April 29, 2016

Friday Poetry: Beauties Sleeping


Beauties sleeping,
dreaming of pink bloom,
unaware that they are ghosts of
what they once were,
what they will never be again.


April 27, 2016

Five Thoughts About April

1. I began a collaging-scrap book which is becoming a novel of my thoughts. I also painted a bit more this month, specifically expanding on my love for dots; I don't know where it has sprung up from, this inclination towards embedding the page with dots but it is a very calm, meditative process and imbues the painting with a strange, structured quality. Here is a third such chapter from my book: The Art of Cloud-Making.

2. I attended my first art event in ages and surprisingly, only my second one in Delhi after all this time living here, what with its uber-packed art and culture calendar. It was the closing ceremony of  multi-media and disciplinary artist, Satish Gupta's At The Feet of Buddha, where he presented ten sculptures, eight paintings and seventy two haikus. We heard Buddhist monks in orange robes chant, renowned Indologist, a venerable looking Professor Chandra in a crisp white kurta and dhoti talk about Buddhism, saying something which particularly resonated me that Buddha saw the entire universe in a leaf, and finally, the artist himself reciting his haikus. The giant contemplative Buddha was the focus of everyone's attention, mogras buds scenting the air all around him. We briefly chatted to the artist and he told us that it took him two years to wrought it. I have to say though  that my favorite part of the evening was hearing his wonderful haikus; read them here and here.

3. Time to blow my trumpet a bit! I wrote a piece about my love for the trees in spring-time on a whim inspired by a beautiful writing cue, participating in a writing competition for the first time in years (another first!). To my pleasant surprise, my entry was among the five winning entries for this month. You can read the piece here:)

4.  My abandoned sofa trail saw me spotting one in Mehrauli after almost a year since my last sighting in Delhi; it was unobtrusively hidden in a tangle of forest and scrub, its extremely dilapidated state indicating that it had been there for a while, almost becoming a part of the forest itself. It looked so at home in the spot, if one could say, that I wasn't tempted to extricate its back-story. This was its story.

5. It's the season of mogras once again. I bought a string or two from my local flower-seller and wrote about a poem about it, kickstarting my Friday poetry posts. The other evening, sitting inside the car and waiting for the traffic light to turn green, a man swung an entire bunch in front of us and offered to sell them for a bargain. "I need to go home and get rid of them," he succinctly told us. I had been planning to buy a couple of strings and so immediately leaped at the chance to buy a bunch of gorgeous-smelling mogra. Since then, they swayed on the rearview mirror, scented my living and bedrooms, and are now slumbering in the cold, protected confines of the fridge.

How was your April? I would love to hear!

April 22, 2016

Friday Poetry: A Country Where Many Reside


The octopus tentacles of tree roots
lie flat upon the leaf-strewn soil,
exuding tiny ink-spots of an ant-army:
crawling, scurrying, cargo-bearing
before disappearing inside
their cool, black holes 
of subterranean palaces.

Watching them reminds me that
a tree just does not exist for itself:
actually, it cannot.
That would be far too self indulgent, a selfish act.
It is a country, after all, where numerous citizens reside
and which they call home.

April 15, 2016

Friday Poetry: The Birds Whose Music Invisibly Perfumes The Spring Air


I discover today that the birds
whose concerts richly, invisibly perfume
the still, warm spring morning air
are called Indian treepies.
They flit from the kachnar tree
to the neighboring gulmohar,
a kinetic, musical long-tailed blur of tan, white, and brown
from a muddy green universe
to a bright green one.
The jade-sheened glossy black humming bird no longer sups
from the kachnar orchids,
which became pod earrings when no one was looking -
and the crows have found elsewhere to feast upon
now that the flamboyant, plump blood-red
monstrously beautiful silk cotton flowers are fat green pods
of future flowers, leaves, roots, and branches.
Only the sparrow traverses
the invisible trapeze-rope in the air,
metal grill to metal grill,
its clay water bowl empty and parched
like a summer desert.

April 7, 2016

Friday Poetry: The Season's First Mogras



The season's first mogras cost twenty rupees:
the boy takes them out of their plastic home,
pouring them into the bowl of my palm.
In the new moon light, they are phosphorescent,
the half-open buds gradually emerging,
like teeth in a baby's shy smile.

They slumber overnight,
luxuriously curled up
in a bowl full of written water.
When I wake up,
they have already made themselves home.
I journal about the poetry of their fragrance,
which seeps into my words,
the texture of my thoughts. 

The next morning,
they are already gone,
their fragrance a distant, bittersweet memory:
crumpled tea-brown white petals
fall apart in my palms,
like a ransacked city,
the ghost of what it once was. 

** I have started writing poetry again after a very long time - and so, every Friday, I will be featuring a poem of mine accompanied by a photograph. Sometimes, the photograph will inspire the birth of a poem or vice versa. Let us see where this journey of poetry will take me. I will look forward to your thoughts about these tentative re-explorations of mine into the world of poetry!**

April 1, 2016

Jacaranda Journeys


First of all, isn't jacaranda such a beautiful sounding name for an undoubtedly beautiful flowering tree? Actually, I have to be a little bit honest: I don't find the individual mauve jacaranda flower as lovely as glimpsing them collectively blooming upon the trees, the bloom-laden branches silhouetted against the clear sky or scattered en masse upon the grass below.

We are fortunate to live in a neighborhood dotted with lots of gardens, consisting of both large, sprawling and cosy, miniature ones; I discovered one such latter garden during a spontaneous afternoon stroll on a moody, cloudy, cool Delhi day. I had seen the jacaranda blooming there from the distance but I didn't realise it was more than one tree that was blooming; it was only when I explored the garden that day that I observed it was a triad of trees in various stages of bloom, one already having considerably leafed. Being the only jacaranda trees in my immediate vicinity, I was thoroughly enchanted to be caught in a quiet drizzle of jacaranda flowers as they joined the sea of flowers splashing the emerald green grass below.

Sea of Purple and Green

Ever since I have discovered that garden, it has become one of my little pleasures to stop by there during my morning walks and sit beneath these trees; it's invariably deserted when I arrive so I have the satisfaction of having the garden to myself, rendering it in my eyes a secret garden. Even if it's just for five minutes, I quietly sit on a flower-speckled stone bench below the jacaranda trees, glimpsing the flowers fluttering here and there in the air before gently coming to rest upon the ground. 


I have lately been taking great pleasure in making flower-dot paintings and so while I was sitting below the tree one morning, I scooped up a few jacaranda flowers, deciding to abstract something out of them too. I had called it the 'Journey of the Jacaranda Flowers' on Instagram, the flowers migrating from the tree to my palm to my sketchbook. There is something so calming and indeed, meditative arranging these flowers upon the stark white desert of my sketchbook, making it bloom before inserting the bindis of dots (perhaps, you could say that I am inspired by Bharti Kher's bindi explorations to a certain extent). Once I have painted, photographed, and Instagrammed the painting, I leave it upon my desk and when I return the following day, I find that the flowers have become dessicated yet certainly not diminished in any which way beauties. And so completes the circle of spring.