They poured in, before the deluge
To surpass the natives in numbers
folks in their cribs -through-hearse stages,
trusting like kids, a burnished sky, blue-white,
a cocktail of the wrong and right,
and the mountains, inwardly grumbling ,
Snaking it up to the high spots of primeval Gods,
thro roads, loosely wrapping the giant, like gray ribbons,
sleeping in structures disputed by the rivers
on questions of right of way ,
they milled about, haggled and honeymooned,
peed and pilgrimaged, at Badri and Kedar,
belonging to the likes of Sankaras, long before
touts and tours stirred their sequestered worlds .
And the super giant suddenly fancied a good shower,
with unusually heavy cloudbursts , landslides
And down flowed
decades of filth with silt settling to ceiling heights.
The crowds, local and visiting, clung on to life like limpets
watching their kin, their life’s bearings, settings and links,
uprooted, tossed and broken,
Escapees from being buried in debris,
now cornered in hell, bereaved and battered,
famished and plundered, living and dying from moment to moment
on nothing, save air laced with fumes of rotting death
at the tipping points of sanity , pondering
their turn of fates;
development vis-a-vis disasters ;
disasters vis-à-vis puny mitigation measures
tragedies-in-the-making vis-a-vis remedies forsaken;
freak instances vis-à-vis climate changes.
They remain stranded , for days on end,
despite the IAF, army men and their copters
( not the other services or their detractors)
risking their lives on a huge rescuing effort.
The natives, rescued or not, stranded for life, though.
@24 jun 2013. By :S.Jagathsimhan Nair
* This is about the thousands of tourists and locals remaining stranded in the Himalayan heights for about a week now, with dwellings, roads and bridges washed away/ blocked by heavy rains , landslides and floods.
Sankara refers to Adi Sankara, the saint of the 8th Cy AD.
Badri and Kedar mean Badrinath and Kedarnath, two important places of pilgrimage in the Himalayan heights.
IAF : Indian Air Force
For Deb’s 'Referential' contest , referring to the loss engendered by the Himalayan geography which finds expression, different, though, in the metaphors of Kash's poem, 'My emotional geography', with ref to expressions like valley of pain, ocean of sorrow, tearful rivers,foggy mountains etc.
For SKAT's Epic-only contest.