Three Poems

Dr Santosh Bakaya

Dr Santosh Bakaya


There went the dinner gong

There went the dinner gong!
So many years back, so, so many.
Exactly at eight! Not a minute late.
 I don’t remember
from where my disciplinarian father had bought it,
 but he was fascinated by it,
and wanted us to be fascinated too!
How crazy!
How could lazy kids, be fascinated by a dinner gong
 which made them scurry under beds,
when asked to hurry
towards the dining table,
exactly at eight , not a minute late?

Oh, how we did hate dad’s mad fad!
 Mom crinkled her nose, and shut her ears
at the shenanigans of the loquacious gong.
With a ding and a dong, everything went wrong.
 The talkative parakeet let out a belligerent squawk.
Nipper let out staccato yelps as dad read out from
A Child’s Christmas at Wales.
“Why on earth do we need the dinner gong, dad?”
 Up went our wails.
“Nothing doing”, asserted dad, in his baritone,
 quelling every incipient moan. [So very bad!]
Dylan Thomas watched from the shadows,
with a bemused twinkle, and Kitty purred,
stirred out of her feline introspection.
The chaotic cross-conversation
 became more chaotic as Kitty jumped on the table!
“What an interesting fable”. Dad quipped.
 Dipping into the last bite, granny pouted,
a septuagenarian’s pout.
“I want more ice- cream”, she demanded stoutly.

The Pied Piper of Hamelin made his appearance too .
[You see, Dad had a doctorate in Robert Browning,
 But, why on earth was he frowning?]
The Owl and the pussy cat also danced,
 prancing around the sweet peas and jars of honey. 
“They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong- Tree grows.”
Dad sang , strumming an imaginary guitar.
No, it was not bizarre, he was our singing star!
 Suddenly, Kitty eyed dad, a tad sad,
 as dad picked up TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of practical Cats
and started reading, unfazed by his brats listlessly feeding.
“What if Kitty’s name was Bombalurina?” He guffawed.
Kitty, yanked out of its profound meditation, growling.
A feline disgrace.

Years passed.
 
Then the table shrunk.



FROZEN MOMENTS 

The mundane moments glitter
 when the squirrel stands on its haunches and peers around.
“It has found its nut! See that gleam in its eyes?”
 I scream in joy.
“You are a nut! A nut! A nut! And what a nut! Oh boy! ”
A juvenile voice sniggers,
from under layers of comatose memories.
Unfazed, the squirrel continues making figures around the nut.
Still does; but now there are no sniggers, only a smile.
A detached smile.  Tired and wilted.
A trifle tilted.

 Fondly, I recall those reflections rippling off cool lakes,
filling the air with diamonds, and the bees buzzing, buzzing, 
the parakeets screeching up a storm.

 A raucous caw and a loud flap of wings.
 A cloud clap and raindrops making eyes at me
from the cobwebs hanging from bushes.
In the vicinity, someone brewing tea with cardamom. 
The rustle of silk-and, with misty opacity,
 I glimpse mum heading towards me
with a hot glass of milk.
The image vanishes.


I sniff the din of raindrops on leaves,
dancing the dance of jollity.
In a spurt of untrammeled gaiety,
one raindrop slips to the ground
 and becomes one with the earth.
 I burn, I yearn, awaiting my turn.


CHANGING HUES 

From behind the clouds,
a cautious   sun peers at the raindrops falling to the ground.
 Feisty and frolicsome, they are on a roll.
Is the sun just slothful, or a little under the weather?

Suddenly it comes back in a fiery new avatar,
 the raindrops quiver, quickly settling down on leaves.
Just a moment back, they had created magic,
they had created music.
 Now they lie quiescent, like brats
at the appearance of the teacher.

In a burst of energy,
a lapwing races forth on its stilt – like legs,
and trips on the rain- drenched ground,
regains its footing; retraces its steps, limping.
Its frantic eyes hunt for the thing
 that had dared to hinder its stroll.

  Exuberance regained, “Pee- wit pee- wit”, it says.
 Bobbing its head up and down , down and up.
Bemused, I listen to its valiant effort
 trying to drown the shrill rhetoric
 holding sway, everywhere.

A sunbeam travels down to play with a stray cat
drenched in the rain.
The cat, purrs delightedly, glowing
in the warmth of a perfect day.

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