The Peach-street that calls me home

Aarushi Kapoor

I had placed a diadem over my head,
while prancing along the melted puddles
of my cherry-cola lolly.
I got caught in an unprecedented transaction,
where my palms held a dozen dandelions
uprooted from the sidewalk,
as flies adorned my now-corpse of melted lolly.
Amidst hundreds of people walking over it,
silently I commemorated,
the remembrance of its tragic sacrifice.
'Are you lost, my child?' the soft eyes questioned
my lack of an accomplice.
The rickshaw-wala was dressed in shaggy clothes,
remnants of his poor life seeped through me
in waves of sympathy, I wasn't prepared for,
'No," I held my palm open
and showered the dandelions in his basket.
In assurance of this incident being
a soft puzzle in his memories in the years to come,
I ran away in search of home.
The moon spirit followed me,
like an overprotective parent
of a hyperactive child,
I rekindled my lost memories,
when my infant silhouette was entranced
by the vivid displays of yellow, red, pink
dresses, gowns, shirts, pants,
some hung on bamboo pillars
some tucked under the other
at the bright roadside handcart,
as the hawker sold them - "rupees 100, 200, 300 "
Aunties and Uncles dressed in sarees, dhoti-kurta
gathered around, buying or bargaining.
Mamma called it 'Monday Market',
hundreds of people it witnessed,
trying to find a diamond in the coal mines.
It is a practised fascination to us Indians
to bargain a vegetable 10 rupees less,
as a costermonger's stomach rumbles
in silent protest.
I stumbled upon a little fantasy,
a family of three were sleeping on the February footpaths,
huddled together in thin-blanket misfortune.
When I came closer,
the older boy looked at me with nascent irritancy,
I sat next to him with courageous curiosity,
'Are you lost?" he asked after a while,
my uncomfortable demeanour challenged his opinion
"You don't belong with us, go back to your home."
And so I followed his wise advice.
I recognised my peach streets, illuminated with lights,
they lay as a stark contrast to the ashen ones,
streets which witnessed the death of my ice-lolly,
streets from where poor bhaiya and didi walk by
longing to have a home near mine,
streets where children scrub their hands off of lost childhood,
streets which bore the blood of
the naked underprivileged,
streets which I don't call home,
streets where my mother doesn't let me go,
and the broken muddy-streets where I got lost today.

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