Myth…? Reality…?

Her tongue-moistened lips,

He savours them in sips.

As her eyes meet his,

Their looks caress and kiss.

 

As he plays a tune on his flute,

She stands transfixed and mute.

Yet the music makes her sway,

In enjoyment and abandon gay.

 

No longer able to resist his charms,

She dances her way into his arms.

On his shoulder she rests her head,

And nothing between them is said.

 

Both their eyes are blissfully closed,

Like Radha and Krishna, they posed.

Until the Director called, “Cut, OK,

This shot will be my film’s mainstay!”

 

The legendary Radha-Krishna stance,

To date is the theme of many a dance.

Their pretty picture adorns many walls,

They are also crafted and sold as dolls.

 

Whether theirs was indeed a love story,

Or a part of many mythical tales hoary?

 

*(Radha and Krishna are collectively known in Hinduism as the combination of both the feminine as well as the masculine aspects of God. Radha is acknowledged as the Supreme Goddess who controls Krishna with Her love. It is believed that while Krishna enchants the whole world, it is Radha who enchants Him)

 

The Club 99

A king, despite a lifestyle opulent,

Was ridden by dominant discontent.

One day he chanced upon a servant,

Who seemed so happy and content!

 

The ruler asked him, “How come?”

“How come, you live in the slum,

And yet are so cheerful and happy,

States which evade me constantly?”

 

The servant replied with humility,

“I am not gentry, Your Majesty,

My needs are so very, very less.

Little things give me happiness.”

 

At the servant’s reply, he winced!

And was still not really convinced.

This reply perplexed the king,

And set him into deep thinking.

 

The king called an advisor he trusted,

To whom he told in a tone disgusted,

“How can a man who has hardly anything,

Be happy and contented, but not his King?”

 

The advisor heard the king’s woes,

And said the answer he surely knows.

“That servant is not a member of Club 99,

Get him into it and then all would be fine!”

 

“What is Club 99”, asked the king,

“Tell me all about it, everything!”

“Oh king! About the Club 99 to really know,

Place a bag of 99 gold coins at his window.”

 

When the servant saw a bagful of gold coins,

Little realizing that Club 99 he’s about to join;

He shouted with joy at this unexpected bounty,

From a kind and generous-hearted His majesty!

 

He then counted and 99 coins of gold found,

But one niggling doubt began to him astound.

No one would surely 99 gold coins leave,

There was one more coin, he did believe.

 

For the missing coin he looked everywhere;

A collection of 100 coins only, seemed fair.

Finally exhausted, he took a great decision,

He’d work hard and complete his collection.

 

From that day on, the servant’s life changed,

He was overworked and from family estranged.

His quest for the 100th gold coin became elusive,

And disappointment made him harsh and abusive.

 

His frustrations got the better of him,

As hopes for another coin became dim.

He stopped singing while at work.

Even minor issues started to irk.

 

Witnessing this transformation drastic,

The King was puzzled yet quite ecstatic!

For despite the 99 gold coins, his servant,

Was no longer happy, cheerful or content.

 

He called his advisor to know the cause,

Who said, “Your Majesty, this is because,

“Your servant too has joined the 99 Club,

A club that is an exclusive and rare hub,

Of those having enough to be contented,

But their greed has their lives dented.”

 

“Striving for that extra, they get obsessed,

And spend a lifetime in being possessed,

By a burning desire for ‘that one final thing’

Over which they lose sleep and everything.”

 

Never ending desires and aspirations,

Cause distress, grief and frustrations.

To hurt people around us, we tend,

Ready to rules and principles bend.

 

So friends, that is THE CLUB 99,

Join at your peril and pay the fine!

 

*(This poem is inspired by the famous Hindi expression Ninyanve ka Pher, which loosely translated, means trouble with ninetynine)

 

Bharat’s Lament

To you, we four were always your own sons

You never differentiated between us even once!

For me and my loving brothers,

All you three were our mothers!

 

Why oh Why, oh mother mine

After being so loving and divine

What came over you, oh my mother,

Your insecurity and greed killed father?!

 

Long back, our father granted you just two boons;

You’ve  exercised them now asking for several moons!

Why has power become more important to you?

Why haven’t you given us and family our just due?

Why have you given justice, fair play and love a go

Just to assuage your sense of insecurity and ego?

Oh, you are not really so ignorant, didn’t you know,

That your insecurity will cast a deep, dark shadow

On relationships and bonds forged long time ago?

 

Why mother, why this selfishness? Why this greed?

At the cost of love, affection, trust and family, indeed?

My desire to remain Rama’s shadow, I never flaunted,

But then, shouldn’t you have asked me what I wanted?

All I wanted and ever want is to remain at Rama’s feet

And serve Him and protect Him from all ill and deceit.

 

Here I am, designated by you to occupy the Ayodhya throne

That is rightfully my brother Rama’s, only his, his very own!

Never ever will I occupy a throne that is not meant for me

Though absent, brother Rama is still the King and I His protégé!

 

Henceforth, even good stepmothers will be viewed suspiciously,

As your treacherous act is forever etched in the psyche of posterity.

 

Thus, lamented the distraught Prince Bharat, the brother of Rama,

As he set out to bring Him, Seeta and Lakshman back to Ayodhya!

 

*(Inspired by ‘Bharat Vilaap’ from the great Indian Epic ‘Ramayana)

 

 

About the Poet

Having explored the worlds of banking and urban governance in senior positions, Padmaja Iyengar – Paddy is currently the Hon. Lit. Advisor of The Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and Amaravati (CCVA).  She recently compiled, curated and published for CCVA the International Multilingual Poetry Anthology ‘Amaravati Poetic Prism 2016’ that has a record 527 poems in 53 languages! It has been recognized as a Unique Record of Excellence by the India Book of Records. She has also compiled, curated and edited ‘WWW – Women, Wit & Wisdom – International Multilingual Poetry Anthology of Women Poets’ that has 219 poems in 31 languages. She is currently engaged in curating Amaravati Poetic Prism 2017, slated for launch in November, 2017. This anthology already has 860+ poems in 80 languages.

Paddy’s maiden poetry collection ‘P-En-Chants’ has been reckoned as a ‘Unique Record of Excellence’ by the India Book of Records for Never-before-attempted Movie Reviews and Management Topics in Rhyming Poetry form. Besides poetry, she also dabbles in articles, short stories, book reviews and movie reviews (in poetry form) that have appeared in leading Indian newspapers like The Hindu and Hans India and e-zines like Muse India, Boloji.com etc. Her poems, articles and short stories have been published in several poetry anthologies, e-zines, and leading Indian newspapers, and some of them have won prizes in poetry and short story writing contests. Paddy has been invited to several literary and poetry events in India and overseas to present her poems. She regularly participates in discussions on civic and urban governance issues on the electronic media. Paddy writes for pleasure – finds humor in everything…P G Wodehouse being her all-time favorite and inspiration!