(Photograph courtesy Jayshree Shukla. Posted with due permission)
Love and faith light up the dense tangle of streets
that lead to the dargah of mehboob –e – ilahi,
and the tomb of his beloved disciple Khusro,
garbed in rose petals, attars, offerings
and a heady whiff of spiced kebabs,
lost words float across the treetops,
arches, patios and tombs, sometimes,
quietly they nestle in an empty nest
or whirl down onto the marbled floor
in an aerial dance—like dervishes,
caught in a mystical ecstasy, their souls
electrified by the rising crescendo of qawaals.
Possessed in a feverish frenzy of longing
and sensuousness, bodies dissolve
into each other and in turn into
the saint and the poet, love rises
as smoke at the end of the lit incense
and floats through the prayers
tied to the marble lattice
I sit in a corner, eyes closed – entranced,
the poet in me loses herself to the scents,
the sounds, the sights, the dust, the birds,
the trees, the sky, the marble, the songs,
and then dips herself in holy water
as green as the greenest emerald.
The sun seeks its path among
the silhouettes frozen in time.
I lean against the afternoon draped pillars
and feel my inner darkness melt
with their lengthening shadows,
the senescent walls soak up the pain
as I trace my fingers over them.
Across the courtyard, time, like a poem,
burns in the dua-e–roshni as the day
meets the loban perfumed night.
Two lovers completing each other
like two halves of a sphere.
It is in this cosmos
that the inexpressible exists,
visible to those eyes which can see.
(Based on one of my visits to the Dargah this is one of the poems in the Delhi Series. First published in Asian Signature Magazine.)
At this time of year as the winter bids adieu and spring comes knocking at the door, all the streets, roundabouts, public parks and landscaped and home gardens are a riot of color with spring blossoms.
Flower Girl Delhi opened its doors to the 26th Annual Garden Tourism Festival last Friday even though the chill of winter made a sudden comeback with all its fanfare of rain and thunder. I was sure my plans will be washed away but the scent of spring was too potent to drown in the winter rain. On Saturday, the second day of fest, I decided to venture out hoping the universe will support and it did.
A nip in the air and slight drizzle continued all through my visit to the sprawling lawns of Garden of Five Senses spread over 25 acres of peaceful and tranquil greens. The whole place was alive with multitudes of gorgeous seasonal flowers like exquisite Dahlias, Petunias, Gazanias, Carnations, Roses, Cinerarias, Candytufts(Iberis), Sweet Williams, Poppies, Pansies, etc. There were beautiful bonsai, cacti and succulents of all kinds on display and for sale.
A section was entirely devoted to garden enthusiasts who wanted to buy saplings, bulbs and seeds apart from all kinds of garden tools and equipment.
Even with slight rain large number of people including children had come to watch the uniquely arranged flowers.
Joyfully wet and our senses filled with the exquisite colors and delicate fragrances we spent an entire day taking in the amazing beauty of Delhi’s floral treasures. As the evening sun smiled for a while from behind the gray clouds we left this oasis of serenity to head again into the hustle bustle of city life. Here is a slide show of the event.