“Kill me, kill me.” mother shouted, from the kitchen. It’s her daily phrase, this time a warning to my father, not an invitation.
Father came late from the office, didn’t eat his tiffin. The box that nested warm chapatis, boiled potatoes, brinjal fries came back hinged, unappreciated. The hotchpotch would go now to the fridge, in the household’s icy realm, where the diligent food maker’s present mood resided.
That day my mother died. The attack came to her suddenly, stealthily, making her hit the kitchen tap, blood gushing out of her head, staining her beloved kitchen sink that she had polished a minute ago. We did not go to fetch her on time. As father was sulking at the verandah. I was playing outside the blind bee.
It was the end of a love story, I suppose. Because father loved mother. Mother loved father. They loved me and I loved them back helplessly. The whole procession of each other’s love came to a sudden halt.
Because, after a week, my father died too. In their bed, more silently than my mother, with a pesky smile on his lips and an old alluminium tiffin box sitting on his chest like a brittle minar.
A man who had known me for a long time said encouragingly once, “At fifty, if you keep fit, a few women will surely be attracted to you.”
He was driving. I don’t drive. I waited, uncomfortably, beside him, pretending glee. While my eyes were on the windscreen watching a cow licking a wounded bull on the road.
Who knew who she belonged to.
The man shifted the soliloquy to self-driving cars. Two thousand twenty five was not so far away. The robots would take our jobs. Money would be hummed out of a million servers. The AI would write our poems.
The feminists would destroy our families. The shrews would take our children away and eat them with kale breakfast, why? Oh, because, they can. Men would not know their place. Love would be disastrous for personal ego, et cetera.
Only cows- he said,
– only cows, if free, if they so would desire, would unflinchingly adore the bulls in the small hum of the sweltering asphalt roads.
And that would be a sight of hope.
Happiness girls are standing on the tarmac of a red plane- bare teeth, pulsing; their breasts are proud like upper class- their leggings plump boast like hope.
In the dream of a dream of the edgy runway lights. The turn from here is a stroll. A norm-bound, debt-bound a port that devours and despises a man who’s drunk one too many on the flight, cheap and on the red eye. Now leering.
From the nose to the tail of the plane- fluttering and fleet like flames- ebullient nymphs, women who know no bitterness. A sea of plain and contrite men who have lusted but not made a claim- burlesque!- the girls are giggling and raising my hope.
Not to stop now, not to stray from the path, and not to forget the rules of a monogamous love; and to go on without the hope of a lay with the happiness girls is for the best, I know.
But, heavens, I am so sad.
is not an honesty contest.
The time value of truth
wanes so fast that
at the silver jubilee
either truth would survive
or the man.
Or both would be at the bar.
The woman gulping down truth.
The truth, gobbling the man.
I breathed when your father breathed.
That’s how I learned to inhale long and deep
and exhale quick.
On a bed for forty years, one small bed, we one.
I could have chosen (Could I not?) to follow another man
Or lived like a fairy, sans
But, God, it surely felt good to make him mine.
Not in a quest to find love. No, no-
As it happens in dark halls, pages, in glitter rains-
I, with him; freed and tussled in a crammy bed,
Shredded each other for pleasure and pain.
I will walk out and
go with love.
Don’t tell me how good that would be,
the consequences dire.
Or, how good should I be, without it, free.
I won’t listen, no, no.
I will stand up, hold her hand, forsake you for good.
I will walk out and go-
go with love.
No preacher has told me so.
No rocker has swayed me (my heart) with sad crooning at those oblong nights.
But this, this feeling that gnaws a pit (in me)
that I am nothing-
nothing without her.
Before I forsake this feeling, I’ll forsake you, naive.
Before you say a word (and wield a weary smile),
I will walk out of this place.
And go with my love.
Time passes by
There is no clock
But of her cotton rustling
I am a rusty tap
Leaking shallow dripping words
May this poodle
Fill up her silence