The Un-named realm.

Sometime in the night, probably after 11 ( considering the empty roads, where we were). There were about four people in the car. You were driving, I was behind in the middle, Mir was in the front seat and someone else was there beside me at the back ( I cant quite remember). You were driving like a man gone bonkers. Every second it felt like we were going to die. You couldn’t just maneuver in straight lines, you had to bloody go as close as you could to the median, the street lights, the cars parked on the side. It was unclear at first, where we were headed. You kept driving (at God knows what speed. But really fast).

It was nearing dawn for some crooked reason, hadn’t felt like it had been 5 odd hours in the car (But fuck logic, I am a dream). Little blue glimpses of the Sun around the curb of the horizon. The other side of the horizon was still in the dark.

The car had finally stopped. I sighed for a bit, thanking all the gods for having kept me alive through that ride. (Thanks to you).

There was nobody. Not a soul there. It wasn’t strange that there was nobody there. For it was stupid to expect people to be awake and in the bustle at 5 AM in the morning. That was not surprising.
We walked a few steps ahead to find ourselves in a dark,dark woody forest. There was no light at all. The canopy of the trees there was such. It was cold, unexpectedly cold.

Although it was summer, the whole place had a pretty sulking, life-less scenery to it. There were no insects constantly lining our ear drums, no birds chirping- Nothing. It was hard to believe that it was summer in that place. This eerie air spread through all the elements there in this woody forest. The trees, the bushes, the leaves of fall. All. Of them marked with this eerie countenance. We stayed there in the darkness of the woods for awhile. None of us felt too thrilled to be there. So we moved on.

Outside the woods, the sun had risen already. Orange rays had surrounded everything, the roads, the buildings, the skies. everything but the woods. As we stepped outside the woods, we felt relieved in a way (Like I felt when I got down from the car after you had driven). The terrain was plateau-like. The woods were situated on a high, plateau while everything else was down below in the plains. We walked down outside the woods, bright with the sun, ready for some fun.

We stumbled onto a few bamboo trees that were all over the place. (As it is, wherever there is bamboo there is dampness) This place was damp. Moist as fuck. We could feel all the moisture get stuck onto our skins. The smell of something moist, hidden, shady was filling the air. We took a few steps forward, trampling on shed-bamboo leaves.
There was a pond. And all around it was cold air, again. It was nice to feel the pleasant cold air there. But again here for some reason, there were no signs of life.
We had had enough of that place, the cold air, the life-less trees. We passed the pond onto a bridge-like structure. Its like those bridges made for irrigation canals. We sat there a while, took some pictures and spoke about the happenings of our yesterdays.

It was 7 or 8 probably, judging by the light of the sun. We had planned to return (to wherever we were to return,) by 8. So we moved our asses from that place with intent and walked forward.

To our astonishment, there . Right there in the middle of the forest, was a Big, Rusted red gate. It was surprising. The woods, A secret pond, bamboo forests and then a gate. Seemed very out of place, but mystifying. What was funnier and a matter of curiosity was that it still had a rusted lock on it. It was a unanimous vote. We didn’t speak but like all the things that is understood in a group of boys, we walked onto the gate and jumped over its sides to the other side.

As soon as we entered, we froze. Stood there in silence and in awe. It was inviting but also scary as shit. There was a singleton Grave-stone with no name on it. Well, if that were a grave-yard it would have been fine (the sun was already up 😛 What can you be fearful of when in the light? 😛 ) but there were some un-named, un-stoned 😛 mounds (probable graves) around that singleton grave stone. We stood there gazing with our mouths open. I think we all said ‘What the fuck is going on?’ at the same time in our minds*.
The singleton grave stone and the mounds were all lined to our right. Our POV stood there, frozen and still toward the right for sometime.
When we turned to the left…
There was a 10-foot hole. A big hole. a pond like hole. At first we hesitated to go look into the hole. But then were too curious to shun it away. We went to the hole in unison..
As we took simpler, smaller steps toward the hole there was a stench, a rot in the air. it grew as we got closer. And once we were there and our heads peeking into the hole….
There was a blue carpet rolled around and sticking out of it was a fucking skull!
There was no grave, no name, no stone to inform us of this dead-being. That stench and that skull-face hasn’t ever shy-ed away from resurfacing in my dreams. Although my dream ended there, experiences from this death-hole still stay in my eyes and my memory.

Just a song,

I’m just an empty song
Inked on invisible sheets
Waiting for words to fill
All the silence in my world.

I’m just an empty song
Lying in the dark
upon a bed untouched
Waiting for someone to read me.

I’m just an empty song,
Stuck within the walls of a mind
Yearning to speak out
On the radio.

I’m just an empty song,
Unsure of the words that would fill me
If, they ever fulfill me.

I’m just an empty song,
Yearning to know how it feels to be full –
With verses to aid the soul
And tunes to make me whole.
-Anirudh Shankaran.

From last night.

In the shadows of a dream,
I woke up ;
Vague memories
And fresh emotions
A reminder of all my past devotions.

A sense of unrest settles
As I lay down again
Into this bed, my present
I only wish to be there, now again
In the shadows of yesterday
Brimming with emotions
And all my past devotions.

It’s funny how a place loses its sheen
When it’s people are lost ;
Empty memories of children playing in the sun,
Having fun,
Always on the run
The past is now done.

I wish I hadn’t come here,
I wish they had been–
All the people that made this place
The castle that homed my dreams.
-Anirudh Shankaran.

And all  the travellers, loners, roamers, weepers, drinkers, excessive thinkers
Are  doubly blessed
For they know how much the past costs
 And How long a memory lasts.

Swallowed Words

Swallowed words
That hang high from the ceiling
Are quite revealing.

Where are all the words you swallowed?
Is it in your heart that is all but hollowed

Where are you going?
To a world where your tongue runs free?
Can’t you see?
Oh, Cant you see?
This is the only place you’re ever gonna be.

Swallowed words
That you failed to say
Will haunt you in the day
You can’t turn them away
All the words you failed to say.

Where are you going?
To a place far away?
Where your heart longs to stay
Where your tongue can very well say
All that it pleases
Oh, can’t you see
Can’t you see
This is the only place you’re ever gonna be.
-Anirudh Shankaran

The night the poets reigned


And that night the poets reigned
Not in published books or verses
Not in words or tunes sang
But in the grim darkness of an alley
Serving out a meal to the poor,
Speaking to a boy of fourteen who was left out in the open alone,

That night the poets reigned
Not in published books or verses
Not in words or tunes sang
But in the way they lived (& Loved).

-Anirudh Shankaran

Lonesome Winter nights

A winter night
Where silence reigns
Quiet droplets drip from a tap somewhere
Where everything is draped in white
Music is a lonesome speaker
On this wintery night
Words from a poem hung loose in the air
Like smoke from a distant fire
On this wintery night.

There is nothing much to do
On this wintery night
Nothing but to hear the sounds of words unspoken
Nothing but to try to bring back to life
A heart that hadn’t yet been awoken.

I wish things were other wise
A little warmth would be nice
On this wintery night.
A windy night
Upon a terrace
Emotions I couldn’t efface
In a summer land
My feet bristling the beach sand
Anything but
This wintery night.

I may wish for another thousand things
That won’t happen
On this wintery night
I am better off picking out words from the dark wintery sky
Thinking of a summerland
Anything but
This wintery night.
-Anirudh Shankaran.

We yearn, we yearn.

We yearn, we yearn

For a revolution
For an uprising
A life that’s enticing
But all we can think of is how much we’re going to earn.
We yearn, we yearn
For a better tomorrow
For a world without sorrow
But from all the wars we wage
And All the development we ‘stage’
We cease to learn.
We yearn, we yearn
But all I can think of
Is how much I will earn.
-Anirudh Shankaran.

Well ,

All was well
Until now
Things changed
I don’t know how.

I stare now at a bare wall
Alone in this glum room
With nothing but a few resilient memories
And a few verses that I remember.

Music was quite a friend
I often conversed with myself, drenched in the melody
But every now and then when the music stopped
My heart sobbed
And wandered like a balloon undone
Alone in the winter cold

There is nothing else to do
But runaway to places anew
I know I must do away with time
Singing my favourite rhyme.
-Anirudh Shankaran.

A poem in the storm

Has the storm passed on?
I need to jump out of that window said he
Has the storm passed on?
‘I need to run by the Meadows’ said Me.

It was quiet in the morning
It came without a warning
Has the storm passed on?
I need to buy me a pen and a paper
The Only things that’ll make my life safer.

The afternoon was subtle,
Until in a moment I heard the clouds rattle
Has the storm passed on?
I need to write me a story
One that is not this gory.

The evening was roaring
With winds and rain growing
Will the storm pass on?
I need to read myself to sleep,
It’s been long since I’ve dwelt deep.

Will the storm pass on?
Asked I to the night,
I knew I was far from being right
The night was it’s vessel

For then The storm rose harder
Wilier and crueler
Emptying all signs of life
That lay, sat or stood in its pathway
I hope the storm passes on,
Any longer shall it stay and I’ll be gone.

(Slumber like eternity)
Came morning,
A light shone bright
Like a warning
It all seemed right,

The storm passed on
And to a newer place , I was gone.
-Anirudh Shankaran.

Sweating in the cold

(Take time to read this tale,
It is of a man and his troubled dreams
and how his face grew pale
And his fore-head raised a-steam
In the cold of the winter)

The doorbell rang a countless number of times
One by one they came
All in accusation
Of some evil, by a man
Probably somewhere far off
In a village town by the Riverside.

There was much chatter at first,
The rooms had become much quieter now
And each light around me began to dim
In a kind of  consequential reaction to the quiet.

Without so much as a word being muttered
Much was being said
And everybody who had come
Seemed to have reached a point of understanding
All agreeing in sign and expression.

It was then that they began
A kind of volcano was to erupt just about then
Of which I knew very little
Until the deed had been done.

They stood up in unison
Their hands raised , one by one
Pointing somewhere,
Probably far off,
At the village town by the Riverside
At the evil that was there, probably.

A drop of sweat  trickled down my forehead
As I lay there by the bed
A strange occurrence in the middle of winter
My heart raced like a speedy sprinter
All their hands
All the  signs and expressions
All the fingers pointed at me
It was becoming hard to see
All the fingers pointed at me

And they all seemed to say,

The man of evil
He lived by the Riverside
Growing flowers of a kind
They said he had an absurd mind

And all their fingers pointed at me,

The evil man
Who lives by the Riverside
Growing flowers of a kind
I saw him in the mirror , it was he
It was me.

The volcano had erupted
The fire, ablaze
I saw only the firing blaze
All my life was but a haze,
I was not evil,
Or so I thought

I closed my eyes,
As I saw in the haze,
Twenty five men
And a fire that spoke the truth.

‘The evil man who lives by the Riverside
He killed her
Yes, it was he’
It was me. (They said)

I dissipated into the air
I had to go,
For the blood was on my hands
I wish they knew,
The blood was mine,
Well, that’s fine.
-Anirudh Shankaran.

Photographed by – Gireesh Singh.