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Mainstream, VOL LX No 13, New Delhi, March 19, 2022

Colours | Ajit Das

Friday 18 March 2022

It was long thirty years back
I attained the white-clad widowhood.
I didn’t know what it meant for me.

An air of sympathy initially spontaneous,
later on laboured, a feeling of being
unwelcome in happy family gatherings,
a growing suspicion of treating me
inauspicious in rites and rituals – all weaved
an uneasy cloak around my persona.

Gradually I was told to shun all wishes, desires
in mundane world, instead to seek bliss
of life beyond through spiritual meditation.

I tried to tread on the path prescribed.
But I found I had little time left for prayer.
I was still a busy member of the family,
not in the inner circle, but in the thick
of the kitchen, daily chores, managing
other errands for the elder members.

It went on; there was less and less query
about my other-worldly progress.
M4y daily occupation left everybody happy
in their exclusive outer life.

Then there was change in the air,
as my health started failing; I needed rest.
The smooth flow of my daily routine got disturbed.
Murmurs grew louder, with sudden concern
for my physical and spiritual well-being!
So I was left in a caring home for widows.

Today is Holi. The inmates have got a chance
to celebrate the festival of colours,
colours returning to life
in the long, dull and forlorn widowhood.

I know it’s momentary;
even then allow me to savour this moment
of joy and happiness,
before I again return to the same
drab, repetitive existence, seeking
salvation in an ever eluding unknown world.

— Ajit Das

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