“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Friday, June 26, 2009

An evening in winter

It was dusk outside; inside the long hall

Dinner was set; candles lit.

Away, from the end of the corridor

Twilight fell softly across the floor.

At the other end, a door opened

To a patch of sky and a green-capped tree.

In the hall, alone at the table, I sat

Staring at the food I really didn’t see.

I didn’t hear him first; maybe I sensed –

What was he after, inside a house?

Silently he had entered from the garden

Perhaps a gust of wind swept him in.

A little sparrow, fluttering his wings,

He skitters, flies up and down, zigzag.

He almost hit the ceiling, and he didn’t -

He tried to escape but the windows were closed.

I watch him, and in him I see me.

He comes up and passes over my head.

I wince, a panic rises in me

As he flies nearer to the fan.

I am tense; fear grips, I clench my fists.

Then I hear him, he chirps once –

Maybe I spoke to him, silent;

Maybe knowing is enough, no words;

Maybe all it needs are two hearts,

To let it be known that we love.

At the other end, sky had become bright

And the tree now glowed golden.

Now chirping louder, the sparrow shot

Swiftly out through the door.

He vanished

Into the winter sky

Whence he came;

I muse on my life –

Whence I came

Where would I go?

Outside, a cuckoo calls.

********* Balachandran, Trivandrum, 26.06.2009

Under the Mango tree


One didn't have the faintest notion
The slightest hint
Of what was to come.
A few flowers fell at first
Feigning sleep, and hugged the ground.
Looking up, I saw the branches tremble.
What was there to fear?
Then a forlorn little one broke away
And fell – on the soft grass.
Marvelling at the way the treetop swayed,
I chuckled when a small mango hit my shoulder
Too small, to take a bite.

Faintly, I heard the rumble of a distant thunder -
Then dark clouds approached the skies rapidly
Darkening my world, swift, ruthless.
There were flashes in the sky
And thunders loud
A wind then swept across, chilling my heart
it was as if my world had gone mad.
I could hear the raging rains rushing up -
Where would I go, to whom could I turn to?
I run up to the old mango tree
My old mango tree
Beneath whom I grew up
Whose fruits I gorged on
On whom I had hung a swing and went up and down
Swinging, swaying, standing up in the wind.

I shiver – I hug, press my cheek on the rough, split bark
I shut my eyes tight
As rain wets my face like tears of my old mango tree.
*********** Balachandran V, Trivandrum, 25.06.2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dream traveler

In the dream

I had reached the railway station.

Now I run through the hallway

Dodging people and baggage

Beggars sprawled on the floor


Slipping, cutting across long queues where

Travelers stood patiently

Tired, shoulders sloping, eyes vacant

Unmindful of the dust, sweat and the sullen children.

Past the metal detector and the indifferent policemen,

Frantic, I look up and down the platform and then

Speed to the stairway over the rails, to the next platform.

Now I pant, I feel pain in my chest, I gasp.

Down the steps, past the vendors of tea, water and snacks

Past the trolleys with sacks of mail.

I have this crushing dull pain

In my heart

This vacuum blowing up

Emptying my mind of all

My limbs droop, muscles melt

As waves of weariness spread up

Like invading armies of ants.

I lean back to a cold iron pillar.

On my left, darkness lifts

Unfurling the rails

Glinting in the morning sun

As the train pulls out

Ahead of me,

Without me.

************* Balachandran, Trivandrum 15.06.2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Strange, it is like a religious ritual

Like lighting a lamp in front of the deity

And waiting for the sanctum sanctorum

To open –

An offering of words

And waiting for the blessings

Instead of God’s, those of the known.

A friend’s joke

An enquiry after health

A friend’s comment on a poem

Another’s scrap in Orkut.

In vain, yet fervently hoping

I scan inboxes for that one

The one message I suspect

I will never see…

Who knows? Perhaps it bounced back

A misspell in the address

She might be anxious –

Perhaps the system failed

A crash of the disks

Perhaps she sits in darkness and broods

Over the unsaid words, unaired thoughts –

Perhaps, yes, she might be dead.

If so, dear kindred spirit

My offerings of silent prayers

These snowflakes

From the frozen plains of my heart…

********** Balachandran V, Trivandrum 04.06.2009