Belonging Elsewhere (Indian girl speaks of travel to Scotland, and experiences there)

a poem by NILANJANA HALDAR, India

Oh Sir, they’re milking the blackfaces beyond the gate,
Those bushy frowns over the fodder those mothers ate,
Oh no, Gordon, I’m worried for I hear my mom call for long
She doesn’t understand I’m at a place I truly belong.

Oh look how colourful this alleyway looks, 
The toiler spraying out of children’s books 
He looks kind, Gordon, I would love to ask, 
For a five-minute hand at his Graffiti-task.

I sat with dad, dinner time, at the Seven Park Place,
Poker game and retired folks, and my smiling face,
Over the mussels, the mood again began going wrong, 
Hearing “Time to go”, unheard, that this is where I belong. 

The hum of this Virgin train retiring from it fleet,
I was lulled, now disturbed by the red-hairs front seat,
They displayed antiques in plays, juvenile roguish in mind,
Nobody saw, I was graciously accepted as one of their kind.

“There’s garbage over there” dad said contemptuously pointing at the sheaves,
I could’ve easily agreed seeing the wet mush of Sycamore leaves,
If it wasn’t for the inaudible chimes of bells in houses that faraway throng,
Caught me, for the Christmas fireplace visible inside is where I truly belong.

Gordon, I did befriend someone, as our trip did get small,
Adeola, though his travel was designed for the long hawl,
African, and he’s here doing a study at the Old Soldier’s house,
Writing a book, stories of the old, in its pages you can browse.

I did my best and wrote down my words on the shrivelled maple,
People I cared for, their names in bright shiny colour purple,
And left it adrift into the castle-moat, for no reason really,
It suffices casting away a memoir, right? Delicate though silly!

In my last moments, I’m uncertain, if it were the maples or the Husky,
That I was placed in a calendar-frame. How? how did I get so lucky?
I have enough shiny dimes of my own, to let this moment forever prolong,
But, why not their time or the understanding that this is where I truly belong?!

—By Miss Nilanjana Haldar












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