Thursday, March 13, 2008

Childhood memories 1994 – 2008

Fourteen years have gone by,
everything’s transformed.
The roads to my childhood
boast of a dozen potholes
The tree that bore bright yellow flowers
is just a dead stump now.
The pink “phisal patti”
uprooted and gone.
The big, scary well with its metal cast
looks helpless and torn
My mother’s hometown, my childhood playground
Is in shambles now

The house with the long, winding, roofless lobby,
With white stone “alas” carved into the wall
the “bagicha” with “chameli” and “bel” abound,
The kitchen with the old-fashioned stove and stone,
And the high-ceiling fans with their long necks
The house where my nani fed me with her hands
“Paranthas” with mangoes and jaggery
The house where she scrubbed my skin
With “besan” and “malai”
The house where my nani stood vigil at night
While I sat petrified of the tiniest “chipkali” in the loo

Huge earth pots now block the door
The door once blue is now a sickly yellow
There’s not a single crack I could peep through
For a glimpse of my nani’s house
The house of my childhood memories
Is someone else’s now

The temple I once knew
Simple and small
The earth its boundary
The Banyan tree its guard,
The tree that gave shade
To my mud temples
Adorned with wild flowers.
Within the pink stone temple
“Shivji” watched me hide and seek
eyes twinkling at my mischiefs
a ghost of a smile upon his face
I was his favourite companion I know
for every evening I found him waiting upon his throne

The earth is gone
covered with marble now
The steps, the floor, and the walls
All seem aloof and cold
My beloved “Shivji” sits on his throne
unapproachable and alone amidst the pomp
No one to entertain him
or make him smile
The temple of my childhood, my hideout
Seems like a stranger now

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