Madras Summer


Export quality cotton shirts

arrayed for sales, heralding Madras Summer.

Juicy water melons and tender coconuts,

coloured drinking water with a dash of lime

delicious and cold,

tempting weary wayfarers.

The sun beats down in


Scuttling men into sanctity of homes.

Here the poor old man

presses his famished frame

into the narrow confines

of a shadow cast by concrete blocks.

There the opulent rich

comfortable with fan and cooler,

deciding on Ooty, Kodai, Barjeeling.

Tic Tac Toe.

The middleclass man

weighed down by duty

takes the early bus home

hoping for his spouse’s cooling smile,

confronts instead a shreiking nag.

“Is there no holiday school for your naughty brats?”

Tempers are frayed

as presipitation runs

and the Marina beckons knowingly,

with malai kulfi and mango slices

cut like teeth on Halloween masks.

The barometers soar and the papers proclaim:

“The hottest day in so many summers!”

Man and beast, burnt alive

squint at the sky.

If summer is here,

can the monsoons be far behind.

By: Gulsum Basheer. Published in youthink. The Indian Express.16-7-86.


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