Misplaced Photographs

A photograph is an eternal moment captured in time. A memory that reminds us of unfulfiled promises and lost opportunities.

Yesterday Night,
Ruffling through some old notebooks,
Looking for a recipe,
To cook a special kind of rice,
My grandmother once taught me,
I found –
A photograph
of us.
Slightly folded on the edges,
A little faded,
Yet eternal.

A photograph,
of me and her,
Of a day,
quite old,
and as rusted,
As the long ago memories.

For that one moment,
when even time had to stop,
Before the new flashing camera,
That Papa had brought from Bombay.
Flash- and we were frozen,
In time and in space,
In that frame.

In this frozen moment,
Of me and my grandmother,
are hidden several aromas,
Of Biriyanis and mango pickles,
Shopping bags fresh from the grocery,
Holiday visits,
Unfulfilled promises,
And lost opportunities.

Today several years later,
when I meet that long ago day,
Disguised in the shape of a shiny piece of cardboard,
I can still smell the smug sofa,
And feel her crisp starched sari,
As she sat close to me,
Like on that old day,
In the photograph.

The comfort of those arms around my shoulders,
Whose touch I have long forgotten,
Never again will I see it replay,
Except through some more such,
Misplaced photographs…

Lost perhaps with time,
But caught eternally,
In this piece of paper,
Is a story,
Of a little girl and her grandmother.

Even though today,
An invincible distance stands,
Between you and me,
Yet, in this shiny piece of paper,
Will sit a little girl with broken teeth,
And her grandmother in a starched sari,
On the Sofa – together – forever.

In ‘Misplaced Photographs’, Soumya Mishra brings to verse a memory from a notebook.

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Madras Courier originally ran as a broadsheet with a poetry section. It was a time when readers felt comfortable sharing glimpses of their lives through verse. If you too have a poem you’d like to submit, mail us at editor@madrascourier.com.

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