23 June 2010

Moving On by Anand Vishwanadha

Poet on a motorbike
Anand Vishwanadha and I connected on facebook. He is a writer and a biker, we had a friend in common who was also a writer and biker (that would have made three of us except the only bike I would brave would be a bicycle with side wheels; it's a quarter century since I even dared to sit pillion) and I found his posts witty and cool. When I learned that he had published a book of poems I was intrigued and bought it online from www.eveninghour.com.
Anand’s poems made me smile – some for their wit, some for their depth. The themes were mostly elemental and filled with passion … the monsoons … rivers, lakes, hills, trees and cloudbursts the poet had allowed to enter his consciousness and emerge, transformed, as evocative words on paper … a word sketch of a day-wage labourer … the knowledge that one would have to learn history from a book rather than from a grandmother who had lived it … and many that dealt with a broken heart.
Here’s the one I liked the best, which I thought representative of the person I imagine Anand, whom I have never met, to be:

Three Soap Trees

The sun always rose
on the Pokhuri and rice fields
to set on the certainty
of the wooded hills and rice fields
as I watched from the centre of my world
from below my three soap trees.

My summers flew
flying kites from their shade
and learning to barter
raw mangoes for marbles.

Rains, I waded through
growing rice and reeds
releasing unsold, half-dead fish
into the Pokhuri and rice fields.

Winters, I catnapped and slept
or with friends picnicked
on lentils, fish and rice – cooked on
soap trees dropped twigs and leaves.

Then my childhood grew
into adult needs and a self
and I took a train out
into a world beyond my soap trees.

The sun rose
over a pool of sewage
and set beside
quarried and bleeding mounds
when I last saw
that world that was once mine.

For they had widened roads,
and built on the fields
when I was away.
It's their grown up world now;
my childhood is alien there.

Somewhere below that metalled road,
or all that concrete paving
unknown, unsung, uncried for – deadwood
lie my soap trees
without even an epitaph: did they just think,
children will find other places to play?


  1. This review - short but sweet and heartwarming.

    priti aisola

  2. One of my favourites, too! Thanks for the review.