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Iron Flower

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

By Samyuktha Reddy


Her wispy white hair slept like the snow capped mountains

strong and resilient. 

She didn't use any colour,

but embraced it whole 

like a bird so brilliant 

with silver feathers

flying under the spring weather. 

Though she could barely walk

in her soft lavender saree.


It didn't stop her feet 

from climbing two flights of stairs 

to prepare rice and curd for me,

and no matter how hard i tried

to replicate this simple recipe, 

the taste of her love dancing on my tongue

was always missed by me.

She fed me, even at ten

in her soft lavender saree.


The rivalry of height

when i was a kid, up to her waist and to her shoulder

overshot like a bamboo, years later

I had to look down to her.

Years of length that i had missed, 

to see her eye to eye in this abyss-

more important things were on my mind

than being swallowed by her golden yellow iris and her magic,

they were not so important i find,

than to hold her, a little longer every time 

in her soft lavender saree.  


She fell today you see,

she fell today and the earth did not stand still for me,

but it moved faster with a million thoughts stirring in me

the ground shaking, my knees wobbling,

her dewlapped skin hanging heavy 

weary from toiled years and caring for many,

under her neck, pouncing from elbows

is all that I could see.

And her soft lavender saree.


When they said she fell,

I didn't see her fall to the floor,

I saw her fall into my arms 

after a long day of school; where we infact fell into each other's arms.

I didn't see the red on her head as blood 

but the same kunkun on my forehead.

Unreal to imagine that someone so strong and bold

would bleed anything but love and sunshine gold,

that's why love is red I guess.

Call me colourblind, but i can see that red

through her soft lavender saree.


She never told me she loved me.

She never told me she loved me but i heard it clearly,

I heard those words with the pooja bell’ sweet ringing 

before my exam as she prayed for me,

I heard ‘I love you’ when she dabbed the red kunkun

onto my forehead 

and kissed my mind,

when she let me play with her dewlapped skin as a child,

I tasted her love with every morsel of rice

When the sound of my laughter joined into hers 

And i buried my runny nose in her pallu, mild baby powder I sniffed

in her soft lavender saree.


I felt it when her frail body was against my chest;

Hearing her breathing,

Heartbeat quickening,

as she sighed behind my neck-

the sweet scent of love, also hints of evening’s chai.

She didn't have to use her tongue to tell me what her 

actions screamed so clearly

through her soft lavender saree.


Sometimes I wonder,

was it that hard?

That difficult to learn another language?

To tell her, in the beauty of telugu, how much she meant to me?

Language was never a barrier for our love

and she was never embarrassed by her granddaughter's broken mother tongue,

but now I try to absorb like a sponge

and dress myself 

in her soft lavender saree.


So hug them.

Like I hug her now without missing a beat,

Hug them more and more everyday

When the sun rises and sets with the moon,

When the tide rises and sets with the flowers,

Hug them tighter, like vines clinging onto stems

Hug them closer.

Drown them in your love

Hold them harder and

Love them harder.


Note from writer: I would like to clarify that my grandmother is alive, and feeling better now.



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