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Now Brewing

Now Brewing

i am grateful for the silence in the night

  i am grateful for the silence in the night as a i sleep there are no gunshots from near or far, intermittent, startling, i walk on the streets, the sky is blue above, a helicopter’s whir i feel no fear, no thought of chemical weapons, no not one, no none my child goes to school, sometimes i forget how not everyday is that   the child soldier, the child kidnapped and raped, the child running down the street naked…

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Now Brewing

mother of 1084

her son is dead, she is alive. the endless agony of this careens through an entire day: morning, afternoon, late afternoon, evening. now keening, now wretched, now rending, always there, almost a central player. on a day like none other, a day perhaps of reckoning. hajar churashir ma, the mother of 1084, mahasweta devi’s stunning indictment ultimately of a whole way of life even as she grieves with sujata, the protagonist, and senses, elicits, and enunciates her every thought and…

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Now Brewing

a lament for a saree

it’s a favourite saree of mine, and now it’s fraying. a strange kind of pain at this weakening of closely entwined threads, at this clear signal of mortality, at passing. it’s a saree from orissa, now the spelling has been changed to odisha; we spend a lot of time changing spellings for some reason. my mother and i bought it, around thirty five years ago, from one of the saree shops along triangular park in kolkata (we changed that spelling…

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Espresso Shots

revolution

the tiny dark man in spotless white dhoti and panjabi – in bengal the kurta has been called that for a very long time – had just reached the palm tree at the end of the unpaved gravel strewn path leading up to the house. rimi peered out of the window, her eyes getting brighter with each step the man took, as she unconsciously closed the book lying on the desk. she’d study later. now, it was time for bismil…

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Mythology and More

why the hanukkah story reminds me of madhusudan’s magic pot

actually, there’s no magic involved. both are stories of faith. perhaps the sort of faith that brings miracle. i heard one when i was a child, the other after i got married. as my husband, who is jewish, finished telling me why eight oil lamps are lit on hanukkah, i thought of a tiny pot of yogurt and the tale of madhusudan’s bhar. “bhar” means earthenware pot in bengali, and the sound of “r” at the end is more like…

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sarees tell stories

iron nails and camel dung

the more i look at the saree, the more it wraps me in thoughts. random ones that i can’t arrange beautifully like the profusion of hand printed patterns on it. i want to write a simple piece, i mutter to myself… about those nails and camel dung, but i can’t stop the steady stream of images and words: shadowy memories of things heard far away in the past, and some just the other day. cotton trade, american civil war, indigo…

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Espresso Shots

triptych

the fan fell on pishima’s head on monday. everyone remembered it was a monday because shome was on a fast. pishima always made fresh shondesh for shome with cottage cheese and a little sugar when he fasted. she flavoured the shondesh with lemon juice sometimes, or plain new date jaggery if it was winter. sometimes she added a segment or two of orange, after carefully removing the skin, pith, and seeds, of course. when the weather got warm, she sprinkled…

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Mythology and More

Ma Durga’s Sons

durga ma sons

Over the years the idols of Ma Durga and her children only get bigger and grander, or so it seems from where I sit (if am lucky to get a space, mostly I just stand and get shoved around) in front of her looking at all the excitement surrounding them. The panditji praying, long winding lines of perspiring women dressed in their finest. A much calmer line of men in their cotton kurtas. Kids, getting in everyone’s way, who would rather…

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Festive Specials Mythology and More

Navratri & Dussehra – An ode to the festive season

Nine days and nine nights Of festive fervour and bright lights Each day of Navratri a different colour Each day singing verses of valour Durga arrives in nine avatars Lakshmi, Saraswati are not far All the Goddesses descend As one Shakti they transcend Ma Durga is Mother Kali Worshipped as Mahishasura Mardhini Many names but She is one Protecting us from evil demons Krishna arrives with his Gopikas To play the musical raas leela Sri Ram too arrives with Seeta…

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sarees tell stories

muga and memories

there were always butterflies to chase after and try and catch; powdery colour left behind on your fingers as the winged one found a way to escape your clutches. not just the usual yellow and white butterflies. they were blue and black, brown with large eye like patterns, some had purple streaks, some ornate wings with frilly edges. in the reserve forest there were many more. and there were moths too. big ones, tiny ones, in the house, in the…

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