Maithreyi Nandakumar

After it all finishes

After the storm,

after the demolition,

and the renovation,

the prolonged completion,

after the explosions,

and the intermittent peace.

After all that,

I wait for the propitious moment

when the stars align

when there is a sliver of hope

that edges in through the tight, partitioned walls,

where the slabs of granite are not pressing me down,

when the troubles ease,

and there’s clear space.

An expanse of calm blue water

where the elephants go to bathe,

and the tiger quenches its thirst,

into that sunlit jungle

let me awake.


This poem was written in the middle of renovation work that I was managing for my mother in my childhood home in India. My extended stay has been pretty much centred around a 2-mile radius of where I grew up in the southern coastal city of Chennai in India. The yearning for somewhere that’s dense, lush and serene is very real and sadly, feels all too remote.

MH spring.jpg

Kaziranga National Park, Assam, NE India.