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An ode to head-loads

My head- load is increasing
Ammalu, please stop teasing.

You weren’t a pumpkin as now
When I first carried you on my head,
You were a ripe plantain peel
Shot at me by your mom,
Expecting you to pull my legs
Wisely placing you on my head
I handled you like a kid;
Now you handle me like a kite!

Then I carried your mom on my shoulder
The heavy -weight boulder
She pressed and changed my head shape
I too pressed back,
Poor thing had no escape!

Then I carried my children and grand children!
Happily as my dad used to.
The music from the anklets
When their tiny legs kicked my chest
Flows in my soul still
Continue ever it will.

My dad too would have had that thrill
While crossing the river,
Me on his shoulder,
To watch the chariots rolling.
Knee -deep and hip- deep was the water
My water -chariot waded out to the shore.
No push, no pull
When love is full.

Comes to mind alive
Not the shining gods ,
Not their dazzling chariots
But the street vendors
With half opened bags of puffed rice
Pushcart loads of halva and dates.

Comes to mind alive
Not the big drums or long pipes
But the tickling sound of little toys
Some rolled on the ground
Some creaked when moved.
And the little paper fans
In the hand of the street vendor
Turned and turned, I laughed.

I’m now crossing a river
Like my dad, with a head load.
My affection carries the weight
Not my head, so it is light.

Help me to wade and reach the shore
God, who lifted the earth, as a wild bore!

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