मांma

You’ll see her
Wearing different shades
Of different relations;
Of different responsibilities.
But hear the soul
Within that body,
Speaking of dreams
And everything human
In the wrinkles of her palm;
In lipstick shades;
In the way she walks;
In her choices;
All echoing of her,
And just her;
Of the individual
She’s crafted into being
With the hand of an artist.

And ode to the soul that’s been sketched over the years, draping different responsibilities and relations in neat pleats and adding colour to them from the palette of her bosom.


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She has dark curls

Bouncing very lightly

All the way till her waist.

She adorns her visage

With a red,

No matter what shade

The cotton draped

Around her delicate body is.

And you can hear the two golden bangles

Humming very softly

As she picks out mint leaves and spices,

Mixing them in ways

Only her tongue could imagine;

As she creates art on blank walls,

You often mimic behind the door;

As she braids your hair in twists

That you shall pull apart in recess;

As you’ll find her waving to you –

As you get on the bus;

As you get off the bus,

Reminding you of the different shades

A single colour has.


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She pronounces the ‘r’ funny.

Her degree only spoke

Till that of tenth.

But her words were laced

With wisdom and knowledge;

With experience and life;

And her mind with thirst

As she heard you intently

Over the kitchen slab,

Reciting lessons

She never learned.


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Her hair was the

Raging fire,

And her lips –

The darkest night.

She reeks of confidence.

Her eyes of brown

Have amber trails of

Opinions and voices;

The kind that your

Amber streaks are made of.

Her voice is soft

But her words are loud.

Her hair is now the night

Her lips once wore,

And her lips –

Coffee beans and hazels.

But her amber trails remain

As she sings to you lullabies

Of dreams and identities.


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It’s December

And the cold’s catching up.

So is the little bump

On her flat stomach.

She’s majoring in Psychology

In a city away from home.

He didn’t stay,

And she didn’t leave.

She’s heard of others

Getting stuck;

She’s heard of others

Erasing everything.

But she didn’t want

To be the others.

And so she chose.

She chose to grow you

In a womb of confidence;

In a womb of possibilities;

In a womb of love.


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They ask her

If she’ll leave

As she has mehendi

Up till her elbows and knees.

They ask her

If she’ll leave;

That with your arrival,

She should really consider it;

That it would be hard;

That she’d have to choose.

But it’s been ten years,

And you make her “The Best Mother” cards,

While her company awards her

“The Best Employee”.


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She was all about

Sweat pants and loose tees.

She paired her messy bun

With grandpa frames.

You’d see a dash of pink

On fancy nights;

Maybe even a bit of sparkle.

She’s all about

Palazzos and kurtas.

She still pairs her messy bun

With grandpa frames.

But you’ll see her pick up

Lots of pinks and sparkles,

Sometimes maybe even a red

Because someone back home

Is all about

Shorts and dresses.


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Ask her their story.

Ask her again

When she laughs it off

Shyly the first time.

And when she looks up

And asks, “Really?”

Say yes.

She’ll smile a little,

Rub her palms together

And then rest her chin

On the right one lightly.

She’ll speak of her

Freshman years;

Of their friendship,

And coffee;

Of the dark times,

And silent support.

She’ll speak of her

Freshman years

And the time after that.

She’ll speak of love

And tell you their story.

And you’ll see her blush

Like the eighteen year old

Who fell in love.


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There’s a pair of wings

On the dimple of her collars.

To remind her

Of the strength contained

Within something so delicate;

Of all the heights

To fly to.

She was nineteen, she was.

It was on the first trip

From college,

Somewhere in the city,

In an antique alley

Of red bricks and dull cement.

And so when she sees you

Doubting yourself,

She’ll massage your tensed shoulders,

And remind you of your wings.


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She likes to sit on the

Wooden chair in the porch

On a Summer afternoon

With a glass of lemonade,

In a flowing maxi dress

And flip flops that lay inhabited

As she has her feet crossed

Over the glass centre table,

Decorating it with turquoise nails.

It reminds her of her house

At the countryside

Where she played in

Cotton frocks and brown shorts

As a child.

She doesn’t dye her hair,

And you can see

Different hues of age

In her thick braid.

She’ll bake cookies

When you come home

With the kids,

And she’ll tell you

About the cookies

Her Ma baked.



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