An Orchestral Ensemble

The Koel ( Cuckoo) 
coos repetitively, 
 whom I wonder?

 goes on ” koo – el”‘
without taking a breath.
 could be to his mate!

Echoes of the sound
reverberate as he 
 cries in full throat.

Heralder of Spring, 
Koel   becomes active 
 hoots  in blithe

   It is a clarion call
early in the morning 
waking up  farmers

 who hurry to the  lands
 with  hatchets, sickles 
and scythes .

 “jogi kala sangha”  he bursts out  
  in his rustic, high pitched  baritone  
the bird  chirps  with equal mirth,  

 being a percussionist of repute.
Man and bird engage thusly
 in turns with passion.


Swinging On

The creaking swing 
in my garden
 once so lively
 has fallen silent.

Noisy and oscillating 
all through the evening.
the swing worked over time
when my kids were around.

 My heart swings with 
the thoughts present and past,
engaging in an introspection,
as i see her lying still.

Painted in deep green,
it falls in line with the lawn
 roses, hibiscus,  and jasmine 
dotted with crotons.

 Set under a canopy  of trees
the swing  goes on its own 
 recently,  gently with the breeze.
 violently with strong winds.


The Vilva Leaf

Holding  her mother’s fingers 
the little girl takes a stroll
 in the garden.

carry  two palmyra baskets,
 one for the holy leaves,
the other for the flowers,

a morning duty  mother 
and child perform. A diligence  
to honour their Puja.

 Mother halts  first near
 the Vilva tree (Bael tree) plucks 
the trifoliate  leaves or tripatra.

The child questions.
the three in one concept.
 mother sets out with explanations

the leaves represent 
three “gunas” or qualities,
“sattva , rajas and tamas”

or the three syllables 
that make up “AUM”
the primordial sound

which resonates Shiva’s
 essence. The child turns 
even more curious,

as the mother continues
 saying  they indicate
Mahadeva’s three eyes,

 The leaves could denote “Trishul”.
Shiva’s emblematic weapon, mother 
and child make their way back, 

having experienced  reverberance 
  and an early morning sun bath
not one of deliberation 



With ripe red tomatoes,
 not the hybrid variety 
 I  select the local  ( Indian )ones.  

 chop the tomatoes to the finest, 
 add a pinch of turmeric 

Next, I turn to make a paste
of  spoonful of   pepper and cumin 
two pods of garlic three red chilly.

Placing a brass vessel on the stove
 saute  the tomatoes with
sesame oil and little asafoetida. 

The  tomatoes flutter,  the red 
and yellow combination in oil 
 is enticing.

They  become fluffy ,
 ready to take in the ground paste.
I carefully add them and stir.

 Allowing  them to simmer,I 
 pour tamarind water, 
then add salt.

Once the concoction brews
 I switch off the burner,
 sprinkle coriander leaves.

The delicious rasam 
is ready to be served. 
 An antidote to Corona! 
It is a kind of beverage,
 essential in times  of Corona.
 Acute respiratory congestion


The Tight Lipped Jars

I  open my refill jar.
one that contains
chilly powder.
 it lies  empty.

it is Samy ( my helper’s) duty
 I mumble.  Pounding
 and filling, he does

I go to the larder,
the three tight lipped jars 
stare at me, opening  
the chilly one find

a few tablespoons remain,
 on the lid find Samy’s name 
writ large by the pounding mill,
an identification.

Fuming  I step out, 
he having served me 
for long, I forget 
he is no more,

Samy, I call, he appears 
smiling,  exposing 
the coloured teeth,
scratching his head,

Oh! no! I cry 
 Samy can’t be here.
Wait, Did  I hear Samy calling



I could see a rush
back to the towns
 and villages,

Not a mad one 
but out of cause,
one of fear.

Deserting the native towns
 settling in metropolitan
 referred as A grade cities

 for employment 
   an absolute 

to participate in city life.
 for prestige  and power.

 find their way back
 to the quiet towns 
and villages.

Space,  pure air,
fresh milk . home grown 
vegetables raise the levels,

hospital standards
expose a deficit, so do
 the social gathering,

lest, the modest life 
in towns  render 
peace and contentment,

A right about turn ! 
Moderate spending 
Countless  blessings.


What The Stars Foretell?

The politician of ours,
call him Chezhiyan.
harangues for hours
quoting liberally from

In between he sings 
dances trying to make  
the discourse appealing.
Cinematic in his ways,
 he turns a leader.

Chezhiyan clinches
 the post of  Governor
 all too soon. He himself 
did not expect such 
a rise.

Reigning the state for  a decade 
without a break, Chezhiyan
becomes powerful and mighty.
 Churns billions in the go, 
 stands tall amidst his peers.

His son is pulled into the stream.
 The young one  seems  plain 
does not possess the father’s tact.
Chezhiyan, the artist, will make 
the son fall in line,



The man walks to the dining 
 summons breakfast. an 
indirect call to his wife.   

She wipes her hands 
adjusts her apron,
 serves him hot  “idlis,”

with tomato chutney,
followed by a plate  
of fruits,

 She runs back comes out
 with  tea brewed with milk 
flavoured with cardamom and ginger.

Grandpa exercises authority,
 finds fault all too often,
 sugar is more,tea is less,

 not all days leave grandma  quiet,
at times,  she quips. with anger 
” I am also turning  old,”

Arguments flare up
over the fuming  cup of tea
one screams, other retorts.

Grandma and Grandpa.
 live like this  in an  historic  town
deep down in India


Life Is Hard

it is been hard
really hard to go
not once but it is always
a struggle to cope
with each task.

Nothing happens easy.
I envisage issues
in every project I enter,
both from within
and without.

I succeed at the end.
The efforts I put in
have dampened
my spirits. Finally
unable to enjoy success.

People say hard work
pays. It does, no doubt,
the expense I encounter
monetarily and physically
sucks my life out.


Washing Hands

Sneha will be turning 
 in her grave  with mirth 
as she hears the call 
for washing  hands.

 She  washed, once she touched 
the handbag, next when 
she set her fingers on the Veena,
 then after she tied her saree.

She wiped the cloth string with soap,
 before hanging her clothes to dry
 her hands meet a wash
 strange  it appeared  then.

Ascribing her habit to a mania,
 friends made fun of her, lo!
 never could she shed
 this  practice in her lifetime.

The specific idiosyncrasy 
is being enforced of late
in the wake of Covid -19.
 being !the most coveted rule.

Hail to thee ! Sneha 
Having been a pioneer, 
who set standards much earlier,
to treat the deadly virus.