Sky

In The Sundarbans

Poem

[Source – Pixabay]

*

Tides rise to meet the sky

In the Sundarbans

As the sky dives frequently

To borrow some condiments

From its marshy islands

For making rain;

Often overdoing, then hitting

The Sundarbans

With cyclones and storms

Flooding itself, the sky

Meets the tides

In the Sundarbans.

*

The Bengal Tiger
[Source – Wikimedia Commons]

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Flora and fauna there

Love drama

And everyone’s a fan of the Bengal Tiger,

A method actor,

Its every move, meaningful.

*

And us folks, we take our boats

And get busy earning a living or sightseeing

(Hands tied, backs bent, loans taken, empty stomachs

Populated, polluted, dripping blood, we work so hard to make a living)

When we can simply live,

Live simply, now, here and there

In the Sundarbans.

*

[Source – Pixabay]


Read more about the Sundarbans and also, “Explore Rohan Chakravarty’s Ecologically Conscious Map Of The Sunderbans.”

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Watch these insightful short documentaries to understand the Sundarbans better –

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Let’s Take The Final Curtain Call Together

Flash Fiction
A lovely dancing tree.
[Source – Pixabay]

Standing next to the giant old tree, its static presence made Saami sombre, more and more.

He cried, “Saami is now one with the rigid, rough and-and dead, yes, dead and gruesome tree bark, Saami has turned into this tree bark… O, but why?”

Resting against the tree now, now hugging the tree and mumbling, Saami stared into nothingness blankly, quietly. He opened his fist – a flint stone chip, equally dead he thought – and started ripping off the bark once again.

“Saami sees it all, Saami knows the limits, Saami’s dungeon is different from theirs, but… it’s all the same”, he announced in pain.

*

Sombre Saami’s imagination.
[Source – Pixabay]

The twittering yellow bird, the prancing butterflies, a distant lullaby, the pesky kung-fu crickets’ funny civil war and the red flowers’ bold stance, Saami turned a blind eye to it all.

Even the crickets stopped their civil war to enjoy the rain and the rainbow that day, but not Saami.

“Fools! Saami knows the pattern, Saami knows hope and destiny are always stuck in a traffic jam, and love…”, said Saami two hours ago.

“Love… love coloured Saami’s world black… black is the absence of all colours… black reflects no light… Saami lives in darkness”, he completed the sentence just when the fireflies lit the jungle.

Some rested on his head and hands, but Saami refused to greet them.

With a dry look, sullen eyes and tired limbs, Saami spoke for the last time, “dead, static tallness, this soulless tree bark hates Saami, this is the death penalty, and the most terrible because Saami is not tied, Saami can move, Saami knows, but not anymore, for Saami has become one with this giant numb stubborn treeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…”


Saami spoke for the last time because the lovely, joyous and calm tree’s branch took hold of Saami’s tired body and pulled him up-up-up… in a gushing blast of speed, suddenly music broke Saami’s heart-heart-heart… ta-rum-pup-pup-paa came the sound and immediately replaced it with a musical hub-dub sensation of a heart.

*

The lead singer-cum-dancer-cum-poser.
[Image by Roy N from Pixabay]

From the top-most branch of the tall lovely tree, Saami could see melodic colours and no darkness, nothing was static for the entire jungle and the river and the wind and the sky and the stars and the moon and the sun (together) danced to the twee peppy tune – and equally soothing, thought Saami – that the animal orchestra was playing.

Every animal – jamming freely – sitting on the top of some tree just like Saami… Saami who started clapping, swaying along and tip-tap-toeing in the air.

The tall lovely tree finally spoke, “Saami, yoi-knowi-da-cosmic-i-dance-sO-‘ell”; Saami was seen blushing brightly before the curtain was drawn.

*

Cosmic-i-dance!
[Source – Pixabay]

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मंत्र नंबर 205 / Mantra Number 205

गद्य काव्य/ Prose Poem
जल  ही  जीवन  है/ Water is life.
[Source – Unsplash]

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देर हो गई इतनी, मैं सोचूँ तो बोलू इतनी कितनी?

कई मंत्र जप्पे थे, कई जाने थे, अब आई बात समझ जाकर नंबर 205 पर।

उमर होगी मेरी 88-90, बोलो फिर कहाँ पाले मैंने इतने मंत्र?

हाँ तो मैंने फिर जाना की माना इस्कूल में पढ़ाया था जल ही जीवन है,

मैं गई भूल, अब आई बात समझ जाकर नंबर 205 पर।

*

अब खा लूँ मैं जल, पी लूँ मैं जल, करलूं सफाई जीवन भर,

जल ही औषधि, जल ही प्राण और मैं राख,

जल नाले-नदी -झरने -समंदर में, जल मेरी मटकी में और मटकी मेरे सर पर,

मटकी टूटी तो जल ज़मीन-बीज-पौधे-पांच-साल-में-पेड़ पर, और मैं पेड़ की डाली पर।

*

झोंपड़ी सी है मेरी, छत डालियों की बुन्नी थी कभी, अब छेद वाली है… फिर…

फिर इस बार अम्बर का पानी मेरी झोंपड़ी में और मैं मुईं झोंपड़ी की छत्त पर,

मुंगी भौंक उठी उस दिन मुझ पर, या मुईं छत्त पर… बिजली चमकी अचानक

और मैं गई कूद, गिरी सीधे चार-पाई पे, अब लगे मेरा बिस्तर फर्श पर।

*

बड़े मटके में बड़ा, छोटे में छोटा बन जाये ये जल

और जब जाए मेरे भीतर तो बन जाए मुझ बुढ़िया सा कुबड़ा।

मूयें कुबड़े होंगे तुम सब, मैं कोई न होनी…

*

फिर जल कभी मेरा खाना, कभी मुंगी का, जो वो न खाए तो चिड़िया का।

*

जल आकाश, जल समंदर, और ये माटी के पहाड़ जैसे मेरी मटकी,

रिस-रिस के पानी, अंदर इस भू को जल दे जाए प्राण और ठंडक…

क्यों? पृथ्वी घूमे है तो थके न क्या? जल तो मांगे है…

फिर जल से कौन बचा, जो डूब गई वो भी किश्ती थी, जो तैरती रही वो एक किस्सा,

तुमने सुनाऔर मुझ बुढ़िया ने भी जाना, माना  माना, नहीं माना नहीं माना।

*

बचपन में आई एक बार बाढ़, सब जगह जल ही जल और सत्यानाश,

मैं बच गई… काहे चौंके?

*

देर हो गई, देर हो गई इतनी, मैं सोचूँ, तो बोलू इतनी कितनी?

देर नहीं होनी कोई, तुम्हारी घडी भागे दिमाग से तीन कदम पीछे।

सुनलो, जल पीना चौकड़ी मार के जैसे है कोई अमृत ये, तब ऊपर के निचे के

दांत झड़ेंगे पहले और तुम मरोगे बाद में, बिन बतीसी के

बुड्ढे खुसठ 100 पार छलांग लगा कर।

*

हाँ, याद रखना, मुझ बुढ़िया की बात, मैं जल देवी कहलाउंगी इसके बाद।

हं… हं… हाँ तो…

कई मंत्र जप्पे थे, कई जाने थे, अब आई बात समझ जाकर नंबर 205 पर। 


मटकी जाने है एक राज़, हम न जाने क्या/ Clay pot knows a secret that we know not.
[Source – Pixabay]

English Translation –

*

I understood quite late, but then I wondered how late is quite late?

I chanted many mantras, knew many more, but mantra number 205 enlightened me.

Am around 88-90, so will you say I have gone overboard with chanting mantras?

Hmm, so as I was saying I know we were taught in school that water is life,

But I simply forgot about it, but now mantra number 205 enlightened me.

*

These days I eat water, I drink water, and I say keep it all spick and span forever,

Water is medicine, water is life-force and I am dust,

Water in the stream-river-cascade-ocean, water in my earthen jar and the earthen jar on my head,

The earthen jar broke, water seeped in the earth-seed-plant-and-in-five-years-the-tree and am now sitting on the tree’s branch.

*

I live in a small shack, with an old thatched roof that now has a hole in it… then…

Then, recently, it rained heavily, water entered my bloody shack, I climbed the thatched roof then

Mungi barked at me or was she barking at the bloody roof… Lightning struck suddenly,

I jumped and landed on my cot, as a consequence of which now I sleep on the floor.

*

Big in a big jar, small in a small one, water takes any shape

And when I drink water, it takes the shape of a hunchbacked oldie…

Oh, you all must be hunchbacked, because I surely am not.

*

Hmm… I often have water for lunch, sometimes I share it with Mungi and if she rejects it, the birds feast on it.

*

Water is sky, water is ocean and these mountains made of earth are like my earthen jar,

Slowly seeping inside, water gives life-force and coolness to the earth…

Why not? The earth rotates so don’t you think it gets tired? It too asks for water…

Water is very powerful… the one that sinks is a ship and the one that doesn’t is a legend,

You have heard such tales, this oldie has also known some, if you believe in it, you do and if you don’t, you don’t.

*

Once, in my childhood, a great flood caused catastrophic destruction,

I survived… you look surprised, why so?

*

Quite late, quite late, but then I wondered how late is quite late?

You’re not quite late, your watch runs three times slower than your brain.

Listen, sit down cross-legged whenever you drink water as if it is an elixir, then your lower and upper

Teeth will fall before you die and you will die toothless

Grumpy and senile, only after crossing 100.

*

Okay! Remember what this oldie has shared, maybe from now onwards I’ll be known as the ‘Water Goddess’.

Hmm… hmm… like I said…

I chanted many mantras, knew many more, but mantra number 205 enlightened me.


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Sharpening the Lens Cavafy Style

Poem Review
Together we wait…
[Source – Pixabay]

Waiting for the Barbarians

By C. P. Cavafy

Translated by Edmund Keeley

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What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

The barbarians are due here today.

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Why isn’t anything going on in the senate?

Why are the senators sitting there without legislating?

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Because the barbarians are coming today.

What’s the point of senators making laws now?

Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.

*

Why did our emperor get up so early,

and why is he sitting enthroned at the city’s main gate,

in state, wearing the crown?

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Because the barbarians are coming today

and the emperor’s waiting to receive their leader.

He’s even got a scroll to give him,

loaded with titles, with imposing names.

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Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today

wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?

Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,

rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?

Why are they carrying elegant canes

beautifully worked in silver and gold?

*

Because the barbarians are coming today

and things like that dazzle the barbarians.

*

Why don’t our distinguished orators turn up as usual

to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

*

Because the barbarians are coming today

and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

*

Why this sudden bewilderment, this confusion?

(How serious people’s faces have become.)

Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,

everyone going home lost in thought?

*

Because night has fallen and the barbarians haven’t come.

And some of our men just in from the border say

there are no barbarians any longer.

*

Now what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?

Those people were a kind of solution.


Steady like a statue.
[Source – Pixabay]

Waiting to take a stand, sitting comfortably, letting the waves cover with silt our body, mind and soul, we continue waiting, living.

Glaring caustically at the silt, we regurgitate pompously.

Unable to cross the maze, we burn the walls down, unable to touch the sky, we pull it to the ground.

Waiting for them to distinguish between the truth and hearsay, to dust off our earnest intentions, to demystify our vision, we humbly stretch and wait.

In waiting for an autonomous lustrous life, we steadily pass by, dulling our society.


C. P. Cavafy, “a Greek gentleman in a straw hat, standing absolutely motionless at a slight angle to the universe” (as per his friend E. M. Forester), wrote the poem “Waiting for Barbarians” in 1904, juxtaposing the past with our modern thoughts, superimposing the ancient image on the now, yes the now, swiftly jolting the reader from slumber and questioning “this wait”.

*

The leaders in ancient Greece, the poem shows, await desperately, in static opulence, for the Barbarians to come and take over everything and to begin mending every disaster, but when they don’t come, the city dwellers are aghast as now they will have to tackle problems and take decisions on their own.

And so the free individual, waiting for an external source to revitalise the life, takes a dip in the bright, glittering mirage, dreading, complaining, ignoring, barricading, adjusting all the while, and refusing to end “the wait”.

But let us not wait anymore…


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Regina Spektor’s Musical World and Addressing the Hero – Part IV

Coverage

Hero calling hero!
[Source – Pixabay]

The hero is in hiding, asleep, has forgotten or has been brainwashed because only that could explain the hero’s silence; the dead silence is complementing the darkness ostentatiously.

And no surprise, right? This darkness is overwhelming, too huge, so vast, damn cruel, heartless/soulless, steady and conniving that the heroes have all locked themselves up in the epics, legends and myths.

Dejected and weak they have turned their backs, criticising the critics, they hopelessly work to earn a living, measuring their quiet success every fiscal year, waiting for the golden retirement when they will finally wake up… or maybe they will not.


Regina Spektor is calling out to all the heroes to wake up, rise and fight, to accept the responsibilities of actions they so unconsciously take, to wage a war against inequality one little step at a time.

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Listen to Apres Moi before reading further –

*

I (uh) must go on standing
You can’t break that which isn’t yours
I (uh) must go on standing
I’m not my own, it’s not my choice

Be afraid of the lame, they’ll inherit your legs
Be afraid of the old, they’ll inherit your souls
Be afraid of the cold, they’ll inherit your blood
Apres moi le deluge, after me comes the flood…

Regina Spektor

Revolutions, the downfall of monarchies, totalitarian leaders, genocides… mankind’s history is a presence in the absence, it is ever-looming, reminding us of the foundation on which we are now building smart castles (with Alexa or Google Nest Hub or the gadget you prefer).

Apres moi le deluge is a French phrase that means ‘after me, the flood’ and is attributed to Louis XV of France; one of the explanations suggest its nihilistic connotation that says, ‘Ruin, if you like, when we are dead and gone’ and the other links it with Halley’s comet and the impending French Revolution of 1789.

Here, Regina Spektor talks about the far-reaching presence of history and how we cannot ignore it for long.

She sings a few lines of a Russian poem when reaching the crescendo; it is a poem by Nobel laureate Boris Pasternak, titled ‘February’ –

Black spring! Pick up your pen, and weeping,
Of February, in sobs and ink,
Write poems, while the slush in thunder
Is burning in the black of spring.

Translated by Lydia Pasternak Slater, Boris’s sister

An intense song that resonates across and holds your thoughts, it seems as if the song is urging us folks to stand up against the odds without delay, asking us folks not to mellow down.


Listen to Us

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They made a statue of us
They made a statue of us
The tourists come and stare at us
The sculptor’s mama sends regards
They made a statue of us
They made a statue of us
Our noses have begun to rust

We’re living in a den of thieves
Rummaging for answers in the pages
We’re living in a den of thieves
And it’s contagious
And it’s contagious…

Regina Spektor

Thieves are untied clandestinely, inconspicuously, invincibly, heartily like no other group on this planet, working religiously, solely for their profit.

The one charismatic, luring fact, among other things, is the freedom they give to every individual thief, showing no concern for each other, but keeping a check and standing in solidarity if the deal is profitable.

Regina Spektor rightly diagnosed this behaviour as contagious; the song is giving a warning, it is a reminder. Wake up dear heroes, at least to rub off the rust on your noses.


Listen to Small Bills

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His destiny was just too big to spend
So he broke it into smaller bills and change
By the time he’d try to buy the things he needed
He had spent it all on Lucy’s and weed and
He had spent it all on chips and Coca-Cola
He had spent it all on chocolate and vanilla
He had spent it all and didn’t even feel it…

Regina Spektor

May the heroes win the peculiar, surreal, boorish individual battles that they are fighting again and again and again.


Listen to Hero

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Hey, open wide, here comes
Original sin
(Vrrr)
Hey, open wide, here comes
Original sin

It’s alright, it’s alright
It’s alright, it’s alright…

I’m the hero of the story
Don’t need to be saved…

Regina Spektor

Listen to this song when the sky is orange-pink, dimly twinkling, armouring up for the dark night; listen to this song when the sky is whitish-blue, brightly warm, breathing lightly, gently healing the hero.


Read more –

Alex Millar’s translation of the poem February.

Lessons in Creativity I Learned from Regina Spektor by Caitlin Cowan.

R


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Moony Clay

Moon’s cloudy carpet.
[Image by Jagriti Rumi]

Now a clear dot… now hazy… mixing with the clouds through and through, then beaming alone gloriously. Splattering moony clay, then rubbing it, greasing with it the deep dark sky.

Mirroring all the romantics and dream-talkers, the moony clay moulds itself to fit into the beholder’s eyes and patient hearts. It listens, nods and registers its reply with the artist.

Moony clay – an assiduous storyteller, slowly moving away – happily builds the wavy waves and like a sand clock shows the slipping time its way.

Singing joyously, dancing leisurely, the moony clay creates and fills the heart with hope, lost in splendour.

See how it re-shapes, re-writes its journey, certain of uncertainty in knowing… in knowing it all. 


Images by Jagriti Rumi


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Live and Rise

Summer night–

even the stars

are whispering to each other.

– Haiku by Kobayashi Issa

And they are whispering, twinkling blue and green, sharing the secret we all know… that love is in the air.

The summer earth blooms for it is in love, the summer sky sways for it is in love.

A promise is made with joy in the eyes by every soul, promise to live and rise.  


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“A Story Always Tells Another Story, You Know…”

I believe in the story!
Image from Pixabay.

And you will never know, I will never show, what I feel, what I need from you, no.

The salmon coloured light is bright in me and still, you cannot see. This colour is all over the space and at night the salmon coloured moon shines to tell you the same, but still, you cannot hear.

Oh no, I am not upset, I am saying it out loud for I know the story now. I love this story now.

Raphael took his bow and arrow that day and went to the jungle to hunt, like any other day. Raphael you saw that hare and you readied yourself, you shot and missed it.

What happened, why did you smile then? Ah, the hare was of salmon colour too, right? You smiled and ran your fingers through your hair, I know.

And you will never know, I will never show, what I feel, what I need from you, no.

Stop shying away… you from me and me from you. Cannot you feel the salmon coloured road on which we are walking? Miles apart and years away, destined to meet along the way.

The journey began long back, neither I nor you remember when. But it is sweeter that way, for there is a mystery and scope for the unexpected.

Raphael when the heart breaks, it takes not a moment to bring it all to an end. Raphael the tears only wish for love.

Fighting in the battle when you took a step ahead, so did I, struggling against the mean voices and terrible lies. The salmon coloured sky reached out to both of us then, I know because I believe in the story.

And you will never know, I will never show, what I feel, what I need from you, no.

We will hold hands and dance and clap and sing together, painting the walls around in salmon colour.

I am not afraid of forever, are you? Tell me this and more when we meet.    

*

Post inspired by Imany’s beautiful, soulful song “You will never know.”

Check out the official video here.

Read about Imany here.


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रंगों की तरंग/ The Wave of Colours

शॉर्ट कविता/ Short Poem

रंगों की तरंग

रंगों की तरंग

बस इतना कहने उठी,

की ये जो अस्मा है,

रंगो के लिए बना है।

*

Translation –  The Wave of Colours  

The wave of colours

Rose to say

That this sky is

Meant to be coloured.   

*


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Children of the Sea – A Glimpse and A Message

The times when the sky mirrors the sea and the sea mirrors the sky, when the horizon disappears and the sun’s reddish stroke colours both alike, at those times you get a glimpse of the whole Universe celebrating life.  

Ruka underwater. © Studio 4°C

Children of the Sea is a Japanese animation film directed by Ayumu Watanabe and is based on Daisuke Igarashi’s manga series.

The story unfolds leisurely as the protagonist Ruka, a teenager, meets two brothers – Umi and Sora – who are from the ocean.

While the grown-ups stay occupied with understanding the physiology of the two boys, hoping to know through them the secrets of the marine world, Ruka, Umi, and Sora go through a magnificent journey.  

Ready to explore the marine world. © Studio 4°C
Umi and Sora. © Studio 4°C
Blue magic. © Studio 4°C

The unseen and the unknown happen for Ruka as she sees and lives the connection… the connection of every being with the universe.

Umi and Sora tell her that every living being is waiting to be found, that the awakened bright light in one finds the other and that if you pay attention and listen, you can hear the sea and the sky talking.  

Quite depths of the ocean await the light of the comet for it is then that the celebrations begin; all the marine life gathers to be in this light of the comet.

Umi and Sora take Ruka along as a guest to witness this mystical event, themselves turning into a comet and disappearing forever.

The light of the comet is here. © Studio 4°C
Dancing round and round. © Studio 4°C
Cosmic dance. © Studio 4°C

Ruka on one hand cannot forget the surreal experience, cannot forget Umi and Sora, on the other hand, she just can not understand the meaning of it all and is not ashamed to say it out loud.

Dede, an old lady, tells Ruka that she also met a boy from the ocean when she was her age and that she did not understand things just like her, but she learned to understand the sound of the wind that carries secrets from the five oceans of the world.  

Ruka’s confusion reminds me of Arjun from the Mahabharata, he, after witnessing the supreme lord in his absolute vastness and glory and listening to him, requests the lord after winning the battle to elucidate once again the message of the Bhagwat Gita.

An unfathomable experience and a human’s forgettable nature…

Summer vacation ends and Ruka heads back to school, to the routine life, on the way she hears the ocean and looks at the sky, she feels the secret is within her and smiles.  

The times when the sky mirrors the sea and the sea mirrors the sky, when the horizon disappears and the sun’s reddish stroke colours both alike, at those times the Universe shares a message, one that is meant for you and only you.