amma, when as young as she would be to me, talked of when she was a bride.
‘the houses limit the ocean. run off now. let me stitch’ as she ran her nicked digits over our cares, little wishes. ‘save every nickel for a rainy day. get me some paan.’
our boxes and knick knacks held our stories. old wife, poor soul, young widow, mother to a hundred sons and not one daughter, atulprasad doting paan-maker, i knew you.
letters are always
read too late, writ too soon.
a wood door called ‘fancy corner (india)’ by this road i walk down every night. nothing too fancy about the green, old, scrambling for support, colour eaten by rain moss and rust. i lost a cat by the door, i marked it with charcoal in my mind, words in the lost section. ‘at the end of my suffering, there was a door.’ i have been handed ‘an atlas of the difficult world’, now to spot myself on it. this society is desperate from the need of saving from itself. i try i fail. i will recede to polite dismissals too, ‘peace of mind’, ‘an air of civility’, ‘quality life.’ rage died old in a rot bed.
then, what? nothing.