Diary: Memories Of Hometown In Bihar

Author Mahua Sen writes about her hometown of Forbesganj in Bihar.

Remote Town: Sultan Pokhar in Forbesganj—a small town in Bihar, nestled in the foothills of the Himalaya, on the Nepal border

My Hometown—Forbesganj

I ache for the taste of crisp, untamed air and the liberation it brings in the humble sanctity of my hometown. The ever-shifting clouds of the boundless sky paint pictures of fleeting moments. It’s a place where inquisitive souls don’t pry into the purpose of my existence. A place where I effortlessly belong, embraced without judgment. I conjure childhood in the palm of my hands and love dances within the chambers of my heart. In the cosy embrace of this sacred soil, I find an instinctual, primal grace and solace.

Here, I feel whole in my own stories. It’s a sanctuary of love, as pure as the shiuli flowers in my front yard. I unburden myself from the relentless pursuit of endless ‘to-do’ lists and the cacophonous chatter of ‘what ifs’. I synchronise my breath with the wind’s gentle cadence. Crickets and frogs concoct a symphony in the summer nights, my eternal lullaby. The dulcet chattering of beetles is music to my ears. The dust motes on the unpaved roads calibrate my pulse, reminding me to rest, relive, rejuvenate, and breathe. In the shadow of my mother’s loving embrace, I find a sanctuary of safety.

Amidst the chaos of the world, sitting beneath the languid shade of an ancient mango tree, I feel the caress of a warm summer breeze playing with my sun-kissed hair. The melodious chirping of sparrows tugs at my heartstrings, while a playful squirrel gracefully navigates the branches above. I admire the squirrel’s confident stride on the narrow limb, finding inspiration in its poise. The murmurs of the foliage underfoot as my kitten explores the vibrant flower beds in their rich purples, fiery reds, sunny yellows and vivid oranges, all waving in splendid unison, captivate my senses. Unripe mangoes stretch their necks toward my little girl, playing on the balcony, and the tranquil tulsi plant recites an incantation. A cup of ginger tea in one hand, Gibran’s book in the other, an unhurried afternoon unfurls before me—a moment to live, unscripted and serene. Holding both the sublime and the grotesque, I am here, unapologetically authentic, raw, and connected to the earth.

The Serene Godhulibela

Evenings arrive in a staccato rhythm. I sit on the porch watching the cattle meandering from an open gate during the Godhulibela. There is an effervescence of exuberance in my heart at the simple sight of how the master tries to tame them into a single line. It nudges me to giggle, and often I burst into peals of laughter as a flash of childhood memory swipes my mind–a fond memory of my friend and I taking turns to tame each other, pulling our pigtails.  The cotton candy clouds float in the sky, making shapes. I can spot bears and unicorns. The murmuration of starlings on their way back, and their breathtakingly beautiful shape, ever-changing, akin to Claude Monet’s painting, a breathing canvas. I get marooned watching the finale, as the last line of feathered bodies completes their aerial terpsichorean dance moves with elan, in the hush of twilight’s tender cusp.

Moon’s Soft Light

I wrap tenderness in my anklets as I free my fetters to dance under the moon’s soft light. The society is a family here.  A place where we cocoon each and every one in a safety unexplainable, and affection irreplaceable. The dust, doubt and disorder of the world melt in the innocent lisp of zephyr and faith in goodness blooms like fresh flowers. The shadows blend with the ink of remembrances— grandma’s folktales still dawdles beneath a quilt of ebony skies, where the past, the present, and the future dwell in harmony. I soak myself in the ripples of blessings reflecting in concentric circles of my mind.

I revel in the sheer joy of traversing my hometown’s lush landscapes, my car windows rolled down, my heart serenading the essence of ‘being’. I adorn my lashes with the colours of an untouched summer day. The Koshi River serenades me with its soothing gurgle. I harmonise my soul with the wind’s synchronised ballet. The waning sun, kissing my shoulders for the first time in months, overwhelms me. The warm pashmina of the day’s remnants swaddle me as I bask in the glory of spendthrift evenings.

Tranquillity coils gently up and down my spine, offering solace to the old scars etched by time and tide. I drink deeply from the chalice of this serenity, celebrating the ever-evolving tapestry of my existence.

Mahua Sen is a poet, author, editor and translator based out of Hyderabad