Skip to main content

Antakshari

With a setting crescent moon
over the darkened hills,
a single, bright star
in a purple sky turning violet,
a cup of green tea in my hands,
a couple of crisp, marie biscuits
and a well-written book of history -
you might think Sunday was perfect.

But no, there has to be what's called
a society function - haldi kumkum this time -
in the lawns, ostensibly to celebrate
Makar Sankranti and related festivals.

I can't quite see where the thali
containing turmeric and vermillion is.
Instead there are plastic chairs
in a disordered semi-circle,
a sound system, a table with prizes
and another where snacks are being prepared.

A mistress of ceremonies,
who should be legally restrained
from coming within six feet of mikes,
women of all ages busy sharing notes
on silk sarees and bright jewelry
(dare I call them gaudy?),
men guffawing over some crude joke
but trying not to be too noisy,
and children being children -
all of them try to get as much antakshari
finished before the inevitable squabble.

Bad Bollywood and Indipop songs
are sung even more horridly,
and then the awaited squabble breaks out
in all its entertaining intensity -
over which word the previous song
ended in, over who deserves the prize,
and whose child is most talented.

And then it dies down, for folk are hungry
(better to finish off as much as one can
lest the organisers corner everything)
and the organisers look on in anxiety
(how greedy the society people have become,
next time we should not have buffet system
but limited snacks only).

The mike at last is silent;
under a navy blue sky
with Orion, the Pleiades
and the Dog Star shining on us,
my dog and I lie down
and gaze at the sky
revelling again,
in that eternal quietness,
that is Nature's night.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

She's complicated

She's complicated. She'll charm you with charts, statistics and that corporate smile. But look into those eyes, they're fiercely bohemian. She's complicated. Her chatterings seem to resonate with happy sounds, but listen with the other ear, to an unhidden lament. She's complicated. Her silences agonise, her voice echoes in her absence. And yet there is a mild dread as her name flashes on the ringing phone. She's complicated. Sometimes she's a poetess, shallow, romantic, trying to hide a sardonic, world-weary wit. She's complicated. She could be a spiteful Fury, wrath unabated, but that's just to hide the lamb-hugging girl within. She's complicated. She's an enchantress, a fool, a tyrant, a nurse, an imp, a priestess, but she's generally a good friend. She's complicated. Published in Making Waves - A Poetry Anthology , ed. Pam & Bill Swyers; Swyers Publishing 2011. ISBN: 978-0-9843113-6-1.

Nellie, 1983

Very often the sun rises in warm, golden rays on opening buds, birdsong and dewdrops, and the stench of stale death. Very often the sun rises Upon mutilated men - blood drying over their eyes and gore-caked machetes rusting in their abdomens. Very often the sun rises over hyaenas fretting over the carrion going waste - they can eat no more, nor can the vultures. Very often the sun rises on a day already defeated - shrieking, screeching, screaming, demanding that it go back for there was peace in the night. Published in Tranquil Muse 2018.

The Flying Scotsman

Yont   brattlin  clood an seelent glen Tweetlin a-lood the ingine skirls this noisome train wi lanely men hame-comin whaur thair lassies birls whit lends thay awe, an whit dets thirls whit ailin mam, whit seekly bairn thair dreams forby the train-smeuk swirls bi new gless tour or auncient cairn thay ken nae sang, thaur herts made airn thair mynds full o the twalmonth tack regairdless o loch, pen or tairn thay anely think o whit thay lack ay but thinkna muckle o it ye an a, we're an aw in it Published in Amaravati Poetic Prism 2017 ed. Padmaja Iyengar, Cultural Centre of Vijayawada & Amaravati