Thursday, June 23, 2022

April Onwards

 Petrified pigeons in a flap

flapping away to safety

as a black kite glides

between our tall buildings,

a rara avis in these parts.

And now the children
Are going to school again
After two years of
Staying home, learning
Virtually, many of them.
I don't know most of them,
The children in our complex,
But today, it was a surprise
To see the little chap
I would meet each morning,
with his father, small,
Shot up, so much taller
But clinging, today,
To his mother's hand.

5th April

Tiny purple sunbird
Perched on the very tip
Of the huge fan palm leaf
A good morning indeed.

7th April

I went for a swim after years,
This morning, after a walk
To the milkbooth
Where I snarked at the booth owner,
because a young woman
Barged straight ahead,
Wanting dosa batter and chutney,
And then said that her kids
Had to go to school, lateness!
I said, a simple 'Excuse me'
At the very least,
Might have helped
I was also annoyed at myself
For being such a khadoos,
But sometimes one has to be.
The water was glorious,
The pool empty, more or less.
And the pigeons delicately
Perched on the edge
Sipping chlorinated water
I hope it doesn't hurt them.

8th April

Lapwing on the lawn
Sparrows chirping
Bulbul on the bough
Pigeons at the pool
Drinking daintily, but also
Pooping on the poolside.

9th April

Fallen dry champa leaves
From a distance
Birds pecking at the ground
Not soaring away

10th April

Cloudy neem trees
With a halo of tiny flowers
Summer beauty
Soon scattered
On the ground.

21st April

Pool ponderings
The thirsty pigeons drink
Perched on the edge of the pool
Bottoms up has a new meaning!
They poop there too, being pigeons.
My backstroke is haunted
By the thought of pigeons pooping
Mid flight, over the pool.
But they seem to need terra firma
For both input and output.
It's so hot that they cool their feet
In the balcony water bowl,
Shallow enough to feel safe.
It's just too hot to not care
About these creatures.

30th April

Puffed up pigeon
At the edge of the pool.
Many others came
And drank their fill.
This one preened,
Flicking water from its beak
To left and right,
Several times.
Cooling off, perhaps,
Pink feet at the edge
Enjoying the 'waves'
Lapping over, nervous too.
Pigeon sponge bath?

5th May

Tenth Birthday
The little boy is ten today.
A milestone in more ways than one.
This is, thanks to Covid,
His first birthday
Without his father's presence.
Not the only child so bereft, I know,
But it doesn't lessen our grief.

5th May

Low flying lapwing
Gliding over the Expressway
Have you missed your bus?
Are you going to Agra?
Or Mathura, Aligarh, Hathras?
Or a distant sector of my city itself?
The cars grouping for a wedding
Are left far behind, and you,
An unlikely guest!
My childhood triangle
Aligarh, Hathras, Agra:
Both grandfathers and ancestral home,
Place of pilgrimage too.
An oft repeated threesome...
The pilgrimage is much overdue.
I hope you reached your destination
safely, lapwing. Traffic can be hazardous.

15th May

I keep filling
The balcony water bowl
For the pigeons, and the
occasional sparrow, or squirrel,
in this extreme summer heat.
Yesterday afternoon was distressing:
A dead pigeon lay
On top of the window ledge, a floor below.
I couldn't bear to look at it again,
And watered the plants in the evening
With eyes averted, sadness within.
This morning, though,
There was no evidence
Of yesterday's tragedy.
Did a kite dispose of the pigeon,
Or did a cat?
Or did the wind blow it down
To the gardens below?
Or did its fellow pigeons
Fly off with it somewhere,
An avian cortege?
Perhaps it hadn't died after all,
A happy thought, but unlikely.
(It had looked completely dead).
One of life's many mysteries.

16th May

A magical evening. A neighbour singing on his front porch, microphone, amplifiers and all. Folding chairs, neighbours and passersby listening. A small girl whirling and twirling to the music. The sheer perfection of time and place. Pure magic.

30th May ( Memorial Day weekend, USA)

The elephant in the porch
Seemed quite unlikely
In a suburban home in the US.
Not a live elephant, of course,
But a statue of one,
The biggish statue you might see
In a state emporium.
I came up closer
With trusty camera phone
And clicked.
Not an elephant at all,
But a grey-brown covered
Perhaps a barbecue grill,
Or a motorcycle.
Homesick? No.
Just a desi who sees
Elephants where none exist.

3rd June

Impending departure
Packing up a month of memories
Of wonderful times
With children and grandchildren
And the cat,
a character in his own right
With his propensity to bite
My ankles. Pesky beautiful cat.
Our own lives beckon, across the globe...
Memories of cuddles and bubbles
Books and toys, walks and games
Car seats, and songs, both contemporary
And ancient ones from my childhood.
Will the little ones miss us?
We have to pack today,
Material goods, ours,
And things
For our other children
in another part of the world.
Our memories are already packed,
So why am I crying?

16th June

Father's Day 2022
This morning I woke up,
Jet and holiday lagged
To the realization that
I had completely forgotten
My father's death anniversary
Earlier this month.
I was in a time warp
At my son's home,
Cherishing each moment
With him and his family.
The grandchildren were the focus
of much of our attention,
And dates didn't really register.
And yet, not a day passed
When I did not remember my father.
I saw him in my son's balding pate,
In his tenderness towards his children,
And towards us, his parents,
Nurturing us with his care
And concern for both of us,
Sharing the sense of privilege
We had in being together
After so very very long.
Happy Father's Day, Anand Vivek Taneja