Happy Mother’s Day

THE APPLE OF MY EYE

 

She was walking on the beach

A long skirt hiding her knees

Dotted with tiny blue florets

A white linen blouse flattened her bosom

Prude,

She never wore a bathing suit

 

Immaculate as the sunset

Pretty as a picture

Mysterious as the sea

Smiling to herself

Poetic, in love, sweet,

A dreamer

She fell in love only once

People said

The blessed day was her wedding day

 

A long trail of foot steps

She left

Printed in the moist sand

In joyous innocence

Behind her I walked

Placing my steps

One by one in her wake

She was the apple of my eye!

She was my mother!

Anita Bacha

http://www.poetryofanitabacha.com

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Processed with Moldiv

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Soul Poetry

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The Book

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

Mauritius, a former British colony, won its independence in March 1968. Simultaneously, 300 (official) and more children left the country in intercountry adoption until the year 1988. In that year, intercountry adoption became under the strict control of the Government. In 1993, Mauritius as a party State of The Hague Conference signed the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation between States.

I dedicate this poem to all the Mothers of the World

 My Birth Mother and My Adoptive Mother

Her shiny brown eyes like ripe tamarind pulp

 Her olive color skin, her long flowing black hair

Her cute oval face and sweet, crying voice

Her fragrance, vetiver interlaced with wild musk

Tore my heart apart as I let go of her linen camisole

She is my mother!

 Locked in her arms, I snuggle, forgetful of the world

Throwing my legs and arms in gleeful abandon

I yawn

Languidly I open my eyes

 Her loving, sky blue gaze

Her porcelain white skin glowing in the sun light

Her golden curls dancing around her pretty face

Her perfume, carnation interlaced with red rose

Fill my heart as I bury my head in her silken stole

She is my mother!

Mother is the one who renounced me

Mother is the one who found me

Mother Is

Mother always will be

 Anita Bacha

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Processed with Moldiv

Poem – Mother of Mine

 

POEM – Mother of Mine

 If I were to pen your portrait

Yon memory lane paving my way

Words would fumble and fail to define

Your beauty so pure, so divine

Your laugh chased the gloomiest cloud away

Your tears molten the frozen heart at bay

Years passed by, your hair turned grey

Your sweet smile did not fade away

O Mother of mine!

A shining star in the sky above

Shower on this child of thine

 Pink rose petals of eternal love!

                                                    – Anita Bacha –

for me a pink rose

Reflections

 A TRUTH UNTOLD

Kaki turned sixty-seven last summer. Her children were married and had left home. Her husband, a retired army officer, was more cantankerous than ever before; a wife beater and a bully, he had no one except the docile Kaki upon whom he could vent his erratic and ominous temper. Kaki sought refuge in her childhood memories.

 Alas! These memories were far from being joyful and bright. She recalled the often quoted proverb of her mother ‘out of the mouths of babes and sucklings comes forth the truth’. However, Kaki was a special child. She rarely talked, not because sometimes the truth is better left unsaid but simply because she was afraid. She was scared of telling the truth. She was scared of being accused of telling lies.

At an early age, Kaki became aware that she was endowed with a generous dose of acuity. She unwittingly watched and read the faces and mannerism of the people around her. This was how she found out about a sordid affair between her widowed grandmother and the dandy gentleman with the gold chain watch.

 Kaki’s grandma was a stern and authoritative woman. She was feared by all. She married a widower when she was fourteen and inherited a family of eight children. She procreate an additional eight kids. When Kaki’s grandfather passed, her grandma was a young woman bursting with feline energy. She heartily accepted to take Kaki under her charge when Kaki’s mother left this world.

The gentleman paid irregular, nocturnal visits to her grandma.  When he came, Kaki sat silently on a small wooden bench in the kitchen and shared with the two adults, the warmth of blazing charcoals in the hearth.  They talked and laughed at the same time as they enjoyed the home-brewed coffee which her grandma stealthily hid in a tin jar kept in a small cabinet under the stove. The jar was removed from its secret place only on the arrival of the gentleman. Kaki watched them dreamily. On these special occasions grandma was particularly attentive and caring to Kaki. She unreservedly treated her with a bowl of fresh boiled and creamy cow’s milk. A really scrumptious beverage for the child! She slurped the thick drink, licking the bowl clean. She never recalled when she fell asleep and who carried her to bed.

 Unhappily, in next to no time, that which looked like a fairy tale to Kaki turned out to be a horror story. One dark and silent night, Kaki was sleeping in her bed; her tiny toes touched what felt like the soft, warm and moist belly of a puppy. She woke up and found the gentleman, in his birthday suit, sleeping soundly at her feet.  She sat up in shock! She did not scream; she did not shriek. She was too terrified to utter a sound.

 As a consequence of the traumatic experience, she became a victim of severe panic attacks. She dreaded   the reunion in the kitchen and she shuddered with anxiety every time she slipped under her blanket. Nervous and wretched, she got into the psychosomatic habit of lying in bed in the fetus posture. The nightmarish incident repeated itself several times in the coming months or probably years. The trust and confidence which Kaki had placed in adults were lost forever. She hated them.  As her mental health deteriorated, she became pale, sad, aloof, forlorn and insomniac. But inhibited by an overpowering emotion of fear, she kept quiet about her condition and suffered quietly.

 The truth remained untold.

 On the other hand, the grandmother of Kaki and the gentleman continued to see each other for a good number of years. No one ever learned about their clandestine liaison.

 

 Anita Bacha

Lady In Red

It was the first night of celebrations of Navaratri also called Durga Pooja at the temple. This popular Hindu festival is celebrated every year over nine nights for the worshipping of the divine mother Durga. A statue of the goddess clad in a bright red saree, an auspicious color that also symbolizes the victory of good over evil is adorned. The priest, who was conducting the prayers in Sanskrit, now and then stopped to explain the meaning of the prayers to the devout assembly of people, mostly women. He emphasized on the need for devotees to be of service to others, specially the old, the infirm, the sick and the poor, as a precursor to prayers during the period of fast, to win the heart of the Divine Mother and to receive Her Blessings and Grace. One of the simplest ways of doing ‘seva’ (service), he candidly explained, was ‘to help a ‘Dadi’ to cross the road’. ‘Dadi’ is a Hindi word meaning either a grandmother or an old woman.

I am an astute listener at ‘satsang’ (spiritual gathering), avid to learn more about religion, spirituality, saints, gods and goddess.  Amazingly on that night, when I heard the sermon of the priest, an amusing thought came to my mind and I turned to my pet friend, who was sitting cross-legged next to me. I whispered in her ear

‘Dadi is at the steering wheel!’

 Appreciative of the joke, she giggled like a little girl. Both of us are fortunate grandmothers but, very young at heart; moreover, we both drive our private Benz.

The next morning I drove to town to buy vegetables. At one point of time, I left the car in the parking bay and crossed the road to the market place. Later, when I was returning to my car with two heavy baskets of vegetables, I stopped at the pedestrian crossing; I looked left, then right and left again. The road was clear but the little man at the robot was still wearing his red suit. Instead of proceeding on my way, I hesitated and decided to wait for him to change to green. All of a sudden, an unknown lady came from behind me in a rush. She got hold of my right elbow. She pushed and virtually dragged me across the road. Taken by surprise, my only reaction was to walk aided by her to the other side of the road.

She then let go of my elbow and said

‘These days motorists are very reckless. Old people are frightened to cross the road!’

I hardly had time to utter a word, she had disappeared! I only had a glimpse of her red attire. Deep in my heart I knew that it was none other than the divine mother in human form.

What a lesson in humility to learn from the Goddess Durga, the lady in red.

Anita Bacha

Reflections

 

The Scent of a Woman

 After the Second World War, there was a shortage of food stuffs in the island. In those years, Mauritius was a colony under the British rule.

 Nonetheless, our family did not feel the immediate pangs or the aftermath of the war as we were quite well off. My mother, I fondly remember, splashed herself with Yardley Eau de Cologne every morning after her tub bath.  She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and I could follow her around the whale of a house that we had, sniffing her perfume like a little dog.

  My father was a whole sale merchant and he was bringing home our share of ration rice. It was our basic food and also the basic food of the whole population of some 500,000 heads.

 A hard, little, yellowish pearl, unpolished and unrefined, my mother told me that this grain of rice came in its husk during the war. In those days called ‘le temps margoze’ (the sour gourd days) by the local people, the women folk had to pound the rice in a mortar to separate the husk from the rice. They used to call it ‘du riz pousse femme’ (the rice that drive women away) because it was a real nightmare for women to pound the rice.

 We were fortunate, I gather, because we did not have to pound the rice. But once in a week, in a ceremonial manner my mother sat a small wooden bench and surrounded by the maid servants, they would busy themselves at cleaning the rice. The rice was placed on large aluminum trays in small heaps. It was winnowed and then the grit was separated from the grain. In a small tin, my mother kept the small black stones to throw away and in her lap, the broken rice to feed the birds.

Close to her, on a smaller bench, I sat down to be with her. I felt like a big girl because I could pick out the stones and the broken rice from her heap.

 After she had finished and filled a big iron container with the clean rice, I had the liberty to bury my head in the warm and loving lap of my mother. I breathed in the intimate scent of a woman interlaced with the perfume of eau de cologne and the smell of ration rice.

Years after, this scent still filled my whole being with the sweet memory of my mother.

 

Anita Bacha