Showing posts from August, 2013

The Allegory of Other Life

On a cool monsoon evening, I sat on a bench made of rock and cement, crusted thinly by moss on a layer of black mass. This bench has been here for not more than a year, and this is its first season in the rain. Beside this bench is a dense mass of grasses, sedges, and herbs like Common Balsam ( Impatiens balsamina ) and Pot Cassia ( Cassia tora ), growing taller than the surrounding. I sat gazing at this small island as thin raindrops settled upon the blades and the spikes of grass. Like sitting on a safari vehicle, looking out into the grass for signs of a crouching tiger, I looked on. A grass frond sprang up from a corner of the island, the drops settled upon it now flying through the air. Like a tiger shuffling after arising from a cool pond. A grasshopper sat munching upon the blade of grass, right where the blade could take its weight. Munching; engrossed. Like a tiger, I reminded myself, like a tiger. A snail slowly made its way on the stem of the spikelet, just as another

The Cry of the Jackal

A jackal cries in the shadow of rain Howling to the wind, in love or in pain, For whom, I wonder, by the waters untame  Into twilight, into the moonlight, in glory or disdain With a cry of sorrow or victory, that no man can explain With what power or prowess, that no man shall [ever] tame They lament for defeat as beautifully as they sing for glory. I’ve often found comingled tracks of the Indian Jackal, Canis aureus indicus , and the domestic dog, Canis lupus familiaris , in the muddy areas around the fragmented forests, but I can never tell the difference. I can simply assume it to belong to them, at least some of them; because I know they hunt this hillock. In the dark I hear a pack of these night-stalkers howling and yelping – for a fallen comrade or for securing a kill – I can never tell the difference, but their presence always fills me with gladness that they’re around. The calls are usually heard between dusk and early dawn. It starts first with yelps, sounding as