Depicting beings of pure consciousness is different in one key aspect from depicting usual objects. A representation of lightning doesn't give shocks. A true evocation of an energy being… actually calls it there. And when that happens it can be jaw dropping.


Tarun Cherian: Poet. Writer. SongWriter. Mantra Mage.
What is home? India is my home. And yet being urban. A govt child, moving every 3 years as my dad moved. I like many am nomad. Stranger to my land and people. Made deeper still for as I have been born into a free-thinking Christian family,many traditional frames of thinking are missing. And so like many Indians I am both native and exile. Sometimes by circumstance, as my dad's transferable job shifted me out of my home state. Sometimes by stupidity. As I in childish arrogance rejected my heritage. Sometimes by divine purpose as my divine visions definitively separate me from community's blinkers and earth's gravity.

Creative Director with 18 award-winning years. Award-winning Poet. 6 books of poetry, spirituality, art published.


Where is India ?
{Appeared in Deccan Herald, Indian Republic Day, Jan 2003}

It is in the lice wandering like pilgrims in the filth-matted hair of the ascetic/sage walking half-naked down MG Road, (setting a bad example to visiting IT cats and so should be banned) not giving a 2 nd glance at the merc desperate to overtake my ‘gaadi', but afraid to risk rubbing shoulders, not to mention unaffordable paint, against the hoi polloi.

Where is India ? It is too busy burning its brides , (provoked by the hard tusks of greed dressed as the latest liberal God, the 1600cc car, the home theatre, the mirror-finished fridge, freely pouring kerosene over a creature who will never reach the high throne of mother in law and so direct her demons or sons to roast the human, who'll be left over and thrown out as no one really eats meat) to answer such silly questions.

Where is India ? It is in the cowdung trail of the starved, paper-fed cow, gathered eagerly by artists seeking to make the latest statements. Also by Sonabai still using it for jowar rotis thick, heavy and belly-fillingly satisfying, as she lies in bed in hospital, dying, asking for handouts from a child that tagged onto her as she gathered seeds to sell, 10 paisa for sackfulls, and who you or I don't see is mom in another birth, which we have conveniently insulated ourselves against with some strange hotchpotch of karma and cause, effect, punishment, pierced by the deep generosity of spirit that fills one's being with love as she who cannot feed herself feeds me.

Where is India? It is in the arm that tells a stranger and a wife and mewling brat on a street to come home, gives half a home and more and so forges bonds so thick they're banyan branches as the heart overflows.

Where is India? It is in your kadai, with red, yellow, brown, green flinging their blazing spice spells and muttering mustard flaring up in ghee streaming up in snaky flows making your salivating mouth ask for only what Amma cooked, so you turn your wife into her, only narrower for it rests in the gallis of memory that sometimes can't be mapped and so you can't find the way out.

Where is India? It's in the software cat's proud car purring like a tiger carrying appa, half proud, half thrilled, half don't-know-what-to-say at this sudden rise to fortune, that surely-must-fall, or at least cringe as the pink slip bares its teeth or too many all night, work-ins take their toll and the graveyard of obsolescence cheats the caviar-filled mouth of taste, so goes on a strange journey to a smashana sthala of wealth, and if Bill Gates prancing with an AIDS patient resembles something else, so be it, for everyone knows the poor are damned to tap on the windows of your mind or car, (both being identical; efficient, powerful, successful, zippy, and fitting into any parking space) and to return to that hand tapping, you turn down your window and dispense with the largesse of kings.

Where is India? It is in the cobra rising in my body, gold, fierce, terrible and so gentle into the dark womb of the night from which we pull the far speck of the kite down, manja entangling in strange heart-choked and mind-thorned places wrapping round and round the charka of the mind, that yearns to flee into the skies with kites crying as their bones wrench and the bamboo almost cracks scything down and freeing the cut patang to go haffa where it will into the sunset, the brambly tree of life, or the tall bamboo limbs of urchins waiting to rip its thin skin to shreds, only to see that what the hand wrenches from another, (if I can't get it neither should you) is of no import, for that which has been set free was never trapped, was never encased by paper or skin, or bone or bamboo, never spelt in scaly skin or hood or fang ripped out and pussy thrown in combat against the ancient enemy, the asura mongoose that transmutes into God and his flute that we cannot hear, yet dance to.

Where is India? It is in the shunyata painting sold to an NRI for 50,000 dollars.

Where is India? It is beneath a Gandhi topi, skulls filled with lathis, bandooks, land grab and the sound of a bell muezzin's call, Buddhist chant, that cut, dissected shows no special coil, just the usual grey.

Where is India? It is in the butt that moves to accommodate yours in the train and has so adjust maadied it has fallen off the berth and become very 3 rd class, so ready to be the khansaama to make a khichidi for world bank and whosoever has the money.

Where is India ?It is playing gili danda with Pakistan using nukes as gilis.

Where is India? It is in the smell of the smell of the monsoon.

Where is India? It is definitely in the ding's dance floor , where everyone's going to Australia , only sadly to find every one else has the same idea so Britain serves curry mostly.

Where is India? It is in the tiger roaring in the gallis of Bombay and nowhere else except the barred zoo where mouldy, large, striped rats growl in front of monkeys dressed as humans.

Where is India? It is in your brown skin that can be turned magically white, or at least a wheatish complexion, by multi-nats.

Where is India? It is in the missing queues for phones , the no longer waiting for gas, the fat stocked supermarkets, the sitting across the table with the world, the firang waiting for us to change it.

Where is India? It is in the auto driver who drives half an hour to return a bag to me filled with moongphalli shells called poetry.

Where is India? It is in New York where my 2 uncles, 6 cousins, 12 second cousins and zillion relatives stay not knowing whether to cry as the towers crashed down and life's no longer so easy in spite of the conversion rate and they wonder if all they did was for nothing, as all their friends have bigger cars, bigger homes, children who listen (er…) and servants and holidays and maybe a life.

Where is India? It is not in the space between Shiva, Allah and Christ.

Where is India? Is it in Vande Mataram? In the spice cupboard? In the Naga dance? In the blood streaked Kargill hill? In the kite dancing? Is it in the cobra to whom the universe is just one scale?

Where is India? It is a river, underground in your chest, somewhere left of patriotism, right of Buddha, south of the missus, and dammed up by huge concrete heaps of indifference and history.

Where is India? It is in you. It is in me. It is in the blood between us.


Maru Kuruchit Ondo?
(Where have you buried your afterbirth? This extraordinary phrase in malayalam and thought was revealed to me by novelist and friend Anita Nair, in the mid 1990's. Deep folk tradition that the modern world has forgotten, and disrupted. By burying the afterbirth in the land we claim an umblical link with the neighbourhood, land, country, earth.)  

Why won't you leave me alone?
I have.
I don't speak Malayalam.
I don't wear a mundu.
I don't know my 7 th cousins.
Let alone my 2 nd.
I can't climb a coconut tree
like an uncle can.
I hate chakka.
I don't really like fish.
I like iddiappams, but who doesn't?
I haven't married a good Syrian Christian girl
with a big, fat dowry.
I don't have a family deity.
I am not a kalari-fighter
like a great, great, great grand parent was.
Why won't you leave me alone?
You know I have been ashamed of you.
You know I have been ashamed of that shame.
You know I have been ashamed of being ashamed of that shame.
You know I have gotten over shame.
You know I have never really felt ashamed.
You know I have never really felt ashamed of being ashamed.
You are just a place where Appachen and Amma stay. And even they are escaping to Conoor for half a year.
Why won't you leave me alone?
White like an angel in her Chattai-mundu, she walks.
Disappears behind a frond.
Slowly Ammachy turns sepia.
The house remembers her.
But who remembers the house?

Why won't you leave me alone?
Ammachy is dead now.
Uncles branch like thattai vadi,
they cross the ocean and take hold.
They'll sell it all
to feed the American dream.
They are selling the attic where we kept Cape Comorin sand and fought ghosts.
They are selling the pond where we sailed coconut frigates and battleships.
They are selling the well.
They are selling the stream.
They are selling the bloated cow.
They are selling our Bob'n' Molly collection.
They are selling the house that rose out of the coconut trees with Ammachy waiting for us.
They are selling footballs made of fresh rubber.
They are selling milk that came from cows not packets.
They are selling the fireflies that knit the air.
They are selling the lamps in the verandah.
They are selling 28, more 28, more 28.
They are selling mamne inde manam, the smell of rain.
Why won't you leave me alone? 
There is a sound in my ear.
Thanga singing offkey but with so much passion that Yesu listens.
Why won't you leave me alone?
Ammachy still takes us to Tiruvella for biryani. Why won't you leave me alone?
“Fried the bats taste good,” says the man cleaning the roof in the middle of a cocktail party.
Why won't you leave me alone?
The tiger man still dances at Christmas.
Why won't you leave me alone?
Fields blinding me with green.
Behind Ammachy stands Ammachy, a long train into the distance. The guard waves and waves.
We escape to Bombay, Hubli, Hyderabad…
Whose earth in my earth?
Whose breath in my breath?
Whose blood in my blood?
Whose tongue in my tongue?
A crow wing hangs on the washing line to chase away crows.
The scent of cashew roasting fills the air.
Tomorrow, Ammachy wants us to polish her Burmese teak table.
Why won't you leave me alone?
At a get together, the boys invite me,
surreptitiously, to have 'drinks' with them, away from the women folks.
They are being friendly. 
If that is Kerala, leave me alone.
An uncle more Keralite from separation
follows his daughter on a date
and drags her screaming from a restaurant in NY.
If that is Kerala, leave me alone.
Relationships like lianas strangle me around. Everyone must grow up to be an engineer or doctor. And marry the girl their fathers choose.
My favourite uncle offered that if I drop the 'mangalorean' I love he'll find a nice girl with a fat bank balance. 
Thank you. No thank you. If that is Kerala, leave me alone.
Mals assume I must hang out with mals.
Sorry. I prefer humans.
I fruit pokey like a chakka.
Why won't you leave me alone?
One day you may.
One day, when I come to Kerala, I'll have to stay at a hotel.
One day, my uncles won't ask “arriyama o?” Why will they bother?
One day, there won't be a verandah and no rubber plantation.
Why won't you leave me alone?
You are not a place.
Or a language.
Or a people.
You are a kind of darkness.
Deep within me.
Fecund, green, or lamp-lit, terrible.
Kerala do not leave me alone.
Even if you are not the tongue in my tongue.
You are the earth in my earth.
You are the breath in my breath.
You are the blood in my blood.

Maru Kuruchit Ondo deals with the Love-confused-hate relationship that some exiles have with Kerala.

Arriyama o? – Do you know me?
Amma - Mother.
Ammachy - (Mother) used here as Grandmother.
Bob'n' Molly - A popular comic strip.
Chakka - Jackfruit.
Chattai Mundu - A kind of Lungi worn by Christian Women.
Iddiappam - A stringy appam
Mamne inde manam - The smell of earth 
Maru Kuruchit Ondo ? - Literally, have you buried your after birth here? For that is the place that draws you psychically back. Incidentally i was born in Bombay. So my afterbirth not preserved by the military hospitaal was probably thrown in some garbage heap.
Thanga - A servant of ours

Back to Home Page.

-Spiritual Path, Core Truths

-Art: Shaktipats in Disguise.
-Gallery of Tarun's Spiritual Art -Critics Praise:

-Writing: - Poetry:
*Pilgrim's Progress.
*Kundalini Rising.
*Awakenings: Welcoming The Joy.
* Witness
*Refusing to Fall.
*Je Suis Human.
*Rules of Life.

- Short Stories:
*The Merciful Tree

- Fables:

- Songs & Hymns & Video Poetry

- Mantras

- Articles: uploaded at, Tickle Newsletter, edited by Tarun & Celia Cherian

- Books:
*Buffy's Doggy Revelations uploaded @
*The Chronicle of Death & Rebirth uploaded*
Selection from Speaking in Tongues.
*FREE: Big Treasures in Little Pockets. uploaded @
*FREE: The Hour Before Dawn. uploaded @

- Talks, Videos

- Contact.


The Runaway Smile.
{Appeared in One Sentence Poems, May 2018}

My smile walks away from me,
Boards the train bound to Sakleshpur, claims its seat,
Next to the mami {auntyji} from Malleshwaram, who pulls out a tiffin filled with murkus,
Homemade which you have to say no to with salivating mouth,
{Nowadays you know train thieves drug and leave you naked on the tracks},
Anyway you adjust-maadi, and squeeze tight against the flower seller from Anant Nag,
While her husband leers at you,
But she, she with her provincial wisdom,
Places a warm understanding hand on your thigh,
Which says ‘the men will be the men’, 
And new teeth pop up in your smile
That broadens to include our home in IndiraNagar, now no longer screaming its head off,
And with Tenali Ram’s wry wisdom grins at life foibles,
As the whole world is ‘seeing’ your ex-husband running after the train like Don Quixote,
With umbrella poking ‘everbodies’ and the train’s arse
Shouting ‘my wife, my wife do not take my wife’
But the engine driver ‘is not caring’,
And with a jhug-jhug katak feek we move towards Amma’s estate,
Where she will hit me with a belan for leaving my husband,
And I will be safe, and smiling.


Mami – In Tamil refers to a traditional Tam Bram (Tamil Brahmin) conservative wife/ aunt. A good woman full of heart but as uncool as can be.
Tiffin – Lunch box. Tiffin in India refers to a mid-morning snack, often carried in an aluminum or stainless steel box, so tiffin also refers to the box, as quintessential as the Englishman’s brolly.
Murkus – A fried south Indian snack with ground lentils and spices, looks like brown coarse rope curled.
Tenali Ram – The Hodja of South India, a legendary wise minister in the erstwhile Vijaynagar empire.
Amma’s  estate – Amma = mother, Estate = Estate , often refers to a family home in a Coffee/ Rubber plantation.
Belan – A solid wood baking roller used in India to roll out chappatis and deal with recalcitrant men-folk.

Thanks for liking the poem. The Runaway Poem is based on an actual case/ cases. Many Indian Women shuttle between two states of existence. The husband's home. The mother's home. In the husband's home managing a home comprising Husband who eats the same food everyday {only cooked the way his mom makes it}, 3 kids, the husband's parents a sister-in-law with tongue like a whip, her job, a boss with love interest in her, and her own odd mix of puritanism & consumerism. And her mom, her refuge is worse, often walloping her with a rolling pin, her dad a maniac who possesses a military background + a gun {rare in India}, once to teach the son in law a lesson, put a bullet on his breakfast plate. Oddly the wife loved the fact that her husband, a pernickety nag, made an utter fool of himself running after her. Have obviously changed all details to protect the identity of the couple. Besides now that she knows he loves her. And he knows she returned not just because the mom pecked her back. Real Love is blossoming. Yes after 3 kids. 

About the Train Journey. It is real and The Archetypal Indian Train Journey. A state of mind. The other day had taken a trip in a train from Bangalore. In a compartment meant for 8 people there were 46 additional local passengers, vegetable vendors, flower sellers, knick-knack sellers, bijjinessmen, full families going back to their ooru. A veg vendor lady hanging over me, handed me her baby who gurgled contentedly and dribbled on my t-shirt. After awhile managed by adjusting got her 6 inches of space next to me, which she contentedly settled into, fed her baby there in the crowd. This huge crush of people swayed. Giving off the most redolent, but comforting odours. And a deep wonderful sense of interconnectedness.