The old tamarind tree stands watchful still
With wrinkled bark and bowing boughs,
The leaflets quivering in twilight zephyr
As bells of homebound cattle resound.
The bower guards the broken steps
To the pond where our women bathed
Swimming to pluck shapla* flowers
That adorned the playful girls’ wet hair;
I had worn a crown of shapla too
A queen beneath the ancient tree,
With lulling midday drone of doves
And ducks wading in tranquility,
As gorgeous purple dragonflies
Would descend to flirt with jasmine leaves.
How trembling leaves keep weaving now
Chiaroscuro of timeless moments
Into sinuous tuber roots that stretch
Far to urban haze and pain –
Connecting my dimming vision,
To the gentle yet so strong,
Resonating invigorating strain.
Voices of my grandmothers –
Powerful and resilient,
With tales of battles fought and won
Sacrifices made with ease, by
Ancient women in dazzling gold
and vermillion like fiery sun.
Blowing the conch shells piercing darkness
Ululating, lighting lamps
to greet the armoured goddess amidst
Beating drums and strong incense,
In natmandir** beside the tree, that
Spreads its roots through generations –
Roots that hold and rejuvenate
This wasted modern existence.
*Shapla: Lotus like aquatic flower
**Natmandir: Privately owned temples of noble aristocratic families.
Dr.Piku Chowdhury, Teaches in a post graduate Govt.aided college, Research guide, Editor, Author, painter, translator, singer, poet, photographer, mental health facilitator.