‘Sadabahar’ by Sauma Afreen
When I look back I see stars, not in the sky, but twinkling in my backyard. The backyard doesn’t exist now.
But now, I can see comets in lush greens passing by my Nani’s small kitchen garden. Here, the sweet waft of her Nimbus and Amruds scented the courtyard. Tulsi and Sadabahar bloomed where we ate breakfast on a cot under the Amrud tree as the Sun began to ascend slowly, still cool and homely. There, Nana’s snow pigeons paraded, pretending to be dancers. I remember being afraid they would bite my finger, so I never petted them.
Nana is gone, and so is Nani. I feel today that the skeleton in my body is withering away like a particle lighter than the air’s particles. This body, my body, was heavy till a moment ago, but at this moment I have found peace with it.
Now, I am trying hard to make up to the shenanigans of time.
The home I loved was full of lights.
When the stars emerged, my eyes gleamed.
My home smelled of sweet burnt charcoal on the cold misty dusk of November nights.
My house is falling into ruins, much like the life that I built with that childhood family. One log falling today, the plaster off the walls the next. Each year living without their presence.
It is one down, two down, and all of us… down.
Now, I tell of dreams on sinking sands,
With pink horizons at dusk.
I wait for them to be patient,
With my painting of the world.
Of worlds that we built in the dim light of night skies,
Of dreams that I am yet to dream,
And of moments I am yet to live,
Before we meet again!
‘Sadabahar’ translates to ‘evergreen’ in English but it also refers to the Madagascar periwinkle flower.
Amruds: Guava fruit
Nana: Maternal Grandfather
Nani: Maternal Grandmother
(Copyright: Sauma Afreen, 2022)
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