Summers of Amritsar
(Recalling my childhood)


Sun’s heat glazes the verandha’s Kota stone.
The grey-green pharsh is a funnel of fire.
Cattle moo in voices of protesting.
Nothing, nothing stirs in the sky.
The air is still – going nowhere.


The jaundiced-eye-gardener when sober,
Brings sacks of fruits to the house.
While he bears their weight,
Our hearts with pleasure jump,
To get teeth bites into the tapka mangoes!


Topping other trees,
Bunches of lugaths and bananas are ripe.
Around the swimming pool –
We make a holiday place.
Like once more it is a paradise corner!


Wandering from who knows where:
A flat black snake mistily slithers away,
Into the dense clump of the banana trees.
Wearily, a mongoose retires to its burrow,
Taking along an unfinished dream of a duel.


Where the tidy hedge of jasmines spreads,
By night, it will be a scented lake.
Pleasingly, over the tandoor – the great clay spit,
The bread will be baked,
Stuffed with Mama’s favourite recipes.


As dark descends in the hour-glass,
Jugnoos wave out – blinking yellow-white light.
Now and here – it’s the sweetest spell.
Who can miss it!
Or the chuckle of frogs, croaking.


7th August 2013


Geeta Chhabra


Kota – a place in India
pharsh – floor
tapka – a variety of mangoes
phalsa – a fruit
tandoor – the clay spit
Jugnoos – fireflies

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