. In Praise of Bollywood To India! To visit from afar... My journey there would be a dream fulfilled. To visit Delhi, Agra, Bangalore, To ride an elephant, pluck a sitar; I’d see a thousand temples loudly filled And visit ruins steeped in Sanskrit lore. How I regret I’ve never studied Hindi! I do not sport a handlebar mustache; No henna is tattooed upon my hand. Upon my forehead you will find no bindi; I own no red sherwani with a sash--- But still I long to see this ancient land! To dance before the Palace of Mysore Or meditate beside the Taj Mahal; To wade into the Ganges from its ghats And burn incense; to stroll by Goa’s shore; To skirt the rugged border with Nepal, Or sample sambar stewed in giant vats. I dream that I am saturated with The vivid hues of Holi; I float free Chagall-like over mandirs; pilgrims sing Regaling me with history and myth. I journal all these blessings over tea Up in the mist-green hills of Darjeeling. Alas, I fear my journey’s but a dream And so I watch the films of Bollywood, Where graceful women stun with saree fashion And macho men wear gold and pearls which gleam; The sets and costumes outshine Hollywood As cameras capture spectacle and passion! A servant boy, attacked by javelins, Is saved by loyal royalists in league; No pauper, he’s revealed to be the king! Each winsome kiss is chaste as courtesans And Mughal soldiers skillfully intrigue. They fight with swords. And then all dance and sing! These films remind me of a golden age When innocence and elegance prevailed. It’s 1940. This is M.G.M. Romance is valued; holy men are sage. The villains aren’t glorified---they’re jailed; And wickedness is something all condemn. The films made in L.A. now make me sneer. They propagandize causes I disdain With actors who are woke, depraved or high. If you seek wholesome morals or some cheer, A new Ben-Hur or Singing in the Rain, Then join me. Let us journey to Mumbai. . Bindi: a colored dot worn on the center of the forehead, originally by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains from the Indian subcontinent. It carries considerable religious significance to each. Sherwani: a long-sleeved outer coat worn by men in India and other South Asian countries. Holi: an ancient Hindu festival which takes place in the Spring. It is famous for its festival of colors in which participants exuberantly shower each other with vivid hues of paint. A mandir is a Hindu temple. . . Brian Yapko is a lawyer who also writes poetry. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.