Poem: Bitter gourd for one


Yesterday, while sweeping the floor,
I found your earring, one of which
must be lonely amongst all the pairs
in the sandalwood box. It lit the

corner behind the sofa with light
and memory. You had looked under
the pillows, and checked the nest
of thieving birds. You forgot, dear

Kannamma, the corner in my house
where you would place your head
on my lap. This is the habit of mothers,
and not lovers, you admonished me,

before promptly easing it back in
the familiar fold. Having found that
solitary pearl, the broom had trapped
fine strands of your hair with dust. I

swallow now, in your absence. Copious
tears and every harsh word. I slice
the very bitter gourd through its
crocodile hide, making dinner for one.

This entry was posted in Photographs, Poetry and Fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Poem: Bitter gourd for one

  1. Rajesh says:

    I was listening to your podcast on the Kamla Bhatt program (I was definitely listening to Kamla and trying to guess what your replies could be). From the questions, I was quite intrigued by the things you have been able to do through blogging. Very interesting!! And all the best!!


  2. WA says:

    Inglis poem ellam enakku puriyaadhu, but the picture looks nice though


  3. MumbaiGirl says:

    Like both poems, you should keep writing them and publish…


  4. Vi says:

    Excellent photograph and poetry; enjoyed both.


  5. Lalita says:

    Lovely as ever. Great imagery, and a lovely pic, too. Come home to Lali and I will do a dish of bittergourds fried to crsips for two, I promise.


  6. Falstaff says:

    nice. you’ve been reading Ramanujan haven’t you? That line about “a daughter’s passion for bitter gourd and Dostoevsky”.


  7. Sharanya says:

    Loved this!! 🙂 The “Kannamma” was somehow a little jarring though, I don’t know why, though normally its touches like that that give certain poems their soul. Maybe it was just the italics.


  8. ammani says:

    One of your finest. Good one.


  9. dipali says:

    Yet another rave review, both the poem and the pic!! Never has dear karela been photographed so well!


  10. sangeeta says:

    oh the bitter karela looks very pretty in that snap – nice words too.


  11. bidi-k says:

    really nice, this one, the previous one, and also the earring one. have been meaning to comment, but needed the sight of karela to finally do it!


  12. Gi Ve says:

    Wholly enjoyable and nostalgificating Neha!


  13. Rajesh: Thanks.

    WA: At least you like the picture!

    MumbaiGirl: Someday maybe.. 🙂

    Vi: Thanks.

    Lalita: Maybe I should just come to your place and plonk myself while you make food for me. I offer entertainment in return. (And maybe cut the bitter gourd too)

    Falstaff: When don’t I read AKR… I think he’s influenced my sensibility and sensitivity to irreversible extents now..

    Sharanya: To each, their own jars? 🙂

    ammani: Coming from you – that is special.

    dipali: I will pass your compliments to the karela in the fridge.

    sangeeta, biki-k and Gi Ve: thanks. Very gratified. 🙂


  14. km says:

    You know when I told you your posts on cities were among my favorites?

    I’ll take it back. This one poem beats them ALL hollow.

    I also hope you won’t ignore horseradish, carrot and okra.


  15. Lalita says:

    Neha, yeah, come plonk yourself and watch me chop veggies. You only have to set the table, I will take care of the rest. BUT, like km says, let’s have an ode to okra first. 🙂 What a lovely under-rated vegetable, hmm? Not to mention photogenic.


  16. km: More veggies coming up. Must be good for our poetic health.

    Lalita: Ode to Okra. How inspiring. I have never understood how people cannot like Okra – some people actually complain that it is too gooey. Paaah!


  17. MJ says:

    Impressive poem. I like this one even better than the earlier poem about the earring (though there were a few lines in that one that stuck to me – they flowed…somewhat like an accidental brush on the piano? or the wind…my problem with the poem was only that it needed a few edits). I don’t know what kannamma means; rather than looking it up myself, do you think you could explain it? Is it the name of the lover? Is it a term for “dear” in a South Asian language?

    This poem hurt and I love that in a poem.



  18. MJ: Thanks. Kannamma is a term of endearment in Tamil used for young ones and women – perhaps very badly and loosely translated as “Dear Girl”.


  19. artismarti says:

    This is beautiful, Neha. Absolutely gorgeous.