haibun
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March 2008, vol 4 no 1

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Bob Lucky

 

Memories of a Lunch

hard rain
the sound of Hindi film songs
from the kitchen

One day in Chiang Mai a colleague invites me to lunch at a nameless Indian restaurant not far from the Sikh gurudwara. A Punjabi widow has set up two tables in her front room and dishes out whatever she?s got on the stove in the kitchen, always a dal, another vegetable dish, raita, and fresh chapattis that disappear quickly from the communal bread basket. I speak to her in my rusty, formal Hindi. She tells me about her late husband, her two married sons who live nearby in the town of Lamphun, her life in Delhi, her move to Thailand . My Hindi is not quite up to the task, and she periodically slips into Punjabi, but I do my best to keep up and manage to answer questions about my family. Putting on my shoes to leave, I notice the picture of the Thai King next to a portrait of Guru Nanak.

sticky afternoon
the heavy fragrance
of frangipani