• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 05


There are some windows,
like the one Manani* stood by,
with her sweet morning voice calling birds from all the surrounding trees,
to feed them her open heart's musings and a little bit of the loneliness she felt, perched up here on the topmost floor.

She was a bird herself,
frugal and simple to a fault,
opening windows to the eastern sky when the sunrise came to her inner eye like the first stroke of the universe,
so essential to her at that age.
Living in two spare rooms,
with a prominent prayer house and a central kitchen,
her own birdhouse of sorts.
 Just enough for her,
guarded most securely by a balcony and the world wide open,
free and independent like her.

Her window to the world,
her soul left open to be free,
like the leaves
and a cluster of beloved sparrows close to her feet
as they kept all her last wishes
and secret correspondences
in their tiny bosoms.



They sat with her at noon everyday, peeking at each form and shade of clouds,
as she seemed to imitate the arch of that nose
or the impression of that face,
from her family tree in the sky.
They come to me by this same window today,
tiny heads poking in and searching for a manifestation of her spirit.
She has simply flown out from here,
I told them,
with no inkling of her final moments or a destination.
She came to me with a whiff of the winter chill,
in my windowless room,
by the open partition between roof and yard,
as if arrived to say that her pulse had fallen,
that she had prepared her final prayers before her bath
and her crop of falling, open hair was her only garment and adornment in that image,
on that fateful day.
She was here to say,
she had come out of her two rooms,
out of that forever open window,
held up by her coterie of birds,
right into the soft trillings of my heart.



Now I'm here,
vacating her sparse space
and the soul of her freedom
as a solitary sparrow comes to me,
staring at me with a slight right tilt of her head,
just like you always did when in joy.

Something tells me the myth is correct, you have become one of your own and come as a winged messenger,
telling me you will always be here.
And I'm glad it happens to the soul in flight,
the window of your spirit forever open for correspondences.

For there are some windows which trace our ancestry of memories,
from one distant line to our loved ones in heaven.

NOTE : * the term of endearment 'Manani' used in the second line of this poem refers to the Indian compact of mother and maternal grandmother, Ma+ Nani, with which I called my grandmother.