Waiting for Kalki


Waiting for Kalki

Reclining against the cold Himalayas, she waits
Her sobs reverberating above the muezzin calls and hymns
Aarti blazes at dusk meet haloed altar candles
yet fail to illuminate her weeping pipe dreams.
Her aura reduced to a flickering flame
Oh where are you Kalki? Still playing the waiting game?

Her attire in tatters, insidious assaults from her sons
she grips the frayed edges with her tempestuous smile
Blood oozing from her graying temples
as bigoted saws cleave her bosom into gushing rivulets.
“How do I stop those grabbing, lustful fingers?
I am her daughter but now pitted against my own brothers.”

She opens her peace-scented bowers to misguided souls
trying to soothe their hatred with forgiving tears
Ignoring her wounds, her love -drenched prayers,
They see only the gold glittering in her womb.
“Some brave sons she needs, a few virginal daughters too
I cannot light any more funeral pyres of her infants, all alone.”

A mother, our own, ravished shamefully by our gods
Her wise lap, a barren graveyard lashed by divisive tongues
Pull out poison -tipped arrows, tug at hateful weeds
Every iota and inch of her is almost a grisly battlefield.
Her bloody rivulets run down my bleeding fingers too
How do I feed babies with such sinfully soiled hands?

Lend me helping hands to sweep our colossal courtyard clean
to re-write our history on a dirt-repelling lotus leaf
of lives lost in vain, waiting for a Kalki to shoulder the blame.
-Reena Prasad

Ganga


Ganga stood
beautifully poised
on the brink of heaven
And then she began
Her free fall
upon Earth
Accelerating towards the ground
Her lithe, streamlined form
Swaying silkily down
Determined to make earth bear
the brunt
of her hurt arrogance.

Destructive force
of her descent
absorbed calmly by The Destroyer
without a lapse in  concentration
She meandered, stunned  by her inability
to sweep away the great God
Losing her way instead
among his tangled locks,
till he showed her the path
gently bringing her down to earth
dissolving her ego by his move
Her sweet purity reinstated with a mission
to mitigate a universal thirst
till the end of Kalyug.

Earth rejoiced
in the arrival of the mountain daughter
Turning green and blue
Swirling around, teeming with joy
sprouting life wherever
the divine waters touched.

North and then east
in several streams, she flowed
Turning into Bhageerathi
till the ocean beckoned.
Will she too follow Saraswati
blackened by man’s sins?
Dry and condemned
a lost spiritual flow.

Meditate not on her banks,’ O’ god men
Touch her not with your sinful feet
But immerse your soul into her purity
Let go, let go of all the Maaya
in the lethargic smoke that spouts from you
wipe those wick-oil smeared shutters
And see through an inner frame
Snip away those matted bird nests
Wash away those flaky ash smears
Sporting those half dead snakes
cannot make you Shiva.

Cleanse those guilty cavities
let your sins be your Guru
Maybe you still can feel
the rush, the roar and the force
as she lands on those coiled dreadlocks
entwined with serpent slaves of a mastered ego
and see
a crescent on his forehead
a glittering trophy of his timelessness.

As you drown in the inner knowledge
of your worthless existence,
pray it opens unto you
His third eye of knowledge
To dispel the black, ignorant miasma
To reduce to holy ash
the falseness of life on earth.

Washing the ashes of more than the purported
sixty thousand sons,
She still sways,
The spiritual Ganga  running in our veins
Suffering the same fate
as the tearful, throttled one
Carrying  moral corpses
Stagnant and poisoned
for a lost mind
can no longer mimic
a lotus leaf.

For Ganga leans
Tired, ravished
Waiting for the Bull,
standing on one leg
To stand on all fours
again

©Reena Prasad

Shakti


Shakti

A doldrum drumming of ‘Dhaak’,never.
A rhythm punctuated with cymbal crashes
Artistic divinity conjured up
in swirling ‘aarti’ smoke screen etchings
Fiery red paths blaze into blackish-grey forests
above ‘kumkum’ embellished sixth ‘chakra’ gates
widened into spiritual highways.
A pure face in sarcoline clay
her piercing gaze enters
into culture-clamoring chambers of common cores
rivaling the silver ‘trishul’ tip.
The ‘Sudarshan’, the thunderbolt
All shooting comets of fear
into habitually sinning whorls.

 

Women celebrate the home-coming
of the cosmic energy aggregate of celestial powers.
Her multi-tasking hands work harder than ever
to decimate the rapidly proliferating opportunistic demons.
A dying ‘Mahishasura’ at her feet
mauled by her snarling ‘Manashtâla’
The ultimate fate of a sinner,
a compelling portent to potential ones
Tongues waggle in vernacular rhythms
A thrilling conch call aborts the agnostic season
piously throwing a protective ‘Chaitanya’
to disrupt the soul-gnawing negative energy fields.

 

‘Gupchup’sellers with crispy, puffed morsels
Dispense their sweat flavoured wares
to ravenous, suddenly casteless people
united in their desire to drown
the creaking protests of ungreased joints
pushing the allotted cart of life
in the tangy spiciness of the
black, salted tamarind waters.
A celebration uniting the poorest rickshaw puller
with starched cotton sari elegance
and street artists in their erudite makeovers.
A compulsive, cultural desire sweetening
the ‘Akaal Bhodon Puja’ days
on either side of the Indian rupee.

 

The pitch tunes into unmanifest frequencies,
the crowd surges in feverish rhythm,
Kids make a beeline for the’prasad’
‘Anjali’ flowers shower on countless heads
‘Chaitighodas’ thump away in Ambagan
Stupor inducing sweet white smoke
emanating from burning coconut shells in earthen pots
as the youth sway away to the  comforting’Dhaak
A mythological canvas of resplendent ‘pandals’
Gleaming silver framing the fierce deities,
reaffirming the supremacy of woman power
in a land desperately struggling  to defend
the dignity of its dutiful daughters.

-Reena

Synastry


Synastry

 

Job assured, monthly cash flow secure

Time on hands, music no longer enchants

Bored, tired , hungry perpetually

He reads more wedding invitations

than paperback crime thrillers.

All symptoms match his coming of age

He hovers on matrimony’ s edge

Unsure, insecure yet raring to go.

 

 

Her  frizzy fringes tamed now to grow long

Her mother on prowl for suitable prey

Father scanning  three online newspapers

to avoid paying the broker’s fees.

She avoids gatherings for they bring queries

about her still- solitary status

Hormones rampant, full moon waning

She nods when she sees his snap.

 

 

Naughts and crosses ,the diabolical diagram enigma

interspersed with numerically-coded  planetary quirks

The net-savvy  druid announces a match

between his zodiac art and her natal horoscope

Mother announces  the news of a perfect catch

He conjures up images of the honeymoon trip

She splurges on the innards of her bridal trousseau.

 

Thus they dream on in separate heavens

while their stars plan for the future wars

They sacrifice the happiness of carefree youth

for numerical computations of “rajju” and “yujja”

Happiness abounds ,homesteads sport fresh paint

Auspicious rituals shorten the suddenly  long days

She sparkles  shyly in her bridal flowers

He  smiles nervously, they tune in together

 

Strangers thrown together like cowrie shells

declared soul-mates by crisscrossing  planets

for spending not one but seven births together

Fate, karma, destiny or  just crafty synastry?

 

-Reena

SIN BIN


SIN BIN 

 

That lie which lies in your pocket

to save your ego’s face

The grave error of judgment you made

The mouth bashing and slang- flavoured talk

behind a purported friend’s back

The angry lash of tongue in place of compassion

The bribe for priority in the guise of a busy man.

Common human failings.

 

Let us dump them

in a place we call sacred

 

A place where we ask for undeserved favours

Closing our eyes to known remedial measures

Forgetting that He supports only the hard worker,

never the shirker.

A place where we go to save us work

of undoing our  wrongs

Instead of putting a good stitch in place ,

then humbly requesting  His divine support.

 

A place ,pure and revered

Holiest in our books of wisdom

yet overflowing with the trash

Emptied from human and inhuman hearts

Soiled with the impurities of immoral  drifting rafts

Washing away our sins, emptying mental garbage bins

Forgiveness  flows here we believe, like River Ganga

wiping the slate blank to re write fresh atrocities again.

 

For us the temple, the church, the mosque always a sin-bin.

Under the mango tree


Under the mango tree

A lone mango tree stands
remembering a village old
Brown legs, frayed pockets , shining marbles
Beedi smoke of old men
Anklet chimes ,girlish chatter and
motherly concerns sweetening the breeze.
Life moved with the ease of time
dropping enough green mangoes
for pickles and little girls to eat with salt
savouring every drop, sweet and sour.

Somewhere in this bountiful land
adorned with nature’s green crown
Mothers turned into  Kaikeyis
neglecting little  Rams
hoping to transmogrify into modern queens
School masters shortened the lessons
omitting the moral part of stories
Soon the reek of distorted knowledge spread far
– to grab, to hoard for one’s gain.

There started the sickening saga
Childhood fast forwarded into youth,
into men selling daughters
Neither innocence nor  old age tremors
could deter them
Money was declared the leader
however soiled with gory sins
Entrepreneurs shed the last moral feathers
donning avaricious masks
Bulldozing honesty ,
trampling  over life with mafia boots
Reducing human values,
raising quotation stakes
God men with I-pods in armpits
hooked confused souls with immoral nets.

Bigger are the houses,yet hearts shrunk into  hard pebbles
Locks  galore often with lost keys
Paddy fields drowned under teak wood mansions
Muddy village ways ,now pot-holed death traps
The sprawling village horizontally  compressed into
oxygen depleted  sky-scrapers
The barren mango tree has sheds its last leaves
on forgotten graves rotting among its brethren roots.

©Reena Prasad PUBLISHED IN WORDS ON THE WINDS OF CHANGE( Brian Wrixon) Anthology.

A riparian saga(Autopost)


A Riparian saga

Stamped on the pages of time-gnawed manuscripts,
an ancient tale is written in stone .
A hidden saga with undeciphered scripts.
Skeletons of engineering marvels, totter in modern cities,
filth and foul waters flow over human feet .
Retribution for lessons unlearnt, forgotten.

Abstract musings or clear portraits ?
On verge of usurping the throne of creation
yet angle undecided, to decode the past.
Saraswati sentenced to an underground dungeon.
Vitasta blackened by the sins of misguided generations.
Wayward thirst of parched clay, tears apart Satadru today.

Divine peaks flag off a heavenly flow,
Sindhu sashays gracefully down the glaciers.
A blue symphony, once holding six sisterly hands.
Her blessings replaced by barbed wires and territorial threats
Fertile basins spout blood over fragile eco systems while
Saptha Sindu oozes hate upon its conspiring playgrounds.

Seismic wisdom shakes the gravestones of a golden past
We still carry hymns hidden under reverberating gun shots.
Green shadows of Mother Earth, do cool the smoldering suns here.
Let tectonic plates unite hearts into sharing a fragrant rice bowl.
Pray our clay pots retain the earthy fragrance of inner knowledge
and lessons from history, replace cloudy miasmas of smoking egos.

Akshayapatra


Akshayapatra

An empty tin clangs as little hands knock it down
to the cow-dung smeared floor
A search to loosen the clutch of hunger’s fingers
from deprived yet distended little bellies.
No sweet figures of speech can lessen
the agony of not having eaten a morsel .
Eyes which have seen a drought of hope
watch silently at the little one’s futile efforts
to hang on to life with a little bit of moldy bread
procured from a street bin….

Health and an aura of plenty, ooze from rosy cheeks
as they lie sprawled on plump cushions
watching brain-numbing violence on the TV.
having eaten the chicken legs
and thrown the vegetable fried rice into the waste bin …

Elsewhere, farmers gather rotten rice crops to bury them
because some one forgot to care about arranging
harvesting machines to reap the pregnant fields of food
in a country teeming with hunger pangs…

In the starry hotel, the record books were re-written
Thousands of life-saving bread slices stood tall in beautiful fashion
Men in suits and girls in much less posed for pictures in its midst…
Days later, the display remained till molds arrived
then it was donated to pig farms as a luxurious buffet
yet denied to a starving society’s young ones…

The hands that till the earth, the hands that waste the fruit
The hands that grab and run, the hands that beg for life…
Can they unite ever?
©Reena Prasad

Notes

“Akshaya Patra” means an ‘inexhaustible’   ‘vessel’. It was a wonderful vessel given to Yudhishthira by the Lord Surya (Sun God), which held a never-failing supply of food to the Pandavas every day. Yudhishthira  was the eldest of the  five Pandava brothers in the Indian Epic ,Mahabharata.

A skewed panorama


Painting by Sankara Rao Bhatta

A skewed panorama

Never must we forget
what is etched now into the cornerstones of history
was once written on fragile canvases
by human hands like yours and mine.
Reins of kingdoms dropped on the way
picked up by sycophants of yesterday.
Sweetness of tongue splayed upon  pages
when flattery became a life-saving shame.
Golden palaces or termite hills
or a  shroud over decayed moral ills.
Benevolence and valour can even mean
nepotism and fantasia
translated in the mesmerising  glare of glittering bait.
The true image drowned by time’s waves
re-emerging as heroism in twisted tales.
May the book serve as a beacon
in showing us the path ahead.
We often err in hiding behind it
for it never was, a shield for cowards
nor a walking stick of strong credentials
to bear the weight of human follies.
Let the mellow pages instead teach
the lessons which time forgot
in classrooms in the refreshing shade of a banyan.
‘O’ Eternal breeze! Do open our inner eyes!

©Reena Prasad  Published in the anthology Indus Valley

Celebrations


Celebrations

Exploding fire in the night sky
threatening to set the world ablaze.
Glee stamped on every face.
Thudding hearts competing with the drums
letting loose a universal mayhem.
Every where on roads laced with victory
exhuberantly dancing for their country.
Awkwardness flies, unity emerges
from the multitude of language differences.
One shout echoes its way to heaven
reinforced by oceans of swaying humans.
Tri-colored cars, precariously hanging bodies
hip hip hooraying into the annals of history
A glorious moment , a unique symphony
turning noise into music, a game into a story
Of a world cup won and a nation’s glory!