Bashyam Narayanan

Paper Boat Memories - Poem by Bashyam Narayanan

My childhood was on that part of the subcontinent
Where it rained during
October and November
When the locally known
Northeast monsoon used to bring rains

Our broad residential street
Runs east west
Houses stay together sharing a common wall between
Terraces of these houses
Are of varying heights
Still we managed to climb down and up
And reach other terraces
Once we were on one

There is an outlet for each terrace
For draining out rain waters in the terrace
Onto the street in front of the house
These rain drain runs from west to east
Along the street flooding at times
The entrance of the house

It is so designed that
Rain waters pour into a built up drainage at the east end

That was the time we used to think of paper boats
We waited for the rains to stop
And for the terrace drains stop emptying waters

Paper for making boat was not available like that
We had to look for pamphlets
We had to look for old news papers
We at times tore off sheets from our school copy books

The paper boat was designed
Based on the rain fall and
The expected depth of the stream in front
After ensuring that the boat could cover a long distance
We floated them
And engaged in a race contest

Each one following his patent
Helping the boat negotiate well
En-route obstructions like small stones
Or a sudden high current narrow path ways

We waded through the muddy waters
In the process getting a part of our dresses
Drenched with the mud carrying waters
To the displeasure of my parents

Some even carried an umbrella
While running behind the floating
Paper boats

This play never lasted for more than
Seven days in the entire year
In spells of two or three days
Never once a boat crossed at a time
Ten houses in a row
Some boats had a provision
In the form of a knife like projection
Beneath them to handle
Any wild marine life in the waters
Though nothing could really be there

Once my dad noticed the troubles
I faced with paper boats
Bought me small brightly coloured metal boat
Wherein a lit tiny oil lamp
Made a a light weight wheel rotate
By the draught generated by the exhausted hot air
And propel the boat move in a big water container

There was no need for rain
There was no need to follow the float
Just light the lamp in the boat
Float it and it kept moving
Round and round in a water bucket
Till the time the lamp is burning

And I did away from
Paper boats once and for all

Paper boats are in memory still

Topic(s) of this poem: life

Comments about Paper Boat Memories by Bashyam Narayanan

  • Kelly Kurt (3/23/2015 10:51:00 AM)

    A very lovely telling of a childhood memory. Thank you. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, March 23, 2015

Poem Edited: Monday, March 23, 2015

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