My morning prayers on the Irrawaddy


Painting the skies in shades of pink, vermillion, orange and red,

Our powerful Master was regaining strength, igniting like a ball of fire,

Above my darkened mountains, on our distant border with Tibet,

It seemed as if the entire Irrawaddy,

Its oak and pine filled rainforests,

Each and every creature loathing within it,

And every Burmese inhabitant on it,

Bowed down,

Darkened themselves with gratitude,

With pleasure,

For regularly lightning up weakening spirits of this majestic river,

For strengthening its banks to survive attacks from the clandestine monster of erosion,

Eating away Irrawaddy, eating away banks of my sacred Land of the Golden Pagoda,

With folded hands and closed eyes,

I prayed to my Golden master,

I hope one day,

This fisherman from Mandalay,

Can beg this world to take notice,

If not help us, help my land,

At least help me awaken my sleeping baby-kissers…


Beyond Irrawaddy’s Beauty…


From his common sense, this fisherman can presume,

Burma must be a rare ingredient in the Western gossip stew,

For my land remains out of their sight,

Engulfed in thick clouds of uniformed-terror…

A uniform is all that one needs here,

To live a life, devoid of humane ethics and sanity,

To win an opportunity to mete out fear,

And, dive into the depths of ruthless inhumanity…

Any day we poor fisherman refuse,

To pay that daily exorbitant boat tax,

To let them rob us off our hard-earned gasoline and rations,

To let them traffic thousands of us to Thailand, China, and Malaysia,

To die each day, being eaten slowly by mental, and sexual exploitation,

We can be lawlessly shot, then and there…

On mood-swings of our dazed soldiers,

Depends the fate of my village,

For like other Burmese villages, it could be razed down to ashes,

It could be plundered, with its women abused,

And slaves easily carved out of its men, already battling hunger,

Our own men, our own protectors have been inflicting unrest,

Our supposed, saviors are hunting us down every day,

We need the West to help us out, to do its best…

Like the Taliban, our military, too deserves lessons of a lifetime,

For trying to tarnish the Land of the Golden Pagoda,

For showering devastation on this soil of monks and peace,

For trying to ruin this majestic gateway to the enchanting East…

Like each and every day,

I’m trying to seek refuge,

In the beauty of the pristine Irrawaddy,

In the beauty of my lush forests, and my green hills,

Trying hard to oar away from the voluminous uncertainty,

Only, hopelessly awaiting a day,

When the West and the influential rest,

Will pay heed to whatever this fisherman had to say,

To all that we endured,

To generations wasted beneath Irrawaddy’s beautiful deception,

Generations that that have long been shunned,

Have long been silenced, their conscience procured…



Friends from the Irrawaddy

Irrawaddy & Fisherman Cropped

With my Master getting rid of his vermilion gown,

Misty daylight adorned my river’s crown,

Her beings, now emerged out of a temporary eclipse,

With our Thai Tung ke-boats filled with nets and fish-fodder,

We floated calmly up across the serene Irrawaddy,

Determined to catch a lot of fish for the day,

We oared past the hills of Mandalay,

With fresh fearless minds,

That simply felt, nothing could perturb, nothing could bother…

Soon, we could see traces of our marine friends in the distant,

Shiny snubbed beaks rising up and down the water,

Leaping high, showcasing their grey and slate blue streamline,

Forming a group with their buzzes, creaks and clicks,

The Irrawaddy Dolphins announced they were here…


In a semi-circle, two of our finned friends start moving to and fro,

Pushing a huge school of fish towards our boats,

They slap the water hard with their tails,

A magical semi-circle, they form,

Swimming closer, they reducing the circle in size,


One of them swims out of it,

Stands to stop the fleeing fish,

As our oceanic watch guard…

Within the next few seconds, he splashes his fins on the water,

Only to let us know,

There’s enough fish, it’s time to take out the nets,

It’s time to throw…


We tap the walls of our boat,

Try creating a noise,

Signaling, we are ready, bring on the final push, here we go,


The final push comes from one of them,

Hoards of fish flood our nets,

We look up at our Master, we feel blessed…


The dolphins wait by our boat on the Irrawaddy,

As if waiting for our orders,

For us to tap the water with our oars,

Only to let them know of our plans for a second round,

But we decided, we had enough for the day.

We tapped our boats, instead,

Letting them know, we’re done for today.


Sprouts of water are shot in the air,

Their good-bye, that’s how they declare,

As we watched on with gleaming smiles,

They dived into the depths of Irrawaddy,

It only took them seconds to disappear…


We headed back towards Mandalay,

With our hearts filled with gratitude,

Towards our oceanic friends,

That seemed to be the only ones,

Who knew how we lived,

The only ones, aware of our hardships, our pain,

Like saviors of a fading Eastern trend,

It seemed, as if they were the only ones, who understood…