Letter to Grandma – Kiran A. Thakare

Leaving you

Manuscript illustration of the Mahabharata War...
Manuscript illustration of the Mahabharata War, depicting warriors fighting on horse chariots (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There

in the jaw of cruel niyati

thousands of miles away

I came here

to strengthen

my beliefs and

to return

to fight

your war

my war

at home.

 

Now

three years have passed

you wrote me

“I am anxious to see you

come home soon”

I lied to you,

saying

Aattya I can’t come home now

I have some last moments’ work to do.”

I hide from you

Yes Aattya!

I am trying to make some money

to buy you a gift.

 

The thought of my return

rejoices me

how proud you will be

to see me

as a grown woman

so strong

so changed

and yet to see

your same naughty GrandDee

as I used to be.

 

I imagine

on my return

you so happy–

like that bakuli plant–

as your GrandDee

is back in your warm nest

and

you telling me

stories of

your lonely monsoons

that you spend

counting

one after another.

 

I can’t wait

to come home

to dance around you

as the koeil on the

backyard tree will sing,

to chase your cats from room to room

and follow you in the kitchen

holding the palloo of your sari

begging for tea

and waiting for that Dhudh-malai

Aattya . . .

now I can’t wait.

 

I am ready with words and swords

to fight our war

a war of

single women

battered women

suppressed women

Reminds me of

Mahabharata

the war

for the right!

for the truth!

and of your sacrifices–

time has come

for the change

and I am ready Aattya

I am ready for the change.

 

I wrote you

“I will be home

on my birthday twenty-second of February,

twenty more days

and I will be home.”

But this time you did not reply.

Why is that Aattya?

perhaps

you are very busy

ordering servants

decorating home and streets

putting “welcome” signs everywhere

planning parties

running here and there

Aatya

I can’t wait anymore

my heart sings your songs

as I pack my bags

four more days

sleep well Aattya

18th February, 1993

******

Today, 20th February,

I received a letter

from your distant relative

he wrote,

“Aattya died last month.”

 

Aattya

I have no words

I am homeless

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