Thursday, April 30, 2009


It was here, 26 centuries ago, Siddhartha Guautama attained enlightenment beneath the Bodhi tree and so became Buddha.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

helping hands

Monday, April 27, 2009


against the burning red wet sky
my song spills over turqouise and silver stitched silk
sounding olive branches, certain peace,
rebirth and loss

he has young birds to cage
and I've already flown away.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Where sand kisses the lips of the Bay of Bengal.  


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

uncensored scribbles

on how her heart behaves

crowded trains of raging thoughts rush like rivers. feelings flood my furiously tempered heart as monsoons do the streets. i anxiously await the onset of the rainy season. emotional storms that take an entire city captive. fluctuating tides that on every sun rise and moon set carry my heart out to sea, never to return finding her laying listlessly as a battered woman by pearly green bubbles. left for me to recover daydreaming of the depths she has discovered. i know what her soul has uncovered. i do not choose to control the canvas. her path stormy and surreal, sleeping at wish of free will. awake, alive, vibrant, beating with a ferocious energy. i do not seek to tame or know her ways. i will follow her intuitions into the deepest mosquito ridden steamy estuaries. i follow through the darkest oblivion and when my mind has convinced my body that escape is an unthinkable position... the unencumbered whole of my being is surrendered to the point of dissolution and dissolvement. I accept the loss of every soul I have every loved or grieved or conceived. I find her guidance has given me greater gifts than God gave Sodom and Gomorrah, Gabriel or Genesis; a clean and fiery slate, a message of his coming, a new beginning of worldly creation.

Monday, April 13, 2009

the banyan tree

O you shaggy-headed banyan tree standing on the bank of the pond,
have you forgotten the little chili, like the birds that have
nested in your branches and left you?
Do you not remember how he sat at the window and wondered at
the tangle of your roots and plunged underground?
The woman would come to fill their jars in the pond,
and your huge black shadow would wiggle on the water like sleep
struggling to wake up.
Sunlight danced on the like restless tiny shuttles weaving golden tapestry.
Two ducks swam by the weedy margin above their shadows,
and the child would sit still and think.
He longed to be the wind and blow through your resting branches,
to be your shadow and lengthen with the day on the water,
to be a bird and perch on your topmost twig,
and to float like those ducks among weeds and shadows.
i find comfort under the shade of his dreadlocks.
swinging like a child, holding onto his nappy roots
loosely landing in the leaves below.
i smile at
the simplest things
banyan trees
and small scrapped

Thursday, April 9, 2009


i wink
at men who burn
through my clothes
with their burdened brown eyes
to illicit
more interesting faces

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

oysters near the babughat

navigating the intricacies of this city

having never seen a street sign

North to South

Hooghly to Howrah

thirty-two distractions in eighteen different peripheal views,

it's nine thirty pm and i'm whispering to roving correspondents

Sunday's news.

on the metro between Tollygunge to Esplanade

i fumble into a friend with wife and two giggling girls

deep within the City of Joy,

I'm found

diving for her pearls.

Mother Teresa- Bridges over Band-Aids

Last Tuesday I volunteered with Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. They have had a huge impact in Kolkata since established in 1950. On Tuesdays they happen to give electric shock therapy to the women who are supposedly suffering from mental disorders.

Think:  One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 

My job was to console the women as they screamed after electric shock had been administered. 
I have never heard such cries, I have never felt so helpless. 

I no longer volunteer with Mother Teresa Missionaries of Charities. 

I believe in giving the people necessarily skills to be able to lift themselves from poverty not becoming reliant on charitable deeds.  I feel Mother Teresa's keeps the charitable needing charity. On many discussions near disputes with devout Catholics and others who volunteer at Mother's religiously (no pun intended) I find myself entangled in the same conversation. Our Western ideas of sustainability and development can not be applied here.  Impoverished Indians need a refuge to refresh the soiled yellow beaten bandages, they deserve a dignified place to die, the children need their bellies full and a hair washing.  And this all needs to be done by floods of volunteers coming to Mother's every single day.  

I pass no judgement. I applaud others overarching humanitarian efforts, I respect others definition of service. With all the growing pains naturally accompanied by living-We begin to realize where We Fit and after all imaginable efforts where We Will Never, Ever Fit. 

Of interest I recommend: The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and in Practice by Christopher Hitchens 

on contrast read:

In My Own Words by Mother Teresa

Friday, April 3, 2009

bhosmo kora

what i have found stonger than prejudice and injustice is a will to fight for the ideals that our very souls stand upon. after falling nine times i rise again on the tenth. i am stronger and more confident and the only thing i can guarentee is that i will fall again.

thank you for telling me i was lacking in
confidence, decision making, and discretion.

because of you,
i burnt to ashes
and finally
flew away.

Bolpur, Operation Smile March 2009

Three Generations

Biswagit had a tongue-tie and is blind. He took my heart as well as Fanny's backrubs. 
As precious as the children's new smiles are those of the mothers.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sanlaap- Speaking of the Unspoken

I had the privilege of visiting Sanlaap with Becky, founder of the Destiny Center where I am currently volunteering. Sanlaap is an Indian feminist NGO, established in 1987. It's focus is to make the world a safe place for girl children and women by protecting their rights. Sanlaap is a developmental organization that works towards correction of social imbalances which present themselves as gender injustice and violence against women and children. The primary work is focused against trafficking of women and children for commerical sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and forced prostitution.
Sanlaap is nestled on the outskirts of a small village outside Kolkata. It is to be a save haven for the young girls recently rescued. Inside the gates topped with broken glass there is a small lake where a black lab swims and wags. When we went we brought Rangita who is Nepali. There were recently 9 girls rescued from a brothel in Kolkata, the youngest being 7. Having no communication abilities Rangita is a blessing and an verbal outlet to the girls. They express their feelings of solitude and depression near suicide and inabilities to adapt.
On a lighter note, many of the women and girls working at the Destiny Center come from the two main shelter homes in Kolkata- Sanlaap and Apne Ape. Today a young woman working at the Destiny Center had Becky sign a referral to move into a hostel- out of the brothel she is living, on her own free will.

Block printing is a way for the girls to create beautiful sari's and bedcovers while generating income.

T-shirt dying for orders from Fair Trade organizations like Emancipation Network