Born (1952) and raised in tribal reserve of Jhabua, India, Dharm is a Toronto based Author. He writes in Hindi and English and has five published books in Hindi- three collections of satirical essays and two collections of Poetry. He is a columnist for two prestigious journals Chankya Varta and Setu. Most of his work has appeared in prestigious Hindi journals across the world. He is currently working on a full-length collection in English.

For more on Dharm, visit – http://www.dharmtoronto.com

In Contemplation

I need someone to listen
to everything that
I want to say,
for I can’t speak it all to anyone else.
Why am I telling you?
Because you don’t react,
do not question,
do not listen at all,
or pay heed to make it unheard.
It makes a difference to me
whether you listen or not.
I want to ask you
to clear up my mind.
I never wished
that you’d become my shepherd 
or grant me the guidance 
of knowledge, wisdom, mantras, or blessings.
I am happy in the moment as I am
and glad to have you as you are,
neutral, expressionless, loveless, quiescent.

I feel good in your presence.
It’s better that you exist than otherwise.
If you were not here, whom could I blame,
who could listen to me,
where could I shed tears?
Okay, bye now, I’ll come back tomorrow.

Earth Is Not Visible In My Telescope

After creating a state
of pitch darkness in my study,
in the focused light of the table lamp,
I try to concentrate with open eyes.
Taking a peek into the sky’s borders
through my telescope
makes me feel like a stranger unto myself. 
As such, when I read 
about nebulae and galaxies,
the people across my wall 
appear to be strangers to me.

Taking a sip of astringent coffee, 
I want to get lost once again
in the Universe, among meteorites.
But it seems meaningless now 
to think of billions of stars and 
their solar systems,
to cover distances in light years
that I have never truly experienced.
The tip of the pencil 
drawing paths of planets and stars
is blunt now.

Pushing the wheeled board with his hands,
he comes here daily
with hopes to claim
a crumb of bread.
The creak outside is familiar.
My ears can hear
but my eyes don’t see it.
The Earth is not visible in my telescope.

The Bird is Distressed

What is present cannot be seen, 
mist and haze swirl all around.
It’s not dark, yet you don’t see a thing.
The bird is distressed.

The habitat doesn’t suit it any longer.
Making nests in concrete – 
it never learnt how.
To hide its home 
a big tree was needed.
It deserted the population. Flew away.

Who feeds the birds there anyways!
Elderly people live far away.
Holding catapults, children
are ready to shoot. 
It is such fun.
And they are growing  
to create a world of their own.

There is commotion among the people
who warm their hands on open fires.
Mr. Justice is alighting from his car,
trying to clean his glasses.
Hovering owls, crows, and starlings – 
how polite they look with folded hands!
Bowing down right to the ground
men are unable to stand up straight –
they are destined to be that way, always.
There is mist and haze all around.
It’s not dark, yet you don’t see a thing.

The bird is distressed.
If hawker’s baskets open,
peanuts, grams, and other tiny grub
will surely fall on the ground,
even if it is very little.
If there is no such explosion
and the hours pass
like a normal day, only some pickings
will be gained for its beak.
Might not be enough for itself,
but at least for its two chicks.

On a tree away from the population 
it has set a good number of straws  
in a hole in the trunk 
to lay its eggs.
It wants the sun to rise.
The sun that would swallow the mist
so the chicks can rise above the nest,
and it can then teach them to fly
and recognize the owlish designs.

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