It is Right to Say

I am heartbroken
Sometimes it is right to say that
flat out
naked voiced

I am empty
I am sad
I wish this thirst, this sore throat,
this myocardial infarction
this worthlessness
this grief
this doom
would exit in one full throttle glottal raging
yell of pure sound
and leave me skin and bones

Having Found Ourselves in Separate Bodies

I spread turmeric
On my lover’s skin because
The unfortunate truth of
Having found ourselves
In separate bodies
When I touch I do not feel
And I wish to know
Where her every invisible minuscule hair
Connects to its own nerve.
And the spice specks stack up
In yellow sentinels of sensation

When we are first lovers
We wield swords
Abusers of power
Sensual bullies
Childlike delighters in jumps and gasps
I remember kissing your earlobe
And causing your whole body to shiver
Later love loses its edge
Instead of a penetrating thing
It becomes a bowl
at its best Thumbelina’s walnut shell
At its worst a viking shield
We either become entrenched behind it
Or come back on top of it
Carried by comrades
Gruesome animal dismemberment
Fiery end

I’ve acquired a strong aversion
To viking shields
Or viking ritual of any kind
Some say: after the sword
Necessarily the shield
But I say: as strong a drug as first love
As quick a fix as the surgeon’s sword
The sword is simple a nutcracker
Splitting strong walnut
Into encompassing ark
And the turmeric stays in the curry
Because your skin is so close to mine
The feelings I wish to elicit

have naught to do with nerves

Cried G-D

When Cain killed Abel
He plead ignorance
G-d did not challenge this
But said: Abel’s blood cries out to me from the earth
Some may lead blessed lives in the bliss of ignorance, and G-d does not challenge it
But know this:
All spilt blood cries G-d

What this means is
After you plant the seed
You can never disown the seedling
Even into its tree-hood

Review: White Tiger

Winner of the Man Booker prize 2008, White Tiger has been read and loved throughout the world and surrounded by constant controversy in the sub-continent. I had been planning to read the book for ages but the hectic life of an MBBS had not yet allowed me to enjoy the thrilling masterpiece. So on the first day of my summer vacations I rushed to the nearest bookstore and bought it from a road-side book stall (the ones thronged with fat bearded men with caps discretely looking for sexual material) which would be my food and water for the next 48 hours. Continue reading “Review: White Tiger”

Dreaming of Darcy

When I am standing by the railing, you come up from behind me. Like in some epic romance, your arms wrap around my waist and your cheek fits snugly at my temple. I can feel the warmth of your chest rising and I can feel the hollow it leaves between us when it falls. I think you feel it too and you shuffle closer; I think you are encouraged by my non-response; I think you think it means nothing is different. Continue reading “Dreaming of Darcy”

Transnational South Asian Sexualities: Drag and Performance in London

I first encountered drag in Bollywood films in the late 90’s (Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, Dulhan Hum Le jayenge etc). At that point I never really thought much about the complexities that exist within female impersonation. Used as a form of entertainment in popular culture, drag artists were usually assayed by male “character actors” of Bollywood (with the exception of some like Amitabh Bachchan, Kamal Hassan and a few others). My first encounter with drag was in a racy, appealing way in my fifth or sixth year in school, when I was asked to perform as Rekha, the legendary actress who is also a popular gay icon. For me, that moment where I transgressed my gender boundaries by donning a sari remains a defining moment. One of my distant memories of that performance was this huge laughter from the audience when I walked on to stage. In a flash, the idea that a man impersonating a woman is a social embarrassment was made obvious to my young self. Continue reading “Transnational South Asian Sexualities: Drag and Performance in London”