Poems

The Fisherman In the Luit

From the nebulous light of a new day

Surfaced a silhouette

Of a sinewy man with a stoop. 

His moth-eaten wooden canoe was  Moored on the edge of the white floodplain.

Read the whole poem Published in Better than Starbucks.Link: https://betterthanstarbucks.wixsite.com/sept2020/international-poetry

Springtime in Assam

When the kuli* croons the first notes of spring

In Assam, from the verdurous gardens  and woodlands green;

Below the crystal blue heavens-

A thousand bells ring

Across hills and vales, and rivers, of this great land of virtue;

Bidding adieu to the quintessential winter grey.

The kuli’s song makes evanescent 

The gloom of the past year’s failures and flaws,

The melancholic loneliness of crushed relationships;

The ruptured dreams of accomplishments;

The sorrow of every suffering—-

To

Unveil a season of vibrant dance and melody.

The euphoric expectations climax to a crescendo 

As the young maidens bedeck themselves in

Rich gold muga mekhela sadors with scarlet motifs.

Adorn their hair with a spray of fragrant lavender kopou phul,*

And with a cane japi* in their hands,

They set out to welcome spring,

With a Bihu dance or two.

The young men attired 

In their muga and pat Kurta and dhoti. Armed

With their cheerful, often boisterous lyrics;

Accompanied by the dhol, pepa, and gogona,*

They woo their maidens in the spring dance of courtship.

The dancers twirl on tender fields,

Swaying their hips to the rhythm of youth, 

To the beat of the drums, songs and music.

Beneath the sylvan foliage of the ornamental trees.

Yes, when the kuli, 

Begins the spring song,

The flowers- 

The shy Nahor,*

The pristine, pure, perfumed Togor,

The flaming Gulmohar- 

Bloom as an overture, 

To embrace                                     

The season of joy and happiness.

Of hope, of love.

**********

Nahor: Indian rose chestnut

Togor: Tabernaemontona,Gardenia.

Kopou phul: Foxtail orchid(vanda)

Japi: traditional Assamese hat

Dhool: drum

Pepa: flute

Gogona: a small jaw harp type of musical instrument

Kuli: Koel.

First published in Indian Literature,Journal from the Indian Academy of Letters, Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi.

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Fragrant Togor blooms galore(Gardenia).*

In Tawang

Published in Indian Literature, Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi.

In Tawang

Through roadless routes 

I traversed, 

A gutty drive 

On an off-roader 

Under rocks spilling waterfalls;

Braved landslides 

And shootings stones;

To arrive at Tawang

In search 

Of my Shangri La.

Wound my way  

To every revered and famous spot 

Breathing in a spellbound sigh

As we all do upon Nature’s plethora

In awestruck wonder.

Named and unnamed 

Lanes did I walk,

Paid homage 

At each monastery 

To every statue,

Hearkened to the centuries old 

Words of the monks.

Read the age old books 

Preserved in the libraries.

Attended prayer services with the priests.

Still, my heart pined for Shangri La—

Where gaiety mitigated tears,

Blissful beauty bloomed in my heart,

Vanquished the evil eye of the devil, 

Love divine reigned supreme in every soul.

Where truth 

Overpowered the naysayer,

My senses  soaked 

In all the goodness in life

I sought.

Then, I heard peals of laughter 

Across the rugged ranges,

Gamboling and gliding; dipping and rising,

Like the musical notes of a maestro,

Sweeter than the sweetest bird song.

Happiness,Beauty,Love,

Contentment,

Was their sparkling laughter saturated with; 

Enveloping me in a merry breeze 

Of a sultry Indian summer day.

Small bodies 

In coarse homespun maroon sarongs,

Vibrated with mirth;

My little wish-fulfilling 

Aerial lanterns .

Like fireflies, 

Their mischievous eyes lit and danced.

Their sunburnt smiling faces crinkled,

Ready to bubble forth 

Droll declarations.

I found my Shangri La—

In the melody of the tiny monks

As they jumped up and down,

Smiled and laughed, blowing flying kisses.

Their happiness elevated my spirit lickety-split.

My search ended, time stood still,

As our souls reached out to connect,

Smile in sublime union 

For long, sacred moments.

All too soon, it was time to bid adieu.

As I waved them goodbye,

I mused—Yes, we humans once

Laughed without any expectations,

With spontaneous heartiness, 

We were humane once.

I moseyed my way back,

Euphoric that the enshroud fortune 

I had ventured out in search of

On my trip to Tawang 

In resplendence was unveiled for me.

***************

**********

Heartfelt thanks to Brigadier P.K. Jaiswal for extending his warm hospitality in making our journey to Tawang memorable.

****************

Olena

Olena

—-the tumeric flower  an excerpt

I ambled around in the wee hours

Humming along with visiting birds  

Singing arduously songs heralding a new day;

When, through the corner of my eyes

I glimpsed a glob of colour —

A mesmerising sight in the kitchen garden

Captivated all my senses in rapture. 

Camouflaged in three feet tall paddle-like leaves

Funnelled out from their bracts

Peachy, firm, fair-petaled flowers 

Rimmed with lilac pink.

Deeper down the conical blooms

Concealed from the careless eye, nestled

Golden florets in tiny leafy cups. 

—-noon, 23rd October,2019.********

I

Tumeric root

*********************

From the volume: Lost in Laitkor

Laitkor musings, Shillong, 23rd September 2017.

This moment

Doodling on my pink poetry notebook

In our ‘Pine Crest’ in Laitkor,

My attention is arrested

By the compelling view outside my window-

A canopy of pine needles

Strung spiderweb-like,

Ivory pearls of dew

Lace the twigs.

The distant impenetrable forest

Is home to the jackals

Who howl long and loud

In the hushed, numbing nights.

In the morning, from my bedroom window

My eyes seek the old steel-blue cathedral.Where

Mother Mary stands beauteously

With her palm raised patiently

To bless all.

My glance drifts across the city of Shillong

Which rises in the upland

Beyond the undulating pine hills.

Afar, are the virgin peaks

In shades of azure and green,

A trail of clouds mushroom and frolic,

Dip and dance

Between the houses

Between the hills

Between the sky and the earth.

And at night,

Life continues in all its complacency

As electric lights glitter and sparkle

More brightly than the faraway stars

Which twinkle dimly and fade away.

*******************

……

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