March 2, 2014

Have No Fear

Today - not even that, for already it is tomorrow -
slides away like all the other days, and with time on her side
she would look back on this day without bitterness and without emotion.

Time would heal and time would cure.
But what if she didn't want to be cured ?
What if she wanted the madness of her love
         to keep on lurching at her from dreams,
         to mock her from half-empty glasses,
         to leap at her unexpectedly at odd times ?

But even already time was at work, ticking him away,
ticking their love away, crushing the delicate thing that
once trembled between them. She hated this moment,
yet she loved it because in it she still loved him.

The day we got drunk on cake

December 7, 2013

All I could do was cry

It is the saddest thing, for tonight is their last night
as an innocent, complete, ideal couple; her last night
with a man she has known for so many years,
a man she knows almost everything about,
                               and wants no more of.

Soon they will be strangers; no wait, they can never be that.
Even hurting someone is an act of reluctant intimacy.

November 17, 2013

The Champs-Elysées

Afterwards, she stood in the window with a blue-printed
cotton scarf wrapped around her body like a sarong,
looking out over the courtyard. A fat black kitten
with white paws ambled on the path beneath their room.
The kitten looked up with wide green eyes, intent, face uplifted
like a little black bowl, turning, raced into the bushes,
chubby tail standing upright. "Viens, viens," she called,
rolling the unfamiliar French word on her tongue,
playing at being a little girl.

Our Lady of Paris - Daniyal Mueenuddin

August 31, 2013

Here comes your man

He buys her a new jar of cream every day.
It's the only indulgence she permits herself.
They are little sample jars he buys from
a herbal beauty shop, next to his place of work.

Every night she would wait eagerly,
to hear him read the label aloud,
sighing with pleasure over the voluptuous names :
cocoa butter, tea tree, elderflower, camaomile.

Today, a cream made from satsuma.

July 21, 2013

A Story of Boy Meets Girl

"You peck like a bird,"
he says disapprovingly, as he dips the toast,
all of his and most of hers, in the hot tea.
She quietly slips a square of toast into his plate.

It is not true that she has such a meagre appetite
or he such a large one, and they both know it.

But it is one part, a necessary part,
of the complex ritual of belonging,
this transfer of food from her plate to his.

July 13, 2013

Banana Pancakes

She is a self-confessed aficionado of home food.
He finds it funny the way she would draw this
gustatory boundary between self and alien,
between "home food" and "other people's food."

In their nuclear house, flavours have become code words.
The family beyond - parents, brothers, sisters, 
a snarl of cousins, uncle, aunts -
eat food that is subtly different.

Point mutations is masala,
Deletion in spices,
Translocation in flavours,
all these make for other people's food.

And to think that there was a time, when she didn't even know how to make tea !

The Life Uxorious