Daniel Trevelyn Joseph

Rookie - 2 Points (21 December 1945 / Mumbai, India)

Silken (Reshmi) - Poem by Daniel Trevelyn Joseph

In today’s world, you get your pimples
And they are seen internationally,
Not just in the poster on the red BEST bus,
On streets of Mumbai like alas, poor Katrina Kaif!
But with the pimple, you are still charming.
What set me thinking was an email in the morning.

My pretty cousin is asking if I know
“The Santiago del Compostela pilgrimage walk in Spain”.
The answer should be “No, I don’t”.
But before I email her back in a few hours,
I would have googled and known as much perhaps!

She, the Engineering student with black curls
Hanging on her cheeks, and huge rings on her ears,
Along with her mother stayed with us in Yashodhan
Near Churchgate in late eighties,
During a summer vacation in Mumbai; moved later
From Microland to Singapore to MBA in Switzerland
And has now become a global citizen
Jetting across oceans for vacation
And has class-fellows dominating corporate sector
In Europe and elsewhere.

Her mother in her early twenties,
Was a friend of mine, slightly older than me,
She used to buy rolls of jasmine flowers
To adorn her long, lovely hair,
While walking with me in the evening
The dusty streets of Madurai in the South;
I used to get Perry Mason books for her,
From Madras where I did
My MA in English Literature
In Madras Christian College, Tambaram,
With its 400 acres of forests
With their green-robed senators,
And taller faculty members
Such as Dr Macphail, Prof Bennett Albert,
Soundararajan, T V Subba Rao,
Vasanthan and Venkataramanan,
Not to forget Prof T K Thomas
Who first taught me
“Life is not white or black
But an agonizing grey”
In that grey, somber voice of his.

Stages and settings have changed,
And now the young engineer grown big,
First Asian Woman MBA from Lausanne,
Operates from a European capital, flits
With bright eyes, and a lisp on lips,
Dreaming hazily afar, upto the horizon,
To places we only dreamt of in youth,
Modern-day Philip of Macedon, doing million things
Ready to conquer the world from Amsterdam,
While her brother treats people around Oxford.

Strange, how we like each other,
Across the chasm of years!
In London, we saw Verdi’s La Traviata
Then, Marriage of Figaro, and Swan Lake
When on visit to the IMO from India.
Classical opera and she go together in my mind.
How I would have loved her
Nearby, and not placed so far afield!

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Poem Edited: Monday, June 9, 2008

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