Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Inheritance

I. From a daughter to her mother

A solid gold necklace
studded with jades and rubies;
A rack full of books -
Tolstoys, Dostoyevskys, Gorkys;
Old newspaper cuttings
of Republic Day Parades, The Emergency, P. Chidambaram;
Binaca toothpaste miniature animal collection,
old stamps, coins, film star cutouts -
You've given me a lot, amma. 

A royal lineage,
Regal bearing, 
self-respect,
a sense of independence,
a love for literature,
a thoughtful mind, 
sensitivity, 
politeness -
You've given me a lot, amma. 

A weak respiratory system -
sinusitis, allergies, 
wheezing, breathlessness; 
Blood pressure, 
diabetes,
psoriasis - freak cells,
weak bones - 
rheumatitis, arthritis,
You've given me a lot, amma. 



II. From a mother to her daughter

I have a lot to give you, my baby -

A name
    chosen with care
                un-mispronounceable;
Broad forehead
    tiny nose
                thick long hair;
A plethora of attributes -
    sensitivity, politeness,
                thought and care;
Myriad habits,
    collected over time
                from people, places, things;
Souvenirs of a nomad life -
    Rajasthani jewellery
                Kerala sarees
                            Gujarati cuisine;
A trunk full of folktales
    gathered from grandmothers,
                teachers and Tinkles;

A bunch of hereditary disorders -
    rotten breath, blood, cells,
                Forgive me for passing them on, will you?

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