I have always been a doodler and a scribbler. After graduation, as I tried to find my own way, I started writing poems. Twenty years in the print and visual media industry in India and Dubai followed. Yet I considered myself a reporter and a journalist. I finally called it quits to concentrate on my writing and have only now begun to find my own voice.
I am a writer of newspaper and magazine articles, short stories, blog posts, poem, and now my first attempt at a novel. When I write, I am content and at peace. I love the Himalayan foothills and have in the last few years discovered a love for driving and trekking through it.
I am keen to interact and team-up where possible with fellow writers, poets and dreamers.
Stay a While
By Binu Sivan
Watching my girl jumping
In puddles pretending
She was a giant
On a sea crossing
Even as my heart weeps.
Why this rush?
Why this dizzying hurtling
Through time and space?
To grow up
And be like me.
Stay a while…
A little while longer
Child, and just be.
There is time enough
To grow and be
Tall and strong,
To be jaded and wrong.
For now just breathe
In the air…
Of never-ending hope,
Of tavern-like despair;
Breathe in the air
Of flighty joy
And heart-breaking pain;
Of best friends and
Class room bullies;
Of promises of forever
Dancing in your hair.
There is time enough
To be like me
But for now
Be a child
Just a little while longer
And give company
To the child in me…
Don’t Send Me Another Memo
By Binu Sivan
Don’t send me another memo
or yet another forward.
Every time a bomb blows up
Every single time kids are chewed up
fired by terror mongers and psychos
Facebook posts come alive.
‘It could have been our kids!’
‘We are so lucky!’
‘This is so sad!’
‘I feel so bad!’
‘What can one do?’
‘The world has gone mad!’
Just please STOP!
Remember Beslan. Beslan!?
You say the word out loud…
Yeah… it sounds familiar!
Where is it?
That is bound to happen
Will you ever forget Utoya in Norway?
You think not?
Or that school in the US… Hook something
Oh I forgot the name!
But those poor babes!
You know what we can all do with our collective feel ‘bads’?
Yeah… not for polite company the answer to that.
We Tweet, post and whatsapp and we are done with it…
Until the next tragedy hits
For heaven’s sake!
What can we do?
Don’t bad mouth your Muslim neighbour.
Definitely not in front of your children!
Don’t laugh at the rituals of your Hindu neighbour.
Treat the Christian and the Jew as one.
Don’t just preach,
Make them see the turban, the beard and the veil
for what it is.
A representation of someone’s faith,
not a threat to your belief!!
Stop huddling together and
flinching away from strangers.
Open your eyes.
Open your mind.
And for heaven’s sake
open your heart please.
I refuse to mourn.
To shed another tear.
Because tears are so fickle,
shed and wiped.
And then the inevitable moving on.
I refuse to feel bad.
My feeling bad is not worth
even half a cent.
I refuse to join a candle lit vigil,
or mouth platitudes.
But what I will do
is teach my child
that be you a Hindu or Mussalman
be you a Sikh or a Jain
a Christian, Buddhist or Jew.
Don’t think it doesn’t matter!
It matters cause each and every single religion teaches
‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’
Keep your colour in mind…
White, black, brown, yellow…
It’s what makes you unique
it’s also what makes you different.
And different is not bad,
Stop brushing our differences
under the rug.
Rather dust it and address it.
I will stop walking
on fucking egg shells
When discussing religion, God,
faith, love, homosexuality and gender.
I will teach my child that
true peace lies
hand in hand with honesty
Sometimes the bravest thing
we will be called upon to do
in our entire life will be to
quietly say “I don’t agree”
or “it’s not right.”
when faced by peer might.
And while I teach my child all this
I will pay attention
and try to imbibe.
And practice what I preach…
‘What can you do?’
you still ask me!?
Photo credit: Myriam Nehmeh
By Binu Sivan
I know it has been long.
I have never bothered to find out
if you were ok.
I have taken for granted
for me to pick up when I so say,
to brush off the cobwebs and survey.
But you are the most special part of me.
The child that lives on.
No matter how many times I stumble,
no matter how jaded I become
you live on.
Waiting for the cynic in me
to complete a journey
and reclaim the child
that is still me.
I remember all the joy –
simple then, profound now,
that you found in the smallest of things.
The broken truck window-pane
that twinkled like diamonds on
a black tar road.
The berries and nuts lining the fence
on the way to school,
that would soon hide in your skirt pocket
as an angry farmer ran after you.
The pink bead you swallowed?
And certain that you were going to die
you ran to your favorite teacher.
Remember the way she smiled
and patted you on the head?
Pink beads have always been special since then.
You never walked. You only
skipped and ran.
Life swung between laughter and tears.
Fiercely proud, absolutely in love
enemies forever, friends till death
do us apart. Where is she I wonder?
Remember the class bully
who carried your bag home,
as you battled fever and embarrassment?
You wouldn’t let him drop you home…
because you thought someone who failed
didn’t make a good friend!
How you would love to meet him again
and tell him how sorry we are…
Remember the little girl
who walked in a fancy-dress costume
that was rapidly falling apart?
Not for a moment did it strike her
that she could change back into her uniform
before she walked back home!
Do you remember her? Her innocence,
her frail strength that could move mountains.
You learnt so much there.
You learnt that your parents would forgive
a failed mark but not a lie.
You learnt that planes couldn’t gore
your dad or you to death,
even if their sharp nose pointed
right at your head.
Remember the little girl who walked
her father home as he fought a fever?
Remember her determination that her
father will not fall?
Not with her protective arms around him.
Remember the red bracelet you
gave your best friend before you
left town for good?
Before you left childhood
and its blissful glory
in a sleepy little town.
Remember the trip to the station
with your mother, father and baby brother
and three pieces of luggage?
You didn’t know it then.
But you were on a deeper journey.
You were leaving childhood
to become a young lady of eleven.
Skipping toward dreams big and small
strewn no longer, in fields and roads…
Running toward dreams and goals
Big or small…
Waiting like diamonds
in the roads of tomorrow.
Photo credit: Greg Rakozy
Do You Believe in True Love?
By Binu Sivan
‘Do you believe in true love?’ the young voice asked,
seeking not just an answer, but reassurance
that the future is not just about working hard and logic
of responsibilities and duties, a full time job and a relationship maze.
I paused, and swallowed the bile of cynicism
that threatened to destroy her fragile “hold on” hope.
I paused, and closed my eyes, letting the soothing breeze
of memory and hope ease my brow.
I wonder, ‘Why is she asking me this?’
I am not an ace at this. I never was.
Time, drudgery, and a lifetime of settling and
taking, and being taken for granted has laid it all to rest.
Do I believe in true love? Or do I believe that it is all a lie?!
‘There is no such thing as true love!’ a voice in me taunts.
Just look at the disillusionment,
the debris of relationships lying in that mound.
And yet… yet… there is poetry
Rumi, Ghalib, Parveen Shakir – plaintively beseeching the Gods,
consoling you and me, and their worlds within…
‘Kahin toh so raha hoga mera chand…’ she sang.
And you wonder. Do I truly believe that it is all a lie?
But, do I believe in romance? Yes, I do! I believe in romance.
Not the Valentine’s Day shit of cards, candlelight dinner and roses
I don’t even believe in the “we-will-grow-old-together” kind of romance.
And I definitely, no longer believe in forever.
Yet I am a lover of love. I believe in romance.
I believe in the ‘right now you are the most important
person in the world for me’ kind of romance.
Romance… a gentle, soothing breeze
that sweeps across our hearts soothing our tired eyes.
A breeze that brings with it a smile and a stubborn bubble of hope;
fragile and strong, vulnerable and bold.
It needs a face… a soul to caress… to brush against
slowly raising the soul’s shrouds, and waking it
to the joy, peace, angst and pain that is but the companion to love.
But it needs a soul that it can touch.
A breeze that blows against a rock face
will not raise any veils… will not birth any songs.
Just a weak wind, it will falter and fade.
I am a born-again romantic. I have no proof. It’s true.
But I have faith. A romantic. I am my own soul mate.
I look at the moon and the stars and I remember what I read or
maybe, heard somewhere… ‘we are all stardust.’
Such cosmic magnificence and magic could not just be created
for something as banal as work and success alone.
There has to be more…
In my innocent teens swirling with tornado-like emotions,
I believed in forever after.
In my twenties I chased dreams – professional and personal.
Some turned to dust and some took flight.
In my thirties I chose reality over dreams.
Told myself that I am too old to be a believer.
But now in my forties, I have left all sureties behind.
If all that is, is only that which we can see,
then how do you explain the yearning and the seeking
that my heart drowns in.
The key I am sure lies in my heart or hormones or liver or mind
or wherever these feelings are born.
When I look up at the beautiful moon in the sky
and my heart and soul aches and yearns for…
what am I searching for?
My soul mate…
These feelings, this pain… this constant seeking for the other piece.
No matter how complete we make our own lives to be
this is what makes me achingly human.
Without this sad yet still hopeful heart, I may just as well be dead.
There is no logic, no proof… all I have is the knowing that this is so.
I have always known it. I may never find him.
But my heart will continue to love.
Searching for him in faces that I see pass me by.
Searching for him in that sudden turn of a head,
a pause, a half glimpsed chin and the flash of an eye that reflect,
in that quicksilver second of connection my own search.
I have nearly found him a hundred times, but he has always slipped through.
Maybe now is not the time.
But, one thing I can tell you my young friend
as long as we are alive, romance is alive.
Photo credit: Doux Glace
The River’s Love Song
By Binu Sivan
“My poems are born of you,”
the river whispered to the mountains.
As the wind carried the river’s gentle sighs,
high up to the land of clouds and veils
nestled in the skies,
the mountains trembled.
It had felt the young love of his beloved
as she skipped, laughed and tripped along with him.
Majestic he had stood, watching her antics,
she had murmured her delight and thundered in pleasure.
But… his silence had engorged her senses.
Nothing else could she bear.
Yet, she wanted, just for once, to be held
and loved with words she could hear.
Flowing away, with time, she left her mountain behind.
Meandering amidst valleys, she heard
voices other than her lover’s silence.
Thrilled, she gurgled with delight and rushed on.
She was loved, adored, worshiped and more.
Yet, greater as her name grew and
farther as her fame spread,
she missed the silent communion
that had created her.
She wished she could turn her waves around
force the currents back to the source.
Sometimes she raged.
Sometimes she sluggishly moved on.
Did he hear her cries and sighs?
Did her love know that she was done with life?
She moved on… tired and dirty,
loved and worshiped.
Stillness replacing energy.
And then with her baggage of offerings,
bodies, debris, and silt,
she gave up the last of her freshness –
her very essence –
to the vast blue
that matched her beloved
As the clouds burst above him,
drenching him with her love,
he realized that she had given up her life
to once again fall in his arms and lie.
Photo credit: DJ
By Binu Sivan
A half-remembered tune melts into me
I rise up trying to meet it… grab it
make it fully mine.
But the very acting of reaching
rips the melody out of my mind.
Just the ghost of it stays behind
to tease me with its unformed lines.
Haunted by a feeling, almost physical,
I hang on to sanity by slender threads.
There is a foreboding in my chest
vague in detail, yet precise in visceral sentiments.
Like waking from a nightmare,
heart pounding, drenched in sweat,
half-remembering the details.
But the very act of waking,
pulls the veils over the specifics
as they brush by teasing… warning
all in the same heartbeat.
If only I could capture the wretched poignancy,
the bleak terrain of my mind
and put it on paper.
Songs seem to be able to do it.
Other poets do it with ease. But I struggle.
The very act of putting pen to paper
robs the emotion of its very feeling.
‘It’s alright,’ I tell myself.
All I need is a good night’s sleep.
Not too long to sunrise, now.
I will bid the dark goodbye.