In Search of My Village
I ran for the last metro,
face covered with scarf.
A large bag on the moving escalator, I keep.
Automated door opens against;
sitting inside, through a large window, I observe:
the hustle-bustle of the city, egoistic tall buildings,
lights in the streets challenging stars and moon.
Beating heart feels the vibrations around.
In the comfortable machine, I see:
a man with a jar of pickle
& a traditional turban on his head.
The fragrance I feel,
of poppadum, pickle, chutney & marmalade;
grandmother made them in the backyard
I recall –
older men at the Chabutra ;
with individual hookahs sitting in circle.
Morning & evening walks
to the stone brick path towards orchard
through the small canal in frosty weather.
The canal –
surrounded by the ladies washing clothes
and children bathing around.
The orchard recalls of –
stealing mangoes, guavas &
chewing sugarcane for juice.
For marriage arrangements was
the village high school.
Cluster of houses, a courtyard under single gate
in the common kitchen, the meal they made.
Children urged older women
for folklores under the huge Bunyan tree.
Young girls move towards the field with glee,
holding chapattis, pickle and kettle full of tea.
‘bangles, saree, suit & shawl’
the bargaining of ladies, I recall.
Kids search for mothers,
on sweet candy and ice cream call
10 Paisa, 20 Paisa
was for them all in all.
The time of bus at my village was clock’ five,
roof full of passengers & crowded inside.
Furnished Kuccha Floor with mud & cow dung,
walls decorated with lime & traditional design.
in which we slept was sagged,
utensils we arranged to keep under the leakage.
Positioning the beds vertically
under the glittering sky
surrounded by walls and roofs;
on which firewood and cow dung cakes dried.
grandfather’s bags of stories
grandmother’s everlasting lullabies
fingers pointing the stars; counting
one, two, three till we fell asleep.
A big piece of jaggery was the dessert
after every meal;
Wheat, Rice, Black Gram & Mung Bean;
the houses full of, I have seen.
The aroma of the letters from the Postman’s bag,
welcomes the waiting houses.
Mountains were sofa & Canal our carpet
In their lap, we felt delighted.
Now I returned to my Village,
to call grandpa sitting in circles,
to steal cream from milk.
To see the smoke coming from the hearth,
where corns and rice, villagers roast.
And call once again, to the scarecrow
standing amidst the rice husks.
Seeing my village, I feel –
Once it was too big for me, now seems too small
& my heart quite large as a child, now shrinked.
Something has changed amongst us,
And I lament for the previous bond.
Footnotes: Chutney: A spicy condiment of Indian origin, made of fruits or vegetables with vinegar, spices, and sugar.
 Chabutra: Indicate a sitting platform, usually under a tree or beside any water-body like lake, pond, etc. Hookahs: An oriental tobacco pipe with a long, flexible tube which draws the smoke through water contained in a bowl. Kuccha Floor: Floors made up of easily available raw materials, like mud, straw, stones or unburnt bricks. These are owned by the economically backward sections and people below poverty line.