Monday, April 29, 2013

Wonderful walk through Dharavi Nature Park y’day, the dumpyard-converted-to-miniforest. The kadamb was in bloom, the arjuna in a leaf-and-seed-shedding phase. Made my acquaintance with lots of trees, textures and scents I didn’t know before.

Season’s special: Tadgola, that raw, no-taste fruit of the palm.
Chilled,  a shortcut to bliss. Almost makes up for not being able to eat mangoes. Almost.
Datura, the killer, solanacea

ashwagandha, withania somnifera, the brain tonic


Friday, April 26, 2013

%%%% I typed this morning, no cooking no walk, chapter 25 closed and done, now for the version three of the translation. Long nights of trying to stay awake almost asleep at the keyboard, the TV droning on  slumber antidote, of half an hour here, an hour there, early mornings, keying in over oats, over tea, coffee, ignoring the sweat on your back and the inquisitive crow who’s missed his tidbit… thanks to P who’d ask every other day. “You finished?” “Not yet.” Now for the battle with the *shabdakosh*, the relentless digging for shades of meaning, not this, this, maybe this… Hell I’ll self publish if push comes to shove but I’m seeing this one through, in true Scarlet fashion, “As God is my witness….”

Monday, April 22, 2013

Only in Mumbai would you traipse into and out of two urban villages, walk beneath a highway, take a shortcut to the commuter station and then walk again a good fifteen minutes to listen to classical music from two centuries ago, perfectly rendered at a free concert held in the memory of the truly great.(Ustad Allaudin memorial concert). Only in Mumbai would the old gent sitting next to you say I have no knowledge of musical notes—and then correctly identify every raga presented, and he’d tell you about listening to the national program of music on radio Akashwani every weekend without a break for the last SIXTY years. Yes, only in Mumbai would you have to push your way out at your station at eleven in the night...

While I’ve been a big fan of IWW for years now and forever beholden, I’ve stayed away from facetime. Until now. Yesterday afternoon I sat in traffic (in an auto and then a shared cab v interesting) to reach a new part of town, but it was worth it, bonding with strangers and text over a cup of tea, all discussions pertinent, focussed, the people gentler than on the workshop. Thank you, caferati

Friday, April 19, 2013

An almost-perfect poem in neat copperplate
By a word. A single word.
Pulled out from a shabdakosh, a language dictionary
unused tome dusted, the alphabets scrambled for, hazily
magnifying lens scanning the letters, impatient
just a single word
the entire color changes, somber

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The cassia 
by the deserted factory
(even windows ripped out)
doesn't care
All it knows is spring

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

 Reason to celebrate --
The amaltas are blooming
On that stump of an almost white bleached-out tree
Mold on the bark
Dismal, stunted, ignored
Dwarfed by the profusion all around
Yet a sprig, yellow-tipped
profusely yellow, the buds spilling over
A sprig yellow-tipped
Sated by who-knows-what sap
Drawn, drawn from deep beneath

Saturday, April 13, 2013

It was almost night when I stopped to speak with you,
Exchange a word of greeting
shifting my bag of groceries, eager to step home, hungry.
A casual encounter with a neighbor
When did that conversation move past bhajans that you’d just heard
and meander elsewhere?
Perhaps it was the way your lip trembled
Even though you held your grey head high
Picking at the hem of your simple dress
Looking all around from time to time.
When did that tale step past politeness
To sibling abuse and mental torture?
Too familiar a tale—elder abuse, and yes this my India
My valiant, ancestral India
I listened only too conscious of my grey
And covered up grey
And, yes could money run out
And one’s own turn away
All the whatifs
Rushed down upon me
Trailed me home
Now I wear them, like a second skin.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"Jacaranda. Wo jacaranda hai..." Acharyaji, our park  garden expert told me this morn when I described the awesome carpets of purple.  So beautiful. Yes, I managed a walk on this short a visit also, in that interesting place sandwiched between snooty town and the villages of Khizrabad and Taimur nagar.
Tried not to be impressed at the roads, after all that's all our money being used there while we negotiate potholes with a prayer and light brake.
That child dressed in a pretty pink dress and toothy grin  who tugged at my hemline, "Didi..." Lifetimes!

Monday, April 08, 2013

“Austy, but Krishna’s telling Arjun to go ahead and fight a war!” AM says
“Yes, the sermon on the battlefield. A case of last minute jitters. The decision to fight’s been taken quite some time ago.”
“To understand this, you have to go into the back story, the story of the banishment and ‘not a needle-worth of land…', sometimes the only choice is to be brave.’”
AM’s Canadian, a smart kid, trying to come to terms with the Bhagvad Geeta.

Maybe I needed this reminder too. We’re alive only once. Lifetimes will come and go.

Though I caught only the tail end of this tree walk the view of the first amaltas sprig on an almost dry, barren tree was well worth it.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Delighted to announce the publication of a Prose poem, Sun addict 2, 
on Ink Sweat and Tears, a poetry ezine.

RIP Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.

I read  *The Judge’s will* last night, and still haven’t been able to shake off the story.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

So much to be thankful for, small things sometimes, no I didn’t know I had voice and delivery…

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The Valley Scribe, the newsletter of the California Writers Club- San Fernando Valley, features my story Verbal Acoustics, in its April issue. One version of this tale was one of my earliest subs to the IWW Practice group. A big thanks to Kathy Highcove for this opportunity.