“I place a bowl of Palakkad summer”: Three poems by Sudha Chandrashekar

Maambazha Morkuzhambu

I place a bowl of Palakkad summer
on the table
on a December-dark day
in my Delhi home.
Golden coconut gravy,
mango-sweet and yoghurt-tangy
punctuated by
cubes of juicy pumpkin, and
dotted with mustard seeds
just calmed after
angrily popping in the kadhai.
Fiery red chilli preening
unlike its unassuming green cousins
crushed, but spirit intact.
The palate relives
its childhood,
this rice-soaked magic
this ‘maambazha morkuzhambu’.
I say it aloud,
the ‘zh’ sounds rolling off the tongue.

***

My perch

Atop my perch
I watch
men, women, children
making their way
unaware of how they appear

From atop my perch
little dots they are
sprouting arms, legs
faces, expressions
slowly, as they advance
until all I see is the top of their domes
Until they start slowly
fading away

From atop my perch
I wonder
If there’s someone up there
watching me as I watch

***

Window

It was her window to the world
A nondescript, beige window,
made entirely of wood
Not for it the luxury of glazing,
for who had the means
to replace broken panes?

The only window in that
10×10 home, it was
to this little girl all that
she couldn’t find within.

In the few minutes before
leaving for school,
as Amma plaited her
long, unruly hair, taming it
with a generous handful
of coconut oil,
she looked out the window
at the kitchen of the
mithai shop in the next building.

The kneading, rolling and
setting out of pedhas
on square aluminium trays
They cost 10 paise each,
the exact same amount
of her daily allowance
And as she watched, she nearly
chose the one she’d pick up
on the way to her bus-stop.

These were the few precious moments
she had, looking out the window.
When she returned from school,
it was time for it to stay shut.
For, as the day wore on,
the eyes that could look in
were not nearly as innocent
as those that fondly looked out.

***

Dreamer, reluctant Delhiite, French teacher, student of Spanish and lover of languages, Sudha is passionate about writing and enchanted by how words can make an impact. Professionally she has donned different hats, that of banker, accountant, teacher, etc. Married, and a mother of two, she currently freelances and writes.


Read more poetry on Bengaluru Review:

“You must be proud of the scars”: Four poems by Cat Dixon

“I remember my brother’s sudden screams”: Three poems by Yvonne Morris

“Bones are not love-handles”: Four poems by Kuhu Joshi


 

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