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"Me and My Mother Tongue, in an alien language" by Pragya

Over the years, 

My default language is one,

That's alien to my forefathers,

I keep my mother tongue stacked in a beautiful box, 

On some days I wipe the cobwebs off it, 

One could blame the colonial legacy, 

Or just a side effect of dying,

But I often find myself wondering, 

Is my mother tongue the same as my forefathers?


Did we love in similar hues? 

Was sweet the default flavor of a kiss? 

Did they wait for messengers to come by, over months, 

In the way, I wait for my messenger to notify in seconds? 

Is the sigh of anticipation still the same amount of air breathed out, 

Or has that changed? 

Is it lighter now, or was it heavier then? 

Has the gibberish we utter to seven months old altered? 

All of this, I wonder in tongues alien to my forefathers. 


Has my mother tongue taken the face of her mother? 

Or her great grandmother? 

Or is she a rebel?

Did she put on the lipstick they told her not to? 

Or was my mother tongue too loud, 

Probably her vocabulary too colored?

Maybe, my mother tongue defied her ancestors by wearing a word an inch too short. 

So did it hurt her, 

When I left her still

For fancier colors, 

And shorter words?


In my mother tongue the word for separation, 

Lifts the tongue up and hides under it. 

And the word for depression is spoken without moving the lips. 

Sometimes I return to her, 

And play with her hair,

On other days I read her poetry from her favorites, 

While an old lover of her's croons over the radio. 

Over the years,  the most beautiful words I have had, 

Had been the silences in my mother tongue.


I don't think, 

There's a word for homesickness in my mother tongue,

There might be some history behind it, 

Or just a colloquial negligence,

There's a poem in the absence of that word, 

For I have always found it beautiful,

That I cannot be homesick in the language of my home.

Editorial Comment - This poem is an ode to all our mother tongues that we carry in our hearts, sometimes caressing it, sometimes probably ignoring it. Pragya has so beautifully amalgamated the feelings in this poem, that it feels almost surreal and puts you in a trance of sorts. - Som

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