Kavita Sarin

Intro

An educator who has made a place for herself in the hearts of her students and considers herself blessed for having been given the opportunity to work with children, Ms. Kavita Sarin has a rich reservoir of experience in the fields of advertising, editing and publishing. A poet at heart, she spends her days teaching English, training students for various competitions and occupies a large part of her day with writing poems. A committed family ‘man’, so to say, she follows her heart and yearns to fulfil the dreams that her family has had of and for her.

Snapshots

Deep within the recesses
Of 
An old, decrepit, iron trunk
Lie remnants of lives once lived.
As I reach out
To pluck with my bare, shaking fingers
Memories of a past not yet faded,
An odor of sadness permeates my being. 
A weak, antiquated, yellowing Manila
Holds reminiscences of lives
That pervade my senses,
Memories that imbue my present
With a meaningfulness it would otherwise not have had. 
Lying enveloped in these obdurate walls,
Are albums that are proof 
Of vital, breathing human beings,
A part and parcel of the person I am today.
I shiver and quake
As much from excitement
As from an unknown fear
And an inconclusive, unexplained anxiety.
Piece by piece, I separate
People, thoughts and impressions
Some sepia, some black and white
And many, many multi-hued
Bits of my past. 
Each rectangular, four-sided piece
Holds a myriad of visages,
Countenances that bring to life
Aspects that I haven’t yet obliterated
From mind or heart.
As I peer into each, I recollect
Faces as they used to be,
Features that once were.
I retrieve from the recesses of memory
the sharp features
that have now softened, rounded out;
Lissome, full-bodied figures
Now filled out, a little more pulpous,
Heads full of hair, now greyed or balding.
And then, as if from nowhere, it hits me!
Round and square, like a full-fisted blow,
That lands bang in the middle of my solar plexus
And knocks me almost cold,
Leaving me gasping for breath.
Those family pictures!
Those groups of happy, smiling faces
Young, middle-aged and old….
Those crowds of ten, twelve, even twenty!
Grouped as paternal and maternal,
Friends as family, families as friends.
Those groups are now reduced; heavily truncated,
Humbler in the passage of time,
Diminished through the ravages
Wrought by Death.
I weep bitter tears of remorse
For words said and unsaid. 
My face is wet with tears of repentance
At the hugs received and not returned.
Sobs of penitence engulf me
As I recall
Soft secrets exchanged
And promises made;
Now – never to be fulfilled.
Reluctantly, I put back those pieces
Of a life lived long ago,
Unwilling to commit them to the inexorable darkness,
Once more to be consumed
By its yawning obscurity.
All the while, leaving me to live, 
Grappling
With the vacuity thus created;
Till the next time
I reach into its deep recesses.

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Lying awake in bed
At the ripe old age of sixteen
I realised
For the very first time
That only a brick wall 
Separated me 
From the tumultuous madness
That ensued in the room next door. 
It really was the very first time
I realized and became aware
That my otherwise loving father
Was somewhat of a brute.
A bogeyman who appeared
Only in front of my mother
Only at night
Only within the confines of their room!
Years of being told
“I have very sensitive skin”
As a response to queries about
The purple-blue bruises,
Had led me to believe her.
I had often said I was glad
I hadn’t taken after her.
And just as often, she would say
“Well, I hope so,” and then
Under her breath, mutter something.
I now realize she said, “Touch Wood!
I should hope not!”
My anger, strangely, wasn’t directed at him.
It was Mum I was angry with!
I trusted her: she broke my trust.
She lied and hid the truth!
My sixteen year old self believed
I had been wronged! By her!
That changed. And how!
I understand now
Her shame, her fear, her helplessness!
She didn’t want to betray him
In front of his children
His friends or family.
Even then, she took it upon herself.
I understand now
Her penchant for wearing purple
Shades of blue and at times, red.
I understand now
Why she wore sarees wrapped around her shoulders
Why she wore long-sleeved blouses,
Why she walked around with her eyes to the ground
Why she pretended to have fallen, tripped, walked into a wall.
I understand completely now.
You see, since I was married
I’ve taken to wearing red, blue and purple
Saree wrapped tightly around my long-sleeved blouses
Also, with my eyes lowered to the ground.
My husband often jokes
“She’s terribly accident-prone!”
And my mother……
“Touch Wood! She died a year ago!"

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