Stuffed Brinjals

You would grow them yourself 
The groudnuts too, the farm
with the amber hills in the backdrop
Silenced by the rustle of neem trees
The black soil that moulded through toes
After the last drop of monsoon
You were never old, even
at 70 you ran faster than me
Hearing the lambs alarm

By noon you crushed the roasted peanuts
Filling the house with the promise of lunch
The iron pan crackling with white butter
While the perfect mix of chilli and garlic
Married the softeness of brinjal

Later in the day I’d venture into the open
Watching the sky dotted with kites and vultures
They never come around these days
And at the funeral when you lied still by the river
I heard the terns caw plaintively overshadowing the echo of wails
Even the sarpanch was sad, so was
that farmer couple who smiled at us
when we joined them once, uprooting
Treasures from the earth
Never to be found
in the cities I have touched



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