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


Dr.Piku Chowdhury, Teaches in a post graduate Govt.aided college, Research guide, Editor, Author, painter, translator, singer, poet, photographer, mental health facilitator.


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