Wednesday, May 26, 2010



Through the open window beside my bed, pain comes in quietly on measured steps in moonlight. It touches me in my slumber and my heart is lost in a dream; a dream I have seen many times and have often forgotten in the morning. Rightly so, because the mornings never had a clue. Only the nights had seen me pacing on the terrace of my hostel and stealing a glance at her every time she buried her face in the book, every time her dark tresses fell over her face, and looking away just as she looked up and tucked them back cutely behind her ears.

My student days in New Delhi showed me a view of life that I had never seen in my home town; the way life ran with frenetic speed on the smoothest and busiest roads and I waited endlessly for it under the shed on the sidewalk. I remember losing my footing in the crowd and the fear in my heart that I will be run over. I remember coming back to my cheap, lonely room. I kept tuning and retuning to my favorite radio stations so as to find a familiar voice, a familiar name that I could listen to every day, even if only on a radio. Those were not the days for a romantic dream. And then I found her in the quiet and dusky subway under this road on which life ran. I walked behind her slowly with unhurried steps in my slumber and I lost her just as I reached the other side of the road.

She lived in one of the flats in the building opposite to my hostel. She was perhaps a little older than me. I first saw her when I had come to my terrace in the night to escape the mugginess of my claustrophobic room. She was studying with her friend. In a few days, I discovered she used to study there every night until dawn. I knew her name one day as one of her friends called out for her, "Anjali". I gave the name to my nights, "Anjali". I never stared or smiled at her. I just used to steal a discreet glance every now and then. Her face might not have been the prettiest, but her eyes had a calmness that gently stroked my heart into a sweet rhythm. She smiled rarely but whenever she did, time used to freeze around her; and in that moment when time remained blind I used to smile too, cheating all my pains and fears. I never felt any need to talk to her.

One night, she acknowledged my presence. While I was busy listening to the radio, I felt her gaze tenderly roam around me before settling on my face with love. I turned slowly and for the tiniest fraction of time, our eyes met and shied away leaving a ruby bliss on her pale cheeks and a sweet pain in me. Since that moment, love paced restlessly on that terrace every night, hand in hand with me, aching for her gaze to stretch its tender fingers again. But the distance that separated her world and mine, the silence that floated in the breeze that come to me from her terrace remained. I never tried to transcend it. I let the dream remain a dream for it was so perfect.

Like a day always comes when a little paper boat delightfully floating in muddy pools of sweet rain water has to be lost, that day also came. It was evening and as if in harmony with the moment, the sun was melting into darkness, in the background. She stood on the terrace and looked around, her hands rested on the railings. Her eyes traveled the emptiness of an infinite sky that was losing itself in the arms of dusk. Then she looked at me, I could not have missed as she blinked, a window of dreams opened and closed in her eyes, her lips twitched a little, trembled and love glittered brightly in my faint smile. Perhaps, the longing of the moment could have transformed itself into a few sweet words by its own, if that moment would have lingered a little longer. But... her friend called for her, "Anjali, the taxi is waiting." She went away, forever into the memory lane and she left her address somewhere that could only be reached in my dreams.

Yesterday, those dreams, those nights, the love and the longing broke away the shackles of years and stormed into my office in broad day light. She was sitting across my desk. Her hair were now pulled back and not a single strand fell over her face. Her eyes were a little nervous. I might not have recognized her at all but her old, familiar face smiled at me from her job application that was in my hand. And the first column read the name I had given to my nights, "Anjali". I can't recall how the interview went, my mind only remembers the last question that I put across her nervously, "Do you remember me?". And I continued without waiting for her answer, nervous, without even trying to hide it,"I lived in that hostel, opposite to your apartment in Delhi, 2004?" She shrugged and then smiled,"Ah...hmmm..yes sir, I do. I was doing my masters there.....". As she continued ahead about Delhi and her course, my eyes looked in her eyes, searching. I don't remember what happened next....

Those eyes were stranger's.

I wake up, jolted, tonight, just as I see her dream again. I try to remember where did it go so wrong.

The dream was so perfect!

(c) Ankur Srivastava

Monday, May 24, 2010

I Am a Generation!

I Am a Generation!

Through my eyes,
History changes and un-changes
As in the eyes
That saw it before mine.

And when I look back,
In the pages of history
Will I ponder,

"Who am I?"

I am the one
In the corner of a classroom
Writing poems
On the back of an engineering book.
Half baked poems and
Half learned lessons.

I am the one who
turned his back on temples.
I sit on noisy sidewalks
Sipping bitter tea
In plastic cups
And contemplate and reflect
Search for my soul.
In the bitterness.

I often cut my hair,
And color it
In accordance
With "post-modern art"
I am the face on the banners
Who has changed his name
To have some fame.

I forever join in the debate
On the soul of Gandhi
And sometimes,
The poetry of Tagore
The Nehru and the Ambedkar.
I am often caught,
On both sides of debate.

My mind ponders
On why Sukhi died.
(Sherman In RDB)
Patriotism or friendship?
Or was he afraid
Of the meaninglessness of it all
And of his existence.

I wear a secular mask
And I cried
And cheered a certain Mr. Khan
As he walked
To break the greatest boundaries
Of my times.(yes, perhaps.)
And beyond.

But I didn't walk
With Mr. Khan.
I wasn't stupid!

I am the one
Who applauded
A Slumdog Millionaire
As he charmed and amused.
I also slapped him in face,
For the other Slum-dogs
Who were still slum-dogs,
With empathetic heart
And well fed stomach!

All the while,
While, I split my pocket-money
Between petrol and pizza,
I never realized
I am not me.

I am a generation.

I wonder
What will I take to my grave...
A generation that had ambitions
Before it could dream!

A generation that put the blame
On the generations before,
And slipped into the grave.
With eyes shut.

I am scared
How history will be seen,
Through my eyes.

(c) Ankur Srivastava 

( For those who don't know about Sukhi and Mr. Khan.

Sukhi is a character played by Sherman Joshi in a Hindi movie, "Rang De Basanti". He reluctantly chooses to help his friends in killing the corrupt Defense Minister of India who was largely responsible for the death of their friend, the pilot who died in a crash of one of the MIG planes due to technical problems in the plane.
He then reluctantly goes with his friend to confess before the whole nation through radio and is killed by the forces. Through all this, he remains scared and confused and gathers some strength only when the end is near.


Mr. Khan is played by Shah Rukh Khan in "My name is Khan". Rizvan Khan is an honorable Muslim man from India, living with Asperger's Syndrome in US. When his son is killed by people due to the hatred against Muslims post 9/11, Khan selflessly embarks on a powerful journey through a contemporary America. He innocently becomes that most unlikely act of defiance, one of peace and compassion. In the name of the woman he loves, he wants to meet the president of USA just to tell him that, "My name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist." )

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Poet Died

A Poet Died

"Once upon a time",
On an empty street,
Poetry touched him.
And ever since,
He groped
In emptiness.

He used to sit by the window
In afternoons
His hands shivered in cold.
The sun had no warmth
Just a glowing dot
Like the tip of a cigarette.

Love visited often
The address written
On pale envelopes.
But no flowers ever blossomed,
Poems grew
Like weeds.

He had little ladders
He kept them between the lines
To reach one's heart.
And he wrote with his gift
Many a letters
That ended in trash.

On a sad evening, yesterday,
He stole a poem 
From his soul
And wrote it on the sky.

A candle flickered,
And melted 
Before its time.

He read the epilogue
All to himself,
On the same old street
He sat and cried.

Was just another day,
For, no one noticed it;
Not even the man
Sitting beside him.
A poet died.

(c) Ankur Srivastava

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Love and Longing

Love and Longing

For all the sweetness of love,
And uncountable kisses;
There shall always be
On the tip of tongue
A salty drop of tear,
A thirst unquenchable.

I wait for you
Dressed in soft, white sand;
A little of my shore
Is eaten away every day.
 Such is the hunger of love.

A glorious moon conspires.
Every night,
You leap in passion
To touch the moon.
I wait for you
Every night
In envy and love.

You fall in my arms,
And I hold you.
I am your bottom, ain't I?
You dream of the moon,
In my arms.

  Tides of pain rise and fall.
You, playful and young,
I, Drowned in your pain.
Longing for you
To turn back.
You wont turn away.

A moment...
Still, in time.
Framed, in boundless space.
We stand together
In the infinite sea
Of love, longing and passion.
At the edge of the world.

(c) Ankur Srivastava

Monday, May 17, 2010


You look through the glass,
Your eyes transfixed.

A fleeting glance at me,
Through the corner of your eyes,
I manage a smile.

Your eyes,
Sparkle for a moment.
And turn dull,

"Why diamonds?"
I hold your hand,
You rub your fingers.
"Because diamonds are forever!"

I hold a pen and my heart,
I cut, shape and polish,
And love feels,
Every stroke of my pen.

The stars sigh,
I carve your face.
Eyes gleaming
A luminous smile.

I have no clue.

I kiss your fingers,
Soft and tender.
You open your eyes,


I keep them forever.

Ankur Srivastava

Friday, May 14, 2010


Wrapped in a silk robe
Of shining darkness,
She knocks at your door.

Her fancy bag promises
Rainbow gifts from a distant world,
But you know
Those are dreams from the past.

If you let her in,
The night will simmer
In her stories of dreams.
And its lurid layers
Will melt drop by drop.

Her mysterious tone
Will rise and fall,
You will ache
To catch a glimpse of her face.

Then she will be gone,
A lipstick stained wineglass,
A sweet surreal scent
Left to linger in the room.

So, you pretend deaf,
Behind bolted door.
Her knock; light and faint,
Dissolving in familiar noises.

Can you stop
From looking out of the window
When those dreams
Run homeless in the streets?

She is knocking!
(c)Ankur Srivastava 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Just Before I Am Lost

Just before I am lost,
I want to write a love poem.
The color of love stolen,
Tears dripping,
And a night lit up
By silver moon of memories.

The journey of love,
From being born in tears,
To being lost in smiles,
Finding its way in silence,
And choking
Under the weight of promises.

I am here tonight to say it all,
Things that were not meant to be.
Love made it happen,
Our little sweet miracles,
That have somehow stopped.

It's difficult to draw boundaries,
When you are too close;
So many things go wrong,
When you are lost.

I don't beg for tomorrows,
I would rather buy a yesterday.

Love somehow holds it all intact,
But tonight love is lost,
It has fled, defeated...
Without a message.

We are blinded,
Left to wander, in the sea of thoughts.

A thousand unknown reasons,
For the death of every star,
A hundred questions...
Why our miracles have stopped.

Just before I am lost,
I want to write a love poem.

(c)Ankur Srivastava

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Slowly, Suvesh gets up from his bed and stealthily walks out of the room. The clock strikes 3 in the morning, it’s still dark. He walks out to breathe in the open air. He shuts his eyes for a moment and his entire life flashes before him. It was not meant to be like this, he shakes his head but there is no escape from that terrible feeling.
Reema pretends to sleep, like every night. She feels unnerved to ask him any questions now. It’s not that things were any better before but now the damage seems to be irreparable. She lets out a heavy sigh as she watches her husband go for his daily walk… in the middle of the night! She feels she is quietly letting him slip into the dark but she can’t help it, can she?
Suvesh left college with just one dream, the only dream he saw ever since he first held a pencil- to leave an impression on the beautiful white canvas of life. It has been a year since his last painting was rejected by the galleries. He remembers when his first painting was displayed, nine years ago when he was 22. It had gone unsold, like his next seven paintings. He sees the portrait of a sad and ugly painter who lived in the illusion of a dream. Terrified, he scraps off this image and tries to splash some new colors but colors are fading now. They can no longer hide the face of the ugly painter.
He still paints, for a living, making posters for a local theater. Most of the times, he is asked to draw the same images, a tempestuous girl with playful eyes. Sometimes, he mixes a little pain with the colors as he paints the curve of her smile. He hides a little anger at the corner of her lips. Often he draws thin lines of worry on her forehead or merges her blush with a light of hope. He chuckles at the fact that no one has noticed, and you can feel the heart breaking pain in the humor. (No one has noticed!)
Reema tries to close her eyes… to life and Suvesh… to sleep. But sleep has evaded her … like smiles and joy… and love? She decides to follow him, instinctively or out of love, she knows she has to. She had known it that day, when she left his father's home to be with him. He wasn’t ready to let her come with him but she had sneaked into his life. And today she has to follow him again.
Reema walks out of the door into the sidewalk but Suvesh is no where. “How far could he have gone?” Indeed, how far could he go? She sees a dim light coming from the guard room. It is strange as there has never been a guard for the apartment. She peeps through the tiny gap between the doors.
Suvesh is standing in front of a huge canvas. The sky is murky. Its darkness is terrifying; layers of black merge into each other and dry like a clot. Shades of gray hint a storm that had died in its stride. Stars have lost their shine; they remain helplessly suspended in the mist; hanged in the darkness. Moon is alone, robbed off its beauty. Its flaws are obvious and grim. Its sadness is like the pain of a yesteryear's heart-throb who is now old, ugly and undesirable. The earth is a huge mass of ice; cold and frozen. Still, a little green twig has grown, staunchly, from its infertile womb. It's fragile but unperturbed by the torture it has undergone, the effort it has made to break the layers of silence and coldness. It wears the green of the brightest dreams, ecstatic joys and undying hopes. It is so unreal and yet when you look at it, you feel that it is meant to be. The painting is a mosaic of sorrow and hope. 
Unaware of Reema’s presence, Suvesh tries bit by bit to perfect the painting, adding colors, layers by layer. His brush strokes not only the canvas but also his heart; soothes and heals it. His heart and soul are, for a moment, in harmony with the freshness of the green twig. 

The painting isn’t an expression of the painter; it is his escape from everything he has been.
 Reema smiles. 
(c) Ankur Srivastava

Saturday, May 1, 2010


The rusty shackles of last night's dreams
Melted away in the flaring sun.
In a never ending dusty afternoon,
He woke up, almost reborn...

Some remembered him,
"Ah! the boy with the sad smile."
Others believed,
He had risen from the grave.

For, his face was blank...
A smile hauntingly pasted.
He hummed a strange tune,
Staring into nothingness.

He was never seen before,
Or perhaps went unnoticed.
But then he set his thumping feet
On the empty streets
And dust kicked off.

As the Sun bowed to his feet,
Looking up at the heavens,
He rose a toast,
To the mourning for strangled dreams.

He seemed sad and yet so strong,
Grief embarrassed;
And guilt was set free
Naked, in the chilly evening breeze.

The innocence of a full moon,
Was put aside with disdain.
He played with the shadows of night.

And painted the dark
On his face.
Mask of sanity scrapped.

He walked the road,
The beast he always was. 
(c)Ankur Srivastava