Poem: Nani's Room

[ID: A grayscale photo of a child holding the hand of an older woman]

Poem & Photo by Tamanna Malik

Nani’s Room 

I still remember your room Nani,

the brightest and the warmest of them all,

the only room in the house big enough to fit all twenty of us,

an old wooden door scratched all the way from the top to the bottom leading us in,

on the right laid your slightly worn out bed adjacent to the huge window looking out into the street,

never silent, always the loudest, the cheerful kind, even in the scorching May afternoons.

 

In one corner stood your burgundy bookshelf where you kept Nana’s favourite whiskey,

taking a sip or two every night,

long after he was gone you said it made you feel like he was right there, that he never left,

in other corner rested your tall reading chair, where you’d spend your evenings holding my hand and telling me how Nana left a hole in your heart and how nothing could ever fill it.

 

Over the years i could feel the lines on your palm fade away but it never worried me much for your touch grew warmer with time,

your room was the safest place known to me.

But,

it was just a matter of time, one second is all it took,

you didn’t fade away, you just vanished,

a moment ago you were there and then just gone,

and in a second’s time everything changed,

your hands felt colder than they’d ever been.

 

I couldn’t grieve, I didn’t know how to,

my insides were shaking while i stood still,

I only knew that you took a little bit of me with you and it would never come back.

You would never come back.

But I didn’t want to believe it.

 

Your room now looks very dimly lit,

it has shrunk to the size of the tiniest room there can be but the walls are still shrinking,

it feels cold, i’m starting to shiver,

the books look strange, they’re not the same,

a deafening silence has taken over,

its too suffocating to stand here.

 

UNBEARABLE

 

Is this really the same room Nani? the room where we laughed through the darkest of nights? the room where I felt protected and loved? the room that held us all together?

No, it can’t be.

Maybe, it never was.

It was you, it was your heart.

Your heart was my home

and it left a hole in mine.

It left us all in pieces,

too broken to be held together.

 

I still remember your room Nani,

I always will.

But I can’t bear to look at it.

It scares me.


Tamanna Malik is a nineteen-year-old English Literature student at the University of Delhi. She has contributed articles to ‘The Quint’ and ‘LiveWire’. She has also made contributions to online and print literary journals like ‘The Indian Periodical’, ‘The Writers Club’, ‘Bitacora’. You can find her on Instagram- @tamannaamalik