At the End of the Jaipur Literature Festival
Utopia’s vanished for another year.
Most of the festivalgoers have departed.
For five full days, inspired minds have darted
From sprawling tent to tent, and from idea
To big idea, astonished by the sheer
Beauty of lawns, tents, crowds. Like friends who’ve parted,
I feel lung-crumpled and deflated-hearted
To find this dream about to disappear.
What’s left? I lie upon the guesthouse bed
Empty inside; perhaps the inspiration
Will find me once this emptiness has gone.
For now, my over-stimulated head
Cannot digest that banquet of discussion
On which the mild Jaipur sunlight shone.
My fingertips are soothed, and so’s my soul.
Warm lemon water in a metal bowl
Served with warmth by a waiter with sparkling eyes
Transports me to the Chinese countryside –
Though now I sit in Agra, meal complete.
In rural China, we would wash our feet
Each evening, since we could not take a shower;
Yet soaking toes and ankles had the power
To make one’s other limbs regain their peace.
An Indian finger bowl recalls all this.