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She waits at the window
with anxious eyes that
scan the street below
as dusk darkens to inky blue
and street lamps, bright yellow.

Figures hurrying home -
men and women from work.
Was that the doorbell?
only a watchman ..
what dress did she wear today?
and the colour of her dupatta?
ah! that’s her!
no, a middle-aged woman
with a basket..
surely, she would carry a purse..
The phone,
just a wrong number...
the tea has grown cold - just like her
not to ring up when late...

The bell of the next door flat.
Through peephole she sees the neighbour
come home from work.
Opens door hurriedly.
“ Are the trains late?”
“No, on time – absolutely.”

The T.V.! the News!
anything happened anywhere today?
Only a minor cabinet reshuffle.
And a volcano erupting
in some godforsaken place.

A call to the office. Night Security answers.
“Let me check.”
heart thudding
“No, nobody on late duty madam.”

She comes to stand by the window again
to see lights go off
one by one
in nearby homes.

Feet aching, a numbness of heart, desperation.

There is no god.
Else, why is her daughter
not home as yet?

This poem was published in the magazine 'Kavyabharati' some years ago.


  1. This was absolutely wonderful Alaka......