Ode To An Old Home by Samin Sayeda


Art by Ken Price

Ode To An Old Home


The sixth house on the street overlooked a public park

Its walkway, a carpet of Frangipani

Those in haste would miss it often

Scurrying back, they'd tell how it blends into the background.

The old home didn't notice them either

Unprying, indifferent, nonchalant- its gate was always ajar.

One day a list was made

We told the house our woes and angst

"Why is there a centipede on the third floor?"

"What if we break our knees? The stairway is too dark."

"June rains flood the room, in December there's no sunshine."

"The backyard is a tangled mesh of ugly wires."

"Who stole my shirt from the terrace?"

For all so much, the house said nothing

But brought along some small joys

More centipedes arrived, like friends who always lost their way

The stairway bulb flickered and fused

Yet no one missed a step.

In June, we watched the rains uncover crimson sunsets

From the chipped terrace that held us when we were sad

And once during a drunken soiree

P asked if the mesh of wires are Diwali lights!


Last December, we packed our bags to leave

Unceremonious, we forgot to thank the house

Or write a soliloquy

But once we reached our new address

We remembered the gate that was always ajar

We longed for those who came and stayed the night.



A tree-hugger by spirit, Samin Sayeda’s short stories, poems and other forms of literary catharsis entwine the natural world with the emotional world. Her life has been mostly nomadic and the idea of ‘home and homelessness’ is another exploration that she makes through her writing. Currently working as an editor with a leading Indian daily, she jumps at any chance to see the world.