Sunday, September 18, 2016

Home Away from Home

This is the view of my husband's house from the approach road. But, this was not the scene that greeted me when I first saw this house more than a decade ago. It had been then hiding behind a decorative shamiana and the plants had been trimmed to perfection. 

I still remember the smells that had greeted a timid bride that day. Fragrances of sandalwood scented incense, jasmines, roses, freshly painted walls, furniture, flavoursome food and petrichor

The cool touch of turmeric water to ward off the evil eye, the slight tension that clenched my gut as I took the first step into the house, the heat of the burning wick in the oil lamp, the smiling faces of relatives, the reassuring gestures of my husband, the curious neighbours watching my every step, taking note of my attire and jewellery; this house had witnessed it all. 

In the days that followed, it would nurture a different set of beliefs, customs, cuisine and memories within me. The different seasons would paint it in various hues. Time too would wave its magic wand. Children of kith and kin grew up into adults, some got married and flew away to build their own nests. New members arrived to seek its blessings. The warmest presence in the house, my mother-in-law, left for the place from where no one returns. 

Things changed for us too. For a while, we were non-resident-Indians who longed to return home during those elusive vacations. Then a little guy arrived in our life and made us more responsible adults. Our careers saw dramatic changes. 

Now we rarely visit as we have become settled elsewhere.Yet, whenever we visit, the same warm, secure feeling envelops us.  It makes us pause and take note. It reminds us to step back, enjoy life, nature and ponder about things that we really love.

When we step out of the house to return to our own nest, a strange, yet now familiar, longing grip my heart. I realise that somewhere along the way, it has become home for me. The one symbol for stability and warmth. Home away from home.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Mask

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There was magic in your word
In every syllable I found love
Deeper I fell with everything you said
Light shone on me from above

Your sound entranced me
I didn’t hear my gut’s plea
Your presence was bliss
I found solace in your kiss

What was it that made me blind?
Was it your charm that formed your mask?
Or the smile that could hide any malice?
I don’t know the why or what?

It came out of the blue
The pain of reality
Time scattered your mask  into pieces
Along with shards of my heart

I wish I were smarter
I wish I could see the face
Hidden behind the mask
Now only the scar remains

The longing for forever
Grips at my heart
Sadness bellows in darkness
I fall into despair

Never will I believe in your charm
I do not wish to even hear your name 
You stole the innocence of my heart
It has sworn to protect me from harm

I fear every face under the sun
I fear every sudden turn
That might hide another urn
seeking the ashes of my dreams