Unacquainted Silhouettes

Garhwal Chronicles

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Trudging nostalgia

I.

Driving past the pines
for the lust of deodars,

morning towers in dull topaz-grey
from the dungeons of these mountains,

holding years of dust migrating
from plains and elsewhere.

Summer is the only bright lantern
in the corner of a dark room,
attracting hordes of moths
like these restless tourists

II.

Time goes grazing in the forests
that thrum in nights,
altitude is an escape, or a refuge.

Clouds and fog shield the white peaks,
and sometimes these quaint towns and villages
from the news of wars and rapes that
the rest of this country sins.

Young city-clad folks at the local chai dhaba,
grumble of phone network issues.

Oblivion, not peace, is the end of the Himalayan retreat.

III.

Some mountain edges smell of
fresh asphalt and coal tar,
few other gods yet to be
invaded in the Devbhoomi.

Resurrection is a seasonal borrowing,
of hammered glaciers
and multistorey evolution.

IV.

Salvation, apart from the Ganga-dips,
is an everyday quest for firewood
for these women in iridescent scarfs
and enormous nose-rings.

At Devprayag, I immolate my disbeliefs
for the sight of conflict-less confluence
of two different races of river,
becoming both Alaknanda and Bhagirathi

to this flowing, unified Ganga.

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