A jar of sugar, the cinnamon sticks you always eyed, which were neither all sweet nor all sharp and refreshed your mouth if you had tasted anything too sweet or too bitter. How does a plastic toothbrush stand survive forever, remain unchanged for all these years when everything around it had changed so irrevocably?
All the places I had dreamed at, the mirrors I had stared into, the damned spot on the white marble which refused to be out – they’re all there, at home even when I am not. The visitor who arrived in the veranda in the evening and whom you greeted in the same fashion all through the years still marks his attendance on desultory evenings, inviting a shout out from the veranda to the kitchen for a sweetmeat which the children appropriated that morning. The small figurines struggle to hold their own in the big showcases, which were built with so much ambition but could only house random birthday gifts like ‘You’re my friend’ photo frames and a brass plaque, a painful reminder of older days which weren’t even luxurious. But the brass plates were retained because those days still held the hope of better days. Now they’re all lined up clinging to their dignity with all they have. Pelmets without curtains, chairs without cushions: everywhere the promise, not at one place the fulfilment.
My adeptness too is still there, when it comes to slipping into my old place in the house: crawling back in the foetus of my dreams to escape the unpalatable reality.
Can romance and repulsion coexist? Or is it possible to meet the desperate need for a safe house - one pure and unchanging, which purges everything you keep there, all your thoughts and dreams and hopes, and does not change.
First published in The Brown Boat-RaedLeafPoetry India, 15 April 2014.