Then We Went

riding through the tea estates

Ludger and I

and it was beautiful

in Kumily

I’ll slowly settle down here

in this quiet and peaceful town

and regain my health

and enjoy life

and learn to ride a scooter

and now Ludger takes the rocky stone path

to the river

and we ride over a rough road

for long

and finally reach the green river

then we go uphill

along beautiful scenery

all green and fresh

a bike is a must here

you can’t do without that

and then we come to Chenkara

to a gorgeous place of vast tea estates

and green mountains

and then we go downhill to Kumily again

your ass aches after a while on a bike

and then your back

the hills unfolded before us beautifully

I don’t think I can ride a bike like Ludger

maybe 10-15 minutes

at a time

when I learn to ride

that’s max I think I’ll be able to manage

we stopped at many places

at one point

in some green grove

down a valley

a huge trunk of a tree

lay across a pool

it was at quite some height

Ludger walked over it

asked me to take his picture

he said the tree was shaky

which it was

then pretended to fall

then danced over it

and walked back again

I admired his guts

he has desire in his heart

and says hello to everyone passing

I bought him a cup of masala chai

I told him next year when you come

we will ride together

and he said yes and we laughed

he’s semi-bald, funny, 57,

he walks fast

a few paces ahead of you.

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Time To Go

tossing through

the yellow room the ship of shadows

in all this talk of trains…

 

to see pink buildings sail the sky

you can’t miss them

buzzing through in a taxi’s

 

butterfly flight

where blue red green

and other colours you’ve seen

 

bring you back home

in an orange steamer’s dream

blowing in the afternoon.

 

 

The above poem is from my second book Circling the Sky (2013).

A New Life Begins For Me Here In Kumily

I’m almost through with the house deal

I am sharing my life with you

because I badly need my  life

how else will I live

the more I stay here

the more I feel better

yesterday I even saw a big squirrel

along with all the monkeys

down this road

in the trees

is where the forest begins

I had gone there

it was a vast green pasture

before the hills could begin

two brown cows were tied there

and before that

at the end of the road some people chatted

there is nothing so beautiful as those tranquil trees

in the distance it is so pastoral it makes a mark

in your heart

I stood there looking at the cows the sky the deep forests

and when I went back one of the men smiled and said hello

and so did I happy under the mildly warm afternoon sun

Ludger met someone at Chrissie’s called Anna they came to the homestay yesterday

Omana said if it works good for him and turned towards me and laughed

I laughed too

and later the negotiations for the house began

and Claus called out to me at night outside my room

he came in sat down and gave me the good news

the deal had gone through and we were very happy

I told Claus and Omana that I liked the small black birds very much

they were so sweet and shiny black and beautiful and they flew in flocks

against the deep blue sky so vast in the prettiest formation

I’ve seen I said to Claus and he said yes

and later I asked Ludger if he had seen them and he said yes too

and I told him how they turned against the mountain

how beautiful they looked then and he said he had seen that too

and seeing his camera  I asked him if he liked photography and he said yes

and he showed me pictures on them

there were other birds

I photograph everything

he said even insects

and he showed me a photograph

of two insects with their heads locked together

and both of us laughed

in the evening I told Omana while sitting on the terrace

that Kumily is my town too and she laughed happily.

Asleep

in the afternoon

there was such a noise

in my head

it took me a while

to realise

a train was passing through it

and this is what it said:

 

Dominic dice the moon finely

into a bowl

squeeze the sun onto it

crush a handful of stars

pour everything

into a glass

and drink Dominic

drink

till you begin to dance.

 

The above poem is from my second book Circling the Sky (2013).

And I Went To See All Those Houses

uphill and downhill

in Kumily

through narrow rocky roads

there are so many birds twittering

I told Omana

and the monkeys were in a big group

small and big black ones with white manes

they lunged and hung from branch to branch across the trees

ki ki ki ki ki ki ki

Omana said imitating the hornbill

Ludger picked up the camera

and went downstairs to get the pictures

I saw the mountain

brown grey green with big and red trees on them

it was a proper jungle

in the sunlight

Claus said he had been there

I imagined panther roaming there

and then Somu came

and it was nice

and later Ludger and I

went out to town at night

it was beautiful

the roads and shops lit up

like in childhood

I felt

the world around me as before

when we had dinner at Ariya Bhavan

I told Ludger he was a happy man

that I am he said

the world was so familiar

so nice

I could live in it forever

I thought

then slowly we turned around the street

I picked up my breakfast from a shop

and we hailed a rickshaw

Ludger told me he had gone on a bike trip

with his grandson

and they had camped in tents

along the way

under the sky

I think of my life here

I want to live here

in my own nice house

I want it cosy and comfortable

I want to be happy healthy

and at peace in my heart

the views are green and really good

the trees are tall and beautiful

and birdcall entertains you

all the time through

you see the vast vistas of high treetops

and misty mountains

and now your life unfolds

in your hands

you give this away Dominic

I tell myself

you’ll leave everything

you’ll pass through a long lonely doorway

and go away

forever.

They Are Playing Cricket

at Oval Maidan

in the hot afternoon sun on Saturday

the boys are shouting and cheering

the thwack of bats on green tennis balls

groups of people in their track-suits

run along the periphery

from the taxi I’m travelling in

I look up at the graceful Art Deco buildings

standing in the shade

Palm Court Ivorine Belvedere Court

later returning by the same route at night

tired and perspiring

streetlights join my ride

quiet cars at traffic signals…

and at the Stadium Restaurant

where I have my dinner

I can’t help thinking again

this is the same city the same Bombay

where so many bombs have gone off.

 

The above poem is from my second book Circling the Sky (2013).

And Again Those Dogs Were There

golden and black

how they lay in the sun

so happy and loving

so high up in the hills

turmeric Seema gave Omana

and served us tea

and Shailendra and Claus and I and Ludger

were there too

we went on two bikes

it was so beautiful the landscape

the hills the trees

I thought we knew each other for ever

I thought the day was our best friend

opening its heart to us

and towards the end

we went up the tough rocky road

Seema showed me all the water tanks

big round ones with green nets on them

the solar heaters

I had to figure all this out myself

she said

and Shailendra later laughed like he liked life

in the evening we spotted the moon from Claus Garden

it was the full moon

it was Claus who saw it first

it was shining extraordinarily

bright silver through the branches

of the trees

a perfect brilliant circle

this will be my home

I had long decided

this place is my mother

it has taken me to its breast

and fed me its milk

Dominic Dominic

she says

stay with me

I will nuture you

and you will live.

The Purple Cape

of a comic book character

broke free from

the minds of the children

playing in the verandah.

In the wind

it floated through the dark passageway

of bathrooms bursting with stars

into the mango tree nearby.

There it remained stuck in the branches

mistaken for a bedcover

which I always cover myself with

before going to sleep.

Looking out at the sky today

from my window

it’s beautiful bright blue

everything seems perfect.

Part of the terrace

of the building across mine

is a child’s painting

from a sketch-book.

Two white pipes

rise beautifully quiet.

A crow flies next to it.

 

The above poem is from my second book Circling the Sky (2013).

In Kumily

the bird

sings so sweetly

and the trees

are so beautiful

they make you feel

like mist

you are that calm

imagine reader

I vomited three times yesterday

the long winding road

so cleverly

brought my life

the horror

blood to my eyes

I did not know all this

I just went with the flow

I suffered

I sweated

I nearly cried

with the pain

in my heart

then there was complete darkness

I was lost to myself

I was just pitch black nothingness

a colour even I could not fully understand

it was like that my dear

and now there are more birds whistling

and singing

and the trees and the sky are their home

sweet home

and Claus told me he went mad about the generator next door

it was too noisy

he had complained many times

some days ago I saw my flesh was strange to me

in the city

as though I was now something else

I felt I had lost my princely garden my paradise

I was transparent open and my life

was just mine just like that

I was scared

I tell you my friend

I felt like a dead bug

at the end of my table where I ate

for months it was there

dust we are

and so peaceful

the birds continue to sing

we are one

open your heart

Claus said say thank you

to the water

and you will get well.