Like parents, like children

Alone lived the ancient woman
home full of assets, life desolate
away the children have gone
following their hearts upstate
stayed on as the mother she did
preying on backyard vegetation
and only praying for resolution
never came visiting the offsprings
not the older, or even the younger
unknown she was to their children
who heard tales of grandparents
telling stories, and tucking in bed
their classmates at the play school
who could only yearn for the love
the touch, the chocolate cookies
of a loving, nurturing grandma
who grew up without them all
only to raise their children same

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Siblings

With joy the house filled
as mother’s womb with child

second offspring twas to be
and the forefront of attention
became therefore the first one
master of the second place

jealousy knocked on the door
as they rolled up the new born
warm and soft in woollen blankets
that were once the older one’s

hatred raised its ugly head
when toys, they handed down
retrieving from the archives
rattles unseen in many years

a nightmare school became
setting an example, the older
teaching and taking care of
shepherding the little one

ages went by in mute anger
bosom brothers of a mother
never tormenting the big was
ever in support, yet still in rage

with poison his heart filled
whilst younger’s with admiration

Maternal instinct

What no parent should ever do
Mrs Tibbins did to her offspring

when still young and tender
its skin moist, palms closed
and beetle eyes full of wonder
the mother left her child alone

wandered away from home
in place of nurturing care
suffering a blow after blow
from the unkind world over

alone, helpless, and smelly it grew
seeking friendships in dirty pubs
scouring meals in garbage cans
and letting time live its course

years later, like mother the child
when was its turn to be a mother
did what no parent should ever do
and cast away its child, letting it go

for who could change the nature
of cats abandoning their kittens?

You’re invited!

“Is that what you’re wearing for your friend’s wedding reception?”

All the world asked me when I emerged in a long turquoise top and brown leggings. My blouse had a mild embroidery with buttons and a princess line that extended from my shoulder to my knees. It’s my go-to attire for any social interaction my parents deem significant, and I have a duty not to embarrass them. I had no makeup on and had tried to flatten my short flyaway hair.

“Is that how you go to a wedding?”

I can understand their shock and disapproval. After all, everyone who asked me that question has preconceived notions of how you should appear in wedding photographs: While the bride and groom should be the centre of attraction, those standing on either side of the couple should be just as glowing and glamorous. Acceptable clothing for women includes a long skirt with a gold stone studded blouse or a traditional South Indian silk or silk-lookalike saree embroidered in gold strings, both paired with a generous amount of golden jewellery—necklaces, earpieces, rings, bangles, and anklets. Men often stick to full suits, or long silk or silk-lookalike dhoti also called veshti (that resembles a women’s straight skirt), and a crisp shirt to go with it. Golden chains, rings, and bracelet are a given of course. Over the years, people adhere less to the clothing conventions, but synthetic jewellery still has a significant presence.

We’re all raised with cultural beliefs we follow because it’s a tradition. Sometimes we follow it blindfolded that we don’t even realise or consider the point of such habits. My classmate had invited me to her engagement party. We hadn’t seen or spoken to each other in over four years, and yet she remembered our friendship and I wanted to react in kind. That’s how I justify going for the wedding, despite detesting anything to do with lavish ceremonies. Not only was I placing myself in an uncomfortable scenario but I also had to travel four hours on a bus to get there. Wearing heavy jewellery and silk clothes on a stifling journey during the peak of summer was the least of my concerns. Most people would arrive early, check in to a hotel or a friend’s place and then “get ready” for the function. I, on the other hand, chose to arrive in casual comfortable, yet decent, clothing.

In my book, practicality always takes precedence over traditions. Why should we go to such lengths to be uncomfortable?

Teach me how

How could you, mom?
tell me that all's well
and that Barnie's fine
he's gone to a farm
to care for his babies
that he'll soon return
How could you, mom?
I lay await for weeks
rushing to his kennel
after school each day
seeking Barnie's arrival
only to be disappointed
How could you, mom?
watch me as I continued
with my reckless efforts
in pursuit of happiness
hoping for my Barnie
to come back home to me
How could you, mom?
pacify yourself each night
as I cried myself to sleep
pray, tell how you did it
for my daughter's dog died
and I've sent it to a farm too