Monsoon goddess

Courtesy: Ankita Shreeram

The sky peers at us
Through half-closed eyes
Irises a soothing silver-tinged gray
A gaze that wills us to believe
In the charm of a glow-less day

Darkening canopy of cloudless firmament
Somehow muting the downward sounds
Causing us to move with somnambulant ease
Slowing our heart-beats
And the pace of our ever-rushing feet

Birds – oblivious
Trees – felicitous
And humans? Humans – ignorant
To the warning of imminent storm
The sky is a crystal ball
But we choose not to see
Our innate clairvoyance submerged
Under layers of careless thought

Spotted aloe plants look on stoically
As sheets of rain dance violently
On tar roads and peeling windows
On bald heads and rusted, tin roofs
With every step, she seizes a little memento
No, the rain never returns empty-handed
She will scrape away tiny bits of you
But she will also leave behind
A precious whit of her own soul
A fair barter, in her swirling eyes

Sometimes, she comes wearing bangles
Their raucous jingle jangle
A worthy accompaniment to her primitive music
She is both musician and dancer
Both puppeteer and puppet

Some babies press their noses
To misted windows in glee
While others scream in terror
Pressing against their mothers’ breasts instead
Some would like to pirouette along with her
On diamond-strewn streets
Others wish murderously
For the music to be silenced forever

Today she dances a tribal dance
Her movements feverish
Her music unsettling
But yesterday, she performed a measured Kathak
Her lashings graceful
The thunderous rumblings almost poetic
She is a woman of many unpredictable moods
But I am swept away by every single one
For I am her daughter,
Nestled in her bosom when I was born
On a glorious monsoon morning in September
The city plump with its fill of rain
Belly positively bursting with stormy goodness
I drank from that fountain as a babe
I drink from it still and guess what?
It still tastes the same.