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Aniruddha Pathak

Fourteen beautiful birds on wings

As baker packs thirteen odd eggs to count
To a dozen, a sonneteer fourteen
Sweet lines of praise on thine slender frame mount,
That thine mysterious marvels ne'er lean
Might seem; and when all fourteen fully hatch
Ah, gorgeous chicks to be, ready to fly
In time together in one single batch,
Or in formations only sonnets try.

The eight of them may oft land to face strife,
The six more that follow, in counterpoint,
Resolve and soothe— ah, sonnet's very life,
As volta, shift, sonneteers oft anoint,
Of whose last two, twain wings of a couplet,
Come to sing last short song of the sonnet.
______________________________________ _____________
- Sonnets | 04.11.12 |

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Change immortal is, mortal what has changed

Alive before birth, I shall exist still
Long after my body's burnt, or buried,
Me taking but a newer name at will,
I change and change not still, oft changing creed—
That change immortal is and mortal is
Only what's changing; Man's afraid of death,
Not in awe of what aught die in disease,
Man's in fear of change, of taking fresh breath.

But where in Nature there's such thing as death?
What we call change O cosmic reshuffle
Is; matter-energy's dance, change of faith,
Which, man as divine deems, far too subtle.

But one thing is not too far of belief:
If body and mind dies, what a relief!
_____________________________________________ ______
- Sonnets | 04.09.11 |

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Whatso might happen happens still

Try churning oceans of wisdom,
You may well get nectar of life,
But churning life's venomous strife,
The crown of thorn comes with kingdom.

Ask not the hen on a dunghill
O when the sun would rise,
The sun shall rise to scorching noon,
To fall and fall till midnight's moon,
Till death rises, till dark night dies,
And new dawn as ever does dawn,
Though unsteady, like a newly born fawn,
Whatso might happen happens still.

Notice, dawn dawns not till dusk dies,
The sun must set if it should rise.
_________________________________________
Not a traditional sonnet this, but a sonnet still.
_____________________________________________ _____
- Sonnets | 08.04.11 |

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The mirage

Man's search for freedom when no fruits find for far long,
Perhaps, he in deep fear of freedom is,
Or tuneful he ne'er sings liberty's song,
For, freedom is not all of heaven's heady bliss;
And cosy often feels a prison wall,
Warm and safe feels a loving heart's bondage,
While comes freedom calling a duty's call,
And conscience conspires to coo in cage;
The seeker's not in search of a few more
Roses that come with thorns amidst the greenery,
Nor yet more oases in a dry desert core,
‘Tis duty that makes him much more weary.

The search in me, yet, seeks no more than a couplet
To end my quest, to rest cosy with a sonnet!
_____________________________________________ _____________
- Sonnets, Tongue-in-cheek | 09.08.11 |

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Better lose hair than head

Better ‘tis to lose hair than thine head,
As is between butter and bare bread;
If not a thing comes fair
Today, how can be hair?
So hail heads that bare are— bald, not dead!
____________________________________________
There is one thing worse, they say, than having a
bald pate— to be defensive, curse your fate. I was
not yet thirty when my hair began to be grey though
not thin. This was perhaps Nature's way of balancing
things as my face had badly tanned by the time I was
in my ‘teens. As the years added themselves to my
age the contrast only widened. But it was much
after I retired from paid work, the hairline began to
recede a bit. After all, a balance must be maintained.

This little ditty sums up my philosophy on hair.
________________________________________ ____________
-Tongue-in-cheek | 01.04.12 |

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Bad is news; good, someone's views

The lead pages of frontline dailies,
A storehouse of sordid news on sleaze,
When compete each to each,
New depths of their height reach,
And cause to spread a viral disease.
_____________________________________ _____
A dog when beats dog, when it beats man, and
more if man beats dog— this is the stuff of news
that we read these days. But what when man beats
his mental dog (or dogma) ?

Our press and electronic media need to introspect
on this and make drastic changes in the content
and style of their news-casting so as to introduce
more positivity. No doubt, people want excitement,
but we need inspiration more. A lot of good things
too happen in the world, howso base in these bad
times. The world has seen darker days in the past
and come out of it triumphant still.
_______________________________________ ____________

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O to live and let go

If what I call an end, beginning is,
Whence new destiny dares, ‘O ye soul, grow',
When all beginnings but as end it sees,
And all ends a new beginning in toe,
Saying, ‘O let me give thee a young heart,
‘And I shall now rekindle thine spirit,
‘That thine beginning get a balmy start',
I wish my life's journey is as well lit.

If only I learn to live and let go,
And be in tune with Nature, not a beast
In fight, fright, nor flight— one that does know,
Undivided one — not a mass of mist!

Is not, what the caterpillar calls end,
Be for butterfly new birth on the bend?
_____________________________________________ ___
Sonnets often get born on the cusp of unresolved dilemmas,
as this one was. Here, after an introduction— all the eight
lines spoken as if in one breath, there comes the dilemma,

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O Singer of the epic war history

O Singer of the epic war history,
O Singer of life, of liberation hoary,
Of brazen battlefields, long desolate,
O Singer of Gita's ageless glory.

Outlived hast the song thine endless story,
Though war heroes survive still in state,
Frustrated of fate but scarce sorry,
O Singer of the epic war history.

Yudhishthir's dharma, Arjun's archery,
Bheeshma's oath, Bhima's bravery,
Scarce confined remain to Pearly Gate,
And sung are with Gita's ageless glory.

And ye O bard, two roles in one carry:
Of poet laureate and progenitor great,
O ye born in a river ferry,
O Singer of the epic war history

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Let bad banished be by better

Books banned scarce banished stay, nor burnt to naught,
Thoughts nor ideas stay captured to a jail,
Nor art if censored stay for long unsought,
As all inquests condemned are to derail;
Societies if they be left free to fail,
At times tense in dissent and friction-prone,
Like a turbulent ocean caught on gale,
Be proof: freedom breathes big on its own.

No art obscene is, book, nor painting drawn,
For all obscenity, as beauty, lies
In beholder's eyes that see what's ere sown,
As most minds scarce from their base level rise.

Hard by far a better bailiff to see
To bad idea than one that better be.
__________________________________________ _______________
Much of the intolerance seen in the Indian society today, it seems,
is stage-managed and promoted by party politics with a view to
win votes. Take the recent ban on Salman Rushdie on attending a

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A myth may better be than truth

Stripping Santa Clause of the crown of God
Would scarce him a lesser-loved old man make,
Nor faulting Truth Fairy to face vile fraud,
They are not they are for mere title's sake;
Some myths that motivate, inspiring youths,
Far better be than fire-betested truths.

Armstrong was always strong, doping or not,
He has done to the world a world of good,
Rekindling hearts of those by cancer wrought,
That they fight, life cured of old attitude;
Starved is the world of such role models rare,
O to challenge hard truths with unique dare.

Scarce is the world at war with fairness creams,
Hair transplants, nor cosmetic skin routine—
To look nigh better yon natural means,
Nor is seeding by tube satanic sin;
The world's fine with photo-shopped touch-up look,
Images cooked ere loaded on Facebook.

[...] Read more

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