Do You See?

“Don’t speak until spoken to”; Ashok Banker on My Book, Yo!; Balcony Buffaloes

The new apartment has two balconies. One looks out to a a green patch, rather large for a city area. Apparently the land belongs to a hospital trust. This means, no developer drama. No high-rise or thick house clusters would come up here. Indeed a very green patch with clusters of mangoes and neem and other unknown trees. Morning sunrise is a pleasure. One can see peahen, cormorant, egret, and crows of course. Buffaloes come grazing in the green patches as the day progresses. The egret have a joy ride on their backs. It’s a lovely scenery this side. Good to have a cup of Darjeeling or a wine sitting there and watching the skyline.

Another advantage, one can see those buffaloes in repose on the purple hazed grass of the afternoon. Quite a treat! Look-see:

The other balcony is actually a kitchen terrace and it overlooks a rather populated area — old “jharokha” window-ed houses and a few new apartment complexes. Mostly it’s a great view to people’s roof tops and terraces, as well as the street where kids play after they come back in the evening.

One of the terraces has a blue bike parked. A lone one. A little boy comes up every evening to ride it for some time. Then he leaves it there and goes downstairs, perhaps to finish his homework.


Currently, I’m working on my short fiction manuscript and wondering how much memoir-like quality permeates quite a few of the stories. Working on the voice gives me the utmost satisfaction, the way persona does in poetry.


You’d allow me one self-plug, won’t you.

Ashok Banker, one of India’s best-selling authors has been a friendly person to interact with. But even before I knew him well, he had ordered my novel online. When I introduced myself, he’d said something like — “Ah, your book’s lying on my table, waiting to be read.” And I’d mumbled: “Oh, ok. Do tell me if something is not right with it.”

Just the other day, some aimless frantic Googling — a result of frustrated internet connectivity — threw up something absolutely surprising. Ashok had posted a comment on the book website Goodreads about my novel. No one ever asked him to, I’m sure. I didn’t. And here you go, words of praise from him. I’m tickled pink, obviously. Here’s a line from his blurb:

“Wish more books like this were written and published instead of the over-hyped tripe that passes for ‘Indian Fiction’ these days. “

Oh, what’s there not to feel good!


Poetry post? I was looking for a buffalo poem, instead stumbled upon this “mule” poem. It’s good symbolism for a lot of nonsense that one sees in today’s politics:


When they told us Don’t speak until spoken to, we grew
ears the size of corn.
When they forced us to eat everything we swallowed
their hurt whole.
When they hit us for drawing on the wall we painted
doors that opened behind curtains.
For generations they lived like this. Wanting badly to
save us—not knowing how.
& all the while we found love in unlikely places: In
the ravaged church of our bodies & our faces,
refracted in their long faces.

(Jane Springer, “Mules” from Murder Ballad. Copyright © 2012 by Jane Springer. Reprinted by permission of Alice James Books.)


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This entry was posted on September 9, 2012 by in Ashok Banker, footprints in the bajra, india, Jane Springer, Nabina Das, poetry.
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