Poems- by Prerna Bakshi

What’s the name of your pind?

(First published in The Ofi Press)

 

He asks me which pind

do I belong to?

Confused, I respond by telling him

the names of my grandfather’s and grandmother’s village.

He interjects, her’s not necessary. Your belonging, your identity, your pind is traced through the

pind of your father and his father and so on, you see.

I say nothing, and just nod.

In the blink of an eye, my grandmother’s history was deemed irrelevant. Erased.

History belongs to victors, they say.

Clearly, she had lost.

Her past, torn

like it was an unwanted page from the book of history.

Her clung together memories

got flushed down the toilet like a clump of hair stuck in the comb.

What is her pind, then?

What is her home country?

Or is she a traveling soul?

A wandering Sufi?

An escaped soldier?

An absconded convict?

A fugitive?

A refugee?

If she had no home to claim as her own,

which borders did she cross then?

To what extent did she even cross any, if at all?

What was her supposed ‘home’?

Or was there even any?

 

 

Visiting Kolkata after 15 years

(First published in Cafe Dissensus)

 

Kantha saris.

Macchi markets.

Tangy puchkas.

Yellow taxis.

Pulled rickshaws.

Trams.

Old Victorian buildings.

Goddess Durga’s pamphlets plastered on the walls.

Mosaics and murals all around.

Everything looks the same

since I last visited.

Including the hammer and sickle

graffiti on the walls – faded or

turned brighter red instead…

not sure.

 

 

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Prerna Bakshi is a writer, poet and activist. She is the author of the recently released book, Burnt Rotis, With Love, which was long-listed for the 2015 Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in the UK. Her work has been published widely, most recently in The Ofi Press, Red Wedge Magazine, TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism and Peril magazine: Asian-Australian Arts & Culture, as well as anthologized in several collections. More here – http://prernabakshi.strikingly.com/

 

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