My father believes in Triclavianism
Inner parts of a grinder, Dead batteries, bulbs, Steel tub of a washer, A few metal strings, A toaster without the bread rack, And several little springs Lie in the backyard, While he tries to find What we never thought existed In our daily things. Back in the day, We would fry daal In this pan; In that oven, Father would occasionally bake. My mother used this dryer On her wet hair, With the familiar fragrance Of the shampoo, That they no longer make. He dismantles the abandoned vacuum cleaner: Puts aside its brush roller, Power-head and wand; Brings out the internal fan, And the little dust bag, Which might still have the dust From that day. The ragman is only interested in metal: He rips apart the colorful bodies Of the appliances To dig the inner mysteries. How much iron Does the human body have? My father once wrote a story About that: ‘We have enough To make three iron nails’ He said.
Her Science Teacher Tells Her The Properties Of Matter
Soaked by a light drizzle, Running on a mud path Amidst the sugarcane fields, While ripe crops sway In the breeze, And men casually drink tea, Squatting under the old banyan tree, She reaches her school Where all the children have similar bags And the teachers use gadgets With the stickers of the American flags. When her science teacher tells her That wood is a structural tissue, Made of different cells, Sharing common chemical composition Which is 50 percent carbon And 42 percent oxygen, She silently nods her head; Though deep in her heart, She knows it’s lame: Her grandmother’s wooden prayer beads And the broken piece Of her slain father’s Sitar Are different things; They can never be the same.
Growing up in this neighborhood
You have daily battles to fight: When it rains, you find ways To cover things in the rooms Of your oddly built house, Which has shamelessly outlived All your ancestors. Holding a twenty rupee note In your palm, Like a cat carries a kitten in her mouth Fearing to lose it – Walking on the bricks, Thrown in the muddy rainwater To make a path – The familiarity of rats Coming out from the gutter, Which has always been uncovered – Crossing the house of the single mother Everyone wants to kick out from this street – Passing by the little mosque, built on a paan shop, Whose imam coughs on a loudspeaker Five times a day – Buying yogurt for 10 rupees, tea sachet for six, And keeping aside the remaining coins To get something from the tiny stall Of the Urdu speaking old man, with a thin mustache, You wonder: even if someone buys everything From this man, what difference would it make? Growing up in this neighborhood Does not mean that you will not experience The sheer meaninglessness of this all And whatever exists, Beyond these suburbs Where light never fades. The dim yellow bulb Hanging in your narrow alleyway Is no different from the sun Which dies a little every day.