What my father talks about

Yash Shrivastava
1 min readMar 28, 2022

Two hundred years of history
I stand a stranger to my own ancestry
My great-great-grandfather moved here to Malwa
From somewhere North
Generation after generation
Toiling the same two acres of lands
Building, breaking, breaking the three rooms of the mud house
Over and over again
The last time I walked through the narrow street to our house
Which barely fits three men or two cows,
was over a decade ago

So for the sake of practicality
My father brings up selling our land and the mud house
He talks of the old lemon tree in the backyard
Whose pickles grandma sent us every winter
He talks about of the banyan down the street
where old geezers would spend the afternoons playing cards
And he and his friends would swing on its branches
He talks about the well beside our house
The sound of pots hitting the water
mixed with loud gossip and laughter
One summer when he was ten or eleven
As the first mangoes arrived from the farm
He ate one too many and ended up twisting and turning in pain due to stomachache
Grandma stayed up all night with his head in her laps

Our neighbors have moved out of there
And their neighbors too
What remains of the neighborhood
are a few broken mud houses
An unpaved street covered with grass
sitting among a graveyard silence
Which asks him, every time he is there,
Where do my villages go
Some to a different part
Some to a nearby town
Some, like him, even farther