Sunday, August 31, 2014

Colours of a Childhood

The haystacks we climbed in Odalguri
were a glistening titanium yellow,
a mix of the sweltering sun and monsoon rain.
In the front courtyard, it stood reaching
out for promising, summer blue skies.

Mounting trees, we threw down tangelos
that landed in our make-do basket like frocks.
The tangelos were a dark shade of amber
and often sour that crinkled up faces.
Among orchard trees, we sat peeling them
one at a time, until a flash of an idea came by.

The meadows, a shade of lime green, was
a carpet of velvety grass where we played
hours of dodge ball and stuck in mud.
Evenings, we lay about in open fields
watching birds fly home, before our mothers
lured us into ours with the promise
of freshly made pithas*.

When Uruka* came, we camped counting
stars, drawing faces on moonlit skies.
Through cold nights, we huddled for warmth,
playing old shadow games.
And as flames from the bonfire flickered
against the black of the night,
a tinge of tangerine lulled us into
a warm, mellow slumber.

*Pithas - Pithas are usually made of rice flour during the festival of Bihu in Assam.
*Uruka-The first day of Magh Bihu, a harvest festival celebrated in Assam, a northeastern state in India.

*First published by Pageturners in their anthology, Across the Ages in July 2013

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