Which Is Better?

Managing the house 
on Sundays turns
 a nightmare.

My staff compulsorily
 go on leave on 

My plea asking 
them to alternate 
the days goes unheard.

 Assign Mondays for Krishna
tell Muthu to take leave 
on Tuesdays, so with Swamy and Lal.

They do not accede.
It is Sundays. Right from 
picking newspapers, milk,

and plucking flowers,
apart from cooking, cleaning,
locking,  I have to do.

I wish to thrash 
terminate their service ,
they being disobedient,

Sense prevails at the last 
moment cautioning me to be 

One day work, my mind tells me 
will become the weeks toil
then months and years strain.

Which is better? The thought 
frightens me, I shut my
mouth tight.



Blessed Me!

 Busy transacting online
 paying bills, tax, premiums, 
transferring  money. I do a remittance 
to my overseer who we call R

My mobile rings, R’s name 
flashes on the screen. He says 
he has not received.  I scream
 ” Damn sure, I have done it”

 Some eight hours away 
he tells me the same,  For the 
first time, I feel unsure. 

Verifying the remittance, 
 Oh! bless me!  I have 
sent the money to another 
whose name starts with R.

Ashamed, I talk to the second R
who transfers the money at once.
I slip and commit errors  too often.
Why do I do?



Almost at home
 all through the year 
 I  pay least attention
 to my dress.

I drape  a  bottle green sari 
wear  a  bright red blouse
my hair is  peppery,  tied  tight,
the only one that is in order

is my bindhi, round and red
 in the middle of the forehead.
a streak  of sindhoor  smeared carelessly 
where the line parts the hair.

Noted for my sense  of colour
 and the way I carry myself
 my staff  who are the only ones
 that see me  nowadays,

bite their ears, saying
” What has happened to amma?
“She looks strange,   Overhearing 
 I walk away smiling , not missing to 
see my  reflection in the mirror.



 I stay home
 watching the world
 from within the house.

My rooms  gain status,
the patio gently hosts me  
in mornings and evenings,

The kitchen, feverishly  drags me 
and locks me up mercilessly
as I cook four times a day,.

The dining hall  is gracious 
as I sit dining lazily,
reading and chatting.

Unable to reject 
my bed’s solicitations.
 I go to her.

 She rocks me to sleep
 in the night, assuaging
my exhausted limbs.

The bright walls smile
 the lovely furniture cajole, 
 the doors talk.

 I hug the trees,
  kiss the soil which 
 sustains me.




Welcoming the new Year
 those of us who live in
 the Southern states of India
 turn ecstatic on April 14

Telugus hail the new Year
 as Ugadi, while Vishu 
is celebrated in Kerala
 and Karnataka with enthusiasm.

Tamils call it Puthandu.
Gudi Padawa  to the Marathis.
A worship with different names
enacted with similar customs.

Prayers  to the Gods
 with offerings of fruits, 
coconuts and delicacies 
 spread around the tall oil lamp

placed over the kolam ( drawing )
mark the dawn of the New Year.
The family gathers around 
 stay together, blow the conch,

take arathi  chant mantras,
 pay obeisance to the Gods 
and elders, seeking 
their blessings,

it is both fun and  cheer
that go with the rituals 
 which solicit   a togetherness 
 becoming a rarity nowadays.


Durga Puja

Bright yellow lemons 
 are cut into two, the juice 
 extracted and the seeds  
removed , the pods 
take the shape of  round 

Oil is poured,  thread 
wicks  are placed. lighted at the 
shrine of Durgalakshmi,
Goddess of Victory
synonymous of Kali,
on Tuesdays.

Women  light  the diyas
at Rahukala 3 pm -4.30 pm
recite the powerful mantra

Sarva mangala mangalye 
sive sarvartha sathake  
saranye triyambika
Gauri Narayani Namosthuthe!

Durga and Lemon have 
connections goes the belief.
Prayers drive away negative 
energy and bring peace.


Sweet Sixteen

“It is unusual”, so saying
 I walk towards the door
 to find rains pouring 

The mat in my  porch 
 lies drenched , the cane chairs
 turn wet, the footwear
 are no exception.

Tucking my saree high
 I roll the mat, pull the chairs,
place the shoes  on the steps, 
go about as if I am sixteen.

” Well done”. I applaud 
and walk briskly towards the door
 my knees give way, I land 
on the floor in a crash.

With none around to  put 
me back on foot, I remain 
on the floor for a while
 muster to rise.

I did get up with great effort
dragging my legs I walk in
 my knee tells me softly,
” You are not sixteen”!



Lush black hair
silky and soft.
dangles so pretty
on my shoulders,
enhance the skin colour
granting a charm,
I look fair and young.

Losing little of the dark hue
the hair lacks luster,
still holds an intensity
tied up like a bun
rests quiet on the lower neck
producing a maturity,
I turn responsible,

Black and grey mix
grow dense in no time,
My crown takes the cue
from pepper, solid and crushed,
tends to be sparse at places
proposes a scholarly
appearance all too soon.

Greying rapidly
my hair flutters
in the air like
the waned wings
of an old bird,
bereft of a glow,
“Oldie,” they call me.


There I Go

I sleep every other day,
in the afternoons. In a way 
it is innate coming 
from my mother.

Summer has set in early,
mercury rises unceremoniously,
unmindful of the heat, I rest 
on the plain floor.

Milkman motors through 
the garden, Hoots without 
a stop. Cursing him
I try to rise.

Lo! my head revolves
 eyes rotate ,the ceiling 
comes down, floor 
goes up.

I lie, still, clutching 
the pillow. It lasts 
for a second.  I resume 
my balance and sit up.

The milkman continues 
yelling ” amma, amma”.


A Liar And A Shrew

A squabble
between a wife
and her husband
one abusing the other
verbally and physically.
is the recent talk of the town,

She drives the man out
of his own house, hides his mobile,
behaves atrorcious, starves hi,
spats and screams, engages
in sly innuendos, making
life horrible.

To escape her brutality
he boozes, lies in geometrical
progressions, enters into
illicit relations, ruining
the family and losing
‘credibility in the community.

The children treat him
like a doormat. He nurses
no remorse. Continues to live
as he wishes. The liar
and the shrew part ways.