Mofussil Mummies

Smita shows us a slice of life in a laid back mofussil on the World Poetry Day.

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

Exhausted, drained,

By the passion of their art

Of complaint.

Pic fro Net

Different Truths wishes Happy World Poetry Day to all its readers. On this occasion, we present works of five poets. Our celebrated poets are: Dr Ampat V. Koshy, Santosh Bakaya, Joyce Yarrow, Prof. Smita Agarwal and Anumita Chatterjee Roy.
Click on the links of other four poets below:
Smita Agarwal

Smita Agarwal

Smita Agarwal is a poet-critic and the author of Wish-granting Words, Poems, Mofussil Notebook and Marginalized: Indian Poetry in English. She has won awards from the British Council and The Poetry Society, India. She has been a writer in Residence at the universities of Stirling, and Kent. She is Professor of English and Director, Centre for Women’s Studies, Allahabad University, and a professional singer with samples of her songs available on You Tube and
Smita Agarwal

Latest posts by Smita Agarwal (see all)