Written on August 18, 2012 – Thanks for re-finding it, Reena Prasad
The diary of leaving
Leaving is not leavings.
The landscape of a childhood with its plantain trees
yams and creeping bitter gourd vines
is the richest source for one’s future
discovered much later.
The language unlearned is a loss.
Living in books, printed pages and far away realms of the imagination is not enough, dear Breath
Looking at the ‘kaduvas’ from a distance
and not knowing what the others were up to,
not being sunk in native soil
as if they were oddments,
all of it was something that added up to and increased my losses.
Not that I don’t hate the culture terrorists
or the moral police and the religious fanatics
but the broadening, widening canvas of colours
also loses much specificity.
Search for essence makes one lose all sense of belonging.
The child now forever floats in an empty sky like those winged seeds,
tiny parachutes in which unseen fairies cuddle
my ‘appooppan’s thaadi’ with its silvery gossamer filaments
so ethereally beautiful, but searching desperately for crannies,
places to lodge, safe catchment areas, sheer and mere good ground
to call home and flourish
but all that’s left is the nature of the ‘udumbu’
Won’t you love me?
We are different and most of what you are or what I am
will never be known by each other
separated by languages and customs and rituals and rites
and a million other things of strangeness and differences.
Yet love me, please – sex is not a construct
and touch, taste and smell can create memories – a new his and herstory
that can overlay if assiduously pursued an eternity of palimpsests
and give us for a while or ever , if destined, a feeling of completeness
but even that is not real anymore in these new whorls
where the voice I hear is once removed from reality
as is the moving image I see,
the words are not material;
your hands made no paper want to make you blush
and the writing is deflected as if by the lack of calligraphy
that might have charmingly hid more than it revealed.
So, as in under the water experiments for seismic disturbance
from a great distance I hear the earthquake faults being plumbed
and if everything collapses like the new games
that thirst more for destruction than alleviation or value,
brownling, my Breath, let us close our eyes and return to our childhood gardens,
a little kanthari will spice up our poor man’s meal of kanji and salt
and a few button onions balance it off
while the swing awaits
and your ribboned pleats fly in the air already
in anticipation of the hands that will push you
up up up unreachable into the infinity of the blue sky
and the spinning green up there and the white clouds and sunlight
dazzling in the summer with crow pheasant calls and kuyil songs
the leaves falling down occasionally under the mango on your hair and blouse and skirt.
Still the heart beats with restless questions.
Who am I? Why born? When to die? What is life?
Like the pulse and breath and heartbeat, air, water, food
and the other unanswered because unasked question
Do you love me? Did you ever really love me? Will you, forever? Eternally?
Village girl, can’t you see
it was that in you that I loved and that imaginary imagined child that usurped my heart
leaving me and you helpless, bleeding silently
mutual this suffering but endless now my wandering leaving leaving leaving…
walking endless roads alone.
Is this leaving like leavings?
I refuse to acknowledge it.