At the Guruvaiyur temple in Kerala

A beauty’s desire, succulent, ripened quickly,
The fevered body hated to be whipping boy.
Arjuna’s friend had told him contrary things

Leaving him and us befuddled, minds giddy.
Nachiketa asked death what it was and why,
Not clear knowledge is death before or after.

Now this beauty thing, is it the physical glow
Or its spirit-layer,eternal and into the clouds.
Look at this beyond-thing, a lack of horizon.

At this Godchild seemed to smile exquisitely
His beauty-waves reached perplexed minds
From beyond the coconuts and tiled houses.

My beauty pixels vanished, a wholly washed
Incandescence dissipated in sky space above
Clusters of coconuts ,houses nested in them.

Perfect moons

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)

The sister

This day we welcome the wealth goddess
Asking her favors, new clothes and gold
Husbands’ love, life and joy, job and kids.

We do not need brooms and bath room
Slippers with a bit of darkness skewered
On golden day of wealth and happiness.

A dark sister of the wealth goddess waits
On the staircase , with  bare neck devoid
Of the golden hues of wealth, loose hair

In full disarray, on a bareback of poverty.
Behind ,she stands sadly on a door frame
Gaily decked in painted flowers, brooding

On her heavy deprivation,  sibling rivalry.
The marigolds sing in a heavenly beauty.
Their dust flies in face in a soft fragrance.

The stories told make us rich, husbands
Long living, loving and leveraging wallets.
Let us slam door shut in the sister’s face.

(Lakshmi the goddess of wealth is welcome in the homes but her sister Jyesta who comes riding on an owl, represents ugliness and squalor and is turned away at the door)

My brothers and joint wife

My brothers and joint wife ,we were
On our steepness with a faithful dog
But we were going down one by one
My own dog in tow and a joint wife
With our serial shadows and several.

When we would cut off our shadows
We would reach where girls danced
And light gods watched boring dance
With no eyelids, all day and no night.

Brothers would drop and joint wife,
When their shadows went after sun.
We two had our shadows behind us
I and the dog, that was my shadow.
It was difficult to separate shadows.

(The scene of Mahaprasthan in Mahabharata)

They had bells in their bottoms

In the sepia days the pants traveled
Far and flung in bell shaped bottoms

And the sides burned on hairy faces.
The pants went yellow and jacket red

In tinsel romance to dark-lined eyes
Lowered in instantaneous modesty.

Movies flowed sweetly into weddings
That had no foretaste of black gowns.

A motor cycle sputtered with a train
Singing of the brevity of life, in sepia.

(Bollywood movies of  the seventies)

Ladder

In a dead grandma’s story, the ladder
Took kids to the sky roof for their play.
Old woman swept the earth of its dust
And found a low sky highly annoying.

If sky bothered her in earth-sweeping
She would push it up with her broom.
Kids could not come down from play.
Poor chaps had to turn sun and moon .

The ladder , now in rain and rust, lands
You in water tank with crows on its top
Trying old story trick to throw pebbles
To bring up water for their black thirst.

A ladder’s top vanishes in blues of sky.
It is where grandma goes and woman
Who pushes annoying sky up with kids.
We have not seen anyone climb down.

But we see the sky’s kids day and night
Playing in orange edges near the hills.