Sunday 30 May 2021

What the meek inherit


Well, you’ve made your bed and you’ve lain on it,

now it’s time to rise, throw off the sheets

and forge a new mattress from these hardships

even if that means you’re out in the streets

in the night. Look up, there’s a skyful of stars

for you still, a full moon - there’s room to breathe,

there’s space to become who you really are.

Some future planet may be for the meek

but this earth isn’t. And a true princess

will not put up with a pebble nor a pea,

a bedframe of arbitrary injustice,

headboards of unkindness and discourtesy.

Throw off those covers, step out - the world’s broad,

there’s fairness round the corner, down the road.

For all my sisters who've suffered unspeakable injustices due to/during the pandemic. 

Sunday 23 May 2021



Some days the sill’s empty. Some days it’s full.

Sparrows perch. A pigeon. A spotted dove.

Children’s laughter splashes around the pool,

clear summer skies if you cared to look up.


Sometimes the sill’s empty, sometimes birds stop by -

sometimes unknown raptors after a hard kill

wipe their beaks off before taking flight

nervous others stay far, on a parallel


ledge. But look closer, the sill’s not empty

the moults of bugs, dried palm spikes, a feather

signal what’s been. Less romantic bird droppings

pock mark the beige concrete. It was never


empty, just that you’ve trained, entitled your eyes

to look for doves, pigeons, laughter, clear blue skies.

Sunday 16 May 2021

This too will pass...right?


How quickly the day passes, even without you,

away from your presence, like an exile alone

the weight of memory’s the weight of your bones

as light as a flake of ash, as easily blown

off with the lightest of puffs. Outside, the curfew

is a beast poised to spring. The hours are a dark spell.

The phone won’t stop ringing. I tell them, I’m well.


This too will pass, right? How quickly the day passes!

You’re memory of memory - your teacup was still there

unwashed with the dregs. The comb with your tangled hair.

Life’s just a banyan with its roots probing the air.

That morning you drank tea. Nightfall, you were ashes.

They ask how? and why? how will I be? what will I do?

I tell them it’s okay. That I’ll cope. Without you.  

Monday 10 May 2021

Mother's Day 2021


মাতৃদিবসে কখনো বলিনি তোমায়

ভালোবাসি, ভালোবাসি। হয় নি প্রয়োজন

সাজানো স্তবক, আড়ম্বর।  ছোট ছোট কথায়

মাপি নি মাতৃত্বের এই অগাধ বন্ধন

প্রজন্ম প্রজন্মে গাঁথা।  পূর্ণ নিস্তব্ধতায় -

এখন আর বলার নেই উপায়, তবু মনে হয়

কিছু কথা না বলাই ভালো। সব কিছু বলবার নয়।


বহু কথা বলা, শোনা হলো এ জীবনে। 

ছিল যে মমতা তোমার হাতের স্পর্শে, যে আশ্রয়

তোমার আঁচলে, হঠাৎ হাসি ফোটা চোখের কোণে,

ঘুমপাড়ানি গানে সেই প্রথম ভাষা পরিচয় -

ভোরের কুয়াশার মতো ঘেরে, ছেঁড়ে কিছুক্ষণে

পড়ে থাকে নীরব  শূন্যতা। তবু মনে হয়

ও কথাটি না বলাই ভালো। সব কিছু বলবার নয়।

Automatic translation by Google,  minimally tweaked 

I never told you on Mother's Day

I love you, love you. Didn't need to

arrange stanzas/bouquets, fuss. Didn't ever measure

with tiny words this deep bond of motherhood 

carried from generation to generation. In complete silence -

now there is no way to say anything, but still  I feel 

some words are better unspoken. Everything need not be said.

Much has been said and heard in this life.

There was that compassion in the touch of your hand, that refuge

in the loose end of your sari, a sudden smile in the corner of your eye,

the first introduction to language in lullabies-

they surround me like morning mist, vanish after a while

leaving a silent emptiness. Yet it seems

those words are better left unsaid. Everything need not be spoken.

Happy Mother's Day! - to all mums who are here and those who are not.

Tuesday 4 May 2021

Reflections : A-Z ... mindspaces ... cities ... n ... suchlike ...


This year I did the Challenge for an entirely different set of reasons. Partly out of force of habit. Partly as therapy, or at least, the hope of therapy.  I thought the discipline, the routine, the research, would help me climb out of this mindscape of despondency.  I didn't do the theme reveal because obviously I didn't have a theme. I didn't sign up on the master list, because I didn't really think I'd be able to handle new visitors. I wasn't ambitious with return visits or commenting. Quite clear about it being a very different, pared down sort of participation. Considering all that, I've done okay - I managed to finish even though I forgot the order of the alphabet and most of my entries got posted in the nick of time before the date flipped. So yes, I've survived. 

But the news back home got progressively horrifying with each day and the month ended with another bit of terrible news, the very traumatic and untimely death of a very dear family member in India. This year is turning out a worse nightmare than the last, I didn't think that was possible even. At times posting for the A-Z was the only thing keeping me sane, at times it was a chore, at yet another it felt like a thanksgiving for the grace that's come my way in these hard, never-ending pandemic weeks and months. Indeed, I am very aware of the blessings, as much as I'm aware of the grief, both collective and personal. 

My heartfelt thanks to Elephant's Child, Joanne, Hilary, Kristin, Alex, Denise and Yamini for sticking around through April and throughout this pandemic insanity. Your friendship and support, online and off, means a lot. And thank you to A-Zers AlanaLisa, Frederique, Deborah, Gail, Jemima and co-hosts John Holton & J Lenni Dorner for dropping by and commenting.  Also to the entire A-Z team for the monumental work they do.  

So. Have I enjoyed the A-Z? Have I written myself into a better place? I can't honestly say I have. But that's my issue, nothing to do with the A-Z. It reminds me of a favourite poem by Cavafy  - The City, which basically says once your life's ruined, you can't escape it by going someplace else. Today it feels true for mindspaces as well.  I'm still freaked out about problems which have no solutions, except for time. Today, everything's at a standstill and chaotic, not in a good place. Tomorrow, who knows? I might do better.  Correction, I will do better!