What I said was wrong, mom.
Every time I said I wanted to leave home
I was wrong.
My room is such a mess
I’d have to fuss
But I just don’t care because
It would never be like mine back home
There are ants every where
In my jar of sugar, they’re about to get into the coffee
How do I make them go away?
I’ve drawn Lakshman Rekha in rangoli patterns
On the shelves, on my trolleys, suitcases,
Cartons and big-shoppers, even books
I’ve sprinkled some powder that the security gave
“The ants will be gone in a day” he said
Nothing went, but followed in a fit of sneezes
And a headache
How come our kitchen never had these many ants, mom?
Would you let me in on your anti-ant secret?
I wipe, sweep (okay, once in a while) and dust
But the moment I turn the other way
To wipe the sweat off my forehead
The pile of ugly, entangled hair comes
Rollin’ in like they were never tossed in,
In to the dustbin
Even the dustbin is never clean, mom.
I leave the dishes untouched for weeks
At least until the next time
I scrape up a barely edible bowl
Of noodles or corn flakes
Or a cup of coffee
But until then the rims of the cutlery
Turn dry and impossible to wash
What do you then, mom?
I have an idea.
Write me a book, a novella
On how to maintain a room,
Beat up a cockroach when it turns up at the middle of the night
When I’m trying to cram Phillips’ Curve,
What should I do when the uncooked noodles
Gives me a stomach ache,
How to keep the swept dust from making a run,
Fold clothes in a way that they look pressed
Or accurately ration my washing powder
I think I reek of soap nowadays
And, mom, how do I stop missing home?
It would save us a lot of phone calls too