Thursday, 31 July 2014

Aie - About my grandmother...

The word 'Aie' means Mother in my mother tongue Marathi but we used to call our paternal grandmother Aie.A grandmother is usually  called 'Ajji'.Today would have been her 87th birthday and I thought of sharing  this poem which I had written over twelve years ago.My daughter was four years old then and my son was yet to be born!
                       
        AIE - ABOUT MY GRANDMOTHER

When I was born, my grandmother hastened to declare,
"I won't be called Ajji, I don't have grey hair!"
So Aie she was and Aie she remained,
Right till the end of her earthly reign.

I could hear her pattering in the kitchen
Long before dawn.
And she worked all day,
Without a yawn!
She made the most delicious meals and pickles too,
Today I wish I'd taken a moment
 To say 'Thank you'.

In Aie's regime the house was always sparkling clean.
She scrubbed and mopped,
Swept and dusted,
I told her,in vain,
It was time she rested!

When for long hours I'd been on the phone,
She'd rave and rant and shout and groan.
And about hefty phone bills
She'd loudly moan!
Her monthly budget was a wonder.
No finance minister could have made it stronger.
In her purse a rupee lasted so much longer!

I scoffed when she said gold was an investment wise,
Today, as interests fall and prices rise,
The wisdom of her words I now realize.

In winter, to wear a sweater, she with me would plead,
Not that I, to those words ever paid heed!
Today my daughter is wrapped up at the hint of a breeze.
And yet I am anxious lest she cough or sneeze!

Her reluctance to let me cycle in traffic
I used to hate.
Today I don't let my daughter
Out of the gate!
Me travelling alone gave her the shivers.
I, in my ignorance, mocked at her fears.

I laughed, then, at her obsession with her daughter,
Today, I know, one cannot, with words,
One's own lamb slaughter!
Sometimes against my mother
Her sword would be drawn.
After all, which mother in law ever admits
She could be wrong!

Then one day I went away
Without a thought nor a guess,
That her hands, for the last time
Had me blessed.
When I returned,
She had gone for her eternal rest.

An earthern lamp on the floor
Stared me in the eye.
To its steady flame
I said my last goodbye.




Thursday, 17 July 2014

Hide And Seek

Childhood memories surface 
Of damp, dank June days....
Of paper boats and puddles
Of high and happy spirits.

Inhaling the fragrance of wet earth
Twirling a bright umbrella,
Seems but a distant dream.
And thick dust cloaks everything.

Getting tangled with my gloomy thoughts,
Dark clouds hover
Across my city's barren horizon,
Bringing a promise of rain.

Scraggly trees, dry as bone,
Surreptitiously straighten themselves,
Hoping to wash off
The dust of a summer passed.

A few drops fall
And glisten on a thirsty leaf,
And my heart lifts up,
Only to slump again.

A brisk breeze blows
Through the trees.
The dark clouds scurry away,
The meagre raindrops hurry away.

Grey dust still clings to the trees.
I can taste it on my tongue.
I feel that yet again,
Summer has begun...




Tuesday, 1 July 2014

A Thirsty State



June was like facing summer all over again,
A leaking water tank giving the illusion of rain.

The farmer's gnarled fingers shade his eyes,  
As he anxiously scans the skies,
His wan face to conceal anxiety, tries,  
How long can he believe the weather bureau's lies?

The only moisture of which there is absolutely no dearth,
Are the farmer's tears, as they drip onto the parched earth.    

His seedlings lie shrivelled,
His wife is no longer bejewelled.
He is buried under a mountain of debt,
But there is no sign of rain...yet.

Rich and poor equally moan the lack of rain,
But only the farmer is driven insane.

The chopping of trees does not cease.
How can the weather Gods then be appeased?
Prayers are being chanted across my State,
But the farmer has already resigned himself to his fate.

Dark clouds hover, but they aren't of rain,
We seem to be facing a drought all over again!

Thirsty cities speak of water harvesting,
But most of the time they are only jesting.
As the first minute drops fall,
All resolutions are chucked across the wall.

There is talk of reducing global warming,
There are discussions of how we are the environment harming.

More trees are hacked to file these paper reports,
And people pledge their undying support.
But at the least hint of rain,
Every proposal is shelved again.

Mother Earth waits in vain,
Asking 'When will humankind be sane again?'




                            

Knick-Knack Paddy Whack, Who Gives A Bone?

The past week has not been an easy one. The mother of a very dear friend of mine passed away in my home town, Pune, after a month long batt...