Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Unobtrusively, without too much of a fuss,
He casually rolled into town on the bus.
See cos most of these beasties, they put on quite a show
When they're around, they surely want you to know,
Roiling waters, wildly flapping wings,
Uncouth roaring and other disgusting things.
Gautzilla wasted no time on this silly exercise
With single-minded purpose he keeps his eyes on the prize
Hopped in an Uber, rode it to the street of St. Mark
Tipped the driver a hundred, just for a lark.
'MTR' the sign said, in big gleaming letters
Gautzi plowed his way through, shoving elders and betters.
But at the glass doors, he couldn't help but pause
And stop to admire his teeth, tail and claws
"You sexy beast!" he purred at his scaly reflection
('Twasn't June or July so he didn't have add to the collection)
To his favourite table he saw a clear path
Sat down and said "Raju, moor bisi bele baath"
These he disposed of in less than a bite,
You had to see to believe, it was truly a sight
He followed up with a dosae or two
And then a plate of besan laddoo.
He sat back in his chair for twenty seconds and then
Said "Raju bring me the whole lot again".
Unobtrusive entry, he did make indeed
But you tend to get noticed, when like a beast you do feed.

His hearing was sharp, he heard the whispers around
"He's here to make babies, just look at his tummy,
There's no doubt about it, he'll soon be a mummy "

Gautzi sniggered inwardly and thought to himself
"If what comes out me tonight is gonna be my spawn,
I'll spend the rest of my days with a pink tutu on! "

He picked his teeth, paid his shot and made his way out
Lazily rolling a toothpick round his mouth
When with no warning there was a great big roar
(I've never heard them come from a rear end before)
A skinny road worker, deafened by the drills
Not particularly concerned that smoking kills
Had just decided a break he would snatch
He never heard them scream "NO DON'T LIGHT THAT MAAA-!!!"

A slightly sheepish Gautzo picked his way through the dust
Thanking his stars for his fireproof crust
He left as quietly(ahem) as he had come in
And that's the whole story. Goodnight. Fin.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


They said I should write a poem
About what I like about you
With as many details as possible
So that's what I'm gonna do.

I like the stupid lines
Not everyone does, I hear
I even like the stupid lies
I've got it bad, that's clear.

I like the nice, I like the fun
The practical offers are cute
When you're around you are the one
I like you that's the trute!

I like, nay love, the silly
And how you let me be
And even jump in the fray
And be part of the insanity.

So that's my detailed poem
It's really the vaguest I've seen
But then this is probably the silliest
That I have ever been

And if you think it is,
This poem's probably about you
And I'd just like to say in parting
That I like cookies too.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Cats and Dogs and

I wake up to a ball of fur brushing across my face. I don’t have to open my eyes to find out what’s happening. It’s the cat. She’s brought one of her kittens into my bed with a rather misplaced faith in my hospitality.
“Poochieeeeee,” I grumble wiping at my nose where the cat hair has tickled it.
She ignores me, plops her kitten down on the bed and makes herself comfortable, poking around until she settles on a spot that ensures that her swishing tail is in my face. The kitten however, doesn’t appear similarly minded. He sniffs around, shoving his nose in every corner he can find, quite fascinated by his new surroundings. I am not eager to have a young kitten that has not yet been potty trained in my bed. I am even more reluctant to have him in a space where he is likely to get squashed when I decide to roll over onto my stomach. I reach out, pick him up and put him on the floor by the side of the bed.
The silence of the night prevails only for a couple of seconds more as his shrill cries of protest at this undignified eviction rent the air. Poochie jumps up, confused by the turn of events, now aware of the fact that her little kitten is no longer a part of the population on the bed. She peeks over the side of the bed to see her kitten on the floor. She turns and looks at me, her black head outlined against the white wall, and in the dark I can feel rather than see the reproach in her eyes. She jumps off, picks him up and gets right back on the bed. I sigh as I realise that sleep and I are to part ways for a while tonight. I reach over my shoulder for my phone; it is 12:20 am. Another sigh and I roll out of bed and pick up the kitten. Sleep or no sleep, this kitten in my bed is a potential cleaning nightmare that I do not want to deal with in the light of the morning. This time Poochie doesn’t stir from her spot. She watches dispassionately as I take the screeching little fellow into the garage to put him in with his sibling who has been surprisingly quiet. He has now dug his claws very firmly into the threads of my nightshirt and it’s quite a struggle disengaging them. I manage. I deposit him safely in his bed in the shelf under the ironing table and shut the garage door. A window has been cracked open so that Poochie can come and go as she pleases. The kittens are too small to be able to climb out themselves.
 Back in my bed Poochie has firmly settled herself in to sleep. She’s purring as gently as a lawn mower. No, definitely no more sleep in the immediate future. It’s a clear night, there must be stars out. I like to watch the stars. I decide to go out on the roof.
 It’s quite light outside, the moon’s nice. I take a stroll round the verandah. The verandah runs almost all the way around the house, only breaking for the steps that lead to the roof, off to the left side of the house. A railing runs round the verandah to keep the dogs off of it. The house is ghostly white in the moonlight. I’m at the front, looking out at the inclined path that leads straight down to the gate and the main road. It’s lined on both sides with silver oaks which now look like dark sentinels watching over the hundreds of coffee plants that cover the slope behind them. The rumble of a truck that I hear in the distance gets closer and in a while I see the lights whiz past the gate. Swatting at a mosquito that’s buzzing around my ear I stroll round the right side of the house. A frog jumps into the little lily pond with a soft plop. I’m at the back of the house now, facing the little papaya orchard. The twenty trees are heavy with fruit. I’ll have to get someone to pluck them before the birds and the squirrels gouge holes in the papayas making them quite unfit for human consumption.
The dogs have been quiet so far but now they come bounding up to the railings to say hello. I stretch over and scratch their heads.
“What have you been up to, you silly little pigs,” I say to them. They are quite obviously thrilled by this form of address and are not backward in showing their appreciation. I see only two of them. I suspect the third is away on important business. A half ‘woof’ and a frantic rustle of dry leaves under the rows of coffee plants confirm my suspicions.
 My trip round the house indicates nothing out of the ordinary. I make my way round, to the stairs that will take me up to the roof. Sam the German Shepherd and Gopi the Mutt (he says he prefers Bharath Hound but I tell him he doesn’t know what he wants) follow me, just outside of the railing that separates the verandah from the yard. They look hopeful. It’s not every night I step out for a casual chat. Maybe, they are probably thinking, there’s more fun to be had tonight. I look at their silly faces with their tongues hanging out and decide that their hopes are going to be justified. I open the little gate and let them in. The dogs and cats of the household not being on particularly cordial terms, this is not a practice I am likely to encourage in the long term. For tonight, however, I know that Poochie’s firmly ensconced in my bed with no immediate intention of leaving it. I turn toward the stairs and as soon as they know which way I’m going they scamper on ahead of me (I use the term scamper rather loosely on at least one of my canine companions, Sam being of a size that renders this mode of progress quite impossible). 
 The gate at the top of the steps has been left open. Getting to the roof a few steps behind the enthusiastic dogs, I am not disappointed by my choice. I look up and what I see is the stuff of poems – not just the nursery rhymes, the romantic stuff. I convince myself that I am a poet, and that the first thing that I will do once I go back inside is to put pen to paper and give voice to my thoughts. There is however, this annoying voice at the back of my head insisting that I’ve only added one more item to the list of things I will never do. The world’s too beautiful right now for me to care and so I defiantly add ‘learn to identify the constellations’ to this list.
One corner of the terrace has a small pile of assorted objects of varying degrees of utility. I step over to it and grab a mat I keep handy for my adventures in stargazing. I’ve used it at least three times in the last six years. I shake it out. Always a good measure considering I’ve shared it with cockroaches, spiders, lizards, red ants and once, with a dozen baby kraits. A few offended spiders scatter and Gopi immediately gives chase. One slips into a tiny crack in the cemented roof, and little Gopi sniffs at it with all the elegance of a vacuum cleaner.
“Oy!” I growl at him, more out of habit than with any intention of actually diverting him from his activities.
He looks up, casts me a disinterested look and returns to his rendition of a hoover.
I spread the mat out and lie down on my back, so as to get a good view of the moon and the stars. It’s not a full moon night, but it’s pretty enough. I adopt a rather romantic pose with one hand on my chest and the other upturned across my forehead. I’m afraid I have a tendency to the theatrical even in the absence of an audience. I heave a deep sigh and paste a beatific half smile on my lips. Too bad no one’s around to take a picture. The romance of the moment is only slightly marred by Gopi’s obsession with his spider and Sam casually taking a leak on a heap of dry leaves in one corner of the terrace.
I send another rumbling “Oy!” out into the universe with no clear idea of what I want to accomplish with it. This time Sam responds. He comes up to me and shoves a wet nose in my ear. I push it away only to have it return and lodge itself firmly in my neck. I heave another sigh - no hint of romance about this one – and sit up. Sam saunters away to investigate what Gopi finds so interesting in his corner of the roof. They take up a conversation that seems largely conducted in the form of a series of sniffs and I relax.
A few minutes of quiet reflection and I lie back down. Not for long. In a few minutes the dogs have tired of the poor spider decide to take a turn round the terrace at a thundering gallop. I already regret letting them come up here with me. I resign myself to my fate and, much like the old adage, I join them.
We race up and down the roof for a bit, until I’m out of breath. I stroll over to the edge and lean over the railing. The estate looks beautiful. The coffee is in blossom and the snow white flowers are wonderful in the moonlight. A slight breeze and the scent of the blossom wafts up toward me. The night is quiet save for my rasping breaths in the aftermath of my recent gallop with the dogs and the occasional faint rustle in the distance. I make like a tree and take to swaying gently with the breeze. Peace has just descended when a frantic barking from the far side of the terrace destroys it. Sam has his head through the railings, and is looking down at the source. Gunda is back from his romp and objects strongly to that fact that Sam and Gopi are on the roof with me, out of reach. He feels left out and he barks jealously up at the other two who gaze calmly down at him. They don’t respond in kind, clearly believing themselves to be above that sort of behaviour. Sam turns to look at me with a pitying light in his eyes.
“So uncouth,” he seems to say, “Has the man no self respect?”
Sam’s superior manner aggravates Gunda even more. He goes into a frenzy, barking his insults in the most vicious manner possible. He’s saying many things that are going to be hard to unsay once the light of reason shines upon him. I join Sam and Gopi at the railing and throw a few ineffectual ‘Shh!’s and ‘Quiet!’s into the mix. These only cause Gunda to check long enough to cast me an apologetic glance while he continues to tell the other two exactly what he thinks of them. I give up my attempts at mediation and prepare to wait out the storm. Suddenly it’s over. I look over the side and Gunda is on high alert, ears up as far as they will go. He’s by the papaya garden, looking beyond it into the darkness under the coffee plants and I hear a faint crack in the distance – a breaking twig. His ears go down and he looks sheepishly up at me and with a little whimper he exits the scene. Something’s off.
When it comes to self preservation, it’s always advisable to take your cue from the animals.
“Always listen to the dogs. They know what’s going on. Always,” my grandfather used to tell me.
I think it’s time to go in.
I turn to head down the stairs whistling to Sam and Gopi over my shoulder to follow. They seem strangely reluctant. I should have known. I insist and they trail along only up until the little gate at the top of the stairs. They allow themselves to be thrust just outside of it as I shut it behind me and refuse to budge from the top step. My walk down the stairs (including my little struggle with the dogs at the gate) puts the papaya patch out of view for only a little while – thirty, maybe forty seconds on the outside. That’s why I’m surprised when I turn the corner and I can’t see the papaya trees. Being of slightly more than average intelligence, I realise that this is because there is a rather large elephant blocking the view, standing as it was, just outside of the railing.
My brain allows itself a few moments of coherent thought before the fear shuts it down almost completely. Foremost is the amazement I feel at having allowed an animal as dainty as this elephant sneak up on me without much more warning than Gunda’s show of courage. This wondering done, I am frozen to the ground, unable to tear my eyes away from the expanse of elephant behind a mere ten feet in front of me. The elephant has now realised that she is not alone and turns in a leisurely fashion to examine the latest addition to the scene. I vaguely register a baby elephant frolicking among the papayas in the background. Things aren’t looking too good for me. Mama elephant fixes me with a beady eye as it hits me that two-foot high railings, while most effective at keeping dogs out, are unlikely to feature on Elephant Weekly’s list of top ten toughest hurdles. Showing great presence of mind, I collapse against the wall at my back, nails digging in as I utter a petrified “Nyerkle”. (That’s what it sounds like when you try to swallow and whimper on the same breath. Try it.)
Elephant’s still looking me dead in the eye and I can almost hear her thinking. She’s doing a quick assessment of threat levels. My system meanwhile is showing a remarkable lack of commitment to the cause. Every cell is in flight mode, but with a deplorable lack of unity, each is attempting to escape in a different direction. The resultant is a shuddering mass of organs unable to introduce anything remotely remedial to the situation. I think the elephant sees this. I see a distinct curling of the lip. This is followed by a rather derisive snort. I still can’t move. Then, slowly, slowly, she turns. She turns until she’s facing away from me and starts to amble unhurriedly away. I hear the sound first. It’s like the air brakes on a large vehicle – a lorry, or a bus. I’m confused. I can’t tell where it’s coming from. Then the smell hits me and my eyes water from the pungency of the hot air, to term it politely, that has hit me full in the face. The elephant tosses her head slightly as she rips a young papaya tree up from the root. She has, in no uncertain terms, told me what she thinks of me. Sam, that traitor, slinks slowly up from behind. I turn to look at him. He sniffs at the air and exhales in a rush, almost immediately. He looks embarrassed for the elephant.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dolphins and the meaning of life

I like to think it's a country far away
But honestly I really don't know,
Maybe it's here, or maybe it's there
Heck it just might be right next door.

So why I mention it, when I know so little
I'm sure that you're tempted to ask,
Well there's a tale to be told and be told it must
And upon myself I've taken that task.

In this country (if indeed a country it is
I confess even that's unclear),
Atop a very high, very snowy hill
There sat a very wise, very old seer.

It was a tradition in the surrounding lands
That a boy could never become a man,
Until he had journeyed to the top of that hill
And the seer had given him his life's plan.

There was one such boy who set out one day
To make that life-changing climb,
A boy he had been for a great many years
And now he thought it was finally time.

He packed his toothbrush and clean underwear
A T-shirt to suit every mood,
A shoelace, a duster, a bright pink pincushion
Sparing not a thought for some food.

His trip was uneventful, three days as expected,
He arrived none the worse for the wear,
Although (for what reason he really couldn't say)
He felt like his middle was no longer there.

He lost no time finding the cave
Where the great seer was rumoured to sit,
Surprisingly for one not particularly bright
He found it in an hour and a minute.

He ducked in the cave and then for a while
Was invisible to the rest of the world,
When he came out, you could see without a doubt
That a smile of knowing on his lips was curled.

He made down the hill in less than two days
Apparently eager to get started,
On the rest of his life, the object of which
The seer had secretly imparted.

Back at his house he didn't wait long
He was antsy as anyone can be,
He packed up his bags and struck a fine pose
Said "Mother, I'm going to the sea!"

The sea wasn't far, just thirty miles off,
He walked there in less than a day,
But once he'd got there and rested a while
He began behaving in the most peculiar way.

He spent all his time skirting the shore
Talking to the creatures of the sea,
If he could hitch a ride out on some fishing boat
He'd continue his conversation in the deep.

He went on like this for many a day
His cheer growing less and then less,
Until one day he jumped up and down pointing
And shouting "A porpoise! A porpoise!"

It turned out that it was actually a dolphin
Who addressed him in terms the basest,
For he was offended, quite understandably and said
"Sir! You are abominably racist!"

Time wore on and and the boy seemed to get
Quieter and progressively more depressed,
Until the most animation he showed was to look up
And say " It's only a dolphin." at best.

Strange behaviour, it's often been seen
Goes unnoticed for only so long,
Sure enough he was soon asked to explain himself
By a crowd, some thirty people strong.

With a deep sigh he realised that he
Had to give up his secret or beat it,
He consoled himself with the reflection that
Thirty people surely would never repeat it.

He launched into his tale of his upward journey
And the path that had clearly been shown him,
How he had come to the sea on that path
Leaving behind all who had known him.

With another sigh the boy reminded them all
How it must never be repeated, that great truth,
And how he knew he could trust them, one and all
Not to betray that sayer of sooth.

"I'd walked in that cave when the seer he asked
'What intend you with your years to do?'
This I thought strange so in return I said
'Surely, that's why I've come here to you?'

He gave me a look and asked me again
'But have you no dreams, no goal?'
And when I said 'No' I was quite sure
That his eyes burned right through my soul!

This was when he gave me that advice
That sent me on my life's greatest quest,
That set me on the road you see me on now
Seeking sea life, Oh you know the rest!

What he said to me, simply was 'Son,
You must answer the universe's call,
You can't carry on with no end in mind
With no porpoise you've not lived at all.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ravindranath the Python

Ravindranath the Python had a nasty habit,
Of chewing on creatures, be they man or rabbit.
The other pythons they all thought him mighty strange,
From swallowing whole, chewing was a very weird change.
“We really wouldn’t mind if he’d eat us and be done,
But that gnawing, that chewing, it’s really no fun!
Nibble, nibble, nibble, he starts with the toes,
Then slowly but surely go the feet, knees and nose,
He really is a most disgusting sort,
On jungle society, he’s truly a blot!”
This opinion of him was mostly unanimous,
Except in the case of Harry the Hippopotamus.
Harry suffered from a most violent itch,
Of which she never, ever ceased to bitch.
All day long, she’d stand, doing nothing but bawl,
And of Ravindranath, she really knew nothing at all.
So deep in the jungles so vast and so thick,
These two continued making all thoroughly sick,
One chewing on bodies, the other on minds,
Both inflicting tortures of the most heinous kinds,
Until a cagey old parrot hatched a brilliant plan
That was whole-heartedly approved of by the jungle clan,
A plan to bring together the hippo and the snake,
And wait and see what turn events would take.
How the meeting was effected I really don’t know,
But the events that followed are enough to show,
That the parrot was no bird brain at all,
And the biting menace, away did crawl.
At the first meeting, what happened was this,
Ravindranath was the first to lay eyes on the miss,
His eyes popped open, his tongue rolled out,
He looked like a cartoon then, no doubt.
Cliches aside, he knew right then,
He wanted that hippo, not mice, not men.
“What glorious proportions, what a wonderful expanse,
Of chewable hippo,” he sang and then danced.
With a flex or two of the muscles mandibular,
He slithered and crawled nearer and nearer,
Fully intent on what he thought was his prize,
He omitted to consider the little matter of size.
Ravindranath really was the tiniest titch,
But for Harriet, you’ll see, he’d be the cure for the itch.
He  opened those jaws up nice and wide,
And clamped down hard on the hippo’s thick hide.
It’s safe to say it was love at first bite,
A cliché again, but when it’s right, it’s right.
Harry, it turned out, was too big for him to even chew and swallow,
So he could nibble and gnaw and never stop at all-oh!
All through this, one will surely want information,
About how Harry the Hippo treated this jaw-al chewation.
The simple answer to THAT, is this,
Harriet was in a state of immeasurable bliss.
That Ravindranath, he chewed in all the right places,
And soon of her itch, there remained no traces,
And every time a new one did surface,
That spot, Ravindranath would dutifully address,
And if ever Ravindranath felt the pangs of hunger,
Someone would offer themselves up, for now he didn’t linger,
Biting and gnawing, now he had Harry to munch,
And the animals were glad to be his speedy lunch.
Now Harriet wallows in the shallows, covered in big purple blotches,
While the rest of the forest contentedly watches,
One of the greatest love stories ever to be told,
It will touch your heart, make you hot and then cold.
And in the evening’s fading light,
If you listen carefully, then you might,
Hear a soft call, a call of love,
Softer and sweeter than the coo of a dove.
“Wherefore art thou, Ravi-oh?” calls she,
He replies, “Harriet! Harriet! I’m coming to thee!”

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Belligerent Butter Fruit

While most Avocados are pleasant and fun,
This tale talks of a most belligerent one.
A nasty, obnoxious, bothersome bloke,
Thoroughly incapable of seeing a joke.
This fruit, the only one from his tree,
A tree widely known for infertility.
Though this tree was by nature not sunny or bright,
It was held that its bark was worse than its bite.

In illustration of the Avocado's stroppiness,
His love of robbing the world of happiness,
There is a tale of a naive spring chicken,
Passing by once as night'd started to thicken,
Skipping along with not a care in the world,
Until from above the first taunt was hurled.
"Chicken!" he screeched in the most repulsive tones,
"You're so fat, they'll eat you, even the bones!"

The chicken, unused to such ungentle terms,
Came very near to losing her last meal of worms.
She raised her eyes to meet the ones up high,
At the sight, and the next words, her mouth went dry.
"You cluck, you! They'll pluck you!
They'll dress you! They'll chuck you,
Onto a plate in time for dinner
Oh don't you wish you were much thinner?"

Poor chicken, she fled, in ignominy,
The voice followed her not hiding its glee.
Other trees and creatures that lived around,
Murmured comfort to the chicken now homeward bound,
Being themselves no strangers to the Avocado's attack,
As one, strove to have young chicken's back,
But poor chicken was changed by that fruit's ill will,
And went out the next day and bought a tread mill.

Another equally horrific report,
Tells of a man herding a goat.
This it is said was a more spirited encounter,
The goat-herd more than willing to exchange banter,
But as the insults on his head kept heaping,
The goatherd, it's said, was forced to flee weeping.
His fruity tormentor was asked 'Why'd you do it?'
To which he replied "Ugh! His face was so stupid!'

So this Avocado hung there, night and day,
Constantly insulting all in his way,
Sparing none, not man, beast or fowl,
None safe from his snarky shafts or scowl,
Until one day it so happened,
That his hold on his parent tree was loosened,
And so he came a-crashing down,
With a rustle and a crack and a splattering sound.

Now was he, perhaps, chastened by this fall?
In five words - Oh, no! Not at all!
His malignant mouth never gave it a rest,
Everyone realized that it was best,
That, though they did not exactly fear,
To avoid unpleasantness, it was best to steer clear.
So no one passed him, not even an ant,
None being keen to be subject to his rant.

He hadn't been lying on the ground very long,
Before a curious dog came sniffing along,
Pausing a while to rain on a log,
The Avocado caught the eye of the dog.
He sniffed his way up to the louse,
As the Avocado slowly started to grouse.
The dog sat back to scratch at a tick,
And then leaned forward and gave the fruit a lick.

Avocado hadn't been treated this way before,
And was moved to vituperate some more.
But he was rudely cut off in mid slur,
On account of being eaten up by the cur.
As he sat licking his lips in satisfaction,
The other creatures were stirred to action,
They said: "Oh you are a brave, brave brute!"
To which he replied: "It was but a fruit."