“I don’t go to that territory anymore yet I see its falling bricks every day.
They hit me like a fresh wound each time, exacting a cruel retribution,
When again the existentialist finds his senses wanderlust in the lost realm,
Shadows emerge from corners and voices try to add to the chaos.
I try to walk away but thoughts prefer to embrace the atonement,
In ruins of life, when pain finds itself in shambles, like it had never spoken.”




अपनी आज़ादी को हमें अब साधना है

पाया भी है हमने और खोया भी
अगर कुछ छूट गया है, टूट गया है
तो बहुत कुछ हमने गढ़ा भी है यहीं

अगर गरीबी अभिशाप बन अभी भी सताती है
तो विकास के प्रतिमान भी हमने देखे हैं यहीं

अगर भूख अभी भी चेहरों पर बिलबिलाती है
तो सोते हैं बहुत अपने घरों में भी

हां बोल नहीं पाते हैं अपनी बीमारी पर
और लाचार धकेले जाते हैं अपनी दुनियादारी पर
पर इसी समाज से निकलती है कहीं कोई आवाज़
जो कर जाती है एक नए संघर्ष का आगाज़

इतिहास से हमने सीखा है
और वर्तमान को लिखने की कोशिश अब करनी है

क्या हुआ के हम अभी भी लड़खड़ाते हैं
और ‘क्या नहीं कर पाए’ में उलझ जाते हैं
क्या आकाश हमें नहीं बुलाता है
और क्या सूरज को हमने नहीं मापा है

हां हम साध नहीं पाए हैं अपने ताने-बाने को
इंसान और देश की गति को एक पैमाने पर

देश आगे बढ़ता ही रहा है इन सालों में
पर इंसान कहीं पीछे रह गया इन सवालों से
कब इस भूल को सुधारेंगे हम
कब इंसान और देश को एक मानेंगे हम

जो देश ने पाया है पर इंसान ने खोया है
देखना होगा वो भ्रम किसकी आँखों में सोया है

आज़ाद हैं हम ये आवाज़ उठाने के लिए
क्या ये नहीं हमारी सफलता है
देश हमारा देता ये अवसर हमें
क्या नहीं ये इसकी सरलता है

आज़ाद तो हैं हम बरसों से
हां इसे हमें अब साधना है
हमारे सवाल जो पीछे रह गए हैं
उस क्यों को पहचानना है

जो गढ़ा है हमने देश के लिए
वही प्रतिमान हम इंसानों के लिए भी हो
गरीबी और भूख की सिसकियों से आगे
वही वर्तमान हम इंसानों के लिए भी हो



In my city there lies a story
Told and retold through ages
Yet it pulls like a new text
You think about it or not
You know there you belong
In its alleys, on its horizon
And the eternity in its court
To my city there goes this story
Of life and beyond
Of living and metaphors
Water, like always
Was flowing then as well
When it suddenly asked
That what I saw in its flow
Life I said and my soul echoed
Like any Banarasi would say
Like any Banarasi is asked
It then pressed further
Bringing in death and beyond
Metaphors of life I said
And my soul reverberated
Like any Banarasi would do
In my city there lies this story
Of life and life in death
And the conversation on it
In a city where Gods belong
And the Ganga bathes souls
Helping you go beyond
Of questions of life
And of fear of death
To coexist within their realm
My Kashi and my life there
It is the story of life
That every Banarasi has there
In its streets, on its Ghats
Transcending like the sky
And complete like the earth



A night of endless hesitations
Perplexing and reassuring both
In some moments
We would come together
Living the years between us
But the fear then would creep in
Reminding us of the void
That had sent us apart
I would often ask
Why it had to go this way
I can’t say about you
But your eyes speak the same
Was it love?
Well, we never spoke about
But I did care
About even smallest things
Life was building
Like a nest so delicate
Yet so vulnerable
That I had left everything else
To weave its wings
I still fly with it
And it was same that night
Well, I never had them
But it really helped
To see you flying as well



It was a vast expanse, virgin and uncharted
The joy of mapping it day after day
It was like visiting sanctums yet to be seen
The soul had no further expectations then
Than being on a journey to life and beyond
Paths would speak to destinations like routine
Sometimes it would be green of the rain
Or like the blue singing in melancholy quatrains
But all were like the dots waiting to connect
Known, unexpected, all colours would meet
In the freedom of sameness and its shades



The door was opaque, like the dust
Frustrating and giving hopes similarly
There looked nothing beyond its colours
Yet there was this opening to go past it
To bathe the soul anew after the hiatus
That had gone into uncertain directions
Yes, fear was the spoken writ of times
That colours would fade into nothingness
But the silent spirit of hope remained
Pushing to go through the passage left
Like the oft quoted hoping against hope
Yes, sometimes it hurts, but for good
Moments make you fugitive of fate
Or a recluse of life’s imposed hesitations
At times, you wish to run into a dark room
Holding tightly the loosening grip of hope
Alone and mocked, left adrift with chaos
When even your own people question you
For being so stubborn with a failing hope
But you remain there, believing in you
The black of the failing hope, sometimes
Is the only element that speaks for you
Helping you get over your frustration
Taking you beyond, through the passage



Sometimes it happens
We exist in the places
We never existed
And we stay back
To listen to them
Like that promise
Which was made to us
To let us know
That we existed there
Life has a destiny
But has destinations
Which we seldom know
We need to go there
To speak in voids
To see if it echoes
A voice
That calls us
Asks us to come back
Missing our roots
We go there again
For, if we have to be
We need to exist
Not just there
But in all spaces
That echo like a home



It was just eternity
With eyes fixed at infinity
A distance was there
Mature like love in 30s
And experimental like
The love of those early 20s
Life was speaking
With life on its behalf
Still existing in those realms
Yet moving on as days go
The call was there
And it still echoes
Like an eternal bliss
As the beginning
That never sought its end
On a journey
That always looked beyond
An unspoken bond
Remains there
In life and beyond
You never know why it is
But you always know
What it takes, where it goes



It was yet a summer day
Seven years to that winter
When it was a different song
And with a difficult note
So rough was its melody
That all was lost into it
So intensely it was done
That he was left all to him
Days were frosty and alone
Even if it was a summer sun
Life flowed, melted
Left bruised, dispirited
The winter that stayed
In a summer that swayed
Seven years to that winter
It was again a summer day
In by-lanes of memories
When it all came rushing in
That’s still a different song
Been there all along
But seven years is so long
That it has got all along
Staying there, in a corner
Albeit, without its marker



Sometimes, you just need to walk away
Withdraw even from your days that make you
To sit in the cradle of nowhere and its voids
Where you can feel you are lost
Free from the hangovers of why it happened so
Where questioning things becomes immaterial
Because even answers lose relevance at times
You feel you just don’t want to listen to
Even if silence has been speaking all along
You go so deep inside a bottomless chasm
Where all melt, your identities and questions
And you just flow in an aimless direction
Feeling nothing of everything and such emotions
Of relations, of existences, of illusions
As if they have ceased to exist
And you just feel like staying there
Not knowing if you need to go back
Sometimes, you just need to withdraw
And need to wander in a lost realm
Feeling nothing to make sense again, like yesterday
Trying to feel if tomorrow really matters