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April 2016, vol 12 no 1

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Shobhana Kumar

Fairy Tales


Appa likes to smoke the house every evening. It is an elaborate ritual he revels in and we can’t decide which is better: watching his eyes light up as he engages in it or the heavenly fragrance that envelops every corner.

bougainvillea
all the secrets between
neighbours

He first takes out a piece of charcoal and hovers it around the lamp. For the next minute or so, he gently blows at it, watching the bright orange slowly embrace layer after layer. ‘How many millennia are tucked into this piece of black.’ His eyes twinkle and sadden almost immediately when he sees our complete apathy to this epiphany.

When he eases the powdered sambrani into the charcoal, he closes his eyes for several moments, inhaling the divinity of it all. ‘And look at us, burning all this to get into heaven.’

turntable night
the record always slips
at my favourite line

‘Why do it at all, Pa,’ we ask, annoyed at his cynicism.

‘Because you need something to remind you of home. And also, how much there is to do before you hang up your boots.’

last sunset
all the memories
now in an urn


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