Tuesday, May 17, 2005


India, you come to me unheeded
in surprising places, unexpected times
bringing fresh and sepia memories
of a life I loved and left behind.

Mornings I wake up nostalgic with
the pungency of mama's rack of spice,
the strong mogra of her incense,
her morning bustle, her cajoling voice.

I walk past one of your women here
bindi on forehead and docile expression
and I encounter your moustachioed men
eyes filled with lustful attention.

Everywhere I go, an army of desi tourists
are already proclaiming their global presence
with their loud talk and spoilt kids,
pure vegetarian food and poor civic sense.

You pour in when rains paint a green blur
or when the sun seeks its vengeance.
The cacophony of crows and scolding mynahs
and the strong, sweet jasmine fragrance.

You come to me in hot tumblers
of filter kaapis and masala chais,
steaming sambhars, black makhani daals
puri bhaajis and long basmati rice.

In traffic jams and foreign lands,
city lights and littered roads,
stinky corners, dirty plastic bags
and tall temples with colorful gods.

Every Diwali away from you
I remember your jubilant lights
Every Holi that I miss here
I think of colors and balloon fights

Every day I long for you
and strangely though, i want you not.
Yet you come blessed with awkward grace
beauty, blisters, warts and all.