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( 00 )

(Indian ragas exist from early morning till late in the night and portray emotions suited to a specific hour. Morning, afternoon, evening, night ..... isn't that what life is all about.
This poem attempts to connect the notes of ragas with the moods of life.)


A raga has life, and life has many
Ragas reaching out to all its hours

Like amorous glances speared out from
Harems, hordes, habits, and happenings.

All we see, all we do is echoed
In the sounds that we call music ---

Thus piercing darkness like the notes
Of ragas sung in the morn,

Until the fusing notes and night,
Our life explores its varied moods.

What then is it that life must be ?
An ectoplasmic mood

That follows

No norms

But those laid out as notes for moods ?

( 01 )

Raga   : Lalit.
Time   : Before dawn.

(This first melody of the morning signifies the intense expectations of the sunrise. This  raga is performed when darkness and light come together.
Defines continuity.)

Morning never ends, it simply gives way
To more and more until the light

Makes eyelids heavy and darkness comes

If you were here, we were together ---
Darkness would still be there differently

But your letters would not chaperon morning

Our partings, like the tender night,
Prepare me for the wisdom of

Rhapsody that never actually will end,

( 02 )

Raga   : Bhatiyar.
Time   : Early morning.

(The early morning colours in the sky that seem to be erupting from the horizon blend in this raga which has an inspiration-dose in classical and folk music.
Sensually devotional -- preparing to step-out.)

Dreams are

Mine that were

Part of the night.

Sun on the sky-line

Just tells me through its colours

That I must look, lust, and love

That there must be laughter, lilt

And that I must loaf, try to lure

Then the latticed and laced lair of joy.

Do what I want ? No dreams are mine that were
Part of the night.

The soft joyful flavours of all times stir

In me this might.

( 03 )

Raga   : Ahir Bhairvi.
Time   : Early morning.

(It is a variation of the dawn raga -- Bhairav .... devotional element has by now acquired new earthy friends and the notes have started dating folk rhythms.
The drama begins.)

You are in
Go and spin

A yarn that will hold attention spans.

The theatre

Must not stir

Vigils nor any other devotional stance.

The world sings
Through the wings

Let the lights highlight my prayer --

We must start

With a part

That is, must not now be a slayer

Of rejoice.
Just the voice

Of truth is retained in folded hands.

On the stage

Starts a rage

So wake-up, wander between two lands --

One thats gone,
One thats born ...

Why philosophise when love is sighted

Though yet far.

Orb and star

Simply say : Life is ignited.

( 04 )

Raga   :  Jaunpuri.
Time   : Late morning.

(Jaunpuri is almost like viewing sand-dunes from a beach. This raga, incidentally, is not mentioned in the ancient texts and is comparatively new.
Picture evolution prostrate to a deity with a melancholic back-ground .... and you'll know why this raga was created in modern times.)

I discovered the magic of fission
And fused it with idyllic possibilities

While my head was still bent, intent
Like  a child believing the flag

On the sand-castle will furl forever.
Late morning dreams

And the noon rush of heated arguments
Clash, and crush sand-castles

Like the first explosion of the first
Atom-bomb. All knew that life

Would not be the same somehow. Steps
Forward form worlds that are unrecognizable.

Worlds that are yet tender and would duct
Cooling emotions to exploding sands

And new words that have been alloyed
Must stay with yet newer words emerging.

( 05 )

Raga   : Madhmad Sarang.
Time   : Noon and early afternoon.

(Who isn't childish, self-confident, and hungry for attention? This raga has simple joys and pleasing emotions. The bold movements of its notes don't even try to reach-out to philosophical nuances floating in endless chasms.
The noon of life, like this raga, is one such drunken phase.)

Life is a festivity and I must

Immerse in it.
But there are other tasks waiting --

Like  the laughter, on the verge
Of thoughtful glances.

Friendships, like cousins after marriage,
Develop confidence and say :

See you later !

And turn back to drug themselves
With reciprocal titillations.

That must be true
For that is what I do too.

( 06 )

Raga   : Sugrai.
Time   : Mid-day.

(Blend clear lines and forceful, uncomplicated structure, and the resultant joy that romps around full of verve and bright energy is SUGRAI. Like my son on skates or a ship tacking on high seas.)

Waves wave but do not move
They simply have a show of zest --

Needle-like in a groove

Will neither see nor show its best.

Weave in, weave out, run around
And in the noon some zest you show,

Tacking ships will be found

To find the base of gusto !

Like my son on his skates
Who loves to luff, to heel or reef --

Ship-like he then translates

The long noon to a yawing brief.

Pick up waves for your weave
For what is life if left unbroached ?

Navigate, do not grieve --

Frap, and furl, spill or strike. Plowed,

The course is set. You learn
To pull-in your smiles when you reach --

And reaching, you must turn

To careen, and fiddle on the beach.

( 07 )

Raga   : Multani.
Time   : Late afternoon before sunset.

(A restless, busy raga that blazingly, brazenly shimmers the vanity of human wishes. Why is it that when the day's activities are at its peak, the number of ragas is thinnest?)

This bright day
Is here now with us to stay.

My eyes can see all that be --

The worlds' free; go, go away

Hymns today
That were sung only to pay

Tributes. Uncertainties are

Just as far as nights' away.

In between
Sunrise and sunset, a green

Canvas lies in front of me

Though it be barren, mean

And restless,
As this wasteland -- fathomless,

Urging us to sing all day

That we stay sane and ask less

This bright day,
Ask less, ask less this bright day --

Is it that we ask for less ?

Pray for less, or less we pray

This bright day ?
But forward march makes my day

Climb up a ladder or a graph

And then laugh at the vast grey

That is no
Golconda. Not a wave to flow

Me away with it to where

I could stare at truth, say hello !

( 08 )

Raga   : Bhimpalasi.
Time   : Late afternoon, before sunset.

(It brings the afternoon to a close but without ushering-in the evening ragas. Bhimpalasi kneads thews and sinews with 'I pray thee' entreaties -- very human.
Almost like our bike- trip to Dehradun years back.)

Summer afternoon ---






with our love for roguing

through life.

Our motor-bike,

you and me

aiming to climb-up

to escape the climb

of celsius.

Delhi to Dehradun.

Immersed, also in thought --

 malleable :







of what we were attempting

to escape.

Power of entreaty

mingling with the power

of a machine

is what took us then, from

Delhi to Dehradun.

( 09 )

Raga   : Shudh Kalyan.
Time   : Evening up to early night.

(Literally, it means ' pure salvation '. Catalyses a harmony in the environment and this raga slowly paves the path through tranquillity for the more lyrical and romantic ragas later.)

The slow descent of snowflakes on the ground
Covering the slouching cold-wave now down,

Long after memories of the last clown

In snow has melted, and even the sound

Of the last post-snow slush has eased, I found

No complaints marching along some fiery frown.

He stood on his bike, hands stretched, trying to crown

The heavens. We stood and watched his world dance round


And round -- Sa ni dha, pa ma ga -- the notes
Sliding across in threes in throes of joy.

Who cares if it is light or dark, the ploy

To hold time within snowflakes gets all votes,

And eyelids with time-sponged flakes rock like boats,

Joyous to be laden. Remain, enjoy --

Despite the strictures of life. This small toy

Wafts us from smile to smile like musical notes !

( 10 )

Raga   : Marwa.
Time   : At sunset and just after.

(This raga is associated with saffron -- the colour of renunciation and of sunset. Loneliness, anxiety, and expectation merge with a wish for a philosophical canopy...just like the onrushing darkness.)

Your bright eye,
My bereft I.

Let there be a somewhere for me.

Today is gone

Will be reborn.

Do I  need lust though it be free ?

I am there
Where the care-

-ful hoardings of smiles has brought me.

What lies ahead

Is unread

As I'll be there where I am, free

To welcome
What may come.

All my hopes, steps and jumps have led

My dreams but

As I cut

Them free now, my windlass stands dead.

All colours merge
In saffron surge.

Science is mourned. Art is mourned. I am

The only one

Who shall run

To rescue me. I must stay calm.

( 11 )

Raga   : Pooriya.
Time   : After sunset up to night.

(Evokes a poignant mood. In essence there is a total acceptance of sorrow in dignified and mature flash-back.)

Life has gone by and I see now
Vignettes connected ( they were so far away

From each other when they were ). The past

Splices back to me

All that is mine

Though flash-backs come in freeze-frame with

No panning. The landscapes are lost

Though I do not now recollect any mists, however

Romantic, but I accept this

For I know those days of glory and beauty

Did exist. I can hear my trendy gloss, my

Sedate uncertainties, my fluttering idylls, my

Flirting tributes, my jean-clad pretentiousness, my naked

Cover-ups --- all laughing with me in my biopic. This

Life comes to me in its rushes and I blush

Even though only I can feel

The nakedness of some of these zooms. My journey,

Like a split screen, connects

The logical to the unthinkable

And edits the mundane that was

So important then. Is that the reason that I see now

My glory as meends ---

Unbroken melodic lines -- bitterness is voiced over,

Just acceptance fades-in

Dissolving the meanderings of turbulence

Into a montage of my choice

To continue with a consistency that fills

Me with the joy that was

My joy.

( 12 )

Raga   : Sankara.
Time   : Late evening and night, up to midnight.

(This raga is derived from the tranquil Kalyan scale but there is a noticeable vigour, confidence, and a resonating quality. Combines the heroic and the amorous.)

This joy is ours, why miss this joy
The day was ours, the night is ours

My heart beats young as in a boy

I survey love in all my hours

My field of view gets enraptured
By all the tangrams I assemble

In victory my joy seems captured --

I climax at such ensemble.

Then moments are brave and lovely
O Sankara ! O Shiva ! Come, come to me.

( 13 )

Raga   : Shudh Nat.
Time   : Night.

(The beauty of this raga is beyond the realm of mere words. In the world of moods we are moving deeper into the shringar or romanticism of later night ragas. 'Poise and style' is the nearest definition that can be dared.)

What is it that will hold
Back the tears and will fold

Mere feelings

In layers, put in a mould

Of purity like of  gold --

And then sings

Silent songs that are rolled

In life-long care ? Old

Hardy moorings.

Parting is hard but harder the part
That will connect new to the start.

A touch, a glance will not
live long but ties a knot

That travels

Through the day -- dry and hot,

Over bumps, and a lot

Of levels

And planes and then gets caught

In whats a civilised rot :

Poise-n-wells !

Holding back to hold her back -- is it ?
Caged thoughts beam out, love comes bit by bit !

( 14 )

Raga   : Bihag.
Time   : Night.

(When desire has an expression that transcends the normal humdrum of life, it takes the shape of this raga. Desire sans eroticism. Desire minus devotional undercurrents. Desire threading the white of purity and existence in the subconscious of a beloved -- even when distance parts, so to say.)


i bask

in a blush of


only i




we are
so far

yet to


each, we

do read


words, we

do hear


that get

up and go




us too

in spirit

and we bathe together in each other's words, scrub

 each again and again --- pa ma ga, ma ga --- we rub,

we touch                                                    words that

 get much                                                    music that

   i am ....                                                are.

(15 )

Raga   : Bageshwari.
Time   : Late night.

(The ecstasy of togetherness and the pain of being apart are both equal in emotional strength, equally memorable, and uncannily similar in their romantic content...and this is what this raga is all about.
Sounds so much like a writer, a poet.)

When I met her on the road
She seemed so much like the rest

But then, slowly, like an ode

 Her quintessence awoke, arose
Came to me at my behest,

Plotted itself in my prose.

Our ludic twosome then began
A soliloquy that at its best

Premiered songs of love and then

The eidetics froze into words
Leaving a place in my breast --

Words of love and love for words

Merged, as pain and ecstacy will.
What remains is but a nest

Of wilful love, and  love's will.

( 16 )

Raga   : Malkaus.
Time   : Midnight and after.

(The notes of this raga create nuances of spiritual calisthenics that blend reverence and subliminal wonder at the facts of creation.
Depth of night. Magic. Mystery. Lost, and yet feeling very safe.)

It is night and the night
Is here to stay

Though the light of the stars

Pierce their way through to me

Though the light on the other side

Wonders why its ever night.


But the star-light of the night
Sings to me of what lies there

Where the light comes through their night

And all the light everywhere

Decadent, persues fusion

With the classic shades of night.


And the light cloaked in night
Seems transparent

In its fear of loneliness -- so much

Like us. Is that why we like

Our fears to fuse with depths

of night ?


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