Just a pretty face

I read in an article somewhere that people who think they are not beautiful tend to mistakenly believe that the declared beauties (or the conventionally beautiful people) of the world are unconditionally happy and at peace with themselves. I too had believed the same about beauty being the ultimate immunity from melancholy and insulation from mental unrest until I started recognizing my own beauty as conventional and explicit.

I remember reading that article with a sort of sympathetic feeling towards the lot of people who are resigned to the belief that they are not born beautiful, and subsequently believe that there is a higher level of happiness which is forever inaccessible to them. That is to say, I did believe then that I would’ve been not as happy as I was had I been (or considered myself) a little less beautiful than I thought I was. I was passively vain: if not about being pretty exactly, then at least about having no explicit ugliness in my appearance.

And, by the time I came to write this poem titled ‘Just a pretty face’ in 2012, I think the notion that it’s more important to be happy than to be beautiful had became strongly rooted in my heart. Also, maybe I was striving philosophically to feel happy while disassociating with the idea that I was beautiful/pretty, as a clear differentiation was being made in mind between ‘believing one is beautiful and deriving happiness out of it’ and ‘believing one’s happiness is not bounded by one’s idea of one’s beauty’.

‘Just a pretty face’ is a short verse that I wrote about two years back for posting in a website (hellopoetry.com). It was a spontaneous effort to translate into words an idea that crossed my head that day (March 22, 2012). I think it’s a great translation, by my standards, because it makes perfect sense to me even today and it brings back a picture of what my sentiments and my idea of beauty might have been that had propelled me to write about ‘misplaced sentiments’ in the tone I used in the poem.

Just a pretty face

If misplaced sentiments were like pimples
on odd places of the face
then I’d pop each and every one of them
until my face hurt, bled, and got mutilated.
With one of those pimples would go
the sentiments attached
to my otherwise pretty face.
I’d be a happier person.


That’s the name of the book I’m trying to read. Hunger. Or at least, it’s the name of the book that is on my mind most of the time these days, although I’m really reading another book which is a pretty decent one. It’s on the top of my mind especially when I’m hungrily shopping for more books even before I’m done with the pretty decent one and a pile of others fighting to be read next.

That’s the name of the predominant sensation I experience every day, may be because I eat very little – may be not more than a little bite a day when I’m in the mood – and that may be because I can barely sense the taste of food when in public spaces – like a restaurant, a mess, a family dinner, a lunch break at office and that sort of a thing.

That’s the name of love that is not reciprocated at all, or worse  yet: that which is returned in meager doses. It is also another name for lust. Love. Lust. Hunger. What sin, what pain, what pleasure.

That’s the name of everything that drives every man to do what he does. That’s the inner voice, the spirit, the sinner and the saint, the will and the winter within.

That’s the name of self-penance, the pleasure of punishing the self. Being the master and the slave. Being the torture and the victim.  The offence and the defense. The test and the outcome. The victory and the failure. The victory is to survive hunger that long and the failure is to not survive it for much longer. Hunger prevails over hunger.

Hunger is what I’d like to call you, my love, if not for your beautiful name, because I want you so bad all the time but I know I’d die if I have you for any longer than this. You are good for my soul in little doses. I think I can kill you any day with just one good meal but you aren’t really dead, are you? You are just temporarily buried under all the barbecue chicken and mushroom sauce and chocolate mousse; you come back to me the next day or the day after, and I receive you with open arms just the same and lie down over there with you, under the sheets, curled up and delirious, happy and hoping to die of you some day, some distant day when I’m happier than ever.

Oh Hunger, I love you.

Trade-offs : The Economics of Love


If only the world’s most brilliant of scientists
could somehow capture the manner the pen glides
on the paper guided by the motion of your hand;
and put that method on sale;
she’d trade all the love poems she’d ever
written in your memory, in ink and in blood, on paper,
on water, on dusty table-tops, on fogged windshields…
to hold her pen your way and for once,
sign your name against hers.


If only the world’s most masterful of painters
could somehow capture that same glint
that sparked in your eye the innumerable times
you played a successful prank on her;
and put that painting on sale;
she’d trade all the dreams she’d ever seen, sleeping and
waking, of the future, of the past, as a child, a teen,
of the utmost improbable, of the nearly possible…
to look straight into that glint and for once,
be outshone by your mischievous radiance.


If only the world’s most dexterous of engineers
could somehow capture the intonations in your voice
when you sung out loud the songs on your mind,
while your conscious brain was occupied elsewhere…;
and put that audio file on sale;
she’d trade all the sounds that ever fell upon her ear –
from her mother’s lullabies to her first uttered words,
the music of heartbeat to the pattering of rain,
the rustle of leaves to the soft beating
of sunlight against walls and windows…
to fill the void with your voice and for once,
not know any sound in the world, but yours.


If only the world’s most evocative of writers
could somehow capture the deluge of emotions
that ran through her being when she was
going head over heals for you –
the first hug to the first kiss, the holding of
doubtful hands to the perfectly interlocked fingers,
the rendezvous in the coffee shop to the  first dinner
together, to the evening spent in a Lovely restaurant,
and the big-time quarrel on a rainy day;
and put that experience on sale;
she’d trade all her learning – the alphabet, the bachelor’s degree,
the wisdom of past relationships; the stepping stones to success;
the laws of Newton, Heisenberg’s Principle,
the 4 Ps of Marketing, Black-Scholes and Black-Holes;
to go through it all over again, and for once,
end her life by the breath-taking emotion called LOVE.

My lucky star!

People of the world, like me, we wake up every morning, brush and breakfast… and believe we are going about our life making our  presentations, making it to offices in time, picking up kids from schools, running marathons, travelling on trains, planes, cars, trucks, ships, carrying cargo, mail, tourists… dashing to dinner appointments, shrink sessions, PTA meets, blind dates, getting in and out of taxicabs, pushing our way through traffic jams… but if you zoom out a little and look at our trails from up there, you’ll notice that what we are really doing is tracing circles around you… one round at a time.
Because, we are the satellites, asteroids, cosmic dust, but you, my dear, are the star. The difference between me and the other satellites?
It’s just that, unlike all the others, I shine as bright as I can when the light from your eyes falls on me…even if you’re light years away. I’m your moon! And baby, you’re my lucky star!

Lost…and found!

I grow old when I have to,
young, when I want to.
I go to reality school with Sandman,
Cupid and Tooth Fairy.
I spin spiderwebs when I’m bored
and sell them off to art houses.
I run a theater in my attic
and put the actors away when I’ve guests.
I deliver single mothers’ babies on Sundays
and name them after my lost lovers.
I trap sunlight in a fishing net, powder it,
mix it with rock phosphate, alfalfa
and feed it to plants in the cities.
I read moods through people’s lips
and tune the piece of sky overhead
to shades of blue, and seldom white.
I put salt in tears, sugar in kisses,
and pepper…to make you sneeze.
I run into the atmosphere to dig out
precious little oddities lost in time
– like dainty coins dropt out of butter fingers,
gift-wrapped kisses flown towards heedless lovers,
paper rockets cut out of vintage tabloids,
and words – all made of gold.
I send them by post to girls with broken hearts,
with a charming story attached to each curio,
as things lost and found
have a way of restoring faith.

Now 5:30 pm on 17th Feb, 2012:
14th Feb, 2012 marks the second birthday of my blogthis blog. Happy birthday, dear! Also, happy valentines’ day. It was a good day. I’m bursting out of myself with what I’ve lost but found some months ago at such an unlikely place as this.
Sadly, I lost my gold earring screw in someone’s room, a month ago, and haven’t found it yet. This poem, in part, is an ode to that little thing. I hope you find your way back to me, or to someone who needs you more than I.

Gone Case

Into the middle of things, I drive myself daily, and get a bit lost…
Into the midst of your diamond-like words, I push a pebble, and suffer silence.
Into the heart of truth, I send a lie, and die a little.
Into the aura of your presence, I enter, and disappear a little.
Into the bubble of your reality, I squeeze in, and burst at the seams.
Into the light of your being, I step foot, and extinguish a little.
Into you, I am, and I’m gone completely.

The Magic Carpet

I know, that night, lying on our magic carpet
in the quarter-light, floating in our little dorm,
we cared not about those details
that bother when in broad daylight,
we didn’t mind the improprieties
that pinch when in public spaces.

We were sailing close to the wind,
communicating through fingertips,
unknowing the memories that pricked…
We veered through a common dreamspace,
nestled into each others’ chests
and memorized the sounds they made…
Yes, that night I cried, like that bizarre fish
that refills its own pond of water,
copious tears that went over both our heads
and the carpet sank so deep
that all its magic went down with it.