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September 18, 2023

Let Me Introduce Them

By Amrita Valan

Let Me Introduce Them

The third brother's wife should really have been
The Matriarch, regal, dignified.
Staring straight ahead,
Confident no nonsense eyes

She will retire as the headmistress
Of a girls' school.
Her name means "Sweetness."
An invisible future seeded inside.
The last two brides are both
Very beautiful, in different ways.
One sports a bob cut, nose retrousse,
Diamond nose pin twinkling.
She alone has travelled to the United Kingdoms
To live and work for her wealthy uncle.
She can make omelettes but not curry.
Ironic how the British cook curry these days
From prepacked masala sachets.

The youngest bride, a Bengali beauty,
Lotus eyed, delicate gazelle
Grace drips from tanned soulful pores
Of her luminous gold skin.
We call it "labonyo" in Bengal,
Radiant grace.
But that's in my memories of her.
In the photos she looks duskier than her
And so shy and subdued.
Grandfather sports a day's growth of
Fuzzy beard.
His blood shot befuddled
Eyes are droopy and sleepy.
Fading fast, like the frayed
Black and white photograph
In my palms, forty years later.
But no one can mistake
The prideful arch of his shoulders.

Basking in the glory of a charming
Backdrop, of the young ladies
Who dance attendance on him.

Forever in a single frame.

I was four when he passed away.
He is been gone forty years now,
Our proud patriarch, father-in-law
Grandfather in chief
Of his joint family.
We are scattered like watermelon seeds
In the seasons of time.
But the photographs carry
The golden bonds of another time,
Another place.

Article © Amrita Valan. All rights reserved.
Published on 2022-11-07
Image(s) are public domain.
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