In the pitch dark
A dog barks at distance,
His sound reassures not feeble hearts,
But spreads a tinge of uneasiness,
Wondering what is he barking at,
Something human or inhuman,
The fireflies glow in darkness
Like distant stars in faraway sky.
Far away on the river bank
A funeral pyre burns,
The chanting of the party
Sends a shiver down the spine,
The wind rustles the bamboo grove
It sounds like thousand whispers
A leaf rustles a leaf falls, another brushes body
As if thousands of ghosts encroach upon him
From all sides, hidden in pitch darkness,
He pulls his tattered blanket around his body
And waits for morning light!
When everything will be normal again,
The birds will sing and sun will shine,
Dispersing the terrors of night,
Now he waits and prays
That all his fears are baseless
And those are just leaves and wind,
And fireflies, not specters of the night
Closing upon him as he lays
Huddled in his tattered sheet
Waiting for the morning.
The ruins of the old house stands alone by village road,
dirt road that gets deserted right after night fall.
The house looks at the orchard across the burning ghat,
small huts, kids that play there at night, make him sigh.
A century ago, that orchard was not here, there laid the river,
It roared like a lion in monsoon, its water lapped his walls,
with million crystal tongues, it tried to bring him down,
but he won, man-made dams stole the might of the mighty river,
it shrunk beyond recognition, now, once in a while it displays,
tamed version of its wild face, once in a while, when sluice gates
are opened after a hearty rain fall.
But it never touches the walls of the house like before, it gushes
past the orchard, he only hears its tamed roar.
Sometimes he thinks if man had not tamed that mighty river,
it would have won by now, he would not be standing here.
For his caretakers have deserted, abandoned him.
White sand on river bank spreads for miles
Old banyan tree grows on one side,
has been standing there for centuries
Its surrounded by trunks that once were aerial roots,
They cluster around the old tree like young sentinels,
guarding an old king on throne.
The river is shallow but wide, crystal water sparkles
in moonlight, one can see the fishes swimming during daylight.
Men and beast can easily cross her on foot.
In summer dogs swim in her water for hours, sometimes they
sit down in the water for a little respite.
Kids play in her water for hours, there is no fear for drowning,
thus no adult supervision, it’s all childish and rowdy fun.
There is no scope for fishermen in summer, winter, though they try
to take their boat to deeper spots, where a little hole has stored
a little extra water, there they throw their nets and wait.
The farmers carry their vegetables in small baskets to the town
on the other side of the river.
Lies are cunning little rascals, like mice they multiply,
allow a pair to live on your tongue, soon they will make you run!
They will multiply in a speed that will sooner or later make you regret,
the minute when you allowed them to land on your tongue!
No matter how smart you are or you think you are,
Sooner or later your lies will be exposed and truth will come out.
Now, if they are harmless lies, you will be lucky one, people will just guffaw,
call you a silly fool or little cuckoo and move on with a smile or scorn.
But if you had some agenda behind those lies, you will be surprised
at the speed in which your bad reputation will fly, how quickly people
will walk away from you as if you are a disease contagious,
you will be sitting alone, regretting why you said the first lie and then
like a fool said the second to keep it a secret allowed them to multiply.
Rumble of wheels on tracks are first heard
the train shows up a few minutes later
lit windows dance in the rhythm to the wheel
the dark boxes waltz past.
Shadows of people in windows, watching out,
Sometimes one stops for the signal
to give a clearer view!
In the small boxes of light they sit,
some watching out at darkness, or our homes!
Some sitting, reading, a man standing at the door,
leaning out, waiting for the train to move again.
There is a beauty in that body made of metal, wood,
A beauty that can’t be explained by words.
Why it feels so good to look at them, whenever they
pass by, or listening to their wheel’s music
even when they are not in sight!
What is the mystery behind that attraction one wonders!
Then some mysteries are never solved, guess that is how
the mysteries are, or they are supposed to be.
Law of attraction is world’s greatest mystery! A mystery
so many will die to unravel.
In an abandoned hut, inside the wood
travelers dare not to trespass, for there lived
a vile woman, evil than devil they say.
She had a mask of a very pretty angel, that she wore,
hiding her rotting flesh and decaying soul,
she conned every creature that came close to her,
beast or men all alike.
To equals she feigned to be friend, to older the daughter,
to younger the mother, but all headed for the same fate.
She sucked them dry like a spider that lures gullible
or careless creatures in web, and once in the web,
there is no going out, they dangle there, while she takes
her time, one by one she sucks them dry, not a single one
slips by! The travelers say that her evil stayed behind,
so did the sigh of the innocents she slaughtered pretending
to be their savior, friend, mentor, nurturer.
That foulest of betrayal became darkness itself and lives there,
They say if one stays there he sure will be cursed!
Every evening they come, right from eastern sky, full of promise
the sun gets dimmed, wind starts blowing, a little colder than noon.
One hopes against hope it will rain, it will rain today!
Sometimes they disappear within an hour, sometimes they linger.
Like the carrot hanging in front of a horse to lure it to trot forth!
To give it the false hope that it will soon be in its mouth,
tasty, juicy, sweet carrot will be its delight!
Sometimes the man pities the beast and gives it to it,
and sometimes like a wicked kid he just lures it.
Skies are playing the same game with us every single day,
the clouds they come dance and wind sings.
We watch the party from down below, sometimes the
cruel lightning joins in, once in a while they drop a few drops!
But that is all they do! They tempt us and then run away,
We sit down here, gaping like the horse, hoping for the
delicious, all satiating rain.