We would create mind of body
To touch the inwardness of all.
We prefer to keep an old dogma
That had us scaling a Shiva hill
A snow hill of an endless night
While poison of doubt spread
In a bluest of throats, keeping
A world awake by kitsch songs
Over houses of burning thatch
But bodies stayed all of piece.
We have a tattered tarpaulin over libidos,
Beside running buses of lusts to perform.
We are cocoons of married togetherness
That are spinning lazy silks of nine yard
In long musical yarns of Hindi film dance.
But it is rattling here in wind and storm.
We have to return tarpaulin to the maker.
We are soon naked under sun and moon.
(A 23 year old girl who had been gang-raped in a running bus in Delhi died in a Singapore hospital)
They of the uncertain sex beat the wind,
In their joined palms in forced cadence.
A floor-mopping cleaner boy under seat
Met our eyes ,with his money-wetness .
Train went sputtering for lack of puffing
As gravelly stones hit its forbidden parts.
We hear body’s fall steeped in melody
An exquisite sound gone from fingers.
Eyes fell in broken strings , the music
Lost in a whisper of time, in nightfall.
A glass spread quickly in strung eyes.
Big black eyes were strung to a song,
A lifetime song , flow of a generation.
The sound is now ashes, eyes beads.
(A homage to Pandit Ravi Shankar the Sitar maestro who passed a few years ago)
Then, at the dead of the night
A river’s waters rose , swelled
And spilled over to the village.
The mountains then looked on
As a flying chariot-in-flames
Had sheared the edges smooth.
The river then swelled in pride
As rain poured into catchment
In rugged Western mountains.
Now the river is within limits
Tamed by the monstrous dam,
With no excitement of a spate.
It is now so much brown sand
With streaks of shallow water.
Nowadays , funeral fires rage
On the sun-baked river-bed.
On those annual festival days
Thousands of merry- making
Peasants and townsfolk alike,
Congregate on the hot sands
To celebrate a god’s birthday.
It is as though I was there the other day.
Only they have grown bigger and taller
And their inner spaces more cavernous.
Remember I tried making pretty pictures
On their scraggy walls in stunning hues
To celebrate leafy arrivals of a silver oak
And jack fruits sitting heavily on barks
I drew lovely pictures of charging bison.
Our women danced dimsa all night long
As we drank cup after cup of palm wine
And the dappu shivered in rising frenzy.
Millions of years ago I saw this mountain
Gurgling to form a gigantic gas bubble
That has hid the parchments of ancestors
Who went beyond those tall mountains.
Some times I can see their dark specters
In the cavernous womb of this mountain
Clinging to the mossy roof upside down
They shriek out secrets of other-world
And of life beyond the mountain-peaks
That pile, one on other, on a sunny day.
(Borra caves are stalagmite and stalactite caves ,believed to be a million years old, situated in the Eastern ghats in Araku valley near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh)
Moonlight is back on roof and sky,
A flour rolled into dough for bread
For the men to take their bites daily.
Men are reading boring news daily.
Wives will see their faces in sieves
The round and perfect full moons.
(On Karwa chauth , after completing a day’s fast for husband’s well being , a woman looks through a sieve first looking at the rising moon and then at her spouse)