Tag Archives: mother

Brittle Bones

She was excessively cute
A doll of two
More cute than barbie
Her tilted eyes
Pierced my heart
Her dis balanced smile
Shook my nerves
She laughed in stammer
That made me terrible
I couldn’t resist touching her
With my blessings
And I did
What followed
Broke my heart into pieces
She cried and cried so bad
As if in extreme pain
Seemed like the pain
Her mother would have faced
On her birth
I was lost
Didn’t know what happened
Her mother came running
Tears into her eyes
She was just looking at her
And crying with her
Same sound same pain
Please don’t touch her
Please don’t touch her
Her mother shouted madly
Please don’t touch her
In my excitement of her cuteness
I missed the little paper notice on her little frock
It said
“Please don’t touch her
Her bones are brittle”
I felt as if the bone of my life
Had cracked
I didn’t know
How to cry on this
I was fractured within
Will my Lord!
Ever forgive me for this sin

Kitchen Refrains: In Memory of My Mother

(1)

The oil splutters, the glittering bodies
Of paanch phoron, cumin seeds and bay leaves
Emanate a moist, fragrant breath.
The gourd and the potatoes, dancing in the
Indolent pan, with crisp coconut,
The way you always wanted
Culinary things, in their rhythmic crescendo.

Learning and unlearning a lot today,
Vacillating, flickering, in between
Recycled pots and pans, my stained fingers
Scratch in the dust, search for
My girly mouth, stuffed with morsels and juices
Of your presence in steamed rice and runny fish curries.

I have learnt your recipes well, Ma,
Drawing in the dust a diagram of
All the meals that we had shared, talking to me
Through the long sent emails, the stings,
The scrapes, the missed steps of my childhood days.

(2)

I park my eyes in the mossy courtyard,
Your foamy fingers soaking in the detergent,
My dream, a broadened highway leading me
All the way to the creek, the dirt road, the clothesline
The terrace where our evenings hunkered,
Your domestic chores stretched across
The ribs, the hemlines, the loops and curls of the house.

My eyes have taken in the ice and fog
Of all our spoken words, the lines
Curved towards hope, while I chop onions,
Peel potatoes, slice tomatoes,
Rice boiling over, gasping over the smell
Of turmeric, a chained melody that bleeds.
In the kitchen, our silences grow louder every day.

In the kitchen, my childhood photo with you
Fresh, pulpy and sweet, hovers in cinnamon breath.
I hold you between the undone folds of your silk saris
The vermilion dots of your quiet, steadfast longings,
One morning till the next, let me burn until
Your ashes become glistening silver.

I move imperfect, your daughter,
In littered, crumbling surf and sands,
Hungering for your womb, for one last time.

Notes:- ( Written in the loving memory of my dear mother on the auspicious occasion of her birthday on February 26, 2015. A tribute to her unceremonious kitchen chores, her relentless housework and our long-distance phone calls, over which we have bonded in the course of all these years. Hope she is in ultimate bliss, wherever she is now, knowing that I have learnt all the recipes she has taught me. )

(* Paanch Phoron is a medley of five whole Indian spices, consisting of fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, nigella seeds and black mustard seeds, famously used in authentic Bengali delicacies of Banglaadesh, Eastern India and Southern Nepal, also in Assam and Orissa.)

My Role

Patches of dryness
On my skin
My arms cry
A pain of unease
Someone in-between
Craving to release
I cuddle and squeeze
In my sleep
Waiting for someone
Move deep
Miles beyond my smile
And catch that single tear
Floating in the air

A mother, a daughter
A wife, a beloved
A sister
How many roles
Did I stole
Every role turned out
To be fraction of a whole

Life is like an ice-Cream
Let it melt in your mouth
Before it melts outside
Don’t make the taste a waste
In a haste to impress
Play the role that is you
To the true