i was like this seed with white feathers flung from it,

flying in the wind, as the current flew me,
flying along, delicately,

looking here and there.

i stopped, rested, only to know this was not home,
here i would die
and hence i flew again
wanting to grow
wanting to gather all the winds in my hair
i flew as a kite. not willed but not settled
looking on as an onlooker
studying this earth, the wind and river,
studying the innocent lips of the kids
blowing me away,
bidding me adieu with their dim blinking eyes
their ways change as they grow
and i see it all
now suddenly i feel heavy,
i feel something in me engineered to rest,
the sunlight filtered through me
like i was a transparent glass,
it touched a thing in me that told me
i have to kiss the ground now
i am in this downward spiral
as the kiss spirals out of me to me
i begin to understand what this means,
preparing to change my course,
to embrace the new journey,
i knew i always wanted it,
but was not prepared.
i am happy and sad,
happy to know i have been through the air
have matured to the fullest
hence the tree that comes of me,
will be beautiful
for i know how to love
sad i don’t know why,
to lose these dear wings perhaps,
but i will embrace my new state
for that was what i wanted unknowingly
to grow was what i wanted
the flying was to this end
and to this end it has come
and now i am to settle
in the dust and wait for rain
there is plenty
and in my time bloom
and keep the backwork going
i am happy to be gladdened by this duty
i am happy to be here

Death the Leveller


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The glories of our blood and state

Are shadows, not substantial things

There is no armour against Fate;

Death lays its icy hands on kings:

Sceptre and Crown

Must tumble down,

And in the dust be equal made

With the poor crooked scythe and spade


Some men with swords may reap the field,

And plant fresh laurels where they kill:

But their strong nerves at last must yield;

They tame but one another still:

Early or Late

They stoop to fate,

And must give up their murmuring breath

When they, pale captives, creep to death.


The garlands wither on your brow,

Then boast no more of your mighty deeds!

Upon Death’s purple altar now

See where the victor-victim bleeds.

Your heads must come

To the cold tomb:

Only the actions of the just

Smell sweet and blossom in their dust.


– James Shirley





in steps. in steps it keeps coming.

keeps clearing
i keep going back
coding back
sieving analysing
putting it back

with care

the change in me from then. Incredible change.
After the first blow, I was silent. Silent to see this fakeness, couldn’t comprehend. Used to stare, look at people, not talk. Less talk. Before that I was confident.
Started talking in friends, mirroring them, their behavior, learning that they are not bad actually. But always seeing it in the face.

Learning the insecurities as well. Learning to look at myself from another’s eyes. Learning the terms and pomp of this world.

I became that. I suffered. I made people suffer. He broke some of it. I went along. Idealised him, and me. Failed.
Saw myself, incredibly flawed. Couldn’t take it.
Panic. Diary. Writing. Incredible loneliness.

Bangalore, writing, on my own. Misery.
Bombay. Fear of public. Terror. Wanting to improve, first expression.

LA. Wanting badly to improve. Guilt. No comfort. Sexual fear. Unable to comprehend a person.

Bombay. Business, self worth, positives,
IDC, positives, clarity, people. I listen to them
I get carried away. IIT B vaccum. Was not like this when I came here.
People and their smiles. Make me smile. A prison of smile.
Love is what cages me.
Love is what bruises me. I stand up. Scream. No one understands.
I am tired, very much. Very much.
Still unable to understand.
Read. Know. Read. Understand.
I am overwhelmed, by the misery, by the available knowledge and by the failure to use that knowledge.

I am tired of the eyes looking at me.

I talk. Open. My mind.
Clarify my mind.
I am sorted.
Then entangled.
With him.
We run
We crash
Major hurt
Incredibly hurt, I was.
I saw it all
I stay still
it comes back
in steps

in steps

I come back.
In spurts
I see myself
I see the balance
I see my flaws
Again and Again
and Again
I see my fears
I thought I didn’t have
I see my mind
blanketing my fears
and lying to me
it does not speak to me
I does not know how to speak
It just shows

when I give it the space

I understand.
I know.
What connects us.
I need to learn
How to do it
How to balance
My body
I need to feel again
These roles
stamped on me
By myself
I need to wipe off
And not look back
I was petrified
To see myself
to see my room
who am I
whose is this body
I am not this
So weird
it was
I am something else

And i need to carve it out

Love cannot hold me
You cannot hold me
I won’t let
In me is everything
I won’t smile back and gel
even though I love
or because I love
I won’t
I will fight
For myself
I know the direction
I know the fountain
I need to learn the way

Help me

Secret Superstar

Innocence. The clear path seen only in innocence. Muddled by various streams of reasonings afterwards. The part when the granny talks about Insiya’s mother running away before abortion, two huge teardrops fell from my eyes, how casually, how casually, like taking tea from a tea stall and sipping as we chat with friends, that casually, it was said. My hand reached out to my friend, wanting a touch of reality to accept this. The dialogue that she says on the stage, something like, even to dream is a privilege, is true. I speak here, I am what I am, what you know I am, because a freedom was intentionally, deliberately served to me by my mother every day of my life, I had to fight for it sometimes. It isn’t by fluke or a sudden one time event, it was a deliberate attempt, to see a life free and with the power to decide its own course in this world.

Cages of childhood.

Insiya’s desperation, her closed off feeling was real, I was reminded of my childhood, that sense of pathetic out of control feeling, to not be able to do what you want, or to not even be presented by a right reason for the denial. When she asks her mom, that she promised to give her anything, her mom says, “ask anything from me, but not from life”. The closed nature of a problem, and when questions are asked we do not get answers, instead we get irrational constraints and more constraints. We never have answers, not even when we grow up, we just become dead. We don’t ask questions anymore, and when a child does, we dampen it with the irrationality that was passed onto us. And so it goes.

Irrational? Rational? What is it? What is the base from which we compare and say something is rational? Utility? But what is utility then? The character of her father, so real. The fact that this happens around us, the people passing you today, some will go home and abuse, and you must have faced them and you know this happens, how does it not wrench your gut. I see people with kids blanketing them out completely, not even listening to what they say, I see people belittling their own kid, talking to them as they are some invalid piece of shit. And I wonder, where exactly do you place value then? What do you live for? What extreme kind of mental torture is this. Mental violence, towards yourself, towards the kid, whom you are robbing of the curiosity that comes by default by loading up such dangerous behaviours and the cloak of certainty. The character Guddu, so innocent, so bubbly, so caring, can we not see her father would have been a similar child at some point of time. Can we not see that Guddu can become that father in future, what loss. What loss. Social structures around us, be it religion, family, social media, are they acting as a wall we fall back on with the irrationality? How can something illogical exist? Only when it is done in high numbers. When the need to question is suffocated somewhere and the behaviour forever floats on the airs of unfounded, unquestionable concepts.

What is logical and rational? What is the absolute we base it on? We only know one absolute. Life. That which makes us live better is logical and rational. Live better? Live content, happy, when our self knows that this is true, this is right. Like when Aamir Khan knows when Insiya sings. Instead of questioning what is right, we can know it by feeling it. A kid singing on a bright morning is right, a kid looking on as his father beats up his mother is not. A kid with a puzzle stuck in her head, a grown up accepting their mistake, a grown up curious to know something, open to say something. We never got sudden ‘grown up’ doses in our mental structure as we got the hormones one, what we have in here is ad hoc, mashed up stuff, a kid can give us the open ends so easily to ponder upon, to close them, to at least try. Expand this knowledge by reading, by listening, by being curious. Utility should be the driven towards this. Every reasoning should aid this. What else is of value if not life itself?

My friend says how in Harayana, they have wells at the back of their house and they just drown babies there, just like that, if they are female. Oh what a luck to be alive today here, you ask me how does it feel to know you are not wanted? That you might as well have died? How does it feel? I was seeing a documentary on caste discrimination on Youtube. A boy was talking about how he is not allowed to sit with other kids, he cannot drink water and he says this with such acceptance, his eyes close as he drops his head and the reporter and him both are silent. That helplessness, that you accept your own damnation, how does it feel? That your life itself is granted on to you as a punishment, and you silently accept it, droop your eyes. It enrages me, what have we done. To take away, to suck away life like this from kids who are the very forces of life. We make them choke on our poison, killing them. Zombies. It is a graveyard. A walking, breathing graveyard. A delicate bud lost and dying in the slime.

How we give our own reasons for something to exist, same would have been the case when untouchability existed, today when sexism exists. It is the same thing. Mummy shared a poem on Whatsapp. This is a new form of ‘sati’ it says. So true. So true. Insiya’s mother, her acceptance of her circumstances, her acceptance of her inferiority stamped on her, of her being a slave, is a form of mental torture that we take pride that we have abolished. But guess not.



The poem:

कळलच नाही
वर्गातल्या मुली कुठं गेल्या….

संगी, मंगी, कपी, मंदी
हसायच्या फिंदी फिंदी

आणखीही बऱ्याच होत्या वर्गात
कळायचंच नाही
आम्ही वर्गात आहे कि स्वर्गात….

खेळायच्या बडबडायच्या,
म्हणलं तर खूप अल्लड होत्या

त्या फ्रॉक, पोलके,
चापून चोपून घातलेल्या वेण्यासकट
त्या डोळ्यासमोरून तरळून गेल्या ….

कळलचं नाही
वर्गातल्या मुली कुठं गेल्या.

आम्ही शेण पाणी आणायचो
त्या वर्ग सारवायच्या
शाळा सुटल्यावर
वर्गही त्याच अवरायाच्या

आम्ही वर्ग झाडायचो,
त्या बस्करं घालायच्या
आम्ही पटांगण झाडायचो,
त्या सडा मारायच्या…

त्या लंगडी लंगडी,
झिम्माड फुगडी घालायच्या,
सर्वांशीच मनमोकळं बोलायच्या..

अभ्यास मात्र मन लाऊन करायच्या
कवितेत तर खूप खूप रमायच्या
सातवी पर्यंत गावातल्या गावात
त्या आमच्या बरोबर शिकल्या ……

कळलच नाही
वर्गातल्या मुली कुठं गेल्या

सातवी नंतर घरात
असा काही नियम नव्हता

बाहेर गावी मुलींना
कोणीच पाठवत नव्हता

शाळा सुटली पाटी फुटली
मुली बसल्या घरात

आम्ही दिवटे चिरंजीव
शिकत राहिलो शहरात

अल्पवयातच त्या बोहल्यावर चढल्या ….

कळलच नाही
वर्गातल्या मुली कुठं गेल्या …

मिसुरड फुटायचा आतच
आम्ही मामा झालो, काका झालो
त्या आई झाल्या,मावशी झाल्या
काकू झाल्या, सून झाल्या ,
नणंद झाल्या, भावजयी झाल्या

विहिरीवर पाण्याला गेल्या
रानात गेल्या, वनात गेल्या
काही स्टोव्हवर गेल्या,
काही शेगडीवर गेल्या,

काही परत आल्याच नाही
काही परतल्या
पण पार करपल्या
जळालेल्या भकारीसारख्या

व्यवस्थेच्या चारकात पिळल्या गेल्या ……

कळलच नाही
वर्गातल्या मुली कुठं गेल्या..

त्या सावित्री होत्या
त्यांना एकही फुले भेटला नाही

त्या जिजाऊ होत्या
पण एकही शहाजी भेटला नाही

त्या कस्तुरबा होत्या
एकही गांधी भेटला नाही

कुणी म्हणत
त्या परक्याचं धन झाल्या

कुणी म्हणत,
निर्माल्य होऊन जीवन गंगेत
वाहून गेल्या ….

मला वाटत
त्या नवीन प्रकारे सती गेल्या..

काही असो
त्या आता दिसेनाशा झाल्या …..

कळलच नाही
वर्गातल्या मुली कुठं गेल्या…..

-विश्वास नांगरे पाटील



A Robin

Sitting in my studio, a sweet screech very close to me made me look around, something fluttering in the dark, a bird, robin, the black and white one. It hopped around, singing, then went quiet. I am happy to have it, as a proud host I want to do everything to make it stay as long as possible, to also maybe preserve a proof of a visit of such an unusual guest. He seemed oblivious and into himself. He hopped on the table, then on the chair and onto the projector, while I strategised the best way to switch on the lights across the room, turn on my camera and get a pic of it. I switched on the lights successfully. As I pointed the camera at it, it flew away. I kept the camera back.

From my desk I could hear faint chirps from the bluish trees outside. I walked up to the window and looked out, bent a little further, felt as if I entered this completely new world, like I was entering the robin’s territory, I said softly, “Come back.” It was chirping in the dark somewhere, I could hear it.

I went to my desk and it came flying back, just outside the window sill, still in the wilderness, it looked at me keenly, then hopped inside and flew towards the projector and perched on it.

Projector seemed to be its favourite spot. It sat there for a long time, pruning itself, fluffing up. I was observing it and said, “Hi”, it noticed for a while and then went back to its ritual. There was a heavy wind hustling outside, I thought maybe it likes this space, it must be very cold outside. Then a window rang shut. Few minutes before this, a thought had passed my mind, I wanted to take a photo or a video of the robin and for that I could shut the window so that it cannot escape. But maybe the bird would fret out, look how comfortable and at home it is now. And if it frets out, the whole point is lost, the thing dancing between us, right here, is gone. The window whamming shut because of the wind reminded me of this. I got up and opened the window, latched it so that it does not shut against the wind. Robin after sometime, flew towards the window, standing at the sill, looked outside, then looked at me, maybe ascertaining that it can fly out whenever it wants to. It flew back towards the projector.

Maybe it likes sitting on the projector because of the vantage point. I sat doing my work, and he sat doing his. He flew over my head once, glimpsing at what I was doing, resting on a chair in front of me. As close as it gets. It looked at me, taking full note of me for the first time. It was mapping the room and mapping me as well, it felt. It went back to its comfort spot and had a nap I think.

After sometime, it just hopped out of the window, flinching its tail and flew into the night.