indira babbellapati (visakhapatnam, india)
Those three days of
Sankraanti every year
from the times i've known
it was as if the house was
flodded with people from
all walks of life and we were
designers, architects and land-scapers
into the late hours returned dad
from his endless hours of work
and then the night would come alive
trunks of dolls carefully wrapped
in our swaddling clothes were carefully
spread on beds n blanktes-porcelean
english lady that grandma brought from
her maternal home, birth of jesus with
mary and joseph on either side of the baby-bed,
two variants of rama, sita, laxman and hanuman
dasavataaras, brahmins at a meal, toddy tapper,
ravenous crow, kirana merchant n his wfe, bowl of fruits,
birds in delicate transperant glass-you name it, it's there
and down below on either side were landscaped parks, forests,
hospital, dotted with lanes of sprouted methis n mustrad...
somehow dad had fascination only for the white procelean
and none of those earthern gods in synthetic paint
every year would be added a new doll
all dolls collected over thirty years and now
when i count the years, they're by now sixty plus
sadly locked up in trunks and palced on the attic...
the last even i recall was some twnety years ago
when our own children were barely two years...
all innovation and appropriate techology we learnt
observing dad arranging some six to eight rows
with every wooden plank to bricks and stoned from the road-side
to rice tins and travel trunks precariously balancing all the dolls...
people came all the three days
to recieve 'taambulam' and praised
the dolls endlessly and finally declare
'doctor ji has four dolls, why these again! '
and we would laugh shyly and see them off
the fourth day was a sad farewell to the dolls
once again wrapped carefully back into the trunk...
life was simple, fun, and there was so much to look forward to...
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