Museum

 

In the House of Knowledge

past breathes-

once it took hold of my hand

and walked me through time-

from bronze age to the present-

my feet refused to move

when I saw Samudragupta ((320-380 A.D.)

looking at me from his gold coin-

the walls of the Bhuvaneshwar Museum,

this world-

faded away at the twinkle of his eyes-

only the compassionate king and I remained-

‘dust away the time’s crumb

of my military exploits-

I was a poet and a musician too’-

I hold this dear reverie

in my core to date-

 

 

 

Posted for Susan’s Midweek Motif Museum/s @ Poets United

 

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Negative Attitude

 

Once I was asked to write an obituary about someone I adored a lot. She was a school teacher and lived in the same building of my parents’ apartment. She loved my mother very much. When I was given the job by the secretary of the housing society I was a bit hesitant at first but accepted the request and set to do my work.

 

Tough part of the job was it wasn’t supposed to be an official obituary. Rather a homage in a meaningful way to convey her personality, her impact on her family, and the world around her.

 

I tried to make it personal and also decided to do away with the fog of grief and flowery phrases. But when it was read out in the meeting much was changed without my knowledge. Was it my writing at all? The spirit was not there.

 

I didn’t react but fumed within and wasted much of my energy in doing that. I did let my ego hurt so easily. Later on I was ashamed to think that I was that fragile. It wasn’t even a direct negative criticism. May be the editor preferred high-sounding phrases and replaced some of the words and sentences. May be even the vital ones. If some people choose to be impertinent why should I suffer?

 

Vituperative outbursts are a very common feature in social media. What about in blogs? I am very fortunate to be surrounded by thoughtful, accommodating and amiable fellow bloggers. I haven’t come across any negative comment full of spite and bitterness so far. A blog is your sweet home where you entertain your visitors with words. But…there is a ‘but’. When you comment on someone’s work and your visit is not reciprocated day after day it begins to hurt your feeling. So once you are aware of the writers’ character trait, instead of harboring resentment and anger towards them it’s best to avoid such negative personality and attitude. I try to follow this rule.

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Posted for Magaly’s Moonlight Musings: the Interactive Edition, #1 @ Poets United.

Televised

 

When truth looks on you on-screen

it is devastating-

it numbs your ears, eyes-

your taste buds die-

but come the ornate lie-

you are suddenly

robbed of your senses

and begin to feel, why,

nothing is wrong with the world-

peace is hanging from every tree-

you have a good night’s sleep-

when you wake up

you find the world resting in peace-

 

 

 

Posted for my prompt ~ Televised @ Poets United Midweek Motif

Stitches

kantha-stitch-22

KANTHA-STITCH-SAREE

 

I was always fascinated by the beautiful kanthas (soft, cotton made embroidered quilts). Even today mas and didas (mothers & grandmothers) of Bengal keep old, cotton saris and cloth to layer them with kantha stitching (very tiny and subtle ‘run’ stitches) for the new arrivals in homes. These mas and didas would remind you of tuntuni pakhi (tailor bird) who deftly pierces and sews the edge of the leaf with the leaf fiber to cradle a nest for its little ones.

 

Then came a time when these stitches began to show up in cotton and silk saris. You’d find all kinds of intricate designs, patterns and motifs done in kantha stitch on the sari with carefully selected threads. Specially in the Pujas everyone had to have a kantha stitch sari. One year, I also bought one blue silk kantha stitch sari with stone age motifs all over it. Threads were black, white and orange.

 

Some wanted to go beyond patterns. They wanted to speak through their stitches. At first their love for mythical characters and happenings found space in the long silk drape, like we see in the ‘Baluchari’ saris. Slowly their narrative art embroidered their own thoughts and stories.

 

This has happened in many places in India, specifically in Gujarat where an artist once stitched how she had crossed border, lived in refugee camps in desert, rebuilt her life, lost everything in a devastating earthquake and began once more. May be the stitches were not kantha stitches of Bengal but they were stitches of blood, struggle and toils.

 

 

 

Posted for Telling Tales with Magaly Guerrero: A Pantry of Prose, #6 ~ Stitches in 259 words

Bird Watcher

 

Whenever I tell myself

“Now

Let’s look for birds”

they emerge from every corner

of the trees, skies, ponds, lakes-

these miracles of feather-

they are my muse and my songs-

my freedom and my faith-

my storm and my peace-

my virtue and my frailty-

my wisdom and my sky-

my rhythm and my light-

these little miracles of feather

are my soul-

my thirteen ways of life—-

 

Words in quote are from Pablo Neruda’s Ode To Bird watching

Posted for Magaly’s Midweek Motif ~ Not-so-old-fashioned “Hobbies” Magaly’s Midweek Motif ~ Not-so-old-fashioned “Hobbies” @ Poets United

 

Dance

 

I miss your visual splendour-

your kohl-eye, telling stories-

your swift pirouettes in the wind-

your enthralling foot-work-

did your ghungroos (anklet) have hundred bells

like the Kathak dancers?

Wasn’t I mesmerized hearing the dance steps

on glossy, green leaves; on metal shades?

the touch of those graceful hands

blossomed Kadam flowers-

your odhni (veil) of cloud

seemed infinite-

where are you my pretty, danseuse?

Have we killed you

like the colonial British trying to smother

the Kathak dance

calling its practitioners ‘nautch girls’; harlots

in contemptuous fun?

In our desert homes

we are missing you sorely-

 

[Whatever I try to write now it leads to the rain-less days we are living here. So my Kathak dancer is the monsoon here.]

 

 

Posted for my prompt ~ Dance @ Poets United Midweek Motif

Perfume

 

         I

Monsoon blossoms

Have all lost their aroma

And songs

          II

 

Since there is no rain

Poet sits with misty eyes

And fragrant memories

 

 

Posted for Sanaa’s Midweek Motif ~ Perfume @ Poets United

Weather

 

I find all the ten sun crows

flying about this earth-

there is a fire dance everywhere-

words are aflame burning you and me-

a thousand phoenix taking flight in forests

every day, everywhere-

In every crack of the heart, of the earth,

seeds burn-

water, words, have all dried up-

there is no escape-

last night,

I saw him- dancing on its one leg,

the Shangyang– a rain bird,

no Confucius living now-

will there be a deluge then?

 

Posted for my prompt ~ Weather @ Poets United Midweek Motif

Away from Home

 

Well….Umm…I have a home like you all. There’s a terrace promising a sky and greenery. But when I have to leave, say on vacations, I have to leave. It tries to linger in my mind but I simply have to shoo it away. When I’m on train, bus, cars, planes this brick made residence melts away like the last trace of a monsoon cloud in an autumn sky. It’s wonderful to be a free spirit finding a niche in the Himalayas or roaming about the streets of a foreign land where no one knows you.

 

Yet why is it that I am never a free spirit? Because the other home, Sumanar/Lekha, catches me unaware. Like a transient orca it surfaces from nowhere and punts me high up into the moments of uncertainty and gobbles me up. As a hapless seal I am inside its body and see nothing but Words.

 

Lofty mountains transform into rocky nouns. Oceans wave into crazy verbs while I deck green Singapore with oodles of adjectives. Reality and dream merge in words. I realize the whole universe is nothing but words I cannot escape from.

 

Yet there are moments: Your whole being is sore; you breathe tears; your soul’s smouldering; your mind’s unhinged; you cannot undo grief. A numbing feeling snaking up the spine whispers you are far away from Home. You are a mere wayfarer traveling from birth to birth seeking Home. So ‘The ache for home lives in’ my being and I have become a seeker.

 

 

 

Posted for Magaly’s 5th Pantry of Prose @ Poet’s United. I turned one of my old poems (Abode) into a new piece with 251 words.