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A Little Nest Of Three

By Rishika Mallik

“I cannot find the syrup Trina”

You declare with a scowl

All the while fidgeting around

And giving me furtive looks

Dressed in your usual white saree

You appear lovely and serene in the morning

After having showered and after having finished your prayers

You tie your hair into a plait

I would have loved to shower you with little pecks

But the monotone cycle of complaints and forgetfulness

Bear heavy on my mind and I fight

The urge to shout at you again

It’s not just your forgetfulness, it’s everything

Your dependency, your intermittent fasting

Your fastidiousness in the kitchen and over my bookshelves, my wardrobe

When you talk, you are infuriating and an unstopping force

I open the third drawer of the shelf

And take out the medicine

You seem to have a knack for disregarding whatever’s essential

Wallowing in everything menial

So particular about the measure of spices

That you nit-pick the maid’s every mistake

She has grown silent over time, accustomed

To the order of things

I see you trample over her

And wonder what else shall old age bring

And while I wish I could help

I’ve got plenty on my plate

Early morning the teacher drones on…about something…I forgot

And behind I hear the bathroom floor being mopped

Mop, mop. Doors creaking irritate me

But it cannot be helped really

Her hands remain occupied

Stirring, squeezing, stitching, sweeping

And once her duties are over

Dismissed for the day, she stands on the balcony

Overlooking little block-like apartments

As the moonlight dances above her shoulders

At the same time, I find you stooped over your desk

A steady light from the reading lamp arrests

My attention, and so your wrinkled, worldly

Hands counting the pension money

Managing the accounts

You always stand so proud

That I forget the emptiness that surrounds

You and shall slowly enshroud even your speckled toenails

A monotone existence prevails upon all

Where night and day merges into one

Closing the gap, although not so much the distance

When the passing of weeks doesn’t make a difference

The daily soap opera brings us together in one room

I don’t watch but I stay anyway

At six in the evening

Each with its fixed position, I turn up the volume

As you lie down comfortably on your rocking chair

She quietly sips tea, speaks only when the scene demands

I have my earphones plugged in, busy with my phone, can’t comprehend the appeal it draws

Always showing people bickering over petty things

And my god, such regressive shows, I cannot bear to see

If not judging, I smile

Seeing you so excited and absorbed, attentive to each line

And the line that divides us three is cemented further with her sitting on the floor

Discussions go on, but only as a mere pretence to agree

To whatever you think

Just like that, we build a little nest of three

By Rishika Mallik

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