In some rainy month, did you decide
to climb up our lichened wall, to reach
the rusty tin-roof, transforming
its shabbiness into velvet-green,
to hang your emerald-pendants
around the neck of our home?
All knew the perennial Madhavilata,
the fragrant Hasnuhana, queen of the night,
they gaped when they saw you
running wild on our roof,
velvet-green, strange, unknown.
We shouted with glee, "It is Punonnoba -- Punarnava."
That you had medicinal properties ---
that your juice soothes and heals---
we never knew till the vaid
sent his servant,
a demon who expertly climbed our roof --
hacked away at its emerald-fringed coverlet !
Oh the despair and the hope---
the running out in soaking rain---
to watch you extending tendrils,
growing in greenness--Punarnava--
eternal companion on the roof-top.
That home was left behind,
as birth-strings snapped.
A refugee, wanderer, I
look for you, but no one knows
your name. No one knows
a velvet-green, medicinal creeper.
Lost to me, Punarnava,
your shade, your cool decor,
your healing magic.