teesta teetering

 

sliding down

skidding past

slithering through these serpentine roads

you arrive at the teesta valley

 this dizzy spell

to be dazed almost erased

amidst the gurgling diluted coffee river

green whispers of the verdant forest homes

echoing the history and myth of our towns

 

you slow the car on the bridge

you walk a bit and lean on the railing

remember the old suspension bridge

the river always ran through

the vertiginous feeling of measuring

our years of passage

 

cross the bridge and be witness

to the small world of commerce

the bridge-end teeming with

shops, tourists, monkeys and stalled vehicles

 

the chinking of coins offered which

the current of the river cannot silence

some old man chuckles and tells you

how these proffered coins travel and

reach hungry homes of distant places

 

the river fed by

glaciers rivulets and mountain streams

all merrily joining hands on their

pilgrimage to the Brahmaputra

some lamenting lady will

surely sing for you the river`s dirge

 

this death of the river`s music

of how the susurrant sighs

reach her ears no more

of how every time she

notices fresh wounds

like landslides lapping the roads

or the river`s shriveled body

the felled trees and the mining

 

 in short

our fluvial identity at stake

 

 

Dhirendra Kumar Shah lives in Mumbai, originally from Kalimpong, India. He recently completed his Master`s degree in English Literature with a research paper on Toni Morrison`s novels. He co-edits this journal with Dweep Mustang.