The First Rains of Monsoon

When the first rains of monsoons

Stir up the sand this year

I will smile, and remember you.

.

Do you smile now

When you see the plantain and jack fruit

You planted, shining under the blue grey sky?

.

You were a man of love.

I almost forgot how rare

Kindness is in this world,

How easily boys can break hearts,

When you smiled.

.

The land is dry now

A month later, the rains will arrive,

And I will be home.

A home without you.

 

A Place Called Home

There is a place called home

In a country marooned by still backwaters

And a gentle wind waltzing with trees

Under the eyes of burning sunsets.

.

The flavours of this land strike you

With its colour and music,

Wherever you look, the bustle is endless.

Move with the crowd, and turn right

To reach home in a country which rose out of water.

.

In this grey and smoky world

I sometimes forget the way home.

The colours and music seem lost

As I drown in rivers, failing

To find my way back.

.

I do not know when I will find my way again

To the place called home

In a country half drowned in lakes –

Only the dream of what awaits me there

Reminds me to turn right, always.

Home

When you are away from home, there is this unshakable feeling of being exiled. Everything feels makeshift, temporary, like an adjustment until something permanent takes its place.

I’ve been living in a flat for the past year (The one year anniversary passed by, unnoticed, as all dates tend to do in a mind that just can’t hold on to numbers). In many ways, it feels like home. I love drinking tea on the terrace steps every evening, when a slight wind blows faithfully, never failing to bring all my hair to my face. Sometimes, we go up to our terrace much after midnight, and have our deepest conversations. I feel relieved when I return from somewhere, and it feels like I am coming back “home”.

But this is temporary. The clothes hanger that dangles from a wall, collapsing from holding too much weight, the paint that scrapes from the ceiling every time it rains, the windows that don’t shut properly, the stove which stands on three legs – these don’t faze me.I am convinced this is temporary. This home is mine, for now. Next year, there will be another name on that lease.

I think of words a lot. Sunset, chocolate, love, pain, biriyani, loneliness, trees, stars – these are some of my favourites. Then I develop images around them, and watch them all pass me by, as I sit still, like a passenger in a train.. .

With the word ‘home’, the breeze immediately begins blowing. Sometimes there is a slight drizzle, sometimes not. Everything is a lush green. The guava and sapota trees are there, though they’ve been cut years ago. The neem is taller, though still slender. And the water… I can’t see the river bed, there are no plastic bags. It’s a rush of waves. I can hear wind-chimes in the distance. Then Amma places her plump, soft hands on me. As usual, they feel heavy and light at the same time. I sink into her touch. Appa is there. His smile shows teeth just like mine.  I smile back, and his eyes shine. The scene seems to last forever, like a badly directed Hindi movie. Except, even in my fantasy, the wind gets hair in my eyes.

This is my picture of home. My sisters aren’t there. Maybe it’s because now they’re exiled too, just like me.

Goodbye Television

NaPoWriMo Day#3: Write a fourteener, a poem with each line consisting of 14 syllables.

Prompt from http://www.napowrimo.net

.

Beneath the neem tree, towards the gleaming water I run

Away from your grip, your hollow talk and dull dirty eyes

My feet rush faster as my mind tries to forget all the

Minutes, the hours, the days, and most important, the moments

You took away from me, my brain too numb, too weary to

Realize how limited my time at home was, how short,

Shorter than your one twenty second advertisement break.

How to be a Great Father

BlogHer prompt for Monday, November 10: What knowledge do you have that others don’t? Write a “how to” post about anything you’ve got skills for, small or large.

Dedicated to my father. “Appa”, whose birthday is tomorrow.

.

Turn off the internet and confiscate the laptops

Switch the lights off and tuck your girls in

And in the darkness, smile at the invisible sulks

Your daughters make while half-asleep.

.

Wake them up in the morning

Be useful by panicking about time

And asking repeatedly, “Have you forgotten..?”

Ignore their rolling eyes, and look around for what they’ve missed.

.

Miss them while they’re gone

All those hours in school

Which turn to months in college

Kiss them when they’re back

They secretly like it, though they say stop,

Their eyes will shine with home.

.

Complain about not having a boy around

Buy a football in vain to get them interested

Make them stay awake at night for World Cups,

But sit through their makeover-daddy sessions

And smile wickedly for a selfie with them.

.

Fight with them, make them run to mama

Be the baby, let them pet and pamper you

Pretend to sleep and wake up with a roar,

Enjoy their frustrated, “appa, stop!”

As much as their “miss you appa” over the phone.

.

Love them with all of your heart

And watch them break it over and over

Knowing without a doubt that

They’ll always come back,

Cos they’re appa’s girls.

The Feel of Taste

The Feel of Taste

Fluffy rice, the tangy lime pickle the tip of your tongue licks, the hastily prepared salad

Taste like home, the comfort of familiarity and acceptance flavour them all.

 

Hot steamy rice, spicy tender chicken, and the sweet surprise of pineapple and cream

Under the dim light of a candle on a cold star kissed night where my grandmother’s hands

Skillfully maneuvered the food into every open, eager mouth.

 

Roadside momos, noodles-in-a-box, plenty of Nutella and Nescafe brewed in the microwave,

The virgin taste of independence, grilled to perfection with nostalgia of home.

 

Flavour-of-the-month ten-rupee chocolate ice cream on a cold night

A walk back from the vendor through the lawns back to our dorms

Glazed with a sprinkle of uncontrollable laughter, and surprising happiness.

Home

Home…
A place of undying love
And ready acceptance
Where comfort lies
In your mother’s eyes
And your father’s voice
Where sisters laugh and fight
Over clothes and TV channels.

Home…
Where I return to
Every time I need comfort
And unquestioning, insatiable love
Where I find solace
In my mother’s cool touch
And my father’s tight hug.

Home…
A place I will constantly return to
But where I’ll never remain
Because home is where
Love completely forbids
The freedom to get hurt,
Make mistakes and
Break my heart.