VERSE | NATIONAL (PH)ANTHEM

LISTEN TO THE POEM BEING READ OUT HERE: https://vt.tiktok.com/ZSdfND9do/
He says they’re a bunch 
Of thieves and thugs
Who have looted the nation
Of its tea and its mugs
They took the dregs of the Earl grey too!
Those boot-polishing, lily-livered brutes!

They say he’s a nut job with lunatic illusions
Of grandeur and psuedo-pious,
Dipped-in-angel-dust delusions
He’s not a statesman, he’s an unbridled curse!
Our friends across the pond agree that’s what he is
This has-been sportsman with his peerni* and tawiz*!

The citizens bewildered and confused
Are wondering with whom they should side
The saga plays out again, sly and crude
Where the nation is taken for a frenzied ride
The horse has long since become a lame ass
Feeding on national common sense with a side of grass

The Paya* and Diesel Management says a lot
The Dharna* Skipper flourishes his “Absolutely Not”!
The repartee continues in savage tones
We watch from the relative safety of our homes
Then the power goes out and all is dark
The slate is wiped clean, we are back at the start.
* Peerni: A Muslim holy woman

* Tawiz: An amulet worn for good luck and protection

* Paya: A specialty dish in the subcontinent, the main ingredients are trotters cooked in various spices

* Dharna: A peaceful demonstration

VERSE | IN THE ‘EAT OF THE NIGHT

This week I said that I’d be good 
I’d stay off carbs and meat
I’d focus on healthful juices
And on salads. What a treat!

I hope you read the sarcasm
In the verse above this one
Even then, didn’t mean to offend
Tomatoes, lettuce and onions

But the intermittent fasting
From midnight to noon next day
Did me in, up to my chin
Couldn’t keep the carbs at bay!

And so my resolutions of
A healthy body and mind
They just choked, went up in smoke
My force of will became unkind

I ended up inviting in
A thousand extra calories
But dang! I’m quite determined that
Tomorrow I’ll eat only sunflower seeds

So if you feel like you’ve lost
The battle of the bulge
On good days, be resolute
On bad ones, go on and munch.

Let the heart guide you along
The mind is like Cruella*
No one needs a conscience deep
When the belly gods do yell-a!
* Cruella de Vil: a wicked character from Dodie Smith's 1956 novel “The Hundred and One Dalmatians”.

KIDSBOOKS | THE LITTLE DUST BUNNY

There was once a dust bunny
She lived on top of the fridge
She’d been there for many years
Sitting just upon the edge

Sometimes when a wayward breeze
Blew in with nimble steps
Dusty would fluff herself up -
Old hair, lint and spider webs

She’d roll around her fridge-top home
Laughing gleefully
Gleaming just a little bit
With static electricity

That was her super power you see
That tiny bit of spark
That kept her different parts together
She sometimes glowed in the dark!

One day the lady of the house
Turned on the light switch
With a cleaning cloth in hand
She dusted down the fridge

Little Dusty scampered round
As she was pursued
By the giant hand that bore
A cloth of red and blue

She was so very afraid
She fainted for a while
And when she woke up again
She was in for a surprise!

Little Dusty, now could see
The whole room from up high
The tiny ball of fuzz had grown
To twice her normal size!

Dusty laughed and leaped and skipped
And off the fridge she rolled
Now she could run everywhere
The whole house was now her home.

VERSE | SCHIZOMEDIA

I Laugh Out Loud as I hear him tell the joke
Of the 12 inch pianist who was quite the coincidental bloke
She Twittered delightedly out loud and on her phone

We were out and about, having coffee and conversation
About Freedom of Religion and Marijuana regulation
Facebook also heard it all through her joyful proclamation

The waiter brought our food in style, ‘here you are madam!’
He and I had pizza, she had salad with J. Statham*,
(The pleasure of his photo presence she could only fathom!)
But Instagram was hit with #handsomeboy and #foodgasm

We were done with lunch now, chatting over cherry flan
When there was a bustle and in walked Fawad Khan*
Of course she put the video on Snapchat for all her fans

Three hours later, satiated, our day updated digitally
While saying goodbye, he tripped outside and fell on the concrete
TikTok later showed us all how hilarious tragedy can be.

And there you have it, dear friends and frenemies
Our lives on a platter for all the world to see
A Schizo-polar history for our bedevilled progeny.
* Jason Statham: An English actor and producer. Typecast as an antihero, he is known for action-thriller films and portraying tough, irredeemable, and machiavellian characters.

* Fawad Khan: a popular Pakistani drama and film star.

VERSE | THE ACCIDENTAL WORDSMITH

I’m an accidental wordsmith 
I solder little things
Nouns and verbs and adjectives
Some calming, some with a sting

Some say they like my poetry
When words I synchronise
Like Paler than a Tundra Jailer
Eyes Turquoise like Southern Skies


Others they are fonder of
The short stories that I weave
Of everyday folks, who beat all the odds
Tales of strength and tales of grief

Still others declare, that they swear
By my pithy, four line squiggles
Proverbs with a caustic twist
Metaphors to make you giggle

There are also those that have held on
To their childhood innocence
My fairy tales and creature lore
Are their thimbles full of gin

So I carry on being a wordsmith
Hugging hearts and moving minds
With truth and grit, drollery and bliss
Sharing a few moments out of time.

VERSE | THE KNOCK KNOCK JOKE WITH A MENTAL TWIST

Written amidst the mind-numbing perils of never ending curfew lockdowns. Read at your own mental risk 🤓

Tak taka tak - Tak Tak
Kaun hai bhai bata ab tak

CHINA!

CHAI NA girana babu
Bari tarpay tarpay tarpay
Meri leg not so halkay halkay

Knock knockity! Knock Knock
Who’s there, before I click back the lock

ZEBRA!

ZE BRA in France is black or white
Practical and just hugging one right
And if you feel the added zeal
Add some colour, like lilac and teal.

Tap ti tap tap - Tap Tap
Who is it? That was a fine rap

LIZARD!

LIZ ‘EARD you call her “mighty stout”
You really put your foot in your mouth!
She may be big but she’s got style
She’ll make you eat your words for a mile

Ding da ding ding- Ding Dong
Who is it? Come sing us a song

RHINO! O-O! O…OOOO!

Mr. RAI, NO we will not do this
Mrs Rai yes it’s all the craze
Rainbow coloured hair for you
And I will go for baby blue

Clap de clap clap - Clap Clap
Who goes there? Who gives my door a thwack?

‘Tis me MAYNA!

MAY NA bhoolonga
MAIN NA bhoolongi
My nemesis is bharta de cauliflower
And mine is garbanzo beans!

Open the door for salvation
Open the door for your soul
Who … who’s there?
‘Tis me your moral sense,
Call me your conscience
No punning, rhyming words here
No weighty equations.
Just you and me and clarity
That’s been lost too long at sea

I’m deaf! I’m deaf! I can’t hear you
Ps. I’ve not seen any clarinet either! (Hehe!)
So the door stays closed, barred and locked
Not opening any windows neither!
Go elsewhere, go where you can be heard
The (h)earless are quite rampant here
Don’t come knockity knocking upon my door
Amd I’ll pretend as if you were never here - dear!

Conscience! Right! Where’s the pun in that!

VERSE| The Happy Ever (Cr)afters

A satirical take on some of the fairy tales we’ve grown up with. Can you guess each of the four Scary Tales? 🤓

You know I kind of hate you 
With your magic and your spells
Always trying to help folks
Always being so swell
My father’s on his own trip
Marrying yet again
I wanted all his attention
Now of my existence you’re the bane
So I’m going to show you up as
The evil step mom in the wings
Going to booze and then I’ll snooze
And await my Prince Charming

I’ll do you better with my step fam
A mother and her progeny!
I curse the day I met them
The entire simpering family!
I’m irked by their sweet faces
These step sisters of mine
Always minding their Ps and Qs,
Dimpling their saccharine smiles.
I’ll raise a big fake scandal
Of their meanness and their pride
Pater will have no choice
But to have them thrown outside.

I’m a bit of a peculiar one
I loved my solitude
Until father brought in New Mom
My lonesomeness to loot
Always laughing, always nice
So gleeful and alive
I’d been cringing night and day
At her effusive vibe
So I plotted insidiously and
By and by got myself out
I now have my own tower
For my tresses and my gout.

You’ve all taken so long to weave
Yourselves into this rhyme
We got rid of our step mom
One bread crumb at a time.
She insisted on healthy food
And also bushels of love
Ugh! No! We wanted none of that
So we arranged for witchy stuff
Old Dame Crone opened her home
To us to live with her
Ice cream and pizza off the doors
In bed, Twix and Ferrero Rocher!

The old wives tales of mean step moms
Are a riot and a half
But we are not complaining; No!
We’re having the last laugh
Princesses and Cinder-gals
We’ve all got our own quirks
And truth be told, we oft unfold
Into audacious jerks
These scary tales are the flip side
Of the happy ever after
Sometimes the cackle that you hear
Is our malificent laughter.

THE SAYING MANTIS | On Dicey Relationships

A random (cheeky!) ramble about all the “Saas – Bahu*” relationships out there. Attempting to encapsulate the thinking of both, the usually entitled South Asian mother-in-law and the mostly afflicted SA daughter-in-law.

* Saas Bahu: mother-in-law and daughter-in-law

VERSE | GREATER PURPOSES

It was the weekend finally
We were going out on the town
We each had our agendas you see
Both, earnest and profound

My friend, she got dressed to kill
There was no other way
I put on my tinted chapstick
Fixed my hair around my face

She was going to Dolmen mall
To see and to be seen
Popping mouth, bouffant teased out
Skin whitened with sun screen

I was going to walk and walk
Get in my daily step count
And then to sit at the cafe
Watch the flowing, madding crowd

The two pursuits although at odds
Gave neither of us cause
To sigh in consternation and put
Either mission on pause

We roamed around the mall, my watch
clocking my exertion
She flitted from store to store
Appreciating her reflection

She tried on half a dozen shirts
I tried on two or three
We emerged victorious
Light of wallet, full of glee.

Then we finally set down
Our retail therapy loads
At the strategic little cafe
To eat and people-watch.

A pretty boy was walking by
She willed him to look at her
They exchanged a longish glance
She blushed, her heart a-flutter

She fiddled delicately with her food
While checking out the scene
I demolished what was on my plate
Crumbed chicken and salad greens

At ten I eyed my watch and grinned
18k steps, I felt like a champion
She looked at her new clothes and smiled
Both our greater purposes were done.

VERSE|HAVE YOU HEARD THE NEWS TODAY?

Rap this if you’re feeling especially bold and rhythmical today 👩‍🎤🎶🎤

‘Did you hear the news today?’
A friend asked avidly
Like a magician about to pull
A rabbit from his brolly

Scratch that, it’s actually a hat
Poetic license at play
But let me get back to the topic at hand:
What he was about to say

I looked at him expectantly
My facial muscles tense
I had to look the part you see:
Eyes wide in burning suspense

He was about to share the stuff
Of top notch gossip rags
My left eye twitched; I wish he’d just let
The Infernal cat out of the bag

It’s not that I’m averse to all
The spice of life a-brewing
Some days .. well, actually most
I’m just happier not knowing.

‘Did You know’ he finally said
‘That we’re all figmental beings
Of someone’s mad imaginings
The Covid and even us yuman beans

I looked at him, blinked in surprise
Then laughed a merry laugh
At least it wasn’t about the politico
Who looked startlingly like a giraffe.

‘That thought has passed my mind’
I said, conversationally
Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics
And the matrix anomalies


News that wasn’t “news” deserved
obscurely fab theories
Fuzzy heads and tails and all
I thought, to keep it company.

He looked at me with great disdain
‘What’s your frickin’ deal?
Just call it what it really is
We’re hamsters in a wheel!’

‘We’re hamsters in a wheel!’ I sang
‘We’re chasing our own tails
Creating our little purgatories
We’re chasing our own tales!’

And so I heard the news that day
And it had made me grin
The universe too doesn’t mind a few
Light jabs every now and then.

VERSE | THE QUINTESSENTIAL INTROVERT

I am the quintessential introvert
There was a time I had my social spurts
But all that seems like a lifetime ago
The Corona has given our spacetime a blow.

I absolutely love my solitude
When I say ‘Leave me be’ I’m not being rude
It’s just the way I’m internally wired
Too much nodding and smiling just makes me tired

That’s not to say that I spurn the cliche
Of the Island that No Man Is
I’m just more prone to proverbs that sweep
Through Still Waters that tend to Run Deep.

And now I’m on the back foot yet again
By that adage I didn’t mean I’m a Brain
An Einstein, a Galileo or an Edison
(Well .. maybe a tad like A. Tennyson).

Dear reader I’m the embodiment of reserve
I don’t seek adulation that is undeserved
But even as I spin this meter and rhyme
I think every enterprising poet doth have her time

In the shining confluence of our universe
Of writers, and scribblers, masters of verse
But since I’m the quintessential introvert
I’ll tell my tales from my quiet corner on earth

Still, if by some providential twist of fate
Some of you think that my writing’s first rate
Know that I still love my solitude
I’ll thank ye kindly and then I’ll respectfully brood.

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