The elephant-God

The beginningless God presided
Over our every worldly beginning
Rising from the mud-peelings
Of our own Magnificent Mother.
He would laugh at the annoying
Asymmetry of imperfect world.
The moon mocked at his belly

That rocked with food in laughter.
The crowds cheered their clay-God
Painted in kitschy acrylic colors
And national pride was restored
With their cacophonous film music.

The miners are here

The mountains fell deeply silent.
The shrubs pretended they did not
Exist, waiting for the mountains
To endorse their earthly existence.
The night’s silence broke through
Stacks of brown, broken mountains
The wind blew in their vacant faces.
The monsoon has now come and gone.
There was no water flowing , only
Hot sand with wind whirling in it.
And there would never be water here
Only blood from the recent wounds.
After they go ,they will be big holes
You and I will stand on their rims
Trying to guess where darkness ended.

(Large scale iron mining has led to destruction and defacement of the rockscape of Hospet)

The rocks of Hampi

The evening swapped the orange sky
For a silver-lined cloud in tatters.
The rocks had sizzled through the day;
At sundown their fever subsided.
Their blazing orange desires ebbed
In the nucleus of their inner being.
Time had burnt them to perfection
Beyond the pale of a petrified self.
Their sun-smell touched the bushes
Quickening life in their brown limbs
As the sun sank behind world’s edge
Their shadows vanished in the sky.

On return to Mumbai

The city is day-long, sea –backed
A sea-child would deeply dangle feet
Into the sea at the misty radio club
Near the cockroach-ridden sea palace
Bringing back a sea-tide of memories.
Years ago, I had bought my identity
Here, a piece of paper, full of lies
And endless possibilities of hurt
In the fragrance of harbor to come .

The sea is calmly deep and afraid.
I see Rukmini’s lying-in hosp’tal
Along with the juice hair parlors.
Stock- brokers rub rotund stomachs.
There, at junction, in a sea of cars
Stand these muddy-haired children.
They have a nasty habit of poking
Their outstretched grubby tiny hands
Directly into the holes of your eyes.

Needle

The tailor had an eye for his needle
That went in and out a cotton hole
As if it was his very own heart – lung
Furiously beating in an old rib cage.
His needle had an eye for the thread
That went in like it was a Bible camel.
Diwali is closing in with his customers
For new dupattas amid light crackers.
The needle has its catching up to do.

This side, old spinster is at her needle
For unfinished dupattas, long flowing
For many Diwalis that went in and out
Riding out a prince on a white horse.
Her needle is now spinning long yarns
In endless story, from Diwali to Diwali
That goes on like a failed wet cracker.

The boy priest of Lepakshi

The boy priest’s words flowed
Like the river Penna in monsoon.
He took us gently with his words
In the dusty corridors of time.
His voice merged imperceptibly
In the temple’s flowing history
As if he had really belonged then
And arrived here on time’s back.

One afternoon when the harsh sun
Beat down on their bare backs
The sculptors were at their work
Chipping away at their granite
And then it was lunch time and
Mother was not ready with food;
The sculptors would chisel away
At a giant boulder of the temple
And transform it into a serpent.

The child’s voice floated like
A white cloud in the summer sky
This statuesque woman in stone
Has aquiline nose and lotus eyes
Her waist narrow, wrists delicate.
Her delicate necklace rose and
Fell on breasts as she breathed.

The boy’s haunting voice bridged
The distance in time as a child-God
Looked down on us mischievously
From mystical frescoes on the roof.

Tsunami memory

I looked at her usurping big chunks of the sky
Some misty moments and an orange sunset ago.
A lone crow sat on the iron railing, surveying
The far shoreline when my glass eye caught it.
The blur of brown hills broke a blue continuum.

She sat there still, seeming to me almost human
But where was this blue benevolence,when several
Tiny shrieking hands burst from her rising white
Bosom and the little lotus-lungs gasped for air?

(On the Cuddalore sea-beach)