Culture & Society

Poems: Hoarders Of Memories And The Safety Net

I remember reading somewhere...How children were taught young...At the dining table, to be precise...That conversation must never be inane.

Mumbai windows.

Hoarders of memories

We start some festive cleaning

In the fall

Digging our memories

Deep into lofts and cabinets

Out tumble medical prescriptions

Of my father’s congestions

The out of range

Blood reports

The escalated bills

Remembrances are better of

With his music and books

I think aloud

A sibling cleans our first aid kid

Lamenting that so many are way past ‘Best before’ dates

“As long as it’s the medicines, not us

That have expired” I wryly nod

The grammar Nazi of a brother pipes up

‘Products expire, people die’

We are products all

Aren’t we?

Of these strange times

The cleaning goes on

Spring cleaning brings its warmth

October cleaning

Brings its nip


The safety net

I remember reading somewhere

How children were taught young

At the dining table, to be precise

That conversation must never be inane

I remember my grandfather mentioning

How some families fined their members

For small talk

My grandma qualified

That it applied only to the rich

Those who have to toil all day

Could ill afford time

To cultivate such skills

Discuss weather

They said

Only to help a fellowman

In the midst of flood

Or drought

I think of man today

In his island

Marking himself ‘safe’

All the time

I bump into an ex


At the market place

We speak of the missing November chill

About disturbances

From god forsaken directions

That bring unseasonal rains

Better such talk

Than all the kissing we could have done,

But didn’t

…..all the babies we could have made,

But didn’t

All the misunderstandings we could have cleared,

But didn’t

We don’t let the small talk cease

The guard doesn’t slip

It starts to rain

Taking our cues

We fumble for our umbrellas

(Vandana Kumar is a French teacher, recruitment consultant and poet in New Delhi, India. Her poems have been published in national and international websites like ‘Mad Swirl’, ‘Scarlet Leaf Review’, ‘North of Oxford’, ‘Grey Sparrow Journal’, ‘Lothlorien Poetry Journal’, ‘The Piker Press’, ‘The Writing Disorder’, ‘The Drabble’, ‘Bard & Prose’, ‘Dissident Voice’, ‘Halcyon Days’, ‘Founder’s favourites’, ‘W-Poesis’, ‘Borderless journal’, ‘Madras Courier’, A Turkish newspaper ‘Sungurlu’, Glomag etc. She has featured in literary journals like ‘Fine Lines’ and anthologies like ‘Harbinger Asylum’, ‘Kali Project’ (‘Kali Project’ is now in the ‘North Carolina Regional Library’), ‘But You Don't Look Sick’ etc. Indie Blu(e) Publishing featured her as one of their authors on their website. She is also a contributing author in the short stories anthology ‘Cocoon Stories: Imprints of Childhood’, published by Authorspress, India. Her cinema articles appear regularly in ‘Just-cinema’ and Daily Eye. She was a jury member for the ‘All India Poetry Competition’ organized by ‘Cocoa-Butter’ and also co-edited their debut print anthology that resulted from this competition.)