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Akhil Katyal

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Akhil Katyal



Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush Female, Landour. Photo by Nitoo Das




This is not fair, Bombay,

to get me in the habit of the sea, as if
you do not know, I am from and will go
back to my land-locked Delhi. Now the
next time I feel blue and all the world
comes crushing on to me, what do you
suppose I should do, with no sea, no
waves, no sand, no grey, wet boulders
on this calming edge-of-land, that tell you
the world's too big to carry on your shoulders,
so let it be, so let it be.

(thanks to Kyla Pasha)


I was scared to talk to him, he

was so beautiful that I was all
psyched, his eyes were like...,
his hair were like..., when he
turned to look at you, you turned
into..., so try as I might, I couldn't
do, but then one day, in one of
those moments of courage that
come very, very few, I wrote to
him, being all spruce and fly,
asking him "So why haven't we
met so far?" giving him the cue,
he said: "I was scared to talk to you."


Haji Ali

is like Bombay flying a kite in the sea,

and standing by its side,
- water, like creepers, grows
on stones - you see the high tide
happen under your feet.

This is the magic spot where
six hundred years before,
the saint's coffin, adrift, smooth
like ivory, white like bone,
came back from the Arabian sea.

This is the magic spot
where that couple from Borivali
meet, sit together;
the waves rise and come
to keep them,
but still, somehow, leave them
to themselves -
the rock dark-grey-wet
around them the world yet
they sit on noon-stone
- now ivory under the sea -
alone.


It is Paris again

It is Paris again
where we spent that
week in the knees,
learning love's a-b-c's
and thinking we'd still be
unharmed.

It is still here,
that grey asphalt,
still here, that crease
felt by love's deportees, who
once battle-ready, are now
unarmed.

There is still that
half-promise of the ferry
lights, still the breeze
comes with half-guarantees
of charm, of leaving you
uncharmed.

(after Leela Gandhi)

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