Bappaku – haiku for the Ganesh festival

For Chaturthi

On Ganpati Day
our society lawn plucked clean
of all its freshness

toothless smiles
our boy loudly welcomes

Raamesh Gowri Raghavan


Ganesh Utsav –
the drum beats follow me
even in my dreams

their Ganesh idol dwarfs

monsoon fury-
“Ganapati Bappa Morya”
drowned by rain

Lalbaghchya Raja-
devotees brave the rain
for a single glimpse

Sandra Martyres


adding more colour
to the Ganesha

Ganesh pooja
the devotee’s raised eyes linger
on the cracked ceiling

Gautam Nadkarni


Ganesh shopping
the vendor insists

rain break
no queue before
Lalbaghchya Raja

the temple Devis
are left in peace

‘vada pav’ chants
greet the midnight surge
of Ganesh devotees

Brijesh Raj


each year
the Ganesh idol … the many
of our desires

Kala Ramesh


poetic license
the Ganesh in the bylane
wears goggles

gallery of gods
one more ganesh
in my farewell gift

trunk of ganesh
the washing machine hose
falls on the stage

Ajaya Mahala


For Visarjan

into the cloying embrace
of the sea

all the colours washed
by the sunset

mom worries about the idol
getting wet in the rain

visarjan crowd…
the drumming goes on and on
in my head

Gautam Nadkarni


the empty space
left behind

pelting rain –
visarjan on the streets
this year

Sandra Martyres


Visarjan day…
the sea takes the god
and his faithful

tying shoelaces
just as the procession’s drums
take up the rhythm

Raamesh Gowri Raghavan


the colours run down
a devotee’s face

Brijesh Raj


rising above
the beach crowd
a massive ganesh

Ajaya Mahala


visarjan …
the dholak    the procession
wakes up my baby



ganpati bappa morya
pudcha warshi lavkar ya rents the air …

her child
born on ganesh chaturthi
believes in Him no more

Kala Ramesh


A second cup of cutting chai

cutting chai –
finally the rejection letter
off my mind

Arvinder Kaur


the Taj cafe—-
the steward’s smirk as I order
cutting chai

full cutting chai…
the waiter asks me once more
if I’m sure

Gautam Nadkarni


cutting chai –
the cup that helps me
brave the monsoons

chilly morning-
road-side vendors serving
cutting chai

the sights and feel of home –
mugs of cutting chai

Sandra Martyres


some things
are inevitable…
cutting chai
at the hospital canteen

cutting chai
the flutter of divorce papers
between sips

Sanjuktaa Asopa


cutting chai
the rain falls
in both the glasses

Alaka Yeravadekar


cutting chai —
mother snaps the last biscuit
into perfect halves

Kala Ramesh

Cutting chai

The following haiku were written on the spot at our last meeting.

pelting rain-
the thought of cutting chai
drives me home

for frayed tempers-
the perfect antidote
cutting chai



hanging low
in the winter breeze
her breath
and the taste
of ginger on my lips



cutting chai
again the waiter interrupts
my proposal



cutting chai
the vegan
at a loss

cutting chais
the poets
make them count

winter’s eve
the urchin
begs for ‘cutting’

nursing a ‘cutting’
the world
through misted glasses

spring cool
the lovers share
a ‘cutting’



the price of wi fi
cutting chai

the argument
more cutting than
the chai



behind the Taj…
I catch the chef sipping
cutting chai

at the tapri
the chaiwala from
across the street

scanning the menu
I wonder what they mean
by chai latte

cutting chai…
I watch my last pennies
jingle away

cutting chai…
still looking for
a smart kireji



Would you like to submit something on cutting chai? Do send your haiku, tanka, haibun or senryu to inhaikumumbai AT gmail DOT com.

New Beginnings

We put out a call for haiku on the subject ‘New Beginnings’, and then life got on, same old, same old. Here’s our compilation at last, after a delay of many weeks:


strong winds…
a wilted flower
breaks away

~ Mahrukh Balsara

wrinkled hands scrub off
past Diwalis

yet another dump
for a fresh stake

one last lick
before nodding off
latest litter

new menu
the fresh lime soda
exactly the same

new home
mismatched cups
and staff

~ Brijesh Raj

new walls…
how long till this one
feels like home

~ Paresh Tiwari

new skin
the cut that wasn’t
deep after all

~ Kasturi Jadhav

grief counselling
my old lover is
my new friend

~ Deepa

new year
the resolutions fade
faster than the snow

kittens again
the same
old cat

~ Rohini Gupta

new year’s dawn
still trying to recall
last night’s resolves

rising from the mist
a full moon

~ Gautam Nadkarni

and forgiving the past memories
springs of fresh tenderness

~ Purushotham Rao Ravela

from his village dwelling
to life in the city

new beginnings –
the drunk buries
his whiskey bottle

melting snow –
from the garden bed
a rose bud peeps out

~ Sandra Martyres

new manuscript…
In the heat of the flames
of the old one

a new summer day

the dawn’s glow washed out
by the streetlights

~ Raamesh Gowri Raghavan


Would you like to add your haiku on this topic? Please add them in the comments.

Inviting submissions for our new anthology

Indian summer
even our inhibitions
melt away

Even as I write this, IN haiku Mumbai has been in continuous existence for three years and a half. Over time, through innumerable cups of coffee in our monthly meets, three cafe closures, one anthology, a now-on, now-off blog, and the launch of a new literary magazine, we realise we’ve come a long way. 

So, we decided to celebrate ourselves by launching a new anthology, to be brought out by Diwali this year. And you’re invited.

We must say we had great fun putting together ‘the taste of sea breeze’ our first anthology of haiku, haibun, tanka, senryu, renku and renbun (which we claim to invent). And are happier to report that it was received well among the global community of ELH writers and readers, having had good sales in five countries. More than just a labour of love, it’s been an exercise in critical thinking and collaboration.

So, coming to the new anthology we propose. Here’s everything you want to know:

  1. Who: Anyone from anywhere in the world can submit. Our only requirement — the subject of your composition has to be India. Anything about India.
  2. What: Up to three each of anything in the haikai school of literature — haiku, senryu, urban ku, haibun, short-form renku (tan-renga, yotsumono) and tanka. Submit one renku or renbun if you like. Unfortunately for us, we’re not able to take haiga or any other illustrated form.
  3. Where: Send your compositions to in the body of the mail only. No attachements please.
  4. How: Please place your name, country, city and genre in the subject of your mail. So “Thaksin Shinawatra,  Thailand, Bangkok, Senryu”. Please let us repeat, do not send attachments. As the Buddha said, they only lead to sorrow.
  5. When: Submissions open 19 April 2017 and close 31 July 2017. We will then go through a reading and being period, and be ready to launch by Diwali day. So you can expect to hear from us August onwards.
  6. Why: Well, honestly, we had fun doing it once and we want to do it again. And because you and us, we all want somewhere to publish. But mostly, because there doesn’t really have to be a reason.

How to get selected:

  1. Please do judge your work before sending. While we don’t claim to be the best, we’re not so bad either. Our preference would be to have a slim but awesome book. 
  2. Please stay away from clichés. As resident Indians, we’ve seen enough snake charmers and elephants and Malana cream. Anything that shows India in a new light (and it doesn’t have to be flattering) has a better chance of being picked. Personal experiences will score, because that is the essence of haikai.
  3. We’re Trussians when it comes to grammar. Please do care to edit before sending. English is preferred; if you send in any other language please do send an English translation. We will follow Commonwealth spellings.
  4. Please be original. We’d like fresh, unplagiarised work. If you’re submitting previously published work, that’s fine, but please cite where it was published. Work published in a social media group not open to the general public’s view will be treated as unpublished.
  5. Selections will be made by our core group. Only that which passes muster among all six of us goes into the anthology. As we said earlier, our preference would be to have a slim but awesome book.

The decisions of the editors will be final and binding. And there’s no money we have to give out. But you’re all haijin and you’ve seen these two caveats before.

Happy submitting!

        sudden shower
        the mango petals fall
        off the new fruit

        Old love

        Entries received for our January 2017 prompt – Unrequited Love

        old love at the bazaar
        flower-sellers drown out
        my voice

        Kasturi Jadhav

        weeping willows –
        he marries
        his new love

        Deepa Shankar

        This evening we walked over the mountain to meet the sun that has burnt itself down to a cinder and yet failed to thaw the cold between us . . .

        beginning again
        from the beginning
        you and I
        ** *

        Traces of you

        Today I fell in love with the shadow under the lamp. Yesterday it was the flame that went off in a sliver of spiral smoke. And the day before that, the petrichor of its clay shell.

        trying to figure
        the colour of loss . . .
        The man . . .

        . . . moved with deliberate slowness. Only his shadow dogging his heels, leaving in its wake the woman who would pack his lunch in a steel tiffin-box, a toddler still tasting the sweetness of his first syllables and a dog gnawing an age-old wound.

        divorce papers . . .
        we end up deleting
        the ampersand

        The typewriter has a mind and a story of its own and even though the keys go clickety-clack, the darn thing just isn’t ready to type the words I want it to.

        coffee rings
        somewhere our lives
        did touch


        There were those who left the shape of their absence in the evening breeze and those who stayed behind like an odd pairing of words in a verse.

        six degrees
        a raindrop ripples
        into another

        Will you too leave?

        What if I take a chisel and a hammer to this paperweight and release the flower and the delicate leaves within.

        chalk lines . . .
        the squares we skip and
        those that skip us

        Paresh Tiwari

        dry red roses still stand
        in front of the closed door
        unrequited love

        Tahera Mannan
        Nagpur, Maharashtra

        the rose in the vase untouched
        by the storm

        noon torpor…
        the suddenness with which
        she leaves my life

        gone away—
        now only the swirling mist
        to embrace

        Gautam Nadkarni


        Walking through the neon city of the world, I imagined, could bring back the zing into our relationship. She is dazzled by the casinos and bright lights. And I see in her eyes, for the first time in years, the same warmth that I had seen when we first started dating. Then turning to me she says – “I’m in love with Vegas”

        flight back home
        the one vacant seat
        to my left

        Sandra Martyres


        winter’s grip
        your fingers clasp

        into the twilight
        the soul you chose not

        Dr. Brijesh Raj

        faraway look…
        on the horizon
        a single bird

        Mahrukh Jal Bulsara

        rose day
        my haul of yellows

        shehnai sounds…
        they brick up the window
        opposite me

        old rose petals
        her forty year old no
        browning slowly

        watching your footsteps
        vanish slowly

        Raamesh Gowri Raghavan


        This set of haiku emerges from a prompt given to IN haiku members.

        I read on the BBC website that it has snowed in Tokyo in November for the first time since 1968. The article led me to learn this very beautiful Japanese word:

        hatsuyuki (first snow)

        Here are some responses to the exercise prompt using this kigo.


        hatsuyuki —
        our amicable divorce
        now two years old

        ~ Raamesh Gowri Raghavan


        on zoom lens … I find
        my singing heart

        ~ Kala Ramesh


        her little fingers
        make mom shiver

        ~ Rajeshwari Srinivasan


        my mind drifting back
        with the flakes

        ~ Gautam Nadkarni


        first snowfall
        icing on chocolate

        ~ Kumarendra Mallick


        my daughter introduces me
        to her intended

        ~ Madhuri Maitra


        hatsuyuki —
        the white bougainvilleas
        that rained last night

        ~ Raamesh Gowri Raghavan


        first snowfall
        the milk
        boils over

        ~ Alaka Yeravadekar


        bright are cancer cells under
        the microscope

        ~ Seshu Chamarthy


        Then Ajaya Mahala explained the Kashmiri word for hatsuyuki, nausheen. So I wrote a ku for that too!

        … I forget to ask
        her name

        ~ Raamesh Gowri Raghavan


        decorating the trees
        on these festive days

        ~ Purushothamaro Ravela


        first snow the sudden urge to touch every rosebud sunrise

        ~ Samar Ghose


        rising moon
        snow-capped Kanchenjunga floats
        above it all

        ~ Johannes Manjrekar


        Christmas morning-
        the children wake up
        to hatsuyuki

        ~ Sandra Martyres



        first snow
        the road to the graveyard
        not yet closed

        ~ Ajaya Mahala


        Her face brightens
        after the blood transfusion
        first snow spreads fast….

        ~ Purushothamaro Ravela


        I try to catch a flake
        on my tongue

        ~ Anitha Varma


        hatsuyuki —
        shower of soft

        ~ Kumarendra Mallick


        all the premises and lawn
        glisten in silver sheen..

        ~ Purushothamaro Ravela


        And Geethanjali Rajan has the last word: Japanese language has many such words. First snow, first thunder (of the year), first rain of autumn, first frost, first visit to the temple on new year. Beautiful.:)

        Something to read on hatsuyuki from world kigo database by Gabi san.

        hatsu yuki ni kizo no taimatsu no hokori kana

        in first snow
        last night’s pine torch

        ~ Kobayashi Issa

        Issa uses the word hokori (“dust”) in its older sense as “remnant”: in the new-fallen snow he sees the charred remains of last night’s torch. A nice example of both juxtaposition and seasonal mood in haiku.