Holi – A Story

Spring arrives with a splash of colors
close on the heels of the cold winter
heralding the dawn of a special day
when everyone gathers to celebrate
the victory of the great Lord Vishnu
over the demon king, Hiranyakashipu,
who wanted to rule the three worlds
using the power from his five boons.
He couldn’t be killed during night or day,
in or out of the house, or in any place,
by weapon, man, God, demon or animal.
Yes, he thought he was all powerful.
And this evil king sent forth a decree
forcing people to pray to none but he.
Yet for his son, Prahalad, his ire grew
as he continued to worship Lord Vishnu.
So it was that the evil king conspired
to make arrangements for a huge pyre.
Into the flames, his sister, Holika, sat
holding her nephew Prahalad on her lap.
She, who flames could not destroy,
She, who wanted to kill this little boy,
was burnt to ashes in that deadly fire
and Prahalad was the sole survivor.
At that auspicious moment of dusk,
a pillar shattered and from it emerged
Lord Vishnu in the form of Narsimha.
This half-man, half-lion celestial being
brought the end of the demon king.
Thus goes the legend of this day of Holi.
A day out of the pages of mythology.
So light the bonfires on the streets
and never forget what Holi means
The love of a God for his devotee
and the triumph of good over evil.

A New Year Message

Do you hear the hands of the clock
as they scurry tick tock tick tock
to the first second of the first minute
of the first hour of the first day
of a brand new year and decade?

As I reflect on the year gone by,
I reminisce about all the times
and the folks who made me smile.
And there is no doubt in my mind –
you’re one of that special kind.

So as a token of appreciation,
with a dash of warm affection,
I take this wonderful occasion
to say to you – thank you dear
and wish you a Happy New Year.

Ho ho ho!!!

Here he comes on the eve of Christmas
With a jolly ho ho ho!
Wearing red and white and a big, bright smile
With a jolly ho ho ho!

He has sparkles in his eyes like stars in the sky
With a jolly ho ho ho!
And a snowy beard that sways when he cheers
With a jolly ho ho ho!

He comes from far away in his magical sleigh
With a jolly ho ho ho!
Led by eight reindeer; he gave each one a name!
With a jolly ho ho ho!

Flying high and low from the icy North Pole,
With a jolly ho ho ho!
He brings gifts of joy for all good girls and boys
With a jolly ho ho ho!

Down the chimney spout, he enters the house
With a jolly ho ho ho!
And fills each stocking with treats and blessings
With a jolly ho ho ho!

Then up he goes through the chimney to the roof
With a jolly ho ho ho!
And if you’re awake, you will see him on his sleigh
With a jolly ho ho ho!

If you couldn’t guess – who’s that midnight guest?
With a jolly ho ho ho!
Give it a little thought – Yes! It is Santa Claus!
With a jolly ho ho ho!

So Say the Skies

A message from the skies
waits to be deciphered.
A voice like yours and mine
that floats in the zephyrs.

Would the heavens ever split
along the edges and borders
of all the hues and tints
spread on its vast canvas?

Would it stop giving way
to the things that can fly,
and would it discriminate
based on a certain type?

Then, why are we divided
by these very boundaries
that give rise to hatred,
and destroy all peace?

United – we stay together
and win against all odds.
The word is loud and clear
from the blue yonder to all.

To the Butterfly

O beautiful butterfly
flitting in the bower,
you shimmer vibrantly
in the bright sunlight
among all the flowers!

Do you ever notice
the myriad colors
splashed gleamingly
on your little wings
as you airily flutter?

Some say you’re blind
to your own beauty;
the shades that shine
as you fly and alight,
you’ll never know or see.

But I differently opine,
for if that were true
how could you ever find
another one of your kind,
just as beauteous as you?

Nothing Compares to You

Nothing is as beautiful
as the light that shines
in the eyes that behold You.

Nothing is as sweet
as the sound from the lips
that speak of Your glory.

Nothing is as powerful
as the beat of the heart
where You forever dwell.

Nothing is as effective
as the prayer of the mind
that meditates on Your name.

Nothing is as deft
as the hands and feet
that commit to Your will.

Nothing is as blissful
as that moment when
the soul awakens to You.

O Lord! I praise You!
For nothing, absolutely
nothing, compares to You.

Rain

Rain – falling from the heavens
cleansing everything
from the tallest skyscrapers
to the smallest blade of grass.

Rain – kisses from the skies
bringing forth life
from the tiny caterpillar
to trees covered with flowers.

Rain – each drop is an emotion
forming rivers and oceans
like cut and leaking veins
without cauterization.

Rain – arrows of the purest love
shot from Cupid’s bow
arching across the firmament
with its seven colours blazing.

Rain – constantly chattering
like a garrulous old woman
reminiscing her stories
of the times gone by.

Rain – woven into words
by the imagination of a poet.
A covenant from our Creator,
Rain – Rain on me forever.

The Girl in the Clouds

She was a fleeting vision
of translucent iridescence
as she strolled in silence
under the colored heavens.

Grey ribbons that tamed
her shoulder-length hair
beautifully complemented
her long, flowing dress.

And bell-shaped sleeves
billowing with the breeze
were matched by the wave
of the sash on her waist.

Her head leaned towards
a book held in her hands;
she was totally oblivious
of all the curious glances.

Then a gust hurried by-
She gazed up just a while,
gave a small, courteous bow,
and suddenly, she was gone.

Merging into all the shades
like water-drops on wet paint.
“Marvellous!” I thought aloud,
of the girl I saw in the clouds.

Marriage – A Knotty Affair

Some pertinent observations come to my mind
when mulling over affairs of the marriage kind.
I’m sure you too will give these some thought
to understand the implications of tying the knot.

So, at the altar, you and your would-be-better-half
exchange vows that you’ll keep for your entire life,
and it’ll be some years before you begin to realize
that you should’ve read deeper between the lines.

The first vow – be together come what may –
seems like fun and very easy you would say
till the moment you start losing your space
and can’t hang out anymore with your friends.

The second vow – to love each other for eternity-
seems wonderful and gives a warm, fuzzy feeling
till you forget to remember those very dates
of the days you both met, got engaged and wed.

The third vow – to give your best version to the other
seems like something you can do without any bother
till you see there are so many times when
the best version of you just goes into hiding.

The fourth vow – to love each other’s family like your own –
seems like a thing you can already consider as done
till you’re caught in the crossfire of their differences
and can’t decide whose side you should be taking.

And yet you want to hang on to that last bit of thread
in the name of loving and caring – well I’ll be damned!
So I pray that luck be on your side as you dare
to enter the world of this very knotty affair.

In the End

Beyond a certain measure,
what worth are your treasures?
Beyond a certain need,
your desires turn into greed.

Could you ever see the colors
of the souls that left unfettered?
Or know their race, country, religion,
food, clothes, houses they lived in?

And if seeing is really believing,
then all these would mean nothing,
for red is the blood in our veins,
and the air we breathe is the same.

The Maker did not discriminate
or create the boundaries of hate.
These were invented by a few who
never cared for the common good.

The results have always been dire,
forcing us deeper into a dark mire.
‘Til we realize the need to change –
a step at a time; it’s not too late.

For in the end, all that matters is
how much you loved, laughed and lived.
For in the end, we’ll lie side by side
like grains of sand, and blades of grass.

Summer Days

The sunlight bouncing off
the leaves on the trees
leaves bright motifs on
the floor through the grills.

The whispering wind
blowing ever so slowly
makes every moving thing
rejoice in joyous dancing.

The koel singing softly –
Songs floating in the breeze.
What could the notes mean?
Maybe love’s sweet melody.

The sun looking handsome
rising in the eastern skies
frowns glaringly by noon
like a lover tired of waiting.

The hills turning brown
with their sun burnt faces
tell stories of their own
to anyone who listens.

The sky showing its colors
without any cloudy specks
is that Eternal Artist’s canvas
with Art that can’t be imitated.

The beautiful summer day then
bids adieu as evening creeps
with the sun setting in the west,
its tete-a-tete a complete mystery.

These days, these golden days
in beauty are truly unparalleled.
O sands of time – pray stop and stay!
These summer days are all I crave!

These Times

These are the times of the Coronavirus Disease
with both love and humanity, on a tight leash.
No kissing, no hugging, no touching, please.
Make sure the hands are 20-seconds-clean.

Will they ever be clean? Will I ever be sure?
Will I ever be able to go outside like before?
Will I meet my friends and hang out in crowds?
Will this social distancing end? So many doubts!

“Stay away!” say the wise, “It will break the curse!”
“Stay indoors, or this pandemic will become worse.”
Who is to blame? Does it really matter now?
This forced isolation has opened minds somehow.

We beg for forgiveness from Mother Nature’s fury
while some lose the fight in a battle so lonely.
Where did the souls of so many people go?
Where is our Saviour, and where is the cure?

Some say we are paying for bad karma and sins.
Do we need more deaths for alarm bells to ring?
When will we realize the simple rule of Evolution?
We were gifted intelligence to protect Her creations.

Somewhere down that road, we got really lost,
and so, here we are now, paying that high cost.
She is furious with our recklessness, so we pray
for a cure that we may walk our streets again.

The air’s clearer now; She rejoices in many ways.
In the midst of this war, did we learn anything?
Or will all this suffering and death be in vain?
A few years later, will a scourge occur again?

People – this is the word we use for ourselves.
Together we form the Collective Consciousness.
What one does affects another – this is the truth.
We need to understand this and recognize it soon.

So do not hoard – there are those who need.
The old and infirm can’t move as they please.
The afflicted don’t deserve this discrimination.
We depend on each other as societies and nations.

Will we win against this virus? Are we so sure?
During these times, whom do we look towards?
The Universe? God? The doctors? The nurses?
Or does the answer lie within each one of us?

Like the deadly Coronavirus, this debate rages
while the disease takes its toll in all the stages.
With time, this will pass and things will be alright.
While our hopes see us through this terrible night.