न जाने क्यों?

ख्वाबों के दरिया में
ताबीर आया, और
ज़ंक़े-जंगों से सजे
मेरी यादों के ताबूत में
एक दरार
पड़ गयी.

न जाने क्यों
आज तुम
बहुत याद आए?

Continue reading ‘न जाने क्यों?’



a question was

asked and the answer spat


an arm extended only

to be pushed


Continue reading ‘#37’


रक्त जड़ित आँसू

मज़बूर हूँ मैं वक़्त के तकाज़े से
मरदूद नोटों के तिलिस्मी आने-जाने से,
दिलोदिमाग के अंदर की चीखें निकल नहीं रहीं
हम खफ़ा हैं खुद अपनी
हयात से.

खंज़र से ज़्यादा नुकीले शब्दों ने
ज़हन को छलनी कर दिया,
फिर हमारी धात्री ने अपना
काम करवा के
नाकामियत की
माला से सजा दिया.

Continue reading ‘रक्त जड़ित आँसू’



The screaming from the


perforated the thick grey

walls and

enveloped itself

around quiet corners

of my being.

Vaguely familiar faces

with loud, open mouths,




towards me;

waiting to be


desperate to get under

my skin as I

try to remain

sane in

the midst of all



Those were the days! 4

We’ve seen over time that countries that have the best economic growth are those that have good governance, and good governance comes from freedom of communication. It comes from ending corruption. It comes from a populace that can go online and say, ‘This politician is corrupt, this administrator, or this public official is corrupt.’ – Ramez Naam

I can, of course, talk about the harrowing time I had as Director of The Corbett Foundation – not the work, but the way the Board (in particular Rina Khatau) behaved and treated people; of assurances and promises broken; the way sycophancy was encouraged and nurtured to unbelievable levels; the arrogance and subterfuge; the nauseating hold the Khataus had over their employees. Why most of them were so servile and willing to be treated worse than guttersnipes is something I could never comprehend. I always felt that the Khataus never ever learnt or appreciated the fact that the stature they achieved was by standing on somebody’s shoulders.

But I choose instead to share some of the most glorious, enriching and satisfying moments of my life, even when things were going awry.

Continue reading ‘Those were the days! 4’


Those were the days! 3

“If you look at great human civilizations, from the Roman Empire to the Sovit Union, you will see that most do not fail simply due to external threats but because of internal weakness, corruption, or a failure to manifest the values and ideals they espouse.” – Cory Booker

Sometimes it is difficult for me to differentiate between the 2001 earthquake and the 2002 Gujarat riots. The aftermath was catastrophic either ways. The events affected me in more ways that I can even describe.

I was as in Kachchh and survived, but had to leave as nothing was left of the Gujarat Nature Conservation Society’s field office.


I was part of ‘Sabrang’ for a long time. Realized I had been branded a pseudo-secularist only after I was roughed-up one night. How bad things were became clear when I realized that the phone was tapped and my children were being followed. Had to leave Gujarat.


Very much like a wild animal whose corridor of movement is slowly but steadily being eradicated I lived in the shadows of my nightmares keeping an eye out for further transgressions. Nothing much has changed even today.


Continue reading ‘Those were the days! 3’


Living with the Tiger

When I am dead, my dearest,

Sing no sad songs for me;

Plant thou no roses at my head,

Nor shady cypress tree:

Be the green grass above me

With showers and dewdrops wet;

And if thou wilt, remember,

And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,

I shall not feel the rain;

I shall not hear the nightingale

Sing on, as if in pain:

And dreaming through the twilight

That doth not rise nor set,

Haply I may remember,

And haply may forget.

– Christina Rossetti

Sixteen years ago, deep within the forests of Binsar, on a bitterly cold night, I had finally finished making notes in my diary and was ready to call it a day.


The other members of the team were already asleep. I got-up and quietly went around the old dak bungalow checking doors and windows.


Came back and stoked the fire. Seeking warmth from the crackling fireplace and snuggled inside the sleeping bag, a face with large eyes peeped out at me.

Continue reading ‘Living with the Tiger’