Maithreyi Nandakumar

A depression in the bay


A sea possessed – swirling, churning, spewing and raging,

there’s a depression in the bay.

A murky colloid of nauseous grey-green froth

reaches across the huge expanse of sand.

Rippling rivers on the tarmac,

as the wind sweeps with ferocious intent.


The monsoon is a genius percussionist,

complete with intermittent blasts of thunder.

Thrumming the soundtrack to my childhood,

drenching unknown anxieties,

hinting at a renewal,

a subliminal promise of release.


The sandalwood tree in the garden is down –

a rare sighting of a female koel, with its hawk-like beak

protesting at having its lodgings destroyed.

She’s deceptively predatory, this cousin of the cuckoo.

A reedy croaking from the puddles,

a fitting finale after the deluge.


Carts that sell juice of aloe vera, roasted corn,

fried fish, kebabs and spicy chaat

lie upturned, on the soaked sand

Above, a murder of crows,

after a mystery morning forage,

I expect a murmuration that doesn’t happen.


Police patrolling the promenade shoo all humans away.

On the other side of the wide road,

a graceful square-cut outside Lady Willingdon block,

fielders move, as if perfectly choreographed.

I turn back, with memories of sapphire blue water

under a blazing sun on a scorching beach.


This poem was written as the rain was thrashing against the window of my childhood room. So many memories of monsoons past – especially of the frog symphony that used to follow the heavy rains. Their croaking en masse from the flooded puddles is something I missed this time, when all I did hear was one reedy voice marking its presence.