The Safe Vault (1754)


Fascinated I am
not by a painting of Van Gogh,
but by an iron safe, year:1754.

Funny, isn’t it to like one
so huge, and sturdy.
Its ruggedness is exquisite.

The charm lies in its structure,
firm and impenetrable.
It has many secret chambers;
its keyholes, visible and invisible,
improves security and invites scrutiny.

The motifs on the door, the brass handles,
the emblem with the words
“Dieu Et Mon Droit” (God And My Right),
supported by a lion and a horse
extend pride to its stature.

I longed to buy one.
Protégé Ramu
saw not one, but two.
He promises to buy them
for an unbelievable price,
much higher than what
I would have offered.

I probe, check, cross verify.
Is the seller related to Ramu?
must be for some reason
he is in a hurry.
I pester him. Vexed,
at one stage, he bursts out
Amma, vendam enral solli vidunga
Amma, If you think like this
you are not going to buy them”.

Suspicion is not the better
part of my nature.
I trail. I derail.
Ramu makes up
for my indecisiveness.
He concludes the deal
knowing my penchant for antiques
and my fleeting indignation.

Now, I own impregnable safes.
Do I go with Bertrand Russell?
“In the modern world the stupid
are cocksure while the intelligent
are full of doubt.”



The Eclectic

To see  a World  in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour.
— William Blake

I go not to the temple
to worship.

Around me,
the trees large and small
are a  splendour.
The tall ones
seem to reach the sky.
The broad,to
encompass horizon.
I bow.

Before me,
the flowers plain and small
cast a spell.
A bud unfurls in a gradience
as the petals elongate.
The fragrance spreads.
The bees visit.
I prostrate.

Besides me,
the meadows stretching far.
The greenery enthralls.
Blades of grass thin and sharp
flutter in the sun,
the humility overwhelms.
I pray.


Rena Calls.

A friend of mine,
Rena be her name
would say
it is not far, very near
only a stone throw,would
goad me through
make me walk a mile
not a distance short.

She will tell with ease,
it is only worth a penny
not of value. She would pick.
and show me the artefacts
being chaste and aesthetic
enamoured, I buy
the pieces worth many pennies.

Such is her charm,
the way she speaks
enlivens and entertains.
She is great and spirited
not in the mere words
Grace and poise are hers,
succeeds in all attempts
A winner she is always.


A Quarrel

This is beyond comprehension,
could be a misapprehension- a quarrel.

Not among countries
over a dispute of land, but a lasting quarrel.

Not among races
around differences, but a dirty quarrel.

Neither between communities
relating to rituals, but a disquietening quarrel.

Nor between the groups
connoting to the religious practices, but a disturbing quarrel.

Being the most common one
associated with the couple, an ideological quarrel.

Being very frivolous in terms
involving the least reasons, a clandestine quarrel.

Happens day in and day out
lasts for months and years, the perennial quarrel.

A clash of the ego, a conflict of the minds
expressed substantially in this unwanted quarrel.

The child  caught in between stays. harmed
an unnecessary evil cast  by this ignominious quarrel.


Over The Blue

The skip and the hop of the moon
over the blue, the night before,
evolved a strange phenomenon.

The run and dive of the sun,
over the blue, the day before,
garnered a sensitivity not of fun.

The tornado and its fury,
over the blue, the day before,
was a precursor to an anomaly.

The unusuality caused a calamity,
one of a kind, akin to the Tsunami,
a remnant of the day of the great deluge,
gobbling the life and the lifeless in entirety.




Before I Could

Before I could realize
my hair has turned shiny.
The darkness is seen no more,
silver overwhelms.

Before I could withstand
my legs start to wobble.
The steadiness has given way,
I am let down.

Before I could recall
my memory goes wandering.
Forgetfulness has taken over,
I am clueless.

Before I could focus
my eyes play truant.
Long and short, they dictate,
I grope in the darkness.

Before I could endure
my physique takes its wings.
A fall followed by a straightening,
I walk my way.

Before all these in the roll,
I was cherubic.
When was it? I ponder.
Oh! those days, those days…
No more of them, I cry.


The New Moon

That which is
seen not
shines not
stays not
is called
The New Moon.


Ramu Runs Away

Ramu runs away from his home,
loiters and  aimlessly roams.
He sits  on a mound
wishes not to be found.

Night descends
he lies there offended.
The stars seem to giggle
while he uneasily  wriggles.

Why did he run? anybody’s question.
Is it for fun? No, for a reason.
Parental pressure drove him to the extremes.
He  left home unable to pursue his dream.

Art and literature are  his callings.
His father compels him to do engineering.
He runs away leaving  the house in despair.
An issue that has to be shared.

How many children end up  this way?
I am unable to say.
The compulsion turns into a casualty.
The parents fail to realise the eventuality.


At Manhattan

Being a vegan
I find  it hard to travel.
The limitations work against me.
I sit back with a glass of water.

It  happened once
had to go with plain water
the whole day,
while I went to Liberty Island
to see the neoclassical sculpture
Statue Of liberty.

I bought French fries
thought I could abate my hunger
they were so insipid to my Indian tongue
used to spicy and salty delicacies,
The flavour did not appeal to me,
nor did the aroma of being cooked in
fish oil.

My husband chided me
“it is all in your mind”
Because of me, he has to forego
many of the sightseeing attractions.

The next day,
I resumed the liquid diet
that kept me going for a while
then, unable to withstand
I collapsed midway on Broadway
in Manhattan.

The traffic was hectic.
cars honking on either side
speeding like a whirlwind
a turn to right or left
would spell a disaster Pronounce death,
crushed between the wheels
smudged and blood soaked.

My husband  lifted me
I heard the abuses of
of the NewYorkers.
“Oh, Indian woman with a saree
What did you eat in the morning”
The yellow cab driver cried out in anger
“Want to go to hell”
Chaos for a moment.

The thirst for travel
allows me not to sleep in peace
“never will I take you”
shouts my husband,
the moment I go to him
with a plea.





The Tenth Day.

The maroon coloured  tapestry rises.
There is seen a splendour that is divine  — Durga.
The  golden throne  oscillates
swinging with grace on the resplendent seat is Durga
Draped in red handwoven Kanchi silk
embellished with motifs in pure zari smiles Goddess Durga.
Adorned with jewellery of the finest diamonds,
rubies and emeralds embedded in yellow gold  is the Devi Durga.
Known  best for her rage
the one who demolishes evil with a fury, as seen a pleasant Durga
Looks calm and joyous
on the ninth day of the Navaratri-  the Durgashatami.
A celebration of the triumph of good over evil
marks the finality of the Navaratri  an appeasement.  Peace to Durga.