Delhi’s Bandaged Heart – Isha Ahuja’s Poem on Post-Recovery, Janak Puri
Poetry in the city.
[By Mayank Austen Soofi]
Her life is returning to some sort of normalcy, but the recent days were a nightmare. In April her “Nanaji” was lying terminally ill with cancer. The whole extended family was attending to him. As soon as the end came, another crisis started—everyone got covid.
This must have been too much for somebody so young to process. Isha Ahuja is 23. “The worst part was that we couldn’t undertake easily even the everyday tasks, like waking up and making a cup of tea,” she says, talking on Whatsapp video from her home in west Delhi’s Janakpuri. A literature student in Jamia Millia Islamia University, Ms Ahuja’s study is lined with black-spined Penguin Classics. By now, she and everybody else in her family has recovered, and she is preparing for her final semester exams. She recently penned a poem detailing her experience of the ongoing aftermath of the disease. “While it will take a long time to heal fully, maybe this poem is a start.”
Posing for a portrait with her parents, Rajeev and Neeru, and younger brother, Rachit, she agrees to share the poem with The Delhi Walla.
The days have passed
but the residue remains
my joints rattle in unison with rashes and unknown pains.
When I walk
my breath wavers and I need to sit.
Survivors guilt robs my sleep each night
I made it
but many others didn’t.
I am healing
but the pain remains
rooted in my chest
grabbing my insides handful.
My hands are calloused
trying to dislocate this weight.
The words of my books appear devoid of sense
the brain fog triumphs
over each word I am unable to write.
Strength and hope appear superficial
although I started to pray.
I don’t know when will this end
all of us forced into the perpetuity of it.
I rescued a baby pigeon last month
fallen down from the nest.
I gave it water and food.
We both lived
I saw it flying today
watching the young bird fluttering its wings
I stood there without breathlessness.
It’s a start
Nature’s way of reminding that healing is possible.
I don’t know how this is supposed to end
this poem and our lives
for once perhaps it’s better not to know.