Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The spice jar

"Take this with you, but careful -
Don't lose it in the vastness of the Atlantic."
She meant her words, my mother,
a simple woman with little desires.
True, losing 'things' across infinite miles is easy.
I have learnt it well, bit by bit.
A dear dear uncle, a cousin...
Ma told me how the sad, hungry ocean swallowed them all.
And I just stared, defeated and distanced.

The glass walls of the small jar looked familiar,
choked with cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon sticks, pepper pods.
A very Indian smell, guardians of my world.
I've emptied it into my days and nights,
into my morning tea, flavouring the curries,
always searching for that familiar aroma.
The aroma of Ma's palms,
of ginger garlic, of love and sacrifice.

Everyday I see it, the half filled, half emptied jar,
sitting mute in the disturbingly neat white kitchen cupboard.
Perfunctorily, I refilled the jar today
with imported spices from the India bazaar.
Spices that have traveled across the proverbial seven seas
shedding some skin of originality on their way.
And so I mixed them all, the Was and the Is,
letting my world unhinge into an unknown territory.
But deep inside my labyrinthine thoughts
I am scared, as if I have lost my only defense.
For the Was and the Is never meet.


  1. LOVELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and that is an understatement...

  2. Thanks Som! This poem was actually an outright emotional outburst...

  3. With time WAS, IS and WILL BE meets... :P

  4. And I just stared, defeated and distanced.
    Still learning what it is to lose something treasured,
    Only to find new treasures to lose again...

  5. Rajani, I couldn't agree less. Losing is a continuity, and often an old, stern taskmaster.

  6. what a lovely poem! I don't think any suprlative can do justice to the beauty of the feeling described here. You go girl! :)

  7. Maneesha di, can't thank you enough for your generosity. Keep visiting! :)


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