Thoughts on leaving our home in Nebraska

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Pic shared from our personal album

You took all of me, as I breathed in your empty walls. Walls crushed with silences, doors, windows creaking with uttered words, pregnant spaces, skewed lines.

A mouthful of want resurfaced from your nooks and crevices when I entered these doors in the sweltering July heat, my own expanse of tranquil space, embedded within your unceremonious folds.

The kitchen fried, baked and burnt our scarlet togetherness till its last dying embers. In its light and flame, I stood by its side, garnished with the aroma of Indian spices cruising down my hands, softly peeling, chipping away as my cold fingers worked on the music of the tap waters. I had been been pulled into the daily grind of wrinkled rituals, tight, tighter every moment, my feet shuffling, stumbling on the bare floors.

Our breaths, arid, hovered over each other’s ears as we slept, hugged each other in bubbles, foams and dreams, swayed, reclined, faltered in our untamed beds.

In the laundry, amid the pile of recycled clothes, slammed and shoved inside the soapy rubble, my hands nibble on the grains and dust of our unlettered years, lathered with our sweat, smiles, smirks, mockery, our quick bouts of tempter and tears.

I knew, in this soft, breezy rustling of the leaves just outside the windowsill, when the whispers of the early fall urged me today to take its last couple of bites, that you would come back to me again, in refrains, in bite-sized chunks, urging me to fork and gulp down yet another chunk, one more, till I shut my mouth on you.

I will think of you, ruminate and chew on your fruity chunks, the seeds of your wayward memories teasing my tongue. Memories which I would scratch and turn into a gash of remembrance, those would remind me why I had been egged on to escape, to fall an easy prey to the blinding lights of a newer, more opportune terrain.

Inside my sulky, verdant soul that has always lusted for more, inside the wellspring of my restless being, I will carry you in all the dusty years in which we have waxed and waned, fought, coaxed, cajoled and sided each other. I know I will step out of your doors, moist and lost, while no other soul will realize how much I will still smell of your old salt.

I will leak and blow out, every once in a while, looking for the old, dusty bends where you tossed me, turned me over. Till then, I leave you, trampled, stained, stopping a while to wipe your tears, and then, walk out of your doors, forlorn, pondering.

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Thwarted Escape: a Personal Essay

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It gives me great pleasure to let my dear readers know that my narrative nonfiction piece, a personal essay titled ‘Thwarted Escape’ has been published in the online journal, ‘Cafe Dissensus Everyday’. Written in late summer 2010, the idea of this piece came to me while waiting at the terminal of the Delhi international airport with my elder daughter, a toddler, for our next connecting flight to Chicago. Just a couple of hours back, I had bid goodbye to my parents, in-laws and relatives in the Kolkata airport, and was thinking how there is this complete switch of universes in the course of one flight to the next.

I was thinking of the meaning and essence of the words ‘home’, ‘homeland’, the edges of which seemed blurred now that I had two different homes, two different set of lives continents apart. My exile, six years back as the newly wed Bengali bride was self-chosen, I had already embraced new homes, landscapes in the most unlikely of places. My life had already been intertwined with the air and water of the unknown soil, amidst unknown lives, but each day, we were coming closer, like fingers kneading clay, leaving imprints on each other. I was thinking about the life, the bittersweet memories that I leave behind in every annual visit to my parents’ and in-laws’ place, the emotional, physical, spiritual upheavals that have been part of both my leaving the places and coming back to them. It was then that I realized that in this act of leaping between continents, in the act of adjusting to the various movements of my heart, there is a story yet to be told, even to myself. This piece is born out of such a quest, framed in my mind in between the transit stops, and is now a chapter from my first, yet unpublished memoir. It is also the stepping stone to some longer narratives where I dissect, deconstruct my pent up, calcified memories, revisit my past in Kolkata and look at my present while inching towards honesty, integrity and self-awareness. It is a personal voyage that is bruised and bleeding, yet marked with reassurance, vitality and the animated signs of life.  

Do read the full personal essay published at Cafe Dissensus Everyday:

http://cafedissensusblog.com/2014/04/20/thwarted-escape/

 

The piece has also very recently been accepted for publication by the 2014 River Poets Journal Special Edition “The Last Time I Ran Away.” It is a print literary journal published from Lilly Press, NJ. To know more about River Poets Journal, go to:

http://www.riverpoetsjournal.com/index.html

Still With Me: A Refrain in the Form of a Single Sentence Essay

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Sojourner

Experimenting with form and structure in Creative Nonfiction can manifest itself in many unique shapes and forms. Take a thought, a particular image that strikes and resonates, and keep expanding it till it looks like a long drawn sentence. What if the sentence, along with the particular image/idea becomes a short essay? It would have never occurred to me as something remotely possible if I had not attended a particular essay workshop where the idea of a single sentence essay was being illustrated. Inspired by the idea, I had written a single sentence short essay ‘Still With Me’ which had later been published in Ampersand Review, a literary journal in Fall 2010.

To me, it looks like a refrain more than an essay, a refrain in broken arms, wounded feet and bleeding palms.

“Every night, you come back to my arms in a sweet surrender; together we weep crystal tears buried in shadows deep as you take me back to the sweaty jostle of clumsy streets wrapped around you, the crescent moon that stands up on your sky bleeding not the red of blood; but the lonely hues of gray that travel the world of the living, the emaciated, neglected brooks and streams that still flow on your way, burying our unspoken words in their darkest waters, the haunting lullabies of my childhood slumber that wander endlessly in the faraway winds, the mistake and redemption of my yesteryears lying in their graves along with the greatest ashes of our shared wounds, the smothering morning mist and the secret moonlight that used to gush through your darkened rooms at the edge of my sleep, the crimson lights that used to flash your lanes, which soon used to grow brutal and blinding, the raindrops that used to pelt on your window panes, the storms that raged within your secret, unknown, unnoticed nooks and corners; and today, traveling through the mists of time, as I remind myself of your darkened rooms, as I try to search for long-lost words and stolen memories buried in your walls which visit my lonely mind, as I hear the echo of the sighing music of your rooms, your staircases, your walls, which seem like whispers uttered in naked air, stirring the darkness with wispy winds as I walk through your doors; I walk right in, through the blinding haze of day and night, a traveler of time seeking a pound of solace in the taste of your world beyond a dream; heaving with a heart that harbors dark alleys of a life walled by silent tears, waiting for you, my long-forgotten home, in the eager darkness of return.”

To know more about Ampersand Review, the literary journal and to read more of their fiction, poetry and nonfiction works, you may visit their page:

http://ampersandreview.com/home/