It was her vow to worship the goddess
With 108 flowers of 108 varieties
Being children who can go from house to house
From temple gardens to farm bunds 
To deserted houses.
It is our duty to fetch flowers

In the beginning everything looked easy
Collecting hibiscus, jasmines and marigolds
Available in the backyards of every house.

At times we could pluck 80 flowers from friendly 
Low hanging branches
But to fill the basket with the rest 
Beg, jump, pray
Try all means to reach the tall shoot reaching sky
Knock on the doors 
Praying gods to save us from
Ferocious dogs and the angry householders
Explain all about us and reach them through 
Extended politeness and enhanced respect
Suppressing laughter as well as anger

I do not remember how and when 
She fulfilled the vow
But the early morning
Uneasiness of waking up elders from their cozy beds
Broken walls of rundown houses
Speeding lizards on the fields and
Under bellies of the posh
Part of my treasure chest of childhood


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