Thursday, March 12, 2009

Waiting for the rains

At the sacred space by the temple, on a platform of red bricks,
The saffron-clad priest chanted in high tones, the ancient prayers for rain,
Amidst the blazing summers, to the Gods of the sky and the wind,
Where the green fields of yesterdays have become parched,
Dried up devoid of any trace of life,
While people draped in earth-coloured cottons chanted,
With the sun scorching their wheat-coloured skins.

Children played by the dried up temple pond,
Thinking of the days where they splashed in the cool water,
Sat idly in the cool recesses of the rocks,
Or chattering with the juice of ripe mangoes
Oozing on their hands and faces.

The ancient chanting went on incessantly, in a land of purity,
Where none could wash or bathe except in the muddy pond waters,
The holy fires blazed along with the hot afternoons,
When none could sleep, for the heat numbed and killed,

Oh you rain; much awaited, the boon of heavens,
That brings joy to the earth, wealth to its people,
Oh you rain, come with thunder and lightning,
And soak our brown skins with delight,
Oh rain, the fulfillment of forecasts and incessant prayers,
I evoke you in the names of the barren earth,
The dried up rivers and lakes, the animals and birds,
The silent trees and the people on earth.

You end the blazing afternoons of summer heat,
With the first drops of summer rain,
You set the warm smell of earth rising,
And bedeck trees with jewels like brides,
From furnace hot afternoons to nights of restless pace.
For you, incense is burnt and prayers chanted,
For you, the comforter in candent days,
Oh rain, come and give us comfort, the priest sang.

On the third day of endless repentance and prayers,
Grey and white dappled clouds rose to silhouette the sky,
With hints of a sudden outburst,
The entire city rejoiced, the wait is over,
Days of drought are finally over,
With bolts of thunder and lightning,
The soft rain slushed over the crowd,
Who received in open hands stretched to skies
What the heavens granted as comfort
From the scorching heat of Indian summer.

The rain fell over the blazing holy fire,
With the priest and the crowd soaked in the rain,
And the beaming children screamed at the ripples,
Forming on the muddy waters of the temple pond.

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