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The Silent Citadels by Nandita De nee Chatterjee

Beautiful houses and villas dot this landscape.

Tall complexes stand proud against the skyline. 

It's a township of the well-to-do.

Every morning and evening the gentry emerge,

and take strolls around the green pathways.

The shaded benches get filled soon. 

For a couple of hours

they exchange pleasantries, memories, news.

This rendezvous they loathe to miss.

And they return refreshed.


An almost elders' township now,

their homes ring with shadows of the past.

Memories of full families hang heavy.

Only the ring of the phone

bring alive their children's voices in the homes.


Old, single ladies are the majority in this township. 

The last ones left standing ,

deserted by their husbands in the last race of life. 


But the gloomy faces become animated,

voices excited,

and their eyes shine 

in company. 

They talk in childish glee

and update each other with news of their loved ones, living far away.

Health and daily chores are forgotten then,

and the vibrations of joy and pride resonate in the fading twilight. 

Never a word of reproach, 

never the pathos of solitary existence in the crowded world. 

Never a shadow of doubt on the love and loyalty of their offspring. 


The daily dose of nostalgia,  camaraderie, and proud parenting over,

they return to their empty mansions,

fitted out by out-station kids. 

They lock and bar the doors and retreat into the silence. 

Resigned to life,

but never resentful. 

For Mum's the word.

           Mums,

   the most unique

  species..in the world. 



Nandita De is a writer, journalist and a housewife. She has worked with The Economic Times and also as a Freelance journalist. She has written cover stories for The Saturday Statesman and features for Illustrated Weekly of India ,Telegraph, Times of India, Femina, Filmfare, Germany Today Cityscape column etc. She has been an Editorial Adviser of ETM, an Economic Times publication. Consulting Editor with Environ. She has a good editing experience. She was a part time Lecturer at Calcutta University, PG Journalism, teaching Media Ethics. She has a Fb Page and group Studio Quaintrelle. Blogger at BeBee.com. She is also the Administrator of two more fb groups. Her poems have been published in various digital literary forums. Contributor, Voix Meets Mode, UK,  latest annual. Co author at Anthology,  Big Bang of Non Fiction, Life in Reserve, released this Sep.12. MA, English Literature and BA, English Hons,  both from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. She works on welfare,  visually impaired, labour, social issues and human rights, lifestyle and investigative stories for mainstream Indian newspapers. Passionate about epicurean cooking,   nature, ikebana and social service. She has an Army, Navy, Air Force background with father from Indian Air Force. Defense issues are a critical priority of hers.

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