Because the ‘P’ in ‘Prude’ is Surreptitiously Silent

Dichotomizing the masses
Into Haves and Have-Nots
Misclassifies
Those who think out of the box

Bestowing polarized labels
That qualify all difference
Serves to consciously diminish
Both diversity and tolerance

Proscribing and prescribing
With sanctimony the sacrilege
Rattles no glass ceilings
But blinders the window ledge

Sermonizing and imposing
These truths on unknown polities
Translates into unintelligent
And offensive foreign policies

Pitiably unaware
In the headiness of pan-superiority
Immune to introspection
The mind languishes
Oblivious
To its own insecurities

– Akanksha Gupta

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Preception

Unbidden
The thoughts of yesterday
Threaten to drown me
And I’m reminded
There’s a fine line
Between careless and carefree

Those who
Throw caution to the winds
Yet come out smelling like roses
Know we’re accustomed
And inured
To our own play of ignorance

Those who
Mince words, measure thoughts
Yet are censured for every gesture,
Unknowingly let them out
In their voice, in their eyes
And in their posture

Justice is blind
But Judgment is deaf
And while Reason is neither
It sputters when
Truth is mute
And Instinct has taken over

– Akanksha Gupta

Critical Reception

In pursuit of perfection
Our grimy sight stains
Our very own reflection
Leaving little room
To brood upon
Anything but

And even if that weren’t to be
A tiny glimpse of perfection
Would inevitably
Burn down all ambition
Only for the ash to, anew,
Tarnish the erstwhile
Flawless contours
And thusly stoke
The dying embers to life –
A critic reborn
A critic revived

– Akanksha Gupta

Conjunct

And so, and yet,
Life toasts to and with
Glasses half filled,
Half spilled, half empty,
And so, and yet,
Delicious
In their entirety,
Where taste is a mindful perception
And mind a powerful beast
The heart is an overpowering illusion
And so, and yet,
Is breaking free

– Akanksha Gupta

Transience

I watch
A miasma of brush strokes
Trailing over
The canvas of life –
Dull, bright, warm, sharp
Their watermarks
Evade the sight
But those that loiter
I notice
The crinkly lines
That embellish their every stroke –
Bold, rugged, shy, sleek
Impressions that time erodes
But those that linger
I remember
The dots and crosses
That stagger each line
Big, small, subtle, sublime,
An expression that holds
The redolence of time –
A taste of vintage memories
That swarm
With an ageless, decadent grace
Yet ultimately
When everything fades
Period and pause
Everything fades
They say
Life is funny that way

– Akanksha Gupta

Teacher’s Day

To all my teachers: Happy Teacher’s Day!

It’s been years since graduation
I measure that time and distance
In values
That paved our way
In beliefs
That kept us walking
In attitude
That set the rhythm to our gait
And in fortitude
That carried us across

Because
The knowledge we then
Naively gauged us in
When faded away,
The wisdom
Wisely remained –
In the wordplay
During interactions
And the unintended wit
In the reactions –
Their impressions
Gained
In girth and momentum

So while it’s been years since graduation
I measure that space in memories
Too priceless to put a tag to –
Even words are not enough
To express my gratitude

Love,
Akanksha

The Illusion of Freedom

My fingers don’t shake
Yet my pen hesitates
And the paper is black and blue.
I tighten my hold –
Had I been so lax
As to let the pen grow bold?
It is but a paper anyway;
And papers come and papers go –
The convenient martyrs
Of our self-effacing ways,
Covering our rot within theirs,
Letting our thoughts stay
Strangled within our throats –
Little birds
That now whisper
In our ears
Words
That make words cower,
And ideas, that yearn
To run free,
Find themselves
Short of words
Suddenly,
Apparently,
Justifiably.

– Akanksha Gupta