Dawn

On the threshold of ten

in the dawn of a new era

the satin kiss of sun rays

is a promise of life enriched.

 As childhood bids adieu

and peppy youth blooms

let the child reclaim your soul

for it is the god’s abode.

In those moments alone 

when none pamper or pinch your cheeks

do not lose hope as a time will come

when they’ll shake your hand strong.

When teardrops surge

ashamed you should not be

as tears water your soul

to cleanse all pain.

As a sprightly lad matures

dreams and ambitions

shining eyes behold

those you fulfill but for yourself.

Treasures of the world must wait

those of the heart you’ve to seek

so to meet your eyes

with respect for all and one cherished by all.

Expectations galore it’ll be

to tread their way

that’s when brave you should be

to carve your own and walk alone

Life is tough with challenges many

and spring meadows aplenty

revel in its wonders

and bounce from setbacks any.

On the cobbled path

as you prance walk or tremble

they’ll hold your hand

and boost you ample.

So welcome this dawn

in an embrace warm

with esteem held high

and pride alright.

—-

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Discovering a forest, on the natures trail!

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As a contemporary urban Indian used to living in concrete jungles spewing toxic fumes, I would like to lay claim to this forest as my discovery. Has anyone seen a forest in a city any time in the recent years? No, unless of course you travel to some undeveloped land far far away.

As I moved house recently from a densely populated bursting-at-the-seams Rajbhavan Road to the supposedly elitist financial hub Gachibowli, I had no idea what was about to hit me, and pleasantly so. For me, it was just another boring move, sorting, discarding, packing, and moving. Something I have done several times over the years.

A week after I moved into my new apartment, on a mid-morning stroll around the block checking the amenities, I noticed a cluster of trees beyond the joggers track. As I moved closer, the view simply stunned me. A little forest thrived beyond the compounds of this beautifully landscaped residential complex.

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Trees, rustling bustling green leaves swaying to the gentle winter morning wind.  The view of lush green trees flourishing in the wild, flowering trees and bushes, the sound of tiny colorful chirping birds, call of the peacocks, rare sight of common butterflies, was therapeutic. Squirrels, one I hadn’t seen in a long long time. In one of its rare sightings, a herd of Spotted Deer once strayed into the thickets. It was a moment of pride for the residents to be living in such divine environs. To commemorate ‘World Sparrow Day’ on March 20th the residents had installed bird nest boxes to attract the endangered sparrows. For me, it was indeed a pleasure to be sharing living space with such kind and concerned citizens who took initiatives for conservation of plant and animal life.

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Huge boulders of stunning ancient rocks, perched precariously over each other, dominating the scenery. These little pleasures of life, right behind my abode, I could cherish each day. Unbelievable.

Bubbling with childlike excitement I ventured to explore the area as if trying to find a buried pot of gold, to find my treasure trove. Voila! A little water body to the front of the block as I stood watching, eyes wide in amazement. Wild grass grew all around it. It is neither a pond nor a lake, just a huge patch of vacant, low lying land which has collected rainwater over the years. Several species of common birds find sanctuary around this water body, which also contributes to the cool evening breeze.

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The forest is active and lively during the day and shrill with the stridulations of cricket at night. Greedy for more. I wish I could plant my childhood trees all around. I have always missed the reassuring coolness of the centenary trees; the Peepals, the Banyans and the Neems. My childhood stories were woven around these dense trees. “Once upon a time, there lived Appu the elephant under a giant banyan tree in the forest”; “The sparrow lived in her nest on the peepal tree” or the granny’s insistent use of neem.

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I admit, calling it a Forest is somewhat over-rated. Am simply overwhelmed at such thriving greenery around me. It is a huge patch of land which has escaped the eyes of the land sharks, hence, retaining its natural beauty. Once upon a time, this land was indeed a forest, though much of it has been swallowed in the name of development.

As I wandered around my new found paradise, I wondered, why does mankind destroy to build. Development and growth does not mean destruction of natural resources. There are several other natural lakes around this part of town which are buckling under the stress of development. The greens, the water resources, the hills and mountains and all living and non-living beings have a purpose on earth.

I dread the day we ‘develop’ this area to suit our growing needs. But for now, this is my hub, my hang-out, where I find peace with myself, morning and evening breathing in the beautiful freshness of nature.

Short Story: The Domestic Maid

‘The Domestic Maid’ by Anita Desai has been featured on New Asian Writing for their 2014 Short Story Anthology.

The mighty sun was rising on the city. The birds had taken flight on a new day. The city was abuzz with early morning activities; milk and newspaper delivery, bleary eyed kids awaiting school buses, joggers and walkers dotting the concrete landscape markinga new beginning like everyday for the affluent andcosmopolitan city dwellers. Movement of traffic on the roads wasmoving at a brisk pace already, the call center cabs ferrying night shift staff back home and to pick up the day shift staff. The city buses already running to capacity even at this early hour.

Amid this early morning hum-drum, a group of women walk briskly towards the gates of a multistoried, elite residential complex manned by security guards. Their laughter and chatter unable to hide their impoverished status. The group is a mix of young, middle-aged and old women.The women are dressed in dull weary cotton sarees, the pallav draped around their bony shoulders, their slippers worn out with months of continuous drag. The young ones of the lot dressed in hand-me-down salwar kameez, adjusting their dupattas every now and then.Each woman carrying either a small pouch which serves as a purse containing their bare essentials or a little cloth bag.

Continued at….

http://www.new-asian-writing.com/the-domestic-maid-by-anita-desai/

Oasis

A short poem dedicated to the Women’s Division of Soka Gakkai International.

An oasis in the desert of life

A spring of hope in times of strife

Where mothers of Kosen Rufu reside

Cheerfully with them we abide.

 Rising to high self esteem

Inspiring all to cherish their dreams

Banishing the pall of gloom

Nurturing the colourful blooms.

A cascade of courage and wisdom

The Bodhisattvas are blithesome   

When young phoenixes sing

And vibrant blossoms swing.

 To the roar of the Lion King

Satans perish and the kind arise

Sheer darkness recedes

Peace and happiness precedes.

Enduring the burning sands

Fighting the devils and

Surging ahead with gratitude

And a forever gentle attitude.

In high spirits we live

Forever young we believe

Singing paeans to the lore

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.

Dad

Is it raining, or the heavens welcoming you, Dad!

Is the star blinking, or you just winking at me, Dad!

Is it the breeze, or did you just embrace me, Dad!

Is it the swirling waters, or you gently patting me, Dad!

Is it a dream, or did you just call out to me, Dad!

Just missing you, Dad!

(c) Anita Desai, Feb 2013

Fly

Fly little birdie, my little angel

Soar to the skies, wink at the stars

Scoop up the rainbow, swing on the clouds

Behold the celestial, revere the divine

Gold from the sun, adorn your tiara

Silver from the moon, shimmer your jewels                                

 Fly little birdie, my little angel

The world is your meadow, find your greens

Nurture your blooms, paint colours of spring

Sow your seeds, sprinkle nectar of life

Weave strong nests, come hail or sleet

Rouse the world, with melody sweet

Fly little birdie, my little angel

Scale new heights, surpass  your zenith

Unravel the magic, in your land of dreams

Endear all hearts,  bring cheer & laugh

Sprout hope & courage, spread love & warmth

The birds & bees, hum paeans to your lore

Fly little birdie, my little angel

As the sun goes down, I look up the skies

To gaze at the posse, hope to catch your eye

Leading the flock,  spanning horizons beyond

My nest is your harbour, this is your anchor

Love for you my heart beholds

Prayers for you my palms enfold

(c) Anita Desai, August 2012

 

Blossom

A crimson rosebud in the herbs,

Greeted by the morning sun,

Unfurled a blossom in my garden!

 A burst of blush in the greens,

Velveteen dewy petals,

Like pearl drops on rubies!

Jewel of the queens,

Dazzling the bees of the greens,

Swaying in the gentle breeze!

 With your fragrance you beckon,

Your beauty is to reckon,

Gazing at you their hearts quicken!

Cheering the dusky eve,

Soothing the tired,

Reaching out to the divine!

O’ blossom in my garden,

You are my pride, my dear,

You are my eden!

(c) Anita Desai, August 2012