Who am I?

I awoke and remembered nothing. Not even who I was. Next to me I saw an old man, grinning.

He laughed and asked what my last wish was. I moved away afraid of his cruel and menacing smile; his teeth yellow and sharp. He explained that my second wish was to forget everything I knew about myself.

Unsure of what to do but afraid of missing my chance I made my last wish. I asked to know everything about myself.

His smile growing deeper he said “Funny. That’s exactly what your first wish was.”

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Candle

A soft night where the candle lashes at the ceiling

breaking and making, a hundred veils.

With the quiet flame mirroring every rising step

and every fall, and fleeing razor breeze

a melting darkness and shrinking quiet.

I’m in pain

My mother always loved her job, even if she was only a housekeeper at the nursing home.

She would take my sister and I there to visit her co-workers or some of the old folk. She had an aunt who lived there too.

The nursing home was painted a drab and faded white. But it was always dark and shadowy despite the huge windows and buzzing lights everywhere. 

Even though I was young I knew this was a place of death. The people were frail and sickly watching reruns all day long. Even the artful wall that bore the names of the deceased seemed foul despite the many attempts to make it a more pleasant monument.

None of this affected my mother who always remained upbeat and spoke about the many reasons why she loved working with the elderly. Maybe that’s why she always took us along with her. We were always there on the weekends and we would have to wait till she finished her lunch and took us to attend mass.

We’d mill about and explore while she ate, ignoring the strong stench of urine that haunted the place. Once when I was six I wandered off while my sister stayed with my mother.

I heard a women shout “I’m in pain” over and over. There was something familiar about the voice. When I asked my mother about it she said the woman would do that every day and we should just ignore it. Later she explained stroke or dementia patients have verbal preservation, or the repetition of certain words or phrases due to the condition. 
When I grew up I started work at the nursing home’s sister institution. I didn’t want to come back home to be honest but I didn’t have many options. I was also curious about my aunt. I couldn’t remember a thing about her except that she had  dementia. 

Family friends would always talk about her as a forceful and determined woman who had a habit of bearing grudges. She grew quite bitter after a car crash severly injured her arms and she was confined to her bed.

I though my conservative relatives weren’t giving a free thinker her due and was curious to learn more about her. Strangely ever since I moved back I would have bizzare dreams of me at her bedside, playing the crule games only children who don’t quite know what pain is yet can. My sister cries in the background while my aunt struggles to say something.

The two facilities were connected so that staff could get around easily. I’d often make trips to the other facilities kitchen. It just so happens that this was the faculty where the shouting lady lived but I didn’t remember at the time.

I though I heard a distant “I’m in pain” echo a few times. I looked around a few times to see where it came from, but all I saw were empty rooms and made beds.

I stopped a nurse and told her I thought I heard something. 

“You did”she replied. “Every now and then the call light will go off and then you hear…”

“I’m in pain”

I realised that the voice sounded very familiar and the dream with my aunt flashed before my eyes. I shook it off and told myself to stop being silly. 

Back at the other facility I was talking to a regular dementia patient I was working with. She still had moments of clarity and enjoyed stories, although she would always remain silent. I told her the story and wondered if it was a ghost.

“I wonder why it doesn’t just grab me” I said as I drew up my chair. I noticed my patient look straight into my eyes.

Without breaking her stare she said “That’s because the woman under your chair has no arms.”

S Word essay

A word essay about the letter S wouldn’t even be close to complete if I didn’t mention the word that starts with S and refers to activities that the censor board thinks is rather un-Indian.

My censorship is not inspired by misguided ideas on what constitutes culture as khaki enthusiasts see it, rather it’s because… Well, no patriarch, guileful aunt, or heckling grandmother can be expected to stay technologically illiterate these days, can they? My fears are not misguided, just last week Facebook’s’ terrifying ability to learn everything about you became all to apparent when an old, grey haired progenitor seemed to appear on the people you may know category. If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m counting on a shaky hold over the English language to cover my tracks.

To virgin eyes that fail to understand or care about the endless carnival of light humor that populates the internet, stalking is all too easy a hobby to take up. Now, while I have been informed my tendency to write poetry on eyes movements, dreams, and other topics that catch the interest of my over obsessive mind may not be very easy to understand, I don’t want to take any risks. But I won’t bother taking anything down either. Flight might be the better option but there isn’t any reason to hide. There isn’t much here that would interest the un-literary kind I’d warrant.

So this series where I journal every reaction certain letters evoke marches on, without one very simple word that would be too obvious a clue for snoopy kin.

Food a day after

I thought about calling this entry “Wet Chapatti” until I realized how dirty that sounds.

I don’t eat meat, I don’t eat rice and I hate anything that has curds on it so my diet is rather limited.  Most of what I eat is wheat based. Chapattis are my main source of sustenance . My cook makes Chapatti when he tuns up at around 8 in the morning, earphone buried in his heads, in the middle of a loud never ending conversation with someone.  I eat yesterdays chapatis for breakfast before he takes off his ever present black cap, starts cooking and I pack yesterdays chapatis for lunch. The only time I eat what he makes on the day he makes it is during dinner. Sunday is miscellaneous food day.I have a system. A cycle which always feels weird when broken.

The chapatis taste good. But after eating them for so long, I’m more concerned with how normal they taste. Good stops being a relevant category when you get so familiar with some you eat. And I’ve eaten these Chapattis for years. Everyday 4 chapattis ,out of the 20 or so, aren’t normal. The one’s who stay at the top of the box and the one’s at the bottom always manage to get a little moist.  It’s evaporation that’s at fault here. They taste like wet atta and I try to get them out of the way before they make the rest of them taste terrible. It always looks like they start ruining the other chapattis they rest on the second I see them.

I hate how chapattis taste when they get wet. It’s odd I suppose since all my efforts at keeping them dry is futile. Everything you eat a chapatti with is going going to make it wet. Hell eating it makes it wet. But I still hate it. Occasionally I’ll notice if a curry doesn’t taste very good.  I usually read or watch something while I eat so it doesn’t bother me. After you spend so much eating the same thing over and over again, you need something to distract you.

I know the taste too well to care sometimes. If the cook makes something new I.E if there are ingredients in the fridge, I actually notice. He makes good food. always spicy. I wonder how he knows since I’ve never actually told him anything about food. He likes cricket and is from some northern part of the country. He speaks Hindi or something like it. His accent makes it hard to understand. A real nice guy.

So if there’s something news and the cook has enough oil. I’ll taste something spicy, something familiar. I’ll change the cycle a little bit and I’ll eat 8 instead of 5 chapattis.