The refund

If that’s all

That’s important to you

You may get it


But you can do better


You can try

Very hard

That this glitch

In the system

This corruption

May not happen

To another


It’s easy to fight

For yourself

Its also



It could be a wrong

Needing correction

Or a suggestion

That could benefit

Implementation …


How to fight a big organisation

1. You have to believe you are on the right side otherwise don’t even think of it.

2. Call the call center

Get a complaint number. If not satisfied ask for an email ID to write in to.

3. Check the website for numbers or email-IDs

4. Emails or WhatsApp work best as they are written proof.

5. If things don’t proceed try and reach the senior management, preferably by email.

6. Sometimes you have to be a little ingenuous .

For example most Organizations follow a pattern for their official email IDs…. for example

Eg: Global Paints

Their MD is Akshay Kumar. So.

7. Be polite. There is no need to be rude just because you are right and they are wrong.

8. If the response is not positive or there is no action, ask for an escalation.

9. If things don’t get better you have every right to be blunt and provocative but refrain from expletives.

10. Other online options that might work for organisations concerned about their image:

It’s a public forum and can be effective.


You have to have time and energy yes….. but if things are important to you, you have to persevere. Tenacity, transparency and sincerity of purpose count.

I will try and honestly recount some of my successes in dealing with deficiency of service by large organisations

Endocrine Laboratories:

Quickest response so far:

Among other things they do blood allergy testing.

I had saved two numbers. The first one I called was a doctor who charged me Rs..11000 for a test. Suspicious, I called the other number and they said they charge 6500 for exactly the same test from the same lab.

Just one phone call and I was put on to-the senior management of Endocrine Lab who refunded my 11000.

So far so good.

I guess it saved the insurance company that group insures my husband’s medical expenses a bit of money….

But the larger systemic issue remains. Subsidiary labs and even major names charge different rates.

For medicines.. you can check online for generic prices.

Nothing much is available online to compare pathological/ Radiology charges by different Labs

There’s 1mg and

and their app where you can compare and book lab tests

Hope they do well

A challenge…for me and for you

I’m trying to do what I can.

But sometimes there’s another person with resources who thinks like you do… coincidence or maybe a higher power.

Asian paints

That’s too big a story but with a satisfactory ending. I’ll keep it brief.

We were conned into giving the contract to a dealer instead of the company. We were told the service is exactly the same except there would be no GST.

That was false. Their website says the company is not liable in dealer contracts.

But there is absolutely no paperwork involved. No contract to be signed…with anybody… to their detriment as well.

A series of things went wrong… the painting started without proper packing of furniture despite instructions, unskilled labourers without ID’s and so on.

We called the call center. The first call wasn’t even recorded. Got hold of email ID.

Got a standard reply full of empathy and understanding but no action.

Found the MD’s email and of other powerful people.

That did it.. Supervisors visited. Mid management visited

We showed them our house.

We showed them the murky way of operating.

The lack of paperwork and transparency

They did promise to change the way they operated. They said they would have brochures and documents to be signed.

Did they do it? Well we don’t know bu that’s what the light on my children’s bedroom wall says…

As for our house they left it… half done, half paid for …. we had lost trust…we said no to rectification and resolution..,and the paint ….left for a new contractor to finish


We bought bras on sale. They bled badly and my daughter’s shirt was ruined. Luckily she had a jacket.

I found their email ID and wrote in. She was understanding. You need to know how handle customers now.

She offered to replace . But I had managed to stop the bleeding by using strong chemicals. I told her so.

I didn’t need a refund or replacement. It was about a big organisation palming off defective products on sale.

I think she got the point. She said she will first collect and then replace.

That’s mistrust. And I wasn’t looking for a replacement.

We kept our bras. We never bought from them anymore.

We’re not sure they got the point.

Phillips Healthcare

Didn’t get past the voice on the phone. Got into Whatsapp with her.

Keeping records is always good.

I was looking for a chest physiotherapist for my son.

To learn tapping to loosen his mucus.

They had one. I asked if she could send her over. She said you need a doctor’s prescription.

I asked her what do you expect in the prescription.

I cannot tell you she wrote.

Can you ask your superiors I replied.

No she wrote.

Found another physiotherapist who taught me how to. She didn’t even ask for a prescription .

I wrote back saying problem is redolved

Bu with your unhelpfulness your company has lost business and given an impression of bureaucracy that will last in my mind.

I won’t turn to Phillips when my parents need care.

This will go to I wrote.

Just a threat…. I don’t believing in maligning organisations because I’ve been snubbed.

It wasn’t about her. It was about their system.

Then came the dozens of calls. I didn’t pick up.

I think my job was done. Or was it? Perhaps I should have persevered.


This was more than ten years ago. It was a side by side refrigerator .We had extended warranty from Chroma.

Chroma is owned by the Tatas.

When we don’t buy online we buy from them. They are trustworthy is our perception.

On the last day of the warranty I called to say my fridge was malfunctioning.

The mechanic came again and again. No resolution.

Finally the truth after persistent follow up.

The product had been discontinued because of a design defect.

The defect is not our fault. That tiny part you should have kept in spares.

For your customers.

Finally LG paid a huge amount and gave us a replacement….an equivalent …A Samsung

This story is not about getting replacements or your money back

If that happens it benefits you

If the system is changed it benefits many

The story of her life….. isn’t over

The story of her life

…isn’t over

Married at fourteen

Mother at seventeen

The frail little girl

Is pregnant

Once more


Her mother

She sent her

To school

Like other children

Of other maids


Her time

In school

It was fun

With her friends

….so many


At home

It was different


She sat hours

Stringing beads

And turning them

Into gaudy




She had

To earn her keep


She helped her mother

Do the cooking

She swabbed the floors

She washed the clothes

Her mother

She was busy

Doing other people’s



Her mother

She cooked

She swabbed

She cleaned

She looked after

Other people’s



Her father

He worked

He drank

He beat up


And her mother


Her brothers


Lorded over her


Her mother

She too

Didn’t give them



They spent their time

Playing games

On their mobiles

Her mother

Had bought

For them


With the money

She earned

Stringing together

Those gaudy necklaces


The toilet

Five minutes away

Waiting in the queue

Red spots

Her life was over


They could not afford

To give much

But she was pretty


For ten thousand

They palmed her off

Indebted forever

The celebrations

On her wedding


He was older

He was drunk

He had another


On the first day

Beating her up

When she resisted


She was fourteen


The family poorer

Than hers


The toilet now

Ten minutes away

The bathroom

Just a place

Enclosed by cloth


Cloth that

Her brother-in-law

Could open at will


Careful she was

That frightened girl

Only bathing

When her


Was home


Her mother-in-law

A maid too

Her sisters-in law

Maids too

So was she

A maid too


In a new place

A tower

An ivory one


She worked

In five houses

Cleaning in one

Cooking in two

Looking after kids

In another

And then

Washing dishes

In the night


Hurrying home

To cook dinner

She couldn’t be late

She would be

Beaten up


By that old drunk

Her husband


She fasted

Twice a week


That things get better


They did

For a while


She conceived


Take rest

Don’t exert

Eat well

They say


That’s for the madams

Not her


Some madams

They are good

Feed her

Let her rest a while

But not the others


The baby’s due

A month to go

She labours on

Her labour

It began

A long time ago


She’s young

A kid

She’s seventeen


Her madam’s daughter

She’s in college

She’s seventeen


She packs her tiffin

Washes her clothes

Her undies

Puts them back

In her cupboard


The pretty ones

To wear

To the malls

And parties


She loves that girl

She’s friendly

And loves her back

She gave her

A pair of jeans

She outgrew


She couldn’t wear them

She wanted to


But she gave them off

To her unmarried



She has to walk

Twenty minutes


To reach the tower


That’s the easy part



After work

At night

No bus


Twenty minutes


And then

The chores

At home


Her body aches

Her feet swell


Here heart

In a tiny corner

There is hope


Mixed with fear

And resignation


The child within

She hopes

It’s a boy


But she will

Have to leave him

Or her

With her mother-in-law

And go to work

Only to be


In the night


One more

Mouth to feed


She wonders

What will happen

If it’s a girl


Will she live

The life she lives

Married off at fourteen

Pregnant at seventeen


No she says

Firmly now

Her footsteps

Marching faster

I will not

Let her

Be me


I’ll work harder

Educate her

In an English school

Send her for Tutions


I’ll take my mother-in-law’s


My father-in-law’s


My sisters-in-law’s


My brother-in-law’s


My husband’s


My madam’s grumbling


But give her

A better life


After my child

Is born


I will go

In secret

Take a day off

From madams

To the municipal hospital


They don’t want


They have

The operation


I won’t have


Mouth to feed


Is she wrong

To stop God’s


Her future

Would be children?


You be the judge


The paper collector

The paper collector

The Raddhiwala

They call him






Not glass

It has no value



At rock bottom prices

To be resold




Stamped out


Bought at paper rates


The sturdy ones

Like the refrigerator


He pays a bit

They are reused


Washing machine

Only hundred

The weight

It’s worthless







All worth

It’s weight


In metal


Most of them

They’re dead


But sometimes

They’re gold


His mechanic

He charges

Two hundred

But only if

The thing

Comes back to life


Sometimes the buttons

They light up

Two hundred

To pay


He’s hit the jackpot

He’ll sell it

For a tidy sum

Paying the mechanic

He doesn’t mind

At all



The books

The magazines

He doesn’t know

How to read

He spreads them out

On the front

Of his store


They come

The children

The youth

The old

He haggles a bit

He lets them go


They are

His best customers

Those who don’t bother

Checking the


Or negotiating

The rates


He’s not swindling

It’s upto them

To check


The papers bundled

In a jiffy

Hauled to the auto

To his tiny shop

He’s done


He’s rigged up

The scales

But everybody


He won’t make money

If he doesn’t

He can’t then pay

As much

As the others do


They check

They insist

On starting

With zero

They tell him


He’s trying to cheat

The haggling

The talk

The posturing

It’s all part of the game


The young

They don’t bother much

He gives them

A decent rate

And he’s off


The old

It’s another matter

The fight

For every rupee

They want more

Than the rate he quotes


They peer

With their spectacles

At the number

On the scales

It’s one they exclaim

You’re cheating

Correct it

To zero


Sorry he says

You are welcome

To check

He answers

They feel good

They think

They’ve caught him

They don’t know

He’s rigged them

The scales

Even more


The five kilos

After the adjustment

Is six


They bring their own

Weighing machines

No he says

Your’s are not



He’s not cheating

He earns an honest living

Going up and down the stairs

Lugging the newspapers

To his tiny shop


The ragpickers

Theve stopped now

The garbage

It’s all recycled

Or taken away

By the government


Every evening they come

They’re rates are fixed

They have their own weighing machine

They segregate



And they’re gone

He’s earned his living

For the day


He’s part of

The recycling process

He’s proud

Of what he does

He’s just

Trying to survive

The same as the other

Paper collectors


A honest living

By the sweat

Of his brow


He’s saving


His dream

One day

He’ll own

A grocery store


No haggling

No cheating

Honest business


He’ll make a good living

His conscience clean


Hie weighing scales

Will then

Not be rigged

He will not be called

The Raddhiwala

The bright side

Always look at

The bright side

They say

You’ll be happy


I don’t look

At those


Lying on

The foothpath


The dark side


I don’t look

At the shanties

That line the road


The dark side


I don’t look

At that man

Beating his wife

On the street

Not my business

It’s between

Man and wife

They’re on

The dark side


I don’t look

At the children

On the street

Their hair matted

Snot on their nose


They’ve been forced

None of my business

They’re on

The dark side


I don’t look

At the drunk

Lying in a corner

Fast asleep

Or dead

He deserves it

He’s on

The dark side


I don’t look

At that old man

Flies hovering about

Can I call

The Missionaries

Of charity

I could

But I don’t

He’s on

The dark side


I don’t look

They’re beating up

That guy

He molested

That girl

They say

He deserves it

The vigilante

They might

Beat him

To death

I don’t intervene

They’re on

The dark side


I don’t look

The accident

The blood and gore

I see it

I walk on

Some good soul

Will take him

To Hospital

I walk on

He’s on the

Dark side


I don’t look

That transvestite


Why doesn’t he

Take up a job

He’s on the

Dark side


I don’t look

Those wrongs


They aren’t ours

They’re on

The dark side









Tend to the sick

In your family

Visit your friends

In hospital


To the church

To the NGOs

All is well


Don’t poke your nose

In other people’s business

Don’t intrude

Don’t criticise

Don’t spoil

The atmosphere

You’re decent

A good Catholic

Be on the bright side


Look at the good things

God has blessed you

Your kids are good

A good school

They’re healthy

You’re wealthy

You have cars

A maid

A big house

A big TV

A loving family



Count your blessings

Look at the bright side

Just don’t glance

At the dark side


You’ll be happy


I am me

Atleast I want to be

Senstive but bold

Not to hurt

But say boldly

What i want to say


Is my chance…..

He makes you laugh

The comedian
He spends his whole day
Scanning the newspapers
Watching TV
Racking his brain
For ideas
The jokes
They have to be fresh
And relevant
To hit the nail
On the head
Stale ones 
And they will boo
Too highbrowed
They don’t get it
They’ve got to be
Just right
His wife
She thinks 
He loiters 
All day
A lazy bone
Spending his time
On newspapers
And TV
She doesn’t mind
If he jokes about her
He has
On his mind
But when it comes
To in laws
That’s crossing 
The limit
He’s been at it
The whole week
Just no
To talk about
He can’t get into 
The people now
They are divided
His safest bet
Is impersonation
Of the famous
But that too
Can get stale
He  has to find
New dialogues 
New people
To imitate
That can go on
For five minutes
He has an hour to do
Seventy percent repeat
Thirty new
Is his formula
So if a patron
Comes again
Next week
He will have
To laugh about
He thinks 
Of situations
Selves into himself
From deep inside
He pulls out
That wedding
Where the groom
Fell off
The horse
The bride
She said
She preferred
The horse
It wasn’t 
The newspaper report
About the poor
Who died rich
Stoving his stash
Under the matress
The rich guy
Who died poor 
Of a heart attack
When the police
Found his stash 
Under the matress
The parents 
Who left their
Standing outside school
The other one
Had picked them up
The Demonetisation
It’s a dead horse
He fells about strongly
He voiced his opinion too
But the people
They are divided
He has
To be careful 
To know
Where to
The line
Anything political 
Is dangerous
In this democracy
Internet services
Have been withdrawn
A state shut down
For half a year
The holy cow
Is a delicate topic
Not to be spoken about 
He’s anti CAA
But he speaks in public
He may even be
Put in prison
For inciting people
Voicing anti state opinions 
He is after all
A public speaker
Still he’ll try
To do his bit
By being subtle
Sandwiching his message
Within his jokes
A tough job this
A standup comedian
In modern times

A little less than average

My child
He isn’t retarded
He isn’t dyslexic
He isn’t a slow learner
He has no ADHD
No labels
For him
He is good at math
When I teach him
But in his exams 
he makes mistakes
He’s spelling are 
Not bad
When he spells them
For me
But when written
Many of them
He does mix
His B’s and D’s
Shouldn’t happen 
Beyond six
He is 
Past eight
His handwriting 
Is really bad
He writes 
Too fast
His grip is wrong 
His paragraph writing
And essays
But way
Off the mark
In his paragraph
On a birthday party
He writes
His mother is
Sleeping and snoring
Always trying
To be funny
I wonder
He will manage
When his marks 
Are deducted 
For misspelling
Paragraph writing
Words missing 
In answers
What would he do
He is assumed 
To be normal
He has to
Compete with 
The best
He doesn’t have
A label
Not that I would 
Want him to
What I want
Is for him
To learn
To overcome 
His difficulties 
To be able to 
His  handwriting 
To be Understood
His spellings
To get better
To get
His b’s and d’s right
For him to focus
On his writing 
I don’t expect
For him to
With the best
To work
To better himself 
Who knows… 
One day….
He will manage
To be more
Than normal
To be better
Than average
A label….
A disability 
To get him 
The examination 
He may shine
In ways
I can’t imagine
A bright
But different
This less than average 
Son of mine


The helper

The little child
Her parents devout
Daily mass 
And rosary
Daily prayer
For vocations
I’ll be a nun
She decides
I will be
Be God’s servant
Now a nun
She sees the poor
Every day
Passing by
She cannot help
 No money
She has 
Only prayer
It’s raining
The poor 
On the footpath 
She passes
On the way 
To church
She has no money 
She can’t 
Do anything 
Except pray 
Some people
From the temple
They come
Tarpaulin sheds
Bedding clothes
They give the women 
Jobs as maids
The men 
In their factories
The children
In government school
They build their life
She doesn’t 
Do anything
She doesn’t have 
Anything  to give
Except prayer
That man suffering
With an unknown ailment
She can’t do
Anything for him
She has
Nothing to give
Except prayer 
Two days later
She is off to church
That procession
The men chanting
That man’s brother
Carrying one post
On his shoulder
She can’t  give 
Except prayer
That beggar
The road
One eye blinded
The passers by
Throwing him 
A coin or two
She has no money
She can’t give
Except prayer
The next day
Her lunch in her hand
In a paper packet
She goes
To that
One eyed beggar
Talks to him
He tells his story 
How he lost his bread
When the famine came
His fields mortgaged
His family hungry
They found work
Daily labourers
He came
To the city
Not wanting to
Be a burden 
On them
She shares his story
And her bread
And now
She has given
And received
His blessings 

The influencer

  • The influencer
She did 
Her graduation
Post graduation
Her exams
Campus interview
She  bagged her job
Research assistant 
In a multinational 
Pharma company
Her heart
Wasn’t in it
She missed her dream
To be a teacher
To mould young minds
Her parents aghast
You’ll leave your job
With a multinational
To be a lowly teacher
You won’t make money
Or marry
A rich 
What’s gotten
Into you?
Her friends
They say the same
Her colleagues 
Her bosses too
But in her heart
She knows
Where her happiness lies
The colleges
They wouldn’t take her
No experience 
She turned to schools
Get a B.Ed. Degree
So she does
At last
A job
She cherishes
The headmistress
The teachers too
The children
The first day
They sit 
On their benches
At each other
Flying paper planes
The next day
Is no better
The laughing
The shouting
It continues
She takes a duster
Wipes out the scribbles
She takes the chalk
In her neat hands
She writes
I want
To be with you
The children
They notice
They go
They look
At their teacher
Someone claps
Everybody follows
In that instant
Things have changed
She’s on a roll
Making them happy
Teaching them
Cajoling them
To work hard
Her legs ache
Standing all day 
But never mind
She loves them
They love her back
She knows her subject
She’s mastered it
She loves her kids
Loves the creativity
Her job brings
They have to organise
Elocution competitions
Ready the ground
For the sports days
Teach them dance
For Republic Days
Write speeches
Train the kids
For Independence Day
And the grand celebrations
To prepare for
The Annual days
The weaker kids
To be taken
Care of
Solving their doubts
Extra coaching
Then there are 
Revelling in  the glory
That kids bring
To the school
Consoling those
Who don’t make it
Her greatest joy
Is when
That little girl
That special child
Who could not
Understand mathematics
Gets a D
She’s passed!
Her parents meanwhile
Are after her
Get a decent
Job they say
So we can get
A decent son in law
For us
She smiles
She ignores
Years pass
And there’s this guy
From her old job
He proposes 
He’s doing well 
At the multinational 
His parents 
They’re after him
To marry
A girl
From their caste
A professional 
He tells them
He’s found
His soulmate 
She’s not of his caste
She isn’t working 
For a multinational 
She’s a kind girl
With a big heart
A teacher!
There’s opposition
From every quarter
She’s not
Of our caste
She’s not 
She’s not
She’s not even
She’s a mere teacher
In a government school
Her parents
Are reconciled 
Is better than none
They marry
Her children 
The solemn occasion 
She has no kids of her own
But she has
So many
They grow up
They work
In big multinationals 
Her greatest joy
Is when 
That little girl
That one
Weak at maths
She influenced 
Has now returned 
To the school
To become a teacher
She is now 
Due for retirement 
With her retired
But she has 
No regrets 
This influencer
But contentment 


Saving water

Save water
Children told
While brushing
Don’t use the shower
The bucket
Environment friendly 
What about
The water 
That flows
Into the drains into 
The sea
A little
Is harvested
The rest
Then in the mountains 
The source oh the water
No tanks built
To contain it
So the water
Down the slopes
Into the sea
The mountain
High and dry
And the people 
What about
The compounds
Made of concrete
Not letting
The water seep
How many buildings 
The water
How many
Let it flow
The drains 
A few
They have
To store the water
That falls 
On their terraces
The pretty plants
In the compound
In the little
Mud we have
Not yielding fruit
Or vegetable
Couldn’t we
Use that space
For ourselves 
Our kitchen
They will steal
They will take
The fruit 
Of our labour
Does it matter
Let someone eat
That’s what
My mother said
When she
Her papaya plant
The water flowing
From the overflow 
Of the tank
The watchmen
They are happy
To get
Organic fruit
Nature’s given
The fertile mud
The flowing water
She says
Do not waste
Now the papaya
Pulled out by people
Seeking relief
From dengue
It’s medicinal
As for me
An artificial plant
In my house
With pretty
Looks real
It needs
No soil
No watering
No sunlight 
No manure
It’s perfect
It bears no fruit
No oxygen
But then
It’s perfect 
I’m saving water

Do not waste

Do not waste 
The food on your plate
Never mind
It adds
To your obesity
Why not train
To take
On their plate
They can
Always take
A second helping
Children told 
Not to waste 
While brushing teeth
On the tap
When you need
For a bath
Use a bucket
Do not shower
Do not waste
We feel good
We’re doing
Our bit
What about
The water 
That flows
In the city
Into the drains
Into the sea
The miniscule
Is harvested
Flows into wells 
Or tanks
The rest
Then in the mountains 
The source oh the water
No tanks built
To contain it
So the water
Down the slopes
Into the sea
The mountain
High and dry
And the people 
What about
The compounds
Made of concrete
Not letting
The water seep
How many buildings 
The water
How many
Let go
The drains 
And flooding
The streets
A few
They have
To store the water
That falls 
On their terraces
The pretty plants
In the compound
In the little
Mud we have
Not yielding fruit
Or vegetable
Couldn’t we
Use that space
For ourselves 
Our kitchen
They will steal
They will take
The fruit 
Of our labour
Does it matter
Let someone 
That’s what
My mother said
When she
Her papaya
The water flowing
From the overflow 
Of the tank
Watering it
In fertile mud
The watchmen
They are happy
To get
Organic fruit
Nature’s given
The fertile mud
The flowing water
She says
Do not waste


My good child

My child at home
I shout at him
When he beats up
His little brother
When he uses foul
When he throws things
In anger
When he kicks
His little brother
When he talks back
To me 
His friends
They use
Foul language
They beat
They’re rude
That’s where
He picks this up
My son
He’s good
The other boy
His mom comes home
His son 
Is injured
He’s kicked him
Right in his stomach 
She says
He beats him
He’s bawling
I look at my son
Mamma I didn’t 
Do anything 
He pushed me
The lady
She’s not going
Your son beats
He uses 
Foul language 
He talks back
When I 
Admonish him
And now 
He’s hurt
My son badly
The kid
He’s still
Bawling away
My son I say
Didn’t start it
Your son he pushed him
He didn’t even fight back
See he’s crying
I’ll get the
Other children
To witness
If you want
If you don’t 
Believe me
He bullies
The kids
All the time
Not my child 
I say
We come 
A good family
He knows
His manners
He’s obedient 
He doesn’t use
Foul language 
He doesn’t 
Talk back
He is
Well brought up
We’re a 
The intruder
She gets angry
I don’t understand 
The gravity
Of the situation 
She just came
To warn
So such
Brutal acts
Won’t happen
I show her
The door
Stay away 
From my son
I say
Now I turn
To my child
Warn him 
This shouldn’t 
I don’t want mothers
Into our house
No more beating 
Up your brother
No more foul language
No more kickiing
Throwing things
In anger
No talking back
He smiles 
A cheerful smile 
He won’t get
Admonished now
My son
My mother
Won’t beat
She will
Shield me
When I beat up 
The others
She is my protector 
My mother
Right or wrong 
She’s at my side
I’ll kick
I’ll punch
I’ll use foul language 
I’ll throw
The bat
At him
I’ll beat that boy
Who dared
Bring his mother
My son grows up
He drinks
He brawls 
He steals
He beats
His grown up brother 
And me too
In his anger
He lands
The police station
Am I at fault
Have I spoiled
My good child?



We draw them
Around our drawings
That contain them
Those imaginary lines
That we invented
To divide
The equator
The axis
The longitudes
The latitudes
The lines on the map
The borders
In our heart
The people inside
The circle
They’re ours
My youngest
My elder one
My husband
My best frien
My parents
His parents
My brother
My sister
His siblings
My friends
My colleagues
My neighbours
And so on
In a line
Or inside
The border of circles
God comes
In this queue
It’s up to you
To decide
The place
But lines
And borders
Are everywhere
Catholic Brahmin
Catholic lower cast
Pecking order
There too
Doesn’t matter
Any Catholic
Or Christian 
Or Hindu
Or else
We discriminate
Whites are ok
Blacks not
Then there’s 
At the other extreme
Catholic nations
Christian nations
MuslIm nations
Our lines and Borders
All determined 
By which circle
Fate placed us in
And sometimes 
Our experiences
Will it happen?
Those lines
And circles
Cease to exist
When people 
Will be free
To stay
Where they want
Of the name 
Of the place
On that paper
The name
Of the place
Where they were born
The borders
Some of them 
Are fading away
Sense prevailing
People opening
That tiny circle
Inside their heart
To outsiders
If there are 
No lines
No circles
No borders
The world
It would be different 
There would be less 
To fight for
Our land
Our country 
Our religion
Our identity 
Might exist
But no circle 
In our heart
To keep away
The outsider


Why should we put up

Why should we put up
Because we’re women
The drunken husband
Who blows up our money
With smoking
With gambling
With drinking
With other women
They beat us up
Our children too
They work sometimes 
But give no money 
To share the burden
Of running the house
The schooling
The uniform 
The books
The lunchtime meal
The government 
It looks after
The rice comes
From the government
It’s inedible
We sell it 
To whoever will buy
They’re even poorer
Than us 
And use that money
And our earnings 
To get
The rice
The wheat
The sugar
The sait
The oil 
The onion
The potatoes
Bananas sometimes
And if the price is right
Once in a while
Some vegetables 
The madams 
We work for
Give us 
Old Sarees
Used clothes
And shoes
For our children 
They feel good 
Doing so
We get by
Old umbrellas 
They feel good
Giving so
We get by
But that’s not all
Bills to be paid
The electricity
The gas
The cable
The mechanic 
To repair the 
Old TV
The madam
Had kindly given
Very cheap
Then comes 
The wedding 
Of a near one
We have to gift
It’s part of the custom
We borrow
Some from our
Kind madams
The balance
Our jewellery 
We pawn
To never
Get it back
A funeral
We have to pay
The Poojari 
Who prays
For the soul
Of the departed
We need
To buy
To make 
The food
For the people
Who come
To fulfil
Their obligations 
We are now
In deep 
In debt 
Our jewellery 
Now gone
The husbands
Now beat us
There isn’t
Enough money 
Enough food
When sick
We wait hours
At the government hospital
The treatment 
It’s free
But there’s 
On travel
And medicines
To be bought
They don’t like it
The madams
When we take leave
It’s twice a month
When someone’s  sick
Can’t your husband 
Take leave
They ask
If you don’t come?
Who will
Look after us?
You’ve taken advance
We’ve given you
The TV
A raise
You need to be grateful
If you take leave 
Who will look after us?
Who will cook
Who will clean
Who will feed 
Our children
Give them a bath?
Who will wash
Our dishes
Mop the floor
Wash our clothes
Hang them
Out to dry
Fold them
And leave them 
On the bed
To be securely
In our cupboards 
Take away
Our leftovers 
We don’t want to waste
God doesn’t like it
It goes on 
We have to work
We owe them
We’re honest people
Atleast until
The debts are paid
And then
The bonus!
The bonus is
One months pay
They bring
A new saree
And day
Happy Diwali!
It’s ok
We’ve atleast got
A new saree
When we want 
A day’s break
To go
For our kid’s Annual Day
We say somebody’s died
They would understand 
If we told them
We want to watch 
Our kid’s Annual Day
They would say
Let your husband go
Are they not
His kids?
His kids?
He beats them up
Whenever he’s angry
His gambling
Hasn’t gone well
The other woman
Gone off
With another man
Or the drink
Has gone 
Into his head
He’s lost his sense
Of decency
Which probably 
Doesn’t exist
Our son 
We will not pamper
We will teach him
His wife
Will be his partner
Not under his thumb
As our mother in law
Had taught her son
Our son
Will not raise his hand
Not drink
Or gamble
Or go after 
Other women
Not live on
His wives wages
We will give 
Him education
The fear of God
The respect of women
Our daughter 
She goes to school too
She’ll get a job of her own
Will not marry
As a child
She will study
She will earn
She will choose
Her husband 
Our world is bleak
But we live
To see our children
Back from school
To hug them
They’re ours to love
We love them back
How they turn out
Our sons
When they grow
We do not know
Will they turn out
Like the father
They won’t
We won’t 
Let  that happen
To another woman
Our God
Is with us

The responsible organisation

We’re a responsible organisation
We help the little girls
With their education
Give them smiles 
Give  them hope
We’re doing more
Our pesticides
They kill the insects
The farmers
They have 
A plentiful harvest
The government 
Understands our work
They subsidise
So the farmers
Buy more than required
To make sure
Their crops 
They are protected
After all 
They want
A plentiful harvest
The wheat it stands 
Proud and tall
The grains
The best
The buyers
Can get
The pesticides
They seep
Into the groundwater
They flow 
into the ponds
Which the farmers
And their
Drink from from
They spray
Into the air
They breathe
The biodiversity 
Is destroyed
The bees
Who pollinate
The birds
The fish
The insects 
They’re smart
Theve been poisoned
Too long
They have
It takes more potent
To kill them
The toxicity
In the air
In the water
In the food
It adds up
A heavy price 
To pay 
The cancer
In children
They say
Has nothing
To do
With pesticides 
But the wise old men
And women
They differ
This wasn’t there
In our times
What choice do we have
They say
If I don’t use them
My neighbour 
Will still
The insects 
In the village
Will all zoom in
Into my tiny field
I can’t afford
To lose it all
The government 
Hold up it’s hands
We are clean
Good intentioned
There won’t be enough
To feed our 
Hundred crores
If the insects
They feed
The farmers
They will die of starvation 
If their crops are destroyed 
They are harmless 
The pesticide 
If they’re used
Maybe so
 It who decides
How much to spray
Use manure 
Say the environmentalists 
It’s safe
The yield healthy
We have no bulls
They say
Enough for our fields
We use
Harvesters now
No manure
It is difficult 
To turn back
The  clock
A few do
They call it organic
The yield
It’s less
To buy 
Is expensive
There’s too much
Not for all
This pure stuff
It’s the rich
Who can afford
To be pesticide free
The Sales Manager
The pesticide
He roams the land
Buys bottled water
His organic salads 
In his bag
He peddles his stuff
To the farmers
The decision makers
He shows them
His presentation 
The statistics
The yield numbers
They buy
It’s cheap 
It’s government 
These farmers
About the effect
This potent stuff
On the consumers
Of their produce
The little children
The old 
The weak
Would they have
If only knew
The contamination 
Their soil
Their water
Their air
Is taking a heavy toll
In their
Little children
Their elderly
Their unborn
The cancer
The wheeze
The itching skin
Or would they buy
Bottled water
Organic food?
As for the organisation
That helps
The little girls
In the village
Who fall sick
Contaminated water
Poisoned  food
Breathing unhealthy 
Are they responsible?
You judge 

The gentleman in suits

The gentlemen in suits
All huddled up
To keep themselves 
In the freezing cold
The juveniles
Most vulnerable 
In the centre
The rest they move
In military fashion
The one in the center 
When warm
Makes place for another
And so they go
On and on 
This rookery
In the freezing 
My tale is about
One of their kind
He treks
Over hundred kilometers 
To a breeding site
His mate she
Lays an egg
And goes hunting
For food
One single egg
He balances
On his feet
Keeping it warm
Through the blizzards 
With the warm
Of his feathered
Fifteen kilos down
Two months
Till it hatches
His mate returns
He recognises
His chick’s call
Among thousands
And so does she
They’re emperors
They don’t rule 
Over others
They face their lot
All together
These perfect gentlemen 
They coordinate
Their diving 
And surfacing
These gentleman 
They are not human
They don’t abandon
Their unborn children 
After a dalliance 
With a lady
They don’t 
Have any minor vices
Or major
They don’t try
To outdo each other
They’re not into
To find a mate
They don’t brag
They don’t boast
Like those men
In suits
They’re a huddle
They’re a team
They do not have
Rich or poor
They’re in this 
All together
These birds in suits
These Emperor penguins

Our gentlemen 
They huddle too
To keep themselves warm
At the bar

The little child

The little child
He wants to play
Not a burden 
On his parents
There is no knowledge 
To be crammed
No stress
No examinations
There are no lessons 
To be done
They’re busy 
His father
To bring him supper
He’s with his friends
They’re a team
They discuss
Their strategies
They’ll bring down
That giant beast
There are fights
Who’s the leader
Who will attack
Who has an eye
On your wife
Who takes
A major portion
They get along
Most of the time
They’re a team
For survival 
His mother
Stitching fur
Or leather
And a needle
Made of bone
To keep away 
The freezing cold
Making arrows
Cooking supper
When food arrives
With her friends
All the time
They fight
She’s lazy
Doesn’t do
The cleaning
The washing
The pretty one
She’s sleeping
With my husband 
Who has the most
Of mammoths teeth
The air is pure
But very chill
Clothed in fur
Of the mammoths
That perished 
So that
They can
Theve made a ball
His friends
It falls 
Into the river
Out they go 
To fish it out
They have no shirts
They’re taken off
Their fur coat
The water
Almost frozen
Takes away
Their breath
They manage 
To get back
Without their
In their coats they
What would they do 
Without a ball?
Their mothers
Them berate
What a foolhardy thing
You did
Their fathers return
Late evening
And rage
And beatings
You morons
You could have died
Go without your supper
Out of the fireplace 
Their bellies empty
The cold severe
They can manage
They’ve starved before 
They look up 
To the skies
The bright lights
A few red 
Some yellow
Some white
When were they born?
Those bright lights
They muse
Is the maker of those 
The creator of us
Is HE one
Or are they many?
Who gave us the land
The river
The fruits 
The mammoths
The arrows
The fire
The creation?
A profound thought
Fills their minds
They’re not
An accident
The sparks of fire
The deafening sounds
The occasional sight
Of the blazing
Hot thing
The cold flakes
The pouring
Drops of water 
They can’t be
An accident
When they’re hungry
A mammoth they spot
When they’re thirsty
A steam
Through they have gone
For weeks 
Without fresh food
But they have been
They’ve survived
They decide to pray
To that heavenly being
That guards them
From from above
That sustains
That guards
That blesses
And makes sure
They survive
They believe 
And so does he
That father
Of the generations
That little Child 

The male maid

The male maid
He’s always smiling
Ready to serve
Getting up 
Before dawn
To wipe clean
The cars
A place to sleep
But only just
Enough space
To sleep
Someone does feed
An afternoon meal
Of  his pay
Some pay
Some pay later
Sometimes some
Pretend to forget
Some say they’re not
With his work
Some are in trouble 
They can’t afford 
To pay the bonus
They live
In their 
In tall towers
Going out of the way
To care
For his masters
Are there tears
Is there sadness
Beyond that smile?
They’d never know
He’s found
Some consolation 
They’re kind to him 
That elderly couple
He’s a son to them
They his parents
They treat him well
He does too
They share some meals
Which he brings them
They pay him
In time
Though they
Senior citizens 
The weather
Has wrecked havoc
His crops are gone 
There’s no money
In the village
All they have
Is what he sends
He cannot go
They need the money
His phone not working
He needs to spend
So he can speak
To them
He makes his purchase 
A mighty sum
With a heavy heart
But now at last he has
Something to look 
Forward to
To talk to his son
And his wife
At the end of the day
To hear their voice
To share their troubles 
And their joy
He knows he cannot
Go to his village
They need the money
He his job
He lives in hope
One day again
It will rain
At the right time
His crops will
Bear ample grain
He will then be
Home again

I succumb

That juice
That chocolate
That sugary drink
With or without
The fizz
That junk
I want to stop
To reduce
To get healthier
I won’t have more
I will refrain
The next day
I succumb
That juicy gossip
That urge to share
Other’s weaknesses
To vent out 
My frustrations
I will refrain
The next day
I succumb
I will not beat
I will not shout
I will not scream
I’ll handle all 
With  love
The next day 
I succumb
I won’t be jealous
Won’t envy
Other people
Who have a career
Do so much useful
With their life
I’ll be quiet
I’ll be calm
I’ll suffocate 
My emotions
But now
I’ve succumbed

The cancer within

Travelled far for his work
Slogging from six to ten
Persistent Cough
He never smoked
He never drank
One son
 In his twenties
Works and drinks
His wages gone 
His wife
She a maid
Or was
Lost  her jobs
Too many breaks
For visits 
The hospital
No money 
No help
The government hospital
A hole in his throat
A pipe to feed
The pain 
Tears he sheds
Cannot speak 
Hands outstretched 
Begging for relief
His body eaten up
No morphine for his pain
The hospitals won’t take him
He’s a hopeless case
My maid  she shares
A generous soul
With her next door neighbour
From her meagre wages
She feels
His tears
She hears his voice
He cannot talk
My little boy
His stack of coins
To her he gives
Why don’t I?
Am I afraid
Of the rehab
He takes the coins
Buys his release
It dosent kill
He lingers on
His pain increases 
Begs for death
Every day
His wife suffering
In silence
At last he is in
That wonderful place
Where the sisters
Take his pain
Morphine they give
They say their prayers
For healing
Of the spirit
Then he gives up
His soul
Free at last
She calls up 
My maid
I’m away
I need to see him
I’ll cook and go
But someone asks her
Why you
Isn’t there any other
I’m ashamed
Am I the other
I didn’t do
So much I could
In secret
No one 
Would  have known
I was afraid
Of the rehab
Of being
A misfit

Now the cancer

It hurts

Within me

The housekeeper

The housekeeper 
I don’t know how old he is
But he should have
A long time back
He’s there in the mornings
Six days a week
Carrying the putrid remains 
Of other people’s feasting
There’s unwanted parts
Of Vegetable 
Fruit peels too
Discarded meals
And worse
Sanitary pads
Of babies and adults
Loads of plastic
It’s all part
Of the job
Recyclable things
To be separated
And given
But if they don’t
He has to
Put them apart
The smelly stuff
In the green bins
Thank God
They give him
But all are
Not so fortunate

There’s a lift
But he cannot
With the others
More fortunate than him
Or they may
The stink
Of their own garbage
The bins laid down
In neat rows
The organic composted
The recyclables loaded
On the municipal trucks
But still his work 
Is not done
The compound
The lobbies too
The lifts cleaned
With perfumed Spray
Now it’s time 
For rest
He now goes
To kind people’s
To collect leftovers
Some fresh
Some stale
That might give him
A bad stomach
He takes it all
And shares it
As in of old
They break the bread
He’s finally gone
He’s retired
Comes once in a while
To visit my maid
Who gave him money
For the pao
When we had
Chicken curry
I miss him so
Is that because
The new guy
Won’t take 
My leftover 
Chicken curry?

My conscious pricks
When the leftovers
Are eaten
By my dustbin

Oh how good and kind
I used to feel
When he would 
Take with grace
My stale leftover 
Chicken curry