Ode to India


Reflections after a whirlwind (one week) trip to India for my son’s wedding to a lovely girl from New Delhi.


Ode To India


India so many facets

colorful and vibrant

the women’s garb

rivals the plumage

of exotic birds

against the backdrop

of rubble and trash.

The whizzing by

in all directions

cars and tut-tuts

motor bikes and bicycles

cows and man powered carts

even the occasional

elephant and camel.

And my palate

now feels deprived

of the delicious

taste and textures

I got to eat.

I could be a well

satisfied vegetarian

if I got to eat

this Indian food daily.

But always the colors

catch my eye

linger in my mind.

I was dazzled

as I was lead through

dress shops

on a quest for my

go to wedding garments.

of the variety of

patterns, materials, styles.

Yes O India

I do not pretend

to know or understand you

your heart and soul

with your temples

house and roadside altars

the priest who speaks of

one God and yet I see

many worshiped

but I am grateful

I got to walk for a time

in your midst

as part of

the wedding party.

To experience

the progression

of customs and ceremonies:

the Mehndi party

as the artist

transformed our hands

into beautiful canvases

displaying ancient designs

symbolic and traditional.

The singing and dancing

sometimes spontaneous

or rehearsed

rhythmic and enticing.

The exchanging of

flower leis

and embraces

that melded

our families together

as exchanging vows

bound together

bride and groom.

And everywhere

people were hospitable

gracious in ways

that transcended

the language differences.


Then after much

festivity and feasting

we traveled by train

to see a world wonder

The Taj Mahal

splendid from afar

more marvelous close up

where intricate marble

etching and inlays

patterns and pictures

left my mouth gaping

mind stuttering

in comprehension and awe.

Then later seeing artisans

still creating by hand

in the same manner

the same beautiful craft

gave further appreciation.

Yet mixed with this

is the memory

of the journey there

humid train platforms

teeming with people

beggars with babies

or without limbs

businessmen with briefcases

hawkers of food and trinkets

families with children

boys clambering down

on the tracks

collecting plastic bottles.


It is a kaleidoscope

of images I see

when I close my eyes

of smells pungent

some pleasant

some not.

It is the remembrance

of my son and new daughter

decked in wedding finery

their whole body

radiating a smile

the warm welcoming

embraces of our Indian family

when we arrived

when we left and

the poignant memory

of a beggar

who bent down and

blessed us

after we put something

in his tin.


Diantha Zschoche 5/14