Navashree Nandini


I remember the first breath in Mumbai
that my lungs puffed out
And my heart tasted privilege.

As the monsoon showers knocked the city on the first day of July, I saw strange faces flooding the city as if to ask me where I come from, people who would not be able to locate my hometown on the map, won't be able to pronounce Bihari.

It suddenly hit me that I was made of molten rocks, the city had buildings higher than the mountains, I was used to thatched roof, the city had decorated them in its museums, I had learnt to store history on the moss-laden walls of my home, city had decorated its tiny balconies with artificial ones.

I realised air here was different from the tiny place miles and miles away I call home. I wondered how am I going to live in this city that smells of everything that my lungs doesn't know how to in-take? I wondered why was I suddenly jettisoned here to fend for myself - won't going back is easy, easier?

Two years, five months, three days, twenty five minutes and seven seconds later when I look back at my hometown I can still see the lantern glowing above the makeshift table made by my father that we used both as study and dinner table at home. As I sip kadha from a handle broken cup, curse myself for the 1476th time for not making it like my mother does, and look outside from the only window of my one room flat in the city, I smile - the rudiments of that smile screaming stories of separation from home as well as creating one - at a place unknown, its genesis telling me how unequal the world is.


Navashree Nandini is a full-time journalist with her heart wandering in a room full of poetry books. When she is not on her desk, you'll find her clicking rocks, rubbles, leaves and roads. She is on a self-mission of writing one Haiku a day (@breathehaiku) and can be reached out at @navun02.