हम इंतज़ार करते रहे

वो आएंगे, बस कुछ देर और
हम इंतज़ार करते रहे
जब इतना रुके तो अब थोड़ा और
हम इंतज़ार करते रहे

हम तो आगे ही खड़े थे ख़ुशी के मारे
कि अब जाकर हमारा वक़्त आया है
कतार लम्बी होती गई और हम पीछे छूट गए
कब कैसे क्यों कुछ पता भी नहीं चला

वो आएंगे तो फिर नहीं जायेंगे
हम उम्मीद करते रहे
इस बार यहीं ठहर जायेंगे
हम उम्मीद करते रहे

कहीं रास्ते में फंस गए होंगे
हम खुदको मनाते रहे
बस अब आते ही होंगे
हम खुदको मनाते रहे

जान मांगी होती तो शायद मिल भी जाती
हम उनके वक़्त की चाह में रह गए
आज फिर उनकी गलियों में हमने रात गुज़ारी
उनकी नामौजूदगी से वो बहुत कुछ कह गए


The Strong Woman

There she was, a strong woman.
She smiled like a fairy
And laughed like a child.
She looked strict and stern
Yet she was gentle, calm and kind.

There she was, a strong woman.
But she was not immune to pain.
She could not conceal it
But she endured it.
She went on, but would not reveal it.

There she was, a strong woman.
In a world where everyone was resisting and quitting
Hers was one brave, brave battle.
Nobody knew why she was fighting
Neither what kept her moving…

There she was, a strong woman.
Nobody knew of her struggles
But she and she alone.
Her strength lay in her silence.
There she was, one of the strongest women I’d known.

I Shall Not Be Silenced

To the men –
Cage me if you wish.
You can bind my hands and legs
But not my thoughts and ambitions
Remember that ideas are bulletproof.

To the society –
Condemn me if you wish.
You can insult and ostracise me
But you cannot close your eyes to the naked truth I show you.
Remember that our powerlessness is your only weapon.

To the fascists –
Kill me if you wish.
You can threaten to rape or destroy me
But my honour is not your slave.
Remember that the pen will always be mightier than your sword.

To the world –
Remember me if you wish.
But do not give in to the intolerant numbers
Who will throttle all those who question and oppose
Remember that dissent is the essence of democracy.

I shall continue to live till there are those
who stand up, speak up and are unafraid.
Your bullets can destroy my body
But cannot maim my spirit.

Rest in power, Gauri Lankesh!

The Star

There was a star that shone

The young victim

This poem is dedicated to all of us- victims of a suffocating educational system with burdensome evaluation patterns. It is a matter of shame for any educational institution when the institutional torture it inflicts upon students is so severe that even the most hardworking and sincere ones cannot perform their level best.

I am the child carrying a bag bigger than herself
I am the student rushing from one tuition to the next
Or one who is just a month away from my degree
Bombarded with work he can’t finish in a century

I run, unaware of my destination
I collapse, gasping for breath
But I stand again to finish one more chapter
As my own will experiences a slow death

There are expectations from elders
Dreaded punishments from teachers
Ridicule from rivals
Contempt from competitors

I read but do not register a line
I write but the words don’t seem to be mine
I study but do not critically analyze
I think but produce no ideas

I now know what Marx meant by alienation
When nothing feels like your own
Neither your dreams, nor your goals
And work makes you feel overgrown

I don’t want to wake up to a new day
Because I will have to continue what I left before
At this young age, I want to disappear
Rather than read, interact and explore

My brain refuses to concentrate
As my heart isn’t into what I have to do
The bird wants to sleep undisturbed in its nest
So that tomorrow it can begin a journey anew

I don’t want to fulfil expectations anymore
I don’t want to match any standards
I want a free reign for my imagination
I want to explore different worlds

Frustration, depression, irritation
All gate-crash like uninvited guests in a party
The rebel within roars in indignation
To surpass every institutional limitation

Nothing can be learnt from too much work
It just becomes an imposed formality
Done in haste, whether good or waste
Life staggers between ‘dead’lines

I succumb to pressure
I lose my enthusiasm and motivation
“How much done?” displaces “How are you?”
My existence revolves around marks and submissions

Freedom and time are what I need
To think of new ideas, to try and try again
To learn from my mistakes
To knowledge  and wisdom so gain

When I see little kids play
Naughty, innocent and carefree they chirp..
They look so cheerful and happy
I wish I never grew up

Live, love and grow…

Life is not about surviving
it is about growing
It is not about capturing the most attractive view
rather it is about learning something new

It is more than the promotions and pay hikes one gains
it is the little things that matter
It is the joy of drenching in the rains
or a cup of coffee with a partner

It is finding time for the people one loves
it is introspecting and communicating with the self
It is being aware of what goes on around
it is not whiling away like a dusty book on a shelf

Yes, life is work
but only work is not life
Life is sharing cheers and smiles
it is about making it worthwhile

Years later, lost moments return as regret
but happy ones linger forever
They reinvigorate lost hopes and spirits
they help one feel stronger and better

Life is not a race to be won
it is a quest to find oneself
It is not drowning oneself in a sea of responsibilities
but learning to swim towards the shore of one’s dreams

It aims at success and wealth
but not at the cost of happiness and health
It is about kindness and companionship
Care, empathy, love and friendship

Don’t miss the moon while counting the stars
don’t miss the train you’ve always wanted to board
Be the flower that bloomed its best before dying
Be the bird that higher and higher soared

Embrace your passions, challenge your fears
be the one you want to be
Love yourself and explore the horizons
make it the show you’d love to see!

I dissent, therefore I am

When pedestals are misused
Power is abused
When minorities are marginalized
When rebels are ostracized

When I am not considered a compatriot
When a government infringes upon my food right
When draconian laws continue to terrorize
When my caste determines my might

When three countries claim over my state
When nobody cares what residents want
When terrorists and soldiers ruin us the same
Day or night, the fear of death does haunt

When protest is sedition
When consent is the condition
When disagreement is criticized
When dissent is criminalized

When my freedom remains enshrined in a constitution
When I am denied the right to practise it
When I demand what I am entitled to
I am tortured so that I quit

When activism is blasphemous
When compliance is the norm
I am not a mere gush of wind
I will wreak havoc like a storm

I don’t know if I am national
Or if I belong to this nation at all
I don’t know if I am patriot
If I don’t bow to it or extol

But I know I am being alienated
I know I am being demonized
My differences being disregarded
I know I am being dehumanized

I realize, therefore I am
I question, therefore I am
I dissent, therefore I am
I condemn, therefore I am

I agitate, therefore I am
I retaliate, therefore I am
I mobilize, therefore I am
I revolutionize, therefore I am!