Mosaic Floors

I remember the first day I entered my new house. It still stands conspicuously out of the rest, aloof from the other blurred memories which will fade tomorrow. I remember that cold afternoon when we shifted in, and I remember the first thing about my house which fascinated me the most. Yes, I remember.

They were black, they were red, they were white. So many stones, small, medium-sized and big, and yet I couldn’t pick up even one of them. It seemed as if someone had painted the floors; whoever had done it would have taken months to complete such an intricate painting, something which looked almost like real stones. It was quite later that I learned that they were in fact, real stones.

There were many such big squares on the floor, all made up with the same stones. At a glance, all the squares looked the same, but when I would sit in the afternoons counting the black stones in each square, then the red,  and then the grey ones, I always ended up mixing the count of the boxes, they were all different. And then I would stop counting, and would start hopping on one leg over each square; we used to play a similar game in the evening; it was called kith-kith, and I had played the game for long until someone told me it was a game only girls played.

When my younger cousin came, he used to keep tapping the floor with his palm. I couldn’t comprehend his game, until I realized he thought the black stones were all ants. There were black ants in his house which ran on the floor, and which he killed; he was so happy that there were thousands of ants to kill on our floor, until he realized none of the ants moved, which made him stop playing his game.

Then one day my father announced he has upgraded to another flat. We shifted. This flat was bigger, it had three bedrooms, but the floors were of cement, black plain ones. I was dismayed, and when I told my parents about it, they laughed. I never talked about it since then.

Smell of the Past

Surprising it was for me and for her,
To be together at the same place again,
And I remembered the last time we met,
Promising that we’d never meet again.
She said a “Hi” and for the first two seconds,
My lips were tight and I couldn’t say,
Anything to her except stare at her beauty,
Though I knew it looked queer this way.
I said a brief “Hi” and hurried back,
Came back after some time again,
And though we were some spans away,
That we were not seeing each other did both of us feign.
The perfume she used a year ago,
Is the same she uses today,
And the smell of her body did remind me,
The smell of the past, where my memories lay.
Her hair was untied, to help it dry soon,
The wet hair seemed so perfect on her,
How I wanted to be close, close to her once,
Once upon a time we were so near.
I walked softly to her thereafter,
The smile on her face changed to a nervous one,
I reached her, didn’t stop and walked past her,
And heard her release her breath, a light one.
She didn’t talk, and for me it was natural,
I didn’t expect her to do so either,
Her presence was all that I wished for,
Her love, her life, I got of them neither.

Those Complete Days

The cool breeze brought in with it an essence, an essence of happiness, a fragrance of hope, and a perfume of completeness, as I sat at my desk, completing my homework. It was less cold today, I hadn’t put on my pullover after waking up, and though after every five sums I went to my bed to feel the warmth of my quilt, the cool breeze still soothed me, and for a change, being wrapped by it felt better than the quilt. My mother brought in the tea, with two biscuits; I was not supposed to have tea empty-stomached, and sat by me for some time. Then she went off, continuing with her daily chores, whilst I sat at the window sill, looking out. Today was special.

The trees had just bore new leaves yesterday. They were small, they were green. As green as the eyes of that girl, whom I had seen yesterday under the tree, waiting for the rain to stop so she could resume her way back. She was wearing a white top, and a red skirt, and it looked more like a school uniform. She didn’t see me, I didn’t want to be seen either, for I felt ashamed to be spotted the first time with me wearing a vest and bermuda. I had seen her from the space in between the two curtains, which were at two corners of the pelmet today, allowing the light inside the room, so that I did not have to switch on the lamp to study. I gave one biscuit to the crow, one to the dog, and had the tea myself. They were always around at this time of the day, it had become a routine for them to get the biscuits. They did not wait for more, they knew they would get only one.

I heard the motorcycle’s engine start, rushed to the balcony to wave my father good-bye as he went to work; I did this every day. Sometimes I would go off with him when he left and would stop at a shop, buying myself a chocolate, and then walk my way home. My mother would be surprised when occasionally I brought in a samosa for her, not knowing that I had bought myself no chocolate that day. And as she smashed the samosa and mix it with puffed rice, put a spoon of mustard oil, and some onion, I would stand by her, smiling. That was my mother’s favorite breakfast.

Sometimes she would make herself a cup of tea after breakfast, softly so as I do not get to know about it, but the sound as the hot tea touched the dry heated upper part of the saucepan while pouring it, clearly alerted me, and I would rush into the kitchen, and she would smile, pouring the tea into two cups, and we drank half a cup of tea each, chatting throughout. She would ask me what I wanted for lunch, telling me the names of all the vegetables in the refrigerator, and I would choose one, and she would make something out of it for lunch that day.

I would return to my room, which was no more cool, but hot due to the asbestos roof heating up quickly. I would retire to my chair, take a book in my hand and continue reading, whilst my mother cooked for me and father, who would be shortly arriving then, for his lunch. By the time he would come home for lunch, I would already be sleeping; I needed a nap in the afternoons to keep me awake through the evenings. When in the evening he finally returned from his office after it closed, he would sometimes bring two jalebees for us, mother and me, and would smile as we ate them after tea. I couldn’t have it before tea; the tea wouldn’t taste sweet then, a phenomena I couldn’t reason out why.

Then we all went back to our work, mother to the kitchen, I to my studies, and dad, well, to the television. He needed some rest after the day’s hard work. In two hours we would have finished with dinner. Sometimes we played a game of cards before everyone finally felt too sleepy. And there it would end, another special day. Tomorrow will be special again.

Dust

I took a fistful of it, and it slipped out,
I took it once again, and slipped it out again,
And then I never tried to do the same.
Yes, I am made of it, and to it will I go,
Call it dust, call it love, I do not know.
A speck of it in her eyes, and she cried,
More than I had ever seen anyone,
Call it dust, call it love, I do not know.
Long ago the book I had closed,
Today gathers it and nests it in itself,
Call it dust, call it love, I do not know.
And the same she swept out of the house,
The house which stored memories so old,
Memories of affectionate moments gathered together,
Like single pages of many books,
Which speak about the same,
Swept she every minute part of it out,
Call it dust, call it love, I do not know.
The storm brought again the same inside,
And I saw it by the light of day,
And smiled to see it back in place,
From where it was removed long ago,
Call it dust, call it love, I do not know.