It’s Holiday Time

I drive out of the city
a wall of cloud, dark and forbidding
shifts horizon as I move on
I catch up, gasping step in
distorted light seeps through
the grass a different colour, the trees ash green
rain pelts down drawing a curtain
closing off the world I came from
I am glad to drop it behind
this too goes away as the earth spins for me
sky a warm orange during the next half hour drive
and I blink away tears of wind in my eyes
to see a world dipped in clear turquoise opaqueness
a luminosity that has turbaned up darkness
to unfurl and fall as a cascade of dark hair
it blows on my face, hooking on my lips and ears
my vision obstructed by the gale that has upset my hair
a glow of lightening brings the world back
an arc of silver to behold.

Four hours, across 650 kms
in the drive from Chennai to Hosur
the many many planes of lights slough away time
a type of existence kept away for a while – 
it’s a holiday for me
and let me say good bye.

Read Write Poem NaPoWriMo # 30


Palaniappan Of Theni

Palaniappan herds cows in the hills near Theni;
school he is enrolled in does not have a teacher,
windows gaping holes that offer entry to goats,
their pellets under tables still soft,
bulbs hang from exposed wires,
toilet is the bush beyond the banyan tree.
His father insists that he sits a few hours
at school with the children of the village –
mass of oily heads, sweaty bodies, loud vocal cords.
The day at school is done,
Murugan who owns the street corner tea shop
comes to ring the bell, in the belt
that holds his lungi at waist is the Tamil Daily
rolled tight as a baton to swat flies,
the Daily carries this headline:
Right to Education Bill effective from April.

Read Write Poem NaPoWriMo # 29

The Nudge

The moment this tapped me
magical, I  turned around
I was ten, in a small town
Nagapattinam to be precise
in the house overlooking the temple tank
when the milk man asked
can you write
no one in his family went to school
they tied cows to lamp posts
milked them, spurts of froth, bubbles
captured the rainbow in aluminum pails
I would have otherwise watched
mesmerized by the pink teat
elastic under pressure, but
that day something tapped me
and I took what the man asked
with a lot of significance
and today you come along and ask
can you write a fantasy story?

Read Write Poem NaPoWriMo # 28

NH4 Slices Through My Garden

He has come to cut my silver oaks,
the Highway has to run through
a part of my garden.
He will hack the silvery greyness
sever the roots
scar the land owned by our family,
the tract where my grandfather stood
as surveyor showed the site
will soon be the NH4.

The road will get closer to my lawn
the exhaust from the cars on my face
as I lie in my hammock ;
when the motorist swerve their cars
I will hear them swear over my tea
under the frangipani ; as I
have sex with my lover under the moon
a casual driver will hum a tune
drawing in his cigarette.

I see the man
prodding a scab at the elbow
waiting for me to lead him
through the carefully tended garden
as pollen dusts his skin
fragrance of tuber roses
thick on his coarse cloth;
 a dull smell of urine
marks the animal his territory.

Read Write Poem NaPoWriMo #26 

A Bowl Of Muskmelon

The sun is on the floor today
blinding light at my doorstep
pleading to be let in
would you like your muskmelon
s          d
  c      e
    oop       or  s-l-i-c-e-d ?
my home becomes the fruit
the creaminess of the wall
collapsing in a quiver
the yellow settles in corners
and I dip in the bowl of sunlight
for a scoop.

Read Write Poem NaPoWriMo # 25


Will You Come?

The moon drove down with me
silent towns,
durgahs and temples,
market places fallen silent,
drunken cart drivers,
hospitals where the sick
sank through another night of pain,
mothers dealing with colic babies.

The moon was with me
through the 650 km drive
bathing me in silvery ruddiness.
Will you come with me
if I pull up my car
and walk into the pearly bowl of night
leaving the highway behind
and the life lived so far?
I don’t need to tell you this –
A journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step.

Read Write Poem NaPoWriMo# 24
PAD Challenge ‘write an evening poem’