Monday, 16 November 2009

Sonepur mela

by brian mendonca

Absent elephants,
Cooking pots
in wayside mangers,
Snotty children
sleep on bushels of hay.
Litti in a bamboo hut
overlooking a grove of mangoes
Painted teens
shake it for the crowds
Indian Railways, TATA
Mahindra, UNICEF
'Aapka kya Style Heh'
Tree of Life applique
by SSA girls
Boys on stilts
distribute calendars
A langur bent double
in a makeshift cage
Puppies and parrots
cry out to be freed
'Kamariya lachke lupa lup
Loli pop lage loo.'

(Sonepur mela
Sonepur, Patna, Bihar
14 November 2009)

Notes Litti: a kind of kachori,followed by jalebis for breakfast with hot tea; Style:brand of condom supplied by NGO, Janani; SSA: Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan - Government sponsored school education programme; Kamariya...: (Bhojpuri)deafening lyrics describing the swaying of a woman's hips

Kali Gandak
-brian mendonça

Black river
Mighty being,
An obscure sky
Now brightened
by the sun.
Agastya’s curse
Redeemed by Vishnu
aum sūryāya namah
on Kali-ghat.
In the distance
you merge with the Ganges
as pilgrims bathe furiously
with soap and water.
Kathmandu’s spires
Rise from your banks
As a local judge’s entourage
Stalls the obeisance
of pilgrims
at Hariharnath temple.

(15 November 2009
Gandak river, Sonepur, Bihar)

Note: The Gandak river in India is called Kali Gandak in Nepal from where it flows into India from the Himalayas and merges with the Ganges at Sonepur, near Patna; Agastya: The sage Agastya had cursed Indradyumna - king of the Pandyas - by turning him into an elephant for not welcoming him when the sage visited him. In a fight between the elephant and a crocodile which lasted a thousand years, the elephant implored the lord Vishnu (Hari) to save him – which Vishnu did. A sculpture depicting this event can be seen below the kali ghat temple at Sonepur.

Photo courtesy: Gallery of Indian Stamps 2007. The Mahatma Gandhi Setu bridge over the river Ganges in Patna is the world's longest river bridge spanning over 5.575 km connecting Hajipur to Patna.

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