Days And Months I Sing

Thirty days has September
 April. June and November
 I sing the lines with felicity 
the rhyme  I learnt in December
years back taught by the faculty
those of whom now rest in slumber.

One more  technique  holds sway
 tapping on the knuckles as if in a play
the months which fall on the high ridges
will  have thirty one  days.
 the rest which come in the bridges 
stay  satisfied with thirty in the fray.

Forgot February that lies condensed  to twenty eight 
granted  one day every fourth year to set it right.



The earthen oil diyas 
scrubbed  clean, dried 
in the sun.  find their way
 to the porch.

The brass ones washed
 with tamarind, watch out 
in the sunlight march imperiously 
to the entrance. 

The  diyas are filled to the neck
 with illupa nei . wetting the wicks 
in the oil,  I light the diyas at the 
stroke of 6 in the evening.

The brass ones  are on the steps
 while the earthen diyas
 go to the  walls, gates, 
porch and backyard.

An annual affair, the legend goes
Shiva created Muruga from 
the flames of his third eye
to eliminate a demon Tanakasura.

The deepam shines through the hours
 emit a modest light illustrating the dharma 
 modesty directs  one to prosperity,
 lifts the soul to eternal peace.


Every Year — A Cyclone

The days go by, 
rains brought by cyclones 
result in inundation.

Towns float
trees fall disrupting 
electricity and traffic.

People living in low areas 
are evacuated hoarded  
in make shift shelters,

Boats ply up and down
rescuing those stuck up,
 the administration works

day and night, volunteers 
do yeoman service, it
 happens every year,

 emanates a big hue
  a cry, huge fuss 
follows ,governance pays.

for its negligence,
allowing skyscrapers on 
lakes and ponds,

 making the water clog, 
 drains overflow, 
causing a disaster,

those in the helm, ministers,
officials, mayors, come 
with assistance braving downpour

all for votes, a manipulation 
to win another election
and fill their coffers.


Remote Control

It is remote control that I do.
sitting hundred kilometers away
 I am building a house.

It is through seeing pictures 
as if in a slideshow, portions
 blink grim in the screen,

 I receive so many pictures 
in the course of the day sent 
by my supervisor.

I will be wrong if I blame him
as he  has no knowledge of construction
 nor he is an expert in photography.

The pixels  in his mobile camera
is minimum as such the sharpness 
is not remarkable.

He captures twelve in a row 
of the same object, caught in different 
angles. I make him do again and again.

I examine them, my critical eye 
at its best, mark the areas which 
are to be redone. Back they reach him.

It is tedious at times, as I am staying
at home to be safe, to make the workers 
understand  the rectification. 

I am taxing the supervisor and the workforce
to the maximum. Fear they would one day 
run off from my clutches.

Finishing lines need the finest touches
I am missing out on them, most 
unfortunate  times.  



Throwing things off 
 has never been my forte
I keep them telling myself
 they will be use some day,
 So saying I have a truck load
of unwanted, unused articles
carefully kept in a room,
 called a treasure house
 by my sons.

Once in a way, I open
 get them out, dust them
 place them under the sun 
 for half a day. My helpers
 have been trained to do a perfect 
  job, Once done, the  things go back
 to their ordained places with a fresh look
in a retinue,

This has been going on for years
without a break, I, at times , feel
they have to be distributed, but
undergo a change of mind
decide to preserve them.
It is  finicky, I very well know.
 but, so to say,  I cannot outgrow 
 the significance they cast on me.
with a compulsion.


Five Times Five

Twenty five is wonderful ,
 your youth is at peak.

Right time to start
being not too young nor too old,

With  the fortitude 
 and charm in hand.

 embarking on a career 
not great as expected

a struggle could be there
inadequacy might result 

in a placement  mediocre 
downhearted  one might feel.

consolidating will into  strength
 working towards a target, finding    

thereafter  that life moves 
like a river in flow,

ascending the ladder 
in fictitious progress

lies the five times five  equation 
 promising a great world of experience.


My Brother And I

With red jeans and pink shirt.
 a go go glasses .a pony tail 
dangling  I walk into the classroom 
of my elder brother with my mother.

He is not  a hardworking chap,
 lazy and takes life easy, his reports 
 speak of his achievements, mom 
is worried .

His class mates call out to me
while my brother shoves his face 
into his hands as if feeling shy 
to look at me,  

Mom departs in no good mood,
scowls at my brother, who hides
his face, then as mom hurries 
 pouts his lips,  makes faces at me

Back home. I ask him the reason
 for his behaviour,  He growls,
“your dress was a misfit, clownish
 you looked”. I break down, run to  mother.

Mom takes me in her arms,
 shouts at my brother, making him 
even more uncomfortable, 
as mother turns, he looks daggers.



Kundrakudi, a sleepy town deep down South India,
wakes up to the call of the devotees,
reverberates with bhakthi during Karthigai
days between mid November and mid December.

Lord Muruga,   as he is familiarly addressed,
reigns supreme  atop the hills.
 Families go up the hills, climbing 200 steps
  to pray, do archanas conduct abhishekams,

The priests  do  by pouring milk, curd,  honey 
coconut water, fruit juices, water,  each one 
for reasons to appease God and secure 
the prescribed  benefits. 

Milk for health, curd  blesses one with healthy children, 
honey bestows  sweet voice and temper, coconut water 
wards off greediness, fruit juices extend contentment, 
while  plain water  purifies the soul.

Having accomplished the rituals 
they come  down, serve food  to the
andis  connoting to those who have 
renounced worldly desires, The lunch 
 commences with the invocation to Lord,

” Nama Parvathi bhaje hei,
hara hara Mahadeva”

It is how we live associating 
the self with the infinity, 
looking beyond the mundane, 
aiming to merge with the Supreme.

Annadhanam—Offering of food.


Namo Narayana

After months my carpenter walks in.
Exhausted and dull, anger 
writ large on his face.

He sits on the steps, groans
 and calls Gods fraud,  dubs 
religion as fake, Do not believe 
them anymore, amma.

 His voice gets choked. I try to
pacify him but he seems 
not to hear my words.

 In every street corner, each junction
one finds  a temple in Indian towns 
and cities. Passersby remove 
the shoes, ring the bell

break coconuts, light  oil lamps,
offer flowers, worship the deities,
go round the temple thrice
all  in good faith.

The Gods, they feel, whoever
 they may be, Ganesha, Krishna,
 Shiva or Parvathi, have let  down 
  the believers very badly during this crisis.

I start thinking and slowly move 
to his  pace, admitting Gods 
have forsaken  the devotees
 landing us in a pandemic.

He takes leave, climbs down the steps,
 chanting,  Narayana, Namo Narayana.


Six No Five

The five sandalwood bottles 
seen in the almirah 
after  dad’s death,

Dad fathered six  but always 
five came to the forefront while 
alive and remain so after his death.

A long standing staff of dad
 participates in the division
 where mom involves 

with articulation saying 
she requires precision, 
emphasizes on fair partition,

if one gets less, she compensates 
by buying the deficiency 
the five turn happy.

The staff hesitantly asks mother,
 what about the sixth one? Her share?
 She warns him to be quiet.

Wiping his moist eyes,
 he walks to me. makes gestures,
 being not able to talk,

one he is emotionally choked.
other  the instruction from mother,
keeps his tongue tied 

Pacifying him in sign language, i
point out to the  bottles which father has left, 
significant  of his intentions. The man counts,

Not the sixth child in order, 
but the fourth, I smile 
at times my lips taste salty.