CELEBRATION OF LOCAL: NABANITA SENGUPTA

Nostalgia

I
Nostalgia, you live along the road
where confetti of krishnachura and palash
string its sides in flaming hues;
where a little schoolgirl picks up
eucalyptus fruits and soaps her hands;
rough lather residues happy smile
and a scent of its leaves.
Nostalgia, you live in that gurgling stream
who sings happy songs with pebbles and boulders
and beckons the little girl to play,
whose light feet jumps from one rock to the next
like a butterfly alighting on each and every flower.
Nostalgia, you live in the sun
That hides each evening behind those green hillocks.

Yet every day rises for her  
from behind multi storeyed buildings
beyond her kitchen window these days.


                        II
Memories have their own scent.
Some are mildewed and soft
like the intoxicating mahua
and its garlanded branch
soft pink and white
or of the medley of whiffs
from Sunday bazar of assorted figments from everyday!

Because memories have colours too
of the green canopy under the blue sky
of white tagar in the temple premise
and upon the shivalinga
flocked by devotees in various hues,
or the blue and white attired children
flocking through that huge iron gate
in a stepping stone to larger world;
and pink lotuses from a Ullysian tale.

And the sounds of memory -
like a whispered lullaby and a sweet drowsiness
crouching slowly upon my senses -
living sounds of mundane from uniform quarters;
of friends and I in the playground,
in a harmonious medley or jarring notes;
music of a young alaap
that wafted from an open window
or loud readings of Akbar's rule and Einstein on relativity.
of evening conch shells
and sirens signifying end of factory shifts.

All these painted my nostalgia!


                        III
It was Holi each twilight
as sun bade farewell
smearing hill tops
in red and orange love
and chirping birds shared their day
in loud voices
feeding their little one
morsels of affection.

I sat upon the wooden chair
a friend through my growing years
which creaked in every joint
in an attempted conversation.
And toyed with multi coloured thoughts
as the sun bid adieu to a feeble moon going strong.
A pink one for my new school bag
that I boasted of at school that year
an indigo thought peeked in too
of my classroom funs
and that red one - that special someone that caused the teenage blush!
A black too - that was collected on roadside
of that ogling loafer.
Then there were thoughts of gold and silvery dreams
of a life yet to be lived
of a world beyond this insulated comfort deep
nascent cocooned fast asleep.

Ma's kitchen sent a delicious evening breeze
stirred me up from my young reveries
an evening ritual of home cooked savouries
that coincided with each setting sun.
---


Nabanita Sengupta, (PhD from University of Calcutta) is presently working as assistant professor in English at Sarsuna College, affiliated to the University of Calcutta. Her areas of specialization are 19th century travel writings, women’s studies, translation studies and disability studies. Some of her translated short stories have been published, the latest contribution being in the Anthology of Modern Bengali short stories published by the Sahitya Akademi. She is also a part of a translation project undertaken by Viswa-Bharati. She has presented papers in various national and international seminars in India and abroad. She along with Suranjana Choudhury had guest-edited a volume at Café Dissensus on women displacement in South Asia. Her creative writings have also been published at various places like Muse India, Coldnoon, Café Dissensus, NewsMinute.in, etc. She may be contacted at nabanita.sengupta@gmail.com

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