[36] Winter Memories, Mallika Bhaumik

My winter days remain tucked
in the quilted warmth of Calcutta Decembers.
A school bus of red cardigans,
roadside badminton, picnics, book fair
till we outgrow the knitted comforts,
then the house, the lane,
the first love letter, the first heartbreak,
the yellowing of the years
the residue of belongings neatly packed in trolley bags.

The conflict of a home grows dense,
leaving leaves a blanket of anxiety on the epidermis of feelings
till a new window, some new faces, nuggets of a new language fill in the space
I practise ‘acclimatisation’ that was once tough to spell.

Meanwhile, the old house becomes a residence of absence
I hear a hum of missing voices in the meanders of my dreams,
what if the weak winter sun casts long hazy shadows that bring back the days of
filigreed happiness?
I walk towards
the lost smell of naphthalenes
in old iron trunks.

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