Anurima Das

Assistant Professor, Department of English

Her alarm still rings on five ‘o clock

waking her up at the crack of dawn

She wanders about the overcrowded room

gingerly making her way to the window

Shivering in the morning cold she combs her thinning white locks

a habit that did not decrease with her amount of hair

Draping herself in a saree from the few her son bought her

before leaving her here and never turning back

Getting ready in the morning was a joy

anticipating the smiles on her students’ faces

But now, even if out of habit she does it every day

the sweet smiles and kind words are hard to come by

From the window, she sees little kids in uniform

tottering about the street, singing gleefully

Sometimes she calls loudly from her chair

though no one stops and turns to answer

She gets angry when the caretaker brings her meals late

for in her time, her world ran according to the school bell

She thinks scolding would bring contrition which she was used to seeing in class

but here all she got in return was rude rebukes

Often while lying on her iron bed in the slowly passing afternoon

she wonders how her students turned out to be

The girl who used to share lunch with her

the boy who used to rush to carry her books on the way home

She often fondly remembers the school she taught in

the rickety benches full of beaming little heads

Her old textbooks with yellowish dog-eared pages

the chalk dust cool and slippery on her hands

Now no one greets her when she passes by

her grammar corrections make her grandson annoyed

Her textbooks lie on the small table beside her bed

appearing blurry through her dilapidated glasses

Her favorite pass time these days is thinking

her mind the only organ that works without paining

So sitting on the garden bench of the old age home she often thinks

that is how she went from mothering so many children to none at all

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