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Showing posts from May, 2015

Cache

It is still too early to say what memories will crystallise around you. For now, it is the bedpan not emptied, the smell of ointments and pills in your room and your waning voice damning the world. But once my tears have dried and the puja flowers have withered, perhaps I will freeze you at an age when you looked better.

Will it be the black and white honeymoon photos taken on a boat in the lake in Matheran when you first let me down ( couldn't you find any place cheaper?), and the mundan of our first-born where your mother made such a fuss and that stupid photo from the wedding of some cousin of yours where your middle-aged, balding face and paunch made me fall out of love with you for the first time?

And yes, the shaadi-ka-video, the cassette recording of our kid reciting nursery rhymes and certainly all the unrecorded fights (you never earned enough, drank too much and never bought me enough flowers) and that ne'er-do-well son you gave me who lamented loudly at the funeral …

Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle

They see much, these statues standing guard at Goddess Kamakhya's dark temple; there's a nose lopped off here, an ear eroded there, by wind, by time, by swords. Now they've become nesting sites for doves that mate, rear chicks and shed guano on these timeless sentinels. They see cows amble around bestowing sacred dung, they see the fresh blood of sacrificed buffaloes. They still stand, these statues, their thousand-year silence covered with vermilion and ash. They see the rag-clothed pilgrims shivering in the morning drizzle or wilting in the noon sun not unlike the oleander petals and mango leaves that they bring as offerings to the tantric Goddess. They see the priests in red vestments; arrogance writ large on their pouchy faces. They see the banana, papaya, margosa trees shelter a sacrificial goat. And they see me, eager tourist trapping them in camera stills.


monsoon showers—
the forest bursts into flames
blossom by blossom

(Published in cattails May 2015)