Your antique surmedaani Blackened by years of sitting demurely On your frugally endowed dressing table The grey-black surma that you put in your rheumy eyes With a slim metal stick ,lining their droopy sleepiness effectively Your arms clothed in flowered cotton prints Opening wide to hold me near your ample bosom A faint whiff of a lilac scented talcum powder Comforting because of its utter familiarity And the tin peepa of pinnis hiding behind the copper pot Your kitchen with its coal fired clay angeethhi Welcoming my childish prattle with gleaming shadows The clang clang of the ladle moving in the metal handi As you sang of bygone romances in lilting nasal tones Wiping off aching nostalgia from what is now an enemy country Your haunting nursery rhymes in colloquial cadence About babies and brides missing their parents As I danced a merry jig to the beat of your claps Till you switched to a folk lore of lovers doomed “Tu sach dass ve jogi, Milan hosi ke na hosi “ O Beeji ,in the tin box of your memory A coin of comfort rattles
Glossary -Surmedaani-container for antimony Peepa- an upright tin box Pinni -a sweet made of flour and nuts shaped into balls Angeethi - a clay stove with coal fuel Tu sach dass ve jogi ....Tell me truthfully ,O mendicant Will we ever meet ? (Prompt- In the tin box of your memory, a coin of comfort rattles. #CeWoPoWriMoWE'20, Day 11)
My Winter Socks
However hard I try My preoccupation with my Winter socks is unavoidable I cling to them like a baby chimpanzee to its mother Hiding them under my mattresses Placing them prominently displayed Along with my bed booties in the top drawer of my otherwise shabby closet The effort that goes in tucking them away after the harsh North Indian winters Is quite like the diligence of the busy squirrel with a bushy tail Stashing away his treasure trove of nuts for winter The one in the Jacaranda tree opposite my window This frisky squirrel darts his eyes hither and thither furtively Well ! I do not! My socks are the warmest that you can find in Costco Even the ones in Walmart are acceptable I don’t care if they look hideous and grandma like Grandma’s are sweethearts and so am I They should look wooly and cuddly at the same time I am partial to dowdy greys and charcoal blacks You know to match my slippers I dare say I possessed a pair of letter box red ones They made my family squirm as they thought they were hardly age appropriate I never cringed for they were the warmest ones I possessed Did you know that bulky hand knitted socks that I wore to school for many years Had given me an inferiority complex despite my mother’s best cables and smart stiches? The other stylish girls wore the shop bought machine made ones On hindsight they were intricately webbed with my gentle mother’s love and handiwork And kept my tiny chilled feet very warm and toasted The ones that I have kept till today are the ones a boy from Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh got for me as a gift Along with a crate of fragrant Kinnauri apples They were woven in a vivid and colourful folk pattern I almost fell in love with him Socks also speak much about a human just as shoes do They might spell class if they are branded and ridiculously priced Or a devil may care attitude if they are loud patterned and garish Delicate translucent ones suggest a refined fashionista Skin coloured ones and sheer black ones Are seductive for they allow a tantalising glimpse of flesh It’s very important to wash them regularly If you don’t want to lose your friends The good thing is that you can scare away the mice with their atrocious stink Never wear socks which are not a pair They look better as husband and wife Flirting with other’s socks is not recommended at all Mostly because an ill matched pair calls attention to the love affair !!
(Prompt -A piece of clothing. #CeWoPoWriMoWE'20, Day 17)
I Will Meet You Again
I will meet you yet again In the osmosis of plasma in my blood vessels Imbibing your essence deep in my lungs Far above the resting ,reviving Mother Earth I will meet you in my distanced embrace Far more warm than the real bodily hug For I will clutch your being to my soul Attaching it with clamps of black rosed ishq I will erase the blueprint of the creator And draw your destiny in my hennaed palms Fighting societal norms and rewriting morality I shall simply name you mine with a fiendish finality Don’t fear my fanatic acquisition tactics my beloved I always get what I want. Go ask my friends if I lie Or simply believe Amrita Pritam who puffed Sahir’s stubs I will meet you again in the words on your screen For you will be writing me instead of your religious jargon I will wade through barriers of race and community And emerge with kathak moves , mildly coquettish too No Priest or Maulana will be able to stop my flight As I do a perfect soft touch landing on your viscous being I will meet you again in your graphic dreams When disease and pandemics are drawing daggers You will have my image chiseled and engraved in your brain I shall walk in and out of your thoughts nonchalantly Never having to ask for a biometric pass for entry and exit You are not a foreign country any more my love It took a virus to explain the fact that I am as much yours As all those other loves that you harbored in your choppy seas I will meet you in the pages of your daily Economic Times In your share markets and business transactions too Hovering over the bulls and bears of financial markets Merging out of your highs and depressions galore Offering to kiss away your frowning woes Touching the silvery grey in your temples I will meet you yet again
Prompt by Ishmeet Nagpal - I will meet you yet again
from Amrita Pritam’s “Mai Tainu phir milaangi". #CeWoPoWriMoWE'20,Day 18
Lily Swarn, our WE Diva of the World, is a multilingual poet, author, columnist, gold medalist, university colour holder, radio show host and Peace Ambassador, writing in different genres. A Trellis of Ecstasy, has received praise as a veritable delight by The Journal of Commonwealth literature in London. The Gypsy Trail, Lilies of the Valley, have been highly appreciated . History on My Plate got rave reviews. She has won over fifty international and national awards like Reuel International Prize for Poetry, Global Icon of Peace, Sahitya Rattan, Gujarat Sahitya Akademi Award, Master of Creative Impulse, Sarojini Naidu Award,Woman of Substance, Kairat Duissenov medal for poetic excellence, Order of Shakespeare Medal among others. Lily’s poetry has been translated into sixteen European and Asian languages and her Urdu ghazals have been set to music. She was recently declared finalist for Global Culture Champion Award by UK’s She Inspires Awards.