HAIKU : # 13 By Neel Anil Panicker Life is littered with small joys a glimmer of hope, keeps alive God’s magic.



HAIKU : # 13

By Neel Anil Panicker

Life is littered with small joys

a glimmer of hope,

keeps alive God’s magic.

By Neel Anil Panicker

Rock bottom. Two words that signify despair; utter hopelessness.

The very mention of the phrase conjures up images_ all of dark, forbidding and highly pessimistic thoughts. In the mind’s eye crazily despondent thoughts swim and swirl all around forcing the senses into numbed submission.

Both men and women in equal proportion have experienced what it means to have hit rock bottom.

I am no exception to that aphorism. In fact truth be told I have hit rock bottom not once but a hell of a lot many times.

The very fact that I am here, alive and writing this piece shows that I have seen hell and survived it enough, just about enough to come back and tell the tale.

But then to each his or her own. What is good (or as in this case) bad for the gander need not be for the goose. Rock bottom means different things to different people.
To the man on the street who you see eking out a living by begging alms all his life, rock bottom could mean government issuing a order and/or the civic authorities cracking the whip thereby leading to a blanket ban on begging in all forms.

What then does this poor man–illiterate and unskilled to boot–do to in order to merely live through each day of his life on this planet?

Steal, loot, mug, kill —what?
And if he is the moral type not willing to stray too far from the ethically, morally and legally right path, then pray, what other options does he have?

We can say then that here is one person who truly has hit rock bottom!

Here, I must confess that though there have been several horrendously terrible times in my utterly disbalanced life when I have or so believed to have reached a point of no return, I have never ever hit as low, as rock bottom as that beggar on the road.
And for that I have only God to be thankful about.

So, to all who loosely bandy around this word when faced with the slightest of setbacks, my humble submission is to take a leaf out of the hapless beggar’s book and simply refuse to hang in the towel despite having hit ‘rock bottom’ for guess what, from here on the only way is up.


By Neel Anil Panicker

# 1

Lightning and thunder showers
Set afire my dreams
Oh! wondrous rainy season

# 2

Cupid’s arrow pierces hearts
Lightning strikes
Rainbow of love lights the skies

# 3

Rains wipe away pain
Clouds part; clearing all doubts
High voltage bolt thumps

# 4

Blinding lightning binds
Love birds chirp
rains shed all inhibitions


By Neel Anil Panicker


Why was everybody on ‘insist mode’ today.

First Puja, and then, now Eric Clapton.

She wasn’t expecting ‘Eric darling’ to show up, and that too today, tonight, of all nights.

And that too after all that she had found out about Aman.

Only hours earlier Puja had dropped in, typically unannounced, minutes after Shefali had cut short the conversation slamming the phone down into pieces.

She had been insistent.

“It’s my party dear. And I am not going anywhere without you. Besides, I want to meet your lover”.

From across the table Shefali looked at Puja. She had put on weight, albeit a wee bit, just around the waist.

The sight brought her to break into a thin smile.

She knew Puja only too well. Relationships for Puja were but a ruse.

Every hook up and (as with her) the inevitable breakup thereafter, was a cause and occasion for her to hog to her heart’s (and stomach’s) content on what else but her favourite  Singh’s Triple Spread Amritsari Butter Chicken along with heavily lathered Tandoori naan. And this later to be dissolved with at least three extra toppings of Sundae Choco Fudge.

The smile brought a response.

“Hey, stop looking at me like that. Guess what! I am hitting the gym. There is a new one that’s opened two floors below our office. Have just signed for a year’s membership. It is little pricey, though.”

Hitting the gym. What a joke! thought  Shefali. A waste of money and time. Within no time she would be hitting on the next available hottie that catches her eye and the circus as well as the cycle would begin all over again.

The flip side of staying best friends for long is that one gets to know not just if the other is serious or not but also is able to gauge the level of that seriousness.

Shefali caught the intent in Puja’s voice. The latter’s naturally bubbly face was now in full glow; there was a glint too in those kohl-lined cat eyes.

She knew it was a battle well lost.

“Ok, go attack the fridge. Grab a Coke… whatever …I will be back in two minutes”

Minutes later as she joined Puja and the two headed towards town, Aman and his ‘indiscretions’ came back to haunt her.

 ‘God, what is he upto. That too now, after all these years. I must call Rishi. He must have an answer and possible a way out.’

Shefali flipped her phone open and the chrome lined screen came alive with his name __Rashi, a deliberate mix-up. He was on speed dial. In no time, the Oppo smartphone ( her first and only exigency instrument that she had extricated from the secret chamber of her almirah) came alive with his sexy voice.


At least not today; definitely not now.

But the man with the flaming red hair was insistent. Three hours on (thankfully interspersed with two quick bathroom breaks) and he was at it again. He was now crooning in that achingly mellifluous voice of his; when his fingers lingered ‘oh so slowly’ over the guitar strings, the notes it produced succeeded in tugging at her heart strings.

He was playing numbers that Shefali’s heard for close to twenty years or more:

“Blues Before Sunrise”

I have the blues before sunrise,
Tears standing in my eyes.
I have the blues before sunrise,
Tears standing in my eyes.
It was a miserable feeling, now babe,
A feeling I do despise.

I have to leave, leave you baby,
Because you know you done me wrong.
I have to leave you baby,
Because you know you done me wrong.
I’m gonna pack up and leave you darling
And break up my happy home.

Shefali’sparked with her back to Mcdonald’s brightly-lit parking lot; all she can see are the shadowy outlines of the revelers, some seated but most others on their toes, heads swaying, their arms waving, the grounds blocked and the skies above taken over by lipstick smeared rectangular placards, the oblongular ringed stage that almost hides out among several concentric circles of screaming adrenaline pumped fans.

Way back when they were still living their tween dream, all happy and eager, she and Puja used to sneak out in the middle of the night, and gave Eric encouraging fist pumps every time he came close to where they stood transfixed among the salivating crowds and belted out

“ I am gonna pack up and leave you darling”.

‘Oh my God,’ Shefali reminisces,

‘How long back in time was that? One, two, ten years at the most.’

She coudn’t bear to hear him again, not now, surely not in the mood that she was in.

As the so obviously heavily drugged long haired lead singer waved his arms around__his silver bracelets glittering as they caught the crazily rotating fancy lights__, and worked the crowd into a slow trance crooning
                            I’m gonna leave you all alone.
I’m gonna leave you baby,

Shefali turned away, her eyes shooting and searching over the heads of the drunken mass.

She lip synced,

Rishi baby, don’t leave me alone

 Because I done you no wrong’.



(to be continued- chapter 14 of fiction series A FAIR AFFAIR)

Stream of Consciousness Saturday- “apparent/a parent.”



By Neel Anil Panicker
You can rent everything but not a parent
That’s so very apparent.
As to which parent is better
Oh, isn’t that a nonsensical question?
It is much like asking
Do you like the Earth or the Sky?
A Hobson’s choice indeed!
This is not a do or die
And there’s no why.
No this or that
no wrong or right
Parents are not this and that
and these and those
With them,
For them
there are no whos and whys
No truths and lies
For if you decide to choose
One over the other
Don’t simply bother
You just stand to lose
But if you insist
And still persist
Man, go fly a kite
For you may be only one,
But for them,
You are the only one.