while

It rains here, and when it doesn’t it threatens to.

Throwing away Old Things, I find your letter signed ‘You Know Who’. You apologize in two pages and full lines of ‘sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry’, that you missed me now that I was not there and all my boring talk of the one thing I loved.

In the last line you tell me not to tell Aditi, and somehow it has been raining for seven years because now I still have apologies and promises whispered into my ear, hiding, hiding, hiding away from Aditi.

You are no longer here and there are others, there are more of you taking and folding sorrys into envelopes, but Aditi is still here.

In the rain hitting the earth I couldn’t hear the voice in my head change to the voice of her, but now Aditi is going to Berkley and a ghost of her sits here – here open this flap behind my ear and you will find it.

 

 

The rain has stopped so I fold the creased sheet another time and leave it next to the bushes. Maybe someone will find it and take it.

They might even read it, but there’s no harm in it. There are no names but of the thing I loved, not of you who so loved me and not of me, who had forgotten loving you.

MMRY

Denial

At some point, I could no longer recognise my hands as my own, but as my mother’s. While I was too lost trying to claim life mine and fit it into my palm, the back of my hands grew veins and knuckles that I only recognise from snatches of memories in tense movement. I recognise it with an involuntary fear. I recognise it with a flinch.
There’s a chance the change will spread and it’ll happen when I’m not looking. Like adisease, I will find that my face is no longer my own, my soul is no longer my own, what I built on my own.
Bit by bit I will turn into the failure she always said she was, she always said I was destined to be. She never said the words that ran through both of our minds, that it’s in the blood that she has given to me, in the genes that it carried.
A fate written, to be passed unhindered in its course by whatever might with which we may try to change it.
She never said it, but no feminist can dare say it. She forces on us women’s lib but never believed it. Its ironic, because all of us believed it but her.
Bit by bit I will turn from daddy’s girl to mamma’s girl, as society sees it.
“Its never the father’s fault when the child fails, its the mother’s.”
Society said it, she said it, but neither knows why.
There’s a fear that haunts me as I keep moving, a fear that I will one day recognise myself as nothing but parts of her.

I dream of hands pounding my back and face in the night, and wake with the sound of thunder in my chest that has followed me since I can remember.

Family

I’m almost entirely sure that Darshit’s challenge which Sheth nominated me for was supposed to be done on consecutive days, but sometimes real life interrupts the world of prose and poetry. So, here is Day 2 of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge.

Bloody Partition of India BBC Picture Men, women and children who died in the rioting were cremated on a mass scale_ Villagers even used oil and kerosene when wood was scarce

(Photo courtesy of the BBC)

Family

It was 1946 and the war was over. Twelve year old Bhushan had returned to Kolkata after a short stay in the Bangladeshi countryside during the bombing of the city. He settled down into the low bed in his room and looked out the window at the empty sky. It wasn’t too long before the chatter in the streets outside lulled him to sleep.

His father worked as an accountant with the British Police Force in Kolkata. He never spoke of his work at home. In fact, he never spoke much at all. However, Bhushan knew that one thing he could never bring up at home was the subject of his uncles.

The sound of slow, heavy breathing from behind him woke Bhushan up in the middle of the night. In the faint moonlight he could just about make out the outlines of three men sleeping on the floor. In a sleepy haze, he felt a familiar but elusive warm arm wrapped around him.

When he woke the next morning, the men, as always, were gone. He never mentioned the enigma of the disappearing men, but he had a feeling his father knew all about it.

Bhushan heard from his friends during a football match later that day that four men who shared his surname had been arrested for conspiring against the government. When Bhuhsan went to bed that night, he wondered if family really mattered in the end, especially when your father worked for the British and when your uncles were hailed by everyone else as noble freedom fighters.

Sure enough, he was not woken from his sleep that night, nor the night after, but the lingering warmth of the arm never left.

My grandfather once recounted his memories of his uncles, Swadeshi freedom fighters in Kolkata, India towards the very end of the independence movement. They used to creep into his home at night, much to the knowledge of his father, a British military intelligence officer for the British Police in the city.

I’m going to nominate  rhapsodicdelirium for this challenge, because I just can’t get enough of her work!