In December last year ,I lived in the Staff College campus of my Bank in Hyderabad for a week .The weather was just fine, totally conducive to long morning walks in the sylvan surroundings of the College. The search for beauty went on ,with the glass eye in tow and several objects bathed in warm glow behind reddish-tinged rocks. On the hillock ,where I headed in my walks, a brown dog stood waiting to be photographed as though that was the moment of its glory.
A photographer’s “doggereal”
A breeze blows on the fallen leaves,
Soft- crunching under footfalls
Then thoughts flow in a pageant
Their slowly crawling centipede
Is so much like a human chain
Their poetry exists in fine words,
Their rhythms beating as in life
Their symmetry really pretty.
Beauty-words gently fall like
December mist dripping from leaves.
Our own transience feels like birds
In the blueness above the treetops.
In the summer sky’s blue torpor
We keep stretching our vision
Until tiny luminous worms swim
In pools of tears in raised eyes.
Here ,a dog becomes a mere image
On the rock where it belongs,
In joyful photo-luminescence.
On some days I went on long walks on the jogging track and I tried to capture the rising sun flooding the rocks and the bushes near the hillock . Sudha, my colleague accompanied me one day and as I tried to capture her on my lens she looked as though she was walking into the sun:
The sunrays touched her and went up
Penetrating the trees and then the sky
I saw that happening ,often ,behind her
A gentle yellow light touching her warmly
This morning the sun came down quickly
From behind the wall, through the boulders,
Bouncing off the golden border of her sari
Flooding my inner glass eye with light.
The rocks were strangely beautiful against the rising sun as though they breathed in the beauty of the sun.
The photographer’s quest
First, beauty seemed to come back
In capillary-like ,bird-flying transience
As the orange orb came up shaking
In grey rocks and tentative leaf-ends
It is the sleeping rocks that glowed
Their contours passionately etched
Against white houses in blue spaces.
We had tiptoed all the way to the hillock
As the trees looked down on us,clinging,
Their foliage witness to our fecund follies.
Our thoughts remained in their bounds
Our images shreds of a few fluffy clouds
The search ended in several fiery pixels.
I was sitting here on the computer in the silence of the morning .A little bird made a persisent racket in my garden from the branches of the guava tree , the shrillness of its sound far disproportionate to its size. I was trying to change the world on the pages of http://www.zaadz.com but the little bird would not let me. Only later did I find out that the bird had the same mission .
My mission is hers too
Here I want to have a word with the little bird
Who makes a racket in my garden in shrill tones,
Persistently, distracting me from my mission
Of substantively changing the world, that is,
If I can get in edgeways in the conversation.
Failing language I try highly feeling poetry
Incorporating a lot of sting and biting irony
Who knows I may eventually silence her that way
The trouble is she too wants to change the world.
I lived in Chennai for around 2 months in late 2005 .One night I decided to reach the Marina beach before dawn in order to capture on my camera the most exquisite sunrise over the sea that one could think of. Which I could, thanks to my driver who hauled me there.
Sunrise and flowers
In my nights of waiting
For sunrise and flowers
I look pain in the face.
I wake up bleary-eyed
Trying to catch beach suns
Before they turn white.
This year ,on the full moon day of the Kartik month ,a thousand oil lamps were lighted in the temple ,around God’s flagpole (dhwajasthamba) scattering birds in the pipal tree’s darkness . On the top of the pole the moon fluttered in the breeze
On the full moon day
The moon fluttered atop God’s flagpole
A thousand oil lamps smelt of God
Scattering birds in the tree’s darkness.
Two years ago , while camping at Bhopal ,I drove down to Sirpur , a historical site known for its Buddhist Viharas and temple complexes of the 8 th century A.D..While returning I suffered a stomach upset leading to a nasty vomit right inside the car. It was not the physical discomfort that caused the unhappiness but my inability to take in the beauty of the place and carry back images .
The body had struggled for a whole night
Calling for a tranquil, unquestioning acceptance
A typhoon in the intestines caused the mind to swirl
In a smelly rejection across the car seat
In the acceptance lay the complementarity of rejection
Then the rain went musical on the misty windshield
Beauty appeared, in wistful rain, across time
As though it were life briefly rejecting death
Buddha sat there smiling in Time’s burnt earth
There was no acceptance or rejection, only beauty.
That was when we lived in Tirupati,the holy town of Andhra Pradesh. The rains lashed our town for two days at a stretch and as we sat huddled up in our homes not a crow stirred from the trees in our street including the one-legged crow which was a favourite visitor to my house.
Rains in Tirupati
It rained all night and all day
From muddy cesspools
Wet crows shivered
On wind-buffeted branches
Stray dogs shook themselves
Of chilly wetness
Moths took wings
Of one-day glory
Coconut trees swayed
In rain-drenched delight
Droplets from the sky
Were manna to the farmers
Rivulets flowed on the hills
In shimmering cascades
The hills wore a mantle of green
Bright yellow flowers
Filled the air with fragrance
All the creatures of the earth
Joined in the chorus of life.
At Babughat Kolkata ,we hired a boat and ventured into the inky waters of the Ganga which reflected the lights that lined the Howrah bridge.The reflections appeared like inverted candlelights and the boat slowly moved towards the bridge in the moonless night as a gentle breeze blew on us agitating the flame of the boat’s lantern. At some distance there was a large ship anchored near the jetty having entered the river from the high seas perhaps with cargo to be unloaded :
On the strand at Babughat,Kolkata
On the Babughat the Ganges wore
A splendid necklace studded with images
Of inverted candle lights under the bridge
The flickering flame of the lantern in the boat
Refused to dance to the wind’s death-tune
Near the jetty stood a dark monstrosity
Brooding over unillumined loneliness
Its cavernous stomach ached with
The darkest secrets of the high seas .