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.
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!"