A translation

शहर बसाकर, अब सुकून के लिए गाँव ढूँढते हैं,
बड़े अजीब हैं लोग हाथ मे कुल्हाड़ी लिए, छाँव ढूँढते हैं..

To find peace of mind, we fled the cities that we made*
Armed with our sharpest axe, in search of the nearest shade

*A translation. Not my own. Just an appeal for responsible travel


Springtime in Bangalore


Our summer displays are full of flowers
Jacaranda, Tabebuia, Copper pod laden trees
But before we welcome those April showers
Springtime is all about the leaves


Glowing emerald Honge hearts
Like sparkling jewels, carelessly strewn
Tipped with purple-white amethyst like
Fragrant, blushing, brand-new blooms


The darker bunches on the ancient raintree
Are mindful of their symmetric canopy
As they push forth shiny, dazzling things
Sap green with floral feathery pink


The poor stump of the Ashoka tree
Beheaded to make way for a billboard
Pulls out a fiesta of dancing wings
Determined on an encore

Even the venerable Peepul
Inured to these childish displays
Cannot resist a few sprigs of youth
As he bows pilgrims out on their way


My curry tree is not far behind
Beset by ants, so ruthlessly pruned!
Now bursting with new and glossy life
To the season’s beat, completely attuned

What a vision they are! A sight for sore eyes!
My spirits soar, all sorrow dies
These glimpses of tomorrow, impossibly lovely
Catch at my heart, but they are not me

Do you see that leaf hiding way back behind?
With yellowed tip and frayed hemline
Toughened by the seasons, right through the years
Faded in harsh sun, drenched in rainfed tears

That feeds the tree
The squirrel. The bee
The flowers and the leaves.
She feels something like me

When spring comes by, in a couple of years
These duties no more ours to bear
Lighter than light who knows but we may be
The sprinkled carpet at the foot of this tree

Don’t sweep us up, don’t bear us away
We still have one more role to play
As the summer showers wash out the dew
They’ll fall on our drying mulch bed too

And turn us to a crumbly mould
Pure black and even purer gold
Once more we’ll feed the mother tree
My friend the leaf, and also me

And maybe as the seasons go
We will soon be glowing once more
As baby pink leaves sprout tenderly
Once again on the eternal tree


This one is for all the amazing people of Bangalore who won the battle against the steel bridge and fought to save the trees on Jayamahal Road in their heroic bid to preserve the Garden City for our children.




The fountainhead of this outpouring
is the edge of land, a curious thing
Too slippy and shifty to be solid ground
Not yet water – that is further beyond

The pull-push forces of Newton’s theories
on that strip of sand, experimenting on me
The waking cries of restless crows
Sheets struggling to cover intransigent toes

A kettle comes on with urgent hisses
A child soothed back with paternal kisses
The restaurant wakes up with the clinking of spoons
iPads switched on to inane cartoons

The minutiae of my life on their usual track
Implode on me, demand me back
Break in on my peaceful reverie
But the waves are still calling out to me

Soar crash sigh, soar crash sigh
Like a gently repeating lullaby
Pulling me in towards the deep
And infinite silence of the sea