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Showing posts from May, 2016

Generation gap

Mother gave me a patch of garden when I was eleven. I ploughed it with a trowel and seeded it with dahlias, geraniums, marigolds and chrysanthemums. I watered it everyday and watched with delight as they began to sprout. Then one day I saw a new plant, with tiny bright green leaves. Mother didn’t know what it was. Se called it a weed. She told me to remove it. I didn’t. I thought it was pretty. Prettier still, when it had tiny, yellow flowers. And then there were other plants – short ones, tall ones, prickly ones, with white, yellow, even red flowers. One flower had petals that were violet outside and yellow inside. Mother called them all weeds.
The geraniums and dahlias and chrysanthemums didn’t seem to grow well. They were short and had small flowers, not like mother’s patch which had big, pretty ones. Mother said it was because I had let weeds grow. But I had lots of little flowers – like little me. Mother said I had grown a weed garden. So she took it away. But it was a nice gard…

Edifice

I have before me a tourist brochure. I think it is laughing at me, the way ink soaked into paper can laugh. A way that is silent, malignant. It seems amused. That I have come to gawk, to gape. Where my forefather once cut down other people's forefathers. Like that of the brochure writer's, perhaps. Or did not. I must trust the story the ink tells me. For the blood soaked in the ground isn't saying anything.

the last installment
of our home loan –
father's last sigh

(Published in Shamrock issue 31)

Bombay

Encased in concrete, with a dying orange above, and the silver turning grey below, the waves crash futilely against the old Portuguese fortress at Bandra. I suppose one might, on careful listening, hear steel versus steel again. Boats bob by those decayed ramparts, signs of of an eternal poverty dependent on the wealth of the sea; on the open sea the Bandra-Worli sea-link's lights shimmy: a half-finished proclamation of victory over nature. Above, the clouds thicken as if in impudent demonstration of whose writ truly runs. In the shanties of Bandra, in the towers of Worli, and in the middle-classness of Mahim, lights come on one by one - a dying day, a sleepless city.

morning rush hour:
the beggar sets up office
where he sleeps

Published in A Hundred Gourds