Sorting Ba's ThingsSorting through cupboards in Ba's old room,
I tugged a stuck drawer open,
pulled the string of a small cloth bag, to find
pink and white grins of outgrown false teeth;
in another bag, spectacles, blinking in the light.
And there were her gods and puja implements -
incense sticks, oil lamps with wicks she rolled
out of cotton and ghee, small statues of Krishna,
elephant-headed Ganesh, Lakshmi the wealth-giver,
the book of slokas she chanted every day.
Sunday mornings she watched Mahabharat on TV -
a miracle in every episode - gods' stately progress
through the air, seated on lotus flowers;
towering demons with big bellies and walrus fangs
who laughed "Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!" just before
a hurled fire-discus struck them between the eyes
and they toppled like trees.
Sometimes I sat to watch with her,
and she would say, "Did you see that?!"
Dear Ba, by the end all the sets of teeth hurt you,
you wore them only for photographs,
and the glasses could not make the slokas clear.
May Lakshmi keep you beside her
on the silky petals of her pink lotus.
May Ganesh feed you the sweet ladoo he holds.
And when you are sated and sleepy,
may Krishna soothe you with the song of his flute.
Sorting Ba's Things
When my mother-in-law, who was called Ba ('mother'), died, I wrote a series of poems about it. I've posted two of them earlier: Journeying and Uses for Wood. Here's another one: