Before I left for University I said goodbye to the stars in my part of the sky. I had named my stars and as a child, I would talk to them every night. 'Goodbye Sam, Myra, Timothy, John, Harry, and little Georgia!' I whispered softly, thrusting my suitcase into my wrist and slowly walking away.

away from home...
in the breeze the fragrance
of mother's cooking

Now as I gaze at the skies above here in the England countryside half a decade later I can no longer recognize the stars of my childhood. I squint hard trying desperately to identify at least one.

And it isn't just the stars I cannot recollect. Even Mother's face is a haze intertwined with vague memories party true and partly imagined. Try as I might I am unable to smell the pilaf which was Mom's forte. Even the breeze has a different fragrance. Slowly, in my utter dejection, I pace the hostel floor. Passing the looking glass I gaze into it. With horror.

The young girl who looks out at me with bewilderment is a stranger I have never set eyes on before.

early dawn---
still trying hard to hold onto
my dreams


--- A collaboration by Praniti Gulyani and Gautam Nadkarni