The Invasion

On a January morn, news arrives
of an impending storm.
There could be snowfall too.
I lock the doors and windows tight
lest the cold blast creeps through.
I stock up on the groceries too.
It is all good, alright.

Last year when such a storm had passed by,
it caught me unawares.
The house was such a shabby mess
that I spent several nights
clearing the wilted leaves and grime,
the wind had delivered,
stuck stubbornly on the moist carpet
lining the wooden floor.

And forget leaving the house this time.
Once when I had ventured out into a snowstorm,
thinking it could be fun,
wellies on, and fur coat buttoned up till the chin,
I had returned home a war-ravaged civilian,
hair matted coarse, red-nosed, in a sneezing fit,
and spent hours scraping the mud,
mixed with snow and grass, off the bottom of my boots.

So this time, I stay tucked in my feather bed,
a handbound book of poems, and a steaming cup of hot chocolate
by my side,
waiting for the dreaded day to pass.
Until, the invasion starts…

First, I hear the front door creak
as the fierce gale presses against its surface,
trying its strength.
The glass windows rattle and squeak
as the icy shower grazes with its teeth.
I watch my cherubic neighbourhood kids squeal
as they leap into the storm, arms stretched out,
trying to catch the snowflakes.
Then, there is the never-ending whooshing of the wind,
circling above my head like an assault of uninvited memories,
all day long.
I cannot shut these out!

And lastly, the heating, is it ever enough?
Though I draw my Jaipuri satin quilt right up till my nose,
I tremble through the night…

 © Vidya Venkat (2021)

Published by Vidya Venkat

Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at SOAS, London. Formerly, journalist at The Hindu, Chennai.

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