I was only eight, but I remember clearly
That first visit to my own village
The village was a house
and all its houses, its rooms
I was eight, wandering by
Some boys made bamboo bow-and-arrows,
I watched them try to string them and fail
Even if the stringing was successful,
the twig-arrow never went far
And I watched them try everyday for hours.
Its stone walls I remember
Scratchy cots, no ceiling fans
We fanned ourselves with our palm-leaf fans;
Until our wrist started to ache
When we shifted it to the other hand,
or handed it over to the one next to us
to carry out their turn.
It was earth unveiled everywhere
Bare to touch, unabashed
Hiding behind nothing for once.
I wandered around,
And I ran into grandfathers —
They bent down to marvel at how much I’d grown,
and did I remember them at all?
It was in one of their gardens where I plucked a rose
and found out for the first time,
I could make petal-nails
By peeling the sticky part out,
The sight of my new red nails is clear as day.
The clearest memories — the most vivid ones, are always unexpected
They’re not of any turning point in our lives
It could be a memory of us brushing our teeth one day
And it stands out clearer than our first day of school.
It’s beyond me to imagine what it was
that caused me to commit an unimportant conversation,
some common occurrence
So clearly, just the way it was.