Is a song

This way or that
all ways are right
as fluid as gender
not rigid as religion
both lengthy and short
some symmetric and not
home to the iambs and i ams
tolerant of unknown licenses
inclusive of worldly cultures
comments sensible or otherwise
the backbone of every tradition
is a song, a poem, a hearty welcome

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Recover

Blew, the wind with gusto
knocking off trees, weak knees
pulling down their working hats
huddled on the mighty ants
locking up their front doors
the humankind stayed indoors
gaining speed, the winds went on
crashing on air, breaking all power
spreading darkness across town
for days until the eye had passed
typical was the tornado—unpredictable
unforgiving to people and crops
uprooting farmland and livestock
and nourishment worthy of a year
leaving no room to chance
and not a chance of recovery
blow to life, presented the wind
awakes though the old man,
when all is dusted and gone
picking up tools, firing up tractors
loaning cattle herd, persevering
farmer, thy name is resilience

Memories past

The day dawned bright 

On the east there was light 

Whilst the west, still shrouded

Wintry mist on streets crowded

awaited with breath bated—nigh

For their sun to tear through the sky

Why today, wondering she had to clench

End precious life, god heartless wretch

Clutching a sorrow note from a friend

Message of death, never can mend

from the west to all the way east

had travelled wretched beast

As the world was between years

Our lives were between worlds

Farewell old times, my friend

The best place on Earth

I came across a writing prompt today:

“If aliens made contact with you asking for the best place to land, what would you tell them?”

Sunset in the International Rose Test Garden, Portland

Switzerland! Screamed my head.

Portland, said my heart that likes to think it’s well-travelled.

Somewhere in the mountains, quipped my analytical brain.

The more I thought about it, however, the less I wanted to recommend a place at all. Yes, of course, Portland is one of my favourite places. I spent five days exploring the city and I’d move there in a heart beat.

I felt rather the same way about Austin. It was hot and I got tanned on the first afternoon there, but I still enjoyed the greenery that filled my eyes and the breeze that kissed my freckled cheeks.

Seattle was nice too, with Pick Place Market being a great place for an afternoon walk and Alki Beach, a necessary reminder of human history.

Then there’s the place I call home—Trichy—with the Rockfort Temple, a massive rock that people claim to be half as old as our world itself. I had no idea—I just love scaling the mountain to look down at the city and feel ecstatic.

Or Chennai. Or Banaglore. Or Mumbai or Delhi—all the grand metropolitan cities in India.

Times Square perhaps, if the aliens don’t mind getting squashed in the thronging crowds. I can’t help but smile at the thought.

But, no. I would recommend none of these places to an alien visiting Earth.
I would instead ask, why come in the first place?

As I tried to identify the best place for a foreigner to visit, I found myself thinking about the least polluted, least ugly, and least offensive place. And that’s when I realised that although there’re plenty of places that fit the description, there’re also countless undesirable places—polluted, ugly, and so offensive that I wouldn’t wish it upon even my vilest enemy.

Our world’s hurting. It’s tearing at the seams and bleeding from within, and that’s only the physical damage. Aside from the tsunamis, the volcanic eruptions, and the random calamities we label “natural,” we’ve also become the termites that gnaw at the Earth bit by bit.

Just look around—children on a shooting rampage within the school campus, familial relationships crushing under the weight of egotistical self-worth, vulnerable people becoming targets of physical and emotional abuse—there’s no place on Earth left that an alien would feel welcome.

All the world’s travelogues, vlogs, and holiday destination businesses sell a Utopian dream of what the world should be. None of it’s true. I loved Chicago for its grandeur, but I also saw homelessness on every other corner. I cherish New York City’s cultural diversity, but there’re alleyways I couldn’t go past without fearing for my life.

That’s the reality of the world—it’s not a walk on roses. It’s a bleeding, sweating, rotting mess of human flesh.

And if aliens still want to visit, it doesn’t matter where they land because everywhere on Earth has a beautiful spread that’s also spreading thin. Alas, there’s a bitter pill to swallow as we look forward to closing another year on this Earth.

Looking sharp

Cactus - Zilker Botanical Garden in Austin, Texas

Cactus – Zilker Botanical Garden in Austin, Texas

Not crowd’s favourite

those who’re sharp on the outside

still, sustainable