At seventy five and eighty,
Under garden umbrellas
They sit on the manicured lawns
Of successful mofussil-bureaucrat sons . . .
There are liveried peons to serve hot snacks and tea,
Maids to assist in case some of them find it difficult
To get spoon to mouth.
Some are knitting, some are chatting
They’re happy. The winter afternoon sun
Mild on their faces . . .
Their stories are the same.
Sons rising in rank, daughters-in-law
Buying the latest in jewellery,
Grandchildren topping their exams . . .
In an indistinct, mumbly way
Mrs. Seth starts recounting
How her late husband forced her
To relocate to Poona, when her Meena
Was in class ten and Pankaj was down
With the ‘flu . . .
“Oh! That’s nothing”, chips in Mrs. Bhargava,
Gesturing to her maid to straighten
Her Pashmina shawl. “He took me to Vijayawada.
I hated the weather, I couldn’t understand the language,
And poor Pappu had to learn Telegu . . .”
“If I hadn’t been forced by mine
To join him in Srinagar,
Preeti wouldn’t have got that chance
Of meeting Aslam . . . it was so difficult
Adjusting to a Muslim son-in-law . . .
Preeti was so selfish . . . children do what
They want without a care for us . . .”
It goes on till each one
Has cleared her heart.
In the long pause that ensues
A few nod off . . . the others sit quiet
By the passion of their art
Pic fro Net