I watch my grandmother
As she patiently winnows the grains
Moving the winnowing basket
Up, down; up down
Tossing its content into the air.
I see the chaffs being blown away
Leaving behind the grains.
Then, when there are no more chaffs left,
She stops, but she’s not yet done.
She spreads the grains out thinly on the flat basket
And looks for pebbles that might have
Been mixed with the grains.
She picks the pebbles and throws them away.
I stare at her hands, rough from hard labor;
Amazed at how patiently she works.
Then I begin to realize, life’s like that —
A continuous process of winnowing;
Of separating the grains from the chaffs.
Only that sometimes, we throw away
The grains; not the pebbles, not the chaffs.
[And then we spend the rest of our lives
Staring at the empty husks of our choices
Wondering where the grains went,
Chasing after them, and not seeing them
Amidst the mountains of chaffs
With which we have surrounded ourselves.]