My Poems, My Poetic Expressions

This poem is about the first bride of the city Hyderabad —Hayat Bakshi. I am dedicating this poem to the brides of Hyderabad. 
Disclaimer: Although the characters in this poem are real, the storyline is a work of fiction.

Reposed under the bough of her heart
Bakshi gazed inly to her soul
Looked upward looked downward
Realized the cherubim she was

Days, months, years, gone
Extending her boundaries
Like doth water without confines
Lost in her pluck to agglomerate

By the tramp of her sire, withdrawn
To senses, flashing her whims
To the seraphim she is now;
What is roving your mind? asked Quli

The time is nigh for the joy
Brides hope to have, she said
Wearily, like a bolt of lightning
Quli passed fiat for her big day, anon

Oyster formed pearls in fain,
So her tender ears dangle in
Gleam, like a twinkle of morning
Dew pierced by sunbeams

Walls of Charminar flowed lac,
So her nimble arms chime with
Clink of lac bangles, like raindrops
Drumming the calm wintery waters

Gladder Bakshi blessed the duo,
Together they became the yin and yang
Of every coffer damsels hope to have
Ensconced in the crown of laad bazaar.

My Poems, My Poetic Expressions

This poem describes my first casually serious, an oxymoronic attempt to photography using my phone Nexus 5 that returned to earth last week.

Lost in a reverie
Sauntered the passageway
Bedecked the purlieu with
Reeds and weeds
And briers of names
I know not

Past the alley opened
Annon, the portal
To the orchard of flowers:
Roses and Lilies
Jasmines and Daisies
Full of bliss and bloom

The sun hanging low
Illuminating the horizon
Stirred my passionate heart
Slipped hands into the pockets
Fished out the Nexus 5 scarlet
Shimmering like a setting orb

Clicked willy-nilly
The maiden shot
Of a rose on a brier
The photography dilettante
Of mine foolish heart
Heralded

Nexus returned to earth
Sleeping at last
Ruefully
Pictures of birds:
Perching and wheeling
Chirping and warbling

Pictures of insects:
Buzzing and hovering
Winging and hopping
Linger on
Looking back the album
Of Nexus 5

A rose on a brier — taken with Nexus 5

My Poems, My Poetic Expressions

This poem describes the exchange of messages between two souls, who are cursed by distance and years of time, using clouds as their messenger. The ‘She’ second stanza of this poem is indeed written by “She”, Aayushi, my pen pal.

She:


Curled her crimson lips
Blared the conchs of the earth, to
Summon the clouds of swans-down
Disembogued deluge of words
From sluice gates of her heart, thereinto
Sealed the message with her velvety kiss,
Smile fuelled the clouds
Scudding the cerulean skies
Gathered the rooftop, whistling
They opened they opened
Flung upon him her rain of words

Wrote she:

Sworn in the feat
of unscathed Ivory towers
Unacquainted, yet
A plush of ally
Scented in glee
Eons felt by
Beaming to sky
Slashing the purlieu
The spirits fly

Wrote he, eft:

In the words that
Thy lips spilled
Light years melts away
And cast mellow upon me
What yonder on earth
Ruth can befall upon me
Nay, distance and void
Can harry me — for
Lies my spirit in
Thy soul

My Poems, My Poetic Expressions

This poem is for people located far away from their paramour. Nay, it does not reflect anything about my life.

In the words that
Thy lips spilled
Light years melts away 
And cast mellow upon me
What yonder on earth
Ruth can befall upon me?
Nay, distance and void
Can harry me — for
Lies my spirit in 
Thy soul

Meaning: With your words that emerged from your lips, even astronomical distances between us fade out and softness dwells upon me. What affliction or grief can teeny-weeny distances of earth inflict? No distance can harass me as my soul resides in you.

My Poems, My Poetic Expressions

Another poem that flowed through my pen as my lips brimming in the elation of the city, Hyderabad. This poem, “Hyderabad’s Camelot” is the continuation of my previous poem ‘The City was Born’

Overture: This poem describes how Hyderabad has been nurtured in Bakshi’s lap; how she extended her boundaries by accepting everyone, how she’s viewed around the world; how her gustatory pleasures gave the world her ambrosia, the Hyderabadi Biryani; and finally, the envy it mustered in the far away land, Britain. [To those who do not know, Bakshi is the daughter of Quli Qutb Shah and Bhagmati. And also the Hyderabad I allude to in the poem is the *Hyderabad State* ].

Hyderabad started forming words
Liketh a child in a crib
Morning and evening
Greeted by multitudes that
Swelled like a sea fed by rivers
Besotted by her unearthly charm
Beholden eyes cou’d not containeth her
Cossett’d and coddl’d in Bakshi’s lap
Her skin glistening liketh a silver moon
Her dainty limbs sprawling soon
From Charminar to Aurangabad
From Raichur to Adilabad

Her speech strident
Voice like a Lion’s roar
As her clepe in Arabic suggests so
Liketh waxing gibbous to full moon
Her greatness cross’d
Boundaries, countries, continents
Accepting in her womb
Liketh earth men both good and bad
Her love shimmering
Liketh an ocean under the moonlings
She became the prose, she became the poem
She became the intrigue, she became the life

Eclectic was her gustatory delights
Her palates lick’d in surfeit with
Qubani ka Meetha, Double ka Meetha
Pathar ka Gosht, Hyderabadi ‘ka’ Marag
Her tongue blessed the grains so
Earth manufacture ambrosia
Celebrated as Hyderabadi Biryani
Zephyrs flared her nostrils
Wafting the aroma of Irani Chai
Her gullet lump’d salty, sugary
And velvety Osmania biscuit
While shine in her postprandial face unmatched
To all the fire mustered in the world.

Luculent she was in the raiments
Of jewelry glittering like thousand suns
With the Kohinoor, the Darya-i-Noor.
The Jacob, The Hope,
The Great Mughal, The Orloff
The skies they open, they open
Her blinding sight reached
Miles and miles away
Pangs of envy unleashed
In a far-off land
Miles and miles away


My Poems, My Poetic Expressions

Sun rose to his zenith
Clouds scudding home
Uncapping the piercing sun
Sunbeams cleaving the ocean surface
And diving into plumbless depths
Turquoise waters cradling skerries
Tides drawing in and out


People chattering and children groaning
As I step on the hem of a cliff
To captive in my camera the captivating beauty
Of waves carrying spume
Tripod is set aloft — zephyr tailgating
I stand in abeyance with Olympus
Until the gnawing wind ebb
For you to behold the bewitching photograph



A Poem in Dorset



My Poems, My Poetic Expressions

Is this a prose or poetry? I have written it as a poem in mind with a cavalier treatment to a mysterious object (transpired as POT) that was given to me. It turned out this way.

A fragile object
liken to human has
handles as ears, its
paunch rotund head
capped with a silver strip

its limbs dismembered
surface as cool and
calm as the moon
and skin brick red

I ask who 
owned you? Whence
you came? Who
your father, you
smell like clay
Is he potter 
who mould you? 
to make his
ends meet

your scent that of
rose-water, are you
a servitor of roses
whose sweat you quaffed?
tell me your
source, O rosemary

you look so despair, you
lost shine who
owned you? Do
you belong to some
wretched soul forgot
to live?
Tell me your whereabouts
O fragile one

I know no antecedents
says the object uncannily, I
belong to you whoever 
you are, take me
O magnificent one

burnish me with your
love and cradle me
in your arms,
O munificent one
so I shine in your
life as
lustrous as sun





My Poems

It’s not upon you alone the dark patches fall,
The dark threw its patches down upon me also,
The best I had done seem’d to me blank and suspicious,
My great thoughts as I supposed them, were they not in reality meagre?
Nor is it you alone who knows what it is to be evil,
I am he who knew what it was to be evil,
I too knitted the old knot of contrariety,
Blabb’d, blush’d, resented, lied, stole, grudg’d,
Had guile, anger, lust, hot wishes I dared not speak,
Was wayward, vain, greedy, shallow, sly, cowardly, malignant,
The wolf, the snake, the hog, not wanting in me,
The cheating look, the frivolous world, the adulterous wish, not wanting,
Refusals, hates, posteponements, meanness, laziness, none of these wanting,
Was one with the rest, the days and haps of the rest,
Was call’d by my nighest name by clear loud voices of young men as they saw me approaching or passing,
Felt their arms on my neck as I stood, or the negligent learning of their flesh against me as I sat,
Saw many I loved in the street or ferryboat or public assembly, yet never told them a word,
Lived the same life with the rest, the same old laughing, gnawing, sleeping,
Play’d the part that still looks back on the actor or actress,
The same old role, the role that is what we make it, as great as we like,
Or as small as we like, or both great and small.

My Poems

As long as Lions do not have story-tellers, the history of the hunt always glorifies the hunter.  This adage is very much germane to India and its history, for it lacks historians of Indian origin in the pre-Nehru era, and much of India’s history is written by the foreigners, who visited India, with contempt and jaundiced opinions.  The account of Indian history by outsiders is inveighed against Indians by marginalizing, and quoting as parochial in thought and incestually looking country.  Unfortunately, this behavior is also observed in most of today’s Indians who talk glibly of modernism and modern spirit and the essence of Western culture and are at the same time ignorant of their own culture.  Today most Indians take the external forms and outer trapping of the West, and imagine that they are in the vanguard of an advancing civilization. Naive and shallow and yet full of their conceits, they live an artificial life which has no living contact with the culture of the East or of the West.

To my delight, here comes the man garbed in Sherwani, Cambridge-educated, who is very much misunderstood by the so-called pseudo-elites and pseudo-intellectuals of India today, who reduced this man to a mere political party — Jawaharlal Nehru. Written over five months while in prison, Discovery of India, to my mind, is a living history of India. Although the book seems disjointed, jumbled and lacks unity, the richness of Indian history and its civilization forms the sinews of the book that bind it together. Nehru’s discovery of India spans from the Indus Valley Civilization-to-Muslim Invasions-to-British Empire in India. It is a manifestation of Nehru’s quest for India’s past.   Much of ink flowed from Nehru’s pen analyzing texts like the Vedas and the Arthashastra, and personalities like the Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi.

Nehru writes at length covering the iniquities, rapacities, draconian laws and conditions of British rule in India, especially the way it made India static, dormant, and imprisoned the minds of the people of India interspersed with differences between Orient and the Occident cultures.  In this book, Nehru evokes Rabindranath Tagore’s thoughts and musing, which din in my ear as I read the book and also I write this review. My heart bled as I read these lines

‘ The demon of barbarity has given up all pretense and has emerged with unconcealed fangs ready to tear up humanity in an orgy of devastation. From one end of the world to the other, the poisonous fumes of hatred darken the atmosphere. The spirit of violence which perhaps lay dormant in the psychology of the West has at last roused itself and desecrated the spirit of man.

The wheels of fate will some day compel the English to give up their Indian empire. But what kind of India will they leave behind, what stark misery? When the stream of their centuries’ administration runs dry at last, what a waste of mud and filthy they will leave behind. As I look round I see the crumbling ruins of a proud civilization strewn like a vast heap of futility!

By unrighteousness man proposers, gain what appears desirable, conquers enemies, but perishes at the root.

This book is a must read for those virgin minds unassaulted by the thoughts of what India was in the past!

Tagore writes –“To know and understand India one has to travel far in time and space, to forget for a while her present condition with all its misery and narrowness and horror, and to have glimpses of what she was and what she did. To know my country, one has to travel to that age, when she realized her soul and thus transcended her physical boundaries, when she revealed her being in a radiant magnanimity which illumined the eastern horizon, making her recognized as their own by those in alien shores who were awakened into a surprise of life; and not now when she has withdrawn herself into a narrow barrier of obscurity, into a miserly pride of exclusiveness, into a poverty of mind that dumbly revolves around itself in an unmeaning repetition of a past that has lost its light and has no message for the pilgrims of the future.”

 

 

My Poems

My discovery of India

Nehru writes:

It seemed monstrous to me that a great country like India, with a rich and immemorial past, should be bound hand and foot to a far-away island which imposed its will upon her. It was still more monstrous that this forcible union had resulted in poverty and degradation beyond measure.

Rabindranath Tagore writes:

To know and understand India one has to travel far in time and space, to forget for a while her present condition with all its misery and narrowness and horror, and to have glimpses of what she was and what she did. To know my country, one has to travel to that age, when she realized her soul and thus transcended her physical boundaries, when she revealed her being in a radiant magnanimity which illumined the eastern horizon, making her recognized as their own by those in alien shores who were awakened into a surprise of life; and not now when she has withdrawn herself into a narrow barrier of obscurity, into a miserly pride of exclusiveness, into a poverty of mind that dumbly revolves around itself in an unmeaning repetition of a past that has lost its light and has no message for the pilgrims of the future.’

To my mind, India has seen and enjoyed the flowering of the world’s great traditions of philosophy, science, and art, and almost all its major religions. In other words, India is a home to all the world religions. She is a mosaic of diverse cultures, customs, creed, cuisine, color, costume, and language — and yet united, united by diversity. India  had always been religious tolerant and embraced everyone including the Muslim and English invaders with courtesy and hospitality, which is a distinctive and a rare quality of accepting people from different grounds. The then people of India intermingled, inter-dined in gusto with all sects. India has enjoyed the international renown for educational universities such as Nalanda, Taxila, when Oxford and Cambridge were not even in the gleams of the founders’ eyes. These universities employed 2000 teachers and housed about 10,000 students with a library of a colossus status. There is something drone-like about the cliches about India;  She has enjoyed, for long, until the beginning of 18th century, the title of world’s richest country. India is a geographical and economic entity, a cultural unity amidst diversity, a bundle of contradictions held together by strong but invisible threads.  If India is such a rich and strong nation, how is it that then India became a concubine to British, to whom our forebears didn’t give much importance and snubbed it?  It seems that the British succeeded in dominating India by a succession of fortuitous circumstances and lucky flukes.  With remarkably little effort, considering the glittering prize, they won a great empire and enormous wealth, which helped to make them the leading power in the world.  In other words, the fissiparous tendencies and sycophancy internally (this repeated in 1962 war between India & China, where India lost to China because of sycophancy in the govt.) made the British to appropriate the throne hands down.  Today, one could easily say that London that is so vibrant was constructed from the money plundered and appropriated from the sweat of India’s brow.

Despite a plethora of invasions, overwhelmed again and again, her spirit was never conquered, and she remains unsubdued. About her there is the elusive quality of a legend of long ago; some enchantment seems to have held her mind. In Nehru’s words, “She is a myth and an idea, a dream and a vision, and yet very real and present and pervasive. There are terrifying glimpses of dark corridors which seem to lead back to the primeval night, but also there is the fullness and warmth of the day about her. Shameful and repellent she is occasionally, perverse and obstinate, sometimes even a little hysteric, this lady with a past. But she is very lovable, and none of her children can forget her wherever they go or whatever strange fate befalls them. For she is part of them in her greatness as well as her failings, and they are mirrored in those deep eyes of hers that have seen so much of life’s passion and joy and folly, and looked down into wisdom’s well. Each one of them is drawn to her, though perhaps each has a different reason for that attraction or can point to no reason at all, and each sees some different aspect of her many-sided personality.”

As the independent (not totally sure of this, though) India turns 71 today, unfortunately, I am more than convinced that democracy in India is only top-dressing; under its veneer lies bigotry, cynicism, cant, mediocre! However, I say with conviction that India will recover to its past glory, for she has seen such numerous instances in the past and is resilient and her spirit remains unsubdued!