How much of him can I really be expected to remember? It was more than thirty years ago and we were only toddlers. I can’t recall his voice or how tall he was or what his face looked like. The only thing I do remember is the gaping hole left in the pit of my stomach when I realised he wasn’t coming.
But let me back up a bit. It was the year 1987 when the five-year-old me first stepped through the arched corridors of St. Joseph’s College wearing my crisply ironed sky blue shirt, navy blue shorts and polished…
Facebook says it’s your birthday today. I know, I didn’t need a reminder. I’ve known your birthday for the past 14 years, way longer than Facebook. He might have been older than us but Zuckerberg was also just a kid back then. He doesn’t know you like I do.
I’m sure Zuckerberg doesn’t love mangoes either. He was a nerd, wasn’t he? The only mangoes he knew were probably the ones in a PlayStation game. Not like us, always outside, always climbing trees. Stealing mangoes from Old Harry’s orchard. Remember how we brought our loot to the lake every time…
It really started within minutes of my stepping into the UK, at the airport in London. I had just landed after an eight hour flight from India and stood in the queue for 90 minutes before I was finally called up by the immigration officer.
“Do you know where you’re going?”
I nodded. In my best handwriting, I had noted on the form that I was headed to a hotel on Gloucester Road.
If you are familiar with English addresses, you’ll know that they’re often pronounced differently to how they’re spelled. Gloucester is really Glouster. Obviously, I got it wrong.
Here’s a ghost dragging her crumpled soul to the lake.
The waning moon spills its light into a coin, into her balled
fist, and I wonder if she remembered the poem. Firdaus,
an emperor called this valley once. Out of her blooded
camisole, the knife still buried between the lips of her womb,
she descends into the water. Her skin pale like a wilting lotus,
her wounds hollow like the shape of a murder, like the sins
swallowed by a purple sky, this word reaching up
to my throat and exploding without a sound. Paradise.
Bearded poets once lay under…
Every night a life comes to me in a different shape, a different
smell, a different dream. There is no logic in this insomnia,
in the taste of brine under my tongue, in leaking boats, in
fishermen sweat, this drop of old blood on the inside of
my left cheek. A home I have left is also a home refusing
to leave me. Swimming, paddling, drowning, the wet moon
on the beach, on the rising surf in the Arabian Sea. Here a river
twelve years wide, the women and their wicker baskets, a fish
market spied from a round hole…