Seasons

My mind is a sunny meadow
Rolling down the lush green slopes
Thoughts, the first bloom of spring
The freshly melted ice, my emotions
Picking berries from the bushes
Sweet and sour memories,
Popping on my tongue.

Crack! A lightning flash
My tree of hope now burning
Alit by the flames of desire
It rages across the bleak skies
Matching the roar of the thunder
The wind howled, sang me
A lonely lullaby to sleep.

Location: Rohini Guest House, ARIES, Nainital, India
Shot on: Samsung Galaxy M31 64 MP QuadCam

I woke up to December,
A snow storm knocks me down,
Metallic taste in my mouth,
Icy stalagmites poking my back, 
Graupel crumbling under my feet,
Frost bitten and crest fallen
I trudge on.

With the crack of dawn
The skies lit up, the bulbuls sang,
I was safe in Mother Nature’s hands,
Rolled down the lush green slopes,
It’s sunny in my mind, once again,
Sweet only tastes sweeter
After the metallic tang.

©️ Darshana Mehta

Aamis

A piece of you,
A piece of me,
We exchange.
Marinated and cured,
Sometimes smoked,
On other times charred.
We’ve cooked it,
Slowly,
The insides blushing pink,
The seasoning,
Crackling and sizzling,
As the rotisserie,
Twists around.
Layer upon layer,
As I slice through,
I see a little bit of me,
In you.
Captivating all five senses,
A forbidden pleasure,
A piquant treasure,
I consume it,
It consumes me.

©️Darshana Mehta

Note: ‘Aamis’ means animal flesh that is eaten as food. This poetry was inspired from an Assamese movie of the same name. Although highly unconventional and almost unwatchable for some people, this movie stayed with me for days, forcing me to rethink the expressions of love.

The Winterline

ARIES, Manora Peak, Nainital, Uttarakhand, India

Lines bound, restrict, fence,
A border, an edge,
A Purnviraam, to enclose.

And yet as the clouds descended,
Blanketing the plains,
In a somber white veil,
I felt an infinite oneness,
Transcending my soul.

The red Sun merged,
With the rolling clouds,
Spreading its fiery wings,
The pale blue sky,
Lit up in wonder,
And so formed,
The winterline.

– Darshana Mehta

Note: Photo clicked by me with my Samsung M31

Note: A Purnviraam is a symbol, a straight line (।), used in the Hindi language script to denote a fullstop or the end of a sentence.

Note: Winterline or winter line is the term used to describe the false horizon that is formed at dusk and is visible from certain mountainous parts of the world. Apart from India, winterline occurs in the Swiss Alps.

Blowing Dandelions

Picking up fallen rhododendrons,
Blowing dandelions,
She pranced down the grassy slopes,
Chasing the melodies of the bulbul.
She plucked a cherry blossom,
Cupped it delicately in her hands,
Tucked it in my braids,
Hair which she had lovingly washed,
Disentangled and plaited last night.

We went down to the cliffs,
To get a better view,
She, of the sunset,
And me, of the rays,
As they glinted off her eyes,
Her beaming smile.
We lay in the cool grass,
Side by side, watching
The clouds flit by.

Twilight is my favorite time,
I had once said,
It was time to bid adieu,
Blessed were my young eyes,
Enraptured by the infinite beauties,
One last time,
And her,
Her deep brown eyes,
Now glistening with tears.

Like blowing a dandelion,
She let the wind take,
Me and my wheelchair,
Down the cliff,
I flew for a long time,
My last wish coming true,
My last thought being her,
Until everything,
Turned cold and black.

– Darshana Mehta

Note: Photos taken by me on Samsung M31 at Nainital, Uttarakhand, India

The Saree

It was a windy day in November,
There was a power cut,
I went upto the chhat,
And lay there under my,
Ma’s colorful sarees,
Billowing in the window,
With each attempt,
Trying to escape the hold,
Of the clothes’ pegs.

With every gush of wind,
The green saree,
Screamed to be let out,
And when the wind left,
The saree tempered down,
And lovingly caressed,
My face in return,
Just like Ma.

Just like Ma,
I thought,
Wanting to be let out.
She wants to flow,
Freely with the wind.
But something or, the
Other always holds,
Her down.
And when she can’t,
She’ll still come back,
And lovingly,
Take me in her arms.

©Darshana Mehta

Note: The saree is a garment consisting of a length of cotton or silk elaborately draped around the body, traditionally worn by women from South Asia.

Note: Chhat refers to the terrace or roof of the house.

Of Death

On the banks of the Holy Ganges, Rishikesh, India

Of Death
Do we contemplate
Sanctimonious souls
Do pontificate
But in death
We stand apostate

Of Death
Do we construe
Unbeknownst we are
About what’s false
And what’s true
Discern, can you?

Of Death
Do we ponder
What’s left with us
Once our soul departs
What lies yonder
Anticipated, have you?

Of Death
Murakami once said
Not antithetical of life
But nurtured by it
Will life hath meaning
If it were incessant?

Of Death
We remain oblivious
Or pretend to
Until one day, it embraces us,
In it’s cold arms
Unpretentious

© Darshana Mehta

P.S.: Yes that’s me in the cover photo. Shot on my phone MiA1 while on a college trip to Uttarakhand in December 2017

स्त्री (strī)

One Two Three Four
Don’t ask for more

Five Six Seven Eight
Don’t go out so late

Nine Ten Eleven Twelve
Completely cover your self

Thirteen
Don’t talk to boys
Fourteen
Don’t look them in the eye
Fifteen
Don’t wear lipstick
Sixteen
Don’t wear those jeans

Seventeen Eighteen
For marriage aren’t you keen?
Nineteen Twenty
Can you make a round roti?
Thirty
How many kids do you have?
Forty
You still can’t talk back
Fifty
You are of no use to me
Sixty
Widowed, you are set free
Of all rights and duties

Seventy
You’ve found refuge in a shanty
Surrounded by others like you
Alone, yet together
Together, yet alone

Eighty
Wrapped in a white sari
You stood up proud
One last time
To breathe in
The air of liberty.

©Darshana Mehta




Note: Strī means a woman in Sanskrit, Hindi and in many Indian languages

Note: I was thinking about the “Widows of Varanasi” while writing about this. To know more about them: https://www.scoopwhoop.com/Widows-Of-Varanasi/

2020

The roads lay bare
The glass buildings stared
At each other’s reflections
The air lay still
Waiting for the mighty train
To whisk it away
To lands unknown.
The empty streets
Whispered to each other
Bidding their time
Till the noises resume,
Only, they still haven’t.

There was light
But not bright enough
There was darkness
But not impregnable enough

Yes,
We stood nonplussed
Yes,
Uncertainty surrounded us
Yes,
Our every attempt failed

But look,
The birds are singing once again,
The flamingoes have returned
The air is breathable again
The trees rustle in unison

And all it took,
Was a microorganism.

©Darshana Mehta

物の哀れ (Mono no aware)

Harr ki Pauri, Uttarakhand, India

How quickly do,
The years pass by,
Once a stranger,
Is now a name,
You swear by,
From a stream,
To a river,
And now, the sea,
Melting into the ocean,
The reality today,
Was once,
Just a vision.

© Darshana Mehta

Note: Often considered to be untranslatable, mono no aware refers to the bittersweet realization of the ephemeral nature of all things. It is the awareness that everything in existence is temporary. (https://theculturetrip.com/asia/japan/articles/what-is-mono-no-aware-the-japanese-love-for-impermanence/)

Note: The cover photo was shot by me while on a college trip to Uttarakhand, India (March 2019) on my phone (MiA1)

Stars

Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of India

Stars above her,
Stars in her hands,
That’s how I remember,
Watching her, holding her,
Probably for the last time,
Her skin glowing softly,
Against the black sea,
Against the black night.

“Mama! Look! “, she bubbled,
Or that’s what I presumed,
She might have done,
If only her tiny hands,
Still had their strength,
Instead they just lay,
Unmoving, as the waves,
Lapped to and fro,
With each encounter,
Deposited iridescent phytoplankton,
On her porcelain arms.

My arms were strong,
Mother’s arms,
Had always tended to,
Sheltered her child,
And yet, they couldn’t
Protect her, from disease.
They couldn’t hold her,
Tightly enough, when
With her last breath,
Her soul left,
And scattered itself,
Across the universe,
Amidst the stars,
Again.

©Darshana Mehta

P.S.: The coverphoto’s of my hand