Sat Janam [Seven Lives]


My first Punjabi poem.
Struggled to translate, and this one emerged:

Seven Lives

Let it not be our prayer

to be together

for eternity.


No, let us not tether

each other’s soul

to infinity and beyond

when you and I, we don’t know

what it wants.
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Snub away the frivolous thought

your demeanour, it reeks of retort

You’re human

not a speck of dirt

Wayward one moment

the other, inert.

I swear I do try

to conform and comply

But in the deep of the night

when the voices go quiet

My resolve is undone

by a call from the wild

And ever so often

I go adrift.

image: peneloperene



My fingers wandering through your soft, cocoa hair

Fears calmed

with stolen kisses on the long of your neck

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a parent’s passing

Befriend the grief,

allow it to fill your lungs

gasping for breath.

Let it reach beyond

that lonely place

in your heart,

and soothe your frayed nerves

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If I were to marry today…

I would say a




ostentatious NO to a lavish punjabi wedding.

Instead, I would steal all of dad’s marriage money…and buy him a world trip.

'Girl swinging in Fall' by KMericks (

Or, a few more years.

Don’t tell me to stop looking over my shoulder,

that’s where lie the missing pieces of my story.

Artwork: ‘Girl swinging in Fall’ by KMericks



There are days when I feel I could easily fall off the grid and dissolve into oblivion.

What does it mean anyway, to fall off the grid?

Is it possible to live alone, away from all that you’ve known?

Do you feel this way, ever?

Do you know the answers?

Does anyone?

Have s*bleeep*x tonight

Day after day, someone is pestering me to ‘have sex tonight’. Paying no heed to the state of mind or time of the month I may be in. All they want is for me to agree to their advances and in return I am promised an experienced of the mindblowing kind.

There there….hold your horses. 

My computer has been possessed by malware for over a couple of months now. So every day, without fail, I get to see pop-ups all of which have one common goal: to compel me to indulge in pleasures of the prohibited kind bang in the middle of an otherwise insipid, sex-less work day.

Iqbal Hussain

Portrait of a ‘Dancing Girl’ by Iqbal Hussain, Lahore

Once in a while I am redirected to a page where I find myself face to face with a real (clothed) woman ready for a live chat, waiting for me to say ‘hello’. It feels so real-time that at one point I did feel tempted to strike a conversation, talk about where she was from, what she did, how the weather was outside of the pink box she sat in. 

But not being quite sure of the consequences that would follow, I refrained from befriending the lady. What would become of my (almost) impeccable online reputation if my ‘friends’ found out the places I go when no one’s looking. 

One such invitation that really got to me was the image of a couple of semi-topless Indian women popping out a small window on a professional networking site. It was not the photo but the tagline that went with it that got my attention: ‘Indian girls – sex with commitment’. Was enough to fire up the otherwise dormant feminist in me. 

If only I could lay my hands on (not literally) the demented individuals who write ad copy for these services.

Just because I am in Indian woman, it’s taken for granted that all my services – from folding washed underwear  to providing  virtual pleasure – come laden with commitment. Not nice!

Friends by Iqbal Hussain, Lahore

Friends by Iqbal Hussain, Lahore

That apart, I am sure these people/robots/software have no way of knowing our sexual preferences. Or they would sure make the effort to customize the ads to suit my interests 😛

Sex is a big deal, and will remain so, at least in my lifetime. Elusive, mystical, off limits and, therefore the most abused. Cause of much evil. Even a computer virus is programmed to warn me to ‘be discreet’ if I want to devour pictures of naked women. 

Anyhow, despite my best efforts to sanitize my comp, the malware remains. Must admit that my best effort in the past couple of months constituted reading up articles on ‘how to remove adware’ and following the steps up to the point where they start selling you something.

This comp needs a new woman.

Images: The beautiful works of Iqbal Hussain, a Lahore based artist who captures the lives of sex workers on canvas. You can read some more about him here.

Image 2 was taken from here.