What do you miss?

Don't ask me what I miss. 
I am living on, day after day
keeping my mind off them.
What else can an expat like me,
five thousand miles apart from
roots, feelings and experiences
that belong to no one else,
at the most, be expected to do?
"Still," you persist? 
Good then, here we go,
listen carefully, as I rant away.

I miss crispy dosa, the kind that
my two-year old nephew was referring to,
when to everyone's perplexed gazes, he gurgled,
"Kuhppi", give me "Kuhppi" Dosa.
That animated laughter of his,
emanating out of nowhere as he sat
perched on my left hip while I
walked beside a lush green paddy field.

He had seen a duck,
perhaps for the first time ever.

I miss, like a typical Keralite,
the hearty showers of June the first.
The long fingers of coconut leaves dance,
buoyantly under the weight of the drops.
Vertical lines of crystal clear water, 
slither down the sloping roof, and fall off.
The music of the patter, the scent of the soil,
coolness in the air, permanence of the puddles.

No, plugging on the earphones, like now,
with rainymoods on, is not enough.

I miss, that tiny lamp; lit,
the fragrance of the incense sticks
blending with that of Dad's soap,
As he sits down on the floor chanting,
his after-shower prayers, in the Puja room.
He bends his head and steps backwards,
out of the room, closes the wooden door
and turns off the switch to the bulb.

The light from the tiny lamp endures,
until almost mid-day, before it dwindles.

I miss; those trips in the green, city buses
to dance class; filled with apprehension.
Revising the new lessons in my mind's eye,
vowing to practice regularly, that day on.
The marble floor in the giant hall,
the aluminium container filled with water,
practice area, overflowing with lively chatter
and wooden sticks, that sometimes could fly.

The first thing done in every class was
to apologise to the earth for stamping away.

I miss those times, spent walking
on the streets of Mangalore, with Mom.
The dinner dates, the shopping spree,
the movie nights, the food in the fridge.
Heading out in her Kurtis, donning
her perfume, waiting awake on her bed,
for her to call out from the kitchen.
Making tea for her after work.

Rare were the times, you see
when I had her all for myself.

Everytime it gets difficult to fall asleep,
I shut my eyes and imagine that I lay
on that majestic bed, along the window
in my Grandmother's home, my childhood home.
Moonlight pours in through the wooden window,
the night follows the lit path inside, they sit 
on my closed eyelids, I sleep, peacefully, there.
Then, I am asleep like a baby, here.

The point on earth where I slept,
for the first four years of this life.

I miss the plopping of the plantain leaf
at the point on its midrib where I chose
I miss the wet freshness on the deep brown leaves
of the spinach saplings in Grandma's garden.
I miss, Ladies fingers, they visit me in dreams,
I miss the yellow fish curry, with raw mango,
I miss the taste of the cold water from the well,
I miss making a hole in the mountain of rice
I miss striking a deal with grandpa, 
a piece of fish for the raw mango in the curry.
I miss the brilliant logic unwrapping in
my younger sister's dining table discussions.
I miss coaxing grandma to eat with us
knowing she is adamant on bathing first.
I miss listening in on the loud chats between
my folks when finally she sits down to eat and
everyone settles down around her once again,
we are only the planets around the sun thats her.

As I conclude penning this "poem",
I also finish eating my salad and I observe,
quietly, if there were no Salads in life,
Would I love and treasure the Sadya at all?