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…
There is cracked china in the sink.
Ornate cutlery once saved for special
occasions. Mustard oil and smears of
grease. Half eaten chicken legs.
Okra curry untouched on
the salty ceramic.
Takeaway boxes with tucked lapels
sit on the counter. Full of basmati rice
a forensic investigator would find
What happened here?
More clues peep out of the glass shards
on the aged oak table. Gravy stripes
shimmer down the wallpaper. Tapeworms
dissolving in the sliver of
It could be mine. It could be hers.
Both bled tonight. …
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…
My phone starts beeping. It’s the Facebook alumni group from my Indian university. Someone is asking for a ventilator bed in Bangalore.
Usually, I get less than ten posts a day with folks asking for tips on jobs, searching for contacts at specific firms, talking about interviews. But like a summer day being overpowered by a dark storm, the fury in the air is quietly apparent. If you listen closely, you can hear it coming.
Within minutes, there’s another post asking for ventilator bed in Delhi. Then someone wants Oxygen in Mumbai. …
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…