Author Archives: Ashna

Mother-Maa

M is for the million things she gave me,
O means only that she’s growing old,
T is for the tears she shed to save me,
H is for her heart of purest gold;
E is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
R means right, and right she’ll always be,

Put them all together, they spell “MOTHER,”
A word that means the world to ME and of course ALL OF US.

Journey from India to Australia

Though I have left you behind, Ma, in the homeland,
I have with me in this alien land your blessings.
Papa, though I have left you behind in the homeland
your faith and your words of wisdom are my companions here.
Though I have left you alone in the homeland my brother
your love is with me in the threads of the ‘Rakhi’ I make.
Friends Pooja and Anu, though I have left you behind there
with me are memories of our childhood and adolescence.

With me are memories- that sparkle in my waking dreams:
the golden sands of Pushkar, the serene lakes of Ajmer,
peeping from my window the lamps on the road of my colony.
Shimmer, the first rain-washed leaves of the Peepul (tree),
the intoxicating flowers of the Neem (tree) in Spring,
the misty evenings of early Winter,
the mango-laden trees of peak Summer.

The tree has just been transplanted on a new soil,
but the roots run where there are founts of love,
of affection, of friendship; in every vein is that soil that is life.

New roots will grow gradually,
in time will the tree firm up in the adopted garden, and will flower again;
new fruit will form, seeds will scatter again,
will sprout- saplings will rise whose roots will be here,
whose trunks will muscle up with this soil but strengthen my own land some day…

Still somewhere in the core will be the echoes- of the land
where the grandfather tree stood, of the flute of the original seed;
the sitars of the of culture will twinkle somewhere in the background,
the rhythms of the drums of Delhi fairs and temples will be in the feet.

The tree will flower again.
The tongue will stutter, yet will try to talk the dialect of the world
where there is Ma, and Papa, and
Bhaiyya (Brother) and Chacha (uncle) where even the stranger is ‘brother’,
where the guest is not Paul or Ram not Mary or Maya but Uncle and Auntie.
The tongue will try to utter a few syllables of love.
This a vision of the waking eyes, not a mere dream!

Australia, you a lucky first world country,
a vagrant migrant from Hindustan God’s own country is in search of identity.
A floating seed is struggling to grow roots.
Alien’s the soil, seasons contrary here down under, the heart restless.
The guest is unsettled away from his kin,anxious.
Dear host, be a little patient. Lives she still in waking dreams of home.

My Papa, My Hero

When you were young, pony-tailed, face full of playful freckles,
were you your papa’s girl?
I was. I still am.
Did you look up to him for your security, for love and attention,
for the understanding, and the patience you lacked as a child?
My Papa was the center of my small world, the focus of my affection,
the star that lit my life, shining bright.
Shining still in my heart.
The years have led me here, weathered with maturity and responsibilities,
and I see more clearly now.
The hardships, burdens of love, and all the
small sacrifices he makes for me, for our family.
He has created stability, a place to call home.
All the photographs I browse through of a child long forgotten, scarcely
remembered smiling, so happy and so loved.
The mere thought of becoming that role model
is enough to send me cowering, afraid… looking for guidance.
Turning to my papa for support, advice, wise counsel, and for approval.
Grown up, I see differently now…
A new perspective of a man I have always known.
My heart is full, my emotions overpowering just in the certainty of that bond.
He has been there for me through all the conflicts
helping me over the rough, ragged stones of growing up.
My respect for my papa is unending, faith is unbound, and love is unquestioning.
Even in the midst of all my imperfections, he is lenient, ignoring the pitfalls, the downfalls,
the shortcomings, he always accepted me as I was, as I am.
The sheer purity of it leaves me awe-struck and it lifts me up,
it holds my head a little higher, it keeps me in balance,
harmonizing with the world around me beautifully,
like an inspired masterpiece from the soul of an honest man.
I am honoured to know my papa, to love him, to be of him.
He’s my hero, and I am his daughter, his first daughter like a Son.