Sometimes, home has a heartbeat.

Every bird must fly its nest

It is the rule of nature

Once old enough,

Every little fledgling

Must stretch unsteady wings

And fly away

To fend for itself

 

But umbilical cords

People refuse to cut

Too often wrap themselves

As nooses around

Their children’s dreams

Leashes to hold

Precious offspring in their backyards

Stopping them from running

Bright-eyed, following their fantasies

 

My mother let her children

Seek their own fortunes

Make their own choices,

Pull the strings

To their own puppet shows

Mould their futures

Like the play doh childish fingers

Would fiddle with

 

Now, as foreign roads

Stretch themselves out before me

Like the lines crisscrossing

My mother’s palm

And I taste home

In the spices of food

A thousand miles away

Alleyways behind weathered churches

Reminiscent of the streets

Behind my school

The smell of hot tea

Transporting me to serene evenings

A book in my hand

And a familiar smile

On a weathered face

 

And I know

When the weight of homesickness

Becomes too heavy

For my heart to bear

There’s a light burning for me

Somewhere beyond these

Neverending miles

A beacon beckoning

Her ship to shore

Waiting to grasp my hands

With palms roughened by years

Of washing clothes and dishes

Of bandaging wounds and

Untangling a million little messes

Home, shifting through time

Through the boundaries of states

Winding up, always

In the rest of a tired head

On a familiar knee.

 

– Gautami.

To the woman who makes a million little sacrifices in a heartbeat for us everyday, who has suffered and emerged stronger than ever. To the woman who has made us everything we are and ever will be; teacher, guiding light. Happy birthday, Amma. We love you.

 

Pixels

We humans

Are funny little creatures

Aching to capture

Our lives, one way or another

Freezing time and people

In the gloss of photographs

And pixels on a screen

 

Living in the present

But caught up in the past

With fingers itching

To scroll back

To old conversations,

Old pictures

You and me, in stasis

Our every syllable locked

In that safe corner of time

Where no one can touch it

Until I press delete

And obliterate our words

In the whirring gears

Inside my phone

 

There’s something about humans

Making us take pictures

Of things that we love

Places, people, things

Tucking them away,

Saving them in some concrete way

So we can go back

To them, time and again

 

And it takes me back

To you and me,

And our tally of pictures together:

Zero.

Promises between meetings

And partings

Never coming to fruition

Next time.

Until next time ceased

To come around

And was swept away

In your absence

And my giving up on you

 

Some love stories

They say

Are written in the stars

Burning in the high heavens

Beautiful, unattainable.

I suppose ours was writ

In the dirt tracks

Of quiet mistakes

And the all consuming guilt

Of things said and done

 

They say

Pictures speak

A thousand words

Perhaps, my love

The absence of any

Speaks a million more.

 

-Gautami