The girl who didn’t cry at birth

She must have been exhausted

from fighting the coils around her neck or something

But baby Avanee didn’t cry at birth.

Doctor Ketkar had to slap her back a couple of times

Before, eventually, she let out a weak wail

as if to shut everyone up

so she could go back to sleep (and so could her relieved mother).


Seven years later, she could scream loud enough;

A screech for artwork discovered ruined

A holler for a cooking project going unexpectedly

A yelp for a grazed knee

A bawl for attention not given–“Ammaaaaaa!”


I shut my ears when she screams those screams.

(My head shuts down automatically)

But on an otherwise dull day,

when it is just the two of us

doing our individual nothings together,

she hums; she loses herself as she frees her voice to navigate a note

She becomes the Amma.


I want to rest my head in her lap–   

It seems the only acceptable place and time to go.


Saee Koranne-Khandekar

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