December 11, 2008

just pretend

the past month was eventful. it took over two weeks for the family to recover from a silly winter flu. the phd workshops began, once a week, six of them in all. the penguin book, with my story in it, was launched this week. on the bbc asian network, i had my first, albeit very nervous, excited, *15 minutes of fame on the radio. this was the good news, a tiny hole of light in the large, looming dark cloud of the bad that continues to cast a shadow on every glittery thing in sight. for three days, indian news channels streamed a mumbai that its viewers had never imagined. two weeks have passed since, and i am still shaking. i surf the internet, unable to do any writing work, or reading for my thesis, drawn again and again to the stories of the attacks on mumbai. i had begun to believe that maybe every generation has to face a war, and that this was ours. i shudder, relieved that at least this time, i was wrong. this little boy’s face still continues to haunt me though, making me cry bitterly, almost wishing – for his sake – that he was a statistic too. i wonder if becoming a mother has made me a more emotional person. i never gave in so easily before. but i see his tears and can’t help feeling angry: it was certainly not worth it, not for him. not for anyone.

i hear of hope. mumbaiites will not forget. they will not let the politicians forget. miles away in a cold, cold london, i pray, and hope for a change. long ago, we had decided to move back to mumbai by end-2009, for better or worse. for our child. for our parents. for us. i waited till that decision wavered, flickered or died. it didn’t. and yet, i am numb.

i log into to my journal, my mind unsettled. wanting to say something. anything. then i see this poem, unpublished and in my drafts’ folder, written many days ago. i forget what the context was, or what had provoked me to type these words. now i think, what does it matter…

just pretend

what you give
comes back to you
in mysterious ways
up and down
they bob
paper boats
on a thoughtful sea
memories happy and sad
promises
you forgot to keep
some drown
as you travel
along
regret
doesn’t
leave you till
the end
hope
plays
hide-and-seek
in the mist
another
springs out
of the waters
when
you least expect
surprise
you come back
among loved ones
among friends
you recognise
the bricks you built
the strings
that came undone
along the way
it is that circle
of life
of what you gave
and what came back
to you
and how
yet
you don’t recognise
that hand
it is your own.

know it now
just pretend.

ps: shoefiend, i first saw the link to the penguin decibel prize on your blog, and i thank you from my heart.
*15mb mp3 file

1 Comment »





  • ammani said:

    Congratulations! Wishing you many more writing successes!


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