Poetry Break: Archan Mehta marilyn l davis two drops of ink a woman's tale

Poetry Break: Four Poems by Dr. Archan Mehta

 

By: Dr. Archan Mehta

 

Poem #1 Whimsical Muse 

 

Sometimes,

You can will

It to happen,

And sometimes it is

Better to let it go;

And so, let it flow

From dormant consciousness,

Awakened suddenly,

To your pen, which

Then starts to write furiously.

 

Sometimes,

It happens that you

Are in the mood

To create a poem,

But can’t find the

Right words, and

Ideas scamper away

Like a squirrel climbing

A Bunyan tree.

 

Sometimes,

The muse frets and fumes,

And breaks the rules,

And words and ideas

File for a divorce

Like estranged lovers

With irreconcilable differences.

Words take ideas to court,

A court full of crooked lawyers,

A sympathetic, old judge,

And sleepy-eyed jury members

With stifled yawns, who couldn’t

Care less about the outcome.

 

Meanwhile,

The media and paparazzi

Try to cover this story

Putting two and two together

While well-wishers like family

Members and art aficionados

Pensively watch the couple

Engaged in slanging matches

And fisticuffs 

But advise them to align

Their forces to create poetry.

 

Sometimes,

The muse visits

The poet

When he least

Expects her to:

In the middle 

Of a song in a shower,

In the middle

Of a ball game,

In the middle

Of a football match,

In the middle of

A ride to the moon,

In the middle

Of a high-level meeting,

In the middle of

A nap or deep sleep,

In the middle of

Breakfast, lunch, or dinner,

Or in the middle of

A Friday night ballroom dance.

 

The poet has no control

Over the muse

And she comes and goes

As she pleases

Without permission

And without invitation.

 

Sometimes,

The muse arrives

In a poet’s life

Carrying a large 

Carving knife in one hand

and a blow-dryer in another

and demands of the poet

that she wants to

get her nails done

at a fancy boutique shop

in a five-star resort or else.

 

Once the muse makes

Her intentions known,

The poet has no choice

But to fork out the 

Cold, hard cash 

From his wallet

And entertain the 

Muse with a song

And a dance,

Take her out to 

The latest blockbuster

Movie and buy her

Buttered popcorn and a 

Large glass of soda with ice.

 

Finally, when it is time

To leave, the muse

Excuses herself to 

The rest-room,

Where she must powder

Her nose to look pretty

And she disappears

From sight and

Does not return

To her seat.

 

The miserable poet

Runs here and there

And everywhere,

Searching in vain

For his lost muse,

And asks about

His muse in the

“lost and found department,”

But receives glares

And an assertive no

But in a civil tone.

 

Finally, the wretched

Poet returns home exhausted.

 

 

Poem #2: Dharavi, Bombay Slum 

 

 

Baby, 

I don’t exactly know

How you feel, but 

Maybe I can guess:

It must have been difficult

For you to have to go

To sleep on an empty stomach.

 

The billionaires who lived

Next door, refused to fetch

You the bottle of milk

You were pining for.

 

Meanwhile, our government

Officials called “public servants”

Abandoned you for votes.

 

After all, these eminent

Personalities wanted to maintain

Their lead in a “competitive marketplace”

And conveniently forgot 

About your needs because

You did not exist for them.

 

A few concerned, private

Citizens tried to help you

With charitable donations

But the NGOs wired their

Millions and billions to

Swiss Bank Accounts and

Looked the other way.

 

Passersby noticed your

Slum in India, but could

Not stop because they were

Late and had to rush to work.

 

Mother Teresa showered her

Blessings from Heaven but

That did not make a dent

In your emaciated universe.

 

In addition, the Gods, I guess,

Were not available in paradise

And put your call on hold

And said sorry for the inconvenience.

 

The greedy and selfish capitalists

Protested against welfare schemes,

Government subsidies and free

Hand-outs and advised you to

Work for a living and get a job

Paying minimum wage although

You were only two years old.

 

After all, the market system had

No room for your silent tears.

 

The fat cats, who were tax

Evaders lined their own

Pockets with “black money”

And escaped to foreign

Countries or even tropical

Islands where they could

Not be traced because our

Government did not have

Any jurisdiction there.

 

Meanwhile, there was

No running water to

Clean your bottom in 

The slum where your

People lived. The media

Salivated over covering

The “lifestyles of the rich

And famous” and elites

Invited other elites to

Party with them

On board private yachts.

 

The humanitarian workers

Protested on serpentine streets

But the police intervened on

Behalf of powerful lobbyists

And ordered the protestors

To go home or else face retaliation.

 

Quietly, the protestors returned

Home to conceive babies, returned

To their day jobs so they could

Eke out a living and provide

For their families. Meanwhile, mean

People, who had plenty of food

On their tables, demonstrated no

Empathy and abandoned you

For greener pastures in

The stock market and beyond.

 

Spoilt brats played with

Their imported toys

In the swanky suburbs

Of South Bombay without

Your company. 

 

Your parents, Blue-collar workers, stayed

Hungry for years so that

You could have bread crumbs

To eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

 

The World Bank, International Monetary

Fund, the United Nations, and other

Transnational bodies sent their agents

To report and document your pitiable

Condition but the status quo

Stayed the same, and there was

No improvement for your people.

 

Your name turned into a faceless

Number for history and its accountants.

 

Poem #3: Love Song for Avantika Tagore

 

Avantika, I want you to

Know that I miss 

Everything about you:

I crave the way your tongue

Languidly slithers like a

Poisonous serpent in elephant grass,

I crave the nape of your open neck,

I crave the way you toss your hair

When you flirt with me,

I crave the movement of 

Your body, soft and silky,

Like a gazelle floating

In an Amazon rain forest.

 

I crave your sweet laughter,

Which is like an oasis discovered

Suddenly in the desert

Which I call my life.

 

I crave the elegance of your

Embroidered sari tenderly

Hugging your lovely skin,

I even crave the expensive

Jewelry you wear to please me. 

 

Avantika, I spend my nights

Chasing after you in my 

Dreams like demons terrorizing

The ancient sages meditating

Silently in the foothills of

The Himalayas.

 

Avantika, I want to

Forget about you but

My mind is flooded by

Memories of you: the gentle

Caress of your naked hands

On my perspiring face,

The Bengali curried fish

And rice you served,

Which set my tongue on fire.

 

Avantika. your moon-shaped eyes

Which revealed the secrets

Of our universe.

 

Avantika, when you did

Not call today; I started

Running and entering an

Open field, and I was alone.

 

I bitterly complained to the

Lord, about your neglect

And I was greeted by

A spontaneous shower

From Heaven to comfort me.

 

After that, our good and dear

Lord sent fluffy clouds,

Which descended from

The sky, to settle on my

Shoulders and covered

Me in a warm embrace,

Like a blanket for solace.       

           

Avantika, I still remember

The furtive glances we

Exchanged years ago,

In the café located on

Market square road,

And I secretly captured

Your photo, from a 

Distance, without

Asking for your permission.

 

You were sitting with

Your girlfriends and,

When you laughed,

Your smile reminded

Me of Leonardo Da

Vinci’s painting of

Mona Lisa hanging

On walls around the world.

 

Avantika, I was too shy

To approach you: I wanted

To say “hello” but your

Beauty intimidated me

Like a stranger who

Bullies children in school.

 

Avantika, years ago,

On the campus of

Jadavpur University,

You walked past me,

As if I did not exist,

But I inhaled the

Sweet perfume of

Your body and I

Almost lost consciousness

Thinking about you.

 

Avantika, please do not

Leave the privacy of

Your home, even for

One second, for I know

That, if you do, husbands

Will leave their wives

And boyfriends will

Abandon their girlfriends

To follow you and win

Your heart with gifts and more.

 

Avantika, if you walk outdoors,

Rest assured; there will be

Traffic jams, road accidents:

Arteries of men will get

Clogged and even grandfatherly

Types will suffer from 

Heart attacks: women will

Stare at you rudely, envying

Your beauty and they will

Not wish you well for

Stealing their lovers with

Your fatal glances. 

 

Avantika, you possess

An inner glow: a peerless

Beauty which all women

Crave but will never own:

Today, I remember your

Charming smile which

Bring corpses back to life.

 

Poem #4: Tragic Poet

 

Gentle readers:

It is time for me

To reveal a simple truth:

Therefore, I have this

Information to share with

You about the tragedy of

My poetic life upon our earth.

 

I passed my time growing up,

In a rustic, crude, provincial

Village named “Ahmedabad.”

 

Although this place claimed

To be a city, in reality, I found 

The people here to be like

Mercenary mercantilists: petty

Traders and simpleton shop-keepers

Obsessed only with how to

Turn a quick profit.

 

Between open and shut shops,

The minds of the locals were

Closed to art and artists, so

Education and cultural activities

Were marginalized and creative

Spirits were told, in no uncertain

Terms to exit through the door.

 

In this cultural wasteland, yours

Truly was the lone voice of sanity

In a toxic environment, only concerned

About market forces, demand, and supply

Equations and ownership of land and property.

 

After all, everybody who was anybody in

This dry and dusty village

Joined the “family business,” counted coins,

And invested in government bonds, mutual

Funds and stocks and shares.

 

Without a vibrant artistic scene,

Intrusive people asked about your

Income, your net worth, and judged

You based on what you owned.

 

For example, if you did not drive

A fancy car, if you did not reside in

A mansion or at least a bungalow,

You were considered an unfortunate

Soul, a lesser mortal, and people would

Invariably and inevitably say nasty

Things about you in your absence.

 

Fashionable socialites hosted

Kitty parties and catty women would

Gloat over their expensive jewels,

High heeled shoes and talk endlessly

About their shopping sprees

In Dubai, New York City,

And London, duty-free.

 

The British Library in

Khanpur would be visited

By black crows absent

Any human beings because

The people here were semi-

Literate and had no interest

In the written word. The English

Language was tertiary and, instead,

People would happily converse

In their mother tongue, Gujarati,

With a smattering of Hindi thrown

In for good measure.

 

If you claimed to be a poet,

The villagers would roll their eyes

Over and tongues would start

Wagging, and told you to

Land a job and make a pile of cash.

 

In those days, every Gujarati wanted

To leave India and migrate to a foreign

Country to make a fortune and buy

Useless things so they could return

Home to boast about their accomplishments

On foreign shores.

 

The miserable locals would

Ask questions and listen patiently, and would

Aspire to join the stampede abroad.

 

What passed for formal education here

Would land you a job, eventually, that is,

If you got lucky.

 

So you could be paid peanuts and exploited

Like slave labor during ancient times. 

 

Without financial support, I found myself in a fix,

Having to fend for myself and created 

Poetry in splendid isolation, 

Behind a locked door, to escape

From the ugly masses,

Who discouraged me

From pursuing my passion.

 

I turned inward, a reclusive

And timid soul who relied

On his whimsical muse

For sustenance and to

Find inner bliss because

Happiness did not exist.

 

In the meantime, the

Gujarati community,

Without a care in the world,

Made their millions and bought

Expensive goods and services

And wined and dined at elite

Clubs and restaurants and 

Vacationed in Zurich, Switzerland,

 

Without reading a book

And ignoring creative

People like yours truly.

 

When they returned from

Their vacations abroad, they

Would boast in a shallow

And superficial ways about

Drinking expensive Champagne

And staying at five-star resorts

And sending their children

To Oxford, Cambridge, LSE,

Harvard, Yale, and Stanford.

 

They had plenty of cold, hard

Cash to throw around but

Demonstrated no curiosity,

No aesthetic sensibility, no knowledge,

And lacking any imagination.

 

Bio: Dr. Archan Mehta

Poetry Break: Dr. Archan Mehta marilyn l davis two drops of ink

Archan Mehta has earned a Ph.D. in Management. Currently, Dr. Mehta is a Consultant and Writer based in India who trains clients in Stress Management through the ancient practice of meditation.

Dr. Mehta’s articles and case studies have been featured in HR Future. HR Future is a leading HR magazine based in South Africa, sourced by prestigious ivy league schools in America (USA) like Harvard and Princeton. 

In 1990, Dr. Mehta won a national award for a short story in Onlooker Magazine based in Bombay (Mumbai), Maharashtra, India. The Judge was the late, great Khushwant Singh, India’s celebrated Journalist, Editor, Author, and Columnist.

Dr. Mehta’s works have appeared in numerous publications:

  • American Poetry Anthology
  • Poets United to Advance the Arts
  • The Times of India
  • The Indian Express
  • Mid-Day
  • HR Future, Business Manager
  • India Today
  • Sportsweek
  • The Statesman
  • Ahmedabad Mirror
  • All India Management Association
  • People Matters
  • Society for Human Resource Management
  • Onlooker

Dr. Mehta is a member of several professional organizations, such as Society for Human Resource Management, Indian Society for Training and Development, Academy of HRD, Rural Marketing Association of India, Ahmedabad Management Association, Human Resource Association of India, Society for Applied Behavioral Sciences, National HRD Network and All India Management Association.

Dr. Mehta likes to stroll outdoors, listen to music, party with close friends, and read in his free time. 

Please feel free to reach out to the poet at archanm@hotmail.com or throughLinkedIn.

Other poetry by Dr. Mehta on Two Drops of Ink 

 

 

 

 

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