Poem by Dr. Ranjana Sharan Sinha
MATEE KI MOORTEN: THE CLAY IDOLS
Many clay idols
with simple and earthy colours,
adorn the rooms of my mind and heart:
Birjoo, Beera, Narayan,Harihar,
Nanki, Chengni, Rani, Lalee…
the list is long indeed–
The names beyond the
rusty bars of memory!
I’m filled with undying gratitude
for the domestic helps who made
my childhood cushioned and
riveting with their dedication–
The marginalized ‘Other’:
‘Naukar’ and ‘kaamwali’ in
our clumsy vocabulary–
Why the feudal legacy?
A squeal of delight echoed
through the corridors of summer
during the long vacation:
Untouched by the relentless Monarch,
I wandered off into the orchard
getting mulberries and mangoes plucked
by them– experts at climbing trees
and concocting ghost stories!
Playing with dolls in the
company of my bosom buddies,
I seldom forgot to call the small
maid– nay, the sweet rustic girl– who
made us happy by her dialect;
her bizarre innocent
interpretations of different toys,
filled us with great amazement!
But she couldn’t play much–
Had to complete the household chores.
I think– sometimes painfully–about the
people who worked at making
my life happier and easier:
Cooking for me,washing my clothes,
making my living space neat and tidy:
Fighting the same battle everyday,
sacrificing time to take care of others!
Yet, they’d to follow a
set of said/unsaid rules–
Living in outhouses,
eating in separate utensils,
standing next to us to serve
while the family members
were seated and eating.
Life full of shadows!
Today I wish to inhale the bucolic scents
and conjure up the girl who
wore my discarded frocks–
The oiled braids with red ribbons
hanging on her shoulders!
The freshness of a pastoral poem
caress my soul!
I brood over the bunch of men
once at our beck and call–
disciplined and dutiful!
I feel like associating them
with stars that twinkled in the
firmament of my childhood
punctuating the liminal space
between the infantile years
and the advancing ones!
In my sabaism,
I think, stars made no noise;
how often did we bother
to look beyond a cool facade?
Perhaps most of the desires
and dreams conceived in the
weak wombs of their minds
met a tragic end
like aborted foetuses!!
@ Dr. Ranjana Sharan Sinha