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April 2018, vol 14 no 1

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Kala Ramesh

Vratham: The Fast

Twice a month, grandmother refused to join us for meals, proclaiming it was ekadashi vratham, and the family just accepted it. We, as kids, would happily gobble up the many dishes she had cooked for us. I wondered what type of god demanded such sacrifices. But those thoughts vanished as fast as they appeared! We grew up with constant talk of which vegetable would be best when breaking a fast, and which lentil or pulse would be soft on the stomach walls. As a child, I presumed all grandmothers observed this fast.

I've been a mother now for decades . . . habits and belief systems change with each generation. The ekadashi fast, now being relegated to the past, is one of those stories I'll tell my grandchildren.

on twilight's edge
wanting so much to stay
the wind
teasing memories
from sepia leaves

          walking down
          a mountain path
          I listen ...
                    the waterfall
          lends rhythm to the wind

Note: In India, amongst the Hindus, it is believed that a person who observes Ekadashi vratham, will be freed from their karmas and they will attain moksham (liberation from the cycle of birth and death). It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.