Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree: Poems, Rants, and Short Stories

Poems are fragments of life.

Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree by Simi K. Rao is a collection of blissful moments; deep, invisible wounds; cries for help; declarations of defiance and philosophical observations. These poems and prose are fragments of life elucidating the different phases of the human condition. Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree will leave readers wanting for more and have a deep impact on women of all ages.

Life is not about achieving perfection, it’s about reconciling with your imperfections.

Praise for Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree:

“Rao amazes yet again with a true sense of what the modern woman goes through every day. We must battle cultural norms yet rebel in a way to gain our wings to do what we yearn to accomplish. She describes the dual roles of women, no matter where one comes from.” —Sonali Dhir, Advance Practice Nurse, Family Nurse Practitioner

“Simi K. Rao’s Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree is a compelling collection of poems and short stories. Dr. Rao writes with keen insight about life, love, illness, war, loss, revenge and joy. Her spare and deceptively simple poetry leaves the reader with a new appreciation of our universal humanity, and her short stories will leave you wanting more.” —Marianne Novelli, M.D.

“I read Simi K Rao’s Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree in two sittings. I simply couldn’t put it down. The short stories were penned with an appreciation for the important placement of imagery, detail, and dialogue. This skill combined with likeable and formidable characters makes for an impressive read. But it is the poetry that grabbed me. Her innate propensity for unearthing our shared humanness, no matter our differences, strikes an emotional tone that allows her reader to not only relate, but to empathize. The poetry is straight up and to the point. It does not have to be interpreted or dissected to be understood. Simi is a straight shooter and certainly had an impact on this reader.” —Dallas H, Author of Shaking the Family Tree



Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree


Gods recline and meditate

Yogis attain nirvana

Banias conduct business

Councils assemble and confer


I stand firm, yet I walk

My arms stretch across the universe,

forever seeking and growing

I am exceptional


Creatures frisk on my limbs

The weary traveler finds repose

I am a temple of benevolence

An infinite ocean of knowledge


I was there before you were born

I shall remain after you are gone

I have weathered a million storms

I am the eternal tree


About the poem: The term ‘Banyan’ was coined by the British after the word ‘bania’ who are people belonging to the trading community. Found in nearly every Indian village, the tree is the center of activity. People gather, traveling merchants of all kinds set up shop under its vast canopy, and village councils hold hearings. It is also called Kalpavriksha, the tree that fulfills wishes and material desires and is greatly revered. Its ability to survive and grow for centuries is akin to God providing shelter to his devotees. Its ability to send down aerial roots which grow down into the soil and form additional trunks makes it a symbol of immortality. The leaves, bark and seeds are used for various medicinal purposes. The tree is truly extraordinary.

About the Author:

Simi K. Rao was born and grew up in India before relocating to the U.S., where she has lived for several years. The inspiration for her books, and other projects, comes from her work and experience with cross-cultural traditions, lifestyles and familial relationships. Rao enjoys exploring the dynamics of contemporary American culture blended with Indian customs and heritage to reflect the challenges and opportunities many Indian-American women face in real life. She is a practicing physician, and much of Rao’s down time is devoted to creative pursuits, including writing fiction and poetry, and photography. She is also an avid reader and traveler and has visited many locations around the world. She has written four novels. Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree is her first collection of poems and short stories. It is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She is currently working on a new novel. She lives in Denver with her family. To learn more about Simi or her books, visit SimiKRao.com or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.