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My Grandmother’s Home        

A red hibiscus flower peeps through                                                1-Sri Vilas                                     a rusty iron gate,

It creaks as I swing it open and walk down the narrow sandy   path.

Lantana bushes lean over the parapet on either side,      

Their colourful flowers, splashes of yellow,

Orange and pink amidst the green foliage.

Tall coconut trees rise behind them, reaching up to the sky.

A plum-headed parakeet peers out of a tree hole, looking for its mate.                                                                                              

Ahead, the sandy path opens into a courtyard that surrounds the house,

CatsLow steps lead up to the long cool veranda,

Where two kittens play in the shade of the ochre-tiled roof,

That slopes down from the second floor,

Where mama cat lounges nonchalantly on the sun-warmed tiles.                                                                                                                                

 

I walk past the rows of potted plants on the steps along the veranda’s  edge, 

20140528_071507                    And around the corner of the house, where the well,                  

With its brown laterite walls covered in green moss,

Waits for someone to break the silence with a splash,

By letting down the iron bucket and chain,

Into the cool depths, where small black fish circle amidst the water weeds.       

 

Around the back and there’s the kitchen garden,

6-Jackfruit treeWhere papaya trees line the compound wall.                

A curry tree near the open kitchen door, 

Provides fresh leaves for memorable meals;

Cats wait outside the kitchen door for leftover bits of fish.

Squirrels run over the gnarled old mango and jack trees,

And the smell of ripe jackfruit hangs invitingly in the air;

At night, fruit bats enjoy the sweet taste of succulent mangoes. 

 

Around the corner and in the shade of the rear porch,3-the house

A stack of coconuts waits to be eaten,

Along with heaps of dried palm leaves to be burnt,

As fuel in the old kitchen hearth.

I turn another corner and behind a green thicket of cannas,

The memorial stones of my great-grandparents lie in peaceful rest.

Having come full circle, I turn and climb up the steps to the veranda,

Where we young cousins studied and played in its cool shade.

Watched over by my grandmother on her easy chair.

I hear the echoes of our childhood laughter…

 

I sit on her chair and look out at the green vista,

Where bee-eaters and sunbirds chirp as they flit among the flowers.

 

4-architectural detailHidden amidst the trees, a crow pheasant calls,

Its deep booming interrupts their twitter.

I look up and see an owl perched beneath the eaves,

Sleeping peacefully under the roof.

I try to pen down my thoughts on paper,

And find myself able to write just a line—

‘All of us found shelter here…’

admin | 28-Mar-2017