On the whole

he has three moles:

one, a wee bit north-east

from the right eyelashes;

the remaining two

are not readily seen.

Has astigmatism

but doesn’t lead

a double life:

on the contrary,

a very, very, ordinary life.


One look at his hands

will leave you disappointed:

he has only recently given up


Otherwise has a fetish

for cleanliness and order

and worships Marie Kondo.

Also aware that sometimes

it is better to be dirty and alive

rather than clean and dead.


Enjoys comfortable circumstances

and has always worked towards it.

Nowadays, one hears,

he is living off mutual funds-

not friends – get it right please!


He love affair now is with words

and hence will not answer the question

if he has philandered earlier.

These days he warms up to the likes of

Afterdark and Gridman:

his favourite c-word puzzle setters.


Except for a movie and a family dinner

every Friday, enjoys the comfort of his home:

difficult to seek him out on other days

otherwise than for urgent and unavoidable

household errands,

unless there is something like

a Kiran Nagarkar lecture

or a Pelva Naik concert

to be held nearby.


His bookshelf looks

suspiciously unread:

one title stands out –

How To Talk About Books

Without Reading Them.

Someone told him bluntly

that he is afflicted with


He has taken this charge

on the chin and

forgives the person


“he knows not what he says.”


He proudly proclaims

he is off Metformin

and on a regime

of diet and exercise.

Past sixty,

he is ticking off items

on  his bucket list.

Amongst the residual items

two stand out :

to immerse in the works of

e. e. cummings, and,

to publish at least

one slim volume of

memorable verse.



p21 (c) pradeep gopalan








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