Dhoop, Dhoono, and Other Mists
My Mother Tied Me to a Bedpost
My back is against the bedpost. I can’t step away from it. I’m belted to it. Yes, belted. With belts. I think now that the belts belonged to my father. There weren’t any other adult males in the house. My mother has tied me to the bedpost. I’m not fretful or unhappy. I’m happily chatting with the domestic help as they go about their daily chores. Years later I mentioned this incident as one of my earliest memories to my girlfriend. She was, well, horrified. I thought that was an overreaction. My mother obviously had her hands full and was depressed.
We lived next to a pond, which was a breeding ground for mosquitoes. So much so that after sundown, my room, which overlooked the pond and had two wooden shuttered windows with vertical bars in them, were shut tight. The room was fogged with dhoop/dhoono —-incense—-to ward off the mosquitoes. I sat enveloped in that room, fast disappearing into the smoky clouds, sitting like a Buddha at my desk, leaning my chair back on two legs till it hit the bed behind, doing my homework and occasionally using my compass as a dart on my wooden desk.
( Photo credit: Author)
Mosaic chip floor, upstairs, Behala house where Amit spent the first 16 years of his life.
Flying Over the Black Forest Before I Was 21
I will take all the words that are racing in a torrent to be spoken
and clamp the grate down stemming the flow, barring dissonance,
in a gurgling death rattle.
And all the words already loose?
The ones that thrummed along the underwater cables across continents?
Send the gendarmes, armed with sticks and poles to beat the ones who uttered them so they may never waste such precious currency ever again.
And, the kisses and caresses imagined and sent in pixelated platoons back and forth and back and forth?
Hose memory down like water cannons in that Reuters photograph that I saw of a police action in my beloved, though at times romanticized, Kolkata.
You ask ~ What are we doing in this life?
Are we putting on our plumes and raiments to be of purpose?
The dictionary I possess has the word blacked out. I think I know its meaning.
I choose only to glance, nod, acknowledge, a thrust of the chin, eyebrows raised for an eye-blink As we make the turn to go down the mountain with Sisyphus
With the boulders of our preconceptions and push them up and down and up and down the well-trodden groove of our absurd lives.
We have purpose, we chose to turn and go down the mountain, pushing boulders over rubble
To push again, up the mountain to the top. Again.
Again. Again. Again.