un-playing football

My school was atop a hill. ‘A mighty king’ they said- was stationed there, once upon a time. He dug trenches to hide his forces. And then, in the dark of the night, he attacked un-mighty kings, in a show of force.

I never really understood this, but he was mighty I was told. I did not question it.

And this hill was covered with pine trees that reached to scratch the cloudy sky. The ground was covered with Pine leaves. Pine leaves are beautiful. I had never seen leaves like that. But they were leaves alright, my science teacher said. “They are special, they serve a purpose.”

This, I understood. 

It was okay to be a leaf that looked like a needle. In fact, it was special to a leaf that didn’t look like one. My strategy professor would call in competitive advantage, I should ask him sometimes.  

Our school was atop a hill, nestled in a pine forest. The top was leveled because of the boys and the girls who needed a ground to play. The ground was on the edge, therefore the ball would roll down the hill after every powerful kick. Some boys were really good at those- the powerful kicks.

The ball would bounce around and would get stuck in the bushes. Every time this happened we chased it down the slope. 

We slid down the path, dotted with pine trees tall

the same path that the water carved

As it too went down- looking for a ball

We stumbled in rocks, slipped on pine leaves

Faced the trees as we broke our downhill speed.

 

A year or two later, the teachers put up a net around the ground.  The ball stopped rolling down the hills. And then the boys stopped rolling down the hill. Well… the boys kept rolling, just not down the hill.

Then the boys and the girls were really thankful. They could play longer- didn’t have to chase the ball downhill. 

This, I never really understood. What was the point of having a football field on top of a hill if the ball wasn’t to roll off the edge every now and then?  For me, football was the whole; from chasing the jocks to murdering the socks. The bushes and the berries. The trees and the pine cones. Football really was a vertical game.  

Ever since the net came up, my will to play football went down.

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Who’s this guy?

 

I am tired
and I am sick of
looking for this man.

My girlfriend looks for him
My boss looks for him
Some of my god damned friends look for him
My mother has been looking for him for
years so many she can’t count it in her hands
Even the government looks for him
The society looks for him !

But, where is this man they keep talking about?
A man just like me.

Sometimes when I am drunk
they say, you can find him only when you’re sober
And when I am sober
they say, you gotta be filthy drunk to see him.

Yesterday,
On my way to being drunk,
when I was half drunk and half sober,
when my head was drunk and the the heart was alive,
I decided to stop looking for this man.

 

 

 

A morning like this

The Pine trees wake up from their standing sleep
They take some time
To take their wet blankets off.

Like stray spaghetti on a restaurant floor,
The roads are dotted with earthworms,
Some dead, some waiting to die,
Some will probably make it back to the muddy sides,
Crows sit on cold steel rails,
they have just taken a bath in the morning dew,
They do not care about the plentiful breakfast of
Worms that is spread out in the pavement,
Yet !

Down below,
In the foothills,
Wheat tips grow more golden than gold
Fresher than the news or donuts,
glisten in the yellow morning sun.

As morning dew seeps in through the shoes and the socks, and your toes-
Into your blood stream you understand
The land that is mushy is the most clean,
Shoes that are muddy are the best looking shoes.

Ugly water tanks,
dull as an concrete electric pole dot the fields,
The Earth is carefully carved
for the rain water to flow into these gold beds
And beyond –
I take my smartphone out to take a picture,
but it’s not difficult to see,
Early mornings are like water,
We have associated water with pipes and collection tanks, but they do not really belong there,
Can I fit the crows and the worms
and the wheat and the pine trees
and the mist and the dew,
And the shy gaurishankar gleaming mildly in the north,
And the super confident yellow morning sun inside a frame?

Nowadays,
I think of Dhulikhel
As I walk beside bagmati,
The trees and the crows and the worms are here too,
If you are lucky you can see a few mountain tops too,
But I shall
Neither take a picture
Nor write a poem,
about a morning like this.

To walk into a bookshop

Wide walls filled with dildos
and flesh lights,
some for fiction, some for fantasy,
some non fiction and some blow up bullshit.
Sometimes,
to walk into a bookshop
is like walking into a sex-shop.

They walk slowly through the shelves
race their racy eyes,
and try to match their fetishes with the covers-
they feel the front and then the back.
Most know –
those that shine above the rest
the chains and whips-
they are expensive,
and like jewelry, they are mostly limited in use.
If you want to play safe,
the classics are usually a good value.
They check the spine, they check the bleed,
check the edges to see if it cuts.
Though they browse
through a lot of books
flip through a lot of pages
they make only a few choices-
the one they will use in leisure,
the one they will use for pleasure,
and the ones, they may eventually share with their loved ones.

They usually present one or two to the cashier,
often in a nonchalant way
but their gut is gnarling like a dog before the bark,
they appear calm
but their legs go cold as if
they are asking someone out.

Sometimes,
to walk into a bookshop
is like walking into a sex-shop.

Oh!
…and like the sex shops,
the cashier wont judge-
may be a little,
but the cashier will understand
sometimes,
we all need to party alone.

Cornflakes

Wake up
Have some cornflakes
Go to the work place
So you can keep buying the cornflakes
Man, is this what it takes
To keep repeating the same takes
Repeating the same route
Baking the same cake?
No icing no sugar
Just a damn dry lake
I would not be wrong to
Call this a mistake
Man, we lost in our own lives
Trying to make sense of all this red tape
Living like livestock
We are living for slaughter
Living to afford college
For us, then our sons and daughters
Living to buy things
Trying to win over the taxes
This city is Never quiet: no lull
the mind never relaxes
I take my life and measure it in baskets
I put the things I consume
Swear it looks like a casket
I could tell it like it is
Man, it’s easy if you a class kid
For Mass kid, there aint much hope
Other than begging and asking
From kulfi suckers
To the lickers of Robin who’s basking
No Messiah here
Why are we masking
The dread of life that we are asking
Flashy clothes to pack our ass in
And toilet paper to keep the ass clean
Put on a little saffron so we can mask sin
Climbing up the ladder put the Task in
make sure your not the one who’s last in
Making life
Faking shit
The cars the booze and not looking shit
Put a gold chain around your neck
The gold pain around your neck
A great Dane with a collar I the great neck
Take a good picture of your life
For zuck’s sake
Get a job that pays you dollars
Be a hustler not a scholar

They want me to be motivated
Like a bird who’s gotta find his nest and
Find a mate to do the nest thing
They say this nestling, is the best thing
You can have a nice life
Get a good life
Find a place to live
Buy some cornflakes
Then go to the work place
So you can keep buying that cornflakes

The woman from Dillibazaar

​She measured the earth in multiples of the distance between her home and the farthest city she has ever been to,Dharan.  She asked me if where I came from was farther than her reference town. She looked at my face as if she could see the dirty ponds and the dusty streets of my home town, I looked back at her trying to find traces of Kathmandu, the city that has spawned her whole ancestry, but all I could find was a small intersection,one among many of intersections of Kathmandu, at most I could see parts of Dillibazaar .

When she smiled to bid me goodbye, her smile didn’t look like Dillibazaar, it looked like Dharan.

I wonder if, when I look into the mirror, I will ever be able to recognize the city I carry in my smile.