A stunning book of poetry that speaks to everyone
Lately I have been reading a book by Siddharth Katragadda, a book of sometimes-epic poetry entitled Dark Rooms. These poems talk about many things that speak to both the mind and soul. I have selected two of them to publish here. Enjoy
Bird in a Twister
The whole generation was doomed to fail,
Not just their family of six children.
An entire nation, caught in a maelstrom of a premature independence from the white Raj,
A colossal partition between two opposite faiths,
One saffron, the other green, the colors of the flag,
And the cataclysmic clash
Emerging modernity and subdued values,
Struggled, like little birds caught in a twister.
Birds shot down to earth, burnt and smoldering
By crisscrossing lightening bolts.
Struggled I the dilemma between purpose and success,
At the crossroads between villages and towns,
And in the choices between religion and science.
The beautiful music of the veena was
Too subtle for ears that were, out of the blue,
Looking to follow the harsh drums of their hearts,
A dull noise that came from the west,
The desperate buzzing of a wasp trapped in a glass.
A nation of people were all doomed to fail,
Left to fend for themselves by parents
That, having ruled their heads for three hundred years,
Decapitated those very heads and
Left their bodies stripped of all identity,
Left a people to squirm out to their newfound freedom
Like a newborn that squishes out, blood red,
Into its new world of problems and anticipation.
Like this family of six children would, when their father died.
The Foreign Car
One day, sitting in the front veranda,
Gopals lazy head on her lap, her fingers
Tracing the edge of his dark, unpleasant face,
Kaveri looked at the picture of his father,
Standing next to the Moris Minor,
And said, where is your fathers motor now.
Oh, sold long ago, he answered, his eyes closed.
It was a foreign car, you know, he boasted.
Her eyes lit up. A foreign car?
She looked down at him through the curtain of hair
That had fallen loose from her plait.
I want to have a foreign car, one day, she said.
And he laughed, his teeth yellow in the dark.
Those days were different, he explained,
Now, who has foreign cars? The age of the Raj is over.
If you want a foreign car, you have to go foreign.
As though foreign was the name of a place.
Crestfallen, her smile quickly faded.
Then, a devilish look came into her eyes.
An idea creeping into her mind like a cockroach snuggling into a shoe,
Like a flavescent moonlit mist entering a room in April.
Two dimples emerged, as if loving fingers ad squeezed her cheek.
A soft curve touched her lips. She took on a solemn glow.
Somewhere, a shadow lurked in the back of her mind
A smile struggled its way through the mask of uncertainty.
Something grew coldly determined inside of her.
With a soft sigh, she settled her mouth on his.