I have forgotten why I came
From the foothills of the Himalayas to flat prairie land.
Perhaps the swirling mists and heavy fog have dimmed the reasons.
Yet, I was one of the lucky ones, I brought home with me
A husband and children to share the separation
From my homeland, and the warmth of the *Bukhari
My rotis turn out like the map of India.
I need the skilled hands of the home fires.
Once, in college days, I helped build a well, in a village outside the city
Eager to do my part for social service to the poorer community,
Conscious of my blessings where water poured out of a tap
Even if for two hours a day, the man with the camel skin bags was ready if it didn’t.
I passed the ** ghamelas full of mud from the top of the hill
Down the assembly line to the bottom
Baked in the sun, and exhausted in every limb
I returned home to water and love.
Grandmother put a handful of salt in a bucket of hot water
Told me to soak my feet in it,
‘It will take away the pain and the fatigue,’ she said
Home is where the healing takes place.
Now, I walk in the migrant’s shoes metaphorically
Where will they call home? When will they get there?
Did they sleep on the train tracks?
Because they thought no train was coming? Or, if they perchance reached home
Were their grandmothers waiting with a bucket of hot water and salt
To ease the pain?
My quest for answers is a search for The Holy Grail.
* Bukhari a wood-fired stove used for heating in the mountains.
** ghamela: a metal container, used in India, made to carry sand, mud, bricks etc.