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Saluva Timma, Mahamandaleshwara

Saluva Timma, Mahamandaleshwara
Shall I tell the story of how you came to be
Blind beggar at the shrine of Venkateshwara?

When your dying king bid you blind his young brother
You deceived him with goat's eyes, what vile treachery!
Saluva Timma, Mahamandaleshwara!

You who crowned Krishnadevaraya emperor
With all the Coromandel as your demesne
Blind beggar at the shrine of Venkateshwara!

The king's son was poisoned; he charged you for murder.
He put out your eyes and granted you no mercy -
Saluva Timma, Mahamandaleshwara!

The truth was discovered, you regained your honour
He sought to atone and restore you to glory -
Blind beggar at the shrine of Venkateshwara.

Beware a kings' whims and all his behaviour:
Let that be what we learn from this tragic story.
Saluva Timma, Mahamandaleshwara
Blind beggar at the shrine of Venkateshwara.

Published in Indian Periodical, 16 July 2017

War is Necessary

Yes, war is necessary.

But let my wife not be widowed,
Nor my children orphaned.
Nor let my mother and father
Spend life’s last lap looking
At the photograph of me
Saluting at my passing out parade
Trying desperately to stifle a tear.

War, however, is necessary.

But my career is also necessary.
That US visa, that VP designation
And that Thailand…
Well, whatever happens in Thailand.
And that 5-crore sea facing flat.

It’s necessary, war is necessary.

I am aware that the men in uniform
Fighting the blizzards of Siachen
Or sudden fire on the Line of Control
Or fearlessly facing militants
Martyr themselves for the Nation,
But I fulfill my responsibilities too
And have never failed to offer
Koti koti shraddhanjali
On Facebook and Twitter.

War, however, is necessary.

But it is not in my fate that I,
Clutching a mug of cold tea at 3 AM,
Fight a jihad against sleep; nor,
Wearing body armour (If I get any)
Depart for a crusade against
The searing heat of the desert.
And I must forget altogether,