The Breadcrumbs widget will appear here on the published site.
By Sofiul Azam
At home while it’s raining in the afternoon,
I fondle my kids and play, building a tent
with pillows and with an embroidered quilt.
Minutes ago, they did anxiously stick out
their hands through the balcony grille,
and felt the raindrops hit their tiny palms.
The cool electricity gave them goosebumps.
They also felt good about tulsi plants
in flowerpots responding to the wind.
Now they hear thunder rumbling too often
outside and snuggle up to me in fear. I love
every minute of it. I see lightning scrawl
a monsoon letter on the darkening sky
before I myself write one. My wife is cooking
rice-cakes best served with a paste of spices
and black cumin seeds, and getting ready
a bowl of puffed rice mixed with onions,
chili peppers, and mustard oil. Khichuri
on a rainy day-off is an added bliss.
My kids, tired with their joyful screaming,
will fall asleep. My wife and I will be talking
about our own childhood days at Granny’s
till we doze off into each other’s arms
with our eyes blinking at this idea
of such a blessèd togetherness, knowing
the rain will be pouring and thrashing
against windowpanes throughout the night.
I grew up picnicking in the Garo Hills.
In summer, I saw trees and clustered vines
dance in the wind and get covered with red dust.
One day we will go there, to see together
the rain falling and washing the dust
off their green foliage. I’ll read out my poems
in there with the rain conducting its music.
If the rain stops before sunset, I’ll take
my kids out to see how the valleys come alive
with frogs and crickets, and how leaves litter
the snaking mud-tracks through the hills
with a rainbow making a bridge overhead.
I’ll tell them the names of wild plants.
We’ll hear tailorbirds from their leafy nests,
also the endangered great Indian hornbills.
Each of our footfalls will skid dangerously,
and they will realize for the first time
how the wet earth smells. They’ll be afraid
of how tiny leeches move, yet hanging around
all the more curious. I’ll laugh away their fears,
assuring them of salt. Back in the cottage,
I’ll plan an adventure for myself. My wife
will object to climbing the slippery hills
even with a sharpened bamboo. I’ll give her
the creeps without taking any, even though
I know coming back to their arms feels
like a memory I’ll cherish until I perish.