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The Cure for a Headache

by Anupama Krishnakumar

The cure for a splitting headache needn’t always be medication. Anupama Krishnakumar’s poem tells a different story.

Ten tiny fingers, slender as nascent green twigs
press gently upon my aching forehead
and then one of them, the index finger on the right,
slides down in time, to wipe off drops of tears –
trickling down in response to a pain unbearable.
“It’s ok, sweetheart,” she tells me, and my heart –
it melts… it melts for, the gentleness that suffuses
“sweetheart” is incomparable and pure, it
sweetens my soul like rich golden honey.

Her magnetic black eyes fixed intently on me,
she asks with brimming concern, “Are you better?
Shall I get you your yellow Amrutanjan?”
I smile, forgetting the splitting headache for
a few seconds and nod my head, albeit weakly.
The next instant, she is off, scurrying like a
nimble little mouse, dashing back in with a
yellow dabba held securely in her tiny palms.
“Thank you, dear,” I mutter faintly, lost in pain.

Somehow, she seems to sense it’s all not okay,
so she ruffles my hair, kisses me on my cheek,
and tells me, “It’s ok, take rest,” and she begins
to sing softly in her sweet, gripping voice, a song
that we would both sing together on the way
back from school. Suddenly, it all feels surreal
and I slip into a slumber, lulled gently into it
by the warmth of my little daughter, who,
in those few moments, becomes my mother,
making me the child… healing me with her affection –
so innocent, pure and priceless.

Anupama Krishnakumar is an engineer-turned-journalist. She co-edits Spark and is also the author of two books, ‘Fragments of the Whole’, a flash fiction collection and ‘Ways Around Grief & Other Stories’, a short-story collection. Her website is www.anupamakrishnakumar.com.
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