Monday, November 24, 2014

Christopher Crossing the River

Yesterday I learnt that Father Kuriakose Chavara was conferred sainthood by Pope Francis. For some reason, I was reminded of Sister Ann and Sister Sheeba who taught me at Lena School, nestled in a small corner of the Nilgiri Hills, where I did my primary schooling. Maybe this was because Father Chavara had founded many schools like Lena. One can find several Chavara schools dotted around the towns of southern India. As I thought of the nuns at the convent, on the spur of the moment, all I could remember was the story of Saint Christopher that I had come across as a child. Perhaps Sister Sheeba read it out to us in one of those classes known as 'Moral Science'. Anyway, the story made a great impact on me. I can still see the black and white illustration of the gentle giant, Christopher, wading across the waters of the wild Jordan river, carrying the Child on his shoulders in my mind's eye; I can still feel the same tingle in my spine when the identity of the mysterious Child was revealed.
I really wanted to write about this story, and so decided to dabble in some narrative poetry.

Christopher was a giant, tall and fierce
Compared to him, they were dwarves, all his peers.
Carrying people across the river to earn his bread
A simple life, Christopher led.

The gates of heaven burst open one day
Torrents of rain, the gloomy skies turned grey
Full to the brim, the river was in spate
Nobody wanted to cross it and tempt fate.

All of a sudden, appeared a little child
Sweetly asking to cross the river, angry and wild.
Christopher refused, looking at the deluge in all its greed
But the mysterious child continued to plead.

And so he finally agreed
The child's request, he did heed
The child on his shoulders, he strode
Into the treacherous waters where the rain flowed.

The burden grew heavier with each step taken
Why did he accept this? His faith was shaken.
It was only a child, he thought, as the waters swirled.
Yet, it was like carrying all the troubles of the world.

Huffing and puffing, he reached the other end, half dead
That's when he noticed a subtle aura around the child's head
He vanished, without a trace.
Christopher finally understood, grateful for His grace. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Winter in the Desert

Abandoned street cats scrambling for warmth
Take shelter under the numerous cars
That dot the parking lots of the bustling city.
The sun turns in early,
Fatigued after many days of scorching summer
Night falls by the time the muezzin
Calls the faithful for the maghrib prayers.
The first stars of the evening
Shyly peek out of a velvety darkness
Eager camp goers pitch tents
In the depths of the silent desert,
Warming their hands around a bonfire
They count the stars,
Relieved at their escape
From the maddening megalopolis.
As the night wears on
The full moon beams brightly
Casting its glow over the vast emptiness.
A lonely man ambles down the desert road
Quiet, except for a few cars now and then
Wrapped in mufflers and monkey cap
Shivering in the biting cold
As he tries to sell newspapers
To anyone who'd bother to stop by.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Contents of a Suitcase

Kanjivaram silk saris, made to order
In vibrant hues of all kind.
A lone kasavu mundu with a golden border
She’d hardly wear them, never mind.
A tiny bottle of Indulekha hair oil
To be applied regularly, Amma had said
You won’t get all this on foreign soil
So please take care of your hair while it’s still on the head.
Pickled lime, mango in brine
Banana and jackfruit chips.
For a taste of home, you’ll no longer whine
Amma had said with a smile on her lips.
And now here she is in a faraway land
Comforted by this slice of home,
She gazed out at the stretches of sand
As the sun set behind the mosque dome.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Christopher Crossing the River

Yesterday I learnt that Father Kuriakose Chavara was conferred sainthood by Pope Francis. For some reason, I was reminded of Sister Ann and Sister Sheeba who taught me at Lena School, nestled in a small corner of the Nilgiri Hills, where I did my primary schooling. Maybe this was because Father Chavara had founded many schools like Lena. One can find several Chavara schools dotted around the towns of southern India. As I thought of the nuns at the convent, on the spur of the moment, all I could remember was the story of Saint Christopher that I had come across as a child. Perhaps Sister Sheeba read it out to us in one of those classes known as 'Moral Science'. Anyway, the story made a great impact on me. I can still see the black and white illustration of the gentle giant, Christopher, wading across the waters of the wild Jordan river, carrying the Child on his shoulders in my mind's eye; I can still feel the same tingle in my spine when the identity of the mysterious Child was revealed.
I really wanted to write about this story, and so decided to dabble in some narrative poetry.

Christopher was a giant, tall and fierce
Compared to him, they were dwarves, all his peers.
Carrying people across the river to earn his bread
A simple life, Christopher led.

The gates of heaven burst open one day
Torrents of rain, the gloomy skies turned grey
Full to the brim, the river was in spate
Nobody wanted to cross it and tempt fate.

All of a sudden, appeared a little child
Sweetly asking to cross the river, angry and wild.
Christopher refused, looking at the deluge in all its greed
But the mysterious child continued to plead.

And so he finally agreed
The child's request, he did heed
The child on his shoulders, he strode
Into the treacherous waters where the rain flowed.

The burden grew heavier with each step taken
Why did he accept this? His faith was shaken.
It was only a child, he thought, as the waters swirled.
Yet, it was like carrying all the troubles of the world.

Huffing and puffing, he reached the other end, half dead
That's when he noticed a subtle aura around the child's head
He vanished, without a trace.
Christopher finally understood, grateful for His grace. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Winter in the Desert

Abandoned street cats scrambling for warmth
Take shelter under the numerous cars
That dot the parking lots of the bustling city.
The sun turns in early,
Fatigued after many days of scorching summer
Night falls by the time the muezzin
Calls the faithful for the maghrib prayers.
The first stars of the evening
Shyly peek out of a velvety darkness
Eager camp goers pitch tents
In the depths of the silent desert,
Warming their hands around a bonfire
They count the stars,
Relieved at their escape
From the maddening megalopolis.
As the night wears on
The full moon beams brightly
Casting its glow over the vast emptiness.
A lonely man ambles down the desert road
Quiet, except for a few cars now and then
Wrapped in mufflers and monkey cap
Shivering in the biting cold
As he tries to sell newspapers
To anyone who'd bother to stop by.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Contents of a Suitcase

Kanjivaram silk saris, made to order
In vibrant hues of all kind.
A lone kasavu mundu with a golden border
She’d hardly wear them, never mind.
A tiny bottle of Indulekha hair oil
To be applied regularly, Amma had said
You won’t get all this on foreign soil
So please take care of your hair while it’s still on the head.
Pickled lime, mango in brine
Banana and jackfruit chips.
For a taste of home, you’ll no longer whine
Amma had said with a smile on her lips.
And now here she is in a faraway land
Comforted by this slice of home,
She gazed out at the stretches of sand
As the sun set behind the mosque dome.