Caro(m)kshetra

Caro(m)kshetra
The Striker and the pieces on a carom board

They are family, kin and friends, how could one kill,
Void they would leave behind, who would be able to fill.

The ones that he grew up playing with, and the ones who taught,
Unable to take on them, was there a way the battle won’t be fought.

The battlefield lay in front of him, and the warriors gave battle cries,
He was unable to pick up his weapon, even after a million tries.

He was given a code to live by, and million reasons to kill,
Told they were his enemies, whose void he need not fill.

He was shaken violently, when he hesitated and refused to fight,
To see things clearly, like he would in the morning after a dark night.

He was chosen for this task because he was mighty and just,
Unlike mightier warriors filled with jealousy and blood-lust.

The ones in front of him were dead the day they joined the wrong,
With justice and morality on his side, he felt ever so strong.

Understanding his duty and worth, he started killing with rage,
Without seeing who was in front of him, or what was their age.

He killed for many days, and many of his beloved ones were taken away,
Rule of justice finally established when he stopped, and was there to stay.


This poem and the accompanying photograph are my attempt to draw an analogy between the Kurukshetra war and our day to day life, even something as uneventful as playing carom.

I try to portray one of the most important teachings of Bhagvad Gita, that attachments make us lose sense of right and wrong, just and injustice, moral and immorality. To uphold and do what is right, one must rise above every form of attachment, and look at things objectively. And when the time comes to do one’s duty, it has to be done no matter what.

In frame: The striker and the pieces on a carom board, clicked on manual mode using my Oneplus 3 phone during the carom tournament at office. This photo was edited using Google Snapseed.

VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Yes, you can share this work with proper attribution. But, please seek permission before using this work (not including the photo), partially or fully. YOU CAN NOT USE THE PHOTO. Believe me, asking is better than ending up in court or facing public shaming on social media. Thanks for understanding.

© Amrit Panigrahy. All rights reserved.

Mountain Song

I was unsure and had many questions when I started,
Unable to understand whether to hold on to those who departed.

I tried and any attempt to touch my past was futile,
As from behind the veil it waved at me with a “smile”.

In a failed attempt, I fought with my past in present,
An act that I would never consider to be decent.

I cried as I saw the past slip away, to which I was so attached,
It was a healing process and I thought I was being attacked.

I decided to quit the things that I was doing,
With tears in my eyes I tried a new beginning.

There was one more thing that I had still to let go,
The sense of I, me and mine, which they call the ego.

As I looked at the winding road up the hill,
Towards a destination I hadn’t started still.

It looked like I was a long long way away from my goal,
I decided to climb nonetheless and it started taking a toll.

Shivering while climbing as cold touched my bones,
On the roads I found freshly fallen pine cones.

The pine cones reminded something that I had chosen to forget,
That even those high up also fall and eventually turn to dust.

When hungry, I found fresh apples from a road side garden,
Tastier I am sure than the one had by Eve and Adam.

When I was thirsty I drank from a mountain spring,
A respite that only pure mountain water could bring.

It was the Almighty telling me to relax and not to worry,
And that I would be provided for and I need not be sorry.

The mountains and highlands that people called divine,
When I reached there, I was sure I would be fine.

The mountains were so big, and the snow so white,
And I told myself that the teachers were always right.

Mountains told me to accept that I was puny and the outcome I can’t influence,
I am not even a speck of dust, when it comes to the whole vast universe.

The snows told me that everything here is inherently pure,
And we pollute everything looking for useless cure.

When I came down from the mountains, I was not like when I went,
Left there many things I was attached to, for which I was sent.

I was questioned for the decisions I took and things I left behind,
I told them as long as this did good to me, I really didn’t mind.

Been a year since I came back from the mountains,
And the memory still as fresh as last night’s rains.

Looking back at last year, it all makes sense now,
The answers to my why, what, when and how.

In human terms, this journey has lasted only a year long,
Ode to the mountains and my evolution, this mountain song.

Mountain song
A temple by the mountain road, high in the Himalayas

The poem was penned by me, where I have tried to put in to words my evolution from what I was a year back when I went to the Himalayas.

In frame: A temple by the mountain road high in the Himalayas, on the way from Naitala to Guptakashi, in Uttarakhand, India. I found these small temples dedicated to local Gods as well as such ritualistic things, common place in the Himalayas.

VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Yes, you can share this work with proper attribution. But, please seek permission before using this work (not including the photo), partially or fully. YOU CAN NOT USE THE PHOTO. Believe me, asking is better than ending up in court or facing public shaming on social media. Thanks for understanding.

© Amrit Panigrahy. All rights reserved.

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FIRE

Ember and ash, that is left of everything you knew,
Burning faster with anger, as the winds blew.

It burned up the tears, and the joy and the sorrows,
All emotions, even the deepest ones hidden in burrows.

The ego, and the grudges and the red book that held them,
It ate up all, including your pride and the little game.

It killed what is left of you, good and evil, and otherwise,
It is the genesis, and it seeds the phoenixes to rise.

And when everyone thought it was all but over,
A new life germinated, tearing up the ashened cover.

It left everything that was left behind, burning,
Beginning of the end, and a whole new beginning.

A new you, in new surroundings with new desire,
It kills, but facilitates new beginnings, the Fire.

Fire
Holy fire during a ritual.

The poem was penned by me, and looks at the end of things from the perspective of beginning of new things.

In frame: The holy fire during a ritual. I shot this frame using my 35mm Canon FTb QL manual film SLR on an Ilford HP5 Plus 400. This is the first frame from Project 35.

VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Yes, you can share this work with proper attribution. But, please seek permission before using this work (not including the photo), partially or fully. YOU CAN NOT USE THE PHOTO. Believe me, asking is better than ending up in court or facing public shaming on social media. Thanks for understanding.

© Amrit Panigrahy. All rights reserved.

I was there…. Waiting for you!

I waited there, under our pine tree,
And I went there for many more days,
Hoping you would come one day.

It was futile, I was told,
And that you would never be back.
But, I wanted to give it a try.

I wanted to give it a try,
Just so when my time comes,
I won’t feel that I did not wait enough.

And when I realized many springs later,
That you would never come,
I left there the scarf you had given me.

The scarf, my only piece of memory of you,
For it had your scent, as fresh as dew,
It was the only thing that I had of you.

As I wanted to let you know,
Just in case you showed up..
….That…

I was there…. Waiting for you!

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DISCLAIMER: Penned by yours truly, this poem is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental.

In frame: A ritualistic scarf tied to a pine tree in the Himalayas, on the way from Naitala to Guptakashi, in Uttarakhand, India. I found small temples dedicated to local Gods as well as such ritualistic things, common place in the Himalayas.

VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Yes, you can share this work with proper attribution. But, please seek permission before using this work (not including the photo), partially or fully. YOU CAN NOT USE THE PHOTO. Believe me, asking is better than ending up in court or facing public shaming on social media. Thanks for understanding.

© Amrit Panigrahy. All rights reserved.