Your rivers weave trails of silk across your graceful body,
Winding like silvery scarves around your broad shoulders,
Tapering down your slender waist like a lover’s gaze, sliding lower,
Your waters breathe life into your fertile soil,
On their path to the oceans that embrace your edges.
Your crowning glory, the Himalayas, are a fortress,
Impermeable by all but those who receive your good grace,
These snow-capped peaks, wreathed in misty shrouds,
Hold many secrets that you do not wish to reveal,
To those who are driven by pride.
In the crook of your arm lies a wealth of gold,
Grains of glowing sand, the radiant Thar,
The world’s most colourful desert,
Here the nights are cold and the days searing hot,
Here life and death are ruled by the scarcity of water.
Your waist is adorned in citylights,
Dark patches of lush forests, where Kipling wrote
Of tigers and wild dogs and wolves and bears,
Weave through the blight of urbanization.
Your skin is ever-changing, its colours flaring unnaturally bright.
The hook of your other arm cradles
Your best-kept secrets
In the land of the Nagas, the Mishmi, the Mizo,
Seven sisters, sheltered by their mother
Empty forests, unknown tribes, elusive wildlife,
Secrets, yes, but very much your flesh and blood.
Your skirts are hemmed by monsoon mountains,
Where elephants follow ancient paths
And coffee and tea grow strong.
The center folds cradle Deccan soil,
Greeny-gold, streaked with blue rivers,
These are the shades of your womb.
Motherland, thank you for your care,
For the waters that wind like ribbons,
Across your sheltering bosom,
For your forested lungs that give us endless breath,
For the grasses that burn bright in the hot summers,
For each living cell, each tissue of your body
That lends a stroke of colour to your persona.
Motherland, I bow before your beauty.
*Thanks for reading this love poem to my motherland – India. This Mother’s Day, while we shower our beloved mothers with love and attention, let us all give back in some small way to our motherlands, wherever they may be, for sheltering us, for nurturing us, and for giving us an identity that we cherish