Sunday, May 02, 2010



The sun hot and drowsy, the mat with the faint musky fragrance of new straw scratching under my skin. My grandmother, slowly peeling the membrane of an orange and popping them in my unresisting mouth. I am absorbed, absorbed in my playmate Parvati, a strawdust stuffed rag doll slightly taller than me. I try pushing little orange bits in her mouth too, but they just fall on the ground, squelching on the clean ochre straw, getting coated with a layer of white powdery dust of the ground. It is warm and drowsy, and the hum of bees is in the air.Then red silk everywhere, and glittering sequins. A wedding. My mother is carryi ng me. There is loud music and laughter, and the air is weighed down with the heavy smell of perfume, tears and turmeric. Turmeric mixed with cream, and rubbed on the soft white body of the bride. And I am crying, my tears loud as my inarticulateness. My mother gets angry at me, because I am incapable of explaining with my two year old vocabulary that the tiny, glittery stars on her sari are rubbing my skin raw. Green, everywhere would be green then. Lime green of the magnolias, dark green of the bamboos. Wheat, ripe in the sunlight, waving under the load of its ochre grains. The sky a bright blue stone. I’d run, running barefoot over the hot tin roofs, chasing the string as what seemed like hundreds of colorful kites filled the air, tying the sky together in one giant web. I’d be holding my cousin’s hand. Clapping my hand in glee as our brothers’ kite cut off a rival one, and it floated slowly away from the sky. Then the battle would start all over again. And again. Again. Again. Again... until the night caught us unawares, when a coalblack sky would take over the turquoise and we could no longer distinguish the colors of the kites from the light of the burning stars. (Text by Sushma Joshi, ECS Magazine, 2010)

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