Friday, September 24, 2010

Rain Walk

Rain, rain, come again. A crackle at first and the heart goes
green with lushness. It starts with drip drop falling down falling
down, to patter patter and finally comes with lightening,thunder
and in torrents. Time has come to welcome the grey skies and
pray for more rain. All your despairs swell in the building clouds.
You come out in the open and get drenched in the desolate

No one is there in the pavement, in the shining street, in the
boulevard, in the park. On the window pane, tiny circular
raindrops inspire creepers and pot plant on the rain drenched

You walk in the softest sound of music of rain. “Who hears
music, feels his solitude peopled at once?” You share that
rare moment of unlocking imprisoned splendor and entering of
shimmering light.

All the offices and shops are closed. One or two odd buses or
cars sizzle past you, splashing water on your body. A few wet
birds flying over the white temple.

Crows and pigeons sit on the terraces of the tall buildings,
flapping their wings. You dig inside and feel some light, some
darkness, some known, and some unknown.

The ceaseless rain
Soften lush green garden plots
can two opposite souls merge?

The contour of the landscape, the blurred shadow of mountain
behind, the forlorn moist moment -all roll into a magical interface
of the inside and outdoor. The thin dim light of the lamppost as if
joining hands in strong entreaty with the grim surroundings.

You walk alone on the slippery road and whistle a song. On the
riverside, the terrible current of the river, waves shapes like a
rolling wheels, the fiery sound of water lashing the shore, the
boat lies there caressing the bank vigorously invite fear on your
wrinkled face. The evening light slowing and dissolving on the

You keep your calmness and walk on in blinding rain. Your rain
drenched body shiver in the cold wind, in the blistering storm.

You enter the park, sit on the wet bench and wash your tears
in rain. Over your face the shadows of the sickly evening fall.
These shadows shall protect you as you stroll on by trying to find
something you lost along your life's path.

Now, it’s drizzling and the lazy raindrops fall on your soft palm
and leave impression of your solitary mind.

The slow whispers in your eyes in frame
Stick to your cold lips the rain prints
and echo of your inaudible words.

You stay under the trees. You exchange silent words with the
dark brown bark, with the round heavy trunk, with the broken
branches, with the falling leaves.

Tiny bushes rear their head and start a conversation on rhymes
of rain. Who shall plant? Who will garner? Strange sounds of

beast scare you. Are they near?

Where are the honey bees? The grasshoppers are as if flying
past in a rage. You try to catch firefly and you fail at the end of
the day done and dusted.

You touch the wet petals. How keen they are to listen to your
words? Your frail fingers touch the grass and weed and they turn
green. Shadows fall gradually on your face and envelop the fear.

The greatest strength is used to form
A rainbow of resonance that spur the
Sixth sense of each and all.

There, that is final secret: Go to sleep! You will wake, and
remember, and understand.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


To sit on the balcony and cry
To give a shout on the cell
To whom it may concern.

Soft rays of crumbling sun
Creepers moves as if a hand
Posing a question of why
Cash in the metaphors of windy evening.

Will time be standstill for ever?
A stream so narrow so weak
Will she raises her voices?

To feel the passing of cold night
To count the distant stars
As it always has the twist.

Once more the sound of dry leaves
A world as mystic in its silence
It calls no one in the diffused light.

A strong haunting reminder
Put off doing for awhile
Start something afresh.

Lowering glance of the skyline
All that is left over the years
Come in full circle, meet the destiny.

Gopal Lahiri

Crumbling Sun, Haunting Reminder, Full Circle, Destiny

This poem reflects the fear to move out, to bring solace, to put up resistance while a sense of escape grips mind and thought process and even walk in the park cannot divert the attention.

Delhi- History Beckons

I often wonder whether Delhi can be called a city with plenty of
muscles. Politicians may have a fair share of it but there must
be other reasons also. As we all know, Lutiyens’ Delhi coupled
with the old Delhi is a city of anyone and everyone since its early

The rocky terrain, the extreme weather- terribly cold in winter
and blistering heat in summer- the continuous influx of people
migrating to this historical city bordering on the ghost of Nader
Shah and looting of peacock throne and the air of sultan perhaps
have given the city a stern, no-nonsense outlook and the people
a rough edge bordering on arrogance. You have a feeling
that ‘they are not for me nor do I for them’.

During my stay at Delhi over a decade (in the nineties), I always
felt that another Delhi was residing side by side which offered
more than the one we perceived as city of Delhi. The footprints
of history embedded in this city. Old Delhiites always reminded
me’ There is always a soft and compassionate mind string
beneath the raw tone and tenor of the exterior of the city folks

that serves like a soul’s answer to the locked doors.

Delhi ridge which is an offshoot of great Aravalli range covers a
distance of about 35 kilometers and provides the green belt of
this hustling city and quartzite rocks resembles the strong heart
of the Delhiite.

The stroll at the Buddha Jayanti Park or listening to the morning
raga at the concert in Nehru Park can make your stay at Delhi
unforgettable. Once you adjust to the tune of Delhi, you feel
unknown sources in your creative mind unblocked and the
words takes shape of poetry or song or any literary piece.

I must confess Delhi is a great place of food lovers. One good
friend of mine once remarked that Delhi’s history lies buried
not in its museums or architecture but in its food. Not to talk
about Paranthe Wali Gali or Mughlai and Tandoori dishes, I still
remember the taste of Korma, kebabs’ and Biriyani of Karim,
Chaat, Chole-bature and Aloo-tikki in roadside stalls, hot momo
and spicy soup in a frozen night at Delhi hut (not strictly Delhi
cuisine) or icy cold Sharbat in hot summer at Bengali Market
andTarka Roti in the Dhaba of Safdarjang Enclave

Compared to this, the culinary delight of fish and chips at
Machaan, Tandoori stuffs at Kandahar or Chinese food at
Bon Thai and Barcos pale into insignificance. We of course
enjoyed delicious Bengali food while hopping puja pandals
from Karolbagh to Sarojininagar to Munirka to Chittaranjan park
culminating in Mayur Vihar in those days.

Watching colourful Republic day parade or Beating Retreat in

winter or the blush of the flowers in Moghul Garden or Rose
garden may be the highpoint during my stay at Delhi but even
today, you can feel the resonance of history and freeze with a
sense of gratitude in the shadowy path along the various tombs,
Red Fort and the walled city pavements or in the vicinity of
Qutab Minar. As if,

these shadows shall protect me
as you stroll on by
trying to find something
you lost along your life's path

The city still breaths history notwithstanding sprawling
bungalows, posh hotels, upmarket malls and swanky

Whenever I visit Delhi now, I make it a point to visit Lodhi
Garden, walk around in slow pace, feel the surroundings and
sink into the history slowly till my time run out. The city still
carries on the motto ‘When the student is ready, the teacher

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Walk the talk

Let us walk the talk
Blazing sun across the wide space
Clouds clog at the river end

How much of the life really worth
Drafts written, documents torn
Iron-fisted philosophy abuzz
Scorn the human face
Let him cry, let her beg
Memory pile up
Strategies blurs in soft focus
Do your efforts make a difference?

When war raises its ugly head
It demands a response
Defiance and trepidation
Embracing vagueness
Clapping eyes closed
Will it be of any use?
Should we wait for the wisdom of words?
Would we really want in the first place?

Let us have a hard talk- Face to face
Walk on the grass, won’t get you there
All of us are equal after the final bell.

Gopal Lahiri

Space Out

You and I sit together

You have gone blank
You are not listening
You are not there.

People find you spaced out
For you only
Is the world meditating?

Condensation marks the surrounding
Air is heavy
Trees are standstill

I am lost from you
I descent to obscurity
We are now miles apart.


You were in my side
Your dark blue eyes darting light
I could not see your face
Serene mood, silent song
You and I were parted long.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Someone quipped

Under the cloudless sky.

There is nothing to fear

We have seen the life and death.

Feel the pain and anguish.

Dust flickers through sunrays

On the narrow winding lanes.

The gateway looks forlorn.

Grenade explosions and gunfire died down

Broken window panes, bullet ridden doors

Sprinter marks, blood stains and wounds.

People wanted to have a closer look

Pictures clicked next to the damaged wall

As if on the killing fields.

Someone wrote on soot marred walls

What was it like to be here all the while?

Gopal Lahiri

Tell tale in a line- I love India

Can anyone notice any other thing than the breathtakingly
slow traffic in Mumbai while travelling by road? I was going to
Juhu beach probably after a decade to mingle with the crowd,
to have the last appointment with the setting sun. Mumbai
was as chaotic as ever with its noise and buzz. The traffic
jam was there as usual as vehicles moving at a snail’s pace..

Looking beyond skyscrapers and shopping malls and have a
glimpses of smoky sky really tested your nerves. For a moment,
I saw something. The graffiti I noticed written on the back side
of a slowly moving critical care unit. The tell tale in a line- I love
India On it everyone you depend on, everyone you understand,
everyone you ever heard of, every human being who lived
in this country. It gave much needed relief from the moronic
OK Tata or speed and death syndrome that we usually come
across. It did ring music to my ears and I shouted “I love India’.

Sitting beside, my Mumbaiker friend looked at me and said
philosophically that everybody wondered why and, perhaps
even more, wanted a description of how. My friend continued “Is
there safety inside our mind and thoughts? We need not
invite 26/11 to raise patriotic fervor and resilience thereafter.

We are pained to see the separatist slogan- Mumbai for Marathi
Manus or cry for statehood in every part of the already dissected
India. Why can’t we stand up and be counted as Indian? I was
choked with the burden of dream- A lot can be seen in a smaller
space and the graffiti – I love India- really gives a healing touch.

The scars of Mumbai have been dissolved in resilience we

talk about. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal
more kindly with one another and remind us how keen we
are, how fervent our feelings to save us from our selfish
thought and to preserve and cherish the image of the country.

As our taxi was almost sinking on the Juhu sand, I woke up to
reality. We rushed towards the sea to feel the twilight warmth,
not to chance our luck to take refuge under the shadows of the
tree. It was vast sky above tinged with colors of the setting sun.
What’s worth living in this chaos? My friend retorted with a smile.
As we strolled by the shore, the drifting clouds reminded us the
graffiti once again and read out the tell tale in a line-I love India.