February 20, 2012

The Doctor Speaks

Sarcasm and varnish
in alternative doses-

When pity curls
pushing you off your bed
Spasms in your heart
your limbs and head

pick my dosage
and drink it clean
like treacle and ink
and toast and bean

sometimes one
and at times the other
will gift you some peace
save you from the bother

no no this is a life long dose
to cure your head and to your toes
they sell it over the counter, dear
ask for your share, without any fear

just tell them you're suffering

from a disease called living
Roll down a tear
let out a sniffle clear
They will give you sarcasm and varnish too
With a striped lollipop, a candy or two!

Off the top of my head-10

Life crumpled like a paper left to burn alone. No wind to tarry its death, no water to douse its fears.

Off the top of my head-9

She and struggle, went back a long way.

As friends or as foes, she never could tell. 


The gaps between, she couldn't explain. It felt like they had lived a lifetime in an illusory world that only both of them knew about. Not a tailored secret, but a secret of circumstance- of having no choice but being one, as it was not something you could define to all and sundry. It was too beautiful to let go of its magical clasp and allow dirty hands and poking fingers to examine it in their heedless ways.

But the gaps, they always haunted her. The gaps needed to be filled. It was more than time to get those gaping holes covered up at least till midway. The gaps were making the fabric of their existence confused and testy.


Music calls out to me-
its invisible hands holding me captive
in a stronghold embrace;
the sound noiselessly treads,
to nibble at my ear,
and whisper some secret sweet nothings!

Real dreaming

A flirting rhythm.

Eloquence in silence
Intimacy of words
You wish you could
Hold on to
And stop all the disbelief!

Wake up child,
It may just be happening!
Don’t you sleep in dreams!
When in truth,
There is now a life
Better than in dreams
For once,
After really long!

Off the top of my head-8

To yearn, is to sign up for slavery to whatever you yearn for. Nothing can distract you from it.


There was a time when I was around 10 or 12 when television meant Doordarshan and there
were these wonderful things called tele-films that existed.

Just an hour, and a story was told, and it was never boring. There were no item numbers that
had to be plugged in to keep us glued. Masalas stuck to their kitchen boxes and formulae to
our chemistry books. The films took us on a content- rich journey.

Tele-films (or TV film, television movie, TV movie, television film, telemovie, made-for-
television film, movie of the week (MOTW or MOW),feature-length drama, single drama,
and original movie, as wiki informs) is a film made for our idiot box, unlike their cousins
who are made solely for distribution across “ theatres worldwide” as they famously claim.

I vividly remember a particular slot called “Director’s Cut” on the long dead DD-2/ DD
Metro, on weekends, between 9 pm and 10 pm, where tele-films made by famous directors
were shown. I don’t recollect missing a single show. In fact I even remember that a couple
of them had songs! And those songs are stuck in my head till date owing to my very
impressionable age at that time!

In a world that swears by its bread pakode instead of fighting for a sadhya meal, one feels
that it is time to enter into the biggest reality show of them all- the search for tele-films! One
search in YouTube or Vimeo declare that short films are being made dime a dozen. When
movie-making has been made cheap and film studies are not taboo anymore even in the most
conservative of houses, the future of the film industry lies in tapping these content-driven
well-executed passionate pieces of work.

Television soaps are forever chasing saas-es and bahu-s (who are mostly chasing one
another) or falling for the endless reality shows. Channel X declares Singer A as the “Best
Singer in the whole nation”, and Channel Y, the very next day has Singer B being declared
something similar. It is quite a pity that we have nothing else but these contradictory shows to
occupy our prime time.

What television must do is rope in directors –veterans, student filmmakers and enthusiasts
– to develop myriad content to fill the best four hours of our evening with tele features
and short films. Our own demi-gods should also understand that no matter which IMAX
their films screen at, it is the little corner telly that still captivates the largest audience in a
developing nation like India. And every actor worth his emotional palette would only want to
be a part of this franchise.

A whole market could be made out of tele-films. Producers needn’t wake up in nightmares
after having invested in crores for a ‘masala entertainer’. Tele-films will mostly turn out a
lot cheaper to make (excluding a few exceptional themes that inherently demand their extra
paisa). The reach and advertising market is such that the returns would be splendid too. And
at the end of the day, the financial guru could surely come up with wackier ways in drawing
out more money from this enterprise!

Short films, which, unlike their feature friends are less than 40 minutes of running time and
could even be just a few seconds long, could also be arrayed into a programme that will last

30 minutes(inclusive of those never ending ads). One cannot think of a more refreshing type
of programming in this regard! Stories, perspectives, slices-of-life delivered in seconds and
minutes lending a new angle to your own thoughts.

The best part is these tele-features and shorts could be fictional, documentary or experimental
in nature. Imagine the kind of themes they could explore, the nature of the exposure they
would provide to our general public! Socially relevant campaigns could have better reach,
new talented actors could be launched, unexplored places could be seen from your favourite

The far-reaching consequences of this idea are many. It is a pity that television channels have
not thought of the marriage of the smaller and larger screen content-wise!

Buy your home-made popcorn, or go for the hot bajjis, if you please, and settle down cosily
in front of the TV to see a film unfold. What better delight can a cineaste expect? If affording
this becomes a big issue for television channels (which I highly doubt, well knowing how
much money they freely spend in creating ‘family serials’ from the perspectives of maternal
cousin twice-removed, grandfather’s brother’s wife’s daughter-in-law and the like), they
could slot this as a weekly affair. But oh, what an affair to remember and relish it would be!


Cut chop snip
A trim here
A spruce there
A dash of colour
Chemicals to rinse
And then bright bright red lights
Surreal setting of real noir
To create and bear the reel.

dripping wet
selectively darkened
selectively brightened
Exposing it for the first time
Since its conception
Introducing it to light
Through darkness
Friends and strangers meet.

Sheer Poetry
As images materialize
On a stark white canvas
As if some magical thought
Breathed into emptiness
A light frozen for eternity
Void slowly eaten up
Chewed by black lines
Gray forms
Coloured curves

The void crumbles into itself
With a zigzag of forms
Together symphonizing a whole
A composition they call an image
That which an eye saw
A heart leaped forth on seeing
A soul stirred for a moment
A brain triggered a response
A plastic shutter opened and closed
For a set time
Allowing just the bit of light
That the vision teased it to commit.

Toilet Grafitti

They used to scare me- those grafitti of human anatomy that lined the walls of train toilets. No one
spoke about them to me, but of course, everyone must have known they were there. But to a little kid,
these were as scary as spooks.

Everytime I travelled by train, I used to instantly go and check the toilet, fearing their presence . It
used to worry me that people resorted to such obscenities. I vividly remember,, once reading “fuck
the nun” in the wall and discovering, to my raw horror, that there actually were a bunch of nuns in my

That night, I did not sleep well.

The next morning, I ran to see if the nuns were safe. They were talking amongst themselves normally and nothing seemed amiss. I breathed, relieved!

Many years later, after obscenity has become more common and human failings familiar, the toilet
grafitti does not bother me.

But even today, every once I enter an Indian train toilet, I scan the walls for fading ball point ink marks
and wonder which of the many I share space with, have such dark secret obsessions.


Heat licking my bare neck
like snake fingers!

Exposed metal grilles
slaking thirst, drinking heat.

Glass shards reflecting
rays piercing like needles.

Sweat droplets on the temple
water sprinkler on plants at noon.

Hot air gushing into the caves of the nose
melting the stony blockades.

Water down the throat
killing my insides with its heat.

Blue nerves thawing slowly
geyser water at work on bare skin.

Steam collecting on mirror surfaces
when a breath is made captive.

Near invisible waves in air,
slowly escaping a plugged iron.

Amalgamation of rice, dhal, salt
in a secret pot of hot air.

Potato on water, boiling
bobbing up and down, like excited kids.

Cackling oil in cauldrons on fire
witch dreams coming real.

Matches and magnifying glasses
little magic brewed at the backyard.

Foot dipped in the beach at noon
white heat scalding to a near death.

Engines puffing and panting
with the weight of people's hopes.

Buildings dancing to still air
heat waves dictating their moves

Pieces of heaven stoning the earth
asteroid showers and celestial fireworks.

Water snaking its way through hills
like curled up swords on a mossy throne.

Dried up ponds dreaming of better days
as the last drop bids its goodbye

February 10, 2012

A parrot scratches
at my window pane
little marks on the glass.
I can see them
especially when the sun rises
the little scrape glints
catching the light
I move away
thank god
there are no cracks!

February 09, 2012

Methinks- 1

Sometimes you wonder where the lines between reality and illusion blur. Most of life is contained in that blur zone. We need to do more research there!

February 08, 2012


The song sings to me
my thoughts in verse
And somewhere the cosmos
I know, tells you my secrets...

February 07, 2012

The wheels of time

Familiar with pain
Happiness suddenly is a stranger
Who informs me
that the pages that burnt
were all of melancholy
and the ones that just got written
are inked with promises

How does one explain
to one's own self
that sometimes the emptiness
has a visitor
and silence and loneliness
start a conversation
and in a gust of wind
they lose their masks

February 06, 2012

Memory Catcher

What do I take from everyday
the little notifications?
the stolen glances
or reflections on the monitor?

what do I string together
into a sparkling chain
I could dangle around my writst?

When I walk around 
I know it would ring
of all the laughter
that we shared.

"Where I let the silence take over"

(Title Credit: Somdutt Sarkar)

It was like a silent syllable that suggested, merely by its presence. But somewhere a red giant burst, a supernova exploded, and a dying star ceased to exist. And something new was about to be born...

February 04, 2012

Off the top of my head- 7

It is a Saturday. Your work is going good. You ate idlies and vadais for breakfast in Aapnu Amdavad. You are listening to your chosen music.

Some days you are happy to just be.
© Dryad's Peak
Maira Gall