Grandmother’s Hands


A nostalgic poem woven with ethnic flavors by Anu Mahadev.

how they spin
the beads on a sandalwood rosary
counting faith
in prayer
these chapped,
blackened hands
once they too
counted bangles
played with toys
marbles with a brother
who no longer calls her sister any more.
these hands, that have birthed
many a baby
many a mother’s tearful eyes
bathed with gratitude.
forlorn now, they remember
being bridal once
blooming in henna
blushing, being held
then, pale alabaster
too early, snatched away
into swathes of white.
they bore the heavy pots
the logs of wood
the lone son
the hot cow dung on the village sand.
i remember
these hands
massaging the fragrant oils
on my long black hair
washing them tenderly
with shikakai & aritha
never shampoo
then grinding the chutney
bottling pickles
oiling the rice and dals
“to protect from insects” she says
carrying me as a toddler
and now carrying my bags to the airport
handing me over to a man, telling him
i’m innocent
i know nothing
that after her
he will be the only one
who knows me best.
she is right
he has the same hands
i long for the ones
with the jagged nails
she never cuts
the hands – wipe off her
laughing tears at my silly jokes
never hug me
hold me in the night
when she thinks i’m asleep
not looking
but ever-knowing
where they are.
my grandmother’s hands
© AM 4.1.2016

photo courtesy EarthTrek.


Anu Mahadev is quite simply, a poet – in every sense of the word.

One Comment Add yours

  1. N Srivatsa says:

    Beautiful, Anu! So beautiful!


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