When Papa sings,

There flows a river in my chest; silent, still, at rest. When Papa sings, he closes his eyes and a ripple is born, yawning, stretching across the silken blue. My river awakens. Reeds sway, the tides tremble, the fish quake. The Heron lowers its head and dives beak-first into the churning waters bursting into a…

My professor tells us

My professor tells us: At the end of the day, when the night would begin clawing at the windows, looking for a way in, Lalithambika Antharjanam would lock herself into her room and sit down to write. Hours spent by the kitchen fire, bending over broth and bone, would reduce her eyes to a smouldering…

Child

Lately, I’ve been talking to myself the way I would with a child. Say please. And thank you. Go say hi, don’t be shy, I’m sure she’d like to be friends with you. Eat your vegetables. That was not a very nice thing to say, was it? I want you to say you’re sorry. And…

Waterbody

It all started when the tap began to drip. Waking up with a jolt, I could hear the water slosh violently inside my head. Between my ears, behind my eyes, crashing in atomic waves into the walls of my teeth, churning beneath my tongue. Sea foam frothed and dripped out the sides of my mouth,…

Stranger

I ran into a friend at the train station today. It was the quietest crash you ever heard. Silk on denim on wool on shock. A mouthful of her sugar crystal hair melted beneath my tongue. My neck was pinned fast beneath the heel of her shoe. Tangled scarves, tangled voices, a shower of pink…

Story time – The Twins

Once upon a time, before there was everything, there wasn’t much. Nothing much to see, feel, hear, hold, or love. The world was a newborn and it had just come out wailing from the womb of the universe. Covered with the vernix of mud and moss, the baby planet had opened its eyes to the…

Terrible things

There are terrible things happening in my country. Whenever I feel the anger swell in my heart, I reach inside and scoop it out gingerly, careful not to singe my fingers on its smouldering edges. I take this anger and pick it apart at its seams. I shred it into thin strips and wring out…

Peechook

Madhav came back seven months later, but his voice had taken on a strange, foreign lilt and Jagan was reminded of Peechook, his little green parrot from when he was ten. Peechook had fallen in love with the sound of the brass wind chimes and tried to squak along whenever the wind blew. He would…