Archives for category: Poetry



चंद्रभागा 🌙 Chandrabhaga


She is monsoons, spring, autumn,

and a quiet snowfall …

She is beauty, passion, compassion

with moist, clear, playful,

and sparkling eyes …



7th September 2018


29th August 2018


20th August 2018


20th August 2018


19th August 2018


7th August 2018


7th August 2018

Monsoon hill climbs in Maharashtra, gift unexpected encounters with beautiful mountain people, and inspire me to sketch and paint. This sketch is of ‘Chandrabhaga’. A shepherdess who I chanced upon on my afternoon walks on a hill under the shade of grey monsoon clouds, while vast fields of tender green grass and unexpected pools of water, lured me with their colours and shimmers. She embodies the spirit of a river in full swell ~ untamed, yet calm, curious and vivacious, free spirited and attentive. She moves through the green pastures with poise, grace, and elegance. She gave me permission to film her. I went ballistic with my camera, trying to catch her spirit in a photograph. She softly asked me with curious and clear eyes, “What do you do with these photos?” I responded, “I want to capture this moment in my memory, and sometimes I make paintings too. If I make one, I’ll bring it along to show it to you.” She smiled. We conversed for a long time in the noon hours. She told me about her daily routine. Her long climbs with her herd of goats, without a water bottle/phone/hat, just her long wooden stick, and her thick woollen blanket. She spoke about her goats, their behaviour, her life under the wide open skies, her community, and their campsite at the base of these hills …
Its been more than a week, since she plays on my mind. Today, was a day when my being fills with peace and inspiration. I feel the same delight ignite my entire being. And little by little, my beautiful Chandrabhaga, converses with me. I meet her in these pigments, in the brush strokes, in the light shower of rain that touches my skin, when the winds get more frisky, and words form sentences and express feeling on this page.
{journal entry, 7th August 2018}

SKETCH, 7th August 2018

Let me love you, 

cradle you, 

hold you, 

tend to you, 

rejoice in you

Let me linger in your innocent fragrance

Let me worship your fragility

Let me envelop your divine beauty, 

with my entire being,

through eternity  

Summer pleasures!

Slipping on, beautiful, raw, fragrant, 

green, organic, henna mocassins,

on to a baking hot, brown skin…

Summer pleasures!

Cooling down amidst heady, 

exotic fragrances of moist,

crushed, tender green, henna leaves 

from my garden wanderings! 

Can we be friends,

Allowing our souls to flower, 

to draw in fragrances that pass us by?

Can we be friends,

Holding mirrors and wholeheartedly marvel,

At the joy of this beauty all around us,

and within?

Can we be friends,

Loyal and loving to the intent of our soul?

Can we be friends,

Meditative in our solitude?

Can we be friends,

Patient to our wanderings

Compassionate to our longings

Receptive to the gentle breeze of love?

Can we be friends,

Flirtatious in our gaze

Allowing of sensuality, 

Allowing of a sudden vanishing, and

Be off into an inescapable maze?

Can we be friends,

In silence 

In playful banter

In studious, uncanny ways?

Can we be friends,

Like a butterfly set free



In flight 

Encircling colours, flavours, fragrances, 

and at times, 

none of that?

Can we be friends,

Light as feathers,

Flying an invisible, intangible course

of this mystic wind ?

A glass jar upon the edge,
Bearing a bouquet burnt by death.

It’s life, a shadow upon the wall

Glorious in the morning’s light,

Simply waiting, to be shattered!
Photograph by Kamakshi Kaarthikeyan 

The granite peaks of the mountain are kissed by cloudlets floating like the silver lotus; And all its gullets and springs and rills are flowing and bubbling with water; The mind is enthralled by the sight of the hills alive with the bustling peacocks. 

Touched by the moisture-laden clouds, the humid breeze is cool and fragrant with the blossoms of Kadamba, Sarja, Arjuna, Ketaki, whom it mirthfully shakes;

Who does not feel, in quiet of content,
That something’s amiss-

An ache in the heart,

Or a tinge of sorrow! 

Maids, with their gorgeous hair drooping to the hips, with pendants of fragrant sprays on the ears, the bosom decked with string of pearls, and the lips moist with wine, fill their lovers minds with longing. 

~ ~ ~

This season with its cluster of clouds, I ween,

Is like a dexterous lover,

For it deftly weaves round the heads of maidens

Chaplets of bakula flowers

Interlaced with malati blossoms ;

It designs fresh trinklets for their ears

With wreaths of new blooms

And opening buds of the yuthika creeper

And full blown kadamba flowers.

Thrilled with the fresh earth-scented air,

And the drip and drizzle of falling drops,

Youthful women express their joy of life

With strings of pearls on their dainty breasts,

The soft white linen on their perfect hips,

And the glamour of the undulant waist line.

The wayward wind, wanderer in the sky,

Cooled by the touch of the fresh clean raindrops,

Rustles the leaves of trees

Bowed with the load of flowers,

And makes them dance ;

Fragrant with the charming odour

Of the golden pollen of the ketaki,

It steals the heart of lonely lovers.

The wooded height of Vindhya is the rest-house

Of the likes of us bent with the burden of water ;

So say the rain-clouds and, bending low, 

They gladden the mountain,

Licked by the crimson tongues of fire,

With heavy showers of rain.

May this period of the rain-giving clouds,

Charming with its many attractions,

The dream of delight of romantic maids,

Unselfish friend of trees and vines,

And the breath of life of animate beings,

Grant you your heart’s inmost desires !   

{Above: Excerpts from ‘RITUSAMHARA‘, translated from the original Sanskrit lyrics of 4th century playwright and poet, Kalidasa, by Shri Ranjit Sitaram Pandit.}

O lotus-naveled Padmanabha, who reclines atop Adisesha,
Along with his consort Lakshmi,   

I am depending on you. I am counting on you. I am leaning on you.

Do not dismiss me from your mind. Do not lose sight of me. Do not consign me to oblivion.

Do not forget me. Do not fail to remember me. 

*Dance inspired by the poetry and musical composition by Maharaja Swati Tirunal of Travancore (1816 – 1846), in Raag Behag, to the soulful voice of Carnatic vocalist, Shri T. M. Krishna,

O Lord
You are hurling such sweet words at me.

Please do stop. 

Please do stop. 
O Lotus-eyed one

Because of you, my happiness is rising and swelling to

Extraordinary, indescribable heights.

My Lord, please hear my earnest, wholehearted, devout request.

*Dance inspired by the poetry and musical composition by Maharaja Swati Tirunal of Travancore (1816 – 1846), in Raag Behag, to the soulful voice of Carnatic vocalist, Shri T. M. Krishna,

One who has eyes like the lotus, who walks like the swan in the pure waters of the lake, you have a thin waist like that of a lion.

You have a moon-like face coloured red like the Kouvai fruit.

You have put on the sweet smelling Thilak, mixed with sandal and kumkum.

You lie down on the bed made of Jaadi flowers. You are beautiful everywhere.

Jaadi flowers

 ~ Above Geetham on Goddess Saraswati is composed in Sanskrit by Saint Poet Purandara Dasa (1484-1564). Transliteration by Sangeetha Vidwan A.S. Panchapakesan for ‘Gaanaamrutha Bodhini’.

There is a fire of desire that She enflames. In Her presence all quietens. In Her presence, I feel enveloped. I desire Her kiss, Her embrace, Her touch, Her breath. She and I rock on swings, opposite each other. She hums as She speaks with another, cradling my brokenness. I feel fleshed out. Delicately bejewelled I am, with the gentle wetness of morning dew. 

I witness a class being conducted by an inspired teacher. Gifted, devoted dancers learn a composition under his guidance. I had thought that I may join a few movement lessons if inspired. The class is already dancing intense choreographies, and so I only bathe in the sounds and movements of others, from a quiet corner in the room. Watching the sweating bodies carving space with clean lines, lining up inside neat foot work is always energising. It is also a world that I walk away from, in search of something beyond the physical discipline. I find Her. I receive many gifts after entering the softness and lightness of Her way of teaching. I miss Her today. She gifts me two beautiful years.

Watching his form, the introspections after, make me recognise a resistance in working with dance companies that strive for excellence and authenticity in their own unique manners, and also why I miss Her so.

The styles evolving in the now, are organised, well choreographed, military battalions, away from the lyrical, the poetic, the sensuous, and the lingering. There is a loss of the uniqueness of each human being, and their subtle nuances. It is a drying up and wilting of the Feminine. With Her, I return to a fullness, a grace, an ease, a silence, a gaze, a gait, a leaning, a letting go inside a beautifully balanced form. She holds the golden strings of that which I yearn to unite with, an allowing of the inner to be seen, and felt, through breath and movements of this physical body. Her physical being is no more, and yet there is Her voice inside of me, enveloping me, embracing me, cradling me. The mourning still is. I rise from the essence of Her teaching. I return to a playfulness. I allow myself my blossoming in its own time. I joyfully sprint through the mysterious, sensational labyrinths of life. Then one day, when all is aligned, just like that, a performance may happen. Letting go of ambitions, of desperation, of expectations, and relishing this beautiful life, wrapped up in the arms of my Beloved, and all my loved ones. May peace and well being be with all.