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Ritwik Deo


New Delhi, Delhi, India

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Ritwik Deo

Of all the ones that I reveled in,
Elves and golliwogs. Pixies and trolls
A Faierie, I lived as.
Dainty steps
Tip-toeing in the
sparse school-yard
Cardboard wings and stolen stockings
Glitter coat on sleepy eyelids
Rouged cheeks lit aflame
I flew danced twirled and sang
Drunk in a land
No more the harsh sparse concrete school-yard
A radio antenna for a wand
Topped with a Christmas star
Drifting from the school yar’
Creeping along the horse ring, the cricket pitch
Stealing from the eyes of
Sweaty euphoric boys
Softball courts with soft girls and more
Flapping skirts laughter underneath
The parched football ground
Prying janitorial eyes
I escaped
The unused garden besides the canteen
Sacred fort
Haven for fairies
Toadstools have a possibility
Faiery rings revolve
Conversations with empty spaces
Mr. Golliwog on his wishing chair
Huggy bear with enchanted cakes
Merliean the magiciaen
Where tears may flow unchecked
The unused garden
Weeds teeming with sad beauty
With pathetically tiny helpless-purple flowers
Where a world
Of things miniature
Those weeds are big trees and grass clumps bushes
A grasshopper hopping is Godzilla
Foraging in a forest of giant purple flowers
A colony of ants shuffles
1, 2 left, right, 1, 2
unwavering sincerity marches on
towards the battlefield of ‘patchy ground’
where foes are the black beetles
I wish them luck

I lie down
My cardboard wings
Wet though livid (or livid through wet)
With dew from the trees and the bushes
Godzilla jumps on me
The lunchbreak siren sounds
Drawing the dream to a close
The precious world of blyton
Smashed by a wailing siren
I rush back
My arms flailing with ringlets and braids
Sweat eradicating gold glitter
Dirty stockings
The scrawny seven year frame
Flushed with worry
And delight
Of being a giant
In a world so small
Run, run, run
I am the giant lord fairy
From where I lay in the garden
Is the forest of ‘enchantment’
And as I run and cross
The parched football field
Is the city of titbit
And then the city of chocolate mousse
(where mud spangled kids scraped off their wares)
rivulet of lemonade
( the leaky sprinkler flows)
sidestepping the aral mountains
(the mound of construction sand)
zoomed up the stairs
and onto the class door
the class had started
the buzz and drone of
34 resolute skirts and shorts
stenciling formulae
on identical rote-books
34 drones drone
34 drones hear heavy panting
34 drones look up
34 tyrants are shocked
34 tyrants laugh
point and mock
mock and point
laughing with spite and foam
forming at the upturned contorted corners
of their sweet pink lips
they see;
a boy wearing;
a cardboard wing missing, one skewed comically
torn ballet stockings
historically white, now chocolate brown
pantomime frock
stolen no doubt
from the green room
bruised naked feet
and toes curled up in shame

My brother the Cretin


Ritwik Deo

Hair flaxen flying in the cooler wind
Drool escaping
And arms wildly waving

Was he atonement, for bad karma?

Heads turn unabashed
As screams primeval rent the air
Blushing, my mother drops the shopping bag
Rolling down the aisle; a lonely cabbage

A curse perhaps?

Deathly quiet steals on the lingerie floor
As eyes rivet to
A desperate housewife a tormented mother
Collapsed on the waxed floor
Is him
Spent, hungry, sleepy

The devil reincarnate

Said the holy priest
Or a djinn to trouble good people
Rs.10001, two coconuts and a good meal to a pious man
A mahayagya
And leave it to the gods
My mother sobs
Today, even gods torment

Down’s syndrome; genetic anomaly

My brother the Cretin
Sleeps on the floor
Feet chained to a calloused pillar
Mouth gagged with duct
Velcro straps on a pigeon chest
A picture of contentment
Tonight, my mother screamed
No more, she screamed , Tonight

Simian in deed, even lower in thought

Incarcerated finally
We sought asylum
From him
That tiny simian withered face
Those gnarled fingers and prying eyes
Continual embarrassment
Sending him away that night
Tossing and turning, debating and contemplating
What we did, is this human?



Ritwik Deo

Potatoes boiling in the ancestral pan
Sheesh shoosh
Like obstinate waves breaking on heartless rocks
Mustard oil simmers in a blackened crater of corroded iron
Garlic bulbs hang by a wounded tile

Kitchen mesh
Blackened pores clogged
With bugs and beetles
Are being lured
Even now
Soft orange light by the stove

Bugs lured by
Promise of solace
White foaming waves
Battling the dark dark starless night
Wavelets suicidal
Dying a death
Of oblivion on the sandy sandy beaches

A creeper creeps on the porch
Tiny wary
Purple plink flowers
Stamen peeking out
Taking in a world large
The creeper creeps
Even now
A bridge from the bench on the porch
To rooftiles red and red

"Scutlin’ Mr.Crab
es nokin on de dor
maam we going to ave
crab curry wid letooce"