Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Brother's birthday

You would have been seventy today.

I can imagine the fun,
the secret plans,
the surprise party, perhaps,
And your delight at your impending
if only you'd been around.....

Where are you, I wonder?
Do you know how much
you are missed?
Will you, can you come back
as your own grandchild?

Questions with no answers,
questions that all spring from
the original question,
the unanswerable why.

Why did you have to go
so young,
(well, relatively so)
so suddenly?
So permanently?

I think your prayers were answered,
but much, much too soon.
You hated the thought
of being old and helpless,
incapacitated the way
our father was.

(But you know,
he wasn't so badly off
when you saw him last-
you missed the hardest part,
watching him die slowly,
over days and weeks,
the life slowly leaching out of him).

God listened to you, I guess:
No illness, no incapacity:
A departure so sudden
that it left us all reeling.......

Several years have passed now,
but how I wish you'd been here
for your seventieth birthday.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I wonder how they do this!

I've often wondered how they manage to cut these even-sized pieces of coconut! 
I suppose there is a certain technique and technology involved, definitely more sophisticated than my smashing the coconut on the kitchen balcony floor, with a bowl at hand to save the coconut water in!
After which I struggle with the broken pieces and a sharp knife.

One of the myriad things I do not understand...........

Friday, October 10, 2014

On being grandparents

One little infant,
not so long in this world of ours
is the reason for us, 
two more or less salient beings
to turn into puddles of mush.

Technology adds to our obsession,
we drool over her latest pictures
that our phones compel us to take
whenever we meet her.
We may have left her just minutes ago
and then we pore over her latest photo. 

If we're somewhere near their home,
we call to ask if the baby is awake:
only then shall we deign to come!!!
Just to meet that baby.
Which is not to say, of course,
that we don't have great conversations
minus the Little One, but..........

And now, and now, time rushes past
it will soon be time to say goodbye
The thought of living on mere memories
is enough to make one cry.

That delectable softness,
those sturdy little limbs
the start-and-stop crawling
her small baby whims
her grumpy expression
that makes us all laugh
her gurgles and coos
her cries and her yells:
we find ourselves copying her every sound!
What does that tell you about us,
Crazy grandparents?

Each moment so precious
each day with this child
of our child, someone so special
such magic she has wrought.....
We were not like this just some months ago,
but a permanent change has now come about:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Dussehra Vacation

The little girl,
perhaps seven, or eight,
accompanies her father
and even smaller, silent sister
to the vegetable shop
in our gated community,
a place of almost
hallowed silence,
with sotto voce
requests for paneer
which is cut off the block
and weighed by one of the shop boys.

(People rarely speak to strangers
or newcomers
in these communities.
Smiles are rare, each person
in a parallel orbit ignored.
What would you lose
if you smiled at a 'stranger'
I have always wondered,
as I walk along the road
skirting our seventeen towers)?

The little girl
with her enthusiastic,
chirping little voice
excited by the bhindi
and the small eggplants,
showing her father
a mummy, a daddy and a baby baingan
brings back memories of my father and I,
going on his bicycle,
(me perched on the cross bar)
to the local mandi.
I'd come home and arrange
all the produce in the fridge
and relevant baskets,
being a sabziwallah all the while.

Schools will open now,
no more chattering children
in the vegetable shop,
only at the bus stop, at the gate,
a place I no longer need to frequent......