He, You, I

We were unwilling acquaintances
of separate worlds and separate minds
He, six foot tall and ready for revolution
I, five feet tall, with a dream.

Then, there was you 
With your talk of change, transparency and a revolution we could all be part of
Camp to your politics of division and unity,
we were all called and all of us said yes,
all at the same time.

I still remember days of smouldering heat and burning grass as we lay on a ground we knew not to touch
They called us rebels. We called ourselves changers of a system we knew we could not change.
But then I slipped away amidst the haze as the screams got louder, the hate more bitter
I kept saying that wasn’t me. I did not want to become what you already were. 
Perhaps, I already was.

Hypocrisy is a comical word. They all call you that 
He, six foot tall and ready to defend you till the death of his own dignity
I, five feet tall, with an idea.

But then, we are all hypocrites, you know.



The Swami’s Call

This was a poem that had won the first prize for a poetry competition I had entered early last year. It focuses on the Indian struggle for independence. The “Swami” mentioned in the poem is Swami Vivekananda who was an inspiration for many during the freedom movement.

Everyday under the harsh sun

I labour and toil

The Sahib whips me

He hits at me.


Everyday I see him

Sitting under that Banyan tree

Relishing the fruits of my motherland

His steel blue eyes reflecting the contempt of his heart.


Everyday I watched him

Until I heard the swami’s call

Arise, he said

And so I did.


Awake, the swami said

And so I did

My brothers and I-

No, we slumber no more.


I saw the swami beckoning

I heard him say,

Stop not till your goal is reached

And so I went on.


No longer did the Sahib whip me

No longer did he trample my soul

No longer did he crush my spirit

No longer does he violate India.


We arose, we were one

India- my kingdom

Freedom- my bequest

We awoke, we emerged.


We heard the Swami’s call

We followed in his steps

The battle won, the fight has been fought

My country is now mine.



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