My Abba is searching for his daughters
He has forgotten his daughters
His daughters now call him, Baba.
From Abba to Baba
It’s a journey from sanity to insanity
From Indian to trying hard to be Indian.
My Ammi triple checks
My Bhaia’s lunchbox
And she writes on the box in capital letters-
Egg curry and Dim-Bhat in brackets
with a marker pen.
She is always numb if someone
mistakes egg curry for gosht!
My Bhaia is a daily commuter on a local train.
My mother doesn’t know
They can even mistake palang saag as gosht!
My bhabi scoops out each beard
Till my brother screams in pain
She is terrified if someone
Finds her husband’s name!
Sitting by the window side
I judge every co-passenger
Every loud creaking sound of the engine
The ticket taker asks my name
I manage to mumble the first name
in unstressed syllables dropping the title.
Closing my eyes I pray for my station.
But which language should I pray, dear brothers?
*Abba : Father
*Dim Bhat: Egg Curry
*Gosht: Muslims call any meat gosht, it’s a Persian word.
*palang saag: Spinach
Moumita Alam is a poet from West Bengal. Her poetry collection, The Musings of the Dark was published in 2020. The book has about a hundred poems written in protest against the humanitarian crisis from the abrogation of article 370, the Delhi riots, and the Shaheen Bagh movement to the unbearable sufferings of the migrant labourers due to the unplanned COVID – induced lockdown.
Featured image illustration by Pariplab Chakraborty.