The House on Luz Avenue

house_luz_avenue_madras_courier
The everyday sights of a Chennai street can tell you stories - if you have the eye for them.

Three dogs lie
tightly curled
like commas
misplaced,
outside the crumbling
Mylapore mansion,
a palimpsest
of silk and diamonds,
khadi and music—Thanjavur style,
liberal arts tinged with classicism
always balanced
by a pragmatic engineering degree
in every other
uncomplaining generation;
while another lives sandwiched
between octogenarian freedom fighter in laws
and offspring riding the IT wave.
She steps out
well oiled hair washed
the flashing nose-stud
brilliant in the morning light;
and looks, startled,
as the town bus honks past
(too close, the wall having stepped back politely
sacrificing the hopscotch strip
for the widening road)
waking the sleeping dogs.
Her moist palms slide over the worn handle
of her plastic wire basket
itself a throwback
to a time when women
wove their daily needs
in communal clutches
over conversation
and coriander coffee.
Pulling her gilded Arni silk close
over the white cotton blouse
her walk punctuated
by the brown shadows
outside the gate,
she begins her sentence
market-ward.

***

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, do mail us at editor@madrascourier.com.

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