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July 2016, vol 12 no 2

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Kala Ramesh

The River

Maya's mother had always been known to tell stories well; it was much, much later we came to know she had a poet hidden in her. She loved telling us little anecdotes, adding an ear here or a nose there, as we say in Tamizh. When we asked her to repeat an old story, we would keenly watch how and where she added that extra something to make the story all sparkling new!

a wanderer
slipping out of the pond
the moon

Maya often told me how she savoured these tales, hoping their interesting characters would surface in her dreams. She dreamed a lot and her elder sister, Kaveri, who had theories about dreams, stated firmly that "only creative people dream, and I've never, ever, had a dream."

Theirs was an ancestral house. Nearly a hundred years old, with the traditional columned courtyard in the centre, open to the sky. It was sheer space. From the front door to the backyard, the columns, windows, and doors were made from Burma teak. Everyone said the Burma teak was “solid," so Maya often rapped on the columns until her knuckles were sore and red. Maya remembered how they played aeroplane hopscotch in this courtyard, and how it morphed into their rain-dance arena too. And how, they slept on grass mats laid close to one another, blanketed by a starry night.

I dip my feet
in a river the river
joins the sea

"I dip my feet" first published in Moongarlic 6, April 2016.