The Branches

flare like an open palm

lifting me into the lap of the breeze

the azan from the mosque

is the sky caressing my heart

long cool notes

become the silence of the universe’s dawn

and now the cocks crow in relay

a clear cacophony of joy

as I fall through

the leaves of the pine trees

spread out like a net of smoke

turning into a big black langur

and I feel more

than thousands of years old

falling into my armchair

and when I go back

from the balcony

into my room here at the homestay

to take a leak later

I look at my face

in the mirror

I look at my face under

the blue woolen cap

I look at it

for more than usual

first there is only my mother’s profile

then I get a glimpse

of my father’s face

my own face

I find

it takes such a long time to see.

 

The above poem is from my third book The Branches (2015).

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Trees

are so beautiful to watch

anytime of day

anywhere

especially from

a local train in Bombay

they look like grand carefree beings

benign beautiful godlike

in the afternoon their leaves shimmer

in the golden sun

and when they sway in the breeze

all those different leaves

various greens

browns

in all shapes and sizes begin to swim

and you forget yourself

and are refreshed

and at night

in the darkness

they hang against

the deep blue sky

sleeping

and when the wind blows

they wake and shimmer again

like the stars

go home go home traveller

they sing with the moon

go home and sleep

sweet dreams.

 

The above poem is from my third collection The Branches (2015).

In The High Green Hills Of Kasol

the sheep are led

down the wet street

my mind is a spring

by the Parvati river

how it gushes and rushes

down the rocks

as I am

whooshed

into a thousand bleating

mountain goats

led by this little shepherdess

in medieval red

how sweet

her beautiful girl face

under her cap

and I go down the grey road

leading high up

where the mountain peaks in May are still capped in snow

and as the sun comes out you see them glow

and O I am this high Himachali wooden house

looking out my dark eye windows

my roofhead of beautiful black slate sleeping in rectangles

until that black dog in Tosh takes me

down to the waterfall

and I fall down the earth path that is steep

and I sit on a rock and I weep

and as the water forces me open

I become all sound crying

Guruji I shout tears streaming down my face

and the high Himalayan snow-capped mountaintops smile

Shakespeare I cry aloud

and the white peaks dazzle like diamonds

then a bird begins to sing its sweet long note

teeee tee teeee teeeee tee tee

tee tee too too tooooo

tee tee

just like jazz

when I find

the dog asleep

behind me

and as I turn

the sparkling hills are starting to fly

Jimmy Jimmy

I say

thank you for your help

as we shout

Jai Bholenath.

So Nice

to be sitting here

on Om beach

watching the beautiful green waves

from this high rock

the swimmers calling to each other

the patch of green rolling hill

and the wide open sea

a gorgeous deep light green

how lovely the couples look on this hillock

this girl in a bright pink salwar kameez

laughs so happily

and down there

there are two foreign couples

doing yoga

how beautifully

their arms move in synchronicity

and the sunlight blasts

the grey-brown thatched cafes

and shacks on the beach

they too seem to be laughing

shining bright

and the coconut trees in their grove

of golden green

call out to the black rocks

in the sea dazzling

smiling their blackest smile

and the boats so slow are all lazily looking

at this other couple in front of me

hugging and rocking

hugging and still

so long I say

so long Dominic

I leave you here

to watch the ocean

let it calm your mind

let its soft silver waves

weave a garland around your neck

like it does the sand

chanting peace peace peace.