aranya #11: union

What the forest saw: notes cascade into each other, like the sky dripping into the forest, in a waterfall of desire. And born out of the union is the language of the trees. birds catch it in their beaks, and pass it on like a state secret. The tiger stares it down, as it paws at the dirt. Cicadas know what is to come, and go into a frenzy. The forest is a cacophony of tuning. There is a temporary lull in the traffic of calls. Like the orchestral silence before a concert.

What aranya saw: I see you. Fluorescent flame of the forest. In your eyes the quiver of the night. Your torso, the brazen mind of the forest.

Unfurl me. Teach me to speak. Like others. So I can tell them what I see. In the words of your skin, spell out the mystery of seeing. Through human eyes. Let me learn the smell of wet earth.

Come, you secret conniving spirits of the night. Eye of water, ear of root, groping fingers of the little creeper – bear witness with me. Give me satori, the sudden enlightenment that cracks open like an akhrot.

Teach me.
To be.

What kaththi felt: where the wind breathes in noisy contemplation. And the forest undergrowth is abuzz with the sound of squirrels. aranya rises. I’m besotted. Stricken silent with the sting of inevitability. My mind is not mine, my body answers to some ancient memory that has made its home in my limbs.

I am yours. Let me be that leaf that clings to your waist. That root that hangs around your neck. Tie me around your wrist alongside the parasmani.

What the earth felt: a stone slipped into the mud. Dislodged by the beating heart of the earth. The breeze knocked at its door. And the stone let it in. They sat, in silent surmise. I have known this. Since the beginning of time. I have heard the echoes of young hearts turning in their orbs. Dancing with each other. And every time it is fresh.

This union is the thread that strings these lives of the forest together

What the heavens witnessed: There are nodes in the system, discrete pinpricks of life. In the way that a komal rishabh sews a shimmering of tanpura strings, or the bawra wind that flits through the leaves, or the fledgling sunlight that lights up the forest floor, this sensual pulse reverberates in the seed of things. .

Their love is the harvest of the forest.

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A kind of home

What is a home? Where you can lay your thoughts to rest. One by one. Like folded clothes. Where you can smoothen out the edges of the day’s dog eared pages. And pretend like you are whole again. Where compassion is a fire you don’t have to start all by yourself.
Somebody calls it the place where all attempts to escape cease.
But it’s a decoy. Like a smell that you didn’t notice at first, because you are right at the centre of it. And when it starts to curdle around you, you cannot believe you didn’t smell it before. It’s been there all the time.
The forest hides in the shadows. The ocean spills out of a broken urn. Music slips out of the broken string. And the light of many betrayals illuminates the dust, through the crack of a broken soul. The machine is alive when it’s broken. The system, when there’s a glitch.
Kintsugi is the art of mending broken pottery with gold. But I don’t need gold. All I need is the mismatched, incomplete, artlessness of a journey without end; to know that, really, it’s an illusion.
As Hakim said, chaos never died.
The river has no centre
No real beginning, or end
Its stillness
Is in its movement
I could live with that
A kind of home
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‘I’ll tell you all the news

the ocean froths In the empty ghada

a Shrill whisper rises 

Like piss in the stream 
The fawda picks away at the clod
Darknesses converge 

Upon the decaying carcasses 

The dead stink 

Louder than blasphemies 

In the sacred chamber 

And time, 

she laughs
The fawda picks away at the clod
Barbed wire angels 

Guard the arena of the mind 

Left brain right brain 

Left wing right wing

The blind man sees 

What nobody can 

Because he has vision 
The fawda picks away at the clod  
A shadow has fallen over the sky 

The hungry earth is stifled into silence 

Above the beating heart of stone 

Rises the three faced creature of the night 

Yelping fire, bloodless eye 

The bells toll.
They toll for you 

They toll for you. 
The fawda picks away at the clod 

  

Posted in #poemaday, Atyachar, community, Could be verse, Gothamisation, hmmm, I want to ride my bicycle, It is written, middle class mithya, night, One Bad Day, picture abhi baaki hain mere dost, poetry, why? | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

aranya #10: the conference of dogs

“…The sun was still orange then” he murmured. the forest, of old, glistened through his eyes. his dappled ashen beard shimmering gently in the breeze. “This was before the world knew humility, before humans knew the meaning of violence. I was brash then. bolder than I am now.”
Kaththi always seemed as if hew was sitting at the threshold of this world. as if his eyes were thrown open in wonder, gazing into another universe filled with dreams and magic, and his voice was giving testimony. or clearing a path between the brambles, and long prickling grass of the forest.
The dogs sat caught in the lasso of his story. Quiescent. some panted. all of them were watching his every gesture, as he spilled the milk of his pasts into their midst.
“I stole it. like an idiot. like some petty thief. and I sold it in the blackmarkets of Aryavarth. Ganpati’s story. for a few paisa. And as more people heard his story, he grew bigger. and bigger until he was too big for the forest.
Yeah, that’s right. Ganpati ran away from Siva, to look for his human head. his elephant body. We met. I took him captive.”, and he let out a great big guffaw.
“You’d think he was divine, immortal and such, but he was clumsy as hell. just wrong. plain misfit. he was standing there like some confused adolescent. might as well have held a sign.
One full day I gave him. in return for his tusk.
‘I’ll throw in a poem he said.’
‘with war and stuff. two warring families. I’ll throw in a story of live, and death, and betrayal. I’ll write you an epic worthy of an age of giants, and men. women of such fire, and men of such vision, that they will be the stones on which lives are scratched out hence’
‘So I gave him a day. bartered for the Mahabharata’
before I returned him to Shiva”
“He never quite got the hang of it, you know. this god business. He seemed better of in the forest.”
he stopped. Tashi suddenly sprung up and trotted into the foliage at the edge of the clearing. a bird called in a shrill bassoon. leaves rustled.
one look at sitara, the alpha of the pack.
and they left. the dogs.
silently.
discreetly
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lust

the epiphany of flight
a congress of feathers
the hesitantly rising morning sun
untethered mind
muslin skin
perforated silences
guttural cackle of bone
river of undulating flesh
caressing the stain
tongue, breath, fume
burning forest of thoughts

two becomes one
becomes twice one
 

serene animal that gazes
with flaming eyes

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aranya #9: and catastrophe

The trees understood it first. but they were ancient. their messages passed slowly. antibodies had started to kick in.
it was night at day. a storm in a bottle. the second coming. the apocalypse. the end of the universe as they knew it.
language gave up now. it couldn’t keep up. the cadence of the time was out of joint. the bird of chaos had taken flight. and was burning the forest with its anxious creed. shards of glass flew like insults. there is no driver at the wheel. the devil had rained upon the tower of languages.
Moloch rose, machine-gaze, mettalic-blaze, glutton, whiplash breath, hundred fingered messiah of greed.
Moloch, curse of time, bane of the ages.
Moloch. Man.
***
The monkeys sat cackling. the hyenas stopped mid-guffaw. Even the branches strained under the weight of the onslaught. they fell under themselves. Djyn Qi searched in the rubble. It was as if the secret was hidden under the breathing earth of the ages. and they searched, but could not find it.
Djyn saw the catastrophe that was man. head bandannaed, bare chest, fury of the civilised, out to civilise, to burn out the language that would reach heaven. out to erase, to unearth, out to attack, out to insult.
out
to tame.
he saw the womb crying, tears of blood, and the nectar of the forest. He ran to the tunnel of silence and hid from the probing river of the menace.
the virus.
the disease.
the epidemic.
the infestation.
***
The disease had spread into the very sky above them. The sun bled red. Hunger. a drought of desire. the poverty of bones, and ashes. thought had turned into ice. instinct had taught itself to learn. the first breath lay writhing before slipping into rigor mortis.
all he could do was cry at the wake.
They’d come armed. with knowledge.
with the breath of the town – their hearts black with revenge.
They had come.
to civilise.
***
At that moment he realised that the real wild animal was the human.
The ‘wild’ of animals was simple and honest.
It was never without purpose.
There was no sophistry in the violence.
Killing wasn’t a calculated act.
It was there, because it had to be done. It was as simple as that.
a kind of mutual respect, almost.
But there was no animal as creative in violence as man.
Humans would kill because of boredom,
or to play, or to learn.
Killing brought them certainty – faith of a kind.
Religion. Killing bought them closer to god. they thought.
They had become so distant  from their beginning, from the smell of wet earth and the spank of the wind, that the fire that raged within them now
was nothing but the smell of makeup
and the manic necrophilia of truth.
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aranya #8: genesis

The sun streamed through the rafters and cast a broken lattice on Djyn’s sleeping figure. A spider was making its way across the roof of the hut. enjoying the warmth of the just born sun. A mosquito ventured slowly towards the little boy clinging to his mother, in quiet repose. His little chest rose slowly up and down beneath the felt razai.
He was dreaming.
He was sitting in his little treehouse. playing with the new baby (the one who was going to come in a few months). She had blue unflinching, curious eyes that peeped out through a round freckle face. Her hair was dark and curly. It bounced up and down as she laughed excitedly. He was explaining to her the law of the jungle. Just as Baba Qi had explained it to him so many times. It was a happy dream. Baby was smiling.
The morning had woken.
Djyn opened his eyes and let the world in. He looked around him. the ashes from last night’s cooking fire lay on one one side. his mother was sleeping next to him. Outside Baba Qi was boiling his daily concotion of herbs and leaves. Qi-tea the children liked to call it. Nobody knew what he put into it. but it was beautiful. not too sweet, or sour. It was just right, a symphony of flavours married in an earthen pot. The pot itself was ancient. It had funny symbols carved into the black neck. When little Djyn asked Baba about the symbols, every time, he would give him a different answer. The story of us, he said once. or alphabets from a  foreign language.  He didn’t reveal much, and he would smile that simple smile that Djyn loved. That was Baba.
Every action, every movement, every joint in his body, where skin stretched over bone, every little twitch, was infused with the breath of peace. If silence was a person it would have been Baba. It was as if the patience of the ages, the watchful calm of the forest rested in his fragile frame; as if an ocean slumbered behind his radiant eyes. When he spoke, it was brief, only what the moment demanded.
not one word less,
not one more.
Seeing him stirring the cauldron, Djyn went out and jumped onto his father’s back and tried to tickle him behind his ears. Baba laughed.
“Are you ready?”
“I am”, he chirped back.
It was the big day. they were going to put the last slab on the tree house that he had built by himself. Well, almost. Baba had showed him how to let the wood find its own way, how to never go against the grain – and allow it to become the structure, rather than beating it into shape. It was quite beautiful really. There was only one , to complete his little haven.
“What are we waiting for then?”, he  whispered in that husky voice, slinging Djyn properly on to his shoulders, with the axe in his other hand. They trotted to the grove, and Baba started to climb to the top with Djyn on his back, swinging effortlessly from one branch to the next, before jumping on to the wooden floor of the tree-house.
Djyn saw it first.

His eyes widened.

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