Seventeen

The nestling knows she’s going to fly

Why then, the mirror asks me, does she cry?

The nestling walks to the ledge and raises its wing

Why then, the free wind wonders, does songs of apprehension she sing?

Because, from time and story does she learn,

That after fledging away, seldom do they return.


Settling into the hostel was a haze,

Until I realised I’d forgotten my biggest suitcase.

I’d buried in it comfort and convention,

I’d forgotten candour and compulsion.

Only trifles they seem, but attached is a sentiment not so little,

Like the pungent smell of Nani’s garlic pickle.

Eavesdropping on the conversation next door,

Whiling away summer months spread out on the cold floor

Stealing pieces of chicken from my brother’s plate,

Oh! How much the Diwali cleaning I used to hate!

Dadu tinkering away all day on some broken toy

To join him in scolding Dad - oh, what a great joy!

Hot Wheels lying all over the living room

The big white lie - “Tomorrow I’ll definitely clean my room.”

These are the things that make a home

And away from these now I will roam.


The nestling takes a deep breath, flaps her wings,

Takes off into the blue expanse, now only to dreams does she cling.

But at night, heard by none, songs of memory and hope does she sing…


Author: Shashmita Sanyal

Editor: Akanksha Mahapatra


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