I’m standing by the pier
Dressed in aquamarine blue,
Swathed in the setting sun’s tangerine hues –
Watching the birds glide past
On their homeward flight,
Over the hull of the mermaid shaped
Cruise ship – I’m to board in a few minutes
The wooden planked walkway I cross
With purposeful slow strides –
The wind caressing my face, neck and mind
To an awakened sense of reflective delight,
In keenness of the river cruise
Over the Hoogly – I’ve diligently organized,
To end the three day sojourn
For poets from all over India and the world,
In Calcutta – India’s cultural capital.
After we’ve all settled down,
The cruise liner aptly named – Matsyakanya
Seductively drops its sturdy moors,
Setting sails into the musky odour of the watercourse –
Pervading my restless and anxious mood:
The mermaid hulk enticing me into a dreamlike form
As if the beckoning river were the cosy arms of night
Preparing for her nocturnal snooze;
For like a woman – a river’s got a diurnal life too
Over seducing the man craving her bosom!
We start with the slated poetry readings
After a few minutes to recoup
So as to fit ourselves into the soulful mood –
In watching the soft ripples
Of the river drawing us into its groove
As it forges a passionate bond with the sea,
Even as it creates a soft beam of light in our minds
That we appreciate the beauty of multilingual words
Coercing through the sea of our thoughts!
Under the Howrah bridge when we crossed,
Taking a break from the poetry session:
Looking up, under my breath a wish I fervently uttered –
In an age old belief it would be divinely ordained.
The liveried waiters now come around
Serving us delectable fish fingers and kebabs
Along with mint chutney and tartar sauce,
In bridging the east-west culinary divide:
To test our concentration of words –
Are we as much in love with the sincerity of thoughts?
Or are we poets – as defenceless to worldly enticements
That tends to muddy the profundity of our views!
Then there’s a jazz band that performs
In the darkness, as we cruise along
With the twinkling lights of varied ghats –
Beckoning us to disembark
And romance them with a profusion of words
Once we return to our own remote spheres:
For aren’t we all verbal crusaders
Of isolated inner voices and uncovered worlds!
The aura of candescence around Belur Math –
After we’ve crossed the Dakhineshwar Kali temple,
Binds us in its eclectic, mystic charm
Arousing pictographic minds we’re endowed with,
Even if today we tend to rely more
On photographs our mobile phones hold
Over the sharply astute lenses –
Our mind’s eyes are gifted masters of!
By now, dinner has been served
In a series of silver-plated buffet platters –
That reflect the lights of the embankments we cross
Like those shores in our lives varied sojourns
Which reflect the perceptions?
That forms our palette of words:
Even as we’re sophisticated and fine-tuned
To the ecstasy of our palates as to words –
From world cuisines we partook lifelong
On our travels over varied dominions;
As we tend to perceive with all our senses –
Stronger and much sensitised than most people.
So now, the divine caramel custard for dessert
And vanilla ice-cream dripped with saucy chocolate:
Chills, numbs our Indian spice ignited senses,
So that we can return to our personal worlds –
Safe from a weakness that might squash our souls
And render our experiences wasted,
Before we convert them into words and phrases!
The night chill now beckons us to return
To the pavilion of commencement of our sojourn;
As the dwindling lights of humanities we’ve left behind –
In our stride for distinction in city lived luxuriant lives,
Recede into the remote wilderness of our minds –
Perhaps never to surface again:
But once we’re dead –
Buried in similar mud or cremated,
And our ashes sprinkled on the waters
Of this very river Ganges
Or any other that we may be close to then;
May our souls rest in peace over our life choices –
At the culmination of our journey’s cryptic end!
PS: I scribbled this today, so it’s still an initial draft, that I will edit and fine tune shortly…