bereft of waters

trembling in the mountains
war between Indra
and demon Vritra
melting of glaciers

origin Bandapunch masiff
Sarawati-Rupin glacier
confluence at Naitwar
in western Garhwal

descending through Adibadri
Bhavanipur and Balchapur
foothills to plains
a southwesterly course

received tributaries
Shatadru from Mount Kailas
Drishadvati from Siwalik
and the old Yamuna

finally debouched
typically deltaic
at the Great Rann of Kutch
to the Arabian Sea

glorified in the texts
her names are Markanda,
Hakra, Suprabha,
Kanchanakshi, Visala,

Manorama exalted
in the Mahabharata
seven separate names
covering the universe

the decline of rivers
shifting their courses
tributaries pirated
by neighboring rivers

bereft of her waters
monsoon dependent
just pools and lakes
a dry river bed

traced in the Vedas
her flourishing empire
traced on LANDSAT
her residual loam

Saraswati – the ancient river lost in the desert, A. V. Sankaran

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