Sunday 15 August 2021

Sourasree Chakraborty, Poetry 2021 Magazine


The Pippin of My Garden 

The beautiful mab of my dreamland 

dappled in red attire and gold, 

was married off to a wealthy prince, 

who owned a posh alcove and a palace of gold! 

As the ‘raven’ took away from me, the beloved ‘pippin of my tree', many greedy eyes glittered and were elated with spree. 

She was my beloved 'princess of heaven'- 

the only sun that illuminated my perihelion. 

After she went away, I missed her love and warmth every moment, in my dark-deserted aphelion. 

Two years later, we met again, in a hospital ward. 

Only thing that separates us today, is the portiere. 

But I know, at the cremation ground tomorrow 

separating us, would be her funeral pyre! 

Although the hospital linens hid her external wounds well, I could see her bleeding heart that narrated a sorrowful tale. Her charred skin looked worse that a roasted chicken. My flesh and bones screamed as she squirmed in pain. My legs felt limp, my eyes couldn't bear this painful sight; I amassed all my courage, sat by her side and hugged her tight. My ‘pippin’ slowly opened her limpid eyes and looked up at me. She muttered, “Why did you sell the beloved ‘pippin of your tree’?” My eyes were filled with tears as I gently caressed her hair; she smiled back at me even in her despair! 

For just one mistake of mine, why was she paying this much price? I held her closer to me…once, twice, thrice… 

several times I kissed her charred forehead. 

I looked into her tearful eyes. Then, in a low voice I said, “When my beloved pippin had ripened 

and my garden filled up with wonderful fragrances, many ravens started hovering over my pippin tree 

and people of a poor society exchanged uncanny glances. Then I, the gardener, caught hold of this ‘raven’ from a wealthy clan. Not knowing then, that he was a beast, not a man. 

How would a dad know then, two-years after his daughter's marriage,  she’d become a prey to her husband’s greed and rage? I never knew then, that you would be thrown away like a rusted ware; They would slaughter your trust and mortify your love and care.” Her burnt and frail hands with great difficulty, clutched my arms. These arms of mine- couldn't save my child from those cruel arms! The brook of tears of my dying daughter soaked my shirt. Her moans and pains, dug thousand holes of vengeance in my heart. In my lap, she took the last few breaths of her life. 

She- A mother to a two-years-old and a demon’s beautiful wife! 

While my soul was getting ripped and torn, 

my mind went back to the day, my little ‘pippin’ was born. Thirty years ago, the harbinger of fortune had come to my home My angel- the only charioteer of her parent’s hansom. 

After almost six years of our marriage came, our happiest day our little baby brought infinite fire-flies to our gloomy stacks of hay. When for the first time, she spoke, ‘Ma-am…Maa’ 

I felt childishly jealous, as I wanted to hear first, the word- ‘papa’.  But I was so happy for my wife that I kissed and hugged her tight. Ours was such a loving family that we never had a fight! While my child sat on my lap and played with a ball, 

her mother would lovingly caress the tassels of our ‘little doll’. As the years passed by, our daughter grew up; 

she graduated and had earned the degree of a doctor. 

Her hands were proficient to treat with care, 

a bleeding wound to a fading scar! 

But today, as her new family waged a war, 

none of the hands came forward to rescue her. 

Her helpless screams fell into deaf ears like unheard sounds, when her in-laws lashed her and asked her for more dollars and pounds!

Investigations were done by cops. From the kitchen of those ‘hounds', an empty kerosene bottle and burnt match-sticks were found. In a devoted wife and a serving daughter-in-law, 

mines of gold and diamonds her in-laws saw. 

As my angel failed to quench their thirst for gold, 

she was burnt alive. Alas! the tremendous pain she suffered before turning cold. Along with the best qualities the worst fate my girl had; 

fighting alone in the court of law tomorrow, would be her helpless dad.  

In her childhood, my little girl always longed to fly 

like a bird, high up in the splendid navy-blue sky. 

Today as she left for her flight with the fluffy clouds, 

her helpless dad jeered at the people of this world, aloud- 

“A girl is neither a commodity to be bargained and bought, 

nor a ragged doll that once used, can be thrown out! 

She is the beloved daughter of someone 

and a happy family’s ‘the most precious one’. 

More than anything else, she’s a human being; 

then may be an incarnation of the Goddess of Fortune and Prosperity. She deserves a home of unconditional love,  

wrapped with her in-law's care and empathy. 

It’s wise to keep a dad’s beloved ‘pippin’ in his garden  

than to send her off to some heartless demon’s den!”  

Today, on a hillock of destruction and grief 

is this desolated dad, aged sixty-four. 

My dreary old bones desire to live 

with a fire in my heart, for thirty years more. 

Her husband- the one who heartlessly killed my child, 

is also a father to a two-months-old girl child. 

His tears too will pay and he’ll grieve the same way. 

I’ll hold my last breath till that very day-

when his beautiful skiff too, would stop to sail 

and the ‘charioteer of his hansom’ would have the same tale! Till this planet hosts life, history shall repeat. 

In this hospital cabin, another dad and his daughter would meet. While his beloved ‘pippin’ would fight for life, in this hospital ward, another grieving dad with teary eyes would be fidgeting in this courtyard... 

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