Stealing A Slice Of Sunshine

 

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I’m walking downhill the boulevard

with picturesque sights at every verge,

through which I see rhododendrons

and roses at doors and windows of cottages –

with the backdrop of a peeking, pristine blue sky

through hills over which clouds playfully pry.

 

Even as I stand in awe at every other hedge-gate

to steal an eyeful of nature’s abundance –

Thimphu in the ‘land of happiness’ is blessed with:

A couple of furry dogs invariably come barking up at me

but they merely sniff around, then quietly watch

me as I steal a slice of the setting sunshine.

 

Then I stroll on with an eyeful of pictorial joy

I’ve collected as if alms from a doorstep as a handful of rye –

my soul is as if that of a wandering monk’s

as it’s floating light in the cool sky:

for in my mind’s eye I’m collecting gratuitous

sights – I’m carrying along in my heart’s inflated pouch.

 

Cars floating uphill I deftly dodge with pictographic sight

when two boys dribbling a football become primary highlight –

as I walk by satiated with their polite innocence

along with a woody aroma infused with the chill in soft sunlight,

my heart is full of the generous alms of sights I’ve imbibed

to carry back to my world to wear as a perfume named – ‘Sublime’

 

 

 

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After The Rain: In The Land Of Happiness

 

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I can still hear the rain pattering

on red and green ridged tin rooftops –

against silhouettes of mountainous forests

in varied lush tones of emerald.

 

Grey clouds are soaring skyward, as fog

steadily descends: between clouds

and fog a magnificent light bursts-

illuminating the land of thunder dragons.

 

Ink-blue sky peeps intermittently below

the grey clouds right through the splendid light:

Even as rain stops and fog creates a halo over

the stupa’s many tiered golden roofs.

 

A man or two in tartan brown and black Gho

have descended onto the washed streets,

as a woman in a purple silk Kira walks by my window

cautiously, as do cars ascending a light-swathed valley.

 

In the distance I see grey peaks, white peaks

that are etched out in thick smog,

as clouds through them hop in and out in turns –

as if characters playing their part for a live audience.

 

The green wood’s stage irradiated as if by Arclight

is visible in fog, also mud-tracks on hills in the backdrop:

as hearts in ‘the land of happiness’ – Bhutan illumined

by spirituality: are unfazed by anguished deluges.

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Kanchenjunga Walk

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The clouds, they floated up

            so amazingly slow:

They wrapped the pine trees

            in their course;

The sun gleamed

            through thickset groves

or was it the orange glow

            of sizzling charcoal?

 

Amidst steep avenues

            as I leisurely strolled:

the Kanchenjunga’s tips

            white in the sunlight shone;

And though I felt the chill

            for long in my bones –

it was at a glimpse of her face

            I decidedly froze.

 

Squatting on the pavement

            an iron brazier she fanned –

over which several cobs of corn baked;

            Her fair face now a beet-red

glistened in its warm haze –

            or was it the glaze of self-assuredness

she brazenly emanated?

            It was as if a halo over her she wore –

in acceptance of her fight, of optimism.

 

As I walked towards her

            drawn by her pretty warm smile –

I noticed over the wine-red lips

            her sparkling brown eyes;

Then I viewed the thick red vermillion

            on the parting of her head:

as in his school-uniform her little boy

            at me playfully grimaced.

 

Even as I waited

            for my ear of corn to roast

another bright face like the moon

            rising over the hill came along:

She smiled at the squatting corn-woman –

            both their eyes crinkling ravine deep;

The latter’s silver hair shone

            brighter than the mountain peaks.

 

This approaching woman

            was bent low to retain her balance

as strapped from her head

            behind her, a band of coir rope tarried:

It held two black stroller suitcases

            also a white tote baggage,

And behind her mountainous bulk

            strode to a hill-hotel a young frisky couple.

 

In awed compassion I then rambled along

            munching kernels of corn cob,

When through thick fog what do I see –

            With jute basket’s hung behind them on coir ropes

two women clambering up towards me:

            Both tea-pluckers, chatted animatedly

about their tough day’s work,

            of abusive, rigid supervisors they reckoned.

 

A third grill-canopied hangout I came atop

            after crossing two similar ones  

on the L-shaped Kanchenjunga-view walk:

            The youth here on their dates congregate

over tea, coffee, corn, peanuts, not much else –

            But dressed as if on the ramp at a fashion show –

livening the often foggy Darjeeling landscape

            with a fashion-sense par excellence.

 

As I walk on crunching roasted peanuts now –

            the fog shrouds me, or is it clouds?

Shivering in the chill I dash for shelter

            under the tin stall of  a woollen garments seller:

She smiles, bids me to sit, her face is so bright –

            not only from makeup, it’s amber of her warm heart.

Thunder rumbles, as large drops of rain descend:

            I’m sheathed in awe – of poise, resilience of hill people.

 

 

(PS: The pictures here, are merely illustrative, though I’ve clicked them myself.)

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An Afternoon Trek: Wellington, Tamil Nadu

An Afternoon Trek

 

The roads are winding, steep and uphill,

As we trudge on in the afternoon chill;

On either side are valley and hill,

Colourful flowers below pretty windowsills.

 

Part of the trek we have cloud and wind,

Then there is sun that burns our skin;

Sometimes cars make us swerve to the right,

Left we cross – to catch a breath-taking sight.

 

Little children holding their mother’s hand,

Outside closed convent gates stand,

Eyes twinkling with pranks they’ve planned,

Since the school bell rang – ending its ban.

 

At crossroads we stop to catch our breath,

But more for directions we have to take;

Posing for photographs at picturesque sights,

Bridges and golf courses on our stride.

 

Houses with blooming gardens in sight,

Make me wonder about the people inside –

Favoured by nature, aren’t they fortunate to be,

In the lap of mountains and striking scenery!

 

By now weary from the uphill walk,

Suddenly afar we see two armed guards:

Protecting those training to defend –

At the Army Staff College in Wellington.

 

A few moments at the war memorial we stand,  

Then trudge up to the barracks further up;

En route, at suave officers in cars we glance –

In blazers with name tags breezing past.

 

After pizzas and cool drinks at the barrack shop,

Munching homemade chocolates we trek on;

For before dark we have to safely be indoors –

In our hillside room, at the cottage in Conoor.