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.

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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).