When we scrubbed our hands
with ash and water,
brushed our teeth
with fingers
and charcoal powder…

When we sat
in a semi-circle
on the kitchen floor,
raising a din
with spoons and brass plates
waiting for scolding amma
to give us food…

When we ran barefoot
on the dirt roads
after bullock carts
and horse carriages,
dodging cow-dung
as our feet pranced
or we plunged in the pond
with frogs, fish
and buffalos…

We were happy.

Ashok Gupta
ashok1082 [at] yahoo [dot] co [dot] uk
May 1999

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