Your Valuable Resources

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Birthplace But No Memories by Vinita Agrawal

A Birthplace But No Memories by Vinita Agrawal

The courtyard of my childhood
has only a hint of native dust
Just a faint aroma
as barely perceptible
as the fragrance of dried-roses
wafting from the pages of an old book
when held close to the heart.

Instead, the smell of
unruffled feathers
and castrated roots lingers.
Images of a departing caravan

crying, kicking, clinging
to visible thorny briars, walls, pillars,
to invisible air, heat, storms
to friends…
Nothing helped.
The adults were implacable
and looked ahead with set faces.

I remember the Peacock
standing still;
no longer dancing.
becoming a part of the havoc instead
that was unfurling on desert sands.

Bikaner—dusty, sandy, ochre, gold

where peacocks unstitch
orange horizons
from tethers of darkness
at dawn

and later
their piercing cries
signal the night to draw cool curtains
on a hot day


where sunlight ricochets off
patient camel hoofs
measuring sand-dunes,

where the prickly pear cactus,
and the frowning succulents
bloom despite all odds

where aridity permeates
screwed-up morning-eyes
but keeps hearts beating
with the warmth of love.

So they say…about Bikaner

I am more used to
slick urban tarmacs of cities;

like cobras they have bitten into
my native land,
and have left it
to pant softly
in a corner of my heart
like a poor prey.

I taste its poison
in every breath,
it does not kill,
but does not spare.

Now roots of belonging have dried up into
months and dates on a calendar
into square folds of yellow paper
that timeless houses
don’t recall,
no one remembers
that the roots breathed there once.

Without the anchoring thread
of our soil,
we are like drifting kites
conquering alien skies;
always aching for ‘home’
the threads of our lives
quivering to be roped in
to the solidity of home ground.

I sometimes talk to the walls
as if they’re the homely horizons
of a birthplace left behind

The fan eyes the fetus
sketched on the bed
and blows desert kisses
to dot the clean slate of pillows

it takes pity on a girl
who has a birthplace but no memories.

Author’s Bio: Born in Bikaner, India, educated in Kolkata and Baroda, Vinita has M.A. in political science. She has been researching and writing as a freelancer for over 20 years. A poet at heart, she has been published in several magazines, journals, newspapers and Websites in India and abroad. She participated at the SAARC Literature Festival 2010 and 2011 and has also taken part in various other spoken word events. She lives in Delhi, India. She can be reached at:


  1. Vinita writes vividly,on different touching contents..This poem too represents childhood
    nostalgic features which makes every reader to identify themselves with the same memories..
    Finally with a punch...Well dealt poem..

  2. This is achingly beautiful. The pain is palpable..and the words, exquisite..A big WOW..


Donate to CLRI Now!