ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Jasmines stir up specific yearnings:

Mornings after a rain-drenched night,

Loud birds, hopping from tree to tree.

The smell of sambhar and murungakkai,

And kathrikai curry, and kootu,

And karpooram and udubatthi,

And the ringing of the brass bell,

Sandalwood-scented parents,

Red-gold-bordered veshti-ed Appa

Pattu-podavai-wearing Amma,

Performing their morning devotions

Before the family gods and goddesses.

The sound of baby brother

Calling for our mother.

Jasmines stir up deep desires, too:

The feel of satin-smooth skin

After an warm-oil bath on Sundays.

Sunsilk Shampoo to mask

The earthy fragrance of shikkai.

Mangoes heaped in baskets

From our mango trees,

Fleshy and succulent,

Dripping with juice, as I eat

With pulp-covered fingers.

And the coconut-man’s harvest

Of our garden’s coconut trees,

Sit, inviting the sickle.

Stick a straw in, and suck

Suck all the coconut milk,

And I’m satiated.

Jasmines stir up sweet innocence:

A dream of romance,

Someday, the man I love

Will arrive, and we will sing

And live and love together, she thinks.

And all the while, this girl-child

Goes about her schooldays,

Reads and reads, and sings

All day, plays games on the terrace,

Teaches imaginary children,

Rows an imaginary boat

From the parapet, onto which

She leaps, goat-nimble, unaware

That she might fall, unafraid

Of all that is to be.

(April 27, 2017)


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Updated On : 8th Sep, 2017
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