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July 2013 – Manjit Handa

Browsed by
Month: July 2013





I bought few beautiful peels today.
New clothes
clean, glazed, creased and perfumed.

In summers we wear one peel
like a banana
In winters we turn onions.

In many countries they remain onions
even in summers,
may be they keep their insides cool like that.

Some people are full of fire,
they remain peeled
even in winters.

It is intriguing, the plethora of peels–
oranges, lychees, coconuts
kiwi, potatoes
corn and what not.

Some don’t even know they have peels
such as focused workmen and craftsmen.

From vegetables and fruits we learnt
to wrap ourselves in different shades and colors.
But unlike them we re-use ours
because we get them dirty with sins
and need constant purge in the elements.

We should wash our own sins
I think
Why should another human
do it for us?
Or a mother
who launders and covers her family’s sins?

Even today when I call my mommy
from a far off country
I can hear the rustle of clothes in her
left hand as she
removes couple of clothespins
that remain stuck to one or two pieces
of clothing.
The clothes that she
washed in the afternoon
and sunned well
so the family has a respectable disposition in society.

The phone must’ve rung
and she would’ve emptied the clothesline
reaching me
to tell that all is well
and I should
be good too
and do
what is expected.
(The painting ‘Laundry’ is a watercolor on a 9″x11″ hot pressed paper. This was a photograph taken by my Redbubble friend Moshe Kohen. I asked him if I could imitate it and he readily obliged. There are more lovely people in this world than we can imagine.)

Journey of a Newlywed

Journey of a Newlywed


 It was a matrimony grand and lavish by middle class Indian regulations:

the henna, the bridal shower, ladies’ night out, wedding-alert,

much music, singing, screaming and jubilation;

the bride’s salon visit before the earliest lark

to look drop dead gorgeous, and certainly not a tart.


A huge gathering, about three hundred,

palatial hall, a music band, the great Indian curry feast,

fifty different dishes, fifteen different liquors ,

the music band to which all danced several hours

sealed the perfect celebration deal.


But honeymoon! That plan remained tentative;

we’d thought to go see the Taj Mahal, of eternal love it was representative.

Adventure was on our mind and impulse helped a wee bit—

On the third day after wedding,

much to family and friends’ chagrin

we requested to be dropped at the local bus-stand.


Saying adios to the last family member,

we went to the counter o’ the ticket vendor,

“But Sir”, he quipped, “it is ten in the night,

no bus to the land of white Dome

’til the Sun shines bright.”


Adventure running high in our veins,

we took a taxi to the rail station,

what’d be more fun than railroad a la old times

and sparking the hour more

with travel of the yore.

“Hello Mr.”, the window man said amused,

“there isn’t a train until five, where d’ya live, what keeps you mused?”


Bent not to return home we decided to hang on to the platform—

gaze at the sky, the stars, Moon and the Night in every tone and chrome.

Time passes quick whence matters are aplenty to discuss,

the worriless hours or the just attended gathering

that gives wings to the imagination of young buds.


Truth remains, the locomotive arriv’d

and we desir’d to crash prostrate within matter of minutes.


And what a train did we select for the journey to the blissful city

of the edifice love-enrolled

‘Chhattisgarh Express’ it was called.

quaint name, yeah, but we weren’t appalled:

quainter the better, we thought,

did it matter so long as to the destination it brought.


But boy oh boy, why ticket this we bought;

three hours max from point A to B,

is what in geography class we were taught.

Not with this train… no, never, not. Naught!

This thing was less mobile and more the variety of static,

for every chug forward, twice it moved backward, or so it seem’d—simple  ‘rithmetic.


The new husband held the sleep he could’ve caught,

poor guy worried what if we missed the stop?

Sleepless and zombie from the window he gazed out

although help was extended from the guy on the berth atop.


All said and done

some six though several seeming hours later

the Chungking pushed on to finish the catwalk.

No points for guessing who first disembarked.


But before heading to a hotel and shower,

‘twas appropriate to book a ticket for return

and avoid a tortoise ride after ‘proximately four days of sojourn.


The man spoke matter-of-factly, horror and terror,

“The trains remain on strike next week,

but if you must leave there is one I refer,

the Express called Chhattisgarh.”


Several years later I do still clinch,

but don’t mind taking journeys several a thousand,

with you and only you as my husband.

~Manjit Handa

(The sketch is made out of pen and crayons)




Rose1First rose, from grampa’s bush
went to my teacher,
she was a pretty one.

There was that rose
I gave to my clever and smart friend
because I wanted her as ‘my only’ friend.

That one I got the first time
he’d thought I was intelligent and taller.

And then I got another and another
Some of them found place in the special diary
dried until the pages smelt rosy.
Red, pink, fragrant ones
accommodated many diaries.

But time flies, you move from places;
dried petals find trash bins.

And still, several moons later you love to get flowers;
When you’re a girl you believe
you’re meant to receive flowers.

But some girls like to return favors.
To that teacher who taught well, and wasn’t as pretty;
the friend who stood by the odds, staying invisible.
To that one who was clumsy in love and didn’t know a thing about roses.
And the one whom you told about roses and still didn’t get a cue.

Many years later you want to grow a rose garden and return favors.