We heard about the boy staring in the hospital, trying hard not to cry ,as the hospital staff set about shaving his head in preparation for the brain operation. It was the uncertainty of what lay in the skull there that made him cry and only a joke by another who had a similar head could make the situation less grim.
We are together in this, said my son, who has had his head shaved recently in Tirupati before God. They laughed together at their common egg-heads.
We are in a different night today ,a night made up by trains blaring, tall coconuts swaying to rain music and short walks on a patch of moss-black on a terrace roof dry with rain marks. The coconuts hang heavily on the parapet,their older ones waiting to drop on unsuspecting heads below. The guavas ,ripe and yellow, have disappeared in the parrots’ stomachs but their hollow telltale shells are still there on the earth.
The hundred gold coins flowers are conspicuous by their absence but their fragrance can be imagined on their heavy branches near the compound wall.The cobbler is mending passers-by in their sandals under an umbrella ,with a stone slab polished smooth for the cutting of the leather.The dog in the second floor is hiding behind its loud barks but not much hostility is expected today ,on a cool evening like this.
These days I am surrounding myself with granite.The beauty of the granite keeps me awake, like the dark night behind the trees. Soft and silky. The more you work on it ,the softer it becomes.
There is now granite against my sky.Abutting my trees.Granite is now my piece of the mountains. It sings my dreams of the mountains and plays my mountain tunes.
Granite is our stone, blue – black like Krishna,
That provokes strong feelings, hard on fingers
But soft and silky in its core, in hues like rain.
It is like Krishna’s belly, filled with flute music
By a river of gentle ripples flowing from trees.
There is rain and wind in it, as in moonless sky.
Feel it , play on it and sing its mountain tunes.
The more you work on it the silkier it becomes.
At 2 midnight , the search for the day’s poem began .Ideas had to start somewhere, before they flowed. One looked for little nudges that would begin the process. A scrap of poetry or an interesting quote would present many possibilities, a vast canvas for the wanderings of the mind.
Sometimes the nudges are a scattered sound or a creature of the night. Like for example , the gurkha watchman who paces up and down in the vast wastes of the night, tapping his stick on the earth. Alerting about possible intruders, cat burglars.
Here it is, yesterday’s temporary poem, a poem that began in temporary origins but threatened to become a fixture of the web space.Not permanent because the subject is so ephemeral, like a whiff of wind at midnight. Things will not remain the same. I am not there tomorrow, my poem shall disappear as anonymous googledygeek.( A cross between google- geek and gobbledycock).
The whistle blares it is the inky night of 2 O ‘clock
Marked by feet in old boots, in a Himalayan walk,
With their stick tapping the earth to warn thieves.
Another whistle, man and boy blew this morning
Whose shrillness of blowing sounded quite hollow
Across the bare earth and houses to friends down
All in mirth, the boy in a snigger after the whistle.
Their whistle is mere surrogate for night’s cricket
Since the latter has taken short leave from bushes.
When our rice is ready for meal in pressure cooker
The whistle sounds blowing the lid off afternoon nap.
The pressure rises in vapor, pressing down the valve,
A short whistle-blower on hunger pangs in our belly.
This sun is your once Ravi and it is now his call
The weaving of a fine heart that would stop later.
The sun is dead usually, on its very slow daily act.
Can we have a quick funeral in the head please?
The least expensive and salt and tears not much.
It was all in the system, in the streets of Hong Kong
That winded down in back alley, among new men
Of eyes that did not see you much but in earphones.
His eyes were full of fire, the rage of a funeral fire
But the way their eyes would bore you in the back
They had said their piece but made peace with you.
Ravi’s system is in place, now chairman of nothing.
The sun must set for the day and it is all in system
Where a logout has to be performed for every user.
(Homage to Ravi Kaul, my former colleague and a dear friend who had passed away early this year-the name Ravi means the sun)
As we trod it on way to the temple
We would call it by a pompous name.
But that spoiled our mood for God.
God, approached, seemed to laugh
At the dirty insinuation, in the way
We have linked a temple’s holiness
To our erroneous stamping of foot
On the execrable stuff on the side.
Shit! We said in smelly exaggeration.
He would greet us with a floral smile
Despite the smell from our underfoot.