The Flower Shop

Day 2 of NaPoWriMo 2020

(Photo by Aashish Vaidya.  Image of Ranchod Rai Temple, taken few years ago on MG Road, while standing right in front of the flower shop, the subject of the poem)

The Flower Shop

The flower shop on the corner of MG road

and Sarneshwar Lane was located strategically –

equidistant from the two of the four gates of the old city:

Laheripura and Mandvi, both within less than a quarter kilometer.

 

Within a 5 minutes walk, were more than ten temples.

The devotees of which were the regulars of the flower shop,

owned and operated by the Ancient Man, a name coined by some

street urchin, which stuck, to the extent that

no one knew his real name anymore.

 

The Ancient Man, kept busy from dusk to dawn, wrapping the flowers,

the roses, the vincas, the jasmines, the marigolds,

and the plumerias, in fragments of

banana leaves and securing the packages

with thin white pieces of thread.

 

The Ancient Man, usually sported a short shirt length,

or a long, white tunic that hit below his knees.

The tunics were permanently stained with flower pollens or with

the deep yellow of the Kesudo flower – the Butea monosperma,

To the point that they really shouldn’t even be called white.

Similarly dyed were his loose white cotton-linen pants,

which should rightfully be called pajamas.

 

The Ancient Man, kept no books, but had encyclopedic knowledge

of the needs of his regulars: what type of flower packages they would want,

on regular days, on special personal occasions, and during festival days.

 

After working the flower shop from pre-dawn, the Ancient Man,

at dusk, close his shop for the day, right after grabbing the last

flower package, he’d had set aside from himself.

And then walk ten meters, south of his shop, across MG street,

To the Ranchod Rai temple, which is one of the many names

of Krishna, literally meaning “One who abandoned the battlefield.”

Krishna really did this when he decided to relocate

His grandfather’s capital from Mathura to Dwarka.

 

The Ancient Man, would join other devotees, in the evening prayers

Led by a skinny priest, dressed in saffron tunic and dhoti,

Sporting a black ponytail on an otherwise clean-shaven head.

 

The priest, will prepare the offering plate with camphor, flowers petals,

Vermillion past and grains of rice.  He will then proceed to light

the ghee soaked wicks placed on the brass Aarti.

 

After marking the forehead of the special devotee with vermillion paste

and grains of rice, and bestowing his blessings, the priest will hand over the Aarti.

Promptly, ringing the hand bell, and chanting slokas, he will commence

the evening prayer.  The blessed devotee will rhythmically, ritualistically move the Aarti

in loops.  While others, including the Ancient Man, will join the prayer chorus,

immediately increasing the decibel level of MG road, logjamed

with bumper to bumper traffic of exhaust spewing, constantly honking,

impossibly loud scooters, auto-rickshaws, cars, pedestrians, and stray animals.

 

Soon after the prayer is over, the Ancient Man will head home for the night.

Only to start his routine, all over again, pre-dawn,

while his customers all still soundly asleep dreaming dreams.

 

Notes:  Second day of NaPoWriMo 2020.  Got a late start, and barely pieced something together – almost in a stream of conscisouness type of writing today.  The prompt was: “…a leaf from Schuyler’s book, as it were, and asks you to write a poem about a specific place — a particular house or store or school or office. Try to incorporate concrete details, like street names, distances (“three and a half blocks from the post office”), the types of trees or flowers, the color of the shirts on the people you remember there. Little details like this can really help the reader imagine not only the place, but its mood – and can take your poem to weird and wild place.”

Backyard Picnic

Day 26 Of NaPoWriMo 2018.
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Deck, patio furniture and the grill are all washed and clean,
Clipped fresh lavender tied up in a bunch is set on patio table,
Next to two melamine place settings a slim center vase rests
Housing two faintly sweet smelling roses with long stems dipped in water.

I light the candle on the table and from the ice bucket,
pull out the chilled red lambrusco and dry the bottle with a towel.
I free the cork from bottle, which flies a slight distance
With a distinct pop. I pour the effervescent wine in two long stemmed glasses,
the bubbles freely race to the top with a low hum.

Iphone is programmed to a playlist containing Enigma. The deck,
in low volume pipes out soft techno beats to the tune of “Principles of Lust.”
The home-made pizza pie with marinated cottage cheese and
Small bits of fresh chilies and heirloom tomatoes is sizzling on the grill.

With black grill marks now visible, I take the pizza and slice it into
Eight parts. Next I liberally sprinkle fresh cilantro over the hot pizza
then top it off by squeezing two halves of a whole lemon.
Two slices each are plated on two plates. I take one of the rose
Out of the vase, brush its soft petals on soft cheeks.

The air is now pregnant with charred wood, citrus, hint of spicyness
Mixed with sweet smell of rose and woodsy freshness of lavender.
A glass is swirled and a sip is taken, next the pizza slice is picked and bitten.
“Yum, this is good,” says the voice, just as the song “Mea Culpa” is playing.
“Apology, accepted.”

Notes

Today’s prompt was:

Taking our cue from today’s craft resource, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that includes images that engage all five senses. Try to be as concrete and exact as possible with the “feel” of what the poem invites the reader to see, smell, touch, taste and hear.

Hopefully, the poem does justice to the prompt.