Friday, December 23, 2011

Hungry Kids

To be sung to the tune of "Jingle Bells"

Hungry kids hungry kids I have two of my own,
And since their birth I've wondered where all my cash has flown!
Oh hungry kids hungry kids their needs they never end
They'll hound my wife and me until we both go round the bend!

We used to have some time that we could call our own,
But ever since we had these guys oh all that time has flown.
But one day I shall show both monsters mine the door
I only hope that I do that before I hit the floor!

Oh hungry kids hungry kids, they quiet do not lie
I know now that I won't find peace until I go and die.
Oh hungry kids hungry kids I have two of my own,
And since their birth I've wondered where all my cash has flown!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Give me, Dear Lord, a Road Roller

After ages of listening to devils demented, all frothing, itching at the collar;
After hideous honking at highways and by-ways from havshies that lean out and holler;
And pulling out hair out of weakening follicles, praying I was heavier and taller,
There is but one boon that I humbly seek of you, give me, dear Lord, a road roller.

I have but a few little changes I wish to make, Lord, a few modifications:
I pray for an engine Ferrari under the hood, and sterling configurations
That the roller fly faster than buses and autos (save me from these grave tribulations!)
And the honking and hooting and harsh klaxons tooting in consummate confabulations.
Pray save me from all of these evils, O Mighty, before I go choke on my choler,
Just a light one, a slight one, a green, saffron, white one, give me, dear Lord, a road roller.

I promise I will not kill wantonly, Lord, just by accident (oops!) at the races,
Where buses and cabbies and bike-riding laddies compete for all openings and spaces.
My braking-mechanism-deficient roller shall bring your name upon all faces,
When the front wheel will kill quick and clean while behind, the rear wheels shall wipe out all the traces.
Pray help me spread wide the good name of your kindness through muffled scream, crunch, and a holler.
Allow me to show these amateurs how it's done; give me, dear Lord, a road roller.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Barbie Tale for Boo

One day, when dinner was done, and there was nothing nice on TV, and Baby Boo's dad was fidgeting with the DVD player for lack of something better to do, Baby Boo tugged at his sleeve and said, "Tell me a story." Now Baby Boo's daddy was a nice guy, and usually was very accomodative in most matters like whether to play or not, whether to watch cartoons or some weird animal-life feature, or whether to wait for sweets till after lunch or go for it straightaway, if there was one thing he really disliked, it was telling stories. But Baby Boo loved stories, and had gradually been able to wean out every single story her dad knew, and all this in the four short years of her life alone. Daddy knew he had a tough life ahead. He was outa stock.

He gently remonstrated with his daughter, "But Boo, I've already told you; I have no more stories left."

"Make one up," mamma said. "You're pretty good at that anyway." And she didn't smile.

"Grummmmunnnnunnnummm broooodummmmmbunnndrleee," Daddy said expansively to the DVD player, and, with tears in his voice, turned once more to Baby Boo. "Wouldn't you like Mamma to read one out to you? She looooves reading stories, especially at nighht, after the day is done."

Baby Boo rounded her eyes, pouted, and shook her head, and her curly locks swung to and fro. Ooon-hoonh. Daddy half smiled, half shrugged, picked up his daughter gently in his arms, and stalked off to the bed. "Don't blame me if it sucks," he said.

I still don't know why, but Baby Boo looked back at Mamma clearing the mess Daddy made before the DVD player and giggled.

And Daddy lay Baby Boo's head on the pillow, brushed her curls from her face, smoothened her curls, and told her this story.

"Once upon a time, there was a Barbie princess, and she lived in a beautiful castle filled with beautiful people and beautiful things. She was the only daughter of a very loving father, who was, evidently, the king of the land, and he loved her with all his heart. She had everything that a little girl could wish for, and she was the happiest child in the land.

"She was also amzingly lovely. Every day, when she would get up, the entire castle would come alive, smiling and bright and happy, because the castle, and everything and everyone in it, loved the barbie princess more than life itself. More than sheer beauty, however, it was her soul that won everyone's heart. She was kind to everyone, and smiled happily at all who came before her. She also had a very giving nature. She would share everything with anyone who wanted any of it. No wonder she never lacked friends. The Barbie princess grew up quickly, and with every passing day, she grew lovelier and gentler, and soon the day came when the king had to think about getting her married.

"Quite understandably, he hated the idea. The barbie princess might have been an icon of perfection to the entire world, to him, she was his Baby Boo -- Like you are my Baby Boo," Daddy said gently. Baby Boo smiled, and the dimples in her cheek made Daddy's heart hurt with warmth.

"So, he thought and thought, and after he had sat on the idea for a good month, he announced that Baby Boo would be married to a king or prince, and that too, of her choosing. "Let there be a swayamvara," he announced loudly."

Baby Boo perked right up and asked, "What's a swayamvara, daddy?"

"That's where a lady gets to be held responsible for her life's biggest mistake for the rest of her existence," said Mamma in a calm voice from the hall. baby Boo had no idea what that meant, but she knew it was meant for Daddy. She giggled and, looking expectantly at Daddy, waited for an explanation.

Daddy snickered briefly. "The swayamvara was held in a huge hall, and all the young kings and princes who wanted to marry the Barbie princess assembled there. The princess was to choose one of them, and they were all excited and nervous. Each one sized the other up, and prepared himself to make a good impression on the princess, because they all knew she was very beautiful and very good.

"At last, Princess Barbie came into the room, and she looked lovelier than ever before." "What was she wearing?" asked Baby Boo, who always was for attention to detail.

"Umm ... she wore a ... let's see ... she wore a nice, long red ghaagra, and a lovely red embroidered blouse, and a beautiful dupatta made of the finest silk in the world." "Shoes?" asked Baby Boo. "Sure," said the sage. "Velvet shoes with nice little heels." Baby Boo giggled happily; her picture was complete in her mind. Daddy's eye twinkled naughtily.

"And then suddenly, from out of nowhere, came a huge monster! He had huge red eyes and a forest of stubble, and his face was pock-marked. He carried a great tree trunk in his huge hand, like a club, and he wore a .... a bedsheet around his waist, and his hairy legs were dirty and caked with mud and he STANK!" Baby Boo stopped smiling and looked up questioningly at Daddy. "Wrong genre, no?" her eyes said.

"Sounds familiar," said a voice from across the hall.

-- To be Continued.

Monday, May 26, 2008


And now at last that T-20 has come and shown us how to sell
Something strange, though packaged neatly, let me also briefly dwell
Upon a dream game I would love to see played out upon my screen;
Something which I think should loop in many more eyeballs by the scene.

Identification, people, that is key to adoration true,
And if the junta can see themselves every time they see of you,
You are, I guarantee, quite truly unerringly on your way.
Sell soaps, snacks, cell phones, or whatever, folks will swing along your sway.

A forty-over match played out in stadiums lit like the sun,
Where Khan and Dada, Warne and Preity, play and act in unison?
Who are you fooling? This ain't cricket, people don't identify,
And that is why your moolah rake-in doesn't truly satisfy!

Here's Khan uncle busy endorsing a team built for a yuppy crowd
And Kingfisher peddling airline ads to rickshaw guys and street-side louts.
With snazzy uniforms and dashing players from across the globe,
Where is the nondescript, the common? Identification? Not a hope!

So here's my prescription, study it, read it, write it, get by heart:
G-10, a new force slowly dawning, stretching, rising this crow fart.
Ten players only, and all local, playing for their local side;
Supported by the local hoochies in the local countryside.

Simple rules, and simple audience; simple too will be its ads:
Local hotels, raddi wallahs, y'know, the local business-lads.
In streets shall our matches be played with a yellow tennis ball;
It's four at Lallan's shop, and sixes are beyond the lassi stall.

Local teams play local teams, all across this land I love
And inter-city matches due in stadiums, with lights above!
And now, the big-wig companies can pitch in too, should they so wish;
New uniforms for all the players, gourmet food with sweet side dish!

And let their ads rub shoulders with the ads of local investors,
First come-first served, but seating preference, reserved for players' anscestors.
And slowly, as match after match is won and lost, the cities vie
With each other to represent their state in the final tie.

The game now gets truly professional, with local skill and global cash
As experts from each local city come to coach the local lads,
It is a match up of the gully, city, state, and country, men;
And all the world shall watch in awe, our performances in G-10!

No politics, no religion, no celebrities, only play
Shall shine, and all the stars of cricket, play for streets on which they stay!
So yes, we shall have Sachin, Kumble, Dravid, walking hand in hand,
Playing as West Zone against the South Zone, say, in Eastern Eden Land.

There will be players, and the local lads shall stand among the great,
Amazing will be the involvement across the country, as each state,
Each city, town, and village feels the sense of oneness with a team,
And pure performance, true criterion, skims off from all the milk the cream!

Illiterate grannies, ragged urchine, auto wallahs, coolies too,
Shall cheer as one with business magnates, local dons and poe-lis too.
Brew genuine fame, create new legends, play a game the country plays,
And you shall have a good show going, on Sundays, though, and Saturdays.

This is the L-One plan, O players, plan the L2 and L3,
And if you like the idea, then come and confer quick with me.
Make much of me, and treat me, pay me well, and, Oh, just may be then,
I will give you the rights, the permission to play my Galli-Ten!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Baby Boo Has a Fight

Baby Boo was quite simply the sunniest girl around, full of giggles and smiles. Anyone who looked at her felt lightened by the experience, and went away a happier person. Baby Boo did not know this of course, but then, as her Mamma always said, what's the use being or doing good if you are always aware of it? Baby Boo did not know, and did not care to know.

When Daddy woke her up with a warm snuggle and hug, she'd give him one sleepy smile, blink a few times, realize it was day, and would jump up to kick start things. After all, days were hers, and she quite simply had to take charge of things. "Mammaaaa ..." she'd call out and dig her out from somewhere under the dishes that needed cleaning, or the clothes that needed ironing, and muzzle her nose into her tummy. Mmmmmammaaaa! Mamma would ruffle her hair and kiss her good morning, and Baby Boo knew there was no better way to get the day started.

But that's not what this is about, so let us leave Baby Boo and her family for a moment and look at the trouble brewing elsewhere ... in school, to be precise.

Now Baby Boo's school had just bought a new merry-go-round for the kids a few days ago, and every one was excited. The mechanic who was supposed to install it, however, had fallen ill, and hadn't installed it yet. But setbacks like these hardly made any difference to a child's enthusiasm! During break time, every single one of them would file into the garden and look admiringly at the freshly-painted plaything. They'd exchange excited looks and point out delightful details to each other. "Look look, there's Mickey painted on one seat ... and that one has Daffy Duck!" said one. But not everyone was all that impressed by Daffy and Mickey. "Humph," said a boy, "No transformers. Ridiculous!" "What is a transformer?" asked one of the smallest children, and was promptly rewarded by so many incredulous stares that he quietly subsided in the background. This was swell, and no doubt about that! But there were only six seats in the merry-go-round. Who'd go first?

But Baby Boo didn't have that problem. She was a good girl, and her Mamma had told her that good girls are patient and await their turn. So she contented herself by admiring the new darling of the school, and waited patiently for the day when it would be installed. And today, when she got off the bus, and saw the commotion in the garden, she knew that that day was today. Like a sparrow she took off, satchel and water bottle jiggling along, and was soon there. But so was everyone else!

What a to-do there was! Everyone wanted a ride, and no one could take more than six turns on the merry-go-round; there were too many in queue. But right now, Baby Boo was too preoccupied to bother about that. She was too busy admiring the beautiful merry-go-round. Red and yellow and green and orange, it was the most beautiful this she'd ever seen.

Gracefully, without a sound,
The merry-go-round flew round and round
The children yelled their glee aloud
This thing was great, without a doubt!

Finger in her mouth she stared, watching the kids spinning around, and she suddenly saw that one of them was Sparkle, her best friend.

"Yaaayayyayyyayyy, she yelled. Sparkle saw her and waved wildly. It was evident she was having the time of her life. She was clinging to the rod near her seat and was leaning out, her head lolling back, so. Her long hair flew about like it had a life of its own, and if her closed eyes were anything to go by, the merry-go-round was a godsend. She could hardly wait for Sparkle to get off, and squealed and ran to hug her. And they hugged and jumped together like little children do when they are happiest.

"Howwuzit howwuzit?" Baby Boo asked when their screams subsided.

"Ooooooh," Sparkle held her tightly. "It is the bestestEST thing I have ever seen. It goes so fast, Boo, and you feel dizzy and you feel the wind in your ears and you loll your head back and your head feels heavy and ... oh it is so much fun. You must give it a try."

And the merry-go-round
Went round and round
Shining and spinning
With the kids all a-screaming
And wasn't it fun
When the joyride was done!

"Sure I will," promised Baby Boo, and was about to join the queue of waiting, milling children, when the bell rang, and it was time for school.

On an average day, Baby Boo was always attentive in class, and listened carefully to what her teacher said. But today, she was elsewhere. Through the window, she could see the merry-go-round, all bright and colorful. And it was empty. What fun it would be if she could run out to it and go round and round without anyone disturbing her. But she knew that her teacher would have none of that. She let out a sigh, tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, and got on with the task assigned.

But the classes simply wouldn't end. Usually, classes were short, and were very quickly over. But today, each class was longer than the next, and it was all so boring and quiet that Baby Boo could actually hear the bee buzzing around outside somewhere near the window. Wouldn't break time come?

It took ages, but finally the bell rang, and Baby Boo ran out to the playground. Quickly, feet hardly touching the ground, she fled to the garden, her cute little pigtails swinging to and fro with every stride. She so wanted to get there before anyone else, so she'd be able to have the first go.

You know the thing with life? You want something, and almost always, there are thousands of other people who want it too, and there is nothing you can do about it. By the time baby Boo got to the garden, three boys were already clambering onto the merry-go-round, and a zillion other children were rushing in to grab the remaining three seats. Baby Boo pursed her lips. Her brows furrowed themselves into thin little lines of concentration, and she pressed harder, jumping over the shrubs that lay in her path. Two more seats were gone ohmygawd! Screams rang out all around as everybody rushed to get there first.

But she made it! Hers was definitely the first hand on the empty seat. And everybody knew it was hers and pushed back grudgingly to let her have the ride. Baby Boo pushed back a few strands of hair that had come off from their default position under her clip and began to get onto the merry-go-round when suddenly, a boy lunged over the seat and got in. Baby Boo didn't quite get it at first. "Wh-what are you doing?" she faltered; then "It's my seat. I got here first," she screamed. "Give it to me!"

The boy gave her one nasty push. "I got in first, didn't I?" he sneered. Get lost!

He was clearly a senior student, may be someone even as high up as a third-grader, and Baby Boo typically never disturbed third-graders, but this was simply not done. And he'd pushed her.

"Hell hath no fury ..." someone wrote somewhere, and you should have seen Baby Boo when she got up from her fall and violently shook the boy's arm and tried dragging him off the merry-go-round.

The boy had never expected a pre-KG student to go as far as touch him, let alone fight back. But this girl here was actually shaking him and pulling him off! And everyone was watching. He was stuck. If he hit the girl or pushed her again, she would definitely tell the teachers, and he knew that boys were not supposed to hit girls. The last time a boy had hit a girl, his parents were called, and the principal had scolded the boy right before his parents. Later it turned out that there was a nice dose administered to the boy back home too. So hitting her or pushing her again was out. But what to do? How would it look if he, a third-grader, were to allow a pre-KG baby to drag him off a brand-new merry-go-round? He would never ever hear the end of it. They would all laugh at him.

Baby Boo, in the meantime, was tugging and dragging away with all her strength. Very soon, the other children on the merry-go-round joined in. Some sided with Baby Boo; others with the boy. But one thing that they were all united in was the view that this fight should be taken elsewhere, so that the fun could begin. "Push her! Push her!" said one; "Go away Boo," said another. "No shame?" from somewhere in the crowd. "Come ON ... you're wasting time," said a little girl already in the merry-go-round, swinging her feet to and fro, hitting the merry-go-round bar with her fist. "Come OOOOOONN!"

"Let go, Baby Boo," said one from the crowd, "You can go the next time." "Yes, it's okay," said another. "We promise we will let you have a seat." "Enough is enough okay?" "Just a few minutes left for the bell!" And so on.

Gradually, Baby Boo began to feel that this was all getting too tedious, not to mention pointless. She was about to let go when she remembered what her mother always said. "Baby Boo," she said, "It is always better to let others play before you do. This is how good girls need to behave." But then, Baby Boo reasoned, she meant it to be followed only when the other asks decently. Rude boys shoving little girls around quite simply didn't qualify for exemption. "Nothing doing," she screamed to everyone around; "I got there first, and I won't let go."

The boy was now getting genuinely fluxommed, doubtless due to the fact that all his friends (read cohorts) were huddled quietly at the edge of the crowd, pointing quite politely at him, and sniggering. For a split second, all his pent-up pride and fury appeared to make a complete villain out of him, but then again, the presence of the crowd scared his villain away.

He made one valiant last-ditch attempt at salvaging some pride, however. "Aw come ON, it is only a few rounds okay?" But Baby Boo would have none of it. She simply shook her head, ponytails swinging from side to side, and held on grimly, pulling at the poor boy's shirt.

And then there was that tearing sound, and even in the midst of all that screaming and shouting, everyone heard it. You could almost see the sudden hush run through the crowd, and the sound of tearing cloth and ripping seams filled every nook and cranny of the school. Baby Boo stopped shaking and tugging, the boy stopped shouting and swearing, the little girl stopped swinging her feet, and they all stared at the boy's sleeve. It had almost come quite off the rest of the shirt, and hung limply, dangling and fluttering gently in the breeze blowing by.

But the best thing of all was his face. I wish I were a painter of something, so I could draw it out for you, for the expression on it was priceless. There was shock, of course; and anger, understandable, again; and there was shame, for he knew he'd lost; and there was acute embarrassment, for here he was, a third-grader boy, having his shirt sleeves ripped off by pre-KG girl, and that too for something he had no business doing.

The boy stared at the dangling piece of cloth that once belonged to his shirt; Baby Boo looked defiantly into the boy's eyes -- she was really really scared, of course, but she dared not show it -- as if daring him to try some more panga with her; and the crowd switched gazes: from the boy's picture of a face, to baby Boo's do-you-dare expression, to the little girl who had resumed swinging her legs as she sit on the merry-go-round, and then finally, to the white ragged piece of uniform dangling from the boy's shoulder. Initial silence, followed by gasps and ohs and ahs led to shocked silence, and the boy just stood there, wondering which reaction was the best suited for the occasion.

Finally, he could take it no more, and quickly got off the merry-go-round and rushed unceremoniously from the place.

Baby Boo stood there, astonished. She'd actually won, and only after the boy'd left did the magnitude of what she'd done hit her. She'd beaten a boy four years her elder and senior, and the boy'd run away, and the entire school was watching. But now she was confused. What to do now? What do winners do after a fight? Should she raise her arms in victory, or should she quietly get into the merry-go-round, or what. Her mind debated in dire earnest.

"Poor boy; his shirt got torn," said someone. "Yeah, that sleeve is gone." "Did you see the look on his face?" asked someone else. "I think he is worried his mother will beat him," said another. And silence, as the crowd visualized the sight of the third grader getting systematically thrashed by his mother, hopefully, with a nice broom.

And then, from somewhere at the back of the crowd came the sound of a little girl giggling. And that broke the dams of control. The little girl on the merry-go-round laughed, the children around howled in laughter, and the boy's friends laughed out as loudly as they possibly could. Baby Boo looked around uncertainly at the growing jollity, and slowly joined in. She had won fair and square, and she knew it. She was so happy that she actually let Sparkle ride the merry-go-round in her stead, and walked off to her classroom while the children around her laughed and clapped and patted her and let her pass. Even as Baby Boo walked off, wave on wave of laughter swept the garden as child after child described one juicy scene after another to each other.

It has been two months now, and no less, but even today, during break hours, you can hear the garden ring once more with laughter, as someone who was there related the story of Baby Boo's fight to another who wasn't.

As for Baby Boo, she doesn't think about it any more, of course, but last night she was heard praying before she went to bed, "Please God, please please PLEASE ask Mamma and Daddy to buy me my own little merry-go-round!"

I am sure God will answer her prayers. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Way It Ends

Last man on earth.
Runs from the last city leaving the last corpse…
Stepping over the last breast he will ever see.

He drags his crawling limbs to the slimy ocean;
Lets the waves envelop him of stinking death;
Rises, refreshed, to his feet;
Stands unsteadily on the balls of his ankle,
And, glaring at the clouds
That the heavens have raised to muffle their smle in,
He raises both arms as high as he can
And howls.
Yells mindlessly for revenge.

Then sinks back into the mire he rose from
And sobs.
Simmers with fear and loneliness.

The water covers him blanketwise
And pulls him gently into its clasp.
The wet wind heaves a sigh.
“Come that’s done,
And I’m glad it’s over.”

And it begins to rain.


I wrote this poem when in the pits of desperation ... no money, and no light in sight ... 2000-types.

Finally faced with his baseness,
Man thinks he understands.
Time spins years and attaches to age.
Life drags its pinkish-white wounded pulp along.
Bleeding the while of tears and sweat and blood.
All is salt.

The air rasps salt into lungs
That burn in stinging cells of osmosis.
The throat is parched and no hand stirs to quench the raw.

To moan is a luxury.
Is to moan for an audience.
To moan for pathetic effect.
Death has no sound.

Dusty dirty salty faces toil in the gathering swirl of paper and broken hair.
The rickshaw puller burns his blood to beg for more.
The worker rips his hand that his progeny survive.
The banker stashes cash away and looks to God.
The unemployed soaks the scene and licks his lips,
And wishes he was elsewhere

All this amid the grind of wheels,
The mindless honks of horns
That wake my child that sleeps on slumped shoulders…
That wake him, scare him;
Remind him that he is hungry, festering, and dying,
And make him cry again.