Poetry, me and Kashi

I write in prose and verse. I like writing. It gives me pleasure and a sense of direction and being. It took me time to realize that I was born to write. Just as it took me time to realize that poetry is my mode of self expression and creative expansion. I had not written anything on my city for many months. I had not been there for many months. I had started marking that the posts of my facebook groups from Varanasi stopped appearing on my timeline as the number of posts of poetry and writing groups of mine increased in volume.

Then, this afternoon, I went to my Varanasi groups and looked a their posts. It was unplanned. So, is this post. Varanasi made me write this post here. The posts I shared were about Dev Deepavali, Launglata or Lavanglata, Sankatmochan Temple, Jalebi and Wall Paintings in Varanasi.

Lavanglata

I had done a post on Launglata at:

https://rajnishmishravns.wordpress.com/2016/04/13/lavanglata/

In the image above you can see my neighborhood Bhaiya who had been making wonderful Jalebis and Launglatas for the neighborhood for at least three decades.

I had mentioned the traditional wall paintings here:

https://rajnishmishravns.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/satyajit-ray-and-the-picturesque-varanasi-2/

Jalebi

Jalebi is a sweet popular in Varanasi. It is a convoluted closed spiral tube of fried maida filled with sugar syrup and is served hot. It’s a perfect partner of Kacaudi and Pumpkin-potato curry. Shops and stalls selling this perfect Banarsi breakfast can be found at any street or lane corner. The shop in the image above sells them in the morning. The evening is for selling another variety of snacks.

2

Chittoranjan’s Shop, Hararbagh, Varanasi

Chittoranjan, my old friend from my school days sells these deep fried magical dollops popularly known as pakodas. Starting from the left on the tray can be seen Malgaja, Chilli Chap, Daal Bada, Aloo Chap, Tomatar Chap and Vegetable Cutlets. These mouth watering (mine is watering while I type) snacks are made of various seasonal vegetables dipped in besan (powdered chickpea) batter and then deep fried twice. The vegetables used, from the left are eggplant, chilly, potatoes, tomatoes and peas. Lentils and soy bean is used too.

Sankatmochan Temple is a centuries old temple dedicated to the great devotee of Lord Rama: Hanumanji. I had written a post partially on him here:

https://rajnishmishravns.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/ramayan-and-a-child/

I have not captured Dev Deepavali with my camera yet.  When I do, I’ll upload images here.

Now, here are some of my shorter poems on my city:

Shadows LaidBamboo StripsRows of steps

Here is a longer poem:

Row after row, steps rising from the river,
Row after row, steps falling to the same,
Rising, going westward, falling, coming – a game
Words play on life; and life, a little later
Shells the words all down, and leaves
Just the strong impressions, firmly etched,
Deeply carved, with colours true, fetched
From the days of old, when life was lived.
The game, when it’s over; whistles blown,
Feet when tired come over the falling steps,
Tracing back the same old worn out stone –
Steps at the end of a summer-day-long run,
Over them of a never-resting sun –
Lead them gently riverward, down the steps.

[Originally published at: http://classicalpoets.org/rows-of-steps-by-rajnish-mishra/%5D

Here’s another, this one on filth and faith:

Time and Life to Death

Filth, they call it ubiquitous;
obnoxious. On streets,
in heaps, in lanes, scattered.
Life goes daily, usually on,
oblivious of filth,
or death,
goes on with ease.
Unfettered feet, undaunted –
of pilgrims, of people,
with purpose, or strollers
The timeless lanes,
narrow, space ample
for all who come,
who live and die there.
Disgusting, the filth,
reflected sometimes, on faces.
Cow dung, house waste,
refuse and grime,
Scattered, removed,
then scattered again,
repeat performance,
seen and felt
on skin, in nose, on feet through eyes.
Yet feet go on,
undaunted, eternally,
as time and life run to death,
from flesh to fire to ashes.

[From https://coldnoon.com/magazine/diaries/poetry/run-to-death-from-flesh-to-fire-to-ashes-poems/%5D

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