Poem by Professor Indu Kilam
Yes, the lane was the same,
but there was no presence of
the naked fakir on the pavement,
looking at nothing
and occasionally crying out ALLAH-HU.
I saw a uniformed shadow,
peering through a bunker.
Had my fakir exchanged places with him?
Did he too, feel a threat and hid himself?
I did not see the house of my neighbors,
who had a pomegranate tree
in their compound.
The big gate, open to all, was missing.
The half-burnt window reminded me
of my parents.
Winding deodar staircase were ashes.
Drawing room with its Persian carpets
and rung and colorful bolsters,
which had hosted guests, was untraceable.
My idols of faith were there
but they were on the road like pebbles.
there were new names,
new faces, new roads, new walls and new gods.
I was like a guest in my own land. © Professor Indu Kilam Professor Indu Kilam taught English in various colleges of Jammu and Kashmir, for more than 3 decades, and retired as Associate Professor from MAM post-graduate college from Jammu. A translator and a social activist, she has been working for the cause of women and children. She has to her credit, the translation of Ms. Naseem Shafaie's Sahitya Academy award winning collection of poems, 'Neither a Shadow a Reflection'. She has also translated a number of Dogri poems. Holding a brilliant academic record, she has a Masters in English and a degree in Law, and has been living in Jammu since 1990. Her poems are nostalgic and she moves with ease from the past to the present, penning memories with a delicate touch, making all, beautifully poignant.