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hell

Laplanders regard with dread and awe-the icy howling wind- the wiiliwaw;

To Northern races like the eskimos, Hell is a place of eternal snows.

Tropical tribes fear the heat and light- their Hell is a place where fires burn bright.

I pondered over this tangled knot, was Hell frozen over or burning hot?

Why should we fear the afterlife ;think it an extension of fear and strife

If it is true that the soul is set free  to adventure into eternity?

High rise for high fliers?

I wonder which architect designed these homes?

Under a great palm, a cluster of domes.

Mud -walled, reed-thatched, eco-friendly, uncluttered,

No fuss, no furniture, the windows unshuttered.

Homes filled with light , and the scent of wild flowers,

Cunningly curved to keep out monsoon showers,

Very busy were the nieghbours, chirping cheery words,

Lucky little colony of yellow weaver birds!

Simian Circus

Chattering in falsetto like schoolchildren let out,

Flaunting tails like banners, their arms  flailing out,

A troop of monkeys descend on the pipal tree.

They seem to be on vacation from care, from gravity!

Even the mothers , with babies on their backs,

Swing blithely along the trapeze-like tracks.

Nibbling fruits, lobbing twigs, swinging upside down,

Each an acrobat and a mischievous clown.

If some are seated sedately, seeming old and wise,

They’re probably perfecting the art of disguise!

Our race has lost spontaneity, we even plan our fun–

Running wild without reason? It’s just not done!

 

Some notes on fur coats

THE LEOPARD

Do leopards wear spots to avoid pot-shots

By poacher or hunter-with-a-gun?

But why wear a coat of fur-

(No wonder these cats don’t purr!)

In the heat of a tropical sun?

THE TIGER

When stripes became passé,no longer chic

This is what the  tiger said

“I prefer any day to be dowdy and quick,

Rather than fashionable and dead!”

So thanks for the hype, but I’ll go with the stripe

Unafraid of flying lead!

THE LION

“This enormous mane is such a pain”

Said the lion, as he snoozed in the sun,

It doesn’t let me leap, or play or run,

And the hunt I shirk– its strenuous work!

Let my lionesses have all the fun!

 

 

Buffalo

Who wears leather in this warm weather?

Only us colonized and the buffalo–

Thus I muse , in navy uniform and heavy shoes

As reluctantly to school I go.

The blazing sun melts the tar on the street

As a stray buffalo , on her old splayed feet,

Ambles ahead of me and anyone can see,

How patiently she can bear the vagaries of man.

Much later, during history class,

When teacher and ceiling fan both droned on,

I learned about gurukuls– those ancient schools-

Before regimentation had caught on.

Idly I looked through the window and saw-

That old buffalo chewing the cud,

Shaded by the flowering, fragrant neem.

Her hooves sunk in the cool brown mud!

Comfortable in her skin, thinking her own thoughts,

She was happier than her masters on this earth,

We still agonise over  trifles-food and clothes,

Very few realizing our potential, our true worth!

 

 

 

 

 

Old beggar maid

An old beggar maid sits in the peepul’s shade ,

Her sari is as wrinkled as her face-

And a study in contrast between her present and past

Are her lined brow, and clear, calm gaze.

Each wrinkled fold on her forehead tells

Of suffering, pain and sorrow.

But her twinkling eyes seem ready to size

Up and eager to welcome the morrow.

She has nothing to fear, even Death does not leer

At a warrior who follows her creed- rejecting  insecurity and greed .

I wonder , whether , after Life’s fierce storm

Has she reached a permanent port of calm,

Or, is this a hiatus, and her spirit must go on

To a different Time in a different form?

 

 

 

 

 

Fear

Eyes peering into the dark in which not a single spark

Of light filters through, and I can easily imagine a few

Million horrors!

Or,

Sun dappled field , all black and yellow,

Cowbells chiming, soft and mellow–

Stillness shattered– a tiger’s roar!

The grass is spattered red with gore!

Which , I wonder, do I dread the more?

The blank dark space with it’s imagined fears,

Or a familiar face that changes shape, and leers?

Progress

My grandfather walked around his fields

Under a bamboo-ribbed umbrella,

His every acre was fenced off

By rows of spiky palmyra.

My father’s house was canopied

With mango, gulmohur and neem.

I have a balcony , and potted plants

And sometimes a few sunbeams!

I would feel happier if I could feel sure

That cutting corners in Life’s rat-race,

I have not shrunk my soul to fit my space,

Lost the freedom and the grace

Of my ancient civilization, its place

In the comity of nations!