you are green bamboo forests bending in the evening
as i fear its creatures and shiver to its call

you are the wide surging river, sand banks ever stretching
the long bridge crosses and takes me to the other side

you are the three cornered toy in moghalserai station
and the sound of a coal engine screaming in the night

you are the twisting grey road up the steepening mountain
rhododendrons fiery by its side, my breath held tight

you are tall jamun trees along the grand slow street
your purple bittersweet, sticking and stubborn

you are the rain

folded paper boats float in muddy rivulets
floods every year breach embankments

you are three children dancing in the rain

you are the one o’clock sun blazing on my bare head
the shimmer of mirages, the season of mango

you are poverty beyond any politician’s manoeuvring
you are wealth deep and true, intensely enduring

you are the first kiss in a curious late afternoon room
where innocence meets innocence and falters through cliches

you are a fort in the desert where the little girl in pink
sways and swirls to her father’s tune bowed on one string

you are paddy fields till the sky with raised walking aisles
wayward water hyacinths choking pools alongside

you’re an egret on a buffalo’s head standing perfectly still
you’re an elephant in the dark unhurried and free

you are a friday morning that seizes my breath

you are running away and hiding among thorny jujube shrubs
between ochre earth dusted boulders upon the ridge

you are my mother’s voice humming a difficult song
and scoldings about what’s right and what’s wrong

you are corn on coal roasted with a squeeze of astringent lime
you are tamarind scrunching my tongue on lazy winter noons

you are struggle, you are heartbreak, you are first crush
you are failure, you are first rank, you are silly dreams

you are moonlight where fireflies crowd
you are darkness where my first fear was born

you are the ache of the poor, the stories of hunger that never die
writhing in famines made of greed and disrespect

you are corruption
you are caste
you are injustice

you are the twelve year old jasmine garland seller at the traffic light,
her smile breaking as she makes the deal

you are faith that exceeds every barrier of faith
you are language that reaches even when i don’t understand

you are independence

a movement… a murmur of freedom in the heart
an unbroken message through thousands of years

you are silvery hair and gold bangles glinting,
a saree wrapped tightly around every single wound

you are the first air i breathed and the last time i loved
you are…

it’s a long queue of memories coming along
a bit disorderly and rowdy, restless as queues tend to get




for over a month now, india has been all about queues and more queues. i hope they diminish soon and things get a little easier.



indrani’s index