From Sugata Teacher’s Krishna Collection.
With love, on a Janmashtamy, also Teachers Day.
Who am I? Where am I rushing to, through
An unknown land,
Over such a vast road?
Strange, these unfamiliar green fields-
The orchards, what are these full of?
Blue fruits, unknown to me.
Over there, I see sheep,
Near that field,
An old farmer atop his horse.
The bus stops by the wayside
Many get down to quench the thirst.
Underneath that nameless tree, small seating places
The sunlight intensifies, thirst harrows me
I get down , and stand all alone near the tree.
A young village girl offers red liquid
She is dressed in strange grabs, I do not know
If she is serving wine or grape juice
As I request for water, she shrugs , not understanding.
A blue eyed poet sits and sings, with a full tumbler
What is he singing about?
The language,I do not know.
I do not recognise the bird chirping
On this sunlit tree branch either!
Machines rumbling across far off fields
Who am I ? What am I doing here?
A sudden depressing loneliness engulfs me
I do not recognise the language, not the bird chatter
Nor the tree murmurs, strangers all around,
An intense , vast, unknown landscape-
Surrounds me, starts to pull me down
With terror, scary darkness that grows within
As it turns into pain, tiredness
As I sink to the ground, letting go…
Suddenly I hear
A sweet flute music!
As I open my eyes in wonder
My eyes fall on a young lad
Clambering down the hill!
Dark skinned,dusty long hair
Touching his shoulders:
A bird feather tucked into it,
He is joyously , playfully bounding down!
Around his neck, an amulet shaped like a bell,
A stick to drive the sheep in hand
Curly hair springing all around his forehead!
Through his open shirt, I see
A sun, tattooed on his chest!
He stands so nonchalantly near me,
Drinks from his leather pouch
Strapped across his shoulders.
Turns to look at me
Stranger in a different garb
In that clime
Throws an open, sweet smile my way.
My body cools with exhilaration,
Your smile showers flowers across my forehead!
I return his smile, my heart blossoms-
You came all this way, only for my sake!
Though your eyes shimmer green,
Though the feather is of a white dove
Though your chest is tattooed
Though you are with sheep,
I recognise you!!
Because of your flute tucked by your waist,
The way in which you sipped your drink, wiped your lips
And turned to cast a glance at me
In the way you then ran off, whistling loudly
Scampering merrily away!
Gently, someone touches my shoulder
As I turn, the young girl stands behind me
As I drink it with gratitude,
The sorrow in the poet’s tune
Becomes two hands folded up high
In faith and devotion!
I recognise that I am never really alone
Anywhere in the world !
This strange land, suddenly