Tag Archives: memories

The house that moved in

I was surprised to notice
That the old wall that used to stare at me
– When depressed –
Has moved into my new home
In my new city.
 
But then, it is just not the wall
That has moved in.
The entire house
– the house that I left behind –
Has crept in. Surreptitiously.
 
I notice that the corner,
Where I used to put my long chair
To read, has now occupied
The best part of the drawing room
And sits there, calm and confident.
 
The old shoe rack and the bookshelf,
And the grim portraits
Of unknown ancestors,
And all the other useless relics
Seems to have been dragged in by the old storeroom.
 
This storeroom, of my old house,
Has quite a personality. It collects
Memories, like cranky grandmothers do.
It used to accuse me, I remember,
Of ignoring it – which I did.
 
The storeroom has now moved into
The big, sunny guest-room;
I do not know if it feels itself
To be a guest in this new house
Or just wants more importance.
 
The happy, creaky door
That doesn’t shut properly,
And the windows that don’t open easily,
And the tap that loves music,
And the garden-hose that lies coiled
Like a serpent in the sun,
And the small red bicycle
That is cheerfully waiting for me
To turn young and ride it again,
And…
 
Oh, the entire old house
Has moved in quietly, unbidden, uninvited,
And with a confidence that says –
“I will not leave you
Till you die
Whether you like it,
Or not.”
 
***

A house for rent

 

 

The old smiling landlady
Slowly opens the rusted locks
And gropes for the electric switches.
 
The dust covered bulb
Blinks and coughs and gives out
A yellowing light, that refuses to light the hall.
 
“This hall was used to hold parties-
But you would need lots of furniture
To fill it up again,” says the lady, apologetically.
 
Room after room she took us
Though she knew all along
That the place was not livable any more.
 
“This is the bath. We had a tub here.
The kids refused to come out of it for hours –
I always had to drag them away,” she tells us, for we listen.
 
Each door resist opening,
Each lizard, each pigeon resent the intrusion.
Carefully, the landlady shows the house, lifting the layers of age.
 
“I have children your age. They no longer live here.
You need an apartment, not this house,
It needs an army to run,” she says, softly.
 
We finally walk off, resisting the temptation
To turn back and look again,
At an age long past, at the caretaker of memories.
 
***

 

 


A piece of heart called home

The poet writes
Of the familiar leaf
On a crooked branch
On an ancient tree,
Or of the birds flying home lazily
Like tiny arrows-
To bring to life, once again,
The home that lodges
Secretly,
In the DNA of our memories.
 
The epics describe
The leftover orange
In the sky at dusk,
And the fluffy clouds cruising past
A somber moon-
Just to keep alive
The sights and the sounds,
The stories and the tenderness,
Of a childhood
Half forgotten.
 
All the tales
Of the travelers,
All literature,
All our songs,
All our history
And our myths,
Exist
Just to recreate
That little piece of heart
That we had called home.
 
***

Reunion

Why do you cringe
at the memory
of the road-side tea stall
and those clay cups
and the lorry drivers
and the dust storms
and the sultry summer afternoons
and the knee deep ditch water
in the monsoon
and your sheepish grin
when you borrowed money
for the evening meals?
 
Were you lying, then
when you said that all sleek,
accented, Toyota-types
loot the country,
exploit the poor,
forget their culture
and have no manners al all?
 
Seeing you now, years later,
I doubt my memories.
 
Was it really you
who had said
that poetry becomes me,
and that my talent
weighs more than all the gold
of that oily fatso
who used to live near the bazaar-
or was it someone else
who had said that,
a lifetime ago?
 
Why did you not bring
your shiny wife and your fat kids
to show them
our roadside tea stall?
And, come to think of it,
Why did you park your Toyota
so far off the road?
 
Why do you cringe
at the memory
of your own words?
Memories,
that I lovingly guarded
all my life,
memories,
that made me remain
at this tea stall
all my life?
 
***

At the core

Peel the layers of memory
Till the layers become softer
And softer, till nothing is left.
 
Then, look at the mess
Of memories on the floor
And wonder whether
It was worth the effort.
 
Wonder, whether it was better
To have let the soft, fragile memories
Hidden, and whether it was better
Not to know that there is
Just a sudden nothingness
At the core?
 
***

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