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Rice Lovers

Paucity of something multiplies the yearning for it, manifold Short or restricted supply is the precursor for ever-growing demands. My love for rice germinated under the draconian rule enforced by my mother at my home in India: you had to eat one roti (homemade what flour bread) before you could scoop rice into your plate. This rule was not based on the health and nutritional values of comestibles but on their comparative prices. Rice cost more than wheat, so we were encouraged to eat more rotis. My siblings and I dipped the insipid chunks of roti into the curry and forced them down our throats while eyeing wistfully the steaming pot of rice.
This love for rice did not skip a generation; it passed on to my son via some chromosome. Today, in my home, here in the USA, I try to include some protein, greens, rice and roti since dinner is the only meal we sit down together for.The nights when I plan a meal sans rice, my son looks at me with disillusioned eyes, “No rice today?” My husband …

Rain was different

My sallow eyes watch torrents of rain Lashing the glass windows Of my chic office on the seventeenth floor
I can't hear the tinkling of drops Or the rumbling of clouds All sounds obscured by engineered acoustics
I shut my eyes for a moment Monsoon of my country Whispers in my ear, dances in my mind
Rain looked, smelled and sounded different back home Falling sonorously on the tin roof of our shed Scrubbing the green mangoes on our tree to a shine Smelling of quenched earth And onion fritters frying in mom’s kitchen
Rain, rain, I pray, do me a favor today Wash away my sagacity and wisdom Seep into my locked pores Free out the innocent child I was once
Lick my tired hands To once more transform  Scraps of paper into boats Dilute my blood now viscous Into frothy ebullience tingling my veins
Tousle and crush my silk parasol Soak me head to toe in sky’s curative waters Drain away the worldly perfumes And bring back to me unsullied petrichor.

Lets stay home

How about we stay home this weekend Some time with you I’d love to spend Years of matrimony evanesced, let’s pretend And once again try to be just good friends Actually, go outside and knock on the door Let me welcome you and take your coat I’ll make you a cup of your favorite ginger tea And listen to you with all honesty Let’s forget the groceries, bills and the pantry Just talk about the man you want to be Tell me your worst fears; where does it hurt Which dreams of yours lay covered in dirt I’ll try to look into your brown beautiful eyes Without expecting any promises or replies The life we share-its busy, its good But I haven’t asked about the sore corn on your foot Its been a while!I don’t even recall, what a shame The sweet music you rolled into the last syllable of my name Let’s start to unlearn, let’s come undone Unfamiliar they seem-the versions of us we’ve become Please, I’ll call the hosts; I’ll take responsibility We are popular enough at parties already

Mind Your Language

Three lovely languages I profess to know: English taught by pious habit-clad nuns Who insisted we speak English at school Or they raised a livid eyebrow
Teachers with foreheads adorned with velvet bindis Traipsing about in starched crisp saris Circles of sweat streaking their cotton blouses Taught us the grammar and nuances in Hindi
Urdu, the sweetest and mellowest one Was taught by my enthusiastic and erudite grandpa Always peddling life’s lessons for free The man’s wisdom compared to none
He taught us the alphabet: aleph, bey, tey, sey Emphasizing that pronunciation is key A word holds its meaning Only in how the listener hears you say
He tirelessly corrected improper diction With an infectious laugh that started in his soft eyes A fistful of pennies he dangled For a perfectly transcribed dictation
Grandpa translated Ghalib and Meer for us As mellifluous ghazals and nazms filled our house He was our Wikipedia and our Google Anxious to teach, enlighten and discuss
Urdu, the languag…

Evil Chromosomes

Pained and shamed, parents looked at her
an enormous burden, not their lovely daughter

Her brothers were fed milk and cream
she tasted them daily,but in her dreams

Boys were sent to school with uniforms and books
she stayed back, scrubbing and cleaning dirty nooks

Still a child,they hastily arranged her marriage
too anxious to relieve themselves of the baggage

She weaved her new life with patience
head hung low always in obedience

Soon she learnt she was pregnant
‘Baby’ the word felt warm and fragrant

Dreams of the baby filled her nights
already hugging it in her arms tight

Showered with unprecedented care and love
she couldn’t thank enough the heavens above

They took her to the clinic that ominous day
“It’s  a girl”, she heard the doctor shamefully say

An acrid potion was forced brutally down her throat
Female feticide is still rampant in lands remote

Published in BrownGirl

What can I say

The man to be the common people’s President Of gold palaces and shiny villas, he’s a resident Mockery is whose first impulse Claims to feel a sufferer’s pulse Aren't his duplicity and chicanery more than evident?
Part of Limerick Challenge Week 49

Tall tale tummyache

Just moved to this lovely sprawling house Eager to explore each nook like a mouse Before I could breathe, came cruel morning With “Get ready for school, darling” Conjured up an intense tummy ache Hoping for the clock to move past eight “Don’t know what I ate last night My stomach is wound up so tight Forgot to wash my hands before dinner Don’t know if something captured my liver Last week my friend caught a sticky bug That lived and fed for days in her gut. Can hardly breathe, can hardly talk Don’t think I will ever be able to walk” “Let me find you Pudin Hara” said mother, “Go back to bed until you feel better” Minutes later, off the bed I bounced “Was just some gas that passed”, I announced. Happily skipped from room to room Pretending to help clean with the big broom I was flying, feet floating above the ground My ebullience just knew no bounds Until Ma called for lunch Just a slice of bread to munch! “Eat light today, just like a sparrow And get back to school tomorrow.”
‘This po…