His mind screened the last show.
In the realm of this life, his final bow.
Like an old tube light, the screen flickered,
one moment clear, the next made hazy
by a teary curtain.
7 decades back,
when he sat on grandfather's lap,
a cozy cave of warmth and cracking bones
humming in harmony with the antique ceiling fan,
licking pieces of jaggery,
sucking his hand dry, bitten finger
making him more cranky.
Earlier, mother had said with a frown,
her forehead an outline of a banyan tree,
"Enough sweets, your mouth looks like
the front gate, when opened wide".
Tears ran down, then and now.
Mother's rebuke and restriction
was the end of the sweet world
he knew. Till ...
the old man put out his hand,
like a magician removing his hat,
and there lay, in the center of the palm,
like an oasis in a desert, two shiny
diamond chunks, chunks of jaggery.
The fingers healed,
he looked up at the magician's smiling face,
dug up like the roads to school,
his mouth's front gates missing.
The kid bent, sucked quick,
lest he's seen with the jewels,
studded with harm and love equal.
On a whim, he looked at the front door
and beyond, at the real gate, big and open,
beckoning him to a life of jaggery
like the road to his school.
In a 74 year old's last week, his memories start from his childhood.
Though the setting and language is Indian, I believe human emotions are universal.
Jaggery - a coarse dark brown sugar made in India by evaporation of the sap of palm trees. Jaggery is used as a substitute for white sugar while making sweets.