Poetry Reads: Bhang Diary by Snehith Kumbla

Bhang Diary 
by Snehith Kumbla
when I laugh,
the whole body,
one big mouth
of laughter
when I sing,
words emit
like a
If I squat, drowsy,
all my teeth are
melting down
a whirlpool
walk, look back
and wonder,
whose vanishing
are they,
my as-lost-as-me
friends, frantic for
shade in the sun,
and can’t find it
together, like a
splash of colours,
we lie in the garden
for the madness to pass
later, at home they ask
about the blood red
eyes, I say, it was
some colour, some holi
(Bhang Diary was first published in the Mar-Apr 2012 issue of Reading Hour magazine.)
Drinking bhang, a delicious beverage made from the leaves of the cannabis plant, is an adventurous, boisterous tradition on Holi, the festival of colours in India. 
I was slurring through the first three lines of a song after my first glass of bhang a decade and a half ago. My well-meaning friends kept persuading me to eat sweets after that first glass, assuring me that it helps lessen the effect. I remember thinking these are really good friends, who were ensuring that I don’t get drowsy. But I was the evening entertainment an hour later, slurring through Kabhi Kabhi Aditi Zindagi Mein Yuh Hi under a tree at the city university grounds, and the friends laughing away like hyenas on the National Geographic Africa special. 
Thandai is an unsuspecting, delicious milk-based beverage that makes up bhang, and since that first slurring through the song year, it became kind of a tradition every holi to provide entertainment and get through the entire day in the attentive, immediate present.
Nothing usually occurs during the initial hours, it is at a moment when you least expect that the bhang kicks in. I have had friends view the universe and the solar system, look at overgrown garden grass for hours and have other slow-moving delusions. 
Here’s to that time of the time again! Cheers!   
(Poetry, article, photography and art by Snehith Kumbla)

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