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April 2014, vol 10, no 1

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R.K. Sameer

The Two Women in My Life

That Diwali there was a sky lantern festival. My girlfriend, who was enthusiastic to meet my mother, my mother, who was hesitant to meet her, and I, who had never seen a sky lantern before, decided to go. It was my girlfriend's idea for us to meet on the top of the hill where the lanterns were being lit in large numbers, and I could not say no to her.

lifting coloured boxes
into the night sky . . .
the flame inside my heart

Maybe my girlfriend didn't trust me and wanted to attest the seriousness of my love by meeting my mother. Maybe my mother didn't trust my two-month old girlfriend and didn't want to attest the seriousness of my love by meeting her. And neither of them wanted to light the sole sky lantern we had and left the responsibility for its flight in my hands.

cupping the flame
with their hands . . .
I let the wind light the sky

It must have been the way I lit the matchstick, for when we were going back, the both of them, walking on my either side, asked in unison, giggling, as to when I would quit smoking. Smiling in reply, I increased my pace, and let the two of them lag behind, beside each other.

Note: Diwali – festival of lights and fire crackers