Two Poems by Prithvi Pudhiarkar


Robbery at the Psychiatrist’s Office


Today, in the waiting room
of the psychiatrist’s office, I replace
mute dread with a lament
for the person who walked the tightrope
between material and meaning, being
both magician and con-man
to decorate this room

greeting you first with mythic emptiness
is the Buddha, encased in light, his eyes
cast in stone, (shut out of fear
or peace) clothed in gold for a
perennial winter, and a little dust,
hovering: celestial, all-feeling,
over a slab of wood

the floor, scrubbed clean, phenyl
filling the air around the halo of
cold, metal chairs that promise no
cushion, dutifully
managing expectations, drunk
on trembles and death, soldier-like,
until the night, then crumbling in a heap
of sobs and sour steel

then the table, kindly centred
at an intersection of twenty-four tiles,
supporting magazines
with the page three ripped off
by discerning interns and books
and clocks and pens branded red-hot
with names I swallow
three times a day

and a flower pot, labouring
alone on the desk by the compounder,
just-about holding on
to a yellow-green stalk, stubborn
as joy in its refusal to multiply, wilting
before the season, replaced
every other month with a new stem,
grafted into the cracking earth,
whenever the waiting room


afternoon feathered into evening
only outside

and as patients disappeared,
I wondered, my eyes
glued to the surveillance monitor,
grainy bodies, leaving,
black and white and grey—
are clinics
really a target for robberies?

I was alone now,
along with the objects in the room
and a boy,
skinny, wiry and complete, like
a tall glass of milk and Complan, waiting
to be emptied in the sink.
He sat before me, all of twelve or thirteen, his feet
tapping against the cold metal (in a code I recognised),
for his mother
who was now inside, calculating
where she went wrong.

His eyes, bespectacled, reflected mine,
a lagoon, blue, oblivious
to the turtles washing up ashore;
to avoid his gaze,
I started reading a magazine:
a scientist had exposed wheat to classical music
and found significant advances
in growth and flowering.

Before I could finish reading, the bell rang and
as I went in, past the boy’s crying mother,
the compounder calmly picked
up the pot from his desk
and left.


under the weather

you know that old idiom
of high school geography, old as breath:
the earth rotates on its own axis but also
revolves around the sun yada yada
you know the one?

I feel like
I’m also that way.

I rotate around my own axis
It’s a small axis,
almost too small sometimes
but slowly, and faithfully,
the revolutions march on
unbeknownst to my

and somewhere, far from home,
it starts raining again.


Cover image by Maritè Toledo via Flickr (cc).


About the Author:

Prithvi Pudhiarkar is a student of English and Creative Writing at Ashoka University. He is presently obsessed with the vast history of poetry, literature, music and cinema and wishes to be at its intersection in the future. His fiction is forthcoming in Himal Southasian.