An Indian Summer from Childhood

By Akanksha Patra


-watching Nani paint her feet a deep crimson with aalta, filling into the cracks like tributaries of Kaveri; Nanu sitting in the backyard beside the well, reading a newspaper in Odia from behind his round-rimmed glasses

-the sound of silver anklets on the women of the house, hustling in and out of the kitchen, serving ginger-flavored chai to anyone who happens to stop while passing by

-the sound of rustling Palash leaves, announcing the arrival of summer from atop the terrace then, crunching below the feet of a middle-aged Postman, waiting anxiously outside Farooq Chacha’s one-room abode, heaving a sigh of relief on knowing he has lived another day, alike his money-order delivery

-the flip-flop of Bata slippers in the middle of the night in the gali outside, right opposite my thin metal-framed, half-open window; clinging to Nani’s frail frame, I shut my eyelids tight wondering if it is a local pisachini, but do witches wear slippers at all?

-the smell of sandalwood incense Nani ignites at the altar every evening while worshipping Goddess Mangala as per her routine that she’s followed for 14631 days of her life

-the taste of mishri upon my tongue as I steal prasad off the Goddess’ palette and run before Nani opens her eyes from prayer; Maa says she already knows I’m the thief for she can see even with her eyes closed; she’s a Goddess herself, I think to myself

-the smell of cold bael panna that saves lives from the heat and of jaggery rice cakes hung by the ceiling inside jute knit-baskets that I try to fetch, end up breaking an an ulna

-running around the house, getting toes stubbed off cot edges, chasing chickens across the yard, getting our knees scrapped and elbows bleeding

-climbing trees, fetching mangoes- lengadas and sorts, gnawing on wild berries, holding poison within our throats


This poem won in Instagram Weekly Contest held by @delhipoetryslam on the theme 'Indian Summer' 



  • Amazingly written

    Riya Patel
  • This was delightful to read.

    Beulin Ashika
  • Gorgeously decorated bride poetry

    Shriya Upadhyay
  • Such an intense, well written piece. The imagery is flawless.

    Vaswati Das
  • Stunningly nostalgic

    Ahana Roy

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