Archives for the month of: October, 2013

rail coach

Sometimes there is no word to explain or describe an obtuse thought or feeling. This is where poetry comes in to interpret it. As children I and my siblings had this problem in defining our feelings when some sound, sight or a combination of the two produced an indefinable cerebral ecstasy. So we invented a label to describe it – ‘tasty’, though it had nothing to do with taste. When in a rolling rail coach the momentum of the wheels jumping over the joints of the rails produced a rhythm like castanets we would look at each other, smile and say ‘tasty’, or again when on a lake side on picnic the waters lapped the shore with each little tide stirred by the wind, we would listen carefully to the lulling sound and burst out tasty’ or again when the window of a  car kept jogging up and down framing the scenes flitting past, while remaining securely with us, it was ‘tasty’, yet again when one heard the sounds of a horses hoofs on cobble stones that was ‘tasty’ and so on and on.

horses hoofsIn adulthood I renamed the childhood ‘tasty’ as synthesis – synthesis of invading patterns of the observed phenomena with the patterns of the mind when they are joyously in synch creating a cerebral experience of ecstacy and comprehension of an essence.


Credit: 0
Credit: 0


         S Y N T H E S I S


The monkey’s paw

Holds the gesture

Faithfully, like the peasant’s

Unclasped hand.



The snake majestically stands

And turns

Its Nefertiti head.



The lily beds,

Watery comfort

In the ear



The tree’s posturing

Irregularity, unmatched,

Assert their branching patterns.




Held in a thousand ethnic ways,

The pen turns and twists

And fashions.


Pencil heels and chopsticks


The cat’s long tongue

Laboriously licks,

The clock ticks seconds.


The gallop of horses’ hoofs

On cobble stones,

Racing wheels on endless rails,

Lullaby of the rocking coach,

Delight to cerebral heights.


Nature’s momentum uncontrolled,


Our artfulness


As primal grace,

A semblance here

Or a sounding there, original pace

Evoke a resonance.


And so we move beyond

The natural artefact

To the self-conscious grace

Of a cultured act.






                   F O C A L – P O I N T


Its serious business

When the pigeon’s bobbing puffed-up neck

Signals courting;

Not for teasing this date to mate.




King Wildebeest impels his herd

When the Serengetti dries, precisely

Decisively, and a young cuckoo

Urgently expels the native eggs

Even before its eyes can see,

Survives, instictively.


I win the bread

As my family expects, unfailingly

Present a reasoned ambience

Of care and ability, no frivolity

In essentials.




For Air Traffic Controllers are in dead earnest

As the mechanical marvels

Cross the skies. The Secretary’s

Air of responsibility

Is heavy as lead.


You cannot on your marriage bed

Turn the other side

Of purpose, nor nature fail

To preside over

Its ubiquitous destiny.





Such identities present

A laser focus

In the camouflage of a butterfly,

Death of flowering bamboo,

Neutring of worker bees,

The salmon’s last fling

Before it dies,

A sharp look in your spouse’s eyes

As you present a risky alternative.


But beyond somewhere arises

A more than reasoning purpose

Than merely preserving

 A species from extinction

When surmounting your demanding self, instead,

Released from any obligation,

You extend your heart to help.



mamounia garden 2 -

Morocco is magic – the land, the people, the flora and fauna. To make it more exotic it is a kingdom, with its shores along two seas, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. In the south are the Atlas Mountains. There is a romance of history and culture surrounding its cities of Casablanca, Marrakech, Fez and Tangiers. The weather along the coast is always clement with an abundance of blooms everywhere. Two races populate the land, the Arabs and the Berbers, both extraordinary in looks and hospitality. Marrakech at the edge of the Sahara desert and the foot of the Atlas Mountains is an exotic town that takes you back in history. My poem was composed as the atmosphere of the place gripped, enthralled and mesmerized me:




This Moroccan haunting

From the midst of Mamounia’s

Mystic groves and tallest palms’

Proud ochre candelabras’ date,

Three note trill


Pierces my soul

At dawn,

Plaintive, persisting


Secret and alone

With me.


fountainIn the heart of every court,

Like risen lotus

Trademark fountains of bliss

Drip their watery ecstasy

Into shallow pools

Where the mosaic stirs

In shadow of ancient olives

And Jakaranda

And what holds it together,

Calls of a hidden dove –

Secret paradise

Locked from the crowds.


This quick music makes me sad

Though I do not follow its words

I almost know what it says

As I imagine the adolescent urge

Accurately, for it is about

The village lad who is going away,

Promising his mother he will soon be back

With a Green Card

But to his love, that she never

Loved him enough

To let go his hand,

Then I let go the words,

It doesn’t matter, as the drumming

And singing beat faster into me.


musicians-place-jemaa-el-fna-marrakech-bigTwo big beads on two strings

Attached to a dancer’s pointed cap

Whir, as he spins cockily

With a look to impress

At the Place El Fna

In the furious light of gas lamps.


How these Kilin carpets bewitch,

A Berber way of scribbling

Thoughts into squares

Of straight simple colours

You could never manage,

Like you cannot pronounce

Words without vowels,

Consonants joined together

Like they can (shno smitek)

And the patterns stay with you

Like something said permanently



credit :

To capture one look from you

Fishing delinquently for eye contact, careful,

Pull the purse strings tight

Over your eyes,

There are pickpockets here,

Pull down your veil,

Hang on to your soul.


We took the road

Past Taroudannt

Where the majestic Atlas stood

Up a steep hill of Fir trees

Thickly brushing my thoughts

Like a sponge of Mouley Ibrahim

Absorbing their residue wastes,

Miracle duster cleansing the slate

And the wooden barrier

At the tomb

Allowing in only the faithful

Could not keep me out

As I sought his grace

And received a psalm

Wrapped in bright green cloth,

As a token

That he had heard.

Mouley Ibrahim Credit :

Mouley Ibrahim
Credit :





A rare jewel in the Gulf

hajar 2

The Hajar mountains and aquaducts




Oman, amen

In the desert,

As the Hajar rises

From horizon to horizon,

Hiding aqeducts of palms.



Sultan Qaboos

Oman amen

In the desert,

As Qaboos arises

From Medina to Medina

The miracles of a Sultan.



omani maleOman amen

In the desert,

As a people surprise us

With their simplicity and charm.



Oman amen

In the desert,

As a land emerges

From past to present

V’alaikam Assalam’.

temple spire

Transformations inevitably take place within us as we travel and live in other lands. The influences chip away at our settled beliefs. The core becomes affected. We begin to metamorphose, chrysalis to caterpillar to butterfly. Those who have never travelled get affected by the tales and thoughts of great travellers like Xuangzang, Fa Hian, Marco Polo and  Ibn Batuta. People need to travel to become whole, more tolerant, open minded and broad-minded. In India, pilgrimages have served to acquaint its people with their varied cultures and mannerisms, uniting a diverse land. International tourism like pilgrimage helps in uniting the world. My career necessitated constant travel and living in alien lands. In the process my two children are today what I call ‘International Persons’.

When I left India for the first time I was one thing. When I lived in the Gulf, whose culture was diametrically different, I became another. When I returned to India, readjusting my thoughts from the new experiences with those of the original, I became yet another. Now the original looked so different. As the great philosopher of dialectics Hegel put it, Thesis, Antithesis, synthesis.

My poem seeks to bring this out:


                       E X P A T R I A T E


Where Neem trees do not grow

To spread their cleansing shade,

The cheeky bulbul no longer

Chuckles in the bush , red vented,

Nor leisurely cows are

Occasional mothers revered,

No monkeys of epic proportions

Hold court on the roofs of Collectorates,

Nor Mynas with slipping black plumes

Like the Brahmin’s pigtails

Tread within reach at a hair’s breadth,

Where rivers are not Gangetic

In their legendary flows;

There are no rivers.


No bullock-carts lull

At midnight with their bells,

Or coloured bangles sold

In rows at fairs,

No temple spires, no wicker lamps,

No garlands of marigold,

No curries stirring with onion

And leaven bread,

No rainbow colours thrown at festivals,

Women without vermillion on their foreheads.


gulf manNow the song and language change,

His rhythms rearrange,

Cows and colours are strange and alien,

Even the birds are plane

Poor copies, foreign

As this sun arising in another land,

This alien moon casting its novel spell

Set in another frame

Of crescents and restraint

By another culture in which he trains.


Then he returns home

With second thoughts

From the eye of concentric circles,

In a dual vision caught

And sees again the unchanging plot

Of cows and monkeys and dots

Upon the forehead.


mosqueBut now he finds in juxtapose

No more the immaculate

Drip fed hedges,

The manicured landscape,

No more the perfect law

Of the Book,

The exquisite highways,

Nor the stately gilded domes of mosques

And friday prayers,

The unerring call,

The month-long fasts and festivals,

The fragrance of Frankincense

arab ladyOr billowing robes of white and black

Heavy with musk and rose,

Or dates upon a plate,

Nor ritual coffee in crucibles with jelly cake;


As the expatriate

Repatriates between two worlds

He has lost

And gained

His third.



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