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My Amma cooks me dreams, and other spicy things by Ira Anjali

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

Dedicated to Meena Kandaswamy

Art by Jean Charlot

On some days my mother is a dreamer

Behind barbed wire(s).

Like a dedicated addict

She snorts words

Nose buried between the shuffles

Of pages worn by

Too much forgetting.

Her bookstores like drug houses

Hold secrets

Our listening grandmothers collected in the folds of their wrapped sarees


to be Devoured-

Like a good poem swallowed whole.

On some days my mother knows them too.

Six meters of stretching stories

She is an aching book.

She has learnt that the Lepchas name themselves mutanchi-

the mothers creation:

We are but daughters of the earth.

and proudly she tells you how every inch

Of land here speaks the memory

Of multiple dialects,

Yet only the taste of our Urdu

Ruins a white man's tongue.

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