An Ode to ‘The Forgotten’

 

An Ode to ‘The Forgotten’

They say I am too young
To step into their adult shoes
But insist I am too old
To squeeze into my blue-and-pink muse

I close my eyes to them
While my mind’s eye sees stars and sequins
Give way to laughing eyes, to whispered voices
To intoxicating scents of pine and pecans

Splashes of yellow, sprinkles of sanguine
Light streaming in with a weak whirlpool
Of glistening dust, through dainty spider webs
Bringing a hope of hope and a renewal of renewal

Dear street-smart-Friend-proud-at-four-when-I-was-three

I remember the bandhini tents we built
The wolves we destroyed in the guise of peacocks
With the rustle of your frock; you taught me
That purity of heart can cross the highest roadblocks

Hola guitarist-from-Brazil-forty-something-when-I-was-four

Strings, tabs, chords, plectrums
Wafted to me on clouds of ocean surf
You led me to summery decks, to billowing crow’s nests
To tirelessly seek a resilient lone blade in a parched turf

Salaam-walekum Bhaiya-graduating-at-university-when-I-was-five

From Tinkles and Blytons bought at the utopian Crossroads
To pedas, puns and phuljaris from your native Aligarh
Armed with a bowl of Ma’s terethipal, you made me realize
That someday I would fill a book about being loved and title it my memoir

Well, Perpetually-Fighting-Boy-at-elementary-when-I-was-six

We probably put cats and dogs to shame
How we seemed to live solely to arm-wrestle! 
Look at you now- shy, quiet, trapped within yourself
Will you come alive if I let you wrench my pigtails a little?

My darling Doggy-a-Survivor-on-the-Streets-when-I-was-seven

One Saturday morning, you welcomed me to love you
Frisky, frolicking, fiercely protective
Through wags and wuffs, you led me to a world
Where innocuous windows opened to many a life-changing perspective 

Howdy, Computer-obsessed-Capricorn-Cousin-when-I-was-eight

Your room with the Skull and Crossbones sign was an oasis for both of us
To Rahman’s music, stained glass and Jill of the Jungle would we escape
I blow pink poppies wistfully to the dry winds, hoping that
Forevermore, this lil’ sister’s prayers see you safe through every scrape

Respects to a Habit-clad-Angel-when-I-was-nine

A new school, a new world- it all seemed so harsh and lonely
But there you stood beside me, care and concern writ large on your face
The peaceful face I saw being lowered six feet under nine years later
For you, Sister V, humanity as my religion do I willingly embrace

Oye Cable-wala-on-a-Bajaj-vespo-when-I-was-ten

You brought the stardust of Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup home
With an introduction to Monk, Phoebe, Malcolm, Joey and Bart
Sitting on the roof, tweaking the antennae; you took me
On a journey to appreciate the imaginations of varied creators of art

Rambling down the bylanes of memory
I meet eyes, I meet voices
I leave myself at 10, leave to introspect
The next eight years of my choices

Incomplete does this Ode stand
And incomplete will it always be
For I remain eight, eighteen, eighty
All the time, all at once, you see

Till the next time
We meet on this Train of Time Travel
I dedicate this Ode
To You, for to You do I reveal, in You do I revel.  

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