The cartography of life’s map

old bakul trees



Over the cartography of life’s map leaned I
Dangling from the whirling ceiling of time
Eyes jellied tracing an engilded child’s footprint
The child, to whom the life yielded its worth

Under the majestic elanji tree, which shaded the large front-yard

On a spacious sand mound, she was there playing alone

She built her first house there, with a huge compound wall around it

And with a well, adjacent to the kitchen just like her parent’s house

She imagined that within the house, her grandma sat with her legs stretched forward

A playroom with lots of wooden toys, bangles and bead boxes

She loved to make “muthumala”s , with the colourful beads she collected from her old broken “mala”s which, every year, during the temple festival days her mother brought for her

She made new designs, breaking and twining, again breaking and twining …

She climbed up into the dark attic, searching through the antique mysteries her father stored

At times, bringing small tables and boxes down to collect her beads and secret things

The muvandan mango tree just in front of the entrance, which gave abundance of mangoes that could be plucked from the veranda itself

The swings on the fatty jack fruit trees

The swinging with her friends, taking turns to push and swing

The cashew-nut fruits and many a kind of mangoes, sharing with friends

The river, the flowing serenity of the village life

There was the cake, made with wet sand and coconut shell

The rice of gravels and curries of leaf-bits and flowers

Crowns of jack-fruit-tree leaves, stitched with eerkil (palm-leaf-stick)

The long rope-train, the very first one she and her friends had a ride

The round-leaf tickets, paper boats, the multi-coloured umbrella- her father’s gift

The orange coloured frilled silk frock which she hated for its itching her skin

The watering the plants, acting a grown-up girl, with the mother

The waiting by the riverbank for her mother to finish the bathing

The scintillating sunset over the palm tree heads

The rainy seasons never were boring for her chirping self

The nights, far away across the river, when it was flooded, they cooed for the ferry, the return cooing, the twinkling lights of palm-leaf torches moving towards darkness, one after another, every now and then

The running with calves and kittens, the sleeping kittens in the nook of the hands

The smell of enlanji flowers, the garland of them to put on Krishna’s photo, every evening

Then there the gold was getting reduced to very tiny spots, sparingly here and there
There are the patches of swirling lines of gales on the map
Some dead volcanoes and frozen lava trails
Some dark valleys and crossed steep hills
Some empty spaces, which are yet to be worked on

The gold is always an asset, whether to be showcased or to wear around one’s neck
None can, but, wear a heavy-dark-rusty-iron chain as a fashion
They are useful only to lock the gates, to curb the intrusion of disasters



*Muthumala – bead-chain

*Mala – chain

*Eerkil – the stick of palm leaf

*Muvandan – a type of mango

Elanji/bakul –  a tree which grows so wide and fat with fragrant star-like flowers



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