Ruins We sit down to plan our holiday, post dinner, on a weekend. Debates and discussions fill the apartment. Some stunning photographs of a tree trunk forcing its way up through the dilapidated roof of a temple lure us. We zero in on a place renowned for its ruins choose from options, estimate the expenses, book ourselves with a travel agent. I go to meet my mother after a busy month, find her older, frailer, confused a line of suspicion crossing her eyes like a crack of lightning The 24 x 7 news channels have convinced her that the world is a treacherous place I cannot refute the claim She complains about her caregiver I try to reason it out with her My words become redundant, fall like autumn's browning leaves The shadows of the house grow dense A trunk load of brass utensils gather dust under her bed She does not use my father's room death has closed its door. Soundlessness stirs as I peep in the hushed corners tell the tale of trapped tune of 'Ahir Bhairav' awaiting morning rays. The other rooms wear the gloom of her cotton printed sarees. I finish the ritual of tea while watching the onslaught of time on shelves, book case, sofas, tables. Our voices and laughter of long ago have formed clouds on the discoloured walls. I book a cab mouth some reassuring words as I leave. On my way back, I realise that even before taking the trip I have already seen the ruins.
Mallika Bhaumik was a nominee for the Pushcart Prize for Poetry, 2019. She is the author of two poetry books ,’Echoes’ (Authorspress New Delhi) and ’How Not to Remember.’ (Hawakal Publisher) Her poems, short stories, travelogue, article, interviews have been published in many well reputed mags and journals and anthologies like Outlook India, Guftugu Journal, Cafe Dissensus, Harbinger Asylum, Get Bengal, Shot Glass Journal, In Parentheses Journal, Kitaab, Pangolin Review, Narrow Road Journal, The Bengaluru Review, Mad Swirl, Madras Courier,The Grey Sparrow Journal, The Alipore Post, RIC Journal to name a few.