“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Her name is Happiness

You never know from where a breeze would waltz in 

And when.

In the sultry heat,

When trees bend their heads, looking so forlorn

And leaves curl

(There is such sorrow in watching them)

When street dogs scramble beneath shade

And lie panting

When clothes in the clothesline hang limp

Like mourners of the dead -

 I -

In the centre of the crossroads

That extends to barren emptiness all around…

I hear the flutter of fallen leaves at my feet

And turn to look –

The breeze comes up, smoking.

It is raining somewhere far away.

She comes, enwraps me in her shawl

Smothers me with passion.

She comes,

Bringing me memories of innocence and irrepressible joy. 

She wears the fragrance of my forgotten youth.


Flickering their tongues

Snakes sneak out from their holes, savouring the air.


The rain is coming nearer, nearer, it is almost here -

I wait –

With great love and tenderness in my heart

I wait to see the flowers bloom. 

********Balachandran, Trivandrum, 23.03.2009




Saturday, March 21, 2009

Through the window

No longer have I settled down on my seat

The wailing would ensue.

Some would be urgent, short and rapid

Some long-drawn, slow, as if it knows

It wouldn’t make any difference anymore.


In the beginning, I used to get up

And look out through the window.

 The white vehicles with the mirror image

Of AMBULANCE would flash past

Offering me glimpses

Of faces dark with misery.


There were then other kinds;

Cars, with lights blazing, horn blaring

Squeezing out, weaving through the oncoming rush.

Three-wheeled autorickshaws offered the best view.

There would invariably be one, head leaning on

To another’s shoulder

Blood-spattered dress, blood-streaked face

Closed eyes – I was fascinated by the expression

Of the others – vacant, sometimes anxious,

Of flickering fear, of untold sorrow and submission to fate.


I have seen them too, the ambulances with a wreath or two

Stuck in the front, solemn, slow –

Everything has to come to a pass.


In the beginning, I used to sit back

With a heavy heart, and then 

Reminded of my own mortality

Would strain my ears

For that wailing at my doors.

*************** Balachandran V, Trivandrum 21.03.2009


Tuesday, March 10, 2009


The forest stream grumbles as the big rock

Makes it swerve sharply to the right

But is relieved that around the bend

It can flow freely again.

It swirls; over the sand bed the stream made

Where I lie in total stupor

The stream gurgles happily over the little stones and rocks

That cradles me like a foetus in its womb.

I lie, floating, watching my toes peeking out of the water

And my nose, like a periscope

This bloated corpulence slapped

Gently by the ripples of the water.


The sun is clouded out for the moment

I close my eyes in bliss

All I hear are the chuckle of the stream

And the chirping of the Wagtail.


It was the time of goodbyes to the past

And all the pain is taken away by the stream.

I realize I will never again write poems

On love and the pain of losing it

Because the current has taken all that away

As little fish nibble at my heart

Cleansing it of pus and blood.


The sun turns up again

I turn over, and holding breath

Look at the pebbles beneath.

Though the water is clear

The river bed is blurred

I am unable to see

But I will, I will

I will see it sharply, clearly, one day.

*******************  Balachandran, Kallar, 10.03.2009

Points and Counterpoints

Sitting here, alone in the night in a lodge

At the foot of the hills

Drinking whisky and smoking,

Sitting like a fat Buddha with glasses

The liquor- flushed cheeks rubbing its frame

The bloated belly like an over-filled sack

Slumping over hiding my nudity

The fleshy thighs spreading over the chair

Like over-watered dough

And the smell of fried beef in my nose

Its spices still tingling my tongue

And its shreds snuggling

Between the yellowing teeth –


I am trying to take a fresh look at myself.


Overweight, smoking, sluggish

Muscles long forgotten to stretch

I fit the bill for a cardiac case.

All that remains to be known is when.

It jerks me out of my drunken reverie

That it could be in the next moment

Or the one after the next.


While my estranged wife would be

Busying herself with religious rituals

That will bring her blessings and good fortune

Benefactions of the Goddess

Like the thousands of her sex

Who pollute the city for a day

And while my son would be busying himself

With an enactment of preoccupation

With his studies

While actually listening to Rock

Or to the intermittent telephone calls

Of his friends

And while my dogs would be

Lying panting, exhausted with barking

At all those passing our gates

And I believe, wondering where I have gone-


I sit here, an escapee from that din outside

Though helpless, having to listen to that from inside

And as ever, pursing my lips and repeating

That I have to cut down my eating and drinking

And smoking and shouting and later wallowing

In self-pity

And walking every day morning

And working it out at the gym

Or swimming in the pool

And to be sharp and assertive

And write poems and write what all

And go for long rides on the bike –


And wondering, what the hell,

What is the point in postponing

The inevitable

But then wishing I would be free of this guilt

This guilt for living the way I want to

Wishing I could live the way I want to

Without wrestling with this guilt

But then again at the back of my mind

This constant ticking that

I am a potential candidate for myocardial infarction

And then thinking, Hell! Everyone is,

Everyone eventually will be, that or something else

But the question, I realize

Is not about the hundred ways of dying

And having no choice in that matter

But on living –

Which brings us to an examination

On the quality of life

If somebody would provide a standard

So much measure of happiness and sorrow

So much of richness and depravity

So much pleasure and so much pain –

And I am getting confused

But have to put an end to it

The best way, I know

Is to remind myself again

To reduce weight

To stop smoking

To stop drinking

To be happy

Be happy

Be happy

And never never to look deeper into oneself

Or ruminate over the past –

And –

Perhaps at the moment

Of the inevitable

Tell oneself – now I am puzzled-

What or wonder if there is

Any point at all in talking

To oneself as one lie dying.

***************** Balachandran, Kallar, 09.03.2009




Concave conversations

See, I am practicing a secret art

The guiles of which I am going to let you into.

Its like communicating with the dead,

The seemingly non-existent

The apparent void

Laughing, loving,

Crying and screaming

In total silence.


I do not use Tarot cards

Not for me the crystal globe

The stuttering stove

The fluttering candle

Or the elevating table.


My medium - please do not laugh

Or give me that piteous contempt –

You see, I write poems in the internet.

My blog, ghostly pale,

Floats in the ether like a jellyfish

Stinging those who are curious,

With gentle stabs of love.


In silence, stultifying my soul,

Words stumble onto the white screen

Rearrange themselves like soldiers shuffling,

Stiff, in a parade before the march to death.

Immutable, impassive, they stare at me –

They are staring at me –

Soon, they will be gone –


Like untraceable bubbles

Into that ocean of words,

Of thoughts…

Friend, I submit

My words, unread, into the void

Writing for you,

I stare into the blank white screen

Where your reply will never appear…

******** Balachandran, Trivandrum, 09.03.2009