Memories of Delhi winters


Delhi winters
magical and cold
bring back memories
faded and old.

Of endless hours
spent soaking,
in the pale winter sun,
shelling peanuts,
and fresh green peas,
and drinking cups
of steaming hot tea.
Those foggy mornings
blowing clouds from my lips,
with frozen fingers, frozen toes,
frozen cheeks and frozen nose-tips.
And best of all was the joy
of sitting in a warm heated room,
tucked under quilts
and perhaps blankets too.

But then there are those
other memories
of the homeless and helpless
suffering in the cold.
No blankets, no shelter,
no roof of their own.
On pavements, in parks,
in bare little rooms,
covered in scraps,
shivering under
the crescent winter moon.

I saw and yet
didn’t see them,
didn’t notice at all.
Indifferent and blind
willfully ignorant,
pretending they’re fine.
Telling myself
they have somewhere to go,
someone who cares,
some charitable soul
giving them blankets,
warm food, a shelter, a home.

And even as I write,
these words are
like a release for me.
Putting them down
somehow, somewhere
sets me free.
I’ve poured it all out
I’m done with the pain
I can bury the guilt
the sorrow and the shame.
I can look elsewhere,
pretend it’s done
carry on with my life
of hot tea, warm blankets
and soaking in the sun.

Winter in Delhi
brings back memories,
but the memories
are not always
what I want them to be.


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