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The big friend*

Whence after writing
Losing myself in dreams
A bit of nostalgia whence
Wraps my mind like a comforter
How am I reminded of him
The 'Big Friend' , had been his nickname;He used to sit on high stool
Overlooking the reading hall
Grave looking faces with specs
Whence news on papers read,We just loitered around him,
' what do you want? Tintin?
Or Alistair Maclean?'
His eyes filled with humour
Filled our sunday morn's hour;How after so many days
Whence I feel lost  in dreams
How am I simply reminded of him.(*note: it is written on a special person who had been the librarian of a club called ' Sports Club'. He used to keep open the children's section of the library every Sunday without fail, just to supply us with books)

'বড়ো বন্ধু '*

অনেক লেখা লিখলেও
যখন লেখার রেশ
হারিয়ে খেই
হই নিরুদ্দেশ
ঠিক তখনই দেখেছি
তোমার কথা মনে পড়ে বেশ;রবিবারের আসর শেষ
রেডিওএ কুঈজ শো
স্পোর্টস্ ক্লাবের রিডিং রুম
চশমা চোখ পড়ে খবর টাটকা হাত গরম;আর তুমি হাই স্টুলে আসীন
আমাদের বড়ো বন্ধু
' কি চাই? টিনটিন?
না আলিস্টেয়ার মাক্লিন?'সহজ চোখে হাসির রেশ
তোমার কথা মনে পড়ে  বেশ,
বইয়ের থাক, সারি সারি প্রলোভন,
ঐ তো নতুন হোমস্, ঐ যে রবি ঠাকুর পুরাতন;অনেক লেখা লিখলেও
যখন লেখার রেশ
হারিয়ে খেই
হই নিরুদ্দেশ
ঠিক তখনই দেখেছি
তোমার কথা মনে পড়ে বেশ।(* বি:দ্র : ' বড়ো বন্ধু ' এই লেখাটা একজন বিশেষ মানুষকে নিয়ে লেখা যার আসল নামটি মনে নেই কারণ তিনি আমাদের কাছে 'বড়ো বন্ধু ' নামেই পরিচিত ছিলেন। উনি ছিলেন আমাদের এক ' স্পোর্টস্ ক্লাবের' লাইব্রেরিয়ান। প্রতি রবিবার ছোটদের জন্য উনি লাইব্রেরিতে থাকতেন শুধু ছোটদের হাতে বই তুলে দেবার জন্যে। আমাদের ছোটবেলার হরেক স্মৃতি তাই ওনাকে ঘিরে আজও অম্লান। )

If Thou hath reached the shore*

If thou hath reached the shore
Leave thy oar
Take my hands instead
For moments make me sit
By thy side ( for a treat)
For moments few
Make me sit
On the meadows (drenched by dew),
The night has  got blown away
By the waves, as arrives the day;Thou the Boatman,
If my home is not far away
If the tune of homecoming
Holds over me the sway,
With the arrival of the morn,
Just that music Thou play
Which upholds the song
Of the road at that root of the tree
( as my home do I see
Arriving at that step of door)Thou the Boatman
If Thou hath reached the shore
Leave thy oar
And take my hands instead.( *note: it is a transliteration of a poem/ song of Rabindranath Tagore, number 66, as can be found in page 429, volume two, Collected Works/ রবীন্দ্ররচনাবলি, Birth Centenary edition)

The river at dusk

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The River which goes on flowing
Without hassles meandering
There  how I find it oft and true
The dusk painting her with hues
Wonderous and surely enchanting,
A blissful state of a blessed evening,
Colorful, joyous , sublime a song
How in her murmurs that is  kept for long,
How in her flowing never ending mirth
oft am I made to find happiness of earth,
How in her eternal poesy so wrought
Do I find what life for us always brought-
The beginning of civilisation, human race
And that soul immortal by which we are blessed.
( the painting attached for illustrative purpose is by David Lloyd Glover, titled ' the dusk river')

A few lines written on a brief sojourn to a village

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Being confined in the city for long
Whence once I got the chance
To go away to a village
On a brief sojourn,
How had I been with warmth filled
Seeing the translucent curtain of mist
Over the benign earth,
The trees looked lovely and green
Fresh as if they had taken a bath
( and how I took a sabbatical), Being pent up in the city for long
Whence once I took the road
That went to a village sure
On a brief sojourn,
How had I heard the songs and chirps
Of birds welcoming the morn
As it arrives quiet on earth,
The day smelt of flowers and buds
Fresh as they woke up with me
( and what a sabbatical I took).

Ode to childhood

'The child is father of the man; 
And I could wish my days to be 
Bound each to each by natural piety. '
(Wordsworth, "My Heart Leaps Up") There had been a time
Whence everything came with a shine,The river ( by which we spent most of our life both young  and new,)
The trees standing quiet ( like angels on two flanks of the avenue,)
The ponds ( where we spent many hours chasing tadpoles with sticks)
The playgrounds ( where we played  till our sweat with dirt got mixed,)They all came with wonders and awe
They all filled us  with joy for we gathered
Love and kindness from what we saw,We were then mere children left at the mercy of nature,
We lived neither in past nor in future,
We lived, ( as children were we) on the present,
We discovered how the flowers bloomed with scent
And how fruits hung from some trees in summer
How just at dusk, from fields with cows, returned the farmers,
How the lanterns ( made clean by mother) shone bright
How the candles made shadows on o…

My freedom lies in the lighted sky*

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My freedom lies in the lighted sky My freedom doth in dust and grass lie; How I lose my self beyond  the body and mind
In songs my liberty how do I oft find;
My freedom , in the minds of all , lies
In works hard which dangers and plight trivialise; In the Lord's sacrificial fire how my self I free
As if in that self annihilation  I always find Thee.
(*note: this poem is a transliteration of a song/ poem of Rabindranath Tagore, a humble tribute to Tagore)

Samson and Delilah - a story retold

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At the Valley of Sorek whence
Samson first  Delilah saw
He had perhaps that pervading sense
Of love within him growing raw
So he sought love from her
The maiden with wonderous looks
Eyes that could pull him near; He pledged his heart to her
In lieu she asked what could make
Samson such a valiant warrior
And he , being what he was
Without doubting made the mistake
He told her if could someone his hair
Cut and take those strands away
All of his strength would just disappear; Hearing this Delilah made a pact
Betraying love that was sacrosanct
She took Samson to the bait
Luring him upon her lap to meet his fate, And how awful had been that sight
To find Samson losing the fight
Like a child as he dozed off
Upon the lap of his lady love.
( the picture attached is a painting by Peter Paul Rubens, 1609, based on the O.T. story of Samson and Delilah)

Milton

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Be it Paradise lost
Or Regained,
Whatever be the cost,
Who could ever think to write
Like John , lines so bright? Upholding the freedom of press
At that time even,
'Areopagitica '
As it was so named,
And then there is Lycidas
Who had been multilinguist such?
Knowing hebrew and also dutch,
Who had created things polemic
Out of excruciating grief?
Who could create Satan that way
An anti hero holding sway
Over the whole world,
Declaring outright
' better to reign in hell
Than in heaven  serve'?
His L' allegro and Il Penseroso
How in us still wonder sow,
And when we read
' On the morning of Christ's Nativity'
How are we filled by only pity,
His that poem on Shakespeare
How brings forth his tribute
To his literary predecessor, And the book that he added
To Paradise Regained
How that for us Samson
brought, that champ,
How we through him gained, Be i t Paradise lost
Or Regained,
Whatever be the cost,
Who could ever think to write
Like John , lines so…

How oft I think of thee

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How oft I think of thee
Just to have a life
Like Walter Mitty,^ Not a milquetoast kind
But with colors which bind
Would I just float away
Down that road which infront lay Running down that road by the hill
And also by that sea which gives that feel
Of being part of a larger design
By which the Lord up there doth sign, Would I go on forever true
Walter Mitty like so catching hue
Of life, unchallenged, savoured
Taste of ambrosia , in mouth so flavoured, You might say it is all unreal
Concocted thing,
Life can never such beauty bring, But then why are
We so alive here? Poets and writers
Don't they dare?
(note: ^ Walter Mitty: a character of a story by James Thurber; also the protagonist of a flick based on the story)




She *

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If thou be the Mother incarnate
And that of power too
If thy omniscient soul knows
The blessings of rain and dew,
Whence on painted forms
Emerge thee,
That I call the potence of woman hood
- SHE, And You keep all in your beauty intertwined
Colors, paints, sculpted forms, poetic lines,
You make an artist , you make a poet,
By Your wonder You the World do create, And i just keep on my lips
Prayers and songs
That takes me to the deep
Of Love, all encompassing,
I just try to find thy light
Thy existence ,  YOU,
The non-existent  Being. (*note : loosely based on a painting by one of my students, who is a painter and an artist , Anwesha Chowdhury Mitra,)

The life of a child*

Have not the courage to be
A small child so
With old age how i grow;
Try to save trivial things
With them boxes how i fill
Full upto brim;
Yesterday's thoughts
How come today
How they brought
Tomorrow's burden;
How that quest never ends
As i keep on the search
Those have i gathered
How discover i
Have no value
(So do i search
For eternity);Being afraid of future
Can't get to see
Where doth the path lie
Day after tomorrow
(Where wilt i be)
Future will remain
In future such
When wilt the holiday
Come with mirth?Try to light up
My mind's candle
Which just flickers
In the breeze and does tell
To walk me tip toeing;
So many people
So many friends
They advice bring,
So many little things
Nitty gritty they  send
( how i take the path
That goes by without bends);Come there that assurance
Again in me ,
To find that child
Within my mind's sea;
Let there be that breeze
Which can touch my sails
As i wish to go floating
Without fail(s);Wish to go beyond
The future so
Tha…

Viola*

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What kind of love, what emancipation
Did once make that bard to find thee?
Are You only a character of just a comedy?
But then, towards the end of Juliet and Romeo
So praised by the Queen , the wight and the beau-
When they came together, right at the tip of feather,
How Shakespeare , thought of  you,
Viola, the heroine, when  came to the bard's view, A page, a woman with love so much unbridled,
Who could go searching for her love as she felt,
In the kingdom of that Duke, Orsino,
How on the 'Twelfth Night,' ^ everyone did know
You , Viola, the muse of the playwright,
How by your presence you made bright,
Your feminine heart , your ways to find
How to touch the Duke's nimble mind, And when you sang for your brother,
How Sebastian ( thought to be buried in the sea)
Came back alive to find thee, What kind of love, what emancipation?
Did once make the bard to find thee?
Are you only a character of a comedy? Nay, cause thou art true and wise
By love made so, beyond tears …

A flower, abloom

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How the flower blooms there
In thy heavenly lair
A retreat, a sanctuary perhaps
Where time stands still, (without lapse)
And how that sight in heart giveth birth too,
Of a  poem or a song
Filled with pristine mirth
Graced by thy love laden view...

Mother, if You have been the sky*

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Mother, if thou have been the sky
And the champa tree, I,
With you without words
Would've I conversed; The breeze from thou
Touching branches mine
Would've called me
With tunes for a dance, to thee; Without words how can I
Pay heed to calls thine,
so my words doth fly
Falling on the leaves that shine; Thy light to my dewy drenched soul
Would have whispered and told
Upon, making me sing
A song of joy (perhaps
As it would bring); Then I would have made
All my buds to bloom pure
As they would have said
All the words, dancing sure; The shadow of thy cloud
Floating in from somewhere
Touching mine for a while
Would again go away like a feather; It would then become
That fanciful tale
And story of that prince
Who had gone beyond
kingdoms several; He would have told me
Where lied that vine
Where lived the sea monster
Where the princess with beauty
Did everything bind; Would have seen
those teary eyes
Of the queen
Heaving a sigh
And my leaf would
Tremble too
Seeing that
Heart r…

Onto white and pristine sails*

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Onto white and pristine sails
whence the mild breeze touch,
Never seen rowing of the Boat such;
From which land beyond the seas
Which treasure it brings never ceased,
With it the mind wishes to float,
And wishes to leave all desires and wants,
(Singing perhaps Thy songs with ease
As they come out from throat) How the stream keeps on falling,
How the rumble can be heard,
How the ray of lighted beams
Comes through the clouds unbarred; O Thou the Boatman, who art Thou, whose laughter and tears
by thy boat You tow,
How mind mine thinks of thee-
With which tune You  would string
the day's song ( giving it a meaning)
Which prayer would be sung (for long). (* note: it is a transliteration of a song/ poem of Rabindranath Tagore, as can be found in collected works/ রবীন্দ্ররচনাবলি,
song number 145, volume four, birth centenary edition. The transliteration is my humble tribute to Tagore).

Never tried to know *

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Never tried to know Thou still mind mine moves to thee
Never knowing Thou the  World still rests in Thee,
Thy immense Beauty who had felt true
That sweetness eternal and new-
How have I given my soul to thee
So unknowingly,
Thou art the light of luminosity,
I am blinded in the darkness,
Thou art free , epitome of liberty,
I am immersed in that shoreless sea,
Thou art endless, I am so tiny, beggarly-
How we meet by wonder , You and me. ( * note: it is a transliteration of a poem of Rabindranath Tagore , as can be found in  collected works / রবীন্দ্ররচনাবলি , volume four, page 650, song/poem number 48. This transliteration is a humble tribute to Tagore, from me)

Morning is a river

In the morning's pristine mirth
In the flowers awesome blooming birth
In songs of birds and music of earth
how do i get oft that wonderous sense
OfThy compassion, Thy Love,Thy presence,
How do i find how in thy world every day
Light greets the arrival of another day,
And i again in my heart how do get
There is no end to Your poetic state
Is it a flowing one, a river true,
As oft i stand before Her to view
Her sparkling silvery beautiful hue,
Or is it that tune of primordial song
Which keeps on ringing for ages long?
i do never try to find how You arrive
With which song or music You fill our life
Only do i go by Your songs, paintings and writes
That You have left for us subtle yet bright.

Eirene

Whence thou art there
Holding true and tranquil
The lighted day, the peaceful feel,
Why canst do i not think of thee
Eirene whence You set me free?
Like that bird perhaps, (a grecian one?)
A pouli ( migratory like that in winter come) Or a white swan.( Eirene: Greek Goddess of Peace)

Just by the river ,

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Just by the river
a bit reclusive
How colors erupt
Quite idyllic,
They come together
Sisters two,
The younger one
Thinking of her beau
The elder one
Having a view
Of the beauty
Of the place, Just by the river
Quite,
 how they get blessed.

( the painting attached for illustrative purpose,  is by John Singer )

Where does this path go*

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Where does this path go,
Who that does really know,
To the foot of which hill,
To which sea coast
To which wish implausible
Who does that really know; Who travels to and fro
Through this road , who goes
Who does that know,
How are His songs,
What smile doth He carry for long,
For which quest does he go
Who that does really know. {* note: it is a transliteration of a poem of Rabindranath Tagore, as can be found in collected works, birth centenary edition, volume four, page 123, included in ' পূজা ' ( worship) section. The transliteration is my humble tribute to the greatest poet and philosopher of all times}

Winter morning

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Don't know why but everytime I think of winter,  how I hear bells chime,
Somewhere up there in hills, Where once had we that feel Of mist and dew and roads running quiet All drenched by softest light, And how we kept on walking through The fog and foliage to get that view Of the hills and their sun kissed peaks How there once a sabbatical we did seek, How that sojourn and many more after With a feeling of warmth comes winter, A bit ascetic sometimes, the sombre gongs, Sometimes colorful, with cakes and songs,  How winter brings so many things Pines, deodars and trees incense bearing.
( the painting attached for illustrative purpose is done by Mopasang Valath, an artist and landscape painter hailing from Kerala, India, who follows varied media, but mostly watercolor. This one is acrylic on canvas ) 


Who will take me*

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Breaking the key to my home, who wilt take me
O friend mine!
Without seeing thou, canst live life so lone;

Perhaps the night has ended
Perhaps the sun has sent rays,
Thy soft pinkish morning's glow
On the sky blue how doth show-
There can see the path ahead,
Wilt not thy chariot reach my door?

All those stars of the sky
How stare momentless
As they beside the night
and dawn's path take rest,
Seeing thou they wilt leaving all
Into the luminous sea take a fall;

All those pilgrims of the morn
Perhaps they have come like birds-
Singing songs of mirth, in flocks,
Perhaps the flower has bloomed,
Perhaps the music has arisen
In thy lyre of the sky ( of this season).

( * Note: it is a transliteration of a song of Rabindranath Tagore, as can be found in collected works, birth centenary edition, page 22, volume four.
This transliteration is my humble tribute to the greatest poet, philosopher of all times)


How many times have I thought*

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How many times have I thought
To feet thine should've my heart brought, Holding thy feet, friend mine, will express
How much do I love thee in secret, Thought as Thou hath been the God of Heaven
How could a mere mortal like me say my love even, Thought will live at a distance from thee
All through my life will just remain a devotee, No one wilt know my love so deep
No one wilt see where my tears me keep, Now today whence Thou hath arrived to ask
How can I say how much Thou do I love. ( * Note: it is a transliteration of a song written by Rabindranath Tagore, included in  ' প্রেম ও প্রকৃতি ' / Love and Nature section of his collected works, volume four, birth centenary edition, page 675.
The transliteration is my humble tribute to Tagore, the greatest poet, philosopher of all times )
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Without You where doth lie
The destination of my love?
Had you been not there
Where would have found I
The words of my longings
My songs, my harp, Love mine?

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How beautiful is it
To see rain and dew
Resting quite on leaves
And blooms, greet new
(The day) as it wakes up and sees
Impearling poesy carried by the breeze...

Birsa *

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From Ulihatu's sand and dust
How you worked , You the beauty of this soil,
Working under scorching heat , a crop sharer,
Of that colonial Bihar,
A mere ryot ( raiyyat), grazing sheep in other hours,
A tuila in hand,
And wandered perhaps in the forest of Bohonda,
Had you been also struck
By the flowering forest in spring?
Had you played your tuila and flute too?
( as folklores around you sing) Now after so many years, when
That colonial discriminatory rule
Is still found in our country ,
When still the tribals are thrown away
From a college or university,
When still a girl from a remote village,
Can't find a place in the admission register,
Because she is just an offspring
Of a santhal family , or a munda, When Rohith Vemula and others Had to face discrimination Because they were termed ' non- bhakts',
How we are reminded, you had
To go through the same, Had then, your revolt, all went in vain? ( * Note: today being the birthday of Birsa Munda, one of the pioneers…

O Thou the beauty of dusk...

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Whence doth I look up at thou
O you the beauty of the dusk,
How am  I filled with the pervading sense
Of only wonder and astonishment...

~ Moinak

( my fb newsfeed is full of pictures of the sky here at kolkata today . I am sharing just two from my friends here. Two beautiful persons , keen photographers , Abhijit Roy and Mrinmoy Pratihar da. )

One music, One song

Can't recall exactly on what day or hour
Did I turnup at thy side
It must have been early days of autumn
And there must have been no high tide,A soft pinkish glow must have been
Colored thou with a silky brush
The hour would have been  perfect too
To look at you as you blushed,I looked at the scene quiet
And the sky so wonderous
A tranquil feel and serene sight
How turned me suddenly pious,Was that my religious self
Or was it the irreligious one
Which found only humane heart
And a floating white so white a swan?I did not know what was it
The rivery flow or the beauteous morn
But I felt there are ways always
To go rhyming with a soulful song,It was such a musical rise
That I could not hold myself
I just thought and surmised
That there are songs  to delve,Within one's heart true and synced
With whatever happening outside
Sitting at the bank of the river
I just felt more and more quiet,And the river how kept on flowing
Murmuring, singing a form of a verse
The splendid poetic hour…

The poem for birthday

Whatever happened in other births, let that not matter
This time I am born as the taper
On the day of diwali,
The little candle too
Turned myself into sparkling dots
In the hands of children,
Blew the rockets up and away
Above those seven or ten storied buildings
Even if you don't believe come to the street
You will find me there in verandahs
Or you can climb to any terrace
And find me how with me a girl
Lighting up the stars one by one ...{ the poem is transliteration  of a poem titled ' Janmadiner kobita' (জন্মদিনের কবিতা) by Joy Goswami }

All about Hugo and Georges

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All about Hugo and Georges,


'But Georges! Why can't you see?
I am only trying to find a key'
Said Hugo , gathering some courage,
( afterall Georges had that rage
In his eyes almost always)
It was one of those days
When Hugo had to go to Georges shop
To find suitable parts for that automaton prop,
It did not move a single inch the way it was left
By his dad years ago , now half buried
In dust and negligence somewhere,
 ' But Georges ! Why can't you see?
I am only trying to find a key'
Repeated Hugo with a voice pleading
And God knows what Georges found reading
In his pair of curious and innocent eyes,
' Are you telling the truth? Or is it all lies?'
Georges roared, ( like the way he did always before)
'No sir, I am saying it right!sure!'
Hugo prayed; it was almost late evening,
The breeze brought cold air quite overbearing,
'Okay! Okay! I would allow you once
If you can make that automaton dance'
Georges sounded a bit indulgent this time,…

' where do you want to go?'

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' where do you want to go? So early in the morn as it snows?'
Asked the station warden, looking at the boy,
His eyes so cute and so blue,
' I want to go wherever the train will go'
The boy said without fumbling,
His voice did not falter, his words not stumbling, ' that's so easy, the train will go
This time to Bristol,
Will that will do?
What do you say? Little chap you?'
Asked the warden, restraining his smile,
( Looking serious ) ' But that's away quite a few miles!'
The boy looked surprised, a bit,
Standing confused on his happy feet, ' yes of course that is away far
Moreover there will you find no mother!
No father too and no brother,
No sister too and no car
To take you to the school or to the park
No granny to tell you stories after the dark...' The warden told him, appeared grave
The boy bit his lips trying to be brave, ' why not call your dad and ask him to follow
You till the train will reach that hollow
Tunnel before it en…

What can be more beautiful? Say?

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What can be more beautiful say?
Than to love and pray
The world loves like we do
Catching all the different hues
That embellish life,
A sparkling drop of dew
Under the glorious sun
And so many other things
That only love can bring,
A germination of hope,
The spread of faith,
Eternalisation of beauty
That goes beyond death,

What can be more beautiful say?
Than to love and pray
The world loves as we do.

Ode to that one who stood on a little hill

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Ode to that one who stood on a little hill

You stood on a little hill
And with your words you filled
The blooming meadows below
You had remained like a glow
Upon the sky after a sunset,
Nightingale as sang at heaven's gate,
The most mellifluous one, ethereal, blessed,
How you longed for the music as you traced
The insignificant tiny things,glowworms insects
Bleating sheep, gnats and seasons dressed
In varied colors and flavour of their own,
A beautiful serene morn, a brief sojourn
To vales and riverside, oceans blue
How in your poems they get different hue,
And then your love for Fanny Brawne,
How it inundated you with musical sounds,
So many lyrical outpourings marvellous,
How it turned you both plebian and pious!

 ( a tribute to John Keats , on his birthday which is today)

On the hills, a revelation

On the hills, a revelation,

When the summer wanes
And the autumn passes by
Winter when is about to set in,
On the hills how is it to find
Flock of sheep grazing like cottony furry things,

They remind me how far away
From the crowd and din
Once on the hills of Bethlehem
The great shepherd took his flock
And letting them grazing
Sat on a hillock watching the beauty of the day,
The trees , the scent of flowers,
The sweet murmur of stream-
How they kept him soothed
Making him realise life
Which can be really wonderful
Bereft of all that could cause a stir,

Instead he just sat like a sage
And being struck by the wonder
Admired with his heart
What he saw and felt ,
At that moment perhaps
He inched towards that reflection
In his mind, mirroring nature's  perfection,
And sang glory to God
Who with utmost care
Created the place,

Then perhaps he became
What he was destined to be,
The shepherd great,

Then perhaps he knew it sure
What is it to feel and see
Beauty of epiphany.


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একটা বড় গল্প চাই
কাগজ নিয়ে ভাবছি তাই,
অলস সময় যাচ্ছে চলে,
লিখবো ভেবেও যাচ্ছি ভুলে,
প্লটের মাঝে হোক সাবপ্লট,
কাহিনী জুটুক সাজুক পট,
কিবোর্ডে চলুক বিবাগী মন
মিস্টি সুরে পিয়ানো যেমন,

একটা বড় গল্প চাই...
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সকালের মিঠে রোদে আলো মেখে ঝাউগাছ
বাতাসের সাথে করে কতো কথা, কতো কাজ,
দূর থেকে আরও দূরে ছড়িয়ে ছায়ার টান
ঢেউয়ের সাথে বুঝি অবিরাম করে স্নান।

A town of dreams

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The first distinct memory of Malgudi to me is the depiction of a sleepy homely almost familiar town as shown in our black and white tv on Sunday mornings. Then there were children like me in the town doing stuff which I used to do in my childhood. There were Swaminathan and Mani and their schoolmates. They played cricket in the town's only playground. They went together to the river side and sat on the riverbank and savoured pickles. Incidentally, the town I lived in at that time was also beside a river. I had also friends like Mani and we also played cricket. We had teachers too like Samuel and our fathers appeared more or less like Swami's. So watching the tv series at that time was like seeing incidents of our own lives. Later in the afternoons when we played in the ground adjacent to our houses in our own sleepy muffassil town, we thought we were just redoing what had been shown on tv. Then when we picked up reading habits, we started exchanging between us storybooks. T…

For John

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As you have dared to dream
And to stand straight and sing
The world still hopes to bring
Back you in every way,
For you dared to say
Strawberry fields are forever
And sang too for the drying river, And for the drummer boy young
You wrote an invincible song,
As you have dared to rhyme
Against war , calling it a crime,
The world still hopes desperately
To bring back your glowing legacy.

The Winged One

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And those birds which she kept caged in her soul for years long, they always wanted to go away flying , taking off from her shoulder perhaps. I just got the curious chance to see them as once she spoke about them. It had been a beautiful day of spring. The air was on the drier side. The trees were getting their new dresses. The roads of our town were getting fresh new coat of asphalt. She told me how one bird in her wanted to go all the way to Volos, a sea side town of Greece while another had the desire to go to Egypt. Then there had been another with a Mediterranean spirit. And another which longed to visit the Alps. And another which had an ascetic bent, finding calm only in lonely caves of the Himalayas. 'But how do you keep them in you for so many years, without setting them free? Do they not quarrel? Do they not chatter and freak you out?' I asked her that day of spring when the weather had been particularly enchanting. The scent of blossoms was lingering in the air. T…
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গ্যারেজের পাশে এক চিলতে জমি। আমাদের সরস্বতী দি যে কিনা আমার সহধর্মিনীর সর্বক্ষণের কাজের সাথী ঐ অল্প একটু জায়গায় নানা ফুলের গাছ বসায়। জবা, টগর,গোলাপ,গাঁদা,রক্ত করবী—আরোও কত কি। শিউলী গাছটিও তারই তত্ত্বাবধানে তর তর করে বেড়ে উঠেছে দু বছরে। কিন্তু গত বছর পর্যন্ত গ্যারেজের ছাদ ছাড়িয়ে বড় হয়ে ওঠা সত্ত্বেও তাতে ছিল না কোনো ফুল। গত শরতেও বাড়ির সকলের সাথে আমিও ভেবেছি কি করা যায় গাছটি নিয়ে।  আগে ঠিক ওই জায়গাটাতে ছিল এক কাগজফুলের গাছ। রথের মেলা থেকে কেনা। সেটি ডালপালা বিস্তৃত করে গ্যারেজের ছাদ প্রায় ছেয়ে ফেললেও ফুলের আবির্ভাবে সজ্জিত হতে পারে নি কোনোদিনই। সবার মতো আমিও তাই ভাবতে বাধ্য হচ্ছিলাম বোধহয় মাটিতে সারের ঘাটতি রয়েছে বা বোধহয় মৌমাছি বা প্রজাপতির আগমন নেই আমাদের ঐ এক চিলতে  জমিতে। ফলে ‘পলিনেসন্’ হচ্ছে না। সরস্বতী দির অবশ্য ঐ সব তথাকথিত চিন্তা মাথায় আসে নি কোনোদিন। শিউলী গাছটির প্রতি তার মায়া ছিল অটুট। গ্রীষ্ম হোক কি শীত, তার বিশেষ খেয়াল থাকতো সবসময় গাছটার প্রতি। যদি কখনো বন্ধুদের সাথে খেলতে গিয়ে আমার ছেলে বা তার বন্ধুরা ঐ গাছটির গায়ে বল মারতো নিতান্তই অনিচ্ছাকৃতভাবে, খেলার ছলেই, সরস্বতী দি…

আরশীতে তুই

ঠিক যেমন জিউকবক্সে পড়লে আধুলি
সেভেন্থ স্ট্রিটের প্রান্তে অফিসারদের ক্লাবে
এরিক ক্লাপটন গাইতেন গান
রোজ সন্ধ্যেবেলায় ,
ঠিক তেমনি তোর রক্তিম মুখ,
আরশী জুড়ে সলাজ চোখ,
রোদে পোড়া শরীর জুড়ে আমার
আঁকে আনাবেলের ছবি—
তুই যেন রুপালী আলোয়
ডিঙিনৌকোয় দিয়েছিস্ পাড়ি
আর আমি মেঘের ভেলায়।

Autumn forever

Of all those little things
Which to me happiness bring
The first light of the day
Shining bright on leaves as it may
Is perhaps the most beautiful
Filling my mind  with gaiety full,And I look with wonder how the sky
Becomes part of prayers to divinity
And the feeling that autumn can usher in
Unbridled joys of simply being
In poetry, music and varied pied forms
To embellish nature's beauteous charms
Is what perhaps that ring in every heart,And I plunge into autumnal mirth
Like every year I  love to do
Gathering on palms  drops of dew-
Beads  of pearls ,the  gifts of season,
Like singing love song for her reason,
And praising her with words spontaneous
Words which can turn banal me, pious.

In thy love

Whence wilt thou arrive
In  colors of dusk
I will just look at thou
And songs in thy praise
Will come out sure
From my lips,For in you will I be merged,
For in thy love will I find me.

Autumn morning

Autumn morningWhat more can be of beauty
Than to wake up and see
How the morning arrives
With utmost glee?Autumn with its enchanting hues
How leaves upon us its dews
And how the stillness wrought
Nothing but only poetry,What more can be of beauty
Than to wake up and see
How the morning arrives
With only poetry?

Morning exercise

We had that regular morning jogs soon after our annual school exams were over. Early in the morning, before even sun rise, we would get ready wearing our running shoes and tracksuits and jerseys. Then we would go out. Usually the one who would wake up earlier than others would call others. In those days there had been no cell phones .  Telephones were there but in our locality they were only to be sern in banks and offices and clubs. Few who had telephones at home were considered to be aristocratic and wealthy. I remember at one of my friend's house there had been a telephone which hung from the wall of their living room. It looked beautiful specially when that friend of mine would call someone or receive a call through it, standing very artistically, one foot pressed against another, his waist bent sideways a bit, making him look like a practised dancer.
So the one who would wake up up would have to physically go to atleast one friend's house and awake him by any means. But i…

In memory of Gauri Lankesh *

Ha! Death be not so proud
To wash away a soul
Who never knew what religion is!
Death be not so proud
To take away a soul
Who has the dare to show
The world that
Death is the most irreligious incident.(* Gauri Lankesh, a renowned journalist, who  has been murdered in Bengaluru, India,  recently )

The Goddess and the slave

The Goddess who sits on high throne
Gilded , covered by silver and gold,
Having all the beauty of the world
Bestowed upon her by Jupiter,
For her I find no need to write
Words filled with praise,
For she has got all of them too,
Her house is filled with adoration
Her cupboards are filled with ornaments,But that woman who stands on the roadside
Every friday night or saturday evening,
Falsely trying to present her beauty
On a platter to be served with spices
And with lot of colors, rich,
That woman needs my words I think,
For her I would try to write poems,
Making her a fiery one, resplendent,
A comet perhaps or a volcanic thing,
I would make her quit that hole dark
And put her before the blazing sun
On a sweet summer day,
I would take her out to the park
And make her sing a song of supreme love,
Praising life and its beauty,
I would put my hands upon hers
And by the back of my palms
Cleanse her face, ( if she cries seeing the day so lovely and temperate)
For her will I compose …

Autumn Revisited

The sight of the pandel being erected on the play ground a few paces away  from our home would arouse a great deal of excitement in our childhood. It would usually take one month to complete the pandel that would house the idol of Devi Durga and this one month , the pandel, its bamboo structure, would be the centre of all attraction for us. While going to school, with satchels on our shoulders, we would stop for a while near the pandel. Someone among us would say that the pandel had shrunk a bit in size and dimensions , compared to  that of the previous year. Another would argue on that point and assert with certain amount of confidence that it was not so. But we had carved a bit of time sure to swing our bodies from the bamboo poles using our hands.
Then we would run to school. After school hours we would again take that road which would take us to the pandel. The labourers who were busy working there would allow us to play there.
Only when they put the canvas over the dome of the …

Lucknow

LucknowBy the side of Gomti
There you are Lakhamanavati
With your Ganga- Jamuni
Tehzeeb and delicious kebabs too-
Kakori, galawati, shami, boti- endless variety!But once I get into your poetry
Marsiya is what carries me away
And I by words of pathos get swayed,
Songs of Mir Babar Ali Anis or Mirza Dabeer,
Cause in my soul an unforgettable stir,
And I sing and weep profusely,
Lucknow , your mighty heart then I see,
How you have borne all pains and sufferings,
Betrayal, backstabbing , coups, carnage,
How have you been time and again
To the ground razed,
And how you rose again from dust,
Lucknow you the queen of glorious past,By Gomti there you are quite
Having scars of battles and fights,
Still holding your head high and above
All mundane things, by your power of love.

Love

Looking at your face
Oft turns me a poet,
In your eyes I find words
On your lips all alphabets
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Being borne by the magic of an evening

How will it be if being borne
By an evening handsome and lone
Would I take the tune of a song
And glide over hills, plains and sea,
Making an enchanting melody?

70 years of Indian Independence

70 years of Indian IndependencePartition
The freedom brought many homes
It threw away many too
Out of homes;Sushwant was only eight
When trying to escape arson
And violence , she came across most horrendous things-
A mother asking her son to drown her in a river,
A small pond having corpses floating,
A woman cutting the cord that held her new born with a stick of sugarcane;Seventy years after Sushwant's eyes still hurt
And salty taste comes to her lips from eyes.The Gallery of hope: a locomotive trainIn one huge single frame the locomotive train stands,
Ready to go as if,
Smoke coming out of its nose,
Soon perhaps the rumble will be heard over the tracks,
Its roof has people- thousands sitting with tired
Yet  expectant looks,
Its windows have faces- innumerable.HEC 2M*
She had come from the kingdom
Dressed like a fairy,
Having a drum in her belly
To store memory
2 KB .
(*HEC2M : India's first computer imported from U.K.)

Madhavi spends her days well

Mornings Madhavi  spends well
Working at her (half) home
Making tea for her husband
And mother in law, cooking breakfast
And lunch for three,Afternoons she spends well
Working at the school -
Teaching children how to spell words
And draw alphabets on blackboards,Evenings she spends well too-
Returning home ,cooking food  for her husband and mother in law ,
No children she has got,Only after dinner,
When she goes to bed,
She stays awake till her husband pounces upon her
Eats her mouth and exchanges her saliva
With his,
Then she is pounded wild,
Pounded and at last thrown
With a curse,  let out  in a hushed tone-
'saali ' Madhavi spends her days well;Only she wears a curse
Under her blouse,
Somewhere near her left nipple,
A deep cut mark-
As if a mark has been made upon a barren land, forever.

Delhi the grand old woman

Delhi, the grand old woman .Delhi comes to me
With the scent of my granny
Old and bearer of all that
Our ancestral house at Daryaganj stood for-
Books everywhere,
Piles of them on desks and floor,Then a little moving away from there
Will put me invariably at entry points
Of galis and kuchas- several of them;
Modernity has installed cables all over the city
They hang like loose strings of memory linking the old with the new,But given the chance to go astray,
I would choose the old galis sure
And dip my nose and fingers and soul
At Batashe wali or Anwar Ali,
The wooden brackets with ornate designs upon them at the havelis would filter rays of twilight sun
Upon the dusty floor
And I would perhaps sit with Mirza Ghalib saab in his last haveli
At Ballimaran;Given the chance
I would stop for a while at Behram Khan Tiraha and admire the peepul tree there
Majestically guarding the three lanes running to three different directions,
Given a chance,
I would take the hand of my granny
And si…
এখন যখন তুই আছিস্ পরবাসে
আর আমি হট্টমেলার দেশে
তোকে না দেখেই কাটাতে পারি অক্লেশে
মুখ গুজে উপন্যাসে
গোটা এক প্রেমের মরসুম, (তারপরেও এপিলোগ যাবে রয়ে)
তোর জানালায় ভরা দিন সয়ে সয়ে,
এক শ্রাবণ কি দুই আশ্বিন,
আরও বছর তিন,তারও পর তুই হবি মিউস
আর আমি ?
আরেক প্রমিথিউস, (মাটি থেকে গড়ব মানুষ
একে একে গরম লোহা
আর হাপরের টানে,) আসবে ঠিক জিউস
সাথে পান্ডোরা
আরও কিছু বছর যাবে কেটে
আরও কিছু শহর হবে ঘোরা, (তারপর একদিন দেখবি ঠিক)
কেমন যাবে মিলে সব
তোর পরবাস
আমার শৈশব,হারানো যা কিছু
দেখিস কেমন নেবে পিছু
জানলা ভরা দিন
(তোর সিল্হূট
আমার পাতায়
তোর আঁচোড়ের টান,)
এক শ্রাবণ কি দুই আশ্বিন।

Almost everyday I fall in love!

Almost everyday I fall in love!Almost everyday do I fall
In love quiet consuming my all,
The morning when breaks
And helps me to wake
I fall in love then just by peering out
Of the window watching blooms sprout,
They oft do swing in mild breeze
By their fragrance they do me tease,
Then the day rolls out like a film can
Vibrant colorful filled with characters,
They come and go, talk to me,
They laugh, they sob, they also be happy,
The afternoon always leaves her music,
It to my ears and heart and mind sticks,I watch how simply my love spreads
In the eyes of my girl, on her lips red,
I see how the afternoon wanes to dusk
How it paints me with love unasked,
I think I see the sky then draped in color
Of my love surely by then merged with her,
I look at her completely bowled over,
I worship then my divine lover,The twilight whence turns into night
I see how she wears stars twinkling bright
Upon her body, her lovely enchanting figure
How then my prayers turn little and meagre
Compared to …
সন্ধ্যারাগ হলে শেষ,
তোর মুখে আলোর রেশ,
আমি ভাবি কোথায় রাখি
এমন আদুরে আবেশ।
First time whence I got near you
Got the smell of lemon leaves,
Sweet and juicy ,
It was the season of summer
The paddy fields looked ripe and golden
And bees hummed in bushes and trees
Singing songs of fruitification,
Next came monsoon and you turned green valley of flowers
Filled with morning mist and evening drizzles,
In the afternoon I heard the fresh murmur of leaves,
They whispered how my name, to  you as I drifted, quite unknowingly,
In autumn the marigolds decked you,
And lotus too,
they kept on flowering
In you till winter came with roses and dahlias,
And fog drew a curtain over your body,
I had to grope in white blindness to reach your hands,
Till the spring came and cleared it all
Till I plunged more into love,
And became part of your changing myriad forms,  enchanting and boundless.
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বিকেলের আলো আঁকে ছায়াপথ
ঘুম ঘুম শহরের শরীরে
নিঝুম আধোচেনা জনপদ
আমিও তুলে রাখি কুড়িয়ে,
(তোর সাথে দেখা নেই একযুগ
তবু তোর মুখ খুজি রোজ রোজ
সূর্য তাই দেখে বুঝি দেয় ডুব
মেঘেদের কাছে চলে তোর খোঁজ,)
বিকেলের আলো বড় মায়াবী
শহরও জানে তা আলবাৎ
তাই সে মেখে নেয় যত পারে
আমিও ভরে নিই দুই হাত,
(তোর সাথে কথা নেই আট মাস
তবু তোর কথা শুনি বাতাসে
বিকেলের আলো বড় মায়াময়
ছায়াছবি এঁকে চলে আকাশে)।
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Hiroshima 1945, mother and child

After the giant mushroom looking thing
Came down on the ground settling,
And grass and trees were not anymore there
To live and burn , sustaining the fire,
The child opened his tiny dreamy eyes
Only to find how his mother told him lies,The night like day had swept off everything
His little toys, his cot and that lovely swing,
And his mother only told him it was a new magic
To find broken houses, jutting pillars and sooty bricks,All around them a curious spectacle,
Blankness and blackish void how fell
And made them all the more alone,
Only living things , amidst ruins,
Only moving things in a necropolis.
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A rather imaginary tale of a king and his state

Once there lived a king who governed a quasi democratic state with his train of courtiers and men. The state being quasi democratic , it had a system in place which gave the citizens of that state the right to select the king and his men.
The king , a great man with great ideas thought of giving people of the state special privileges hitherto unheard of.
For example after attaining kingship he declared  to his people ' There will be soon great days knocking at the door of you , my loyal and trusted friends'.
Everyone was seemingly pleased to hear such words from the king.
Afterall when the king had declared something it was bound to happen.
People clapped . Some shouted applause. Some turned themselves hoarse by praising the king.
After few days indeed everyone heard knocking at the doors, often at wee hours.
King's men came. They gave away sealed boxes.
Upon opening those boxes they found pieces of paper which had king's words written on them.
'Great days knoc…