Migrations

Poem By Keki Daruwalla

Migrations are always difficult:
ask any drought,
any plague;
ask the year 1947.
Ask the chronicles themselves:
if there had been no migrations
would there have been enough
history to munch on?

Going back in time is also tough.
Ask anyone back-trekking to Sargodha
or Jhelum or Mianwali and they'll tell you.
New faces among old brick;
politeness, sentiment,
dripping from the lips of strangers.
This is still your house, Sir.

And if you meditate on time
that is no longer time -
(the past is frozen, it is stone,
that which doesn't move
and pulsate is not time) -
if you meditate on that scrap of time,
the mood turns pensive
like the monsoons
gathering in the skies
but not breaking.

Mother used to ask, don't you remember my mother?
You'd be in the kitchen all the time
and run with the fries she ladled out,
still sizzling on the plate.
Don't you remember her at all?
Mother's fallen face
would fall further
at my impassivity.
Now my dreams ask me
If I remember my mother
And I am not sure how I'll handle that.
Migrating across years is also difficult.

[From: The Map-maker]

Comments about Migrations

How does migration influence history?
THE FRIES ARE SIZZLING NOW...What a telling detail! We are driven onward by the sweep of events...by our own moment-by-moment appetites, so our migration entails loss of things we were tied to. Nobody will keep our old house for us.
Initial pat of my comments: Those who have not suffered the scourge of migration cannot fully realise the trauma of the migrants. We were in Jhelum when the communal riots started in the wake of India's partition in 1947. We had to leave that place in a hurry virtually to save our lives with no money, valuables or properties. My father was a qualified engineer.
Now my dreams ask me If I remember my mother And I am not sure how I'll handle that. Migrating across years is also difficult. - - - A touching write depicting the deep scar that migration has left in the heart of the poet. How hard one may try to forget, it is not easy to overcome the feelings of pain of such magnitude.
(3) We were forced to leave everything we had behind and to begin everything from scratch here. You have done well to bring to fore not only the sufferings of partition but other such mishaps globally. Hats off to you Keki Daruwalla, for such an heart-rending portrayal of Migrants and Migrations. Thanks.


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but before corn in the ear there was life.

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Come help me Goddess, end my blight;
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with love intense.

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and her tin coloured barnacles
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its thousand eyes covered with bees.

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