Thursday, February 17, 2011


As our neighbours
Were unlettered
Mother who had been to school
For a while, and listened to the stories
Of well-travelled father
Became the authority on places,
For most of the women
Whose feet had not gone farther
Than the temple and market.
Though she had not been
To the beach herself
She would pretend
To have played in the waves
Seen catamarans setting out to fish
And walked with her cousins
On the mile-long shore:
"Such vast stretch of golden sand
Such vast expanse of blue water
And nothing between
The panting sea and the pale skyline
But waves chasing waves
Dying at my feet!"
Her imagination often took wing,
Standing on the mountains
She said she once saw the entire country
And there were higher mountains
In other remote countries
From where you could see the entire world.
Soon she moved to esoteric fields
Claiming to have visions of the goddess
And to have been bestowed with clairvoyance:
Mostly shots in the dark
She predicted pregnancy,
Gender of the baby
Job for the collegian
Patch-up of the estranged couple
Location of the lost jewel ---
She almost became a godwoman
But for rationalist father,
Who shooed away the gullible visitors
And ended a wouldbe witch-doctor's career.

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