June 2019

………………………………..as the sound leaves, follows the seizing tooook-rook-toooook-
rook-toooook-a-rook-toooo-roook or tuuu-kee-tuuu-kee koo-turr-koo-turr of the
barbet…… in my mind the blue-throated barbet, and if obsessing with its
continuing trill then it’s a nudge from the blue and arcane throat of how
sounds can rush and in its rapid, release the cryptic babel and the buzz of
the thick foliage (of the Bokul (Spanish cherry) and the Amara tree (Spondias mombin/ hog
plum) and in turn throw a voice full of drifting intent to un-listening, un-
earthy ears without wanting to be visible even once but fleet in its green
and medieval blue…………..
This is what this Space is all about, to be heard by obscuring the visual sounds
of Life.


One neon night when Panthera Pardus walked into automatic city maximus

On a cloudless night fused with the LED haze, a neon sign breathes into our pardus’s ears and prepares his cat heart to venture out into the translucent darkness of a street swallowed by neon haze and in that excursion he saunters into a tunnel of early morning CCTV light. It was a furtive moment, one where the CCTV was repeatedly directed to capture a more accurate glimpse into the not quite stalking predator with his eyes filled with the promise of the not so difficult hunt that glinted only when the camera zoomed up to its face again and again. The young, and the bold and the oh so formidable Mr. Panthera Pardus offered us a black and white view, an almost fleeting national geographic kind of a night vision view as his silence and stealth attempted to outdo us watching him,

 If not for those CCTV cameras that kept focusing and readjusting and focusing back again to give us that camera perfect moment as he slinked his way into the basement of a parking lot in the mall just near where I live. And all this focusing and alerting in that great twilight of the void mixed with the musty smell of the cranny through which he slithered past tickled his whiskers into an adventure full of miscalculations, hits and misses, and many a tumbling overs as he tried and tried with his great cat legs to mount the escalator. Our pardus is not quite sure of how the science of such a knackering, idiotic construct would ever apply to his legs and indeed had he surged upward by remaining still because that’s all there is to going up an escalator he would have undoubtedly dashed his way into the food court and accidentally be welcomed by an erroneous supply of gargantuan chicken legs, that were any day chunkier and scrummier than those scraggy, raw boned strays he’s so used to.

         Somehow, pardus has a taste for strays that feed on litter and the occasional parle G biscuit and not just legs that were fed on imported and some GM cornmeal that stupefied their bodies forever. If not for the better part of his non-decaying cat brain pardus natural choice would have been the wild boar or the deer his grandfather or was it his great grandfather who relished on it no end but in these difficult and ever unmindful times pardus has naturally settled with dog meat. In fact, had it not been for the fluorescent red la di da letters announcing they were well in advance fattened chicken, our pardus would not even have smelled the guess!

And how our pardus savours every lick of the un-juicy dog bone much like our dear Obelix who on any given day would bash up even a couple of imagined enemies just so that he can feast on the wild boar, except that pardus does not have any such imagined enemy; his fears are real with an imagined boundary dwindling even further as he is always wary of these uptight creatures who are everywhere.

The neon haze always shoots off from the outskirts of where he occasionally rambles, and his eyes always radiate the same glint of greenness that dissolve into the irregular mystery of the forest, that is at a glance visible yet disappearing swiftly as pardus settles into the act of relieving a stray of its existence. From how he creeps into the moment of a studied excursion where a stray is always scrounging for its next meal, pardus does not a moment waste in making it an instant meal. In that defining moment of trenchant mocking our hunter in a way commiserates with the stray’s existence.


These uptight creatures are up to no good, capaciously sickling their way into every room of the forest. Pardus cat heart thumps loud and he gasps with the furnace inside it as these uptight creatures with their unanimous miscalculations conspire against the forest and dogs that cannot avoid this misfortune howl their dirges into the neon night.

If one were to scratch the forest’s memory, one could see pardus breathing space with panthera tigris when the forest was still capable of breathing on its own and live off its supply of wild boars and the occasional deer. 

Now these darned machines spring up from nowhere  and gobble up large swathes of the forest as trees give in to this dread and start shriveling from their core, and leaves automatically dessert their branches, and the branches fall and disappear into the forest floor.  

The beings of the forest are now all ill-married to each other. Around forty of pardus’s tribe dawdle like blind hermits, often seething at this acrimonious harmony. They know this wild absent war cannot be won.

Not so long ago, a loner from the pardus tribe stole into the night of neon haze wishing to plunder downtown and do away with a quick snacking but before he could even kick off his unplanned mission he was hurriedly whisked into a van, and imagine the poor thing’s horror later when he found himself in some part of the forest he was clearly not welcomed into. 

       The shadow of our shy pardus now recoils under the nearby hotel walls of grey shadow; his eyes phosphorescent with the devilish promise still swimming in them. Deep unpredictable leopard darkness prevails as the uptight creatures huddle close together to tranquilise him. Perturbed and fatigued by this whole misadventure pardus coils, his fear imprinted in his low growl as his large cat self shrinks into a shriveled shadow as they hurriedly scuttle him into a tiny cage strung with not such fat chickens after all.

And the last I read from one such esteemed column was that pardus’s black rosette pattern does not in fact belong to any big cat from these hills yonder from where they assumed he did come from. And now the mall is doing brisk business because of the entire stir pardus visit has caused and they even have a billboard to prove this, those silly uptight creatures!

Varsha is the occasional marauder of thoughts who claims to love the panthera pardus and the forest in it.