Impressions Of India Poem by Tony Pitman

Impressions Of India



Surrounded by sights and sounds,
Foreign to my narrow mind.
Have tried to record the affect on me,
With the aid of this little diary.

No judgement intended in what I say,
Just impressions on the way.
What was stirred in my heart,
When I could force ego aside.

I am no wiser from this experience;
If anything, more confusion reigns.
The passage of time no answers bring,
Just more questions to add to list.

One thing learnt on the way,
So little I know for my many years.

The Beach.

Flags of parasols on beach;
Sun kissed sky goes on forever;
Surf rolls in endless motion;
Soft sand seeping, toes spreading;
Cool breeze from the sea,
Allowing footprints on the shore.

Bodies lying everywhere,
Sun beds, floor, easy chairs;
Pure white to glowing crimson
Burns stencilled in tee shirt patterns;
Plying with tattoo attractions.

White toothed men serving drinks;
Sellers, fruit, bags of trinkets;
Children with tin plates performing;
Beggars bowing, hands joining.

Sun shines on and isn't moved,
By ants activity on its earth.
Beach was here prior to man,
A place for sea to dump sand;
Now happy to provide pleasure,
For working man at leisure.

Customer care.

Man comes in with wife and son,
Look at bags to purchase one.
Boy has girl friend left behind,
Needs present, show still on mind.
Man not happy with the mission;
Stamps about with much aggression.

Woman smiles at son's selection,
"Nice, I'd have that one in my collection".

As is custom, time for price haggle;
Man steps forward with macho face,
"How much payee for the bag? "
"Seven fifty rupee", is replied.

"What for crap like this? "
"Seven hundred, cash from hip".
"That's all I'll give for shit like this".

The attacked seller does not react,
"The price for that bag is seven fifty".

Party leave shop with man in hurry,
Slams door bang shut in his furry.
No bag to show for his efforts;
Bad manners no part of haggle.

Seller has no profit from deal
But who can price calm dignity.

Mapsa market.

Noise and throngs everywhere;
Rules for driving, no one cares.
Tut Tuts ply with cars and cows,
For room to mow people down.

Come to market for watch repair;
Boy carries bag with haughty air.
Help Mamma, Poppa, find their needs,
Knows every seller, every shoppee.
"Hallo there", from every quarter;
Men and women looking to barter.

Fruit and veg from this fertile land;
Cloths and shoes in big mounds;
Tins and pots, rope coiled round;
In shops and stalls, on the ground.

Vast range of colours for materials;
Silks and cottons, polyester;
Cut to length, then to measure,
For cousin make a thing to treasure.

Time to go home with goods of the day;
Hail Tut Tut chap, little to pay.
Looks poor man with no money;
Sleeps under tin roof with his honey.
Feel sad at Tut Tut man's plight,
Give big tip when we alight.
He reacts with toothless grin.
In return gives business card.
If we need Tut Tut at all,
Give his mobile phone a call.

Ocean.

Arabian beauty, ebb and flow.
Horses riding, high as snow.
Peaks and troughs, warm and salty.
Powerful, gentle, mighty, haughty.

Water that brought Romans here,
Now cools sunburn seekers.
Herbs and spices were the pull.
Now, easy living and low prices.

Monsoon winds blew Latins in,
Now it's planes causing a din.
The ocean cares not, it has no ego;
It knows its place within creation.

On the horizon, big ships at anchor,
Loading ore from river tankers.
Humans come and humans go,
Leave no impression on ebb and flow.

Kashmir man.

Traders of from long ago;
Merchants linking East to West;
Bartering in the needs of both;
Kashmir man knows the best.

Tall and handsome, chiselled features;
Teeth that shine, smile that pleases;
Knows his customers so well;
Realises product is himself.

Carpets and jewels are now his trade;
Not by camel, more by plane.
Persia not his main supplier;
Teaming tourists now his buyers.

Once it was the Khyber Pass,
That saw his goods go to and fro;
Now the shawls come in from China,
On their way to Stanlow.

Kashmir man does not care,
Goods from here going there;
He will always have profession,
Knowing love of possessions.

But beware of technique,
When enter into shoppee.
Years of experience are his forte.
He's not happy till sale is made;
Will mix personal with trade.

Gems are perfect, price is fair,
Just for you because he cares,
Make it difficult to leave shoppee,
No want to hurt new buddy.

Bazaar.

Ground floor, jewels, handbags,
Watches, glasses and dresses;
Counter for receipts to pay,
By card, cash, anyway.
Pretty girls to give assistance,
Young men in ties for direction.
First floor more dresses and shirts;
Things for tots, shoes and skirts;
Leather goods, cameras, magic tricks;
More pretty girls at back and call;
To help their aim, no task too small.

Make your purchase, get invoice;
Goods wrapped, ready at the door.
Air conditioning keeps out the heat;
To shop in comfort is a treat.

Beggars, with children wait outside;
Hands stretched out for a bite.
Shoppers step out and pass them by;
Believe the story, they've come by car.

Contrast of India in one spot;
Lots of people money to shop;
Outside, waiting, those with not.
Bombay Bazaar shows human race;
Money and beggars, face to face.

Peanuts.

Children running through sun-beds;
Newspaper cornets in their hands;
Filled with peanuts from Mapsa market;
Came by bus to make a profit.

"Mamma, Poppa, have a taste",
"Very fine nuts, no rubbish".
"Made no sale all day long".
"Get in trouble when back home".

If no sale still have a chat;
Easy smiles, soon joke back.
This endeavour more than selling,
Like kids all over, its adventure.

Card seller.

David limps through the sand,
Dragging leg to stomp it down.
Gruelling work as sand gives way,
Progress slow but to task stays.

Occasionally he comes to a stop
And leans on leg that wont hop;
Not to rest but for savour,
Goods on offer to sun bather.

Book of cards he shows with pride;
Greetings with leaf outside;
Beautiful in colour and shape;
Money raised for orphanage.

Most shake their heads, do not want;
Others look away in embarrassment.
David struggles off through the sand;
Just another seller, time on his hands.

Ingos.

Different tongues, different faces;
Multilingual sellers put through their paces.
Different goods, different offers;
Seller, buyer haggle to fill the coffers.

Tibetans sat in calm dignity;
Indians chasing possible buyer;
Ex-hippies staring at the moon;
German landlord site acquired.

Lec and a half, pitch for season;
Six months to make a killing.
Some will earn in one night;
Others some day, God willing.

"Look at my stall, no need to buy".
"You first customer, bring me luck".
"How much you pay for that in bag? "
Tricks of the trade to earn a buck.

Night falls and lights come on,
Changing site to fairground scene.
Enter music group, people dance;
Places to eat, sit and dream.

Saturday at Ingos more than a market,
A place with unique reality.
The world meeting at one spot
And trading with no fatality.

Passing by.

A dead man was wheeled passed the desk,
Layed out and poorly dressed;
Through people waiting for a date,
For health checks whilst on holiday.

The man was uncovered, eyes open,
On a stretcher pushed by porters.
Western eyes turned away,
From a sight difficult to convey.

Why shy at the face of death,
One commonality of the human race?
Was it death, or the man's state,
That turned heads to look away?

What right had I to my new eyes,
That money had bought in surprise?
When here a man at life end,
Possibly through no money to spend?

Not to comment on quality of life;
This man may have reached enlightenment;
Knew not to judge by material worth,
Spirit the master from his birth.

So why discomfort at the sight?
My state could be for pity more.
The man had gone to meet his master,
Free from pain into eternity.

Here a man not known but known;
Opportunity gone to learn from him;
Knowledge that could open hearts;
That's the loss that all death brings.

Day at seaside.

Pile of shoes a mountain high;
Cloths stripped off and thrown aside;
Boys and girls, young and old,
Are having day off on seashore.

Laughter fills the air,
As people run everywhere;
Along flat sand into the sea;
Playing like children in joy of spring.

Handball and cricket are played;
Girls with demeanour sit in shade.
Young men queue to have a ride,
On water bikes standing by.

Little games of gambling seen,
Gathering crowds with glee;
Soon pack up and move off,
When possible policeman turns up.

Young men and women with big grins;
Old whiskered men, wives with chins.
Courting couples, arm in arm;
Young men walking, holding hands.

All enjoying sea and breeze;
Travelled on bus, long way, for these.
Simple pleasures to fill the heart;
A privilege to watch, more to take part.

Taxi.

White vans with sliding doors;
Sit three in back, taking four;
Ten a penny on every corner;
Too many licensed by back handers.

Taxi men from all over,
Come for season, earn money.
Some own taxis, others employed;
Vying for people out for a walk.

Price is haggled with customer;
Rates high before tan begins.
As holiday progresses prices are lower;
Tourists wiser as going browner.

More than a trip from A to B,
Contains excitement and mystery.
If driver swaps shirt during ride,
He's out of area, should be elsewhere.

Knows best exclusive white beach;
Cousin has art shop within reach.
Can be hired for the day;
Willing to wait, if you pay.

Temples, plantations, all on his list;
Washing elephants, not to be missed.
More than a drive, a tourist guide.
Man with taxi knows it all.

Standard of driving hit and miss;
Depends more on temperament than conditions.
Some who think only, racing car,
Arrive no quicker than those with care.

Taxi adorned, little statue or temple,
Depending on historical influence.
Rubber snakes swing from mirror,
Obscuring clear view for driver.

Taxi ride is a must,
For all who visit these shores.
Not just to get round and about,
But experience local colour.

Festival.

Drums and trumpets out of beat;
Folk dressed up, walking in heat;
Carrying shrine between two poles,
Covered with flowers and symbols.

Procession stops and sets load down;
People gather from all around.
Food and money are placed on shrine;
Some taken off on other side.

Music plays on, people dance.
Cacophony of sound abounds.
Men, women, children of all age,
Join the scene to make a stage.

Tourists look on with Western eyes.
Cynicism in clouded minds.
Just a local native custom,
Clung to for hope, like opium

These poor people know no better,
Lacking our real sophistication.
Where's their wealth and academia,
Which would end this superstition?

Dear God, what have I lost,
When I only judge by material cost?
With eyes that only feed the brain,
Closing the heart to possible awareness.

Can't I see the worth of our none stop progress;
Only measuring happiness by degrees and profit excess?
Stop watch and try to learn,
See what the heart really yearns.

Travelling orange.

Men dressed in flowing orange robes;
Sometimes in groups, others alone.
Fine beards and sparkling eyes;
Varying age, new or wise.

They carry a stick or bag on back;
Faces painted or maybe chalked.
Orange colour predominates;
Flashes bright as they walk.

Often seen with elephant,
Driven from top by man in white.
Will stop for tourist photograph,
Inviting group to have a ride.

Local temple is their base,
Where all will stop for night's rest.
Elephant to eat huge heap of food,
Men to sleep in makeshift tent.

Why have these groups come so far;
Hundreds of miles from out of state?
They are here in tourist season;
Is ready money the reason?

Elephant ride or photograph,
Will cost quite a lot of cash.
Money needed for elephant feed?
Why come so far just to eat?

Maybe cost is like a tithe,
Placed on local economy;
Upkeep of temples, feeding of staff;
Contribution from tourists.
Fair enough.

New beginnings.

What brings folk to a distant land;
Different in culture, strange in sound;
Leaving family and friends behind,
To set up home, late in life?

Are they economic migrants in reverse,
Increasing worth of pension they've earned;
Using their savings from UK,
To live more comfortably in India?

Are they people returning home,
To find the place where they were born;
Who'd left these shores for lots of reasons,
Now to return in life's last season?

Are they folk who love the sun,
Who've holidayed here with lots of fun;
Think that life can always be that;
Sold up home and bought a flat?

Are they folk with lofty ideas,
Who think their standing will improve,
With big money compared to local wages,
To lord it up over customs ageless?

Are they attracted by pace of life,
Where appointments made by head nod;
Where next Tuesday means any day
And any day is someone's festival day?

Are they attracted by ceremonies shared,
Christians and Hindus coming together;
Can't say where one starts, one ends;
Marked by mutual respect and tolerance?

Are they drawn to welcoming arms;
Out stretched to all, especially in need;
To rub shoulders with Tibetans and others,
Needing shelter when fleeing oppression?

Are they pulled by nature calling,
Where birds fill the air in formation;
Butterflies bigger than Humming birds;
All size King Fisher's digging in dirt?

Are they bewitched by fields of rice,
Three crops possible due to Monsoon;
Fertile land that feeds a Nation;
Variety of crops in rotation?

Why not put off by red tape,
That frustrates and makes you wait;
Where maximum employment is the aim,
Not automated systems with no name?

Why not put off by traffic chaos,
Where cars, buses, Tut Tuts and bikes,
Fight for their space on the road,
Amid people and cows, the odd elephant?

Why not put off by daily power cuts;
Air conditioning, washing machine, all off?
Not same problem for local labourers,
Holes in tin roof, fire in doorway.

Why not put off by flyers and crawlers,
Mosquitoes at dusk, ants all day?
Difficult to grasp Hindu belief,
All of creation is sacred.

Why not put off by early callings,
Bread boy's bike horn, fish man's cry?
Everybody asleep in the afternoon,
Except mad dogs and Englishmen.

Why not put off by sight of poverty,
Children begging, rubbish sorting?
One legged man with hand outstretched,
Blind man led by wife and stick.

Why not put off by obvious disparity,
In wealth and possessions of inhabitants?
Pale skin men driving four by fours;
Darker women and children digging roads

Why not put off by open bribery;
Hand that's greased delivering early?
Police who act if right price paid;
Custom back handers to look away.

What's the answer to these dilemmas?
Why still come by the plane load?
One thing is certain in this Nation,
There's an openness to their situation.
No masks or pretence nor real ignorance.
They're open to life in all its forms,
Not living a lie - our norm.

Emporium.

Off to Mapsa to buy material,
For jacket and dresses made by tailor.
Shop full from floor to ceiling,
With bales of cotton, all appealing.

Assistants all eager to please;
Roll out the cloth with expert ease.
No bale can't be found,
Soon we have a great mound.

Patterns and weaves in variety;
Mind in a whirl with the artistry.
Too many colours, impossible to name.
How do they manage, no two the same?

Is all this produced in this fair land,
In thousands of villages or robot hands?
Or imported from overseas,
China most probable?

Shopkeeper not impressed by notion.
All Indian cloth in his emporium;
The finest produced in the world.
Well he would say that, wouldn't he?

Decisions are made, cloth purchased;
Cut to length, folded and parcelled.
Leaving shop but path blocked;
Shop man wants to show silk stock.

Vulture man.

Rubber Vulture swinging on string,
Tied to mirror, flapping wings.
Driver bent forward over wheel,
Specs like bottle bottoms, can't see a thing.

Races towards road speed humps;
Goes up fast, down with bump.
Doesn't look right, left or ahead;
Drive straight on, hope for best.

Fallen into same trap again;
Driven by eye doc's Vulture man.
Always the same after appointment,
Waiting outside, taxi door open.

Tried to pretend, hadn't seen him there;
Quick round corner for getaway.
Never another taxi in sight;
Stuck again with ride of fright.

No way is he driving us home;
Last time we finished up on road;
Couldn't understand a word said;
So got out and walked the rest.

Got fellow to interpret our desire,
Coffee Café Day in Mapsa centre.
Bobbing head does not confidence raise,
Know best we'll get is market place.

Vulture man haggles strange way,
Starts low price then increases pay.
Never mind, just get in;
Grip the seat and try to grin.

Mapsa market as expected;
Tap on shoulder, achieved objective.
No tip, quick get out, cross the road,
Recovery drink, Tut Tut home.

Time to ponder, is there a link,
Between taxi man and eye clinic.
No matter what time of day,
Vulture man is looking for prey.

Perhaps doc PN has special phone;
Ring uncle, take patient home.
All part of service they provide;
Test new eyes with scary ride.

Deadly peril.

Flock of parrots flying in,
Land to feed, chattering.
Camouflaged green, disappear;
Bobbing heads just to be seen.

Joy to witness but be alert,
The time of day when they alight.
Dusk is near with the parrot arrival
And with that comes deadly peril.

Bred in stagnant Monsoon water,
Mosquitoes are rising for nightly slaughter.
Insignificant creatures, hard to see
But carrying our greatest enemy.

Malaria, biggest killer of man;
Rampant in most tropic areas;
Eradication has proved impossible.
Mosquito survives and flourishes.

Goa, with all its natural beauty,
Marked bright pink on map of cases.
Wealth and prosperity no difference make,
Here Malaria most likely in India.

? ?

Walk off beach after day in sun;
Enjoyed beds, drinks and grub;
Warm sea swim, cooling breeze;
Along paved path for taxi.

Big signs advertising shack delights;
Karaoke, barbeque, firework nights.
Tempting you back for evening time,
Spend more money, drink more wine.

But signs hold another message,
In their shadow lie resters.
Men, women and children sat on ground,
In shade of sign out of burning sun.

Children, bare foot in dirty rags,
Run alongside, hand moving to mouth.
Just a few steps then they stop,
Have moved into another patch.

Now turn of one-armed man;
Gives greeting, holds out hand;
Continues with toothy grin,
Until pass on to next one.

Man sat on plastic bag,
Peg leg lay beside at rest;
Greeting sign warmly waved.
Man is asking for your aid.

Sometimes pass over change from bar;
At others, look away and ignore.
Any action seems out of place;
Give for ego, deny, poor grace.

As is the way in this land,
Moral decisions not underhand.
At home someone else will decide;
Here, dilemma is personalised.

Men, women and children in distress,
Asking help from those with excess.
If there's judgement will the question be,
How did you respond to their need?

Crunchy sand.

Horizon stretches, unbroken line;
No start or finish, endless time.
Our ancestors knew their place,
Sail too far, fall into space.

White sand crunching under foot,
Creaks like fresh snow, lightly trod.
Flat beach goes on forever;
Nought to do with man's endeavour.

Palm trees overhang the beach,
Providing shelter with their reach;
Mark the end of vegetation,
Start of ocean's domination.

Isolated shack in the distance,
Provides respite from sun's insistence.
Cool drinks are ordered first;
Small oasis quenching thirst.

Young couple passing by,
Oblivious to sand and tide;
Enjoying the feeling of isolation;
Just soak in God's creation.

Here a place no words can describe,
Must see with eyes to appreciate.
Open heart to fully embrace,
Nature's beauty in all its grace.

Rough ground.

Passing by, it's just rough ground,
In UK called site that's brown.
No crops or life a glance can see,
Must be waiting development fee

Stand quiet a while and really look,
You may discover you've been mistook.
The tainted eye doesn't observe;
The brain thinks it's wise to the world.

Isn't that a hut in the far corner?
Camouflaged with palms and rushes.
There's a man chopping wood,
Wife in sari collecting up.

As the eyes open to the scene,
See children playing on a swing;
Hogs, big and small, running around;
Water buffalo tethered to ground.

Crows scavenging in rubbish burnt;
Swifts swooping in search of food;
Sparrows digging in the soil;
Kites overseeing full life toil.

Oh stupid eyes filling my head,
Because it's rough it must be dead.
Don't just glance, really look,
Not all is written in a book.

Holiday complex.

Bright apartments surround the pool;
Towelled sun beds under parasol;
Palm trees to set the scene;
Flowers, bright, cover balconies.

Waiters, brown suited, for every need;
Men with mops eager to clean.
Bar with stools in the water;
Swim and call out your order.

Entertainment nearly every night,
Magicians, singers, under twinkling lights.
Shop on site, even filtered water;
Chinese restaurant to phone your order.

Holiday complex, self contained.
No need to venture through the gate.
Even the children have their club.
Everything right for family fun.

People here from every Nation;
Indians taking winter vocation.
Strangely English the common tongue,
Even though Portuguese till sixty one.

Rear of complex a different scene,
Rural India can be seen.
Family dwellings surrounded by fields;
Milling people at daily needs.

Cows and piglets roam at will,
With their chums the Egrets.
Hens and chickens scratch about,
In the rubbish, turned out.

People of all generations in one spot,
Each with a job to serve the lot.
Families working in unison;
The joy of the children no illusion.

What are their thoughts looking this way,
At our castle building with its gate?
Do they envy the obvious wealth?
Do they desire to be here one day?

If they aspire, they're no different than us;
To earn enough money for the Taj is a must.
In our wisdom, we know it's their aim;
Material advancement is man's only gain.

Of course they may not look at us,
That in our pride we assume they must.
Perhaps we're a mirage passing their door;
They'll still be here as we look for more.

Just one day.

Day of extremes and profusion;
Mind in a whirl of confusion.
Morning witnessing dire poverty,
Night time experiencing pure luxury.

The day of Marjon and Taj Exotica;
Opposite ends of wealth spectra.
Men in rags sleeping on street;
Smart businessmen, glut of seats.

Women and children begging for food;
Five restaurants, which shall we choose?
Hot streets, amass with crowds;
Hugh marble lounge devoid of life.

Women laden with loads on head;
Three servants for every guest.
Walking barefoot to destination;
Electric buggy ride, no reservation.

Families sleeping under tin roofs;
Secluded bungalows with own pool.
Women, crossed legged, selling food;
Beauty therapy, if in the mood.

Crying children, pinched for handout;
Hotel nannies for child comfort.
Goods bartered to sustain life;
No need for cash with credit card.

Thirst quenching sugar cane drink;
Fine wines and liquors, imported in.
Rag ball for children to play;
Pool, golf, cricket, archery

Could go on forever at juxtaposition;
What's the point without a solution.
Just the observation of a single day,
Reflecting human race as it's always been.

Cricket field.

Driving along passed arid fields,
Palm Groves and derelict property;
Suddenly a flash of green.
Have we come across a cricket field?

I'm back in England in Spring,
Where bright is the Green;
Grass ready for the first cut;
Roll the wicket and set the stumps.

It can't be cricket that's played here,
Green as far as the eye can see.
Is it for grazing cattle and sheep?
But not an animal on the scene.

Is it the lawns of a Portuguese house?
A carpet of grass to set a mansion off.
There's not a building to be seen;
No one to cut and tend the green.

The vision is passed, I'm no wiser;
Perhaps an illusion, a mirage.
Wait. On the horizon another one,
Even bigger than the one just gone.

At last comes the dawning.
Not grass but shoots of rice.
Man's irrigation of paddy fields
Has gifted my first sight of Tropical grain.

Charity.

Lola's little shop burnt down,
And she nearly gone full term;
Should leave next week, go back home,
To give birth to girl, she hopes.

Sad young Lola sits in gloom,
All her stock gone up in flames.
One more thing to add to worries,
Pains keep coming in her tummy.

Off in taxi to hospital;
Get check up, see if baby coming.
Not the new one down the road,
Wont be happy there, or so its told.

Reception not very friendly;
Sister's been on night duty.
Not conducive to tender care,
Lola refuses to be roughly handled.

Gently persuaded to return,
Now turn of Matron to refuse.
Beg and plead for Lola's case;
Stubborn woman wont be moved.

At last relents, reluctantly.
Again Lola's questioned not lovingly.
Sad experience on Lenten Sunday,
At hospital run by Sisters of Charity.

Size matters.

In a land of skinny folk,
Shirts too tight, if not like rope.
Size at home would be small,
Here lucky with XXlarge.

Shorts to get just one leg in;
Manage two, can't fasten them.
Dresses so pettit and fine,
For Barby Doll they're designed

Why can't they resemble us,
Big, rotund, built like bus?
Bellies wobbly, full of fat;
Feet last seen when a lad.

They need feeding up;
Burgers, chips, other grub.
Make them into proper size,
Then we'll have clothes to buy.

Magician's hat.

Boy seller on the beach,
Bag full within his reach.
Out comes lighter, keen to sell;
High price start, haggles well.

If he manages to make a sale,
Hand back in bag again.
Now you've shown to be a buyer,
Not give up with his trying.

Torches, watches, wet wipes,
Even perfume to delight.
Calculators and mobile cases,
Belts, buckles, shoe laces.

His bag a bottomless pit,
Goods from India filling it.
He calls it his mobile super mart;
To me, more like a Magician's hat.

Ingenuity.

High fashion designer clothes,
Leather bags, models show.
Watches from round the world,
Kinetic Rolex, bracelet gold.

Anything not to hand,
Ordered quick from Mumbai.
India seller not defeated,
All your needs can be sated.

Why reinvent the wheel;
Possesses skills to replicate.
Not deceitful in their ways,
Proudly proclaim, genuine fake.

But beware you can be caught,
In trap of greed when sought.
Tobacco purchased as real thing,
Turns out to be Green China tea.

Smile.

What does a smile convey?
Not one for photo display.
That comes from deep inside;
Face lit up with this smile.

Does it indicate pleasure,
A funny moment to treasure;
A response to a happy event;
A reflex action showing content.

One thing noticed in this life,
No coloration with material strife.
Simple things bring a smile;
Truer way to use God's measure.

India seems a land of smiles,
White teeth and shining eyes.
No matter what station in life,
It's easy play to raise a smile.

Assumptions.

Driver of taxi making sell,
Visit white beach with Turtles on.
Make arrangements for evening fun;
Always available, airport run.

Must be local making his money,
From visitors here, season of fun.
Another two months, taxi covered;
Live through Monsoon on his profit.

Engage man in conversation,
Interested in his perfect English.
When did he learn to speak so well?
From tourists taking taxi rides?

Language perfected in a college,
Where he studied for many years.
Had to finish, family crises,
Prior graduation in psychology.

Parents died leaving dependents,
Son stopped studies to earn money.
Came to Goa from out of state;
Provide food and shelter for siblings.

Many years have passed since then,
Now has wife and Sid, his son.
Still sad not finishing college
But no regrets for his decision.

Make assumptions? Who me?
I've learnt nothing from my journey.
Can't assess what a man is,
No chance of knowing who he is.

Sunday lunch.

The expats have gathered for lunch;
Fake colonial setting in the sun.
Shirts with flannels, posh frocks;
Sunday again at the Marriot.

Gin and tonic on veranda;
Dine outside or in cool cover.
Mixing easily with rich locals;
Reminiscent of by-gone rituals.

Not colonial masters now gathered;
Joe from Swansea, Ron from Manchester.
New expats living in this land,
Making the most of strong pound.

Dishes more fit for a queen,
Served by many men in green.
Buffet bar so long and full,
Can't taste all food on offer.

Music staged in full view;
Eat to a song or have a dance.
Time for pretence and nostalgia,
Sunday lunch at the Marriot.

Empire lost.

Imposing mansion set in grounds,
Reminiscent of Portuguese colonials.
Splendid hallway, wide stairway,
Leading to upper rooms, both ways.

Knock on door to gain entry;
Opened by old lady, from gentry.
Enter into reception room,
Cool thick walls, marble floor.

Fine lady explains her role,
Descendent from owners of old.
House once centre of family wealth;
Now kept up by visitor's gifts.

Guided tour around the rooms,
Except for those in family use.
China plate and vases from Maco;
Rosewood furniture, crafted local.

Lady proud of house and ancestry;
Portraits on wall of landlords past.
Mixed blood Indian, Portuguese,
Family lived here for centuries.

Ballroom of fine proportions;
Hear the music, see the motion.
Picture room filled with laughter,
Centre of Portuguese India Empire.

Some sadness these days have passed;
Unless your people toiled the land.
Channelled irrigation by engineers,
Producing rice all through the year.

Lady bids farewell at door;
Collection box for house restore.
Symbol of times now gone,
But still dignified and elegant.

Wires.

Wires strung everywhere;
Electric cables, telephone lines.
Ugly mess obscuring view,
Erected for man's urban use.

But wires have other purpose,
Carrying birds on perches.
Magpie Robbins, white tail bobbing.
King Fishers, still, watching traffic.

Song birds, sitting in pairs,
Swallows ready to take the air.
Hunting birds, waiting for prey;
Paradise chicks on display.

Birds once hidden away,
Now on view as wires sway.
Man, with crude construction,
Opportunity to see Natures creation.

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