Memories of those delicate, tinkling bells
casually fastened around calloused feet
take hold of my waking moments
and fling my thoughts back to a distant time
when folk songs were heartily sung,
joyful, yet hopelessly out of rhyme.
I barely saw her, a construction labourer perhaps,
hauling bricks, cement, anything
on a scorching Delhi day,
while in the semi-shade of a Gulmohar tree
her infant silently lay.
A cacophony of thoughts such as these swirl around,
yanking me away from the now,
to my cow-dung littered childhood playground.
Now, a lifetime of displacement has hushed
the jangling chorus of the past
to a faint trickle of sounds
as distant as an ocean heard inside tiny sea-shells.
And I know that the orchestral nostalgic crescendo
rises, dips, and swells
as tantalisingly near yet a world of time away
as were the tinkling of her ankle bells.