2 min read

sometimes it seems to me

that i'm a lot like my mother.

tonight, she's gone to sleep

and i am

heading to the kitchen.

eyes tired, lips a little dry,

looking for a glass of water.

the kitchen platform

is unusually clean.

no sign of a stain

and all utensils kept in place;

except for a glass made of steel.

empty and solitary,

yearning to be filled-

like the woman next door

who is asleep.

the glass made of steel

whose sound last night

drove me to the kitchen.

today, it is nothing

but a simple

thirst for water.

the other day maa

spoke of my cousin-

a little girl of one.

talking of how

she strongly feels

that she looks a lot like her.

last night

maa didn't fall asleep.

frequenting the kitchen,

she saw me once

and hid the glass she held

beneath the kitchen sink.

as for now,

it lies on top of it.

there's a strong smell

it carries

and i do not pick it up.

it stays where it stays,


not a single sound.


while sleeping maa

smiles in peculiar ways-

as if she's dreaming of

all the stories she reads

in the old, yellowed

copies of her favourite magazine,


there are other glasses

in the cupboard

but this one

has a specific shape.

it is round underneath

and opens up at its surface

as if it is

a flower

storing sweet nectar within.

maybe maa's dreaming

of her mother,


somewhere sleeping beside

older, further yellowed

copies of

her favourite magazine,


she would drape her saree at 6 am,

carrying the entire night

in her head.

the same night

in which her daughter is fast asleep

and i am wide awake.

nani's amma,

she comes at night like a witch

that nani described her as.

maybe that is why

nani still wakes up early

and goes to sleep on time at night.

as for amma,

travelling across the country

often forgetful of the 9 children

she brought from across the border,

she occupies

a space in my head

but has no image.

there are instead

images and stories



first published in 1945

the year nani turned 3

and amma

started to turn away.

maybe in her dreams,

maa talks

but whom does she talk to?

maybe it is anyone who listens.

maybe if maa were


in 1945

back in sindh,

she'd have listened to amma.

maybe yesterday

when i entered

the kitchen,

it was also out of a certain thirst.

just not for water.


maa looked at another photo of the little cousin.

this time,

she said she looks a lot like me.

maybe she's dreaming

of everything at once-

intertwined in ways

that cannot be deciphered

except in her dream

or when she sips

from the glass made of steel.

sometimes it seems to me

that i'm a lot like my mother.

there are other glasses

in the cupboard,

ones that aren't oddly shaped

or that attract hungry

bees from their sleep.

but i pick up the

glass made of steel

wash it once,

pour water into it

and bring it to my lips.

Saras Jaiswal doesn’t know much about writing bios, and doesn’t know much about anything, for that matter. For now, she is trying to make a shrine out of the stories her mother left her, and often goes there to pray.

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