She sits alone in a corner, drying her tears,
A white, cotton pallu draped over her ears;
She rubs her eyes and blows her nose,
And looks as happy as one for the noose.
In the dark roon she finally stands,
All alone and desolate are her strands;
She tries to straighten her hair with a tug,
Then gives it all up with a weary shrug.
She chides herself for the pity, for the pain –
For a mother should hold these in her brain –
But what ails her remains with her,
She feels herself at the end of her tether.
Into the garden she pushes herself on feet
Too tired for walking any more a treat;
Though the path underfoot be of velvet or of lice,
A mother, for her child, will swim through ice.
Gay sounds and merry chatter greet her,
As her fruits fly and zoom about her;
They moist her wet cheek with carefree kisses
Before scattering into playful glass pieces.
‘Tis the same in every house that youn’uns fight,
‘Tis almost a question of divine right –
And yet the mother feels the cancer inside
As starts another nasty fight outside.
She stops them, draws them to embrace –
The pain in her heart too strong to face –
For the scurvy traits raise themselves again,
And the garden erupts in a blaze of pain!
Oh, how sweet it would be were they young again,
Sweet and innocent, the chicks she had lain…
But nature – their nature – wrought them apart,
A cancer of her whose they were a part.
They know not what is fair, nor how to share,
They pollute with lies their breathing air,
Unmindful that with each game thoughtless,
They were giving the poor mother an hour less.
When at last they bury her, shall they mourn?
Or will the loss be forgotten in the gain it borne?
I know not, but I grieve her now –
For India, our mother, is too precious anyhow…
Dedicated to my family, the people who have taught me what it means to be an INDIAN.
And dedicated to my friends… who have taught me what it means to be myself.
And to Mother India, for being a part of me as much as I am a part of her…