National Poetry Month – ‘Beneath the sprawling Mango Tree’ by Momi Mukherjee

Fervent prayers for a mango to fall…

Beneath the sprawling Mango Tree

This is how it would surely be

Beneath the sprawling mango tree

If the God of time had stood still

Courtyard, house and a crumbling mill.

Tulsi swaying in the breeze

Cotton sarees and jangling keys

Scent of camphor and incense

Restraint of the handmade fence.

Gentle steps on the brick-laid path

Periwinkles on the way to the bath

Cry of shrill, an ice-cold dip

Breaking of dawn, dew and a nip.

Fervent prayers for a mango to fall

Math tables, history and football

Shrieking in joy at the tyre swing

Snakes and Ladders, rubber sling.

Stacks of hay and afternoon slumber

Sweetest milk in Kansa tumbler

The gentle cow chewing my shirt

Rossogolla, Sandesh made for dessert.

Myriad shades of green I learnt

Reds, oranges, rusts and burnt

Running through the paddy field

No sunscreen to act as a shield.

Cuts and bruises and forever scraped knee

Just for a lark chased the bee

Skipping stones in water was a skill

Precious runaway afternoon drill.

Baul voices robust and strong

Folklore told as a song

Saffron robes and matted hair

I followed them everywhere.

Meal times like I’ve never seen

A row of seating took eighteen

Two such rows each time we ate

Laughter, cousins, Dadu’s gold plate.

Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys

Kept aside for bigger joys

Dida’s lap and my puny head

Filled with queens and kings instead.

Sundown got the men home, from toil

Lanterns, lamps, kerosene oil

Glowing fireflies not so far away

Against the night sky of grey.

Jasmines blooming along the wall

Hyenas doing their mating call

No traffic of buses or cars

You could almost touch the stars!

Momi Mukherjee, Navi Mumbai

Momi Mukherjee, an ex-banker from Navi Mumbai and the founder of Devi an exquisite ethnic wear boutique, shares a poem written by her on the reminiscence of her annual summer holidays as a child with her grandparents in rural Bengal. She takes all of us back to those good old childhood days…

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