A Friend In Need

You need a friend when you’ve got nothing to do
I want a friend who understands what I am going through

You need a friend when you want company for a drink
I want a friend who encourages me to think

You need a friend when all you want is empty talk
I want a friend who will support me, like bedrock

You need a friend when your own life bores you
I want a friend who never, ever ignores you

You need a friend when you want to go to a restaurant
I want a friend who is a guide, a mentor, a confidant

You need a friend when you want someone to sing along
I want a friend who will help me write my own song

You need a friend when your other friends are all away
I want a friend who will think about me every day

A friend of mine is fond of  saying 
‘A friend in need is no friend of mine’

With friends like you I’ve come to learn
There’s a lot of truth in that old line

Stories

At the recently concluded Jaipur Film Festival, the author and poet Ben Okri spoke of the importance of stories in a person’s and a nation’s life. He also acknowledged that the childhood stories he heard from his mother were his greatest influence.

Some stories are like straight lines
They go on, over the horizon
Never reaching the end

Some stories are like circles
The beginning is the end
And the end, the beginning

Some stories are elliptical
Like the ones Ben Okri’s mother told him
They do come around, but after they’ve wandered a little

Some stories are like pentagrams
That need all five senses (maybe even six)
To reveal the secrets they hide

Some stories are hyperbolic
Where the author’s fancy
Literally knows no bounds

Seems like Euclid
Knew something we don’t
When he conceived geometry

My story? It is the point
Of all the stories
Period.


Only a Poem

When all you feel is a dull, nameless pain
When your heart throbs, like a running train
When all life’s a tunnel – no light shines through
These are the times when only a poem will do

When you look hard but you can’t find the truth
When nothing can heal you, nothing can soothe
When there’s no remedy for this weird ague
These are the times when only a poem will do

When you try as you might but you can’t keep calm
For your dull heartache you can’t find a balm
When it feels like your pain could consume you
These are the times when only a poem will do

When an idea germinates, a sapling comes into view
Will it become a tree? Or will it die inside you?
When your confused brain can’t offer a clue
These are the times when only a poem will do

When you are tired of feeling gloomy and glum
Just pick up your guitar, just begin to strum
Find the chords for your blues; let the words find you
These are the times when only a poem will do

Twilight

Are the birds back, asleep in their nests
Why is all quiet, does the world rest
Why do I hear my breath
In my rhythmic, lonely sighs
Is it already twilight
Or is it my old, tired eyes

I remember when the light was so bright
Thought I’d change the world, rise to great heights
An older, wiser man today
I have no use for the prize
Is it already twilight
Or is it my old, tired eyes

Like all the other rats I got caught in the race
Amid the scorching pace I tried to muster grace
Like a hamster on a wheel
I just whirled clockwise
Is it already twilight
Or is it my old, tired eyes

Tired of my ways, my friends left one by one
In trying to please them all, I ended up pleasing none
It’s all been said and done
Too late, I realize
Is it already twilight
Or is it my old, tired eyes

Have I lived the life I was meant to live
Have I given everything I had to give
Am I ready for the road
That ahead of me lies
Is it already twilight
Or is it my old, tired eyes

You Go Ahead

You go ahead and seek Holy Divinity
I am happy enough to celebrate my humanity

You go ahead and be one with your God
I will struggle with my demons, abjectly flawed

You go ahead and seek The Exalted State
I will be right here, pleading with my fate

You go ahead and lose that Ego Boundary
Just leave me here with my intractable quandary

You go ahead and seek that Holy Grail
I will shuffle and stumble as I grow old and frail

You go ahead and strive for perfection
I am content with my endeavor to seek direction

You go ahead and find the answer to The Question
I will just stay here, staring at my own reflection

The Moment*

What was the moment
When I fell in love with you?

Was it when
A gentle breeze swept
Your tresses across your beautiful face?

Was it when
You shook off the pearly raindrops
From your long silken hair?

Was it when
A hint of a smile crossed your lips
As you awakened from a midnight’s dream?

Was it when
You strode out, confident
As if to declare, “I am going to conquer the world?”

Was it when
You held my hand so tight
As if to say, “I trust you with my life?”

Was it when
You buried your head into my chest
In your moment of profound grief?

Was it when
You held me in your arms
And assured me, “All is not lost, I am still here for you?”

Was it when
I suddenly realized
That my life has meaning only because of you?

Was that the moment
When I fell in love with you?

Seven Haiku

Cumulus clouds, like
Cottony colossi, are
Coalescing – rain!

Rippling rivers run
Hurriedly, swirling into
Ecstatic eddies

Stormy seas seem to
Rise up to swallow the boats
That fight with the waves

Withering winds blow
Silent snow’s shroud covers all
Winter has arrived

Hot air spirals: a
Terrifying tornado
Cuts a deadly swathe

Gigantic geysers
Gush up from Earth’s roiling core
What rage tears her heart?

Nature: glorious
Also fierce, savage, fatal
But always awesome