My mother would say:
“Little boy Raj…
Go to Muthu’s
and get some
cinnamon, betel leaves
and ginger and garlic.”
And so I go to the shops
singing all the way
and when Muthu asks me
what I’d want
I rattle off a list:
“Sesame seeds, onions
tomatoes and pickles”
And back home,
Mother twists my ears
           --- Raj Arumugam.
This poem is written by Raj Arumugam, an Indian poet born in \(1955\). He lived in Singapore till \(1997\) and then moved to Australia. He is a poet, teacher, writer and a businessman.
The poem "I Dream of Spices" is a simple free verse poem (no rhythmic patterns). It is about a mother asking his son to buy a few spices from the shop.
The poem is narrated by a little boy named Raj. One day his mother asked him to go to Muthu's shop and get some items. The items she asked were cinnamon, betel leaves, ginger and garlic.
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Raj's mother asked him cinnamon, betel leaves, ginger, garlic!
Raj went to the shop by singing songs all the way. When he reached Muthu's shop, Muthu (the shopkeeper) asked him what items he wanted. Raj recited a long list on his own! He had forgotten what his mother had asked him to buy. He seemed to be dreaming of his own list of spices. He changed the entire list and said he wanted sesame seeds, onions, tomatoes and pickles! His mother mentioned none of these items. (Sesame seeds are the edible seeds of gingelly plant, from where gingelly oil is extracted. It is a type of oil-seed.)
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But Raj asked for sesame seeds, onions, tomatoes and pickles!
He reached home with all the wrong items, and his mom twisted his ears. He shouted "Ouch!" in pain. Hopefully, he remembers the correct list the next time!
angry mom.png
Raj's mom scolded and twisted his ear, for his mistake!
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). Term-1 English Standard-6. I Dream of Spices - Raj Arumugam (pp. 145-147). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.