“Kill me, kill me.” mother shouted, from the kitchen. It’s her daily phrase, only 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 eggs, onion 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.
That’s how I learned to inhale long and deep
and exhale quick.
In 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-
With him- I- freed and tussled in a crammy bed-
Shredded each other for pleasure and pain.
Old mother is washing
clothes under tap water.
Its thrashing sound, a
stout ghost’s footsteps,
stomp-a, stomp-a, halt;
is making the house jump
like a sponge ball. Torn
years ago, from a hopeful girl,
pink, a cord, is put up
to hang the wet garbs
of her careless, unkind men,
stern in love;
in the shade. In the sun.
Every night when he went to sleep in his 6’x3′ bed, his dead mother came to sleep beside him.
“This is crazy, Billy,” I said, “Your mother is alive!”
He gleamed in his melancholic eyes and shrugged.
As if to say, “Now you know the problem.”
When the colors emerged out of one like magic, she kept mumbling, “7, 13, 29, 67, 91, 4, 48….”
And when the colors got together again to make a brilliant white, she multiplied silently and quickly.
“You are missing the point, Seenthi,” I said, nervously.
“Not a bit.” she whispered, “It’s 3089276736.”
He could see himself running, thinking, buying vegetables, dusting books, making love…
“Something like out of the body experience, eh?” I proposed heartily!
“Nah. It’s more like renting a cab. It goes wherever you want it to.”
He looked happy.
The other world beaconed.
As we were trying to make something out of ourselves…
Higher, bigger, happier…
And if the other world beacons…
Have no fear.
It’s one world.
We only lived in a cell.