Your stories of the family home in Kharagpur-
The Jaadu Ghar, Masonic ritual room, high ceilings, winding staircases –
They reminded me of home.
The first house that we lived in
Before the Great Partition of ’95.
I can see the wooden staircase,
Stairs steep enough to slit your tongue on your way down (It’s not polite to stare).
The red steel toy cupboard double my height
From the top of which my brother fell.
The mango tree on which we’d climb
To talk to the neighbours’ kid,
Exchanging paper boats for slingshots,
The treehouse of our dreams.
The vague memories of a dairy at the back,
Cows resting under a plumeria tree.
A big verandah overlooked the road,
Do you remember how it looked on Diwali?
We lined the railing with 10,000 ladis,
In the morning, red shreds everywhere.
Since the demolition, I can’t even look,
12A, just another house down the block.