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Intersections

It has been raining for three straight days. Even the trunks of trees are soggy with water. Lichens growing on the driveway have grown an inch thick. The drains on the terraces are blocked with fallen leaves. Its been a while since anyone has visited this place. The termites living in the window frames have grown courageous with neglect. This sprawling mansion of hers slowly dies of our neglect. Neglect.

I look at the place where we had cremated her. There were one thousand people to see her off, eight hundred had stayed back for the feast, and a feast it was. The last and the biggest feast in her matrilineal line. Such was her extended family's love for her. Agricultural workers from her era, carpenters, laborers, temple representatives, community representatives, and many of young ones, some as young as three. The parents wanted to seed the memories of their kids with this event. Decades later, when the then old ones spoke of the great Gauri, the young ones were expected to say, I was there too, when they sent her off.

The moss on the driveway squishes under my weight. The coconut we planted over her embers is unattended. Like the other, older coconuts on our land, this too will have to fend for itself.

I try to pull some weeds from around the coconut tree. When she was alive, she would make me work on this land until my palms turned rugged and coarse. Most large trees here were planted by her, their pits dug by me. Twelve years and I still have the same set of labourer hands. But these weeds have deep roots. I try to pull them out once more. A handful of leaves slips out of the weeds and I fall backwards, right onto where she was lying, into the wet land she so loved. Slowly, my glasses misted over in the rain.  For a moment, in that haze, I could feel her grace falling like soft showers on my being.

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Long Winter Chill

If I could do a Neruda,
You would have smelt of summer roses
And Autumn pine.
There would have been sheer love
Of the kind that causes our hearts to ache
And loneliness bordering the divine.
You would have had so many secrets
Welling up as in a girly giggle
And so few friends who would hear them all.I am no Neruda
I can't paint you a Summer breeze
Amidst this long winter chill.

Hush

You don't have to tell me.
I just know.
Its that little sniffle that comes through
The unexplained pauses
The slow responsesI know when you call
Just because you needed to cry.

Ring Ring - Take that Call!

Raj? (In mild annoyance)
Yes Princess?

Its a Sunday baby. Why do you have to answer all the calls on your phone?

This is my personal phone babe. I don't have too many people calling on this one.

Agreed. But this is the third time you are walking out of the room with your phone. It annoys me.
I am sorry Princess. But I will have to take all the calls. 
Raj..%#$@@**.(Major Annoyance)


---Silence-----


Princess?
What??

Do you remember Anju? 
That girl who went for a divorce?
Yes
What about her?
Two years ago, on one such Sunday, she had given me a call. I was surprised to see her call, since, we were not really thick. 

Hmm.. what happened? Did she want to marry you or what?
At first there was a lot of silence on the other side. I thought that her kid had dialed out accidentally. And then I plugged my other ear and said Hello again. I felt as if I could hear a sob, and then a whisper.  I did not disconnect the call. I just told her that I know something is not right. I told her that I will hear her ou…