Red oxide floor

Childhood red oxide floor
prints of monkey paws
here – we spilt milk, there,
the little one peed.

Cousins hold their peace
while jackfruit ripens on
trees, the stomach then
rose in waves of laughter.

Spouses wave to touch
invisible ghosts of great uncles,
moustached playmates. That
night we were so scared.

Sacred pillow tucked under
head. Remember Kaikeyi
who slept such on bare floor
causing nothing but theatrics.

To exiles were sent souls by
sleeping on red oxide floors.
Undone in five years, when we
return to claim postprandial nap

Note – The photograph was taken in Trichy in Feb 2005. In the afternoon. The quiet of the city was filtered after lunch through the doors. While it was taken using a very low resolution camera phone, it captured the mood just right. Sunny, sleepy, drowzy and bare.


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19 Responses to Red oxide floor

  1. LAK

    Oooh, you took me back to my grandparents’ house, to a time long ago. The coolness of the red floor on a hot, langourous day!

  2. Nice..the picture is brilliant.
    Brings back memories of red oxide floors :), summer vacations.. lazy afternoons.. stories from grandpa, favourite sweets from granny.. and much more.

  3. Lovely poem. Took me back to red oxide floors too-the ones we had at my school in the south-happy warm days, hot outside, cool inside.

  4. Why did you delete my previous comment Miss. Neha? Was it not deserving for your eyes or those of your readers?

    After all I’m just one of your secret fans!

    BooHoo :-D

  5. km

    Lovely poem. Going by the comments here, it looks like we are a generation of red oxide nostalgists! BTW, Do houses (new constructions) in India still use red oxide?

    Personally, I am ALL for that acid-trippy mosaic.

  6. hmmmm…..just the kind of poem that takes u back in time….

    I have no idea why, but I thought of mangoes for some reason :)

  7. The surface, especially if left rough is perfect for sketching with a piece of chalk. I did a lot of (short-lived) masterpieces on red!

  8. bahut sahi poem, bahut warm memories. fills tummy, expandable or not.

  9. Raj

    Red oxide floors! Used to have that quiet elegance and grace.

    Nice photo. That chair looks good too!

  10. My first time at your blog. Like the slumbrous environment you create in the poem. Nice! :)

  11. Hey, nice one there!
    Out to dig your archives now.

  12. m.

    oooh bliss and loveliness – i adore red oxide floors!

    btw, i dont know what i was wasting time with earlier, but i just realised i aint linked you! may i pliss do so? :)

  13. ATTN: Neha Viswanathan,

    This is a notarized comment regarding your slander of the president of IIPM – Dr. A. Chaudhuri and his wife. You are advised to refrain from any further slurs concerning IIPM or we shall take legal action against you in the highest forms under the law in India. You have been warned.

    — Electronically Signed By: A. Sandeep

    Head of Legal Cell,
    IIPM Tower,

  14. LAK, Lucky, Mumbai Girl, Wendigo, Raj, Blue Athena: Thank you for indulging me with your memories of Red Oxide Floors. :)

    Silly Boy: If you’re going to leave vague links – I will delete. Secret fan? Yaya.

    km: Hhmm. I don’t think new constructions use them much. It might take a few “celebrity constructions” to popularize them. For the weather in the South – they made a lot of sense. Red Oxide Nostalgists. Something like the Dead Poets Society?

    Chandni: Mangoes?! I hope to catch a few mangoes in action when I am in India. :)

    Zero: Dig away.

    m.: Please link. Link-loving is always welcome!

    Anand: Yes yes me too! Masterpieces on the floor all the time. Even with coloured chalks. Of course – given my tendency to eat chalk – half the masterpiece was in abstract forms inside my tummy.

    Legal Cell – IIPM: Rotfl! Whoever did this – Thank you!

  15. Sleeping on a bare red oxide floor in summer in a well ventilated room is so cool and soothing :)

  16. beautiful.. i loved the poem… i can relate to it so much!

  17. Kakafoni


    Your institute is surviving on borrowed time.Please be warned that we will take up the cause of the gullible youth of india and strive to bring down the curtains on a dark chapter in the annals of education in independent india.

  18. Anonymous

    Red oxide floors…trichy… maaami, am getting too nostalgic here…zzzzzzz….black and white concentric circles zoom in and out.. flashback time…



  19. glad to know there are still people who know the value of redoxide floors…very nostalgic!

    guess u might like this