Friday, February 1, 2019




The gypsy mother dips the tip
of her index finger in a tiny box of kaajal*,
 dabbing a little under a mop of black hair
falling on her little daughter’s forehead.

Ah, she has warded off the evil eye;
[Or so she thinks !]
she sighs, pecking her on the cheek,
trying to put her to sleep.
With tender warmth, she puts the slender bundle
 in an improvised crib, deftly made with a piece of sturdy cloth
and hangs it between two trees.  Lightly,  ever so lightly.

An anorexic model, almost bent under the weight
of a heavy gold choker, looks down upon the mother- daughter
from a huge hoarding wired to one tree.
The mother’s nose- pin catches the glint of the rising sun 
 and it sparkles with a faux brilliance.
The din of the traffic becomes louder,
 relentless , vehement and cacophonous ,
juxtaposed against the soft notes of an illiterate  mother’s lullaby.
Splintered, ungrammatical and mispronounced. 

* A black powder used in south Asia as a cosmetic for the eyes ,
 or as a mark on the foreheads of infants , supposedly to ward off the evil eye . 


Hope dances in spirals,
 like ears of corn bursting into the sunlight.

It is a vibrant waterfall,
  now at ease, now cascading, now gliding,
 riding and sliding, a powerful cadence of a poem,
  long in oblivion. 

It is the scintillating smile of the sun
shimmering through rifted clouds.
Ah, the unending pulsation of life,
the ceaseless throbbing.

Hope reigns again
 in the form of long awaited rain.
Nature now sings a happy song.
The undulating strings of the earth
now bring mirth; no more dearth
on the parched earth.
It falls in a convulsive surge, purging all ill –will,
 removing the aridity and quenching the thirst
of parched humanity.

When I am slumped under myriad troubles
Hope appears again as a reassuring hand,
 placed lightly on my shoulder.
A soft touch.
Almost a feather.
No longer am I at the end of my tether;
 no longer the world dark or dreary
[But, ah brittle me]
 I am just a little
 teary –eyed.


Sitting on a bench outside a doctor’s room,
  what does one think?
Am I really on the brink?
When will the doctor come,
what will his diagnosis be?
[Oh, I just cannot bear this stink!]
May be , Death is just round the corner,
 but the finger still moves,
[ah how it moves!],
grooving to the beat of humming words
drumming squiggles and tattoos
on the screen of the cell- phone.

Are these my last words?
Eyes closed, fingers still move, trying to prove
 that the breaths may go, but the writer
 [even so- called] lives on,
[What notions!] in the words jabbed frantically
on the screen of the cell-phone. 

Like   that French writer, Arthur Rimbaud,
who wrote sitting aloft a run- down barn loft, I write on,
 perched on a wobbly chair. 
The chatter in my mind,
 [Ah it is one of a kind!]Clatters on.
What exactly was that excruciating pain?
 [May be just muscular?]
Ah, A season in Hell!
 My season is over, I think! 
Let me ramble, one last time,
After all, life is just a gamble.
There, there, they call my name!
 Time to go.


Every night, when the star- studded sky
serenades him with sublime songs,
the bedraggled child, sleeping near the gutter
buffs up his frayed dreams with two quivering hands.
Valiantly, the dreams  perk up, with a limp resilience ,
vainly hiding their creases and wrinkles;
then both chat deep into the night,
muttering, stuttering, spluttering confidences,
often breaking into dance,
swirling, whirling, unfurling.

Seeing their sterling dance performance,
the fallen leaves also put on their anklets and break
into dance.
Jitterbugs all.
The beleaguered leaves sing of rebirth and the child
dreams of freedom from dearth.
Dreamers all.


The lazy sun, ascended the hazy sky
with the air of an exhausted emperor,
its rays all awry.
Where, oh where, is the fun
in brightening a world, gone all crazy?
It smoldered in rage, at being caged
by the clouds.

But then, brushing away its sloth,
it perked up at the prospect of a new romance,
and beamed and pulsated, elbowing away the clouds.

In the trees, there was a flutter of excitement,
the songbirds burst into song.
The sun beamed with more exuberance,
as a couple of its beams soaked up
the wetness of a dripping hut of an impoverished family;
the chill in the hut silently tiptoed away,
the sun was thrilled,
as the birds trilled on.


Dr. SANTOSH BAKAYA:  Recipient of the International Reuel Award for Writing and Literature [2014] for her long poem Oh Hark! and the Universal Inspirational Poet Award, 2016, [conferred jointly by Pentasi B Friendship Poetry group and the Ghana Government May 2016] has been universally acclaimed for   her poetic biography of Mahatma Gandhi, Ballad of Bapu.  [Vitasta Publishers, Delhi, 2015]  Some of the other awards that she has received are, The INCREDIBLE WOMAN OF THE YEAR 2015 award [ The Incredible women of India] AAGMAN TEJASWINI AWARD 2017, [AAGMAN GROUP], LAASYA 2017 AWARD- A winning woman with beauty, happiness and grace [SUBH Power collage Consultants], Bharat Nirman Award for Literary Excellence 2017.  In 2018 , she  received the Setu Award for Excellence in recognition of her stellar contribution to world literature[ In the Individual Category] from Setu- a bilingual journal of literature , arts and culture ,  based in Pittsburgh, USA  She is an academician - poet -essayist – novelist- Ted speaker whose three earlier mystery novels, written as Santosh Magazine [The Mystery of the Relic, The Mystery of the Jhalana fort and The Mystery of the Pine cottage] for young adults, were very well received in the earlier 2000s. Her other books are:  Where are the lilacs? [Poetry, Authorspress, 2016]  Flights from my Terrace, [essays, Authors Press, 2017] Under the Apple Boughs [Poetry, Authorspress, Delhi 2017] A Skyful of Balloons [Authorspress, Delhi 2018] Extensively interviewed and featured in e-zines, world-wide, she has contributed to  many national and international anthologies. Translated into many languages, her poems have figured in the highly commendable category in Destiny Poets, a U. K based poetry website, and appeared in Café Dissensus, learning and Creativity- Silhouette magazine, in Incredible women of India, in Mind Creative [an Australia based e-zine] In Brian Wrixon’s anthology, Episteme, [Mumbai], in Setu – a bilingual e-zine published from Pittsburgh,  Our poetry Archive , Songsoptok ,  Raven – cage.   She – The Shakti , Tuck Magazine and Spillwords. com, where she was  the September - October Author of the month winner, 2017,  and also nominated as Author of the year 2017. Many of her poems are also part of Kiew , an anthology of tree Poems[ ed Virginia Jasmin Pasalo, Philippine] Her short stories figure in Silhouette 1 and 2, Defiant Dreams, Mock, stalk and Quarrel. She has co-edited UMBILICAL CHORDS: AN ANTHOLOGY ON PARENTS REMEMBERED,  [Global Fraternity of Poets, Gurgaon, Haryana]. Darkness there but something more. [Blue Pencil 2017] Cloudburst – The womanly Deluge [Global Fraternity of Poets, Gurgaon, Haryana] and Muted Moans Unleashed[ Authorspress ,2018]

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