Poem Excerpt

Am slowly limping back into social media. My novel’s final draft is almost done, and I now realise that it is not the final draft. I want to make a few more changes… Aaargh. To paraphrase Deepak from Masaan, “yeh drafts kahe katam nahi hote bey?” (Why doesn’t re-writing come to an end man?)

So, to not hate myself or my book (yes that’s possible when you live with it 24/7) I am blogging and posting again…

Thank you for reading.

Much love

BS

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Melancholia

I have been busy focusing on completing what I hope is the final draft of my first novel. This basically means that I have let the blog slide. Apologies.

This is a poem I had written recently, and was featured in the latest (25th) issue of Dubai Poetics. (https://dubaipoetics.com/edition-xxv)

Melancholia

By Binu Sivan

(Click on name link for all the poems written by me that Dubai Poetics has kindly featured.)

A half-remembered tune melts into me
I rise up trying to meet it… grab it
make it fully mine.
But the very acting of reaching
rips the melody out of my mind.
Just the ghost of it stays behind
to tease me with its unformed lines.

Haunted by a feeling, almost physical,
I hang on to sanity by slender threads.
There is a foreboding in my chest
vague in detail, yet precise in visceral sentiments.

Like waking from a nightmare,
heart pounding, drenched in sweat,
half-remembering the details.
But the very act of waking,
pulls the veils over the specifics
as they brush by teasing… warning
all in the same heartbeat.

If only I could capture the wretched poignancy,
the bleak terrain of my mind
and put it on paper.
Songs seem to be able to do it.
Other poets do it with ease. But I struggle.
The very act of putting pen to paper
robs the emotion of its very feeling.
‘It’s alright,’ I tell myself.
All I need is a good night’s sleep.
Not too long to sunrise, now.
I will bid the dark goodbye.

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

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.

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.

Outcast

Image

Never chase the clique

The elite… the ‘in’ group.

Stand by your truth and your soul

Even when your knees shake like jell-O.

Your heart may beat so hard with fear

That you may think

It will take wings and disappear.

The world may go for your throat

With sneers and ‘I told you so-s’.

But that is when you should dig your heels in

Walk your own path and chase your own dreams…

Refuse to be typecast

Take pride in being an outcast.