Our e-book, the taste of sea breeze, was published as a celebration of two years of IN haiku Mumbai. This anthology contains haiku, tanka, senryu, haibun and renku, alongside a form which we think we invented - the renbun (haibun linked to each other on the lines of renku).
Available on Amazon.in, it is edited by Rohini Gupta (who also did the cover), with contributions from Paresh Tiwari, Mahrukh Bulsara, Brijesh Raj, Gautam Nadkarni, Sandra Martyres, Kasturi Jadhav, Rochelle Potkar and yours truly.
For Haiku lovers, this book packs a punch. There are some pleasant surprises here and I found several 'aha' moments. Some verses have touched the heart bringing to mind visions from my past. The beauty of this is that it sometimes evokes an entire thought process, different from what the writer may have meant to convey, thereby leaving an indelible mark. Not only the ever popular haiku…
The grating rises. Inside, great coils sear with redness. The shroud is ripped off and thrown to a side. I look away: grandpa's belly has bloated beyond measure. They wrench my hands away. With a firm push, the trolley races into the coils. Huge flames erupt, licking the seasoned body. A lever is swung, the grating crashes down.
Morning. An ashen-faced man scans a shelf. An urn, neatly labeled, is placed on the counter. Ashes and a bone fragment.
A priest chants by a river. A brinjal and some white flowers float away.
the pressure cooker
hums with her
(Published in Haibun Today June 2015)
Mother gave me a patch of garden when I was eleven. I ploughed it with a trowel and seeded it with dahlias, geraniums, marigolds and chrysanthemums. I watered it everyday and watched with delight as they began to sprout. Then one day I saw a new plant, with tiny bright green leaves. Mother didn’t know what it was. Se called it a weed. She told me to remove it. I didn’t. I thought it was pretty. Prettier still, when it had tiny, yellow flowers. And then there were other plants – short ones, tall ones, prickly ones, with white, yellow, even red flowers. One flower had petals that were violet outside and yellow inside. Mother called them all weeds.
The geraniums and dahlias and chrysanthemums didn’t seem to grow well. They were short and had small flowers, not like mother’s patch which had big, pretty ones. Mother said it was because I had let weeds grow. But I had lots of little flowers – like little me. Mother said I had grown a weed garden. So she took it away. But it was a nice gard…
I have before me a tourist brochure. I think it is laughing at me, the way ink soaked into paper can laugh. A way that is silent, malignant. It seems amused. That I have come to gawk, to gape. Where my forefather once cut down other people's forefathers. Like that of the brochure writer's, perhaps. Or did not. I must trust the story the ink tells me. For the blood soaked in the ground isn't saying anything.
the last installment
of our home loan –
father's last sigh
Encased in concrete, with a dying orange above, and the silver turning grey below, the waves crash futilely against the old Portuguese fortress at Bandra. I suppose one might, on careful listening, hear steel versus steel again. Boats bob by those decayed ramparts, signs of of an eternal poverty dependent on the wealth of the sea; on the open sea the Bandra-Worli sea-link's lights shimmy: a half-finished proclamation of victory over nature. Above, the clouds thicken as if in impudent demonstration of whose writ truly runs. In the shanties of Bandra, in the towers of Worli, and in the middle-classness of Mahim, lights come on one by one - a dying day, a sleepless city.
morning rush hour:
the beggar sets up office
where he sleeps
coffee shop -
the flavour of her voice
in every sip / Gautam
bittersweet the mogras
sold by the schoolgirl / Brijesh
the evening rush hour -
summer sun / Raamesh
bleeding from the barbed wire
the coat you wore last winter /Paresh
nothing left behind
except that last
goodbye / Rohini
I step into the morrow
of my dreams / Gautam
from the tulip garden
and kisses / Brijesh
bridal veil the colour
of magic on her lips / Raamesh
with cross stitches
we add a full moon
to the night sky / Paresh
sketched in pen and ink
the group all smiles / Rohini
(Published in Whispers)
क्या मेले के गुब्बारे कभी ख़ामोशी की तलाश में भटकते होंगे? क्या पूनम का चान्द कभी अमावस की आस रखता होगा? शहर की बसों ने कभी ढूँढी होंग किसी गाँव का रस्ता? क्या सागर की मछलियों ने एक दिन किसी वीरान कुएँ का ख़्वाब देखा होगा?
मैंने न तलाश की न ख़्वाब देखे हैं, इन सियाही की लकीरों में मैं कबसे गुमशुदा हूँ|
पीपल वृक्ष — एक त्रिकोण पत्ते में समक्ष भू
Do balloons in a fair ever go wandering in search of some quiet? Does the full moon ever yearn for the new moon’s night? Have a city’s commuter buses ever looked for the road to some village? Did the fishes of the ocean ever dream of an obscure well some day?
I’ve neither sought nor dreamt, for long have I been lost in these lines of india ink.