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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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creaks of half despair

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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
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Amidst this long winter chill.

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I have looked at myself
From the edges of reason
And discovered
That both my sanity and insanity
Springs forth like seasons
Out of my distances from you. Realizing thus
I have allowed the outer rims
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To fritter away into crumbs
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And generally insane
When otherwise.