The Expired Thongs


I embarked on a spiritual journey last spring and headed towards an ashram in search of self enquiry. My destination was India, a country known for its vast spiritual heritage. I carried in my luggage the minimal personal effects including a pair of old thongs. This search for the Truth of Oneself will, in my mind, be restrictive on personal wants and needs.


Two days after I had rambled around in my old thongs, I noticed that part of the right sole was coming off; I brought it closer to my eyes to have a microscopic view of the damage; I then perceived that there was another problem; the strap which run from between the big toe and the second toe to the right side of the sandal was threading off and thinning. I sadly told myself that the thongs had expired due to old age, wear and tear. It was essential for me to look for new thongs before the expired ones left me half-way. Opportunity knocked when the next morning I walked into a store to buy fruit juice. An array of attractive and colorful thongs was displayed on a self. I tried a few pairs until I fell on one which fitted perfectly.


I settled my bill, removed the new thongs from the box, glided my feet into them and placed the expired ones into the carton to throw away. Strangely, I could not find a dustbin and the expired thongs slept in the box under my bed almost forgotten.
Time passed by. For the festival of Mahashivratri, innumerable pilgrims arrived in the ashram from all over the world. One night, I misplaced my new thongs. I immediately run for the rescue of the expired ones. I had been advised by a physician to walk barefoot which was supposedly a good exercise for different types of inflammation and beneficial for my sore knees, but accustomed to the western way of life, I found it hard to hop around like a grasshopper without footwear.


Eventually, the expired thongs silently resumed their job of transporting me. Every time I came out of a hall or canteen where footwear was not allowed, my eyes fell on them waiting for me, tattered yet so warm. They were serving submissively and devotedly like old wives. I left them here and there, under the nose of everyone but nobody touched them. They were too old to draw attention or to be stolen. Expired they were, in the eyes of all except in mine. What a startling spiritual lesson to learn! Respect and hold on to the old; in times of need, they are the most helpful.


Further, nothing ever happens accidently or mysteriously, spiritual life shows us. For every happening, there is a proper reason. Moreover we are taught that inanimate objects too have feelings and emotions. For instance, it is told in the sacred Hindu book ‘The Ramayana’ that when Lord Rama went to rescue his wife Sita from the demon King Ravana, an army of monkeys came to his help. They built a bridge by plucking mountains from the Himalayas and throwing them into the seas to allow Rama to walk from his land to the realm of Ravana. When the bridge was done, one mountain cried because it was plucked from its original place but not used. Lord Rama then promised the mountain that in his next Avatara, it will receive his blessings.

This very mountain was the Govardhana Peak which Rama as the Avatar Krishna lifted on his finger and held aloft for seven days in order to save the inhabitants of Gokul from the devastation of torrential rain.
To cut a long story short, I returned home with the expired thongs, having learnt that self enquiry leads one to detach from people, mundane life and affairs by opening one’s eyes to the deficiencies in them.

Anita Bacha

Photo credit: Anita Bacha

How to tell you (3)


How to tell you,
What is softer than the skin of a baby,
Softer than the feel of snow,
Softer than the petals of a rose,
How to tell you,
Nothing is softer than your hand,
Lying under my cheek,
When I sleep;
How to tell you,
What is a hand without warmth,
Or warmth without a hand,
Or a 🌹without petals,
Or petals without a 🌹,
Or me without you,or you without me.

Anita Bacha

Photo credit: Anita Bacha.

This is the third poem entitled ‘How to tell you’ that I have penned down. I thought my readers would be confused to read (3) in the title. Enjoy! The picture was shot by me at the wedding of my friend, the groom,in Rajasthan. His hand decorated with henna in the picture. I am using the picture to illustrate my poem. There is no connection between the poem and the picture.

London Book Fair


Going down High Street,Olympia,
My heart overflows with nostalgia;
On tree tops, I behold,
Blossoms of green and gold;
At the London Book Fair,
Writers and poets fare;
In the pages of each book,
I delve and I look,
Your name is engraved,
By the invisible hand of God.

Anita Bacha

Sad to learn that the world greatest book event, the London Book Fair 2020 is cancelled. I have been visiting the fair stoically for the last five years to exhibit my poetry book and this is where I met the publisher of my debut children’s book The Princess and the Crow in 2016. I was craving to see my book on the shelves of Austin Macauley London. As we say in French ‘l’homme propose, Dieu dispose!’ I, however, salute the decision of the Reeds Exhibition to cancel the event.Better safe than sorry. I look forward to the London Book Fair 2021 with added zeal and ‘ si Dieu le veut’ with a brand new book.

Onset of Spring

Sunday lunch in a friendly bistro,
On the outskirts of Brussels;
A hanging smell of blubber,
Roast, mash and stew,
A man in an old over-coat,
Others in woollies and stoles,
Silently bent on their plates,
In their eyes, hope twinkles and smiles,
Shafts of sunlight
Break through closed windows,
Heralds the onset of spring;
Like man,
Nature too is keen on change.
A new coat, cheerful and light,
A scarf painted with colors, beautiful and bright.

Anita Bacha

Photo Credit: Anita Bacha.

I lived in Belgium for some time, more particularly,in Brussels for work and in Linkebeek with family and friends. I love the Belgian people both the French and the Flemish. I adore the food. I have left a piece of my heart in Belgium and I entertain the sincere wish of going back one day when the Spring breaks through.

  • Anita Bacha-

My birth mother and my adoptive mother

My Birth Mother and My Adoptive Mother.

Her shiny brown eyes like ripe tamarind pulp,

Her olive color skin, her long flowing black hair,

Her cute oval face and sweet, crying voice,

Her fragrance, vetiver interlaced with wild musk,

Tore my heart apart as I let go of her linen camisole;

She is my mother!

Locked in her arms, I snuggle, forgetful of the world,

Throwing my legs and arms in gleeful abandon,

I yawn,

Languidly I open my eyes,

Her loving, sky blue gaze,

Her porcelain white skin glowing in the sun light,

Her golden curls dancing around her pretty face,

Her perfume, carnation interlaced with red rose,

Fill my heart as I bury my head in her silken stole,

She is my mother!

Mother is the one who renounced me,

Mother is the one who found me,

Mother Is

Mother always will be

Anita Bacha

I am sharing this poem that I wrote a decade ago when I was Head of the Central Authority for Inter-country Adoption , set up by The Hague Conference , in Mauritius. Strange are the ways of God, I found.Not every bud becomes a flower; not every daughter becomes a mother.Anita Bacha.

Illustrative photography: Anita Bacha.

The Night of Shiva in Mauritius

In spiritual life, each aspirant seeks and appeases his spiritual hunger according to his belief , taste or talent.

Grand Bassin, dotingly called ‘Ganga Talao’ , is a Crater Lake situate in a secluded mountain area in the South of Mauritius. Nestled deep in the core recess of the heart of the island, Grand Bassin is recognized as a sacred lake and a replica of the Holy Ganges by the Hindu populace.Every year, thousands of pilgrims from the four corners of the island converge to its precincts; they collect the sacred water of the lake,to offer to Lord Shiva, on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri or The Night of Shiva. This year, the Night of Shiva is celebrated on 21 February. Zealous pilgrims from the north, the east and the west have started to trek to the south since Friday last, blessed by the intermittent drizzles of the rainy season.

ODE TO SHIVA

Graceful, gorgeous white skinned Lord,

You wear the moon on your head,

You are the elixir of life,

Remover of pain and suffering; Immutable, powerful three-eyed Lord,

You are the Embodiment of Light

Bestower of joy and ecstasy

Destroyer of darkness and ignorance

My song is a prayer to you,

My dance is a worship to you,

My body is your temple,

My soul belongs to you.

Anita Bacha

Illustration/Photography/Anita Bacha Illustration Video/Courtesy of Flying Freaks Aerial Cinematography