The train is chugging along. We’ve booked seats in the AC compartment- the windows are sealed, so, you can’t open them. Since it is the monsoon (rainy) season, it’s cold in the compartment with the AC on. So, I step out with my husband to take a break from the AC and I stand in the space between the compartments- at the entrance. The door to the train opens and slams shut repeatedly as the train crosses borders between the States, giving us a view of the outside. One thought crosses my mind- about us (my husband and I)- that we are connected. And that thought results in this poem.
Beyond the vows we made to each other Seven times around the sacred fire We are connected- By our shared border- he calls it his and I call it mine By railway lines running from my hometown to his- tracks that have weathered many a storm And stood the test of time By meandering rivers that take birth in his land And reach their destination in mine By the fish that swim in those rivers- Unidentifiable whether they belong to my land or his By swaying coconut palms that tilt in our welcome- Did they come from trees here or did those rivers carry the fruit here? We are connected- by our many Gods- they look at me here as they did in my father's home. and I speak to them in my language; they understand. Long before these years we spent together We were connected- By the mountains that run along our hometowns- he saw one face of them and I the other; they are one As we are.
P.S. in India, each State has its own language and the culture, food, and manner of celebrating festivals are different. The differences are lesser if the States are geographically closer to each other. And yet, there are no differences at all if one looks at it from the perspective of the poem. We are all one.
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