Indian sweat polluted the air infusing suffocation in a well aerated hall. It was a hall full of strangers , most of them were vulnerable, engrossed in their appearances, vying to be the most believably beautiful or handsom.  The vulnerability was in the actor wanting to believe the image as much as the audience. The image of a magical hero who could beat up twenty goons, who could sing , dance and woo a pretty heroine twenty years his junior. It was a place filled with step-mothers asking the “mirror mirror on the wall” question, constantly looking over their backs, lest someone new usurp their throne. The hunger for flesh, in the prying eyes, the invisible ladders hanging in the flattering tongues, the envious whispers when a wealthy producer praised, Madhu braved it , safe in the tag of being new, and the conviction of remaining that. There were rehearsed expressions; famous faces smiled accurate smiles, when the camera turned on them. An occasional itch in the wrong aspect of anatomy or a yawn was the rare traitor of the perfect farce.  Off the screen was also a make believe world, reality was the sole mirror in the wash room.


I was not under the roof
I was not warm nor cozy
I was there under the sky
I was there on the open street
I was drenched
You saw my eyes
This is a different kind of rain
 in your eyes you were surprised
This can even morph in to a
natural disaster
Then you put your warm
arms around me
 I realized it was cold till then
 Only when you wiped my eyes
 I realized water was from my eyes
Sky was my mirror
Clouds had lost their composure
retaining the residual life of my poems
breathing quickly , losing my breath
You whispered in to my ears
 How long ?
 How much longer ?
 Can we lose our purity ?
I want for you the pleasure of
losing  innocence
not the pain of remaining
Love returns your purity…..
( Word prompt -Purity- by fkregieblog)


I am not a spell bee winner

I would spell a friend as freind

“I” cannot preside

The disorder of my grammar

Double “c” in the conscience

Continued to con, science……

Knowledge always began with a

Silent letter, not to be pronounced

I wrote rhymes and felt they

Had no reason to clang

I used the biggest words

Not wanting to be understood

No one knew their spellings

nor meanings….

Fiddle Dee Dee , love or die

No one gives a damn….

Words are anemic and hollow

Yet I live inside them

My weak words were on flight

Without an atlas

A compass needle was the Sun

In the sky

You did not touch my words

They were the leaves of a

“Touch me not” plant

You caressed my words

with your words

hands writing with out

crossing my words

Understanding every mistake

Completing the blinking gaps

Smudged with tears

Now, they have become poems…..!


The wavering winter

Drops dry leaves to rustle

Cold wind is devoid of moisture

Lips dry over the wet tongue

The year crumbles without a face


Lovers  laugh at delayed fate and carve

On the bark of a living tree

It does not know the date


Should there be an arrow?

No more hurt this heart can not hate

Or names?

Whatever you call  as yours


The tree grows with concentric rings

There are poems in every turn or curve

They had drawn a complete heart

Using hand full of eyes.


Making memories from words
wiping tears with out using  hands
A scented eraser across
Pages of errors of others
Perfectly smooth with out a single
Erasure hole……
How could I guess
that in that bee hive of poems
wanting to sting faceless skin
I would find your honey ?
Sticky and sweet  in  your taste buds ….
Beautiful as you undressed
sensitive skin of wounds
Words flower anticipating your caress
 Evening  silence haunts the poem
That throbs in your presence
( Dedicated to flame thrower )


“Life hurts a lot more than death”

Both the children were shifted to the wards from the Intensive Care Unit. The younger girl aged 9 years was discharged that morning. Apparently she yelled at the mother as a murderer and was inconsolable. The older girl was seated opposite me. Her younger brother was dead , I had to break the bad news. All of them were poisoned in the food given to them the night before admission. Mother was absconding from home for one year and six months … she returned and was treated elsewhere for a psychiatric illness. In her absence the oldest girl aged 13 years had taken over as a mother , looked after the brother aged four years and sister aged 9 years. She knew her brother was also poisoned that night…..Mother sat there with out any expression .

The little girl looked at me and felt the silence of the room.

” You look very friendly and kind” She said this after I tried the ice breaking session , to assess how much she already knew. I thanked her and did not relax.

” You have very  bad news to tell me ?” She was extra-ordinarily perceptive.

I looked at the mother , who did not make eye contact with me.

“She is mentally ill. So, tell me which of them did not survive ?”

” He always loved her cooking…… it was him ….. right ?” I nodded wordlessly. She was speechless for few minutes. Then she asked me , “I want to hold my mother , will you leave us alone? Please call my sister, she will not understand, she will be furious” Her voice was shaking as she said this. She held her mother and I left them alone…….

It was not really necessary to give birth to a child to be a mother …..




” Most painful goodbyes are the ones never explained nor said to each other “

“I don’t want  to die by suicide” She wept. her daughter had committed suicide three years ago and later husband committed suicide. Neither left her a note , they were a happy family. Daughter could not cope with her exams and husband could not cope with office politics. Both had unidentified , untreated major depressive disorder. We spoke about “Guilt” of not knowing……. I spoke of guilt of the dead who did not speak …..after many weeks of speaking and resolving …….She carried a gift for me….. Two beautifully embroidered kerchiefs…..It was a gift for the weeping eyes , perhaps we had designed together …….

I do not want to live said a 12 year old

He was mute for 6 months. After the untimely death of mother. Paternal aunt did not want to divulge the reasons, said the woman was adulterous , she should be dead. The boy looked  at me with those haunted eyes of a deer…..He looked at the photograph of Mother Theresa in the room…… I asked him to draw a picture…… he took the black pen….. A long strand of my hair fell on the white paper ….. he looked panicky….. I removed it….Just a strand of hair…. I smiled reassuringly…… I  asked write one word …  hoping to get something in free association he wrote ” Con -Science” and scratched it with black lines….. Mother had consumed  hair dye , bought by the son….. Child thought he had murdered his mother…..I arrived at this by two more clues…..scars of those left behind after suicide… he finally sobbed ” I do not want to live”