Ma, why is the sea salty?
Seaside conversations were a ritual with Ma.
With a five-year-old me
gripping the end of her drab saree,
engrossed in the sandpiper
not far from shore.
The sour smell of the ocean air
and the beckoning calls of the water
was tempting my mind.
“Ma, why is the sea salty?”
Asking questions was also a part
Ma’s eyes glazed over far
and she told me it’s the siren’s tears.
In the deepest darkest part of the ocean
where no man could ever go,
for love, she lost
A sailor, handsome and proud
took her heart and
for him, she cries ever since then.
Because he left as the others did.
The siren’s song lost its charm
and so, did her heart.
For now, she knew she was cursed,
to never find love in this wretched world.
There she still is,
in the deepest darkest part of the ocean.
Where no man could ever go-
to let her tears, flood everywhere.
It’s a wonder how five-year-olds are oblivious to all.
Oblivious to the tear down her cheek.
Oblivious to her pain.
Oblivious to the empty room at home.
Oblivious to all.
Wish I had known it then,
Sirens don’t exist.
Sandpipers will steal your shell
Ma never told me imaginary tales.
Written by Aneesha Muthuraj for MTTN
Artwork by Ankita Shenai