An Old Photo Album- family saga

Searching lost poems

In efiles, I came across

Saved folders containing

Familiar faces, digitalized

Flood of emotions

Gushed tsunamis, kith kin

From my gene pool, with woof

Warp however, custom tie dyed

My visage – their faded carbon

Copy, my dark eyes flecked by flares

Kith kin instigated emotional smarts’

Whole gamut~ love, joy, anger, pain

The black sheep uncle brazenly eluding

Maternal restraint, standing in front row

Object of our horrific kiddy fascination

And wildest, outlandish imaginations

Undiscovered character actor was this uncle

Once he tried to intercede in a lover’s quarrel

That’d ended lethally- thwarted goon, angry third

Wheel, had lopped off head of his own beloved

Four sets of horror stricken childish eyes

Had seen her dripping head in goon’s right hand

As he’d boldly stepped into waiting cab, head

Held high, his butcher knife grinning ghoulishly

Our family had huddled thereafter, rocking

On shocked haunches, we were hugged close

By elders who’d tried to come to terms processing

Freshly witnessed crime of passion, as occurred

Country’s partition had forced our clan to seek

Greener pastures in hometown with hungry bellies, big

Small, our factory, clan’s sole livelihood, torched by mobs

Six sons, one daughter with smattering of grandchildren

Word of mouth tales, folklore oft narrated, some

Stories stayed unspoken, intentionally held back

Gentle resilient grandparents were thus introduced

To the big, bad, bold and beautiful Bollywood city

Lone memory etched in concrete is of our tall, fair, regal

Humpty dumpty paternal granny, adoring us, grandkids

But a terrible mother-in-law to mom. aunties, she loved

Gambling and had once staked the keys of our home!

Timely intervention by Grandpa, dad and other uncles

Had saved day, sternly reprimanded granny had quietly

Slunk home, licking her wounds but only for a short while

A curmudgeon who’d spoilt her seventh born, a son, rotten

Memories play havoc, hide and seek in my mind

Some I relegate to back burner, others to forefront

Image of another chopped head swims before my eyes

It was of a suicide, who’d chopped own head on rail tracks

Summer vacations were glittering halcyon days

Replete with fun frolic and cousinly frays, an alcoholic

Uncle, another smarmy with octopus tentacles, a scrooge thrifty

Battleaxe aunt, another neglected dolled up wife, stricken doe-eyed

Passion’s play ebbed and flowed in all the family ties

Some we understood others swam over our heads

We returned from summer vacations, rosy cheeked, basking

In love bestowed unstintingly by maternal grandparents

There’s much else to share but family stories

Are like those bottomless pits, memory being

What it is, I give a glimpse of how it appeared

To me, no matter how lopsided, imperfect it may be




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