Amita Chatterji Poet/Writer, Events & Project Co-ordinator

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Photos below featuring Amita Chatterji participating in various events & projects covered by Pukka PR promoting London

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Please read Articles written by Amita & Gina on Pukka PR's 'Articles/Events' page 

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Above: Amita and her daughter Gina made their debut live TV appearance as guests on The Chrissy B Show on Sky TV 25/09/13

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Pukkapoets established 2000

Delighted to introduce Gina's mother Amita Chatterji maiden & pen name, Mrs A Chrysanthou official name who is an enthusiastic published poet/writer freelance project co-ordinator and founder/director of Pukkapoets.

She's organised numerous projects and is a remarkable, creative self-trained poet/artist, her objective is to raise the profile of poetry by fusing poetry with the performing arts and connecting people via her writing on diverse subjects.

She has participated in countless events at interesting London venues having founded Coffee & Couplets at the V&A in '98 and, has completed exciting poetry/literature collections and been a winner at Farrago Slam Festivals.  Seeking new initiatives she has recently been engaged in various projects creating group activities such as Curry & Couplets, Paint and Play, Chance to Dance for Age Concern and holds an extensive Resume of Poetic Endeavours and Work CV having been involved with several work and voluntary establishments and family owned business.

Quote from Amita's Resume of Poetic Endeavours:
Amita Chatterji - Born in New Delhi, daughter of Maya & Major S.A. Chatterji (father deceased).  I've lived in London since 1954. Am an artistic poet, my interest in Drama and Poetry stemmed from school days when the renowned actress Fay Compton tutored us in association with the Poetry Society then in Earls Court London SW5.
I've explored creative writing over several years and have composed and compiled collections of poetry, micro fiction and true-life mini tales.  My poems have been published in: - Animal Cavalcade, Anchor books, Riverside Review, Manifold, Madame Tussaud Newsletter, Scottish Tourist Board Website, STILL magazine, X Magazine, Pravasi Times. Newspapers: - Asian Times, Asian Age, Age Concern Fifty Plus, Confluence.  Short stories floated by the Telegraph's Toowrite website.  Invited as a guest poet to read my poems on Parkside Hospital Radio & Clappy Hour Dance Attic Studio.

I've supported several poetry institutions, participated in poetry events affiliated to community education and enjoy co-ordinating projects to raise the profile of poetry and poets.  Have read my poems at Riverside Studios' Poetic Licence, the Poetry Café, the Abbey Centre (Phoenix Poets), the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Natural history Museum.  Was invited to read at LWC and SWWJ workshops, at Return of the Tiger a STILL celebration of Haiku, Roti Writers the Brompton Library, Raj & Pablo's Talkback at Cobden Club, Westbourne Green Pk.  Family Fun Day, Barnes One World Link Barnes Green Social Centre, 54 The Gallery.  Have also read at Piccadilly Poets' events, the Actors' Centre, RADA, FARRAGO, Kensington Library, Terrible Beauty/Coffee-House Poetry events at the Troubadour, Bousfield School, Bedford Pk. Festival, the Nehru Centre, Age Concern Hammersmith/Fulham & Hounslow, St. Pauls Church Hounslow, The Bhavan, Spanish Artists in London, Paul Robeson Theatre.

Photos below taken at the inauguration of 'Life Love Landscape Paintings in Miniature,' exhibition Curator being Anita Kapur at M.P Birla Millennium Art Gallery Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on 15 and 17 November 07 when also on both days a Pukkapoets Poetry Reading was presented by Poet Amita Chatterji. 

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Anita Kapur, Dr Radha Krisknan, Monika Kapil Mohta Minister (Culture) & Director of Nehru Centre, Dr M.N Nandakumara Director of Bhavan. 

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Dr R Krishnan, Amita Chatterji, Anita Kapur.

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Davin Benning, Gina, Amita and Martin Young.

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Davin Benning, Gina, Amita and Anita Kapur.

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Amita Chatterji

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Gina, Arun, Anuradha, Minni, Kamal, Anita, Vijay.

Photos below: Pukkapoets Poetry & Dance Presentation at The Nehru Centre, London W1

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NehruCentre1              Kailash Puri, Amita Chatterji, Hetel Gokal, Sunita Enawalla & Gina Chrysanthou.

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 Kailash Puri and Amita Chatterji.

A flavour of Amita's work below including short stories and Poems - please read:  

Short stories & Micro Fiction Titles (some true stories):  

Loudest Laugh, Toy Box, Can We Play I Spy, Birthday Girl & Queen of A Century, MINI SAGA, Visits to Clinics A Question of Balance Weighed On My Mind - An Answer to Which We'd Eventually Find, Relatives from Ireland..., Only a Cloudy Lesson, I Must Have It, ANCIENT GREEKS & Co., Excerpt from Raj Breed And A Phantom Freed,  For Those Who've Left The Sterling City..., A New Offensive. 

POEM TITLES: 

Like a Great White Coconut Confection, EASTER VIBES, Maker of Monarchy, Spanish Omelette, Autumn Glory, Mornings - Coffee or Prefer a Cup of Tea, Beauty Is, CONTENT, THE PRINCESS ROYAL, INNER CITY AID?, WALL STREET CRASH, Nelson's Column, Haiku - Memoir of Past Chelsea Flower Shows, Nearly Christmas, , HALLOWE'EN, Serving up a Taste of Summer-Haiku, Dates in the Desert, DIMSUM, First Reading, Poetry Cafe, Lance Bridges the Gap, OH HENRY!  For Only Sixpence, MONEY, Wine! The Intoxicating Liquor, Chocoholic Frolic, You're an Inside Out Person, Precious Earth Part 1 & 2, Rani Victoria's Indian Summer, Angel on Dream Duty,   Mesmerising...Simply Mesmerising...Heaven's Confection!  RED HOT, Waxing Lyrical, Sport's Day1989, An Adult Fairytale, FOREVER FRESH, Exodus, MELA, T.N.C, BULLIES,  A Frolic of Vowels, BOLLY WOULD, Primal Screams and Daring Dreams, RESTORATION, Usmaan aur Zameen (heaven and earth) and Family in Between, A Love of London.

Furthermore invite readers to view the Articles/Events page & Archives to read a wide range of exciting articles written by  Amita Chatterji and her daughter Gina Chrysanthou accompanied by superb photos mostly taken by Amita and Gina.

SHORT STORIES & MICRO FICTION:

LOUDEST LAUGH

True Story - 1960'S

A thunderous roar drew us to the lion's enclosure at
London Zoo where I stood admiring a quadruped,
Magnificent mass of muscle and mane
Pacing up and down behind bars.

Just as I exclaimed - "What a beautiful beast!"
The lion stopped right in front of us displaying his rump.
Most intrigued, we all moved closer to the cage staring
When suddenly the lion lifted his tail and sprayed us -
With WEE! People scattered everywhere and I got
The lion's share - my hair and coat completely drenched.

Everyone roared with laughter but the lion had the
Loudest laugh ‘cause his timing was purrfect! We all
Wondered whether it was a trained trick and where
The hidden cameras were.

Beast with brains - the lion is not called king of the
Jungle for nothing. I left the Zoo stunned, amused and
Reeking of a special specimen!

By Amita Chatterji © Published on Telegraph's Toowrite website.

TOY BOX ... ...

I'd gone into my son's room as I normally did to tidy up
and started collecting the clutter from the floor. Part of
his model train set with tracks and carriages was perman -
ently displayed on the carpet so I didn't disturb that.

Scattered items of clothing I folded and stored away in his
chest of drawers. Only the smaller toys remained; his
favourite collection of cars, action man kit, marbles and
a football, and as usual I would put them all into a large
toy box under the bed.

I went down on my knees and stooped to pull the box out
from under the bed, when in the darkness I saw thick grey
fur and a pair of big glistening eyes glaring at me. I was
surprised because I didn't recognise this particular cuddly
toy peering over the toy box.

I sat on the floor perplexed and looked again under the
bed and there they were, two huge eyes transfixed on me
and they almost appeared to be real. I stared back and
as I did, I thought I saw a movement in the box and was
now beginning to feel uncomfortable but put it down to
my imagination.

Contorted on the floor, I was staring at the creature under
the bed for what seemed like several minutes - our eyes were
locked on each other.

Then I thought to myself - this is really weird, why should
I be perturbed.  How bizarre, an adult being watched by
a cuddly toy under the bed!

I decided to pull the box out and get a closer look and as I
tugged at the heavy box, out JUMPED a monstrous rabbit
the size of a calf and trampled me - the cuddly toy had
come ALIVE!

I fell back on the floor and let out a deafening scream and
was shocked by the creature bounding over me.  Likewise,
I expect the creature too was in a state of shock.  I quickly
regained composure and ran out of the room.

Having closed the door firmly behind me, I laughed with relief.
It had been like a magician's hat trick - a colossal rabbit (hare)
unexpectedly appearing from nowhere.  A Jack-in-the-box, only
this was a real rabbit in the box!

I awaited Alexis's return and when he came home from school,
It was my turn to glare at him.  He immediately guessed some-
thing was amiss, ‘What's wrong? What's wrong mum?' he
asked with a broad grin on his face.

‘Did you know there's a CREATURE living under your bed?' I
asked smiling. I then went into rapid explanation and related
in detail the earlier comical scene and my tussle with a rare rabbit!

Alexis burst out laughing uncontrollably and couldn't stop
chuckling all night long.  But his new chum eventually had
to go as there simply wasn't enough room.

By Amita Chatterji © Published on The Telegraph's Toowrite website.

CAN WE PLAY I SPY?  True story

‘So what did you do at school today?' The affectionate mother asked her golden-haired young son who was sporting a smart
school blazer as they hopped on the bus.
‘Some sums, spelling, reading.'
‘What else ?' enquired ma.
‘We had school dinners and er...played. Played games in the
playground. Mum, can we play er... I spy?'
‘Oh, alright then' agreed the mother.

The boy not having mastered the alphabet yet, began ---
‘I spy with my little eye something beginning with Se.'
‘Give up, what is it?' asked his mother.
‘SEAT!' yelled the boy and continued. ‘I spy with my little
eye something beginning with Be.'
‘Don't know, what is it?' ma asked.
‘BABY! Look, there's a BABY!' He bellowed and carried
on ‘I spy with my little eye something beginning with Fe.'
‘Okay, I give up, what is it?' ma asked again.
‘FART! FART! Fe for fart! Fe for fart! The baby farted!'
He shouted collapsing in fit of laughter. Whereupon, ma's
face now matched the colour of her son's blazer - a bright red,
while other passengers couldn't help chuckling too which en-
couraged the boy all the more ‘Fe for fart! Fe for fart!' he
persisted; there was no stopping him. More laughter, more
giggles as the bus approached a bus-stop.

‘Come on quickly! Come on, we have to get off here,' said
the highly embarrassed mother and they hurriedly made
their exit with the boy laughing hysterically still yelling -
‘Fe for fart! Fe for fart!

By Amita Chatterji © Published on The Telegraph's Toowrite Website

BIRTHDAY GIRL & QUEEN OF A CENTURY 

Ma'am,
When you were born there were few telephones or cars only
trains and no aeroplanes. The last century progressed so
frighteningly fast - man reached the moon via the stars
and now, he's about to make his way to Mars!

It took you a long time to reach a 100, only an entire century -
MANY CONGRATULATIONS! But it was worth the wait,
as a centenarian you were fervently feted, toasted and even
received a card from Lilliput! (Lilibet)

Then, the carriage ride fit for a Queen with your grandson
The Prince of Wales. Not the average centenarian's mode of
transport, but in an open carriage spruced with gold and blue
blooms (your racing colours) and pulled by four handsome,
piebald greys - Albany, Twilight, Hillsborough and Auckland.

You radiated happiness as bells pealed jubilantly heralding
your arrival on a perfect summer's day.

On your approach to Buckingham Palace and the ‘wedding cake'
the 41 guns' salute continued to thunder in Green Park.

A multitude of enthusiastic supporters swarmed the Mall and
people vied for space in front of the Palace gates to get
a better view of you.

Joyous fans came to show their respect and were finally rewarded.

The rapturous roar of revellers chanting ‘Happy Birthday Ma'am'
with deafening applause greeted you as you stepped out onto the Balcony smiling and waving graciously - you played
the ‘balcony scene' beautifully.

Yourself, majestically flanked by your daughters, The Queen,
Princess Margaret and a galaxy of royalty representing
a thousand years of monarchy.

The atmosphere filled with the merry mood of a charmed crowd
captured by T.V. cameras and cheerful commentary.

Ma'am, you never fail to enchant and are the epitome of
royal continuity. You are the majestic reflection of a dynamic
and tempestuous century - long may you continue to excel.

H.M. Queen Elizabeth
The Queen Mother
Clarence House
London W1

29 July 2000

 

Ma'am,

"Beauty is a form of Genius - is higher indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation" Oscar Wilde.

Now you have attained that rare distinction of being a priceless and genuine Victorian work of live art!

The majestic patina of your mellow beauty and serenity glows gently into the 21st century -

CONGRATULATIONS!!!
And All Good Wishes
On Your 100th Birthday.

© By Amita Chatterji written Aug 2000 - used my official name Mrs A Chrysanthou when I sent Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother this memoir & B'day greetings - responses below.

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MINI SAGA

Title: A MUSE CONFUSED CAUSES CHAOS ESCAPING
TO DELHI FROM DELPHI TO PERFORM
A TEMPLE DANCE

Apollo metamorphosing into a dolphin
Swims to Hindustan to seek the captured
Romila, handing control of Delphi to
The Giant Dwarf.

In Delhi Apollo struggled against all odds
To rescue Romila which he finally did with
The power of his sonar poems and jubilantly
Returned to his domain with her.

By Amita Chatterji © published by Anchor Books in Mini-Fiction

Visits to Clinics- A Question of Balance Weighed On
My Mind - An Answer to Which We'd Eventually Find

Just as I thought I'd reached that even keel
Turmoil, thrown off balance a bit dizzy I'd feel;
They tried the Hallpike Manoeuvre that didn't work
After which I felt a bit of a burke.
I was made to walk in a straight line
With eyes closed but that was all fine.
'Maybe Benign Positional Virtigo' medics told me
Following that they said 'that can't be...'
Neurological tests were then carried out
Clinical investigations to remove all doubt;
Ear tests hot & cold water piped into my ear
Eyes all - a- flicker the water heater I'd hear.
Various tests needed were all nearly done
After hours in the Clinic I wanted to run -
They wanted to whirl me on a wheel upside down
And shake me around like a circus clown;
I didn't go for it, my stomach was upset
I would have thrown up that was a sure bet.
Instead I ran to the ‘Ladies' for a quick pee
As earlier I'd been drinking hot cups of tea.
What my ailment was they couldn't quite tell
And on balance they thought I was quite well
NHS a great help all medics were quite swell.

From our very first steps tentative and shaky
Mother calling out 'come on, wakey wakey!'
We learn to find our balance walk and talk
While mother watches over us like a hawk.
Our lives being a constant balancing act,
Good versus bad often opposites attract.

There's no day without night nor hot without cold,
Can't have weak without strong, the brave and bold.
Population is balanced by famine floods and wars,
Good v evil, truth v lie defying principles and laws.
For a good balance a healthy lifestyle maintain
With noise, pollution at times difficult to sustain.

In the constellation of stars Libra the Scales
Trying to balance bees with big blue whales.
What helps maintain our balance lies within the ear
Could there be tiny stones in the fluid of cochlea?
A lack of good balance might surprise us all
When tiny stones in inner ear could make us fall.

We can create perfect balance to please ourselves
Reaching for plumb perfection making perfect elves.
Nature is never perfect nor is spoken English
So let's forget balance and talk a little gibberish!

© By Amita Chatterji 2010

Relatives from Ireland & The Sweet Mischievous Midnight Goblins  True story

My daughter Gina and I went to visit my mother & family in Surrey during the very warm and sunny spell we were fortunate to have in the beginning of July this year. We'd gone to see Aadil my cheerful nephew who'd come over from Ireland on a short holiday with his charming wife Nicola and their two sprightly daughters Mia 5 and Lulu 2 who were all staying with my mother.

It was lovely seeing Aadil and his family again and in a shady corner of the garden we all enjoyed a late leisurely al fresco lunch as the weather was perfect while the girls Mia & Lulu played with gifts Gina & I had brought them - they tested out their magnetic fishing-line fishing for plastic toy fish in a large bowl of water, engrossed in this both girls had much fun. Mia then opened up the skipping ropes pack and demonstrated her skipping skills, first on one leg then on both and backwards too! She then clowned around and decided to ‘fold up' her ears and rolled her eyes upwards so that only the whites of her eyes were visible looking very scary... All this while little Lulu had grabbed the garden hosepipe directing it at her bum then attracted our attention by yelling in a soft Irish accent "Look, look! I'm washing me bom! I'm washing me bom!" We had quite a laugh at the children's entertaining antics.

Late afternoon G & I suggested we all go to Runnymede pleasure park and grounds as the children would love the swings and ice cream and so they did and so did we adults I'm glad to say, a lovely way to spend the day. All was pleasant and peaceful as we sat chatting under the cool shade of trees with Aadil enjoying a quiet moment puffing his cigar when all hell broke loose and Lulu turned into a little pugnacious bantam and had quite a tantrum. A sudden outburst, Lulu rolled with rage on the grass of the pleasure grounds like some Damien's seed screaming in a frenzy no supernanny could control or console leave alone Nicola who did her best to pacify her little daughter. Being on holiday, hyperactive and out of her comfort zone Lulu was obviously tired out but once in the car and when we'd all returned to the house she'd calmed down after snatching a few minutes sleep.

Back in the garden under an evening sky we all sat, snacked and chilled with a glass of wine after which Nicola took the girls indoors and upstairs to bed. She returned smiling thinking that all was well and joined us in the garden where we continued to banter close to midnight. It was dark except for the outside lights illuminating the garden and candles flickering on the table where we sat when we noticed two fairy-like figures appear huddled together in the doorway to the garden. Mia and Lulu the night fairies wrapped in fluffy blanket cautiously approached the garden table where we were seated and told their parents they couldn't sleep (perhaps being over excited) and what followed next was so surreal:

Mia unfurled herself and started to play ‘statues' contorting her face, rolling her eyes and making us laugh the other side of midnight; she then turned into a robot and performed some robotic moves pulling funny faces, clowning around and repeating Greek words Gina had taught her earlier. Mia reminded me of Gina when she was that age. Hearing the Greek words started Aadil off and he and Gina then did a take on ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding' mimicking characters in the film and turning events into a late, late pantomime.

By this time Lulu had broken away from Nicola's lap and a never-been-seen-before performance ensued - Lulu started somersaulting impishly and incessantly in all directions on the lawn like a pint sized clown or bouncy ball bouncing round and round, up and down, she was no sneaky ‘Tasmanian devil' rather an over active cute child with boundless energy. We laughed so much it was hilarious and we were spellbound watching the sweet mischievous midnight goblins and their japes. It was quite a spectacle Mia and Lulu frolicking like fairies and goblins in the dark, they could easily have leapt out of a fairytale book in fact we'd been treated to our very own Midsummer Night's Dream!

Finally the sisters were put to bed and it was in the early hours of the morning when Gina and I left returning home to London with fond and happy memories of an extraordinary summer's day in the country.

By Amita Chatterji © July ‘09

Kings Road Chelsea Anecdotes:

ONLY A CLOUDY LESSON

At a Chelsea Worlds End bus-stop a charming child squealed
something like -
‘Mummy, look at those clouds up there!'
‘No, darling, those are not clouds, that's sooty smoke!
That's what's called pollution!' Was the mother's sharp
retort.

I swivelled round on my heels and observed two gigantic
Chimneys (from an electrical plant) belching big black
clouds of thick smoke that hung menacingly over rooftops.

I smiled as the articulate mother further expounded that
smoke (better known as carbon) was often created
by humans and was the result of people in industry burn -
ing up rubbish which was channelled away via chimneys
into the atmosphere.

The little girl looked skywards again and her eyes lit up -
‘Look there! Those are real clouds aren't they mummy?'
She asked.

The bemused mother gazed at a formation of cirrus clouds
floating in a pale blue sky and exclaimed -
‘Yes! Those are natural crystal clouds.'

Phew, only a cloudy lesson, not the world's end!

By Amita Chatterji © from her natural history collection

I MUST HAVE IT! 

While queuing at Chelsea World's End Post Office, I heard a young man at a counter pleading politely with a woman clerk -
‘Please! It's up to YOU to give it to me. I must have it! I
really must have it!'
‘No, it's not up to ME to give it to you, I can't let you have
it - if it was up to me, I'd give it to you but I simply don't
have the authority.'

The dialogue continued for a while in this manner as the
queue grew longer and the people in it were more intrigued by
the man's request. The pleading man was obviously in
some difficulty and got more agitated arguing even louder.

Just as I was leaving, the man by now utterly humiliated
and down on one knee waving his hands in the air and in
a final act of desperation, screamed in his loudest voice -
‘PLEASE! My life's on the line! What d'you want?
My blood?' he asked. Everyone naturally followed the
drama and could only stare at him pitifully.

I couldn't quite make out what the man was wanting but
I do hope the Post Office eventually showed some
compassion and threw him a life-line as the man's plea
appeared to be genuine.

By Amita Chatterji © the post office is no longer there

ANCIENT GREEKS & Co. (an exhibition)
At The British Museum

Time travel -
Mummified 2000 years ago, the ancients return to greet us
with their ancient features and huge haunting eyes gazing
at us from gilded tomb portraits and elaborate mysterious
masks.

Women with elegant coiffures piled high, tumbling in a
cluster of curls and bedecked with precious jewels.  Their
soma draped in fine folds created from lengths of the
finest fabrics - almost like saris. Their feet shod in strappy
leather sandals decorated with gilded lion motifs.

And Cleopatra permanently poised in a hail of hieroglyphics
awaiting her Mark Antony amidst ancient amphoras filled
with sweet-scented oils and a plethora of ciphers on caskets
and gems concealing secrets of a lost civilization.

Men nobly clad in linen tunics with dark purple stripes
trimming their outer wear clavi garments and, roundels with
linked octagonals ebellishing one shoulder signifying birth
and status.

These ancients were the refined and elite melange of Greek,
Egyptian and Roman aristocracy with signs of other
influences.  Embalmed in ancient alchemy, these hermetic
Mummies were sealed forever to instruct and people a
Third millennium.

By Amita Chatterji ©

Excerpt from THE RAJ BREED AND A PHANTOM FREED

Sam rode High Jinks his magnificent chestnut stallion at a gallop along the bustling Grand Trunk Road, that legendary link carrying an assortment of traffic from Meerut to Delhi.

He had just avoided colliding into another loyal beast of burden, an elephant "a billowing angel" conveying gesturing passengers. Unexpectedly the elephant had decided to rest its bulk broadside
across the road but Sam steered High Jinks away just in time.

Apart from the usual mode, transport could be anything from tongas, rickshaws, purdah palanquins, camels or mules with back packs. Hastening to return home Sam didn't want to encounter any further obstacle on the busy road dotted on either side with shops, tea rooms, offices and bungalows. Quite often he'd see one of many revered, ubiquitous cows garlanded with marigolds chewing flowers from someone's garden and wandering wherever it wished. By complete contrast, he'd pass a pair of blinkered zebus, draught animals being led away to toil hard on soil.

Sometimes when he rode parallel to the railroad he'd see a heaving train go by with passengers clinging to all sides. The Empire had traced a railway system networking right across the Subcontinent.  Tracks and metal train parts were often constructed from British steel and trains would run on the impetus of Welsh coal.

But now Sam dreamed of acquiring horsepower in the form of the latest Austin Ten, Wolsley Twelve, Morris Ten Series ‘M' with excellent ‘finish' or the swanky, sleek Chevvy saloon.

The debonair Captain dapper in full regimental uniform having ridden past the last parade of shops, caught sight of a golden orb dip behind a mound of trees in the distant blazing horizon. He smiled as a milky ring of cirrus clouds appeared in an amber sky reminding him of the fresh white orange blossom bridal wreath that had crowned his stunning young Sita, Gioconda, at their most romantic  nuptial union.

A gentleman of Bengali ancestry Captain Samuel Amal Chatterji of the Royal Indian Army Service Corps was adequately built, of average height and sported an Errol Flynn moustache.  A mass of raven black, sleeked-back hair revealed charismatic looks and a charming smile.  He was a keen and clever tactician and most promising young officer.  He was assigned to the duty of training military personnel at the significant Meerut Army Base Camp and
was responsible for all trainee personnel.  He also had the overall responsibility for the Garrison's transport training, encouraging new recruits to drive heavy-duty three ton lorries in army convoys.

In the current political climate of 1943 heavy fighting and skirmishes prevailed along both Eastern and Western Fronts involving Commonwealth countries in war campaigns where thousands of Indian troops had been deployed.

Sam was extremely excited about his present posting but was a little concerned for his lovely young bride who had been distanced for the first time from her parents and friends...

By Amita Chatterji ©  Part true part fictional story reflecting early stage of my parents married life in Meerut - most principal characters are real including the ghost! 

FOR THOSE WHO'VE LEFT THE STERLING CITY
ADIOS ABRIGO! QUE CALOR TENGO -
IN WEST KENSINGTON

A brief recollection of life in London
where most areas are recognised by
famous landmarks, usually the local Pub
and West Kensington is no exception with
its sprinkling of traditional public houses.
The most renowned being The Three Kings
noted for its attractive arched façade near
the West Cromwell, North End Road junction
which was recently subjected to radical change
where once real ale and spirits were served to
weary travellers and jolly revellers.

Further along North End Road on either
side of the parade a plethora of fascinating
names - Gogglebox, Double 6, Drugstore,
Fat Fanny, Headbangers, Harvest,
Man Friday, Barclays and at the next corner
The Fox, Rat and Carrot for serious boozers
housing The Orange, a venue for hip-hop gigs
and all sounds strange and new. Beyond which
at yet another corner for the parched traveller
lies the magical Pickled Newt where
Beatrice Potter might have been inspired
to create her neat study of newts - today
they can be viewed at the V&A.

The functional library is close at hand
for the avid reader to dally in the sunken
gardens of Gwendwr Road on a sunny day
smelling sweet-scented roses Omar Khayyam
might have admired. And, only a jog or march
away past Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance on
Hammersmith Road - Olympia! For the
discerning collector or browser, exhibitions
held there throughout the year.

Perhaps a warm welcome to worship and
a diverse cultural mix -
peaceful prayer on pews at St. Mary's
polite conversation that usually varies;
an academy at the Bhavan's Nehru Centre
people learning, listening to their mentor.

West Kensington has its own coterie of
itinerant vagabonds, sometimes with can
in hand they pass the day sitting, drinking
quietly or perhaps contemplating - the future.
While traffic flows endlessly along the two main
roads where the air appears to be somewhat
heavy with pollution, here squeegee people
make an effort to clean windscreens bringing
a smile to some new or old automobile.

However, it's reassuring to see the same
friendly, familiar faces of locals in the
neighbourhood always pleasant and
Ready to help -

Amenity - Community
This region of West Kensington in the
Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham has
spawned numerous well-stocked food stores,
public services, a post office, clubs, cafes, chemists,
bakeries, book shop, charity shops and of course
pubs. A pavilion of social services, surgeries,
heaving estates, historical schools, modern colleges
and the humble newspaper stand at the entrance of
West Ken. Station, all protected by the local
Constabulary and served by the other
essential Emergency Services.

Circa 1990, a cultural revolution has
occurred in the area - a motley mix of
many a race from pale to exotic face -
A learning zone and vital new dimension
of London life at the Riverside Studios,
theatres and galleries, show-casing
Art and literature, reflecting the diverse
colourful cultures and lively languages
from around the globe.

At the Fulham end of North End Road,
the bustling Market flourishes with traders
who struggle to satisfy customer needs,
engrossed in the daily travails of setting up
stalls decorated with delectable fruit & veg
from foreign lands to tempt the confused
and delighted customer. Confused,
because the fortunate customer is
spoilt for choice and delighted,
because the merchandise
is affordable.

And you left all this to live in Spain!
Different climes, different times and
only a short plane trip away but then
I'm sure all things Spanish are beautiful too.
Que tengas suerte! And good wishes
To all of you.

By Amita Chatterji © Published on Telegraph's Toowrite website.  Names of some establishments have changed since I first drafted this piece

A New Offensive

Surreal scenes singed our memories like a
compelling Fleming thriller, only in this true-life horrific drama Bond failed to appear and never saved the day.

People asked, where were the Intelligence Services' network to prevent what occurred on 11 September '01 when Manhattan's W.T.C. Twin towers were simply blasted away and thousands perished or lay dying under a mountain of smouldering rubble. Many lives had been shattered instantly in a new dimension of terror.

We were all emotionally enmeshed after seeing footage of two hijacked planes plunge into the twin towers exploding on impact, causing the solid structures to crumble like wafer biscuits -
Was this real or something out of today's video games culture. It was unbelievable for those who watched helplessly.

Televisions world-wide screened the incredible and terrible scenes repeatedly day after day, revealing stories of individuals who had so tragically been extinguished in the catastrophe. Newsflashes, bulletins, disputes and debates eclipsed all else. Newspaper coverage with special pull-outs and explicit pictures retold the horror and the traumatic experiences of many victims engulfed in the tragedy that sent shock waves around the globe.

The Earth's natural landscapes evolve organically, sleeping volcanoes erupt occasionally but it seems man's festering fury is sometimes so self-destructive, it obliterates innocent lives and reshapes acres and acres of land, in this case leaving behind towering steely skeletons which were once symbols of
American prosperity.

What frightful images for all of us to recall when looking back at the fragile inception of this new century. Where were the augurs, prophets of today and yesterday with their predictions and prophecies.

None knew of the coming disaster.  None could foretell but the news was reported with alarming alacrity and compassion and from all angles and aspects by the media.

World leaders naturally reeled with rage...but a raging rapid response was very wisely tempered with caution as, an eye for an eye threat would not break any crisis cycle but might even have triggered a further re-action as at present, the culprits behind the crime are at large.

Reason? Could it be emancipation, call to freedom via a new offensive to reason and justice. War/peace, chaos/order, strife/love follow each other and,

Cause? For this abhorrent act against humanity and the annihilation of innocent citizens - unintelligible.

United Nations and peace-keeping forces have to be realistic. Seek out the real perpetrators and bring them to justice based on facts and hard evidence.

Have to remain civilised, rise above barbaric acts and carry out investigations and military manoeuvres without civilian casualties.

Have to resolve the situation by means of mediation and, above all have to get to the root of the problem...

Have to address wanton discord with constant dialogue and even be prepared to compromise then perhaps, accord could be within reach.

Never say never - while our leaders coalesce and collaborate working around the clock to bring the criminals in question to justice, it is in the interest of all civilians that world peace be maintained and the situation not escalate into yet another war.

As the necropolis where the twin towers once stood slowly transmogrifies into a garden of remembrance or facility, people will go on wondering - why - but perhaps, the answers lie in the voice of the people.

The world watches and waits for a conclusion as this ongoing conflict and tale of terror continues to be ... a mystery to us all.

By Amita Chatterji © (written on 30/9/01) Story chosen and published on www. Toowrite by the Telegraph's ‘True Stories from Real People' 

Quote:  President B Obama 2011 "Justice has been done"

POEMS:

Like a Great White Coconut Confection
She sits wigged, shimmering across
The river, thick dark chocolate
Beams trickling down her sides
And framing her windows -

The Globe, resurrected from an
Elizabethan Rose will mature with
Ongoing plays like her splitting
Green oak structure now rooted
To new roots and history.

A celebration of life! Shakespeare's
Tempestuous players playing between
Heaven and hell on earth supported
By Herecule's parodied pillars
Of conscience. Here, "As You Like It"
And as in the golden age, thespians,
Poets stage factual, fictional carnal or
Comical carnivals, realising a
Wanamaker dream at last.

By Amita Chatterji ©
Written 10 April 1997 and read on stage at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, St Georges Day April 04

American Pie on the Fourth of July

Savouring victory:
Congratulations had come raining down
And Alan Mills was always around

The Umpire had descended from his high chair
Now the ball girls n boys were in the public glare
And thunderous applause electrified the air.

Engaged in a long euphoric kiss during his lap of
Honour on Centre Court, the Victor's lips were
Pressed against the coveted antique trophy.
Sampras, refreshed in victory was absorbing the
Nectar of sweet success especially as it had been
An all American twin win with the Ladies' Singles
Title being scooped up by the delighted Davenport.
It was a grand slam mega wham!
The gilded trophies having been presented by the Duke
And Duchess of Kent to the jubilant, hungry champions
At Wimbledon.

The Finals:
Following the utterance of ‘PLAY'
The finalists were well on their way

An accurate service with tremendous pace
Each competitor wanted to win the race

Lobby, a wild smash, straight into the net
An overhead pass perhaps a better bet

A champion always hangs in there
Digging his heels in the face of a dare

Listen to the tock, tock, of violent volleys
Until the spectators resort to brollies!

Perfect placing or wrong footing
Energy into strokes they'd be putting

Power play, brutal returns, savage serves,
Grass-scorching shots jangling one's nerves

Diagonal ground strokes in a long rally
Difficult for competitors to stay pally

Play reaches fever pitch, crowds roar
As they see the players' final score

Oohing n aahing during a duel in the sun
Cruel for the one who hasn't won.

Anyone for tennis?

© By Amita Chatterji 1999

Poem sent to Honor Godfrey Curator of All England Tennis Club Museum

EASTER VIBES

The humble painted egg a symbol of life and liberty
Takes us back to the radiant light of one ancient vernal dawn -
When, on the first day of the week, the fine grey gauze of the
Morning mist had lifted;
When linen garments dappled with the dry crust of precious
Blood lay within a cold sepulchre of a Jerusalem garden.

For there in the dark and in stark contrast, stood an angel
Glowing like a blue moon, proclaiming the Resurrection of the
One they called Messiah -

He, who continued to mystify by performing minor miracles
After being resurrected, like a mythical Greek god with ichor
Coursing through veins, he walked again amongst people and
Talked to his disciples reassuring and instructing them.

Christ's humility, wisdom and nobility, his tenderness and
Compassion for people gave him the stature of true majesty.
He was indeed a king (of a spiritual nature) only to be
Rejected and rebuffed by the scribes and Pharisees who
Could not comprehend his profound spiritual discipline.

Thus, he was cruelly condemned by the Sanhedrin court and
The power of imperial Rome;
Embroiled in an abyss of agony and betrayal.

Nothing has changed reformers are forsaken.
It would have been easier for Iesous to woo stars encircling
The heavens in some distant galaxy than to win the hearts
And minds of mankind;
But today, Christ pervades the minds of many via his
Disciples' four Gospels as, enlightenment is acquired via the
‘Four Truths.'

In the first season of every year
We see an abundance of flora appear
Flowers burst through buds and bloom
Clearing winter's decay and gloom
Fluffy chicks break through thin egg shells
On the miracle of rebirth the mind dwells.

A time when nature recalls itself and the pagan goddess
Eostre fills a spring cornucopia with delights and delicacies.

The season that sees Christians feasting in honour of Christ's
Resurrection and exchanging gifts...those chocolate eggs and
Easter bunnies we all so love!

The Easter festival reminds people of Christ's struggle, his
Endurance of pain and suffering through which today hope
Is renewed for a better and more harmonious future for all.

And in his footsteps, in retrospect, was Gandhi the Great Soul
And liberator, a reincarnation of Christ -

Was Christ a reincarnation of the Buddha who with his
Earlier doctrine of spiritualism relinquished his temporal
Kingdom, dared to differ and diverted from the mainstream.

In the last century we also had Martin Luther King another
Formidable reformer and leader striving for civil rights and,

Is the Spartan man Mandela now the modern day redeemer

Good old traditions and ideas last, tipping the scales on the
Side of history's visionaries and saviours of the past, some
Good role models for our multi-religious world of today.

By Amita Chatterji © Published by CONFLUENCE
Poem one of four winners at the FARRAGO Easter Slam Festival April 03 - the Poetry Place

Maker of Monarchy

A BBC broadcast emanating from an
art deco wireless in the 20th century
proclaimed the young Princess Elizabeth
had become Queen Elizabeth II of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland on
the demise of her father George VI.
Thus began her journey through
her 50 year reign.

June 2002, the Sovereign now an icon
of respectability, steadfastness, and
stability, weaves her magic and emerges
stoic and quietly confident to celebrate
her Golden Jubilee.

Leaving behind a trail of gold dust
from Land's End to John O'Groats,
the Sovereign met her subjects who
came to greet her displaying
warmth and affection.

The Monarch's popularity remains
undiminished and most have the
utmost respect for her dignified
and disciplined manner.

But in private, the Joker likes to
unwind in jovial mood over a
celebratory cocktail of gin, champers,
parfait armour and of course Philip!
Her 24 carat Phi, Beta, Kappa
(or guide and philosophy to life)
who keeps her amused.

Historic concerts in the Sovereign's
own back garden rocked the Monarchy
to its very foundations during the
celebrations by mega pop stars
belting out the message
"All you need is love..."

If only...

And the evening sky turned into
a canvas of colour with an
extravaganza of fireworks
bathing the Palace in
a zillion stars.

The Mall quaked with the excitement
of visitors and well-wishers waving
flags in a sea of jubilation on the
day of the service of thanksgiving
at St. Paul's Cathedral.

The Sovereign, like Cinderella
was ferried in the ostentatious gold state
coach embellished with gilded palm trees,
cherubs supporting a crown and chimeras
with Neptune's presence all symbolising
victory and triumph over the enemy.

Accompanied by her yeomen in a
blaze of red and gold, the Sovereign
arrived to the sound of fantastic fanfares
at Temple Bar for the Pearl Sword
ceremony conducted by the Lord Mayor
during which there was much
doffing of hats as dignitaries
paid their compliments.

The Mayor's Mace and Pearl Sword
being powerful symbols of the City's
independence and the Mayor's power
over his own domain in the Golden
Square Mile where he greeted
The Golden Girl.

What pomp and pageantry!

The Jubilee festivities culminating in
a spectacular carnival capturing the
Capital's rich and diverse community
and capturing our hearts,
for we too were there.

In this vibrant flood of humanity
Some masqueraded as wild beasts -
Lions, tigers and giants paced the
Mall for the very first time.

The cultural explosion and
splendid splash of vivid colour
created a masterpiece on a grand scale
bringing joy to all who were there.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Was the universal
chant as Concorde took to the air
accompanied by the Red Arrows
leaving a trail of red and blue
smoke in the skies to the delight
of onlookers, ending the golden
celebrations in true majestic mode.
Long may she reign
God save the Queen!

By Amita Chatterji ©..memoir of the Jubilee celebrations
sent to Her Majesty The Queen with response from her office below:

HMQueenElizabethBuck_Palace Letter

AUTUMN GLORY

The warmth of summer reluctantly passes
"To Autumn!" We then raise our glasses.
We wrap up well in outdoor places
As cool breezes brush our faces.

Misty mornings bathed in fleeting dew
The sun in the wings awaits its cue;
Leaves flutter away from the trees
Heaped in mounds on the heath one sees.

Naked brown branches exposed to the air
Robbed of green and far from fair;
Russet competes with the yellow of corn
Jaundiced leaves spangle an emerald lawn.

A rich harvest of grain the soil offers
When the autumnal equinox occurs;
Scrumptious Spartan apples blush ‘n' ripen
Their flavour and sweetness soon heighten.

Cattle leisurely graze on grass blades
On pasture land where green seldom fades;
Inflorescence of the Autumn Glory spreads
By the echo of violet - blue one treads.

Blazing cascades of crimson leaves fall -
The True Virginia Creeper rampant on wall;
The countryside burnished in copper tones
The sun's gilded rays reactivate tired bones.

Days become shorter and a little colder
Nights grow longer and a little bolder;
We warm ourselves with steaming soup
As Autumn leaps through the seasonal hoop!

Amita Chatterji © published by The Asian Age

Mornings - Coffee or Prefer a Cup of Tea

Drink deep from dawn's
Milky dew and rejoice,
For you're alive and well
With many a choice:

What will you wear
If it's sunny and bright
Or the morn turns dull
And scarce of light.

What do you eat at
Your first meal of the day
Full English Breakfast,
Cereal, fruit or hey...

Do you drink coffee or
Prefer a cup of tea,
Perhaps you like a lemon drink
With a spoon of honey.

Do you exercise, do yoga,
Take a walk or jog
Or, do you sit at the computer
Composing a blog.

Are you bright and perky
When going to work or
Do you sit around sleepily
Feeling like a jerk.

And, while you contemplate choices
The morning simply slips away.

By Amita Chatterji
Written on 22 June '11 especially for The Bedford Park Festival event ‘Some Beautiful Morning; Poetry of Daybreak' hosted by Poets Anne-Marie Fyfe & Cahal Dallat. Read first draft.

TORTILLA ESPA ÑOLA
Buenas tardes! Sen~oras y sen~ores
Estáis bien?
Hoy estamos contentos - si
Porque hoy Habra una fiesta de poesía
Ahora, un poema...

 

Me encanta la paella y la Tortilla Espan~ola!
El drama de la gran Tortilla Espan~ola
Es como una aventura sentimental -
Como el drama y la grandeza del Cid.

Me encanta la musica Espan~ola alegre,
También la obra, la comedia y la zarzuela.
Me encanta el cuadro flamenco y
La danza rápida!
Me encanta el cante jondo también el payaso y
Los trovadores del mundo.

Por ultimo,
Me fascina la poesía del poeta magnifico
Federico Garcia Lorca...
Como una exhalación profunda
Granada siempre Granada.

© By Amita Chatterji written Sept. ‘10
especially for the homage to Lorca event "Muerto de Amor -Multilingual Poetry Performance" organised by SAL Spanish Artists in London on 01/10/10 at the London Bhavan.  Poem inspired by the colourful rich variety of Spanish culture and food, how well it all blends like a tasty Spanish Omelette! Close translation of my poem Tortilla Espanola below:

SPANISH OMELETTE
Good evening! Ladies and gentleman
Are you well?
We feel happy today, yes
Because there will be a poetry party today
And now for a poem -

I love paella and the Spanish Omelette!
The drama of the great Spanish Omelette
Is like a love affair...
Like the drama and greatness of El Cid.

I love cheerful Spanish music,
Also the play, comedy and the Spanish
Popular musical. I love the Spanish folklore
Show and rapid flamenco dancing!
I love the Andalusian folk songs also
the clown and all the poetic minstrels of the world.

Finally,
Poetry of the magnificent poet
Federico Garcia Lorca fascinates me
Like a deep exhalation/catharsis...
Granada always Granada.

© By Amita Chatterji
Written Sept. ‘10

BEAUTY IS mounds of luscious strawberries,
Purple lilies in a pale pink palace;
Floating, hovering, evergreen cities,
Amethyst wine in a golden chalice.

Beauty is the heart of land and sea,
Finding secret gardens, a lotus pond
Exploring space ... the raging skies,
Gazing at stars and the world beyond.

Beauty is in people, places, friends,
Children's antics and happy faces;
A kingdom of animals, fantastic flora,
A scene at Ascot, a day at the races.

Beauty is in a generous gesture,
Chaotic colours and wonderful scents;
Most men and women falling in love,
Aesthetic buildings and chivalrous gents.

Beauty is that slumbering maiden
So softly clad in flaming June,
Who drifted into deep sleep perhaps
Listening to a charming tune.

Beauty is immeasurable, found in whatever we do,
Whatever pleases the senses, whatever pleases you.

Amita Chatterji © Published by the Asian Times

CONTENT

A smile is what a baby does
first thing in the morn
‘Cause it can't see its mother's face
after it is born,
A smile is when a loved one walks
through the door
‘Cause that's a person you can
hardly ignore.
A smile is when you're hungry and
you have just had a meal
‘Cause that's how happy and
content you feel.
A smile is when the sun glows and
you're out in the park
‘Cause the day is glorious and
you're out of the dark.
A smile is when you have
a place to stay
‘Cause you don't have to fret at the
end of the day.
A smile costs nothing it's like honey
to a bee
It draws people closer -
you and me.

© By Amita Chatterji Published by the Asian Times

THE PRINCESS ROYAL

Fair Anne with tresses of pale gold,
Of distinctive features and language bold -

Often seen racing on the race-course,
Dressed as a jockey, galloping on a horse;

Or at charity events running on a track,
As joie de vivre! She does not lack;

Sharing with Mark her interest in riding
While her children she wisely keeps in hiding.

The media she regards with some disdain
When derisive photos they try to gain -

Two blue-blooded fingers are raised to the Press
Showing them scornfully the right royal address!

Her knowledge of sport being fairly formidable,
Competing in games, she is indomitable;

With boundless energy and full of fight
Winning her way into the limelight.

A fine Lady, The Princess Royal,
To children she's been very loyal;

She's travelled over many a land
In desert heat and over sand -

The hungry child she swiftly seeks out
Offering aid as they cry and shout;

Across all nations helping children to survive,
From this fulfilment Her Royal Highness must derive.

© By Amita Chatterji written 1988 - used my official name Mrs A Chrysanthou when sending my poem to The Princess Royal - just a jolly poem portraying the Princess who is now married to Commander Tim Lawrence - response below.

Letter_PrincessAnne12Dec88

 

INNER CITY AID?

Inner City Aid, a trust fund much needed
Two years ago was founded and seeded;

Its present chairman now very troubled,
With insufficient funds his problems doubled;

Threat of closure hangs over his head,
Upset, his heart maybe heavy as lead.

Much money required for a worthy cause,
Housing the homeless is now on ‘pause.'

Destitute in the streets young & old roam
Some, with no comfort of a happy home.

A great pity if this charity was disbanded,
Only if more funds to the charity were handed.

The patron Prince to City Aid is committed,
Defeat, as yet has not been admitted.

A ‘deus ex machina' might descend in time,
To see Housing reappear again from the grime.

© By Amita Chatterji written Jan 1989 - used my official name Mrs A Chrysanthou when writing to The Prince of Wales patron of Inner City Aid re above charity - response below.

LetterPrinceC28Feb89

 

WALL STREET CRASH

Brokers rolled their eyes to heaven
In nineteen eighty-seven when
The world saw ‘Wall Street' crash
Markets faced a frenzied backlash.

Shares worldwide came tumbling down

Making bewildered dealers frown;

The Dow Jones index dramatically fell

Sliding shares, people raced to sell.

PANIC broke out in almost every city,

LITTLE was left in the poor kitty.

Billions lost with economies bony -

Running deficits causing cacophony...

New York, Chicago were program trading,

Buying bonds alert investors were evading.

Frazzled computers furiously overheating

Bravely taking an electronic beating!

Pundits predicted death of the bull,

Now which way will the market pull?

Investors fear facing a big bear,

Their forelocks they tug and tear;

If the crippling crisis still continues

Blood will curdle and tighten sinews.

Thus a lesson for the wheeler-dealer

Is, perhaps put out a tentative feeler!

© By Amita Chatterji written 1989 - used my official name
Mrs A Chrysanthou when I sent my poem to Chris Tarrant- response below: "a brilliant masterpiece but..."

Letter_ChrisTarrant3Nov89

 

Nelson's Column

You stand on a column up so high
Reaching out against the sky
Your gaze extends across Whitehall
Was that your next port-of-call?
Please turn around and look at me
Say hello then return to sea.

Here I am in Trafalgar Square
Always something going on there;
Even the Taj Mahal has been seen
Chess games, festivals and heroes keen.
We're now in the twenty-first century
Your ship's arrived in a bottle you'll see!
Amazing, though it may sound
Ship's on the Fourth Plinth off the ground.
Events and stories history will tell
Timeless you stand, you never really fell.
© By Amita Chatterji

Haiku - Memoir of Past Chelsea Flower Shows

Great energy flows
Through design or tree
Chelsea Flower Show enchants me...

Heat wave of hot hues
And the dizzying perfume of
Fabulous flowers

Lunar-like landscapes
Gardens in sunshine or shade
Magical creations

Serene, mood set
Around haughty trees, twists ‘n turns
All vying for gold

Mass of different greens
Colour contrast and fragrance
Shape mobile oasis

Cool aquamarine pools
Reflect horticultural
Bliss and excellence

Fun, fancy gardens
Artistic, holistic gardens
Pleasure gardens

Garden of Eden
Gardens galore and folklore
Then, gardens no more

At Chelsea you'll see
Buzzing round noisily
The tireless busy bee

Symphony of scents
Butterflies, dragonflies and
Bees have a field day

Snivels, itchy eyes
A touch of hay fever with
A sneeze or 2 too...

Felt drops of rain looked
For shelter and a hot drink
To bide away time

© By Amita Chatterji

HALLOWE'EN

It's Hallowe'en! I feel so mean
Be sure tonight I'll spit my spleen!

In the darkness of a creepy barn
We listened to a sinister yarn,
Spider webs dangled from thick beams
Skeletons danced to children's screams!
Night of eerie phantoms, ghouls,
When nastiness and treachery rules;
Gouged, illumined pumpkin caves
Housed ghosts from grisly graves.
Witches' brew of fear and fire
Appeased wizards' ghoulish desire;
Skulls and snakes in acid green
Rattled, glowed in corner seen.
Spooky skeletons did happily strut
Wearing necklaces of swine gut;
From outside came horrifying howls
Screeching, staring were big barn owls.
The weird warlock and yelling yahoo
Celebrated all that is taboo;
Suddenly, behind us we heard BOO!
As we were covered in ghastly goo,
Someone had played trick or treat
And stuck us to our sticky seat!

By Amita Chatterji © 
Published by The Asian Age and prize-winning poem at Terrible Beauty Halloween comp at Troubadour cafe

Serving up a Taste of Summer- Haiku

Dawn spun in gold
Gently spurs the sleeping
City into action

Scent of midnight rose
and jasmine waft indoors
signalling summer's arrival

Sunrays split into
Shards of gold dancing on seats
As I sit watching
Graceful Venus play and
Enjoy sweet strawberries
On a summer's day

Liberating...
Peeling off layers to feel the warmth
Of sunshine in city parks

Concerts in Kenwood &
Pimms accompanied by a swarm
Of hungry midges

Meeting, dating, mating
Intoxicated through the
Summer of our lives

You've gone, the children
Miss you, I hope it's
Summer wherever you are

An Indian summer
Long, hot, sunny days
Is dream come true

© By Amita Chatterji '09

Dates in the Desert

The shadowy silhouette of a long
camel caravan moved laboriously
along the sand dunes in the distant
horizon as the setting sun spiced
the sky with a fusion of
glittering saffron tones.

The scorching afternoon had
matured as the cool breath of
the dusky desert met the
approaching evening.

A group of Arab elders sat in the
sleepy shade of giant ancient palms
sipping tea, eating sweet dates in the desert
gazing at the burdened swaying
dromedary caravan.

Was it a mirage, was it real, or
was it a figment of one's imagination
that laden caravan the elders saw
moving away slowly like a spectre
in the fading shimmer of day.

Who was travelling in the grand caravan?
Unravelling the mystery was
the task that lay before
the elders.

Perhaps it was Farazdak and friends,
like minded poets engrossed in
discussions and compositions of
Bedouin-life poems and diwans
with prophetic rhymes of
things to come...

Perhaps Umar was on a journey
of discovery, experimenting with
light hearted love lyrics. Or,
it might have been Mutannabi and
company in quest of creating some
romantic utopian desert paradise.

Perhaps it was a brotherhood of
caliphs or, the lovely Queen of Sheba with
her retinue of servants on one of her
sojourns northwards - swathed in
finest muslin, bejewelled in
finest pearls and bemused by
the prospect of meeting her
King Solomon.

But travelling in the camel cavalcade
could well have been the wily and
beautiful Cleopatra, fleeing Rome
to reunite with her paramour
Mark Antony and into the pages
of a Shakespearian plot!

Perhaps it was the nobleman
Othello the Moor, winding his way
to Venice to regale Desdemona with
his spellbinding tales of travel.

Or, could it have been
fearless Lawrence of Arabia
heading for a date in the desert!

Maybe the caravan was taking
a company of humble, passionate
pilgrims journeying to ancient
Makka to visit the birthplace of
their beloved prophet.

Dreamily the elderly nomads
still sitting under emerald palms,
stared at the nearby natural
reservoir mirroring exotic ferns,
rushes, luscious greens and
delightful desert blooms.

Beauty is found everywhere, from
Everest heights to the beautiful
benthos of oceans deep and, even
in a perfect flower in the midst
of a vast dry desert.

While nature can be merciless,
it is also an ongoing revelation,
an unspoken language of
exquisite perfection.

It is man who creates mists of misery.

Thus, the wise elders sat in
amazement absorbing the beauty
of this blissfully rich oasis,
this blissful desert sanctuary.

Was it a mirage, was it real, or
was it a figment of one's
imagination.

By Amita Chatterji ©

DIMSUM

Lunched in London in Wardour Street
We ate and ate, oh what a treat,
Steamers full of delicious Dimsum
We polished off quickly yum, yum!
Beef dumplings married with ginger,
Spare ribs we tackled with finger.

In a Jade Garden we sipped our tea
For which there was no extra fee;
We admired carvings on the wall
And then we heard our host call,
‘More dimsum! And chestnut paste'
We ate and ate the food in haste.

Chicken treasures in parcels came
Steaming hot straight from the flame;
Pink prawns dressed in rice flour shell
Shark fin parcels with meat as well;
Cheung pork and beef in dark bean sauce
We stuffed ourselves course after course.

With pots of tea we had washed down
A goluptious meal in China Town
And, sweet morsels of fluffy bun
We ate and ate, oh what fun!

By Amita Chatterji © I'd tutored (gratis) Teresa a neighbour
taking her through an English course and  in appreciation she invited my daughter and myself out for a Chinese meal with her family during which  I was inspired and wrote above poem.  Also sent poem to LBH&F Artsteam for local food festival.

FIRST READING

What if I froze with fright
As I stood and looked at you
What if I misplaced my script
And didn't know what to do.
What if my hands shook
And I started to stutter
What if as I fumbled
I imagined someone mutter -

What is she doing,
Is she alright,
She must be nervous
It's her first night!

Then I'll find myself reading
Fairly composed and calm,
It didn't really matter
And there's no real harm.
I didn't skid on the carpet
Or fall on my bum
And I didn't drop the glass of water
Apologising, looking dumb.

Thank god I've read this poem
Without any hitch
But how shall I end it
Err ... I don't really know ...

By Amita Chatterji © Read at the Troubadour

Poetry Café

How charming is the bard's café
It makes me want to yell au lait!
Being in a café does excite me
Drinking cappuccino does delight me
And as I sit to take a sip
I nearly always scald my lip -

I look around and what do I see
Others are doing it just like me.
Groups of people chitter chatter
We're all drinking the magic matter;
This rich concoction of coffee & cream
Is liquid marble, a delicious dream.

By Amita Chatterji ©

Lance Bridges the Gap

We met to go on a poetry walk
Lance started off with a little talk

He led us all in front of a cow
We wondered what he was going to do now!

The cow a sculpture, one of many
Maybe her name was Jenny or Penny

Lance then read us the poem "Leisure"
And we joined in simply for pleasure.

We thus found ourselves at Burns' feet
Pensive in song its rhythm and beat.

Gilbert and Sullivan next on the list
Ballads, operettas we got the gist.

To Waterloo Bridge we then proceeded
Lance's words we carefully heeded.

The South bank enriched with verses on stones
Where people chat merrily on cell phones

A playground for artists, musicians too
A live sculpture startles you with a Boo!

The giant wheel turns at The London Eye
We watched in amazement with a sigh.

Finally, "Composed upon Westminster Bridge"
The words wafted across and along the ridge.

By Amita Chatterji ©
Inspired by Lance Pierson's Poetry Walk on 3 September 02
commemorating the bi-centenary of Wordsworth's poem

OH HENRY!

His name synonymous with obesity
Gluttony, just one of his sins,
At a feast he'd drink and eat
Not much left for his dogs n bins.

He had a voracious appetite
The big man you know who,
His appetite for wives and lovers
Was quite voracious too!

Six, was his lucky number
The determined divorcee,
By marrying all his wives
He rocked the monarchy.

Chop! Chop! Chop!
The block was always busy,
Heads rolled to and fro
For treason or heresy.

He played his parlour games
Until his last hour,
When he expired in the arms
Of pious Catherine Parr.

By Amita Chatterji © one of poems I wrote especially for poetry reading I delivered at Bousfield school workshop relating to Fulham Palace outing with pupils.

For Only Sixpence - a childhood reflection

It was a very thrilling sight
Outdoors everything covered in white,
It was my first glimpse of snow

My sisters and I went out to play
It was a special discovery day
We were coated in snow from head to toe!

Sweet childhood moments I recall
Even that rather nasty fall
I had in the playground at Bousfield

We'd exercise in the old school hall
The boys would kick around a ball
My fractured wrist eventually healed.

Our ‘school dinners' were at lunchtime
Followed by spelling, English and rhyme
And we'd finish school when it was dark

Outside Earls Court Station teddy-boys hung out
Glossy quiffs, winkle pickers immaculately turned out
Or seen preening themselves and posturing in the park

For only sixpence we'd see a double bill at the
Kensington Odeon and we'd stomp in the aisles to
Rock Around the Clock.  What with coffee at Troubadour
highlighting the day - those were hopeful, happy times
imbued with enthusiasm and excitement.  For the emerging
imago, life in London was marvellous with
All Things Bright and Beautiful.

By Amita Chatterji ©  Bousfield was my first school in London

MONEY

A five letter word that controls most lives
Some metal tokens resemble cells in beehives;

It can ruin or delight, shred or empower
It's the central issue every second every hour -

It's the protagonist player on a global stage
Our lifestyle depends on it when we get a wage.

Printed on paper the Bank promises to pay -
It's prosperity or poverty at the end of the day.

Most of us value it especially when we haven't any
This capital word as you know rhymes with honey!

By Amita Chatterji ©

‘It's prosperity and policy at the end of the day'
is another version of the above line

Wine! The Intoxicating Liquor

Adust, Bacchus for wine did always pine
His table abounded with grapes most fine

The luscious fruit of vitis vinifera vine
Grows shyly in shadows line after line

During harvest ripe bunches are picked
Pummelled and crushed the nectar is licked

In bulbous vats the fermenting juice stored
Wine! The intoxicating liquor globally adored

Bottled and labelled in regimental fashion
The beverage of gods is hard to ration

For an exhilarating drink of ruby red
To crystal goblets in cellars we are led

Skilfully, the smooth wine is poured
Another win the grape growers have scored!

Sipping, perceiving the nuances and flavour
Awakening an exciting taste forever to savour.

By Amita Chatterji ©

Quote from Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam whose favourite drink was wine...

"Here with a Loaf of Bread
Beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse - and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness-
And Wilderness is Paradise enow."

Chocoholic Frolic

A cube of dark chocolate
Breaks, melting the snow-capped
Regions of her mind -
Seven sensational pieces frolic
On her tongue and each
Cavity they seem to find.

Dissolving into every crevice
The smooth chocolate thrills
The selective taste bud -
But this triggers tremors
On her naked cellulite, making
Her frolic in a bath of mud!

By Amita Chatterji ©

You're An Inside Out Person

I'm an inside out person -
I came cocooned from inside out,
From my mother's warm womb
I arrived with a little shout.

A matrix created by an angel
Like the interior of a church -
Peaceful and protected in holy
Waters we float and lurch.

My darling progenies, they're
Inside out people too,
Only when they were delivered
They weren't wearing a shoe!

By Amita Chatterji © Published by Anchor Books  

Precious Earth
I Think I Love I Hope

Often I think of our precious Earth
Often I think of its baffling birth
How and when did it all begin?
Then I think of Earth's precious gifts
Then I think of its movements and drifts,
Wondering about ancestors and ancient kin.

I love Earth and some of its precious people
I love its mysteries and its tallest steeple,
Even a fertile oasis presents a surprise.
I hope forests remain forever precious green
I hope flowering meadows will always be seen
Many marvels proffered as nature's prize.

I love fresh air, the precious ozone layer,
I love the sun but shy from its glare!
Though rain freshens, feeds our many needs.
I hope pollution won't damage the precious fauna
I hope the world won't turn into a sweltering sauna!
World leaders must encourage good green deeds.

Often I think of our very precious time
Often I think to waste it is a crime,
Will pestiferous pollution accelerate world's end?
Then I think of the powerful precious mind
Then I think of thoughts that are kind,
To my friends green messages I do send.

Precious Earth 2

Do you really like the colour green
Do you truly like the grass and trees,
Do you really like the colour blue
Do you truly like the sky and seas?

Then why are you destroying our forests?
And why are you destroying our trees?
I implore you to stop and sincerely plead -
Please don't destroy forests and pollute seas.

Two thousand years from now the world will
Still be round,
But if deforestation continues, there'll be
Few trees on the ground.
So I implore you to stop and sincerely plead -
Please don't destroy forests and pollute seas.

By Amita Chatterji © from her Natural History Collection

RANI VICTORIA'S INDIAN SUMMER

Ganga at dawn is where the profound purification
of soma and soul occurs as mortals wallow in the
sacred waters performing their daily ablutions.

Dipping deep, in and out of nature's own
cathartic solution - they gurgle mantras into
the Ganges blowing a billion OM SHANTI bubbles.

Saturated saris and dhotis cling to pilgrims
like second skin and the air is impregnated
with echoes of Gunga Din! Gunga Din!

India Outdoors
A hall of winds where busy breezes blow and
fierce floods flow with deluged states and
swarming cities, embellished with a myriad of
minarets and towering temples and flickering
diwas at the festival of Diwali. While clouds
of colour burst around the festival of Holi
and a resplendent symphony of saris billow
balmy sails in the air.
Eating outdoors, sleeping outdoors, picnics
and sport. And yes, polo not the peppermint nor
the car but the game of kings, like chess, the other
ancient war game - the king of games.

India Indoors
Cool, marble floors. Creamy beiges and lavender
blue. Homemade lemonade sipped in the shade.
And tea! Endless trays of Darjeeling Tea
And a round of bridge, paan and roti.
And khol melting around glistening eyes.
And of course, cucumber cures -
Thin cucumber sandwiches cut into moist triangles;
Shredded cucumber in pools of cool raitha;
Cucumber medallions to soothe tired eyes.

But Rani Victoria, Shahinshah, padshah, you never
knew a real Indian summer - never saw an exhausted
punkah-wallah languishing on the floor doped with
bhung or pukka sahibs in solar topees in the midday sun.
You never felt the pulse of sultry summer days
In Simla or Poona.

You never tasted a fusion of fiery flavours of
Indian cuisine or, the delectable flesh of a sweet
ripe mango tinted like an Indian sunrise.

And, you never tasted the saline, trickling
perspiration of one's own glowing skin in the
subcontinent. Never saw the millions of coolies
sweat blood building your blue-blooded Empire.

You never saw erotic sculptures of forgotten
deities in temple ruins or the exquisite mausoleum,
marbling the lives of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jehan.
Never saw India of the Princes, the intriguing
forts and palaces.

You never sniffed or smelt India! Its pasina,
barsaat, stench of slums, aromas of a spice bazaar
or scent of a lotus, that exotic flower.

You never listened to its babel of tongues and
tales of the Yeti roaming the snow-clad Himalayas.

But you, good Rani, Empress of India and half the planet
did learn to love to enjoy aspects of India,
surrounded yourself by Indian Princes and courtiers,
built yourself a durbar and peopled it with Abdul Karim
and other servants who brought you warmth, majesty
and magnificence of an everlasting Indian summer.

By Amita Chatterji © published by the ASIAN TIMES

ANGEL ON DREAM DUTY

Did you know our dreams are shredded daily then
binned and recycled by a colossal, universal brain -
and we awake stultified left feeling absurd just as we were
enjoying a moment wallowing in the cosy comfort of our
velveteen dreams wishing we were still there in that
irrational but magical realm of fantasy.

I'd looked in Raphael's Book of Dreams, delved in his "casting lots"
to search for one of my dreams or great expectations but Instead,
found most of what one dreams is usually to the contrary.

In dreams do avoid being naked at all cost lest you suffer misfortune
especially farmers should ensure they're well robed or their crops will fail and sea-farers too are in for very stormy weather.

So, are we to believe that the cause of recent global storms
are due to the increase of nudity in people's dreams charged
with a collective sexual energy... or, due to the unpredictable
behaviour of jet streams.

No entry found under food or sex only sea and serpent
but I did find an abundance of succulent fruits.

Now, meeting a "mad dog" in your dream is very favourable
as is dreaming of frogs, fright and marigolds. But surprisingly
a woman's garter, marriage and fleas don't feature too well -
imagine half the world dreaming of a flea-free paradise
but love fares better bringing good fortune.

All this leaves me turning to my angel on dream duty to ensure
I don't over indulge and suffer any nightmares but continue
to have weird and wonderful dreams.

By Amita Chatterji © inspired by dream theme - W.B. Yeats 'Only My Dreams' and read at Anne-Marie Fyfe & Cahal Dallat's historic Bedford Park Festival event featuring Edna O'Brien and guest Poets on 11th June.

Mesmerising...Simply Mesmerising...
Heaven's Confection!

Rising like peaks of fluffy white meringues
Are the spiritual spires and domes of the London Mandir
With emerald lawns sculpted in geometrical patterns.

Gleaming marble steps lead to the curled
Undulating arches shaped like a dancing
Goddess's beautiful wavy tresses
Under which one passes into the
Inner sanctum of this exquisite Temple...

A peaceful place for puja or meditation
Where the soul soars in admiration of
Man's creative ability and dedication.
Shrines with magnificent murtis, statues of deities
And revered swamis are daily draped
In gorgeous attire before whom offerings
Of sweets and fruits are placed.

In the quiet calm atmosphere of this divine
Fine fane, one can sit void of thought and
Experience a sensuous glow, conscious only of
Joy and being at peace with oneself and nature.
Serenely seated on marble floors one stares
Entranced by the fabulous figures adorning
The Temple pillars -

Carved into permanent pose in pure white marble
Are allegorical figures and scenes depicting episodes from
The lives and times of principle players of
The Hindu pantheon.

The mind dwells on these heavenly carvings and
Their creators...the purity of style and harmony
Extends itself to infinity and plus ultra.

One gazes at the wonderful ceiling and
Wonders about the designs of celestial ceilings of all
Pantheons, cathedrals, mosques, mandirs and their
Aesthetic art form that can delight, excite
The senses and raise the psyche.

Could the equation be
Astronomy + artistry + geometry + symmetry + spirituality = Divinity

Here, we're reminded that man is capable of creating
Such splendour and, via man's discipline, devotion and Exquisite work, we can appreciate the life force
Within us and all around us.

By Amita Chatterji © Memento of a beautiful experience

RED HOT

Gazed at a sizzling arrangement of
Bright red blooms like a
Crackling fire emitting white heat,
Though somewhat cold on my seat
I instantly warmed to the enchanting
Velvety vermilion ‘red lions'
Jaws opened to reveal stamens
Bearing anthers bursting with
Powdery pollen.

Rare red lilies luxuriously blossomed
In the vase while luteous gladioli
Rose loftily above the rest -
Only to fade first.

Infrared gerbas blushed and bled
Among the green foliage
Heading in all directions.

But, the piece de resistance
Was a red hot, temperature-raising,
Raging red, as in -
Yeoman's red, Chelsea pensioner red,
Redcoats chasing red fox red,
Changing-of-the-Guard red,
Phone box, pillar box and
London bus red or, edam cheese red...                                                                             

All these reds were in the
Scarlet ‘tail flower' the one with a
Heart-shaped waxy leaf and an erect
Dionysian spadice prot...ruding from its
Centre, thrusting the air like some
Shiva's lingam, perhaps searching
For some yonder yoni!

By Amita Chatterji ©
Inspired by flowers in a vase at Hudson Sandler reception where I worked in the City
 

Sports Day - 1989

A sunny sizzling afternoon
Was the twentieth of June -
Girls from Queen's Gate Junior School
Did their best to remain cool
And on their annual Sports Day
Over the tannoy Gerald would bay
"Next event, twenty metres Sprint..."
Phew! We all glowed, there wasn't a hint
Of breeze at the Duke of York's Barracks
Where children continued to caper in sacks
Winning, losing, in the races
Some, ending up on their faces!

High jump, Bean Bag, Potato and Spoon
Girls competed, panted, played the goon!
Marathon proved too much for some
Who were left breathless, a little glum;
Siblings raced against each other
Spurred on by eager father, mother.
Nearby, statuesque in sunshine yellow
A princess cheered her racing fellow -
"Very keen race!" she yelled in the noise
Smiling, carrying a parasol with poise.
Mothers' race followed - women stumbled
Winded at the finish, they fumbled
With their attire then a final mad dash -
All raced to the Tea tables for a splendid bash!

By Amita Chatterji ©
Queen's Gate was my daughter Gina's former school where I served as a P.T.A. Class Representative for 6 yrs

Waxing Lyrical

Let's visit the exhibition
That enchanting waxwork house
To see the illustrious, notorious
And the little old grey mouse.
Let's see the ‘Spirit of London'
Quel ravissant et bon esprit,
Revolving around many centuries
In a trendy London taxi.

First stage
‘Walk this way' a rather
Endearing sculpture was
Introduced to us by Stuart
In the studio on the 5th floor
Of MadameTussaud's. That is
Where it all evolves from
Modelling clay. The consummate
Technician moulds and twists,
Thumbs and lifts, pinches the
Inches till a figure magically
Emerges; features appear, the
Human form is clear, ears are
Sculpted and can almost hear!

Second stage
Clay models are entombed in
White plaster cast and left to
Dry which they do quite fast.
The original model is tossed in
A bin to be recycled, sausaged
Or turned into a fin! The plaster
Cast is filled with wax which
Takes the form of the original
Clay, from then on there's no
Delay and the sculptor proceeds
To work and play. Inserting eyes
And painting them too, weaving in
Hair and giving the visitor a very
Good clue as to who the model is.

Third stage
Attired in plain or designer dress
The wax celebrity is ready to be
Taken down to join the honoured
And the famous, to strike a
Comical or gracious pose for an
Ever loyal attentive Press to
Exhaust their flash-guns, click
Away and peer up a well-waxed nose!

By Amita Chatterji © Published in M Tussaud Newsletter, invited to studio by Senior Sculptor Stuart Williams

An Adult Fairytale... In the land of Literary Giants and Phantasmagoria

The outrageous green giant wearing his
Frilly tutu in tutti - frutti shades
Swaggered into the virtual green world to show - off
His latest blogs to the dreaded green dragon
Relaxing on a bed of shaggy green shamrock
Sporting only a XXL size jock - strap
Feasting on mushy peas, green potatoes,
Chunks of meat with fast- growing mould and
Blasting flames from his fiery fowl dragon breath.

And you ask, where is all this going
Well, it's going across the Irish Sea on
A green boat under green sky to count quarks,
To meet green warriors and ‘Paddy Power' at
The Green Man Pub on the edge of a green
Forest where Robin Hood once might have been

And you ask, where is all this going
Well, going to enjoy an Irish coffee ‘black n white'
Then crème de menthe and a drink or 2 ‘cause,
We may not be Irish but, want to
Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with you!

By Amita Chatterji ©
Especially written for & read at Anne-Marie Fyfe's Coffee-House Poetry St Patrick's Day Event, Troubadour

FOREVER FRESH

Fresh as the breeze on one's cheek at dawn
Fresh as the breath of a babe just born
Fresh as the milk from a mother's breast
Fresh as an ocean wave and a curling crest

Fresh as opal dew in Lodi Gardens and Kew
Fresh as the apple enjoyed by Eve in Eden
Fresh as ‘the kiss' immortalised in Rodin's sculpture
Fresh as virgin snow on Everest's lofty peaks
Fresh as Gandhi's gentle image & flow of the Ganges
Fresh as the cosmic beat of Shiva's divine dance
Fresh as Vedic hymns and mystic incantations
Fresh as my childhood vision of - the Boy Buddha
Fresh as the sacred scriptures of all noble faiths
Fresh as the love and warmth of family and friends
Fresh and exciting as our universe's creation
Fresh as that well of wisdom and inspiration

Fresh as Spring's fragrances in March and May
Fresh as the smile of a delicate Shinto goddess
Fresh as fresh-water springs yielding pearls in oysters
Fresh as King Tut's magnificent golden mask
Fresh as the brilliant colour of Botticelli's Primavera
Fresh as Rumi's ‘Zero Circle' and exuberance for life
Fresh as New Place and Tagore featuring in a
Shakespearean dream
Fresh as discovering new species in a cyber pass
Fresh as the sweet smell of soil soaked by rain
Fresh as the climax of a gripping yarn
Fresh as Faberge eggs in a farm's barn                         

Fresh as the silvery arc of a misty new moon
Fresh as the thought of Moni's melt-in-the mouth
Shaami kebab and, Bully's delicious chicken kebab
Fresh as the kushboo of saffron in biryani & pilau
Fresh as the galawati kebab yet to be eaten!
Fresh as the trail of baking bread and cakes
Fresh as a freshly brewed pot of Darjeeling tea
Fresh as the aroma of percolating coffee
Fresh as the gods of commerce and consumerism
Fresh as the new avatars of policy and politics
Fresh as a budding lotus in a busy city
Fresh as the race to monopolise outer space

Fresh as every thought throughout the day
Fresh as the poem written on this page
Fresh as the memory of any poem and sage
A poem remains forever fresh
Like the sun, it breathes and doesn't age...

By Amita Chatterji © Published by CONFLUENCE

EXODUS of pukka sahibs, British civilians, soldiers and top brass was swift - they all bid Pip!  Pip! to the land where some had roots, residences and called their home and who were now entrenched in the subcontinent's history.

Some of the elderly migrants whose children were born there saw new generations blossom and fondly recalled the sunny, halcyon, good old days, having enjoyed a unique lifestyle during the Raj.

Tearful goodbyes as they boarded ship to depart with mixed emotions and recollections of bloody battles in the searing heat and the PAIN, PASSION, LOVE AND LAUGHTER - now they sailed away back to Britain taking with them cherished memories of India.

By Amita Chatterji © published by the Asian Times

MELA

Gargantuan cardboard figures of famous
Bollywood heroes greeted us at the Festival
Of India and Mughal monuments
Encircled the vast arena.

People wandered everywhere
And enjoyed the lively funfair.
A ferris wheel rotated against the sky,
A bungee-jumper was poised up high.
We ambled along many food stalls
Proffering delectable meals n ludoo balls.
Marquees representing several firms
All promised very favourable terms.
Dazzling dresses and the latest fashion
Fabulous fabrics to encourage passion!
Artisans created puppets and dolls
Musicians entertained during the Bank hols.

A big attraction adjacent to the Tagore tent,
Merry-makers sampled ambrosial
"Matka-Matki Kulfi" and other mouth-
Watering flavours taking us to Everest heights
And palatable pleasures - one of the
Most muzedar ice creams ever eaten.

But where were the elephants and snake
Charmers - the only charmers we saw were
Guys and dolls in delirious dance frenziedly
Snaking their hips and anatomy to the
Exciting sounds of the bhangra beat - A real
Treat to watch in the fading light of the Festival
Where Gandhi's silver bust surveyed the scene
Amidst us; the soul of the great Sage
Reaching out to all in a call for peace.

By Amita Chatterji ©  the Festival of India celebrated India's Independence

T.N.C.  The Notting Hill Carnival

We sauntered along towards Notting Hill in the direction of the whistle blowers and followed the exuberant, excited crowds to the throbbing pulse of the carnival monitored by Boys in Blue.

Rhythm boomed out from various mind-blowing sound systems and the pounding of heavy bases made inner organs almost leap out - creating quite a sensation.

Streets were flooded with revellers converging towards the main stages while others happily bopped on balconies, dangled from scaffolding and grooved, moved on rooftops.

Carousing pleasure seekers weaved en masse through littered streets to see the chaotically coloured costumes of exotic dancers and the fleet of merry floats.  Pausing to sample jerk chicken, salt fish and ackee, joloffe and beef pattie - washed down with a refreshing rum punch, cool beer or tequila slammer.

I reckon the endless energy dispersed by all the revellers could probably have launched a spaceship!

When listening to the various sound systems, the words of Delroy a talented poet came to mind, "give me a dance, give me a dance!" and we did dance a little.

By Amita Chatterji © published by the Asian Times

BULLIES 

Bullies are those born with
cells that are small...
They bully to have one
at their beck and call
They bully because they
want to be tall
They bully because they're
short of a ball
They bully because they
want to impress all...

They bully because they're
hungry for power
They can bully others
hour after hour
They like to taunt and
see people cower
They could be insecure
or simply dour
They want to show how
important they are

Bullies are people who
are usually sour
A bully, he or she, should
be sent to the Tower!

By Amita Chatterji © published in X Magazine

A FROLIC OF VOWELS

5 vowels had escaped from my sound
mechanism when I was asleep - the
frisky AEIOU - all I could say was Heh
Instead of Oh! And Heh instead of Ah!
I couldn't even say Ba! Ba! Like
Some sheep risen from its sleep.

The vowels felt free and
Frolicked in the dark,
They made vowel sounds
Like birds in a park.

I held out my hand
To recapture the five
But they simply tried
To dodge and dive;

All at once they lit up
Like a bright neon light,
I couldn't utter a word
And got quite a fright.

What should I have done
When my vowels vanished,
Told my consonants that
Now they were banished!

After their little adventure
The five vowels did return
Allowing me to continue
To Ba! Ba! And learn.

Amita Chatterji © Published by the Asian Age 

BOLLY WOULD

Bolly would be an endless carousel ride
Bolly would dramatise, portray with pride
and sensitivity its epics and the kaleidoscopic
visual culture of Indian cinema.

Bolly would give us Mother India, Bombay
Bolly would depict a cruel villain in Sholay
or perhaps a tramp in Awara - with
lashings of beauty, brutality and man's fragility.

Bolly would give us a constellation of stars
Bolly would seek artists in chic Bollywood bars
a tide of talent: scriptwriters, composers, musicians,
directors, producers and technicians.

Bolly would imitate life and strip to the bone
Bolly would like Hollywood set the scene and tone
create heroes and heroines, stunning costumes
and sets, constantly projecting its craft.

Bolly would perhaps be the ultimate deduction
Bolly would be the inexhaustible production
of classics, legends reaching audiences worldwide
with a century's celebration of its art.

Bolly would chart India's rich, historical past
Bolly would successfully be able to cast
a spell and entertain us with drama, song, dance
and the stuff of our colourful dreams.

Amita Chatterji © Published by CONFLUENCE
Ode to Bollywood

PRIMAL SCREAMS and DARING DREAMS

I wandered into the N.H.M one Sunday afternoon,
Refreshed childhood memories gazing at Proconsul and baboons.

I imagined all these animals though still and silent by day,
Animated at night and noisily crowding each other's way.

Bellowing elephants, roaring lions, horses ‘n' sounds of hooves,
Pegasus flying up the stairs searching for a creature that moves.

Listened to the Cyclops and eerie Primal screams,
As Medusa petrified people in my daring dreams.

Titans roaming the planet feeding on the big, big, tree,
Earth! The most magnificent masterpiece for all to see.

I gallantly walked the plank with dinosaurs on either side,
Diplodocus charged and lesser dinosaurs had no place to hide.

Inside the mighty blue whale, streamlined like a ship,
Were big fat fish, small fry and the ubiquitous chip.

Oceans of marine life tantalising as a siren's gills,
A fossil-jostle, bright butterflies and big birds' bills.

Gaia's many mysteries explained, from Triassic to extinction,
And today most species displayed, stage-managed with distinction.

The edifying path to discovery of this wondrous world of ours,
Is researched by ants and scientists the Museum's super stars.

Amita Chatterji © Published by the Asian Times

RESTORATION 

English is a language
So widely spoken,
England's links around the world
Can scarcely be broken
But if the Queen's English
By more people was spoken
And grammatical rules not
So frequently broken,
How mellifluous spoken
English would be.

The rich language gradually evolved
Since its ‘golden age'
Should be enjoyed by the pupil
If taught by a sage
So teacher take heed, instruct
Well for your fee.

Now don't drop your h
But do cross your t
Dot your little i
And bow to the bee!
A difference it will make
You will soon see.

Improve your diction
Restore that vowel,
Don't be hasty to
Throw in the towel,

Strive a little further
Obtain extra tuition,
Elocution will bring you
Nearer to fruition.

Take the trouble to
Change your usual stance,
Make an effort, don't
Leave things to chance.

Don't give the language
An ugly slant,
Don't be lazy
And say ‘I CAN'T!'

By Amita Chatterji © Poem retitled, used my official name Mrs A Chrysanthou when above poem was sent to Prince Charles re his 'off the cuff' remarks about the English language - response below:

Letter_POW26July89 

LetterCont_POW26July89

Usmaan aur Zameen (heaven and earth) and Family in Between

Spawning in every man woman and child
is the prime viscera factor -
Emanating from every pore, man's primeval
animal instinct - truncated at birth
along with the umbilical cord as,
restraint, religion, order, knowledge
and development is instilled
in the name of civilisation.

Man has evolved, kissed the stars
and on the way to Mars but
families...well, let's be realistic
we're all the same
everywhere.

Ongoing sagas, thrilling dramas,
quarrels, scandals, morals, vandals.
The wild child - Kipling's black sheep
all in it and ever so deep.
Tantalising secrets, seduction and mysteries,
swirl around in most family histories.

There's satire and ridicule like
Moliere's comedies.
There's always the hypochondriac
looking for remedies.
There's obsession, jealousy, egoism, bigotry-
There are Dante's raging demons like
in his hell and purgatory.
There's usmaan aur zameen
and family in between.

Sometimes one's erratic behaviour
defies rationale,
but I can tell you something..
our family is far from banal.

By Amita Chatterji ©

A Love of London

Bright lights blinked below
Where the indigo nightscape
Lay star-spangled
Littered with cat's eyes
A chaotic network of
Glorious golden glitter,
I recall sitting in awe as our
Elephantine eagle, a PanAm plane
Touched down on my childhood
Fairyland and I was instantly
Entranced by a spell, had fallen in love and had lost
My heart to London!

Childhood, Robin Hood, good Hood
To adulthood.

It seems as if I've clawed earth's
Crust, bored through her evergreen
Rocky mantle and swum in Tellus's
Liquid soul where love, laughter,
Despair, swim in an eternal wheel
And I've surfaced still loving you.
It seems as if it were only yesterday
I first gazed upon London, stepped
On English soil, flew ‘so many miles'
Leaving my birthplace - India, home
Of the great Ganges delta.
Yet my affection for you remains
As solid as earth's iron core.
London, je t'adore!

Amita Chatterji © - Published by the Asian Times      

 

Below: The Poetry Society's The Art of Speaking Verse Senior Certificate of Merit and Senior Bronze Medal for Excellence Awarded to Amita showing her early links with the Poetry Society

PoetrySocJubileeCert17July59

ArtofSpeakingVerseCerti21July60 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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