A Hundred Gourds 4:3 June 2015

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page 11  

Rochelle Potkar - India


His father’s shadow rises every night with the silhouettes of knives, blades, sickles, belts, and whips, growing and looming over his mother’s face.

These rise into his dreams too with Amar Chitra Katha, Super Commando Dhruva, Superman, Batman, Bone, The Dark Knight Returns, Sandman, X-Men, and Watchmen. They rise into his mother’s screams in voice bubbles from Robot, Final Fantasy, Star Wars, and Avtaar. There is always good versus evil. Evil loses in the end, its shadow diminishing.

Someone always saves the damsel. The meek inherit the earth. Good things happen to good people.

His father whips his mother so hard that the shadows in his dreams flicker like a TV set, or candle wick.

Some shadows do not diminish even after he opens his eyes. In fact, they spew from every crevice, spawning from the corners of his eyes. They merge with the original shadow of original sin.

Why couldn’t the superhero in him rise when he knew the names and dialogs, voices and actions of every superhero in every comic, animation movie, and sci-fi film?

How many super-heroes make one superhero?

How many will it take to make him?

periwinkle sky–
the unwanted butterfly
after our breakup

Snakes and ladders

I met Mrs. Kumar twice in my life.
The first when I was an administrative assistant and she, the wife of a man who had climbed the slippery corporate ladder to become Head of HR. She looked resplendent in her aubergine sari of gold borders, and wore heavy jewelry, as if it was a wedding and not a corporate dinner. She banded with the wives of other directors and was inclusive of me too in a mirthful way, like people are when good fortune shows upon them. She spoke about her car and how it glided over roads. “Reminds me of a plane just about to take off,” her eyes brightened. She spoke of her children’s achievements, exotic holidays, the number of support staff she had hired.

All through the party, she lovingly looked at Mr. Kumar, who with the gang of equal men was getting one notch closer to unconsciousness, over whiskey.

fitting my desires
to yours

Years later, when I meet Mrs. Kumar, she is the wife of a retired director. Her sari is sober to go with the grey of her hair. I walk up to her, half-expecting to hear her tales. She greets me absent-mindedly and says they have traveled in a cab. “Better not to have a car - the servicing, the chauffeur . . . so much expenditure. Cabs are the easiest to hire.” She shrugs and stays in the outer orbits of the ladies’ group, savoring each piece of finger food making their rounds on silver plates.

She doesn’t watch out for Mr. Kumar who is still losing consciousness over whiskey with the boys - the new horses of the stable - one of them being my husband.

summer attire–
the second innings
of our relationships  

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