*for nani

Every morning
on Bombay’s Juhu Tara Road
the Brihanmumbai municipal corporation
swept the concrete road
not eulogizing bygones.

The curtains were half-open
I watched two sunbeams
on either sides
while she watered tulsi maa.

A line of clothes hung stiffly
the starch powder worked
Nani removed every cloth from the
rassi, searched for a slight damp

then went about chores
of telling me stories of Karachi
and dancing with butterflies
and me in a nearby garden.


The days have gone like dust jacket covers, forlorn in your
cobweb filled attic, the sun shines like a daffodil, cupped with
two clouds. You see only a visible white speck from the
blinding of your own eye, but the black surrounds as an
unwanted guest. It lingers on like a horizontal waterfall, but
you keep your face toward the ether. That is what you are
taught in school, over pencil marks on forgotten moral code
textbooks. Morality is a science, we are told, it traces many a
hour of midnight when the oil lamp burns while you are dug
into a book, deep with your face buried in. The stray dogs in
the street do not stop barking: your head drowns out all stray
voices. What are these drops, forming on the cold surface of a
glass window? The air is kissed by the rain, and you learn that
things can be immeasurable. They don’t teach you this in school,
worried that your bags will become empty the moment you learn.
The dogs stop barking as a car draws in, pause, and bark again. It
is morning, the chrysanthemums are in bloom. You sit on your
examination desk with foolscap paper, pens, pencils, an eraser,
sharpener and foot ruler. To the invigilator, you appear ready for
the examination, while you think you are prepared for the test.