The River’s Love Song

This is a poem I wrote recently when I wanted to take a break from struggling with my first novel. It will be published soon in the 16th edition of Dubai Poetics out by April end. Do let me know your thoughts. 🙂

From Jalori to Manali (37)

‘My poems are born of you,’

the river whispered to the mountains.

As the wind carried the river’s gentle sighs,

high up to the land of clouds and veils

nestled in the skies,

the mountains trembled.

It had felt the young love of his beloved

as she skipped, laughed and tripped along with him.

Majestic he had stood, watching her antics,

she had murmured her delight and thundered in pleasure.

But… his silence engorged her senses.

Nothing else could she bear.

Yet, she wanted, just for once, to be held

and loved with words she could hear.

Flowing away, with time, she left her mountain behind.

Meandering amidst valleys, she heard

voices other than her lover’s silence.

Thrilled, she gurgled with delight and rushed on.

She was loved, adored, worshipped, and more.
Dhyey Ahalpara

Yet, greater as her name grew,

farther as her fame spread.

she missed the silent communion

that had created her.

She wished she could turn her waves around

force the currents back to the source.

Sometimes she raged.

Sometimes she sluggishly moved on.

Did he hear her cries and sighs?

Did her love know that she was done with life?

She moved on… tired and dirty,

loved and worshipped.

Stillness replacing energy.

And then with her baggage of offerings,

bodies, debris, and silt,

she gave up the last of her freshness –

her very essence –

to the vast blue

that matched her beloved

in hue.

As the clouds burst above him,

drenching him with her love,

he realized that she had given up her life

to once again fall in his arms and lie.

Save

Save

Remember Part 2

The news headlines over the last few days and weeks from India have helped push me over in to the dark side. I have always… always been so proud of India’s pluralism and tolerance. Values which are under threat now. They have always been challenged, but I personally don’t remember such a concerted effort by a segment of our populace to question the very bedrock of our identity. I am a Hindu and am very proud of my culture. I love it in all its multi-layered, passionate, chaotic glory. But I realize that just like Christianity and Islam can be interpreted and misinterpreted according to someone’s convenience, so can Hinduism. The injustices are piling up and we, as a nation and its people, have been staying mute for too long. I fear that somewhere, just like with global warming, on a more micro level, we as a nation are reaching tipping point. This is not about politics and who is in power. In my opinion all parties are equally f*@*^£d. But this is about what we as citizens expect from our government, our administrators and our political parties – be they in power or not. This is about our responsibility. Most of us are not in a position to do anything that is going to change or effect the powers that be, but we are in a position to voice our dissent, to comment, to post and argue and discuss. Maybe it is time to devote our energies not just to the latest on Netflix and the bullshit being doled out in the name of entertainment (in print and other forms of media). Maybe it is time to hold ourselves accountable and treat our great freedom with more responsibility. Maybe it is time to live with more intention.

Forgive me. I am in a crap mood and feeling bloody blue. If you are in the mood for some more of the above but in verse form, read on…


My eyes are damp.

I had thought my tears had run dry

All those years ago,

When pictures of carnage

Had covered the sheets

Of my ink-stained mornings.

Deep in the south

The blood was not shed,

Nor wars fought

As often.

But the body hurt

No matter where the cut.

The magic surrealism of childhood

Has been replaced by bomb shred

Headlines of my teen.

I remember with amazement

The day the headlines said

‘No one died

due to bombs today!’

Twenty years on

I realize that they always lied.

Time does not move on.

It always stays right there….

Mocking us

For believing that

Life moves on.

It only goes on.

The hands that lobbed bombs

Have changed.

The bombs themselves

Have changed.

We live in a world

Where progress and success

Are the new, and sadly, only keys.

Ideas like freedom and liberty,

Tolerance and safety

Seem to be old-fashioned values

For the civic books.

The pride with which I could naively say –

“Ah! But in my country I have

Freedom of thought and speech!”

Has now been replaced by

Fear, shame and a cynicism

That runs deep.

A wrong word, notion or meal plan

Can result in your face being blackened

Or something more fatal.

Worse still,

You may wake up one day

To find that

Your trusted neighbour’s hand

Wields the rod that breaks

Your back.

I remember Bilqis and her pain.

I shake with terror

Imagining the pain

She a woman, a wife and a mother

Endured

Watching young girls being raped

Her husband being hunted

And her three year old killed.

I remember…

I remember…

Thinking after every murder, every horror,

Every riot, every rape and every attack,

Every explosion and fire –

This is it.

Things will change.

It cannot go on like this.

It will change.

I no longer hold on to that hope.

As today’s beef murder headlines

Wrap the fried snacks of tomorrow,

As war veterans are replaced by writers,

Our byte hungry world will always

Find something new.

And we the ultimate consumer

Will move from one headline

To another

Just like we change our

Mobile phones and their covers.

We, like butterflies, will flit and float

Through life

Rendered utterly meaningless,

Because the very methods we use to cope

Spell the end of all hope.

Binu Sivan

13 October, 2015

Every Woman

This was something I had written in 2001. Still relevant I guess.

Please do feel free to give feedback. Thanks 🙂

EVERY WOMAN

The mother of all souls

The seed of all thoughts

I chose to be a woman.

To live through the pain

To grow through the shame

To crawl through the cage

Of love and ecstasy

Of acceptance and bliss

Of sunshine and rain

Of rejection and hate…

I am every woman.

I am the mother

You never could see

I am the sister

I am the friend

I am the lover.

I am the one

Who chose to be…

A woman in this lifetime

To live through karmas

You can barely imagine.

To live through

One more life

Of giving

Until all that’s left

Is the shell

That was me.

But this

Is the end of the road.

No more pain

No more shame.

I give up the cage

I give up the hate.

I shall no longer

Bewail my fate.

I free myself

From the chains

That I chose to

Bind myself with

Before life began.

I choose to be

All the woman

That I am meant to be.

I am every woman

The world sees.

HAPPY WOMEN’S DAY!

Binu Sivan

5th Feb, 2001

Cinderella – A Modern Take

Hi sharing a poem I wrote in 2012 as part of a writing workshop I was conducting for two of my friend’s daughters. We decided to revisit the fairy tales and give them a modern twist.

A 100 or maybe 1000 years ago, in a rather grim tone

Two brothers sat down to write a tome

About the ideal girl they’d like to meet

Pretty, timid, servile and sweet.

Needless to say an hour or so prior

Their landlady had threatened to set fire

To the two and their literary volumes

For non-payment of their dues.

They wrote about this girl and named her Ella

Who’d never lose her temper or ever grumble at these fellas

Who’d take all their bullshit

Serve ‘em tea, catch the mice and laugh at their wit.

They made her a beauteous being

And then they gave her a stepmother, real mean

A cross between their landlady and her surly brother

She had two other daughters to mother.

The brothers made sure that Ella’s two step-sisters

Were fashioned on the neighbourhood spinsters

Ladies who called a spade a spade

And in the bargain remained a maid.

Over the next few 1000 years, the characters became real

Living, breathing and dreaming in every single girl

Who thought it their duty to be pretty but dull

A million girls who tried to be servile

While the men, like the legendary prince, tried to be virile.

And then one day a girl looked up

And said, WTF I really hate getting dressed up!

She felt it was more fun

To join the spinsters for some rum

And a few dirty jokes about the prince and a naughty nun.

The prince, in the modern tale, waited at the ball

For the legendary beauty, fair and tall

But she was on her 3rd peg and joke number six

About another prince and his dirty, secret tricks.

The young prince did not really mind

That the ball had slipped the young beauty’s mind

Cause all said and done he preferred the older of the step-sisters.

At least she didn’t crack a joke when he tried to kiss her.

Random Musings

The page is back under my control… Am posting something that has been with me for a while. And forgive the spacing between some of the lines.. I am trying to figure it out :/

It has been a while. The kids have been shot and they have been buried. We have since moved on. Sydney and Paris have grabbed our headlines and eyeballs. But the causes and the results are the same. To twist Sartre’s words around a bit, ‘Everything is different yet nothing has changed.’

We still forget that religion is not a path that we walk on. It is not even our destination. It is the light that we carry in our hands to show us the way, as we walk the path to our destination.
How can anyone decide that the light they carry gives them the right to extinguish someone else’s life and light. I’d like to share a poem (or random musing) that I had written in December. Didn’t share then cause it was too soon… for obvious reasons. I still felt mad and I picked up a few twitter and whatsapp fights. Please read on…

Don’t send me another memo…
or yet another forward.
Every time a bomb blows up
Twitter explodes.
Every single time kids are chewed up
by bullets

fired by terror mongers and psychos
Facebook posts come alive.
‘It could have been our kids!’
‘We are so lucky!’
‘This is so sad!’
‘I feel so bad!’
‘What can one do?’

‘The world has gone mad!’
STOP!
STOP!
Just please STOP!

Remember Beslan. Beslan!?

You say the word out loud…

Yeah… it sounds familiar!

Where is it?

That is what is going to happen

to Peshawar.

Will you ever forget Utoya in Norway?

You think not?

Or that school in the US… Hook something
Oh I forgot the name!
But those poor babes!

You know what we can all do with our collective feel bads?
Yeah… not for polite company the answer to that.
We Tweet, post and whatsapp and we are done with it…
Until the next tragedy hits
For heaven’s sake!

What can we do?
You ask…

Here’s what…

Don’t bad mouth your Muslim neighbour.
Definitely not in front of your children!
Don’t laugh at the rituals of your Hindu neighbour.
Treat the Christian and the Jew as one.
Don’t just preach…
But practice.
Make them see the turban, the beard and the veil…
for what it is.
A representation of someone’s faith,
not a threat to your belief!!

Stop huddling together and
flinching away from strangers.
Open your eyes.
Open your mind.
And for heaven’s sake
open your heart please.

I refuse to mourn.
To shed another tear.
Cause tears are so fickle…
Shed and wiped.
And then the inevitable moving on.

I refuse to feel bad.
My feeling bad is not worth
even half a cent.

I refuse to join a candle lit vigil,
or mouth platitudes.

But what I will do

is to teach my child…
That be you a Hindu or Mussalman

Be you a Sikh or a Jain

A Christian, Buddhist or Jew…
Don’t think it doesn’t matter!

It matters!
It matters cause each and every single
religion teaches
‘Do unto others

as you would have them do unto you.’

Keep your colour in mind….

White, black, brown, yellow…
It is what makes you unique
It is also what makes you different.
And different is not bad,
it is interesting.

Stop brushing our differences

under the rug.

Rather dust it and address it.

I will stop walking

on fucking egg shells
When discussing religion, God,

faith, love, homosexuality and gender.
I will teach my child that
true peace lies

hand in hand with honesty

and courage.
And sometimes the bravest thing

we will be called upon to do

in our entire life will be to

quietly say “I don’t agree”

or “it’s not right.”

when faced by peer might.

And while I teach my child all this

I will pay attention

and try to imbibe.

And practice what I preach…

‘What can you do?’

you still ask me!!?

Another Poem

IMG_7221Wake up!

WAKE UP!

Do this

Do that

Comb your hair

Learn to tie your shoe laces

Do your homework

Chew with your mouth closed

Talk softly

Don’t scream

Run

Run carefully

Don’t trip

Don’t lie

Study well

Write neatly

Tell them I am busy

Keep your room clean

Don’t overeat

Eat your veggies

Don’t eat your hair!

Be tough

Be kind

Read more

Go to bed.

But have I ever

Have I truly ever

Told you the stuff

The important stuff

The truly important ones…

Daydream a bit

Lie back and watch the clouds

Count the stars

Smell…

The rain in the air…

The rich wetness of the earth…

Be proud of your body

Learn to listen to your body

Lick the ice cream bowl clean

With your fingers

And your tongue

Do something silly

Every once in a while

Run for joy

Don’t be afraid to love

With a pure vulnerable heart

It will hurt

But it will hurt more

If you don’t

Have loads of friends

Who you can laugh and

Have fun with

But have at least one

That you can cry

And be miserable with

Be brave

Be strong

Read more

And then some more

Write your thoughts down

Smile at the world

Trust your instincts

Daydream a bit more.