My Pink Room
Suddenly the walls declared
I am pink immaculately pink
The curtains match me
And the lampshade pinky pink.
“Do you notice me?”
Notice I did
Wrapping it up in a staring surprise.
How is it that the untidy heap of books
The stacks of newspapers
Two pairs of specs and the
Death’s head Buddha
Appeared as concrete
As materiality could ever appear.
So touchable. Fusion of hardness and softness
Successes and failures
Wrapped in an amiable jumble
A jungle impenetrable
Suddenly appeared lucid
Habitable, with blue-lighted rooms
Coffee smells down summer streets
Grey alley ways full of stalls selling colourful glass bangles.
Suddenly the pink turned into all this.
A grey segment of memory remained
Like a pigeon’s feather slipped off
From the bright bird that had just left the cornice
The feather became the beggar to whom I had turned an indifferent ear that very morning.
Her toffee-coloured flesh
Barbecued with want.
Her husky voice repeating “Allah ki Piyari ”
Though I turned a deaf ear to this my new appellation.
Let the Plants Grow
Let the plants grow
Peacefully form crevices and dark holes.
There is no need to pluck them out for the building is already crumbled.
Let them rejuvenate the brittle old bricks with their green breath.
Only stop for a while to listen to the sound of their breath
As they rub their fingers across the old wall
And let the spring breeze ravish them.
Do not disturb them. Just pass them by.
What is the secret of our growing,
Our greening, our sharp sword- like fingers, softening with the special softness
Of the strength of caressing fingers ?
You never ever touched us like this before
Though we have bordered the soil of your balcony for more than twenty years.
You never watered us so lovingly before,
You never spent hours sipping your tea and penetrating our depths as you waited for we know not what,
Reclined in your balcony seat.
You touched us with your sleepy fingers,
Fiddled through our body
Smelled our freshness moistened by the trickling water that you poured on us.
It was the first time you saw us though you have looked before, and got busy with managing your day.
The soft breasted pigeons alight into our sharp blades,
Not minding the pricks that we render
For we are not the smooth ‘durba’ grass, we are the strong and thick.
The yellow alamanda flower decorates us with their gentle blossoms.
But we need your caring nurture, your sunny presence.
Please do not discard us when your human world of touch is restored.
Although we are just a strip of grass.
Tapati Gupta is a retired Professor of the Department of English, University of Calcutta and former Head of the Department. An erudite scholar, a theatre, arts and music aficionado and enthusiastic photographer, she continues to pursue new interests with indefatigable zeal.