The Northern Planes

Image Copyright © U. S. Pandey


The heat is baking the Northern Planes,
Frankly, I am least worried,
Father’s beyond all heat waves,
Mother has receded into her ribs.

The summers bring the mangoes too,
They now grow on puny trees,
Long gone are the tall dense ones
That swayed with singeing winds in glee.

They don’t make earthen pitchers any more,
Life is filled in plastic drums;
Singers do not thump the dhols
Cellphones clone the latest hum.

Fields no longer shake with breeze,
Thoughts of a harvest long buried;
The heat is baking the Northern Planes,
Frankly, I am least worried.



  1. again at a loss for words. this is an amazing poem!! we all can relate to this.

  2. Aah poignant, USP!!! A perfect satire on how we do not care–drought stalks much of India and heat waves killing and our fields are losing their soil health but we are happy with our latest ringtone, our McDonalds burger and next movie in the mall. Very nice poem Umashankar!

  3. You bring out the miseries we face aptly in a few words. Indeed, I haven’t eaten any good mangoes this season. And the heat, water shortage and power cuts are all driving us crazy. Summers are fun no more.

  4. Evocative piece…a reminder that times have changed…..and not necessarily for the better.

  5. These gaggles of clouds
    dressed to the nines
    in grey
    heavy laden silk,
    lose their way
    trundling up
    the south west,
    looking for a place to
    the water pots.

    by a
    mafia Sun
    treating them as
    his own personal
    summer khus screen
    from behind
    he can glance
    teasingly at a parched land.

    The Earth,
    with old green memories
    now transformed
    into concrete,
    can only crack in despair….

  6. @suranga date: how do you manage compose poem so spontaneously and beautifully? your poem is like a perfect jugalbandi for USP’s poem!

    1. At my age, I dont do jugalbandis 🙂 Just a sitting in the audience and a supportive nodding of the head, in admiration for USP’s lovely poem….the clouds, the sun, and the green, are the tanpura in the background, while he plays his dhun…..

  7. Wonderful! The picture of the changing times appears vividly through these lines.

    Particularly loved the line “Life is filled in plastic drums”. Sums it all up perfectly!

  8. Indeed Sir .. No one cares for the one who is harvesting in this heat , people are sitting in AC rooms knowing well that their wheat or flour drums are full up. but what about the man who is harvesting and is still hungry and poor having not enough for his own family and feeds a nation ..

    I hope in this heat we think of them .. the farmer of our nation .. Do think about us please .. We are dieing and dieing alone as even after our deaths no one is Worried…

    (sorry i went on a tangent ) its 45+ degrees summers have brought a whole lot of problem for us ..

    1. Yes, of course, Bikram. In our vanity, we may think that the life beyond our cosy cocoons do not impact us. Eventually, it will all get back to us with a vengeance.

  9. This poem has stirred something inside me, I have been wondering since the past few minutes what to reply here but as is the case with many others, I am at loss of words too.

      1. That is the thing about change. And change is inevitable. Will know whether it is for good or bad a tad too late though:). Hence the term social change and not social progress.
        In the Victorian era they were worried about the roads being covered in horsedung with the progressive increase in horse carriages…

  10. This one is lovely. I loved these lines,

    “They don’t make pitchers anymore,
    Life is filled in plastic drums;
    Singers don’t strum the dhols
    Cellphones clone the latest hum.”

  11. What lovely imagery and a very thought provoking poem .. came here after a long time .. read a few of your previous posts as well and loved them as usual !

  12. What do I have to comment here? checked to see if you had any new posts before sleeping and now you left me thinking for the rest of the night..:)
    The heat is baking
    Our hearts are breaking
    yet nothing is stopping
    we are still surviving….
    see, you made me write something…haha…have a wonderfully cool day..:)

    1. Well said, Giribala. I believe the mind has an internal fuse too and many times it successfully takes care of the excess smog. In several cases, as in mine, it takes care by simply burning out the thinking cells! 😀

  13. The angst hidden in and between the lines! Humans are one of the least sensitive of all creatures and they don’t even bother that it is all only harming themselves, till it is too late. But here, the summer is mild and we are reduced to even taking a jacket while going out for a stroll. And do you know what? They call it ‘hot’ here 😀 Life is all about relativity, isn’t it?

    Sorry, Uma. Saw this notification just last night.

    1. Humans, indeed! The path to self destruction seems to be programmed in all of us but in case of Indians, it seems to have a heightened priority.

      I am glad someone walking those parts of the earth thought of me. In a sense, it puts me there!

  14. …northern planes ke badle huye aur tezi se badalte huye dardnaak haadson ko is se behtar shraddhanjali nahi ho sakti. Northern planes ka baashinda hone ke kaaran main aapki kavita ki gahraai ko apne dil se mahsoos kar sakta hoon, Uma bhai, bahut hi sunder likha hai…shabdaateet…

    1. …yeah I agree…haven’t been to Western Ghats but frequently keep visiting the hills…being brutally devastated! Pathetic 😦

  15. I really loved your poem. The messages goes out so clearly. I have bookmarked your blog and will read at leisure. Keep sharing.

  16. Kudos ! Kudos ! Kudos ! for this fantastic poetry…

    Another very apparent example of this human cruelty on the nature is the dwindling number of sparrows that used to nest in our houses. Just 5-6 years ago whenever I went out for a walk in the morning , I used to enjoy their chirping and would engage myself watching their activities. But unfortunately, gone are those good old days. Now I rarely come across a sparrow. Cellphone towers have perhaps ruined it all.

    1. Rajat, what you are saying about the sparrows is sadly true. Reckless urbanisation has precipitated the end of these playful birds. A part of the blame though lies with the omnipresent crows. Does it imply that humans and crows are perfect companions?

  17. ‘Mother has receded into her ribs’. A beautiful line. terribly evocative. The shrinking of old age, fear, the distortion of this time, and the startling sophistry of the visual all wrapped into a succinct physical metaphor.

  18. I really like those lines too. “Mother has receded into her ribs’ A simple and heart rendering poem. Good job

  19. Umashankar,

    Well said! The inexorable march to damnation … I could sense the collective apathy of mankind in your .. “I am least worried!”

    I am reminded of a famous poster from the MAD Magazine … in which their mascot Alfred E Neuman is smiling smugly and saying “What me worry?” while there is a mushroom cloud of an Atom Bomb growing in the background.

    We are in such a situation today.

    I particularly liked the lines:

    Singers don’t strum the dhols
    Cellphones clone the latest hum.

    I guess you have used poetic license there when you say Singers strum the dhol- and isn’t strum used only for stringed instruments?

    But the technicality apart it is an amazing poem illustrating our sad state!

    1. Your comment shows the sensitive soul you are. I feel proud to have drawn your attention!

      That was an interesting observation about strumming a dhol. I guess I was just thinking in musical terms. 🙂

  20. Wonderful sir. It has a meaning. Tells us how life around us is changing.
    Does it also tell that we are not bothered about this dreaded change..? With the words ” i am least worried”?

  21. Back to reading and writing after a while. And what a poem this is. Masterclass really. I kept wondering how a poem could be so beautiful and yet so powerful at the same time. Brilliantly written. 🙂

  22. There’s pain hidden in “I’m least worried(s),” eh! The first two lines of the last stanza tickle my nostalgia. Beautiful, USP. I’d read this one a few days back. Just had to come back and leave a comment.

  23. I am sorry I could not find time to read your posts earlier. But I intend to read them one by one now. The heat is really intense this time with no rains in near future. Well written.

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