A Venial Past

Whether it is the funniest is debatable. But I did what I consider the “funniest” thing during my Middle School years.

It was the mango season, around March. After the dry winter, the mango trees put out satin leaves in coppery hues. Soon the mango flowers bloomed in pagoda stems. The bees buzzed around and pollinated. Tiny green mangoes started to show up among the cluster of cream colored flowers. The green mangoes became bigger and hung down on their stems. One was hanging at a distance within reach. Green mangoes are crisp and sour. When one bites into them, the sounrness makes one close eyes tightly.  But when we were young, we looked forward to this experience.

But, the family dictum was not to pick them before they ripen. I thought hard about eating the mango without disobeying.  

I was against disobeying. What am I to do?

In my juvenile mind, I found a way.

I was forbidden to pick the fruit. There was nothing against eating it.

I reached up to the mango and took one big bite out of it. In the immortal words of John Milton in “Paradise Lost”, when Eve ate the forbidden fruit, “Earth felt the wound”.

I  left the half eaten fruit on its stem.

I never told the tale. Birds or squirrels were naturally blamed for the condition of the mutilated mango.

But, nature took her revenge. The acidic juice of the green mango left its burn mark above my lips. It stayed there for a few days. No one interrogated me about it. It went to oblivion like a lot of my bruises.

Alas, the mango itself stayed stunted without ever reaching full growth and ripeness. It could not fulfill its hope of sweetness which was its due. It remained a mute reminder of my perfidy.

MONSOON

Dawn lit in

A pall of gray,

Sun in hiding,

And clouds above trees,

Sand and sea,

Looming pewter.

 

Sound of arrows

Hissing through air!

Sharp downpour

Of relentless torrents

Piercing straight!

Vaguely luminous,

The leaves glistened!

 

Droplets splashed

Into sand puddles,

Water, streaking,

Leapt up

Like petals unfurling, 

Mimicking a dervish!

 

Intricate flowers

Splayed out in mud,

In pixels of water,

Drenching leaves.

Light reflected

On coconut leaves

In silver streaks.

 

Wind buffeted 

In slaughtering fury;

Branches shook

In tremors

Of browns and grays

With speckled green.

 

The lashing rain

Pantomimed

The terrible beauty

Of the Monsoon.

 

God’s Own Time

They came down in fits and starts

Some yellow, some red, some ochre,

Even some green

With dingy browns.

They lay in clusters, in clumps,

In piles, even solo- in rude disarray.

Gone! Gone are days of verdure-

Denuded,divested, dishabille-

The boughs reached out

Splayed twiggy fingers

Into mournful emptiness.

The leaden skies vaulted,

In a dirge of silence,

Above the strewn landscape

Of shorn leaves and hidden sod.

Ebbing! Life’s ebbing moments,

In leafy metaphors, spoke in volumes

The sad tales of waning loves,

Of despair and despondence,

Of the fizzling fights

And of creeping seconds

That dwindle into nothing.

Then, ceasing toil and tremor,

Life lies down in placid content

Waiting for God’s Own Time!

On A Deck By The Adriatic

Silver poured out

From the full moonface 

And molten light shone

Upon crinkled waters.

Wind rose above

And tides leapt up,

Tossing the vessel not too gently. 

The wavelets rose in height

And foamed in undulating lines

The walker on the deck swayed,

But stepped briskly forward

While the increasing turbulence

Whipped the long strands

Into a disarray of Medussa hair.

The threads of snakes lashed

At cheeks and eyes,

Clouding sight and sound.

Rocking and rolling,

The vessel sailed

While the passengers swayed

As if mimicking drunken sailors.

The solitary walker forged ahead,

Enduring buffets and onslaught, 

Resolute and firm,

To face another fury,

To face another day-

To face an unkind future.

Mycroft

Mycroft enters

And there is sunshine.

Exuberant and Happy,

This child looks,

His eyes seeking knowledge.

His face wreathed

In joyous smile,

His hand reaches out

To touch my face

With eager fingers

And darting moves

To know me,

To love me.

Thus he enters 

Into my life!

One cannot help

But love

This blithe spirit

Of radiance,

A being that brought

Light into my days

Of pandemic doldrums.

Cycle of Life

Spring has unhooked

The clasps of winter

After the friendly raindrops

Soaked the gelid  ground.

The gold green of rebirth

Turned to the lushness of summer,

The succulent greens

Foreshadowing the plenitude

Of the coming harvest.

Aureate and rufous,

The leaves blazened the orchards

And the ripening gourds 

Hung down the vines

While the nutshells

Filled with sweet kernels.

Life shifted with time

Marked by the cathedral chimes

And the harvest moon

Shed luminance 

Upon the carpet 

Of browns and grays

Of mud-soaked leaves

On the hardening soil

Going frigid

Under the winterfall .

Snow flurries descended,

Gentle as angel wings

Or as harsh as flying arrows

In icy winds.

Through window panes

As clear as crystal

Or clouded with water streaks

Filtering the sun,

I waited for reawakening,

For another cycle of life.

 

 

Man Child

A child he was

With playful warmth

And eternal joy

Chortling gaily

When little things

Attract his open attention.

 

A man he was,

Long of limbs

With fluid movements,

His joints in action.

A sports aficionado he was

Playing all games,

And making man`s plays.

 

This man child

Loved his ways,

Sporting and otherwise.

He went through life

In gay abandon

But  in carefree warmth

Towards his fellowmen,

Helping where needed-

A joy to the world

And a pleasure to himself.

 

 

 

 

Jenny

In those salad days,
Throngs of nubile girls,
In their teenage frenzy,
Waltzed through
The portals of academia-
While leafing through
The parchments of memory,
A vivacious presence sauntered in,
With curly hair parted
In two loose insoucient braids
And a wide smile.
As it always happens,
Time sped not in seconds,
But in decades!
And the meeting was propitious!
Because, the promise of the teen years
Has matured to a captivating,
Multifaceted adult
Of the same wide smile
And much more.
With a lightness of spirit
And compassion,
The blithe mien
Masking sage and serious ideals,
Jenny of today
Has entered the stage.

Chiarascuro

Closer and closer it came,

Softly, in padded stealth –

The scythe swished and, one by one,

Down came yet another dear.

 

How to grieve, when, where,…

Tears course down in unwiped furrows

And in untold concentric sorrows.

I huddled, unsolaced, unreprieved.

 

Time did not stand still – what cliche-

Seconds turned to minutes, minutes to hours…

Swathes of sorrows unfurled

In the middle of iridiscent life and joys.

 

Life weaves its pattern;

The warps and wefts, hand moving in and out,

Dances in step with the colors,

Through humanity’s told and untold tales

Of death and griefs

And life’s ephemeral joys.