Amidst the skyscrapers, where live in the sun tan fearing population, do you see The bricks moulded by those rusty hands , Of the sun-scorched migrants Blackened by the chimney exhaust?
On the hoardings, do you see A dejected young man Drooping on his table, the pills spread out? The creative loner drugging to spark ideas in absence of sleep, For a presentation next week?
Of the cars that glides smooth Do you see that solemn driver Marred by the uncomfortable silence Of the fatigued couple, entangled in a nasty, felonious fight of a young girl suddenly coming In-between their 25 years?
On the driver’s side, His thoughts tossed by the loss of the education he couldn’t complete?Dampened by the happiness To his family he couldn’t give?
In the young boy slumbering uncomfortably under the buildings, As the drain stinked the humid air, While he Drowned in his own sweat and tears; And, the sweltering heat, Do you see the A.C water dripping Near his feet?
If not, You, my sweetheart, The happiest dandy rose of all, Are sure tucked in your urban nest.
“Ma, I don’t get it!” exclaimed Samli, raising her hands in frustruation. “Why do you need to get up from your seat and serve deuta the scoop of rice when the pressure cooker is literally in front of him?”
“Thet, Maajoni,” her mother replied, dismissively. “Passing the food is table manner,” she countered, as she silently put the ladle inside the cooker, while her husband, unbothered about the conversation about him even taking place, smacked onto the daali.
Samli narrowed her eyes in exasperation, frustrated having had her mother shrugging her off again.
Dismissing her as if she had in all these years unable to grasp the minute undertone of this scenario in the dining room happening everyday.
Her mother pushing away from the table, getting up from the seat, serving the food onto her father’s plate, briskly commuting from the kitchen to the fridge. Hearing her husband’s requests for a papad now, a chilli then, perhaps a slice of lime or a cube of onion to crunch on with the dinner.
And, she unrelentingly complying to all of the trivial wishes.
“Samli maajoni,” her mother called, snapping Samli out of her bubble of thoughts. “Please, go fetch the curd from the kitchen, maa,” she said dotingly, as she finally took the seat to carry on finishing her own plate of dinner. “Maybe, Deuta would like having some curd rice now.”
Samli stared at her mother silently, blinking. Her eyes squinted and eyebrows raised in a questioning look. “He hasn’t even asked for it,” she was about to utter in irritance, but then tiredly disregarded it, silently proceeded towards the kitchen, merely fumbling alone to herself.
Flickering on the lights, she kept her hands on the slab in frustruation, unable to understand why does her muther shrug her off? Pondering upon it, she kept looking in silence at the untensils rack, where all the cutlerys and dishes have been lined up in their respective compartments. The bell metal vessels on one side and the normal, daily-used stainless steel on the other.
Breaking the silent atmosphere settling with her infuriation, she mindfully fetching two steel bowls and one bell metal bowl from the rack spooned out the curd from the clay pitcher. As gently as she could, she placed the bowls on the tray and took an attentive glance at the arrangement of the bowls itself for a few moments before eventually proceeding to carry it carefully to the dining room.
With an intent eye kept on the bowls, Samli set the steel ones near her plate and her father’s, right after placing the sole bell metal bowl near her mother’s side.
And then maintaining a still composure while taking her seat, she sipped on to the glass of water waitimg calmly, examining the bowl near her mother’s plate, contemplating her prediction to unfold in reality in a few minutes.
And, then it happened so, just as she had rightfully guessed.
Her mother swiftly placing the spoon in her bell metal bowl, Samli saw what she has been expecting all along. With deft hands, switching the bell metal bowl with her husband’s steel one, in front, a wife finally took to having her dinner once again.
The grandeur of bell Metal plate in the Assamese Culture isn’t always reflected by it’s lustre, the mark of the history of reigning Ahom kings nor the cost of this handicraft piece. Sometimes it can be a blatant reflection of patriarchy itself.
‘Daali’ is dal (pulses), ‘Maajoni/Maa’ means daughter, ‘Ma’ is mother, ‘Deuta’ is father and ‘Thet’ means ‘whatever’, in a scornful manner.
Reality is a lovely place But we need more fucking happiness; Onboard we travel into this virtual maze Popping daily pills of the internet.
People seem to blanket their life’s mess With filters, white-smiles and their radiance Yet, the backstory seems to be off-place That we’re all hyper-connectedly lonely, merely craving for solace.
I wonder what would have been If our distorted presentation Of the snippets of our glossy-messy life’s amalgamation Struck us with a realisation That we are floating in an ocean of our imagination. Our minds’ make-believe construction. To seek social validation.