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Poetry

Hope in Nostalgia

By Gauri Mishra

Childhood memories of many hues

Playing in groups of threes and twos…

The spacious house, the beautiful well

Which world we lived in, no one could tell.

      The dark inner room with all its mysteries —

      Mud jars and pots had their own histories.

      Our abode of two summer months

      It is hard to erase the fun-filled remembrances.

The outside world with all its novelties,

The narrow river, the vast fields and the family deities.

        The jamun tree with its low swinging perch,

         Tastes and smells, flavours and hues —

         What brought this abundance, no one had a clue

The refinement of the baithaka*, had us in awe —

The only sign of grandeur without a flaw.

       The incessant card-games, sultry summer,

       The Awadhi dialect which had its own candour.

Our Grandmother’s small frame had amazing strength,

Her frail body belied its own health.

      Her education, her words of wisdom, and her affection

      Mingled with her devotion.

The village was her whole sphere —

Never did she wish to be elsewhere.

         We fought and we cried: we roamed, we lied.

          We led a life of abundance and freedom.

It has all seeped somewhere.

 Today while checking my email,

The memories gushed out…

So much has changed.

The abundance has given way to depravity.

The house looks desolate and not what it used to be.

Even the faces in the photographs seem remote

      It is best to cherish the memories.

      That world was my childhood… I must hold it tight

       Lest it slip away.

* baithaka — A formal drawing room

Dr Gauri Mishra is teaching as Associate Professor in the department of English at College of Vocational Studies, University of Delhi. She likes to dabble in poetry and short fiction from time to time. She is very passionate about teaching and also heads the placement cell of her college.

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