Sunday, 22 June 2014

Sea in the Sky

This morning, once more I read my poem 'May Queen,' (2004) this time at the Bogmallo Beach Resort. The superb setting created some awesome sound effects specially as 'waves crash[ed] over the angry sea.' The poem appears in my blogpost link below and is also reproduced at the end of this post.

The venue was the 'Coconut Grove' at the far end of the hotel, almost in a cove in the sea. 10 years on the spectacle was the same. Listeners, which included children and parents, nodded vigorously as I read out some of the lines from the poems self-published in my debut volume Last Bus to Vasco: Poems from Goa (2006).

I began with 'Sea in the Sky' (2004) -- a compilation of smses, also from the same volume. Hovering between Delhi and Goa, I shot off an sms to friends in both places seeking advice while I was back home in Vasco on a break from my job in Delhi:                                                                                                      
Sea in the Sky

'M watching the ships
sail from the river to the sea
into the sunset
Where is my destiny --
Delhi or Goa?'

'GOA!! I hope you enjoy staying there! See U soon!'
'That sounds very nostalgic. I am sailing in the same boat.'
'Don't know where my destiny lies.'
'I can only NVU'
'Goa Brian Goa! I have no doubts on that issue'
'Destiny comes to the place you lead her, lure her, coax her, or drag her to Brian . . . Ask of her and she will come hither . . .'
'Unanswerable questions persist . . .'

The brief poetry reading touched a chord in the listeners. One lady came up to me and told me that my poems were very evocative of Goa.  She pressed into her hand a volume of her own poems.                      

Vasco Watch, the organizers of the event mentioned that they had taken a video recording of the reading which would be uploaded on their site.  This was part of a programme called 'Meghdoot -- YOU are the poet, the singer, the artist, the dancer, You are the Cloud Messenger.'  Delicious breakfast was provided at the venue.  Though there wasn't a drop of rain today, Kalidasa's message reinterpreted for our times, brought a burst of energy to an otherwise mundane Sunday.  Commander Narayanan (Retd.) and his wife Janani, whose brainchild this was were all over the place ensuring things went well.  They had the courtesy to invite us a week back and when I offered to contribute my mite Commander fiercely refused. It was he who launched me as a poet with a poetry reading in Vasco in a small room above Teles Medical store, near Roy's petrol pump in Vasco on 12 September 2004. Mum slipped away two months later.      

May Queen

brian mendonca

The warm rush of water at Hollant
And Copacabana holding court
To scores of children shrieking with delight
Luscious Mancurada mangoes
yield way to the Totapuri,
Xinanio, teesrio, bhangde reixaddo
Caldeen, Hisson, Chicken Xacuti
Beef patties, potato cutlets with Mirinda bread
As waves crash over the angry sea
Castles in the sand –Ful-na-pakli
Venha mais vezes
, says Mrs Noronha
Gulmohar, Copper pods, the drumstick, the jamun
Survey the kaner, the emissary of the North
Mum tells her beads for the family rosary
As the koel cries on the heels of rain.

Glossary: Hollant beach, Vasco, Goa, 2004. Copacabana: name of restaurant at Hollant; Xinanio: (Konk.) oysters;teesrio: (Konk.) mussels; bangde reixaddo: (Konk.) fried mackeral stuffed with masala; Caldeen: (Konk.) fish curry prepared in coconut juice; Hisson (Konk.) kingfish; Xacuti (Konk.) Chicken Xacuti prepared with roasted coconut and spices; Ful-na-pakli: (Konk.) If you cannot be a flower (ful), be a petal (pakli); Venha mais vezes: (Port.) Come again often; kaner: short tree with yellow flowers that open at daybreak and close at sundown                             

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