Wednesday, October 26, 2011

deepavali deafavali

Diwali.Autumn. The cirrus clouds and swirling leaves.Early dusk and the nip in the air.Diwali.The flickering glow of the diyas, the mango leaves in the doorway and marigolds at the altar. The boxes of sweets piling up,fridge bursting at the seams with stuff.( I could also add 'the irresistible aroma of sinful things being prepared in the kitchen'. But I have managed to wriggle out of that this year citing unavailability of LPG :-)) And Diwali...the shopping! Ah, but what i would do without shopping? Also Diwali, when you wake up at 4.30 in the morning with your heart in the mouth because your neighbours, having had the ritual bath, have decided to advertise the fact and usher in Diwali by bursting crackers right below your windows.

And thereon, it's totally downhill . Crackers for morning tea, crackers at breakfast,afternoon crackers, and of course all through the evening till the wee hours.There is a continuous rumble of firecrackers punctuated with the frequent eardrum shattering blasts.And this is not just for one day, but at least for one week,though to a lesser degree, or till the children and young adults run out of their stock or Tulsi Vivah, (another festival that comes a fortnight after Diwali); whichever is later. One cannot go out anywhere and it becomes outright dangerous to walk the roads because one might suddenly find oneself in the middle of a crossfire or whatever, or in the path of a rocket. Accidents do happen with a fair amount of regularity. But all the pleas of observing Diwali as a festival of lights and not as a festival of noises, fall on deaf (literally and metaphorically)ears.

One cannot expect the children to understand the concept of silence and we, Indians, do not understand the concept of noise pollution.( I am not even talking about concern for the elderly and the unwell.) So perhaps it is too much to expect that a beautiful festival like Diwali be observed in quietude, with just the lamps, sparklers and silent fireworks.But maybe we could exercise some restraint?
Perhaps the lawmakers could restrict the fire crackers within a time limit, say 6 to 9, and enforce it strictly?As far as i know, there actually exists such a law as well as a law on the sound decibel limit of crackers, but the cracker enthusiasts don't let such a small thing as a law spoil their fun.And who cares to monitor the decibel levels? So the next best thing is probably to have a specified cracker zone away from the residential areas where you can go and burn crackers any time of day and night.Though i doubt very much anybody would be willing to take the trouble to walk/drive to such a place when all they need to do is stand on their balconies or maybe walk a few steps down to their neighbours' doors, in order to indulge in their whims.
Unless the people themselves realise it and take some initiative and the few peace-loving people raise a voice against this menace and also until some stringent measures are taken , we'll continue to face this auditory onslaught every year and Diwali will continue to remain a festival of noises; noises not to drive away the evil spirits, but to wake up even the corpses.

Until then, happy deafavali to my Indian friends. To all others, happy deepavali (diwali)!

O insects
don't you complain too!
this autumn



Friday, October 21, 2011


The moon has always unfailingly stirred me to poetry. I never tire writing about moon, or reading about it, for that matter, because moon has the same effect on most of the poets.

The following three poems were placed among the best three poems at the Moonviewing party at HAIKU BANDIT SOCIETY in consecutive months.

the ball kicked
higher and higher -
muddy moon

(June,2011 moonviewing party)

cloud-smudged moon...
a breath
on the mirror

(July,2011 moonviewing party)

wet behind the ears still the moon tonight

(August,2011 moonviewing party)

And these two, in later months... which were not placed, but still remain my favorites, probably because unlike the first three which fell onto my lap out of the blue, so to say; some effort had gone in shaping these two.

match point -
the distance between
this moon and that

a swirl of moon
in the glass...
weighing the possibilities

Sigh, sigh...!

Oh well..., come next full moon and I'll again be back to mooning, or probably much before that.

"with or without you the moon"---Melissa Allen

the river
the river makes
of the moon

-Jim Kacian

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Manmohini Morey" (a must-hear)

With one week to go for Diwali, time is at a premium. While I plunge headlong into Diwali-cleaning or at least plan to do so,why don't you listen to this? This is the kind of Indian classical music I love to hear again and again. The gorgeous voice of Aditya Rao , Shankar Tucker on the clarinet and mridangam played by Ajay Ravichandran who is a local to Washington DC ...this could be a perfect start to the festival.
Hope my non-Indian friends enjoy this too.

Friday, October 14, 2011

lime pickle

An afternoon spent playing with colours, fonts and photo effects ... and this is the result of one of my efforts. The ku has been published in Frogpond.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

gypsy moth

gypsy moth -
the wind tugs at
a brown leaf

I have never been able to do well in the kukai contests that I participate in. Have always ended near the bottom at the Carribean kigo kukai that I have been taking part in for the last 7-8 months and have fared only marginally better in the Sketchbook kukai contest in which
I actually got the first place once some time back, even got the 2nd and 3rd place in two subsequent editions.

But it is the Shiki kukai that I find most fascinating and which has always eluded me . My best showing has been a third place way back in 2007 or 2008, when I had just started writing haiku.After a hiatus of almost 2 years, during which I didn't write almost anything, I have again become a pretty much 'regular' there since last year.Though lately, I have been a little consistent in that I have mostly managed to finish within top 10, which is not bad really, considering that for this particular contest, there are on an average 100+ entries from all over the world by the very best haiku poets whose work I've come to admire and the winners are decided on the basis of peer votes. So, even if I manage to get a 6th, 7th or 8th place that means my work has been appreciated and I give myself a quiet pat on the back.

The one featured here is from June, 2011 shiki kukai, the kigo(season word) was 'moth'.

Monday, October 10, 2011

these days

These past few days have been very unproductive. Things haven't really gone well and in spite of the positive mantras I keep on repeating; somewhere along the way, my confidence has taken a beating and any creative streak I might have had in me, has hit an all-time low.

Perhaps this is the time I should take a step backwards, take a deep breath and let go for a while.

Perhaps I should let the world pass by and just be content, watching.

Perhaps I am trying to gatecrash in a place where I was not meant to be.

Perhaps I should concentrate on other things that need my attention.For example, maybe this is the time to tackle that unfinished book that has been by my bedside for months now. Or maybe, I should clean one kitchen shelf instead. Or perhaps, just perhaps I should go shopping...with Diwali closing in, I should do that, anyway and that is a guaranteed and time-tested way to perk one up, though only temporarily.

Have you noticed the materialistic bent of my mind, the direction my thought takes when under duress? This is why I doubt I was meant to be a poet...least of all, a haiku poet!
I should restrict myself strictly to reading them, at least for a while.

And talking of reading,these beautiful lines from a blog I love to visit, perhaps best describe my feeling now:

i fear it's too late
like starlight
i should have set out earlier

-Mark Holloway

Thursday, October 6, 2011

between unkempt lawn

between unkempt lawn
and wildflowers, the lights of
my childhood home

Monday, October 3, 2011

one more haiga

I think I was dying to do this. So, as soon as I get a chance, off I go. Call it haiga, call it doodle-ku, here is my today's offering. The ku has been posted today at NaHaiWriMo, the prompt was '"courtship".
And here is the haiga: