Watitsungla T Aier
It was just another day,
When the sunset and the sun rose,
Just another day when the wind was travelling to collect tales to tell me later,
The flowers swaying to his whims and fancies.
The road seemed smoother and all the puddles were left untouched by me,
The bright pink could not be stained with brown spots,
The two pigtails should stay in place,
The finely scrubbed hands should stay neat.
The pink rucksack made a rhythmic sound with every step I took,
I remembered the Flora classic pencil with its pink flowers, the aspara eraser and the Camlin sharpener in the big yellow box.
I was confident and I was prepared,
My didi Senti and my aunt Naro said, “You have the best tools.”
I smelled of baby cream and baby powder,
I had practiced the speech and my humble nod,
Mathematics, English and the names of legendary people, I was ready,
A huge brim of smile arose upon my face when my mum said, “We are almost there.”
A long building arose that had countless rooms and there were many children.
Some squealed and can all in dizzy circles, some were busy eating and some cried like something bad was upon us,
I look up to the towering figures who had writing boards in their hands and who walked so fast like a speeding bus was upon them.
I stood there looking at the sudden change of events and I craved to go back home to run off into the silent forest.
A tall lady came and gave me a bright smile,
It reminded me of my mum who would give me such smiles when I had injured myself,
I knew Dettol would follow and it would make me whimper in pain,
Her smiles though were a balm in itself.
She said, “Are you ready Miss Pinky?”
I replied, my name is not Miss Pinky but she said, “I’d love to call you that.”
She led me in a big room and on the top was marked Class I(A)
There were countless faces and she said these are all your friends now.
The paper was white and we had to write all the 26 alphabets and name some flowers, animals and birds.
I had to sing a song, tell my parents name and tell my ambition.
After that, the sweet lady led me to mum, who was busy reading a book,
She thanked the lady profusely as she congratulated her, and off we went up the stairs.
She asked by what were the questions’
To which I replied Mr Temsuningsang Aier and Mrs Bendangmerenla Jamir are the names of my parents.
My mum threw her head back and laughed, “Congratulations my child”.
In between her laughters, she said you shouldn’t have said your parents’ full names.
The tiny Bamboo shop was fast approaching and I knew mum would buy me those sticky rice buns, the peanut candies, and guava juice.
While she caught up on aunty who shared her tales of sorrows and joys,
I ate and watched the long winding path.
The trees looked greener, the breeze was so soothing and the sun was gentler with his rays.
I ran and I hopped and I sang aloud.
The birds were chirping and I was glad we took this path which crossed the beautiful forest,
I screamed mum, “I can’t wait to get changed into my usual clothes to pay cricket all day long.”
When I would climb trees, pluck fruits, and eat while swaying on the swing,
Mum screamed back saying you are a big girl now and you are joining Queen Mary school.
Childhood and I were not going to part so soon.
I was so happy to have completed a test today and adulthood could wait,
I ran to my mum and insisted she carried me as my legs were tired,
My eyelids were heavy and though I wanted to run some more I couldn’t.
My mum tapped me and said, “Walk my dear child, and don’t stop.”
I held on her arms and I didn’t want to come down from her warm embraces,
She gently put me down and I clasped her palms to mine,
She released the clasp and said, “Walk Wati walk and remember mum is always here behind you.”
(The Poet has dedicated the Poem to her Mother)
(The poem has been published in a collection, “Beyond The Horizon”
edited by Dr Sanjay N Shende, Priti Sharma and Dr Prafulla Kumar Panda)