Indra Dhanush

Bees, gather the essence of many trees and transmute them into honey.
Rivers have their source in distant lands
But lose themselves.
In the salt of the ocean
The colours of the rainbow
Are of many hues
But fuse into the pure brilliance of light.
Oh painter of dreams, why don’t you paint the colour of light
The colour of light. On your canvas of white?


“Near the top of the spectrum, blue light ripples, at a wave length of 470 nanometers.It is the symbol of permanence”.

Blue is forever
Eternal as the sky
Permanent, unchanging
As the pain in her heart.
He the prince
Had captured her,
Enchanted by the flashing splendour
Of her tiger eyes.
The mountain mist
In her fly away hair.
And kept her captive
In his ancient home
On a lonely hill.
To be the presiding deity,
Of his cool drawing room,
With light reflecting listlessly
Through cobwebs
Hung over blind, shuttered windows.
He’d liked the tenor of her mind
Fine sensitive, fresh from convent school:

“People come and people go
Talking of Michelangelo”.

So he’d brought her to his castle,
To keep a count of knives and spoons,
To oversee the pickles and the preserves.
And now
Her eyes have lost their tiger gleam
Her hair is a lank and listless brown
Her voice echoes lost worlds.
She’s a skeletal butterfly,
Embalmed in blue diamond glass.
Fresh from a jaunt to distant lands,
He says, “She’s lost her charm”
Blue as the blue of melting ice
Just a hint of blue.
In a glacial sea
Of eternal ice.
But ice can melt.
And glaciers become
A warm blue sea
That can capture
Within its depths
The eternal rainbow
I’ve seen myself in the mirror
Of Love’s eyes
And so I’ll never be
Dull and grey.
As I was, when no one looked at me.
Joy blossoms unbidden
In my listless limbs.
You painted caravans
In the desert desolation
Of my mind.

I’ve become a restless gypsy
Bound for distant lands.
The bird you have caged
Has flown far away
And recaptured its place in the sky.


“Green denotes the presence of chlorophyl in plants and indicates that photosynthysis is taking place correctly, satisfactorily”.

Green as the fields of yesterday
Green as a lotus lake
On a sunny day.
The cool, cool, green
Of deep placid lakes
Of light on new born mango leaves.
Of parrots flying home.
‘Bees gather the essence of many trees and transmute them into honey’
And so that lazy afternoon, I heard the song of the bees,
And understand the nature of green.
“Tomorrow we die
But today, we distil
The essence of life’s hidden mysteries,
From the heart of a thousand flowers.
And transmute their fleeting glory
In permenance
For the unknown.

How like the gnarled hands
Of a toothless dreamer,
Who plants a tender mango sapling
Whose ancient eyes can never see,
The splendour of spreading branches
Of luscious swinging fruit
For the unborn.
Green for the beginning of life ….
Black and wet,
Earth with puddled water
Women with sweat,
Bending low,
In vibrant splashed of crimson and blue,
They plant the delicate pale green spears
That hold the promise of life.

They plant in the unvarying symmetry
Of monotonous rows …
Born in the minds of men now dust,
Dead in the womb of the living earth.
Women wet with sweat,
Dumbly bending
Their aching backs
For the distant promise
Of a possible harvest
Green the colour of promise
of hope Of tomorrow.


“Grey is a combination of black and white. It is associated with sadness and melancholy.”

Yes, sadness is grey. I sometimes feel like that.
Grey is not always sad. It can exemplify
The ability to look beyond the certainly of black and white.
But we’re straying from the colours of the rainbow
Never mind. Grey shadows are necessary to give greater beauty to reality.
O.K. I’ll tell you about grey.

The certainity of black and white
For the shadowed grey

Where the imagination floats free
Like a butterfly in the wind.
Beyond the certainty of words
And hear the symphony
Of a sea shell
In your ear.

Beyond the known,
And fly a thousand leagues
Into the heart of a sun-drenched flower.

Your life seems to be grey.
Oh painter.

But out of the sombre shadows of your life
The trifling strife,
You have painted a masterpiece
Have you escaped from the bondage of today.
Into the secret pathways of yesterday?
Is this your way of shutting the door
On the grey shadows of everyday?
With your work worn hands
You have painted the glowing colours of dreams
Jewelled green and glowing red,
Like the hands of a bride soon to be wed.
Electric yellow and peacock blue,
All painted,
Oh so true,
On your canvas of grey
Coming back to the rainbow;
No I want to hear about pink ….


“Indigo the sombre hue of storms”.
Indigo mountains of forbidding hue,
Rise against a leaden storm sky.
With the stillness of the calm that falls
Before the dance of destruction.
Still as a yogi
Lost in the far pavilions of the mind.
Where coiled kundalini sleeps
Before it leaps.
The power
Of savage torrents of water
That fall
Into eternal nothingness.

Over sharp sabre toothed
Sentinel rocks
The soundless shriek of winds
Imprisoned in the endless vaults of Time
He is still,
Like a vast and starless sky,
Till the eternal bow snaps.
He wakes,
He who tames the torrent
With his locks.

Who makes the leaping tiger stop,
In mid leap.
And sets afire
The dark forbidding waves
Of a molten sea.
The immortal pulse of life is He,
Who makes,
The atoms dance in Cosmic dust
The rhythms of the Universe flow
About his dance,
And blow,
Around him,
Until he stops,
And stops the spinning universe.
With his hypnotic gaze.


“Orange is a combination of yellow and red. The vigour of red and the joy of yellow produces. The brittle gaeity that is orange.”

Bold orange,
False orange,
Bright orange,
Brittle orange.
Like the gaeity of painted women
Who falsely smile
With the sharp edged deceit
And two faced guile
Young dancer, she lay like a wilted flower
In the noise and heat and dust of a recording studio
Her young features pinched into maturity
Bright orange lipstick
Painting out the droop,
Dazzling orange dress
Disguising the grey of despair.

Puppet-like, she springs,
To fulfil life’s hard demands.
Going to school
Learning to sing
Playing the harmonium
Amidst the pandemonium
Of striving to dance in a dozen styles
Always performing
I watch her mother
Unsuccessful extra
In a forgotten film
A relic dancer of yesteryear
Aging fast
Fine lines
Marching in ruthless battallions
Over the painted face.

The slow dullness creeping
Into the conquetry
Of her too bright smile.
She’s lost the desperate battle
To hold on to the remnants
Of a faded charm.
“She’s just like me”, she gushes,
Pushing the tired little girl
Far beyond childhood.
Banishing her forever
From the joyous land of pinafores.
And giggling, joyous girls,
Racing down corridors,
With the wind in their hair.
For her, orange will never glow
Into the radiant of red.
It will only be a mask
For the dull grey in her heart.


“The optimist, we say, views the world through rose coloured spectacles. Even violent prisoners are put in cells painted pink. The colour seems to tranquillize, to replace aggressive impulses with passivity; Scientific tests show that even a brief exposure to pink, can cause a measurable weakening of the body’s muscles that lasts for 30 minutes.”

“Hey that’s why mummies dress baby girls
in pink. Let’s ask her what she feels about pink.”
“Mummy, what does pink mean to you?”
“Pink is the colour of a baby’s cheek.
Those days I needed no words to understand you.
When you, my bright eyed one,
With your dazzling toothless smile,
Launched yourself against my knee.

I could not fail to understand.
Quietly, effortlessly
Like silver foam
Against the shore,
Without a word,
I could not help but understand.

“Daddy how did our dog Mani die”
:”He grew old and he died, son”
“When you and mummy grow old.
Will you also die?”

“Yes, son”
(Sobs.) “Don’t worry that’s a long way off”.
“Daddy, when you did, who’ll get the car?”
“That day when you toddled on uncertain legs
After a cloud of butterflies
I did not suspect
That in a few short years, you will stride swiftly, ruthlessly,
Out of my life.

Now we talk and often fight.
You smoke and drink
And experiment.
You need to find yourself you say,
But I’ve lost you.

In the convoluted maze of adolescence.
In a cobweb mist of words,
I have lost you.
May be we’ll find each other,
When you hold your first born in your arms,
And know how painfully,
How helplessly, you love your child.


“Red is the colour of power, vitality and danger.Biologists say that even the cell sap of red flowers is acidic.”

Ruined palaces
That fade
In the stark brilliance
of a late sunset.

The crimson of a warrior’s death
Oppressed Peasant:
Today the earth will be wet with my sweat
As I breathe life into common clay.

So that my son will ride
Into the future
With the light in his eyes…
You can trample the flower
You can uproot the plant
You can burn down the mighty tree
But the seed will lie
In the womb of the earth
And one silent day in spring
Will awaken to life …..
The blood you have split
Will cry out from the past.

For the spirit will never die ….


“Violet the colour which stands for the radiance of God. It is a mixture of red and blue.”

A hyacinth growing in the slush,
Lovely, fragile,
With a pale violet blush
Taking root in the stagnant pools
Chocking lakes and water ways
But on: how lovely is her face:
She startles every fear that lurks with the brilliance
Of spinning fireworks.

She scatters all my hard earned coin
On extravagant thing that gleam and shine
So that my life can never be
A sedate measured harmony.

Gone is all my peace and quiet
Time to think, time to act …..
Voice of God
Why don’t you uproot her
Remove her
Throw her our
Of your life?

Man: I couldn’t go, quite so far Lord.

God: But she spoils your serenity. Throws pebbles into the quiet pool of your mind

Man: I’m sick of my own reflection, I don’t mind.

God: But she’s extravagant!

Man: For what else is money meant. Maybe it’s time old stuffed shirt went. But she makes laugh …….

God: She makes you cry

Man: What of the excitement she can bring ….
Like the million bells that ring. On Christmas day.I like her sparkle.

God: All that glitters is not gold.

Man: She’s not to be bought and sold.

God: She gives you a headache!

Man: But that’s better than a heartache. Look here, Oh Lord, I think I’d rather keep her.

God: I rather thought you’d say that. But now she’s gone. It is too late.

(He searches for her among shrieking winds)

God: How d’ you feel my son? Good?

Man: I’m lonely. On a dark and empty road,

Where lighting is an angry sound,
I walk trembling
And alone.

Dread is a heavy, jagged sound
And loneliness stalks me from his lair
Silent, hungry with despair
He sits in her empty rocking chair
When our house is empty hollow bare.

Child: Oh Painter of dreams
You have painted the colours
Of sadness and death
Of joy and life ….
Of love and strife
Of tremulous creation
Of angry destruction
Now why don’t you paint,
The colour of light;
The colour light,
On your canvas of white….?

Painter: But I have, my son,
The colours of the rainbow
And become brilliant and pure,
They are transmuted into light.
The colours of the rainbow
Make the colour of light.

Now you, tell me, what is light?
Well, light is white…
Hm. Tell me more.
Pearl white, diamond bright
Sailing swan upon a river at night
Her smile, the colour of light
Ghostly white
Mist hung to dry
On giant grey mountains.

Fluffy cotton cloud white,
Fragrant jasmines in mux mother’s hair….
My child you’re becoming poetic
Chalk white
The ghost of old lessons”
(Painter chuckles)
“But light is golden.
It’s silver too.”
“Really? You mean moonlight?”
Moonlight and sunlight. Listen to that:
I never know sunlight was silver
Till I saw it slant
On helpless captive mist
Ina genie’s bottle
Of a valley, ringed in hills.

Until I saw a silver rain,
Of trembling eucalyptus leaves,
On a misty morning
In the hills.

And watched the playful trickle
Of silver streams
On the face of a forbidding rock.
But what is the colour of light?
It’s Violet and Indigo
Blue and green
Yellow and orange
And glowing Red.

But finally it’s the colour light.


“The sun gives life to all living things. It is the animating principle of life; suggestive of joy, gaeity and merriment, because light is yellow.”

I’ve walked beneath the spreading roots
of mighty banyan trees
And heard the sound of birds that chirp,
Hidden beneath their leaves.

I’ve watched the million lamps that light
On the face of a sunlit lake.
And sung with exaltation
With the birds that greet the dawn.

I am made new again
In the radiance of the eternal dawn
I find Him amidst the throngs that sing
Where temple bells, loudly ring
I find Him in the inner sanctum of my soul
A touch of his hand,
Turns to gold the dross of all my earthly bliss
And transmutes my poor passions into sublimity.