Tinted Glass

She lingered around the windows,

In the empty house full of maids and cooks and a butler.

The husband went on business trips, he laughed at her habit-

“If only you knew what there is beyond your silly window-world.”

But he went on alone, she would be too tired from travelling so much.

She lingered near the windows, draped in rich sarees, the ends pulled down her head

That covered an arm’s length effectively.

Moved from one glass case to the other with dainty grace taught by generations of good housewives.

But her decisive fingers pulled down the wooden blinds every time a rebellious sound broke the midday silence.

Eager eyes scanned side to side, peering through layers

Of cloth, of wood, of glass.

At figures interrupted by blinds and a printed veil,

A few inches of thick glass.

Music floated in the air, drifted away,

And the void was filled with more.

Eager eyes peered relentlessly through layers at every sound, at constant music emanating from a distant gramophone.

But her husband decorated her windows- his sweet gesture of love,

Thick white glasses were replaced with carved tinted ones, dark red and emerald.

He laughed with contentment, “You shall see a more colourful world from now.”

She still stood by her windows in her empty house,

Pulled down the blinds sharp at every sound,

And peered through prints, wood and coloured glass,

At shapes and sizes interrupted by layers one too many

She tried hard to make sense of her colourful world.

Prompt by Daily Post: Constant

Dull red flowers

I feel a damp against my wiry body,

Spiralling against my non- spine, my fire-red flowers untouched,

Dirty green moss the colour of her saree on the wall.

I look again at her wiry body, a peek of ribs and white skin from the side.

I look down today at the less bright flowers from yesterday.

A bend from the waist, bony hands pick flowers

From the ground for oily hair snaking down a thin back.

Her passionate love for my flowers, though dead and smell-less

Lying on the ground. She cannot reach the ones sticking loosely to the wiry green body against moss covered bricks.

I long for her bony hands to pluck the bright wonders off my skin, drop them into fair palms cupped together.

She moves into the kitchen for the day, my flowers adorn a long oily trail, held together with a knot. I can only hear bangles clinking, a mechanical melody accompanying a mechanised grinding of coconut.

They will soon smell of coconut and turmeric, smell-less flowers from yesterday.

She throws them before her husband returns, our dried little secret. Fresh sandalwood paste on a broad forehead.

She always returns the following day. A moment alone, a treasure island of less-bright flowers strewn around.

A damp from the moss green wall against mine. I feel a damp against both our bodies. And I do not long for her glass bangles.

New Medicine in Stores

The new medicine was finally in the stores.

After years of trial and error.

A limited amount for each wrapped in tiny white paper,

My neighbors knocked on my door.

A 36 boldface Arial in the morning newspaper.

They were all going to the med store.

“Come with us”, they said.

“Purchase a miracle you haven’t ever.”

All of us moved in a snakey queue,

If only I could afford some more, I thought.

And packed for a family of four.

Several broadcasts of the creators’ interview.

They sold love in bits of paper,

A few thousand rupees per unit,

The cure for everything.

After years of trial and error.

Via Daily Post: Neighbors

 

Reflection #2

And you tire yourself out relentlessly looking for answers, when all you have to do is rephrase the question

Smell-less History

Monochrome movements on a wide glass screen-

A bright white sun, white robed delivery at a church.

Stooped black heads moving like ants in line,

But the chains were all human sized.

And the cloth sacks failed to hide whipped backs.

A long black train raced through the image noise,

Or maybe was its cause-

Exhaling black smoke along its way,

A thick burnt smell filled my thoughts

Mixed with blood and yellowed pages.

But let me breathe, unlike raging fire in marble hearths

At winter cities during lavish tours.

It let me breathe, unlike burnt red chillies in the neighbouring Granny’s kitchen.

Because, it was a story of the past,

And I was only watching black heads coughing at black smoke on a wide glass screen.

Via Daily Post: Delivery

Wound

No doctor, you can’t fathom the

Depth of this wound which,

Runs through my soul and

The blood smeared ball of muscle with

Cylindrical passages,

Both of which carry deoxygenated blood.

I have little hope from,

You, and the philanthropists who,

Offer to stitch my heart severed into two.

No doctor, I don’t doubt that,

You can’t heal my wound and

Also, a local anaesthesia wouldn’t do.

 

Via Daily Post: Local

I visited the House after several years

I visited the house after several years,

This time, not to spend my holidays-

My grandfather died.

 

Nothing had changed, except,

The porch was covered in moss,

And the stream behind the house was thinner.

Cousins from London and Zurich and Paris laughed endlessly,

Overwhelmed to see each other.

They exchanged usernames as I sat alone on a wet rock by the stream,

Recalling an afternoon from my teenage holidays.

The heat on my cheeks when he held my hand,

Our wrinkled feet dipped in the ice cold water,

A sin enough to forget each other by the following summer.

 

I walked towards my grandfather’s house,

As night fell slowly like curtains dropping after a magic show,

Stopped abruptly at the entrance. Remembering,

At the funeral I had overheard my brothers and father’s brothers-

They said they’d sell the house,

Before it was completely covered in moss,

For that wouldn’t yield them money enough.

 

A Letter From Me

Dear,

I know not if you will receive this letter, but I found some old papers to write on, and I have ample time.

You all have left years ago, and don’t intend to come back anymore. You live in places where stairs move on their own, and I have only seen trains do. Your skies are only covered with buildings. So you talk about your city, and never mention the village. And this house? Only a couple pillars and half a room along with a pile of rubble remain of what was once a mansion coated in lustre. Only I have remained here, as decayed as this brick baggage, and witnessed chunks of plaster crumble, the storeys give in. But the crisp gold sunlight still shows on the beautifully carved mermaid fountain, even though she has lost her nose, and one of her arms. The mango tree at the end of the courtyard occasionally gives me tiny unripe fruits. They are pretty useless, but help me recall how you all raced barefoot to collect plump mangoes during storms. I accidentally dropped a steel bowl the other day. The earful clank increased tenfold and echoed everywhere in the middle of the night. The sound was strangely familiar to the sound of cymbals, during Pujas. I loved the sound of cymbals as a child. It echoed in my brain until I drifted off to sleep, smelling the fire mixed with sandal, and camphor; dreaming of clay pots and vermilion. These days I seem to accidentally drop the small steel bowl more often as I walk in and out of my room, waiting for something to collapse.

Take care.

 

Via Daily Prompt:-

Crisp